The horn section.

The Detroit “scene” — yes, air quotes are definitely called for here — has been growing so quickly that it’s sometimes hard to tell the New Detroit weekend activities from the earlier, more organic and fun variety. One year you’re going on a group bike ride and it’s just a good time, two years later you have thousands of fellow riders and corporate/foundation sponsorship and all the rest of it.

So lately, when I hear that something’s going on somewhere in the central part of town, I’m less likely to think hey, fun and more likely to think parking’s gonna be a four-legged bitch, no doubt.

It was a pleasant surprise to drop by the second annual Crash Detroit festival in its waning hours Saturday and see it was still fun. This is a brass-band gathering, very much in the New Orleans tradition of fun and partying and spontaneity, and we arrived for the last act, the hometown Detroit Party Marching Band:


A little dark, I know, but I wanted you to get the idea of how they work — no stage, just gather up and start playing. And they play hard. The trombonist nearest to me shed his jacket halfway through the show, but I bet he wished he could shed more. Most of these folks play hard, and it was hot.

Still, in the depths of summer, a good news Sunday. There’s the Bill Cosby story, so much ick in one package:

He was not above seducing a young model by showing interest in her father’s cancer. He promised other women his mentorship and career advice before pushing them for sex acts. And he tried to use financial sleight of hand to keep his wife from finding out about his serial philandering.

Bill Cosby admitted to all of this and more over four days of intense questioning 10 years ago at a Philadelphia hotel, where he defended himself in a deposition for a lawsuit filed by a young woman who accused him of drugging and molesting her.

Even as Mr. Cosby denied he was a sexual predator who assaulted many women, he presented himself in the deposition as an unapologetic, cavalier playboy, someone who used a combination of fame, apparent concern and powerful sedatives in a calculated pursuit of young women — a profile at odds with the popular image he so long enjoyed, that of father figure and public moralist.

Man, I’m not one for idolizing celebrities (with some exceptions), and this is not Monday-morning hindsight, but there was always something off-putting about his Doctor Cosby, American Dad act I found off-putting. I should trust my instinct more often.

Brian Dickerson, my No. 1 reason for reading the Sunday Free Press, had a thoughtful column about the pressures on liberal arts educations these days. I think he nails it — business is trying to outsource its training onto higher ed — and have been saddened at the idea that studying something other than finance, marketing, math and business is somehow worthless. I’ve known many liberal-arts majors who are brilliant business people; knowing Iago’s motivation might be a useful skill in business, in my opinion, but what do I know.

A long read, but absolutely worth it: A long NYT project on crime on the high seas, Pulitzer-worthy, that reminds me to read William Langewiesche’s book on the same subject. A sobering reminder of the cost of civilization, a connection I probably drew from my liberal-arts education.

Oh, and also, this weekend? There was a pie:


I’m-a eat a piece. Right now. Enjoy the upcoming week.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' |

30 responses to “The horn section.”

  1. Brandon said on July 20, 2015 at 1:44 am

    Did you bake the pie?

    21 chars

  2. David C. said on July 20, 2015 at 6:25 am

    Back to yesterday’s discussion on Donald T. Rump being a Democratic plant. That assumes that Mr. Rump any interest in doing anything to help anyone but himself. I just don’t see it. He’s the real deal.

    201 chars

  3. alex said on July 20, 2015 at 6:55 am

    So the assertion that Michigan’s colleges and universities aren’t producing enough engineers or health professionals (whatever a newly minted “health professional” looks like) isn’t the half of it. The more serious problem is that they’re producing too few voters, and too few Facebook users who can discriminate between a documented news story and an urban legend or Onion satire.

    I’ve known more than a few people with career-track undergraduate education (followed by advanced professional degrees) whose powers of discernment are sorely lacking in exactly this regard. I’ve never understood how anyone could be successful in any endeavor while possessing almost zero intellectual curiosity, but shallowness and a big ego seem to be the prerequisites for success in some quarters. Consider any or all of the players in the GOP presidential field, for instance.

