Blueberries and blues.

I’ve missed going to the market the last couple of weeks, but I went Saturday, and man, is it ever on. Pre-tomatoes, pre-peaches, but the greens are greenin’, the sugar snaps snappin’, and of course the blueberries and cherries are in. I couldn’t decide what kind of pie I wanted this week, so I got both. In trying to preserve my weight loss, I will generally make a whole pie but take half to my office. However, we hit that poor thing like a tackling dummy; I might have to do a backup pie tonight for the co-workers.

Mmmm, backup pie. Blueberry backup pie. Yummers.


Tonight, I’m thinking pizza on the grill.

In between there was a bike ride, something I’m doing less of. Not for any particular reason, only that I’m trying not to get bored, so I’m juggling boxing, swimming, yoga and weights in the mix, and there just isn’t as much time for the bike. But I got out there on Sunday. Stopped and listened to five minutes of a sermon outside a church (with organ stings!), passed a couple splitting a joint on a park bench, observed a man sitting on his porch with a sign at the curb reading, “Barber on deck, 8am-8pm.” Just another Sunday noontime in Detroit.

Oh, and we saw a movie — “The Wolfpack,” now on iTunes and in theaters. Recommended, especially if you liked “Crumb,” as it basically hits the same theme. Which is? That art saves, and sometimes transgressive art saves the most. A review, by David Edelstein.

It’s bummer day in bloggage, but all of it good reading:

First, the most infuriating, a WashPost look at Tunica, Miss., an early gambling adoptee that somehow managed to squander a few hundred million in proceeds to local governments and still leave its people as poor and screwed-over as any in the U.S. How? By leaving the usual suspects in control of the purse, and what did they do?

What went wrong in Tunica is a matter of perspective. For many African Americans — and the county’s current officials — it was a story of a largely white political leadership that did not grasp the depths of poverty facing many black residents and did not choose to use the casino revenues that flowed into the county in an equitable way. So instead of funding skills training and providing programs for the vulnerable, they poured money into a riverfront wedding hall, an Olympic-size indoor swimming pool and a golf course designed by a former PGA Tour pro — all while implementing a massive tax cut that primarily benefited the wealthy.

Tax cuts. How bad could taxes have possibly been in a largely rural county known for its extreme (56 percent) poverty rate? I wonder if somewhere in the next world, Ronald Reagan is being roasted over a fire of dollar bills. He can give up his place on the spit when Grover Norquist joins him.

Moving on. This story is a heller to read, about how Matthew Teague’s wife died of cancer and his best friend helped him through it — for two years. I can tell you that it made me think we need better options to help people, and help the people who help them, through the last days of their lives. I know I would have called Dr. Kevorkian well before I reached about the midpoint in Nicole’s story.

If you can’t stand that, how about a DOG dying? Dooce.

Finally, a nice bit of essayin’ on something I feel I was the very last to learn: “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” the great fear novel of my young single life, was based on a real murder, of a woman with a similar name as the main character in the book, and not too many changes. The victim taught deaf children in real life, which explains why Diane Keaton’s character did in the movie adaptation, a change from the book I found jarring. Some things slide right past you; this was one of mine.

So now the week begins. I’m hoping to see half my street paved by the end of it. We’ll see.

Posted at 12:14 am in Same ol' same ol' |

81 responses to “Blueberries and blues.”

  1. Dexter said on July 13, 2015 at 3:10 am

    That “…Goodbar” read was worth the time. I saw the movie first-run. I had not read the book. The murder depicted in the film is horrifyingly unforgettable. New York in the 70’s and 80’s was as scary and dirty and creepy as the photos and text in the article testify. I cannot think of a more terrifying scene from any movie than that movie’s murder scene.

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  2. Jolene said on July 13, 2015 at 5:58 am

    That pie is gorgeous. The photo is making me wish we were neighbors or colleagues.

    To add to the interesting set of links above, here is a profile of Ta-Nehisi Coates just published in New York magazine.

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  3. alex said on July 13, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Saving Mr. Goodbar for later. The Wolfpack, cancer and dog stories have run me out of time and wrung me out of emotion.

    As for the Tunica story, I’m always amazed when I hear local civic-minded bigwigs prescribing casinos as the solution to all of the economic ills of our rustbelt community and wonder why they haven’t bothered to notice that what casinos promise has never materialized in any place the expansion of the gaming industry has been allowed.

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  4. beb said on July 13, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Back-up blueberry pie….. Tell me when the pie expects to arrive at work and I’ll be there… if only I knew where where your office is. (well, no, I’m at work. Can’t really rush out to Ann Arbor or Lansing.)

