And we’re wrapped.

Well, we made it back. You get in the car in the crystalline, low-humidity loveliness of the north woods, and you stop for gas somewhere around Saginaw, where the air is smudgy and your hair immediately plasters itself to your skull like a wet towel.

(“I’m going to miss this place,” I said on our last day. “My hair looks the same in the evening as when I dried it in the morning.” Alan: “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.” Only women notice hair.)

It was a nice time. We didn’t do much, by design. Alan fished every night and some days, and I read “Missoula,” by Jon Krakauer; “The Drop” by Dennis Lehane; and “Between the World and Me,” Ta’Nehisi Coates, as well as some rereading — an old Travis McGee pulper I found in the cottage, and Laura Lippman’s “When She Was Good.” And a kinky romance about a woman with rape fantasies, because I read an interesting story about this market niche somewhere, and wanted to see what it was about. They’re all e-books and as cheap as candy bars. (Noted some details, including this: While women notice hair, when they write erotic fiction, they don’t spend a lot of time describing the women involved, for obvious reasons. The reader is free to imagine herself in the starring role. Sex scenes written by men are the opposite. I gave up on one popular crime novelist 20 pages into my first try, when he described his main character, a woman with the usual high, firm breasts and tight, round ass and long, long legs, etc. The real eye-roller — and book-closer — was her smooth olive skin and violet eyes. I’m like, pick one, dude. You don’t get both in the same gene pool.)

“Missoula” was a rare Krakauer disappointment for me, strong out of the gate and mired around the halfway point with courtroom procedural passages begging for a chainsaw edit. It was also about rape, the real, non-fantasy kind, but it was really about alcohol. And “Between the World and Me” is a heartbreaker, but an absolutely necessary one, and I highly recommend it.

At night, when I wasn’t reading and Alan was fishing, I watched movies. The house we were in didn’t have cable or an antenna, so I couldn’t watch the Republican debate, but it did have a DVD player and an uneven selection of movies. First were the good ones I’d already seen (“Michael Clayton,” “The Departed”) and then some fun crap (“Dirty Harry”), before finishing with ones I’d only heard about and never got around to seeing, like “The Green Mile.” Sixteen years after its release, I offer this review: P-U. (Alan suggested an alternate title: “Mr. Jingles and the Magical Negro.”) Last up was “The Grey,” which I turned off 30 minutes in while contemplating forming a Wolf Anti-Defamation League. Not just bad, offensively so.

And that was about it. We lost power in the big storm for a day and change, popped over to Traverse City for an afternoon and watched Wendy excavate the outside woodpile for two solid hours, trying to get the red squirrel squeaking inside. No cell service, no internet unless we drove through a coverage zone. And we floated a few miles of the Au Sable, and it looked like this:


Pure Michigan.

It looks like y’all had a good week. I still have a few pages to go in the Coates book, mainly because on the way home, as soon as we drove into cell coverage, my phone exploded with this story, about the Tea Party legislator I wrote about in April. Turns out he was sleeping with his legislative ally, and — you can read all the tawdry details at the link. The rumors about them started flying after my story ran, and I wondered whether they might be true, then decided such a hookup would be too Hollywood for words, like Frank Burns and Hot Lips Houlihan getting it on in “M*A*S*H.” It turns out that sometimes reality is just that — Hollywood. I keep looking at my notes, and the story, wondering if it was in front of me all along. Maybe it was:

Just yesterday, Courser posted, on his website and Facebook, a 3,300-word defense of Gamrat, referring to “the forces of tyranny” that are “attempting to silence a huge voice for liberty,” i.e. Gamrat, and calling on Speaker Cotter to reinstate her. He chides Cotter repeatedly and implies the Speaker – the leader of his own party’s caucus – lied about Gamrat to justify her ejection.

New rule: When a man tops 3K words defending a female colleague, look harder.

Anyway, I’m doing a Michigan Radio interview this morning, along with the reporter who broke the story. Should be fun. I’ll pop into the comments with a listen-live link when I get it.

I see you guys kept the bloggage going in my absence, so I don’t have a whole lot to offer, as I’m just catching up myself. This profile of an uncooperative Chelsea Clinton was very good, I thought. I found it via Hank Stuever, who commented on his Facebook that perhaps his parents had taken Jacqueline Onassis’ advice about raising their daughter in the White House to a fault: “When Caroline Kennedy sort of ran for office a few years ago, one single interview with the NYT made it clear that a lifetime of being sheltered from challenging questions had not done her any favors at all. She was in no way ready for real politics or much of anything that wasn’t ceremonial and scripted. Ergo, her current job — ambassador to Japan.” Chelsea is the same, I fear. Much posing and smiling, not much else.