    885 chars

  4. Suzanne said on July 20, 2015 at 7:25 am

    I baked a pie this week-end, too. Cherry. Best pie crust I’ve ever made (thank you Hoosier Mama Book of Pie). I had to give a few pieces away for fear I’d eat it all. Mmmmmm. It was good!

    The whole Bill Cosby thing is so sad. I thought he was one of the “good” ones. A few affairs I would understand, but this preying on mostly young, gullible women and using his fame as the hook makes me sick. I keep wondering if we’ll find out Billy Graham was a creeper, too, although having to lay claim to his son is enough punishment for anything he may have done, I’d suspect.

    Businesses don’t want people who can think, so of course they diss the liberal arts. They want people who will sit in their cubicle for hours on end and do stuff (the point of which is generally not apparent, but shut up & get to work). The overarching theme of commercial enterprise in the US today is short-sightedness.

    900 chars

  5. Jeff Borden said on July 20, 2015 at 8:42 am

    I rewrite copy for the international website of Germany’s leading business newspaper every morning. The Germans are obsessed with developing the right kind of workers for the future, but many executives in the stories I’ve dealt with have lamented a lack of attention to humanities and the arts at the university level because the execs believe knowledge in these areas fuels more creativity.

    When freelancing, I worked with a Harvard graduate who had a degree in something like 17th century Italian literature. She worked part-time as a copy writer and as a waitress, so I also understand the other side of the equation. She was earning an hourly wage and trying to pay off a whopping student loan for subject matter she could not monetize.

    But what a terrible world without the option to explore subject matter you might never again come across. I know I read many great books because I was forced to and am better for having done it. As the U.S. embraces its inner anti-intellectualism, I fear arts and the humanities education will go the way of dodo bird.

    1066 chars

  6. BethB said on July 20, 2015 at 9:15 am

    I read somewhere that Billy Graham had a policy of never being alone around any woman (other than his wife). He always had an advisor or two with him to ensure that no accusations could be made later. I guess I am naive enough to believe that he was genuinely trying to protect himself and the women who came for interviews, help, etc. I can believe this even though I don’t buy into his whole mega-crusade mumbo jumbo. I don’t know enough about his son to have an opinion on him.

    Gorgeous pie. I make cherry pies from scratch, too, except for the crust–I use one generic or Betty Crocker crust to roll out a little more for the bottom crust and cut up the second one into strips for the lattice top. I am jealous of the crust in the picture and would like to know the secret of making a fool-proof one.

    Suzanne, is the Hoosier Mama Book of Pie a real book or just a way of saying that your mother taught you? People seem to like the pies I make even though the crust is not mine. The secret of my pies is the little bit of almond extract in the filling and lots of sugar sprinkled on the lattice top before baking.

    1132 chars

  7. Jeff Borden said on July 20, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Rock ‘n’ roll icon Chuck Berry required any woman who was “visiting” him have a Polaroid photo taken of her standing alongside him and smiling. This, he argued, prevented blackmail, etc. when the sun came up in the morning.

    223 chars

  8. Wim said on July 20, 2015 at 9:25 am

    In my former career as a professional archaeologist, I continually ran into people whose reaction to my profession was raw shock that anyone was paid to do it and that I went to school to learn how. That one could Make A Living at something so hideously impractical offended their every sensibility, and shook their perverse pride in their limited education. To soothe them, I would tell them of the fact that I was the only one of my graduating class to actually gain lasting employment in my chosen profession, and that a majority of my fellows went almost immediately to work for the Department of Defense, trading upon their acquired ancillary skills in surveying and mapping. This was comforting to those for whom a PhD was a post-hole digger. We’ve always had Babbitts, and we always will.