    For those of us not interested in horrific murders here’s something nice said about Detroit

    The bottom line on Tunica, MS is that the money was never intended to go to black people. It always goes to the rich. I’ve heard much the same complain about Atlantic City, New Jersey, two blocks away from the casinos and you’re looking at abject poverty.

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  5. ROGirl said on July 13, 2015 at 8:52 am

    The “casinos will save our economy” myth is about as close to reality as the belief that gamblers have that they are just one play away from the big one.

    Does Detroit really need Brooklyn hipsters to turn it into the next Williamsburg?

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  6. Julie Robinson said on July 13, 2015 at 8:52 am

    We had blueberry pancakes, blueberry muffins, and blueberry dump pudding over the weekend. Also, college friends; the fifth set of weekend visitors this summer. I’m a little tired.

    Someone else will have to read the dying dog story, because our son had to put his cat down Friday. It was a long time coming, and he’s been mourning, and he decided to adopt a new cat from the shelter the same day. Instead of a cute little kitten he got an older cat, since he knows they’re harder to place. Sounds like they’ve already bonded.

    Alex I’ve noticed that about casinos too. Why are governments still falling for their line?

    Ronald Reagan has been on top of my hate list since that big tax cut he passed that wasn’t really a tax cut. I was so sure I had figured something wrong that I reviewed our entire return with an IRS agent. No, the numbers were correct, our taxes were higher, and this poor agent had to tell people all day that in reality, most middle clss families were paying higher taxes. Roast in hell, RR.

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  7. brian stouder said on July 13, 2015 at 9:17 am

    No no no! See – it’s tax cuts for those who don’t need it.

    Then, they’ll have even more money sloshing around, and some will splash out of their over-full pots, and trickle down to where we are, see?

    Looking back on it, I think RWR literally did become ‘larger than life’ when he took a bullet, way early in his administration, and then LIVED!

    Anyway, think of the shit-sandwich that the new president will have to take a bite of, if he is a Republican.

    He will have both houses of congress, and a mandate to destroy the ACA and start trouble with Mexico and destroy the EPA and cut taxes for the rich (again)….

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  8. brian stouder said on July 13, 2015 at 9:31 am

    …whereas if the new president is a Democrat, she will get to be ‘the adult in the room’, and put a check on our increasingly silly legislative branch.

    Really, truly – I think the 2016 election cycle is the one where the Republicans get pounded on enough at the national level that things really begin to fly apart.

    The thing to watch for then, though, will be very slight dog-whistles from the Democratic side….and the hand-off of the toxic waste will be underway

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  9. Icarus said on July 13, 2015 at 9:59 am

    “Kitty Genovese, stabbed to death in 1964 outside her house in Queens, as neighbors listened to her cries;”

    I thought someone debunked the Kitty Genovese murdered while her neighbors watched/ignored her cries for help?

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  10. Ann said on July 13, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I thought the Tunica story was depressing until I read the cancer one. What a way to start the week. I’d almost rather have clicked on a Mitch Albom link.

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  11. Deborah said on July 13, 2015 at 10:05 am

    I used to read Dooce, then I got tired of it. I spent some time noodling around her blog again. I was sorry to read that Chuck died.

    That cancer story was sad, I would also have called Dr. Kevorkian long before.

    I read the Goodbar book ages ago, saw the movie later. I barely remember the movie, but the book stuck with me.

    The Ta-Nehisi Coates link was good too. Thanks Jolene.

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  12. LAMary said on July 13, 2015 at 10:21 am

    One of my niece’s dogs died the other day. A soft coated wheaten terrier named Henry. She knew his time was short for the last few months, I’m guessing he had cancer, so she did a doggy bucket list for him. His last day started with early morning breakfast on the beach. She’s got two other dogs, but I think Henry was the one who had latched on to her.
    I know my two dogs, who are both 11 are having age related issues and for some reason I keep getting big dogs even though I know they don’t have long lives. Some of them are more tough to lose than others, and I know that when the time comes for my lab, it will be tough. I wouldn’t trade my time with him for anything, though, and I know my niece would say the same about Henry.

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  13. alex said on July 13, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Brian, I don’t think the Dems will be making a play for the GOP’s nativists and know-nothings anytime soon. In fact, they appear to be pulling away from their characteristic centrism of the last few decades and reclaiming liberalism. And sucking up to the religious right has never earned them any respect from the right and has only cost them respect on the left.