Oh, and Coozledad sent along this wonderful piece from his local alt-weekly. Speaking of atrocious writing.

So the week begins anew, and I’m tanned (a little), rested (mostly) and ready (better be). Hope you are, too.

Posted at 12:06 am in Current events, Movies, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

39 responses to “And we’re wrapped.”

  1. Brandon said on August 10, 2015 at 3:28 am

    Chelsea is the same, I fear. Much posing and smiling, not much else.


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  2. Jolene said on August 10, 2015 at 5:00 am

    I recall a long-ago post in which you were boating or otherwise hanging out near water with college or shortly-after-college friends, wearing cutoff or the like. You look the same now. All that exercise is working.

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  3. David C. said on August 10, 2015 at 6:28 am

    It looks like the R’s are starting to see what we in Wisconsin have already seen.

    Post-Debate Poll (NBC)
    Trump 23%
    Cruz 13%
    Carson 11%
    Fiorina 8%
    Rubio 8%
    Bush 7%
    Walker 7%

    Gov. Goggle-eyes isn’t impressing.

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  4. Basset said on August 10, 2015 at 7:19 am

    Atrocious indeed, even worse than WEB Griffin. Reminds me of another Tata:

    Say more about the fishing, what was Alan catching at night? And how?

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  5. coozledad said on August 10, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Tata (pronounced Tay-tuh) is just one of a half dozen or so of Pat McCrory’s appointees who seek to defund the government by stealing government money. That he writes shitty books with a fourteen year old’s perception of sex is probably the best thing you can say about him. Even his cultural references are preteen.

    From his forthcoming novel Empty Threat.

    Gamrat’s nipples pushed tauntingly against her lightly silkscreened Aerosmith T-shirt, making it look like Steve Tyler and Joe Perry both had massive carbuncles on their foreheads.

    “I’d give my last teeth away just to gum your cleft,” said Courser. “This is the first time I’ve been tumescent since Cancun.”

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  6. Linda said on August 10, 2015 at 8:14 am

    What is worse, Cooz, is that they are preadolescent old people’s references. Could he find any rockers past the mid 90s to give massive carbuncles to?

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  7. coozledad said on August 10, 2015 at 8:27 am

    You wonder how that guy got brigade level. It would suck to be a grunt in his army.

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  8. brian stouder said on August 10, 2015 at 9:47 am

    One thing I think I’ve learned, from years of reading Nance’s columns, is that, on the list of journalistic offenses, a major-Biggie is when you report an error in fact (EIF).

    From the linked column – which was very good – there is this passage, which bothered me:

    Today, the woman who could become America’s only two-time first daughter has decided: If the spotlight must always shine on her, she might as well use it in her favor.

    So, I eventually consulted Uncle Google, because I remembered that Grover Cleveland was president, and then fired, and then president again.

    He was our 22nd and 24th president, and he had 5 kids, including Ruth (the “Baby” Ruth, apparently) – and they would all qualify as ‘two-time’ first daughters and sons.

    Anyway, after that, I summarily rejected the somewhat snarky article, with a self-satisfied smile on my face!

    PS – and by the way, I say Nance’s superb photo is the thread winner, hands down!

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  9. Connie said on August 10, 2015 at 10:04 am

    more from Courser
    The long and rambling audio tape blames his former staffers, Ben Graham, Josh Cline and Keith Allard, for colluding with the Lansing “mafia” establishment to bring him down. And it didn’t work, he said, because he’s decided to stay in office to expose the “political shenanigans” that are happening in Lansing.

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  10. Jeff Borden said on August 10, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Todd Courser is a gift from the comedic gods. I predict he will run for president as a Republican in 2020.

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  11. Danny said on August 10, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Did anyone else here see the passing of Dr. Frances Keksey over the weekend? She made it to 101. I don’t know much about the backstory, but o believe her exposing of the thalidomide situation led to an extensive overhaul of the system by which we regulate and qualify the introduction of new drugs and treatments. Amazing story I am sure. One friend said it was the first major overhaul of the policy since Abraham Lincoln was in office.

    I read that as of 2012, there were about 3000 survivors still alive who had been affected by that drug and that if it wasn’t for Dr. Kelsey, it would have been introduced into the U.S. with the same tragic consequences.

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  12. beb said on August 10, 2015 at 10:53 am

    I was going to post a Free Press version of the same story but connie beat me to it. Let’s hear it for the “Lansing Mafia” who or whatever that might be. Nancy has a good point that anyone writing a 3300 define of someone has ulterior motives. Actually I’d think anything over 1000 words deserves raised eyebrows and suspicion.