    799 chars

  9. Colleen said on July 20, 2015 at 9:43 am

    I’m a liberal arts grad (History and Sociology) who has had mixed results with it. My first career in public radio was all about the liberal arts…I mean, it was a job where I was critically thinking and communicating all the time. But that career was lost, and I had to find something else that would pay. So I went to school for Health Info Management. College was much better the first time around, when I could explore things that interested me and design some of my own research. The second time around, I learned a lot about HIPPA. I now have a job in that field, which uses my liberal arts degree as much as my HIM degree. But I never would have been considered without that second, more “applicable”, degree. I don’t think college should be 4 years of vo-tech. Shouldn’t we be turning out thinkers? Oh, but then they won’t sit in their cubicles and do mind numbing work without complaint, as Suzanne so correctly points out. Thinkers are threatening.

    959 chars

  10. Deborah said on July 20, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Our DSL internet access seems to be broken. We’ve been having this problem off and on since we returned from the family reunion. Don’t know if it’s local or what? It’s frustrating because I’m using up my data quota through the phone. I think I’ll just take a hiatus.

    266 chars

  11. jcburns said on July 20, 2015 at 11:31 am

    The NYT piece on sea piracy was interesting writing, but I found it a lot more interesting WITHOUT all those interleaved videos and graphics (I just used my account to save just the article text; works great on all my devices). I really wish I could subscribe to the NYT for words and (a few still) pictures and have them leave video to video people. The idea that video should be just another tool in a modern news(paper) site’s toolkit still rankles me (clearly.)

    487 chars

  12. Suzanne said on July 20, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    BethB @6- Hoosier Mama is a real person with a book! She runs a pie shop in Chicago, I believe.
    The pie I made was not from this book, but the crust was. I made a Rosemary cherry pie recipe that I found on the Internet. I can post the recipe if I can find it. Excellent pie!

    338 chars

  13. Suzanne said on July 20, 2015 at 1:06 pm
    And here it is. I used frozen cherries (thawed) but they worked just fine.

    153 chars

  14. Suzanne said on July 20, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    And the pie crust recipe, with detailed instructions. Which I needed.

    137 chars

  15. brian stouder said on July 20, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    jcburns – agreed!

    Honestly, I hit Fox News online for headlines, because you can see headlines and click a story, rather than automatically launching umpteen videos (preceded by commercials)

    NBC News (msnbc is my TV home) and CNN and the others are simply too slathered with streams of video crap

    302 chars

  16. brian stouder said on July 20, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Deborah – forgot to wish you and yours strength, regarding Little Bird’s news at the end of the last thread. In any case, we’ll keep a light on for you here at the ranch, during your hiatus

    189 chars

  17. Dexter said on July 20, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    I figured I’d be dead a century before this could possibly happen. Viva Obama! Viva la revolucion!

    220 chars

  18. Scout said on July 20, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I may have posted this before, but I have a friend who narrowly escaped Cosby’s clutches back in the day. She has been speaking out locally about her experience.
    She was a model then, she has since switched to the other side of the camera. She also plays classical piano, writes and does documentary film production. She didn’t need “America’s Daddy” to succeed, she did great on her own merits.
    If you enjoy good photography, check this out:

    564 chars

  19. Deborah said on July 20, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Internet problem crisis is over. It was our bad, whoever unplugged the airport gizmo and replugged it back in didn’t do it right. Could have been me but probably was my luddite husband. We unfortunately still have DSL because our 60 year old building was only set up for that when we moved in 12 years ago. Since then they are now wired for high speed cable internet but we’d have to get some new cabling in our unit and since we’re probably going to downsize to a one bedroom unit we don’t want to go through the hassle. Since we have a building project in Abiquiu and an apartment in Santa Fe, we don’t need a 2 bedroom unit in Chicago anymore, much as we love this place with our spectacular views of the lake and the city, it just doesn’t make sense now. We have been waiting for a one bedroom to open up for the price we’re willing to pay… I think we might be waiting for awhile.