    As far out of whack as things are, it’s the GOP that’s more likely to move toward the center to retake turf from the Democrats a la Bill Clinton. Give it a few more years and the “C” word will be as poisonous as the “L” word became in 1988.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on July 13, 2015 at 10:33 am

    It’s just like losing any other family member, in my experience. This poor kitty had been in severe pain from leg issues and all the alternatives were pricey and not guaranteed, especially since it was his second go-around. Matt gave him the best life he could, including the best way to end that awful pain. I would like to have that choice available too.

    Brian, friends just posted flood pictures from a burst washing machine hose. Not as bad as yours, apparently, but a reminder to check ours out for sure.

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  15. BigHank53 said on July 13, 2015 at 10:57 am

    I read the cancer story (tough, but worthwhile) in the wee hours of the morning, and then I made the mistake of scrolling down to the comments. Here’s the very first one:

    And why do you think people don’t talk about death in detail like you did? My guess would be out of respect for the dead; out of love for them; out of being considerate and wanting people to remember them by their good qualities not when they were sick. But than again, you can’t expect that from a husband who says his friend moving out was harder than losing his wife….Deeplu disappointed by this piece

    I wasn’t sure whether to be shocked or enraged at this woman’s petulant demand that Nicole Teague’s death be meaningful and uplifting, so I slept on it before writing anything. In the light of morning, I guess my reaction is more plain astonishment at her self-satisfied childishness. Those of us who have run up against grief know it’s about as uplifting as pressing the tender inside of your forearm up against a red-hot stove burner. The suffering is just there. Nobody would choose it. But nobody is offered a choice. Trying to wring something–anything–out of the experience is a survivor’s job. You learn why people say “I’m sorry” at funerals–possibly the most useless, pointless expression ever–because there’s nothing else that’s even a fraction better.

    When I didn’t know anything about grief I at least knew enough to keep my fool mouth shut.

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    • nancy said on July 13, 2015 at 11:02 am

      And that, right there, explains the appeal of Mitch Albom. He’s just a slightly, slightly more sophisticated version of the dolt at the funeral who says, “He’s in a better place now,” “God must have needed an angel” or some such. He writes drippy books where people say, “What we’re really supposed to do on earth is love one another,” as though that’s as simple and easy as rolling off a log. But if you say it, everybody nods. Yes, yes, that’s exactly right, etc.

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    • nancy said on July 13, 2015 at 11:03 am

      Oh, and as for the comments? I re-learned the never-read lesson when I waded into the swamp after the Tunica story. The shit and mud is deeper than what’s under that lady’s house.

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  16. Jolene said on July 13, 2015 at 11:06 am

    John Oliver did a number on sports stadiums last night, arguing that the situation is pretty much the same as with casinos. Taxpayer money is used for construction, and the promised benefits do not accrue to the surrounding area. Yet, over and over, city governments give in to team owners’ threats to move their teams–most often to Los Angeles.

    His show is really amazing. Not many comedians can carry off an act that is genuinely funny, while simultaneously making a policy argument that contains phrases such as net neutrality or tax-exempt municipal bonds.

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  17. Connie said on July 13, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Yeah, well, may I suggest not saying “God must have needed an angel” to someone who just lost a baby.

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  18. alex said on July 13, 2015 at 11:32 am

    A relative recently lost his spouse in a tragic accident and I went to the calling. He’s very religious, but I have to say this is the first time I’ve ever had a widower tell me that his wife was in a better place and that it’s part of God’s plan.

    I’m beginning to wonder if the people who say this to the grieving aren’t being thoughtless but rather are practicing the social custom of the Missouri Synod.

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  19. Sherri said on July 13, 2015 at 11:33 am

    My least favorite thing people say in the face of tragedy is “Everything happens for a reason.”

    I liked these empathy cards designed by someone who had cancer:

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  20. Heather said on July 13, 2015 at 11:56 am

    I read that cancer story a while ago and found the description of the poor woman’s late-stage cancer totally horrifying. My mother died of cancer in hospice many years ago and I thank God she never got to that point. Same for my ex’s mother, who he told me died just three days after her Stage IV cancer took a turn for the worse. I don’t want to judge anyone in that situation, but sometimes hanging on becomes grotesque.

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  21. Deborah said on July 13, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    My mother died of cancer when I was 14 and the worst part of watching her die for a year was the hallucinations she had during the last 2 weeks of her life. That was hard for a 14 and 15 year old. I know my sister and I have lots of differences but she is the only one in the world who knows what that was like and no matter what she says about how much she likes Trump, I’ll always love her.

