The beginning of the slog.

I have a number of looming hurdles to clear in the last weeks of summer, and none of them are brush boxes — a little hunter/jumper reference for the two or so of you who might get it (hey, Charlotte). That is to say, not easy. So there may be some outages between now and mid-September. Be advised. And be advised we’re going to be a little jangly today because: See above.

On the other hand, I learned that one of my colleagues was working at a farmers’ market last week, and there was a shooting just across the parking lot. If anyone ever tells you think-tank work is boring? They don’t work in Michigan.

Did you know Apple, as part of the promotion for “Straight Outta Compton,” is making it possible to do things like this?


Is that not awesome? Even though I hate that Beats stuff.

Neal Rubin is a columnist for the Detroit News I should include here more often, because he’s frequently wonderful. This piece, about a 71-year-old couple who accidentally wandered into a thrash-metal concert at a local amphitheater, is particularly so:

Jeff, whose goal was to take his wife to the nearest show to her birthday, thought maybe he’d bought tickets to an oldies revue. But The Shirelles weren’t on the bill, either.

Instead, there was an Australian metalcore band called Feed Her to the Sharks. At the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, the Pardees were most definitely fish out of water.

Finally, it’s a function of how out of it I’ve been lately that I saw these Serena Williams photos earlier this week and didn’t think I should blog this. Fortunately, LA Mary sent them along and nudged me out of my torpor. Check ’em out. She’s amazing.

So forward we go into a big month or so.

Posted at 12:24 am in Housekeeping, Popculch |

62 responses to “The beginning of the slog.”

  1. Sherri said on August 12, 2015 at 1:57 am

    I’m guessing you’re in the middle of helping Kate acquire the necessary accouterments for dorm living, so the Onion is here for you:

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  2. brian stouder said on August 12, 2015 at 7:40 am

    The last three photos in the main post have been nothing less than marvelous

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  3. Connie said on August 12, 2015 at 8:25 am

    I think the Straight Out of thing was overdone immediately. The bulldog did Straight Out of Hinkle.

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 12, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Hinkle! You made me smile.

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  5. Connie said on August 12, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Here it is:

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  6. brian stouder said on August 12, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Here’s a talking point memo (with emphasis added by me):

    Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton announced Tuesday that she had directed her aides to turn over her personal e-mail server to the Justice Department, giving in to months of demands that she relinquish the device she used to store her correspondence while secretary of state. The move came hours after it was disclosed that the inspector general for the intelligence community, I. Charles McCullough III, had notified senior members of Congress that two of four RETROACTIVELY classified emails found on Clinton’s server contained material deemed to be more sensitive than had previously been thought.

    “Retroactively” classified? That’s the game? Maybe some of our zealous anti-Hillary friends oughta Google-up at the Constitution of the United States, and then search for the term Ex Post Facto…

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  7. Connie said on August 12, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Here’s my talking point for today. I have NO desire to see Kim Kardashian naked. I don’t look for her naked on the internet. BUT Kim Kardashian naked on the internet seems to look for me. Twice yesterday, twice more so far today, her latest naked pregnant selfie has been served up by some web page for my not interested eyeballs. CNN, you could at least have put it behind a click through.

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  8. brian stouder said on August 12, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Y’know, I’ve never seen KK in the altogether – knock on wood (so to speak)

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  9. Dorothy said on August 12, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Only eight responses so far today? Where the heck IS everyone today?! Even if I don’t have time to comment most days, I am enlivened by all of the conversation that goes on here. It’s what keeps me sane many days, especially with the school year ramping up like mad this week.

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  10. Deborah said on August 12, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Yeah Dororthy, I was thinking the same thing. I haven’t commented myself today before now because I didn’t really have anything to say. Still don’t.

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  11. coozledad said on August 12, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Major disaster in a very densely populated area. Most likely severe ecological impact for the Pacific as well. Just awful.

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  12. coozledad said on August 12, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Someone in the comments pointed out Tianjin is Beijing’s port, and the seat of the major refineries in the north. So also severe economic impact

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  13. brian stouder said on August 12, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Deborah – thanks for the kind words yesterday.

    Really and truly, we cannot (in the end) complain about the water catastrophe. As Nance pointed out, it has lead to a general re-vamp of the whole house, and that will be a lasting positive outcome.

    It has been interesting to people-watch at the Residence hotel; lots of mid-week dog people come through – and lots of weekend travel teams of all sorts. Also, more than a few medical types (whether doctors/nurses or sales people or technicians – but with the med/pharma vibe going on).