    Thanks Brian, everything is OK but since I’m in Chicago and Little Bird is in Santa Fe, we thought it was safest for her to have it checked out at the ER since it was a Sunday and her primary Dr’s office wasn’t open. All is not perfect yet, but it’s no longer a worrisome issue, she goes to her primary tomorrow and she goes to her specialist in St. Louis in August so hopefully we’ll get some answers soon.

    1297 chars

  20. Hattie said on July 20, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Now I do like that pie.

    23 chars

  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 20, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Billy Graham’s rule, which I learned of early in my ministry and have followed as closely as I could the last thirty years, is “never let the door close on a room you’re in with a woman unless it’s your wife or your mother.” And if you are thoughtful and deliberate, it doesn’t force an end to all pastoral counseling — but the truth is, I’m not a professional counselor, and it’s rare when I see a need for me to talk entirely one-on-one with a female. Plus most of the “I need to talk to you privately, pastor” overtures turn out to be different than you might think, anyhow. It’s a good rule, and if you follow it you also get a natural reinforcement against the whole Lone Ranger/messiah complex side of the work.

    Plus, closed door meetings for two people are rarely a good idea, in general. Or so I feel I’ve learned through following that policy.

    856 chars

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

    I’ve had many a closed door meetings with men that I’ve worked with, and many of those men were my bosses. I never gave it a second thought and neither did they. On the other hand most of the rooms probably had windows facing the corridors in at least the doors so maybe that was part of the plan? I never thought of it that way?

    329 chars

  23. Sherri said on July 20, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    I’ve finished reading Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, and my first two quick thoughts are 1) go read it and 2) David Brooks is one smug entitled clueless bastard. But the second one is not a new thought.

    221 chars

  24. LAMary said on July 20, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    David Brooks never fails to annoy me. Whether I read his stuff or hear him on NPR. He’s an ass.

    95 chars

  25. Deggjr said on July 20, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I’ve eaten chocolate cream and coconut cream pies, among others, from Hoosier Mama They make the Baker Square equivalents taste like something from Weight Watchers.

    213 chars

  26. devtob said on July 20, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    Part of the decades-long right-wing campaign to “defund the Left” always included going after the liberal eggheads in academia.

    But since most states’ public universities are quite popular, Republican state administrations generally had to do that on the sly — cutting state support and raising tuitions by little bits, every year.

    Only lately has it become more blatant, especially in Wisconsin, where Koch lackey Scott Walker cut the University of Wisconsin system by $250 million and essentially got rid of tenure.

    That was after his plan to rewrite the university’s mission to include meeting workforce needs and exclude searching for truth was withdrawn due to public outcry.

    Walker is a pushing-the-envelope pioneer in the right’s “defund the Left” campaign against public education, and it’s made him a top presidential contender.

    Others will certainly follow his trail.

    893 chars

  27. alex said on July 20, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    I had some closed-door meetings with college profs, and lemme tell ya — it isn’t always females they shouldn’t be left alone with.

    131 chars

  28. Beth Backus said on July 20, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    Suzanne, thanks for taking the time to look up the great pie links. I was almost drooling as I read the recipe and looked at the crust instructions. I don’t have a food processor, bit I’ll try it with my pastry cutter.

    220 chars

  29. Deborah said on July 20, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    If I’m not mistaken Hoosier Mama has a booth at the Lincoln Park green market where I’ll be bright and early Saturday morning. I’ll be looking out for a good pie to bring home. Any requests?

    We just got back from having dinner with one of my husband’s cousins and his significant other, soon to be his husband. They were also at the family reunion and came to Chicago for an extended vacation. They live in Houston. The cousin’s true love of his life is black on top of being a guy. At the reunion most everyone was polite but they sensed some obvious resistance. These are the nicest two guys you can imagine and it’s sad that they have to experience negative reaction to thier upcoming union. But they are amazingly understanding.

    735 chars

  30. Brandon said on July 21, 2015 at 2:40 am

    I wonder if anyone is reading Coates and Brooks simultaneously.

    63 chars