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  22. Kirk said on July 13, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    I worked with a super-religious Roman Catholic guy who had bunches of kids. His wife gave birth again, to a kid who didn’t make it. I expressed my condolences (nothing like any of the insipid comments referred to above). His response was that the baby was now a saint and it was all for the good. I think he was nutty enough to believe it.

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  23. MichaelG said on July 13, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    The casino business is like the stadium/arena business. Cities keep drinking the cool-aid even though it’s been proven over and over again that municipal investment in a stadium or arena is an exercise in stupidity. The rich guys pluck the city like the dumb, jock sniffing rubes they are. It’s happening right now in Sacramento as a hastily conceived, poorly planned arena is half way completed. Of course with tons of City money. In five years Sacramento will bitterly regret the folly.

    I couldn’t read that cancer thing. Having just finished a course of radiation and after a year of, well a year of stuff I just couldn’t. It’s funny. I’ll research and read reviews and ratings and specifications and so forth forever just to buy a toaster. But I can’t read up on cancer, sarcomas, treatments and the rest. I can’t bear to read that shit. Strange, huh?

    “I’m not white, technically. I’m mostly Irish.” Not sure I follow that, Cooz.

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  24. beb said on July 13, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    As far out of whack as things are, it’s the GOP that’s more likely to move toward the center to retake turf from the Democrats a la Bill Clinton. Give it a few more years and the “C” word will be as poisonous as the “L” word became in 1988.

    They’re not called “movement” conservatives for nothing. They’ve been pecking away at this since Goldwater. That’s 50 years. They have learned nothing from the many conservative social experiments because they in their heart of hearts that their principles are right it’s the application that failed. Losing in 2008 did not convince them that their platform was wrong. Nor did the lose in 2012. Their lose in 2016 will not teach them anything. “Conservative” will never become a smear work the way “liberal” has become.

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  25. Jolene said on July 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    In fairness, there are only a few insensitive comments after the cancer story. I didn’t read all of them, but I read quite a few. Most are respectful and compassionate. Many describe the letter-writer’s own experience with losing someone close to cancer. A few raised the question of whether it was fair to Nicole, the woman who died, to discuss her illness in such detail–not in the harsh, judgmental way that the first commenter did, but in a way that treated the issue more seriously.

    There were a few comments that seemed to take an excessively rational approach, suggesting that if the author had just made a couple of the right phone calls, this suffering might been eliminated By relying on modern medical protocols for the care of the dying. I’m not so sure. The article is somewhat vague, but I got the impression that this is what happened even though those calls had been made.

    Mostly, I got from the comments the sense that there is an awful lot of suffering in this world. Not exactly news, but it never hurts to be reminded that, if things are currently OK, we’re really lucky and that there is no end of opportunities to be kind.

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  26. beb said on July 13, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    “I’m not white, technically. I’m mostly Irish.” Not sure I follow that, Cooz.

    I think his point is that if you back in time far enough you’ll find that the Irish were considered sub-human heathens on par with slaves.

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  27. brian stouder said on July 13, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    hence “Paddy wagons” – a modern form of which was actually use to kill the guy in Baltimore

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  28. Deborah said on July 13, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    I don’t know how I managed not to know that, Brian. I thought Paddy Wagon was similar to “padded room”. Learn something every day.

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  29. Dorothy said on July 13, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Not to speak for Cooz or anything (he does fine on his own) but check this out:

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  30. Julie Robinson said on July 13, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    MichaelG, I don’t think it’s strange at all. I have had several life experiences that were very intense, and when they were over, I didn’t want to revisit them. Not if there was no good reason.

    Whenever I hear anti-immigrant trash talk, I always wonder how long the trash talker has been in the country themself, and if their own relatives came in legally. My heritage is also Irish, along with some Welsh and German, and at one time or another those were all suspect, weren’t they? And the Irish on one side came in through Canada, so I do wonder if they had the correct papers. But now, only four generations later, it’s all blended together and I’m just another WASP, looking all respectable.

    At the SIDS baby’s funeral I attended, I couldn’t summon any words for the grieving family, only hugs along with my own tears. It wasn’t enough, of course, but what is? Our pastor preached a sermon against people saying that death is part of God’s plan, or happened for a reason. It’s inane, untrue, and unhelpful.

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  31. alex said on July 13, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Well as I mentioned upthread, Julie, it’s something I would never say to anyone but I’m gobsmacked at having heard it from a grieving spouse who seems to be comforting himself with it.