    David C. that NBC poll seems like an outlier. Bush and Walker down to 7%, that’s half their ratings before the debate. Seems extreme. I’ll wait for additional polls.

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  13. Dave said on August 10, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Way off topic but I thought our hostess might enjoy seeing some of her possibly distant relatives are in the farm market business in Berryville, VA, where we stopped last Thursday.

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  14. Dave said on August 10, 2015 at 10:59 am

    And I didn’t realize until right now that their last name is actually Nalls. Perhaps still an offshoot. My mistake.

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  15. brian stouder said on August 10, 2015 at 10:59 am

    And Jeb! has the large, large dollars.

    He’s like mother Russia – other campaigns and push and push and push, and take all kinds of ground from him – but he’ll still be there next summer…and then he’ll turn the tide and push back.

    I still think it’s either Kasich or Jeb! next fall…or maybe both.

    Danny – didn’t see that, but DID get pulled into something on TV about medical examiners and chemical analysis of dead bodies, which is fairly new (about 100 years).

    Lost and lots that I didn’t know

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  16. Jeff Borden said on August 10, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Somewhat off-topic but still relevant given the anti-abortion rhetoric of the GOP, the L.A. Times today has a piece about the women of El Salavador who are imprisoned for up to 50 years for seeking an abortion or allowing their fetus to die. The opening anecdote is heartbreaking: a 17-year-old peasant girl with a 3rd-grade education working as household help is raped by a neighbor and becomes pregnant. She wants the baby and even names it Gabriel. At some point in the pregnancy, she becomes ill and starts bleeding, but the family will not allow her to leave the house. She goes into labor, hears the baby cry once and then passes out. The family finally calls an ambulance. The girl awakes handcuffed to a bed and is later sentenced to more than 7 years in prison for allowing the child to die. The rapist, of course, does no time.

    Someone needs to ask Huckabee, Walker, Rubio and all the other “no exceptions” antiabortion zealots what they would do to the women who seek to terminate pregnancies. You wanna talk about government intrusion? A miscarriage in El Salvador can wind up sending a woman to prison for up to 50 years. My sense is these guys love the idea of throwing doctors into the hoosegow, but what about women? Would these great and holy Christians really throw a woman in jail for something like this?

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  17. brian stouder said on August 10, 2015 at 11:16 am

    That would be a superb question.

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  18. alex said on August 10, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    And whaddaya know? Courser’s piece of tail has a Huntington connection. Huntington, for those of you who don’t know, is a freaky backwater where weird shit happens. It has a patina of respectability because Dan Quayle was born there.

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    • nancy said on August 10, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      Where else? Really, where the hell else?

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  19. Joe K said on August 10, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Out in Kansa City today and looking for something to do, found the Arabian steamboat museum.
    She sank just north of K.C. A couple years before the civil war, the river changed course and she was found in 1988 in a corn field 1/2 mile from where the river is now 145 feet down, 4 partners excavated her and what they found is simply amazing, carrying 200 tons of cargo that include everything from pre fab houses, hats, boots, clothing, building materials, dishes, perfume, pickles, you name it she was a floating general store, and this stuff is all preserved do to the mud and lack of oxygen. The pickles were edible, the boots could be worn along with the clothing, China looks like it’s brand new, rifles, pistols, champaign. It really changes your opinion of what life on the plains was like, while still very hard, it wasn’t all sod huts, a lot of the tools look like what we have today, hammers saws, ect, a fascinating story and discovery, if you in K.C. For any reason take a couple hours and check it out.
    Pilot Joe

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  20. Deborah said on August 10, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Pilot Joe, my mother’s side of the family mostly live in an area north of KC. Is there a name of a town that was near where the steamboat was found? That is fascinating.

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  21. Joe K said on August 10, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    I think it was on the Kansas side, maybe around Riverside. North and west of the downtown airport, the boat was around 8 miles up river of K.C.
    Pilot Joe

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  22. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 10, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Well, I have to share this: as Rod Dreher says, “Meanwhile, who are white Christian Republican primary voters supporting? That would be the thrice-married, oft-bankrupt, billionaire casino-mogul who says he’s never asked God to forgive him for anything…”

    Clearly, I understand nothing of either politics or religion. I’ve got my hands full just trying to be a pastor in my county.