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  14. brian stouder said on August 12, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Cooze – that story looks like it is going to get much, much worse as the details are learned.

    Presumably there’s also a major spill involved.

    ‘Course, the OSHA and EPA are American job-killers, so really – China is leaps and bounds ahead of us, yes?

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  15. Julie Robinson said on August 12, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Apropos of KK and our earlier discussion of pregnancy drugs, she’s in hot water with the FDA for promoting one such drug without notification of risk factors:

    I’ve been lucky enough to avoid her nekkid self. The very thought would be my definition of eww.

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  16. Deborah said on August 12, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    We’re going to Abiquiu very late tonight and into the wee hours of the morning to watch the Perseids meteor shower. We went last year or maybe it was the year before that (time flies) we camped out there and got up at 2 or 3am and it was spectacular. It’s supposed to be even better this year. The reason we’re not camping this time is because the area in which we usually camp is pretty torn up with construction.

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  17. Joe K said on August 12, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    I flew to Pittsburg then to Rahligh Duram last night, left Pit@1:30am, saw a lot of shooting stars on the way, love overnight trips during theses next few days, flying a passenger to Langly Air Force base next week, man do you have to fill out a lot of paper work to do that.
    Pilot Joe

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  18. Sherri said on August 12, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Republicans seem eager to boost Carly (it feels like she should have an exclamation point instead of Jeb!) as a foil to Trump and their war on women. Michael Hitzlik is here to remind us about Carly’s history, not that anyone here has likely forgotten.

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  19. Jolene said on August 12, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    I would vote against Carly Fiorina on grounds of personality alone. She really seems like a mean person. I never sense any human warmth in her. All she can talk about, it seems, is how horrible Hillary Clinton is and how horrible the government is. She acts as if every single federal employee spends all day every day watching pornography.

    On another topic, here is a conversation between Cory Booker and David Simon hosted by the NYT in relation to Simon’s new HBO miniseries, Show Me a Hero, which begins on Sunday. Have been seeing clips and interviews with some of the actors on talk shows, and, as we expect with Simon, it looks like it will be a valuable work.

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  20. Jolene said on August 12, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Well, that doesn’t look like it’s supposed to, but the first part of the boldface type is a live link.

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  21. Charlotte said on August 12, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    We’re off to the cabin to watch the Persieds tonight — but cloudy here today, might be out of luck. Going camping tomorrow night though, so should get lucky one of the two …

    The weirdest thing about the Kim Kardashian naked thing that took over the internets a few months ago was the look of absolute glee, joy even, on her face. Almost the way little kids look gleeful to be running around the yard naked kind of glee. Very odd person/family/phenomena.

    We’re in the throes of a do-we-kill-the-bear-that-ate-the-guy debate out here. I was leaning toward leave the bear alone it’s wild country until the woman who survived the Cooke City campground attack weighed in on my friend Scott McMillion’s FB page (author of Mark of the Grizzly about bear attacks). As someone who survived one of the few demonstrated predatory attacks, she argues, with sorrow, for caution. Since Yellowstone is, in effect, a big wildlife park and there are millions of unsuspecting civilians cruising through, I suppose I’m beginning to lean toward the sad conclusion that they should probably put the bear down. Ugh.

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  22. Sue said on August 12, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    Sorry to follow Charlotte’s sad speculation on the bear with this, but I have to share it.

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  23. MichaelG said on August 12, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    You’re falling behind in your euphemisms, Charlotte. They would “harvest” or “take” the bear. But they would pay for all permits and if there were to be any irregularities, it would be the fault of the guide.

    When she accepted her appointment as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was fully aware that she would be running for president this cycle. She, very experienced in being inundated with right wing hate stuff, would have known that every move, every decision, every thing would be the subject of intense scrutiny. With this in mind, I can’t for the life of me understand why she couldn’t just go along with the program and use the G’ment’s email system. No. Hillary had to use her own private system and her own private server. Then she had to delete 30,000 or so emails. She had to have known that this would be a red flag for the frothing at the mouth Republicans. That this would raise an issue that could easily have been avoided. But no. Ms. Clinton had to go her own way. I can only think that her decision to employ her own email system instead of the G’ment’s was arrogance. Pure and simple. She brought this whole email thing on herself and richly deserves it.

    I believe that she did nothing illegal, I believe that retroactively classifying some emails as top secret is bullshit, etc. etc. However, none of that changes the fact that she stupidly created the whole problem. The more I see of Ms. Clinton and her smug arrogance the less I like her. Nevertheless, she will still be head and shoulders above any of the Republican pretenders and I’ll vote for her. Sigh.