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  32. Sherri said on July 13, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Well, MichaelG, at least Sacramento saved Seattle from building an arena for an NBA team, at least temporarily. There are still at least three potential ownership groups in the area with arena building plans (one in Seattle, two in the ‘burbs) that want to bring an NBA and an NHL franchise to the area, of course with plenty of public money to fund the arena.

    Is anyone else following the Greece debacle? I’m finishing up The Sleepwalkers, Christopher Clark’s book about the lead-up to WWI, and the terms Germany just dictated to Greece seem a lot harsher than the ultimatum from Austria-Hungary that Serbia rejected as a violation of its sovereignty. Greece seems like nothing more than a serf state of Germany under these terms, and Spain, Portugal, and Italy have to be wondering who is next. It’s also quite ironic to see the Netherlands join Germany in being so high and mighty about Greece not collecting taxes, when the Netherlands is one of the biggest tax havens for companies avoiding taxes.

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  33. Jolene said on July 13, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Julie, until the late 19th century, there really were no laws governing immigration. A gradually lengthening period of residency was required for citizenship, but, as far as I can tell, there was no requirement for authorization of any kind to enter the country. In fact, for whites, there were really no requirements or much in the way of restrictions of any kind, other than a literacy requirement issued in 1917.

    Thus, most of us can say that our ancestors came legally, but only because there was no law.

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  34. Julie Robinson said on July 13, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Looks like we just squeaked through. Thanks, Jolene, you know everything!

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  35. MarkH said on July 13, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Ta-Nehisi Coates was on CBS This Morning today, talking about his book, his son, Baltimore and Toni Morrison. Good interview from the best morning news show, imho.

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  36. brian stouder said on July 13, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    And by the way – the pie pictured in Nance’s post looks positively marvelous!

    Yes, I am in a comfort-food state of mind

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  37. MarkH said on July 13, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Forget Trump v. The World. This impending Gopherhead v. Chapo smackdown shows promise.

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  38. Dave said on July 13, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    MarkH, we mostly watch CBS Morning News, the others, especially Good Morning, America, is all about entertainment and the latest star of the moment and Today leans that way, both with folks I never heard of nor care to learn about. This old fogey stuff sure changes your perspective.

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  39. Jolene said on July 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks, Jolene, you know everything!

    Ha! This made me laugh out loud. I don’t know everything, by any means, but have sometimes thought I could have made it big as a reference librarian. I am good at looking stuff up. In fact, I had looked up “history of immigration laws” in the past, likely prompted by someone arguing about the virtues of their ancestors.

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  40. Dexter said on July 13, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I love Paula Malcolmson, and have since HBO’s “Deadwood” days. Now she plays Ray Donovan’s beleaguered wife, and on the show last night she cemented my feelings for her character as she ran up a freeway entrance ramp and rescued a big dog from certain death on the freeway, and took him home and comforted him. Her kids yelled “who’s dog is that?”, and she screamed ,”this is MY dog, this is MY DOG!” All dog lovers rejoiced, I am sure. <3

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  41. MarkH said on July 13, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Dave, I couldn’t agree more. All but CBS is a wasteland before 9:00 AM, newswise. The world could blow up, but you wouldn’t know it from the others till a half-hour later when the hosts decide to stop pleasuring each other.

    CNN tries, but…

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  42. David C. said on July 13, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    I was looking forward to a cherry pie from our own tree. The birds got them before I had a chance to get the tree netted. I can’t even say better luck next year. We’re going to try to sell the house. A road trip to get cherries in Door County is in order, I think.

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  43. Sherri said on July 13, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    This is entertaining. James Fallows wrote about Trump being a non-story as a candidate, and today he posted a sampler of the responses he got from Trump supporters:

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  44. MichaelG said on July 13, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    I’m aware of the problems experienced by the Irish finding jobs after the Civil War. I’m also not aware that those problems lasted for an extended period of time. I’m of Irish extraction. My grandparents emigrated from the old country to Chicago at the turn of the last century. My Grandfather ended up as a union electrician and my Grandmother was a housewife. GrandDad went from the IRA (yes he was) to the IBEW. None of my four grandparents nor any of my great aunts or great uncles nor any other relative including my parents or aunts or uncles ever expressed the slightest hint that they had ever experienced any prejudice as a result of being Irish. I know I certainly haven’t. My question to Cooz still stands. Talk to me, man, you know I’ve always been a supporter. I need clarification.