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  23. Dexter said on August 10, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Monday reality fersure: My son-in-law called to tell us “we’re safe so don’t worry…” and I said “whut”. So he fills me in the details…see, this murder happened just a few feet from his house:

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  24. brian stouder said on August 10, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Well, looking at the seven deadly sins – wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony –

    we KNOW he’s a shoe-in for #1, 2, 4, 5, 6 – but he’s only intellectually slothful, and a glutton for the spotlight….so, he could be the moral to the story, when we inaugurate President Clinton…

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  25. brian stouder said on August 10, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Scary stuff, Dexter. Good to hear that your people are OK

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  26. Deborah said on August 10, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks Joe, my mother’s family are from the area north of St. Joseph, MO. But it’s still very interesting. Next time I’m in that area I will definitely look up that museum and make a visit. One of my relatives has an annual Apple Butter festival in the fall, we’ve gone to many times but haven’t in awhile. Maybe this year we will go.

    Charlotte, I so wanted to go to that Mushroom fest in Telluride or Durango, can’t remember which. But with the playground and our own ongoing building project in Abiquiu, it wasn’t in the cards this year.

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  27. Charlotte said on August 10, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    The Telluride Mushroom fest is great fun — run by a completely unreconstructed old hippie named Art Goodtimes (a poet, former seminarian, county commissioner, and really smart guy with a fabulous tie-dyed sense of style). I learned all my basics there …

    And Jeff Borden @16 — they’d never admit it, but yes, that’s the world they want. One where you can rape the 13 year old servant girl then have her conveniently shuttled off to jail when she gets pregnant. They want a world in which elites get to do whatever they want, and the rest of us scramble for the scraps (because, you know, “Freedom”).

    I’m a little irked by the Bernie Sanders as Great Savior narrative — but here’s how you respond to legitimate demands that you have address racism in America:

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  28. Basset said on August 10, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I had this vision of a steamboat full of Shriners.

    Tell us about the fishing, Nancy – around here night fishing usually involves bait, lead sinkers, beer, and mosquitoes.

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  29. Jolene said on August 10, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    The Ta-Nehisi Coates fans among us may be interested in this list of 10 bookshe’d want on a desert island. As you might guess, it’s an eclectic list.

    And the NYT Sunday Book Review interviewed him about his reading habits.

    Substantial overlap, of course, but both are interesting.

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  30. Wim said on August 10, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    There were a lot of steamboat wreck sites exposed on and in the Missouri River in 1988 due to a blistering drought and historically low water levels. Every half-bright redneck with a jonboat was out trying to loot them.

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  31. Joe K said on August 10, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Hardly a half bright redneck, this boat was under a 145ft of earth, with a 10ft water table so they had to continually pump water out so they could dig down and after they were done compleatly filled the hole back in and the farmer was planting on it that spring, they took no government money they raised the 1.5 million thru friends and never sold any of the cargo, started the mueseum and paid back the investors with the ticket sales, they did it because it was a adventure.
    Pilot Joe

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  32. Wim said on August 10, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Well good for them, Joe. What does it change?

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  33. alex said on August 10, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    It makes anything ever done with a government grant a tainted piece of shit that wasn’t worth doing.

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  34. Sherri said on August 10, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Jeff(tmmo), I don’t know why you’re so surprised. The politics of resentment wins again. White Christian Republicans are convinced that they’re the most persecuted people in the country.

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  35. beb said on August 10, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Charlotte, thanks for the link at 27. I’m glad Bernie has released a blacklivesmatter policy statement but I still think they were pricks for interrupting his campaigning and not those of Ben Carson or Jeb Bush.

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  36. susan said on August 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Joe, well good for them amateur archaeologists. Wonder what kind of field records they kept? Did they use a total station or older technology transit to map where, and the depth of, everything they recovered? Did they create a site map? Did they write up a report or a paper or a publication on their findings? Oh, never mind. Since there was no gummint monies involved, they didn’t have to do science and had no restrictions, other than what the landowner might have required. They could loot with abandon. Yeeeehawwwww! Amurka, fuck yeah.

    At least they decided not to sell the artifacts, but to build a museum to house all the loot. That’s cool. And they appear to care about preservation of the artifacts. Also cool. The museum looks cool.

    By the way, according to the museum site, the wreck was 45 feet below the surface, not 145 feet.

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  37. Sue said on August 10, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    “My sense is these guys love the idea of throwing doctors into the hoosegow, but what about women? Would these great and holy Christians really throw a woman in jail for something like this?”
    Jeff Borden, in 2009 someone introduced legislation in Virginia (I think) that would have required a woman to report an unattended miscarriage to the police. A few years later the guy who introduced it was selected as the Republican candidate for attorney general.
    Don’t know if the guy is a great and holy Christian. But he is a Republican. So there are people in the US who believe in criminalizing miscarriages, and there’s no reason to believe that things have gotten any better since 2009.

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  38. Jolene said on August 10, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    Well, there is the fact that that guy was defeated and now has no power to make laws or policies that affect other people.

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