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  45. Jolene said on July 13, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Just saw on Twitter that TN Coates is on Charlie Rose tonight. In my part of the world, that means he’ll also be on the replay during the day tomorrow.

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  46. Sue said on July 13, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Jolene, re your observation about commenters objecting to the author’s graphic description of his wife’s dying process, I think those are legitimate comments. I had the same kind of (sorry to say) skeevy feeling on reading the book “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant”, a book about a daughter’s experiences with her parents as they aged and died. It too is celebrated for its honesty and it was both funny and touching, but in my opinion it was way too TMI in its descriptions of the physical process of aging and dying. Nancy’s link bothered me in the same way. I would never want that horror shared with strangers; I’d barely want it shared with those closest to me.
    This man’s wife asked him not to let her ‘stink’, and then he shares so much worse with the whole world.

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  47. Jolene said on July 13, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    Sherri, that Fallows piece is hysterical. You should check it out, Nance. At the end, he includes a comment from a guy who is waaaaay over your proposed allocation of five exclamation points per annum.

    Sue, I thought those comments were legitimate too. I don’t know if I agree with them, but I thought they were reasonable points made by thoughtful people. It wasn’t that they wanted to be protected from the grim details; they wanted Nicole Teague’s dignity and privacy to be protected.

    Some of that detail was needed, I think, to show how things really were, to show what it took for Matt and Dane to stick with her and with each other until the end. I also think it serves to help people realize what’s involved in some kinds of illness and death. As a society, we need more discussion and better decision-making on these very difficult topics.

    Was Matt right to tell her story? I read a little more about Nicole online, and, based on that, my sense was that she would not have minded how her story was told, but, obviously, that’s only my own impression.

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  48. Brandon said on July 13, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    He’s just a slightly, slightly more sophisticated version of the dolt at the funeral who says, “He’s in a better place now,” “God must have needed an angel” or some such.

    They mean well, but My condolences would suffice.

    (Mitch Albom is to you as Dinkleberg is to Mr. Turner.)

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  49. A. Riley said on July 13, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    It’s my understanding that anti-Irish bigotry was much harsher in the cities of the East Coast than in the Midwest, but even here, it wasn’t all a bed of roses 24/7. My clan settled in rural Wisconsin, where they at first tried to get along with their German immigrant neighbors (who’d arrived just a few years before) but before long said to heck with it and moved to the other side of the township and bought two acres to build their own church.

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  50. Dexter said on July 14, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Deborah…it was my grandmother who died from too-late diagnosed breast cancer when I was 15. She was in a hospital bed in the farm house living room and she had a bell to ring when the pain became unbearable and she needed another morphine pill. We kids were mostly kept at bay, but I remember those cries of pain the few times we were allowed to come visit for a short while. I was somewhere where we were encouraged to fill out a S^2C placard and hold it for the cameras, just like they did last night at the All Star Home Run Derby in Cincinnati. I wrote “Grandma” on the card.

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  51. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 14, 2015 at 12:10 am

    Hey Alex, an Elijah Lovejoy reference punches this story up:

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  52. Brandon said on July 14, 2015 at 12:10 am

    @A. Riley: There’s an older man of Dutch descent who goes to my church. He’s from Danforth, Illinois, and he’ll occasionally reminisce about the rivalry between the town’s two main ethnic groups, the Dutch and the Germans.

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  53. alex said on July 14, 2015 at 7:46 am

    That was a good read, Jeff. Interesting to consider that the editor’s own simultaneous work on a book about social uplift would so transform the tone of Harper Lee’s raw manuscript as described, or the character of Atticus which is so central to the story. For Lee, I imagine, the book was originally the typical writer’s exercise in castigating one’s parents for their failings.

    I wasn’t going to read Go Set a Watchman having learned that Lee is incapacitated and being exploited by her unscrupulous attorney, and I also thought I wouldn’t want Watchman to ruin for me the memory of the book I enjoyed so much in my youth. But as it’s getting ruined anyway by all of this chatter, I am now fascinated with the story of the making of Mockingbird and will probably read both back to back to see just what’s involved in the crafting of a commercially successful novel. It’ll be a great disillusionment I’m sure. I’ll probably never look at any book again as a purely inspired work.

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  54. Deborah said on July 14, 2015 at 8:41 am

    Alex, I can relate to the process, only with design. I was surprised at how many people were involved when I got into the profession, it’s not just a designer, there are art directors and production artists involved and there are lots and lots of tweaks and redos before something goes out the door for the public to see.

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  55. brian stouder said on July 14, 2015 at 8:53 am

    So last night, we had a company outing to the downtown baseball stadium, and a very pleasant dinner behind the glass beyond the left-field wall.

    Pam and I noted the approaching lightening, and departed at the 7th inning, just before Fort Wayne’s latest deluge. When we got back to the hotel, it was raining cats and dogs, and Pam took her umbrella and headed for the door. I made a mad dash, and didn’t realize that the grass (between the parking lot and the sidewalk) I was running across was on a pretty good pitch, and – schwoop! – I went ass-over-tea-kettle.

    But, the ground was mattress-soft, and I was none the worse for the wear, other than being a good deal wetter; plus, it gave Pam a hearty laugh, so there’s that, too

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  56. brian stouder said on July 14, 2015 at 9:43 am

    And I think the Obama administration just got Secretary Clinton elected president, if all of the Republican gaggle of candidates rush to proclaim they’d rather have ‘War-War’ than ‘Jaw-Jaw’

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  57. Joe K said on July 14, 2015 at 10:46 am

    I was at the game also, made it to the bottom of the 8th, had never been to a game but really enjoyed it.
    I didn’t have the hoy,ploy, seating though, I’m just a poor conservative sitting with the masses eating $1 hot dogs not a rich democrat behind the glass wall feasting.
    Pilot Joe

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  58. Sue said on July 14, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Alex and Jeff – I’ve decided to view the Watchman nonsense as one of two things: Watchman is really an Atticus Finch Evil Twin story, or Watchman is really an alternate universe story. I refuse to consider the two books legitimately related. And anyone who doesn’t think this is about money, consider what was done with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s early draft(s) of the Little House books: researched and studied and respected, and now published after many years with copious annotations.
    And now I’m hearing they might have ‘found’ another Harper Lee book. How ’bout that.

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  59. brian stouder said on July 14, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Joe – you got me laughing!

    If my boss (the owner of where I work) heard that you called him a rich Democrat, he’d be one hoppin’ mad Republican!

    Indeed, we’ve done the normal seating thing before, and it is very nice….but the behind-the-glass thing is very, very nice, indeed!

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  60. Sue said on July 14, 2015 at 11:04 am

    A. Riley, what county was that in? Washington?

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  61. coozledad said on July 14, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    I was in the skybox with Theodora
    and she said “I don’t ho no more-a”
    Justinian’s my goy
    I ain’t bonin’ no “Hoy Ploy”

    No more-a
    No more-a
    No mo whorin’ for Theodora.

    Not since I married Mr. Sanctora.

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  62. coozledad said on July 14, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Sorry. Link truncated.

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  63. Kirk said on July 14, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    I don’t know how many outer-space enthusiasts we have here, but the Pluto images are astounding. I’m proud to say that one of the main scientists involved, a professor at MIT, is a guy I knew when we were little kids and I was playing backyard baseball and football with his oldest brother.

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  64. Deborah said on July 14, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Kirk, I’ve definitely been following the Pluto adventure. I don’t think about the stars and planets as much in Chicago but when I’m in New Mexico they are always with me. The night sky here is tremendous. Another thing I’ll miss when I go back to Chicago tomorrow.

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  65. A. Riley said on July 14, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Sue: Fond du Lac. The little church that great-great-grandfather Pat built in 1862 was decommissioned sometime in the ’90s, I think (1990s, that is). I’m glad I got to see it and its neighboring cemetery before it came down.

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  66. Deborah said on July 14, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Yay, my T-N Coates book is in and I’m about to be on my way to go get it to read on my trip tomorrow. For some reason auto-correct will not let me spell out that name today. Little Bird just said that she thinks auto-correct is on drugs sometimes. Seriously I just had to type “auto” 3 times before it didn’t change to “ago”.

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  67. Sherri said on July 14, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I really like this GIF of what Pluto looks like from the HST vs the new images we’re getting from the fly-by:

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  68. Deborah said on July 14, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    I have the T-N Coates book in my hot little hands, now if I can just keep from reading it until tomorrow.

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  69. brian stouder said on July 14, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Sherri – very cool; thanks!

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  70. David C. said on July 14, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Kirk, the images of Pluto are spectacular. The highest res mosaics are still to come over the next few months. It’s too bad it isn’t an orbital mission, but maybe they’ll find something equally interesting as it continues into the Kuiper belt.

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  71. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 14, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Sue, I’m only a third of the way in, but what’s surprising to me about “Watchman” is that if you’d told me this was written by Harper Lee decades *after* “Mockingbird” I’d have said “well, obviously.” It’s disconcerting to consider her having written this take *first* that jars — but as to the “new” Atticus? Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but if you have a beloved friend, mentor, and/or father whom you’ve known from their 30s to their 80s, you know that some strange things happen, perspective-wise, to them as they hit the crease of aging. Not all, and few in everything, but some oddly reactionary or even disturbing views that seem contrary to who they’ve “always” been . . . that happens. Often. So it’s with a shock of recognition, of a sort, that Atticus here seems to be in retreat in some ways, and the tension with the much younger, and less-blameless Henry is where I find it all quite plausible. And so far, well written.

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  72. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 14, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    I meant to add a space, not close that, and say — I’m almost ready to be doubly impressed by the fact that, odd though it seems, Nelle Lee wrote this earlier, then stepped back into Scout’s and Atticus’ history and gave that background life as we all came to know it. Peck and Badham aside, that’s an indelible set of images, but they can’t be left to set in concrete. And the idea that your idols may crumble over time . . . I am still haunted by a conversation with my grandmother very near to her death, where she as much as reversed nearly everything she’d ever tried to inspire in me, and point me down a different road, of guaranteed success, ensured income, and settled stability. I knew even as I held her hand that this came from the fear and anxiety of medical bills, doctor consultations, and what she knew was a final stay in the hospital, but it was jarring. And I believe I was true to Lora Evelyn’s own true self to utterly ignore all she said, even as I hugged her gently and said “Sure, Grandma, I’ll remember that.” And I do, even if I didn’t do it.

    That’s what this later Atticus is evoking for me.

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  73. Deborah said on July 14, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Two people close to me changed 180 degrees, my sister and my ex-husband. It was amazing to see the complete reversal of their views. I’ll admit my sister was never a liberal but she certainly wasn’t as conservative, or bigoted as she is now. And my ex, wow, I am amazed at what I hear he has said about politics and race now. He’s a completely different person than the one I met in the late 60s and married in the early 70s. I think both of them watch Fox news a lot these days and have been brainwashed by that and/or their immediate surroundings. Maybe they were always like that and I was just too naive for it to register. My ex used to be angry about racism and the war in Vietnam. But later I found out he was angry about absolutely everything. The Billy Joel song about the angry young man with his fist in the air and his head in the sand fit him to a T. Many of the people I went to college with turned way more conservative than they were in college. Mind you, this was a Missouri Synod Lutheran college, so as Brian says, “there’s that”.

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  74. Sue said on July 14, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    But this is Atticus we’re talking about. ATTICUS.
    Someone tell a story about some elderly person who actually mellowed and became more tolerant and loving as they aged. Why don’t we see more of that in the wisdom of age?

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  75. David C. said on July 14, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    I would say television, Sue. Books expand your mind, television contracts it. Doubly so, if all you watch is news, or rather “news”.

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  76. Jolene said on July 14, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    I don’t think it’s so unusual for people to become more tolerant as they age. I don’t know if I’ve witnessed any great transformations in racial views, but, in other areas, I’ve known people who, having learned that life can bring all sorts of unanticipated events, take the view that others are doing their best in whatever way they can rather than judging them for what they didn’t do right.

    I recognize that I’m being vague here. Perhaps what I mean to say is simply that not everyone becomes narrow and cranky as they age.

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  77. Deborah said on July 14, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Thank you, Jolene for being a voice of tolerance and reflection. You have made me step back and reconsider many times.

    I just finished watching “Wolfpack” OnDemand. I thought it was excellent. At this point that’s all I can say about it, I’m emotionally wrung out.

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  78. alex said on July 14, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    I think my parents in many ways have become more mellow and tolerant in their old age and I can think of others too. I’ve also seen the reverse, and yes it’s people with too much time on their hands and too much Fox on the tube.

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  79. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 14, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    I’d never say always, I was just stating that it’s not that unusual to see a person who is aging *and* dealing with serious chronic pain end up in some surprising places when they comment on the world . . . and I’ve only read half so far, and would say Atticus is showing a side that’s not a repudiation of the man he is in “Mockingbird”, but is an unveiling of elements of him that could well have been there in that part of the story/life. It’s not like he’s become a card-carrying Klansman or is sending money to Goldwater. Henry, now . . . and my sense is that there’s the dramatic tension in Lee’s tale. Atticus has his excuses even if he’s not using them, while Henry has no excuse and is asking to be excused. Or so I’m inferring so far . . .

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