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  24. MichaelG said on August 12, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    I deliberately separated every and thing. Thing was supposed to be italicized. Oh, well.

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  25. alex said on August 12, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    If it weren’t the e-mails it would be something else. I rather doubt she knew she was doing anything wrong.

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  26. Jolene said on August 12, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    I agree with most of your assessment of Hillary, MichaelG. I like her a bit more lately. In the snippets I’ve seen on recent outings, she seems a bit warmer and friendlier. We are hard-wired on the dimension of introversion vs. extroversion, and she is never going to be as at ease with people she doesn’t know as the most successful politicians are.

    But on the email thing . . . What a mess. Why make it hard for your supporters to support you?

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  27. Jolene said on August 12, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    David Denby captures Donald Trump’s character.

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  28. MichaelG said on August 13, 2015 at 12:14 am

    That’s the point, Alex. It’s not that she was necessarily doing wrong, it’s that she was doing something that she had to have known would wave the red table cloth at the Rs. When there’s already going to be a ton of shit coming down why add to the problem? Why give the assholes a truck load of free ammunition?

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  29. David C. said on August 13, 2015 at 6:06 am

    That Hillary breathes waves the red table cloth at the Rs.

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  30. alex said on August 13, 2015 at 6:57 am

    I think it’s impossible to anticipate what Hillary’s enemies will seize on, but they’ll always find something to manufacture into a scandal, including the very fact that she breathes, shits and pisses. She knows this as well as anyone. What I fear about a Hillary presidency is that we’ll be subjected to a constant barrage of phony scandals and investigations.

    Her stint as secretary of state elevates her status as a serious candidate in my view, and I think most other Dems would agree. The right-wing bloviating about the e-mail bothers me about as much as its hysterics over Obama’s birth certificate. You might as well blame Obama for not having anticipated that his citizenship would be questioned.

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  31. brian stouder said on August 13, 2015 at 7:53 am

    Jolene, that was a tremendous article; just good stuff.

    Right near the end is this –

    He exploited the country’s bankruptcy laws when his hotel-casino investments in Atlantic City went sour, and anyway, he got out early and made a lot of money. Got it? He made money. A single-payer system, often known as socialized medicine, “works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked in a different age, which is the age you’re talking about here.” (i.e., fifteen years ago). Got it? It works. But the Affordable Care Act, which could be seen as a hesitant first step toward a single-payer system, “is a disaster.” You can’t argue with reasoning like this because it always circles back to Trump’s triumphs over the naïve. He’s gone past contradiction, beyond tautology, into infallibility. In advance of the debate, he stopped studying policy papers. He doesn’t need answers; his temperament is the answer.

    and it’s just right on the mark.

    Aside from that, it is depressing news about President Carter, eh?

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  32. coozledad said on August 13, 2015 at 10:11 am

    In Republicanese, “Courage” means facilitating child rape.

    They need to be relocated to the steppes.

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  33. ROGirl said on August 13, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Alex, it will be a seamless transition from the Obama outrage machine constantly churning out content like links of sausage to the Hillary outrage machine that will up the ante to include all the past hits from the Bill and Hill era and keep on investigating Benghazi until the end of time.

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  34. brian stouder said on August 13, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Cooz – gotta say, though, that Raphael showed he has at least a few live scruples (or at least enough spidey-sense to know when he’s about to get smashed by a shoe), by having the yokels put the courage award away while he was in town!

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  35. beb said on August 13, 2015 at 11:08 am

    The only thing worse than waking up to fire trucks in front of your house is not being able to go to bed because there are fire trucks in front of our house!That pretty much sums up our summer. Evem though it involved houses across the street from us it’s not something you care to have happen. The first appears to be an attempt at arson by a renter and doesn’t appear to have done much damage. Last nights was a downed wire that provided a lot of fireworks, may have burned up some trees in the backyard but doesn’t look like it damaged the house. We suspect that the downed wire was an illegal hook-up because we suspect the young man living there was squatting. The house had been empty — open actually — for years until this guy started hauling out trash and put in a security door. We figure he’s a squatter because he has no car and cuts his grass with a weed whacker. As our neighborhood starts to fill up with boarded up or burned out houses I’d rather see a squatter than another empty house. In fact I’d be happy if the city made an effort to fill up houses on our street by moving in people from less populated areas which could then be abandoned. It would cost money that the city doesn’t have but it would be better to have one full tenancy distinct and one abandoned then to have two decaying neighborhoods.

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  36. brian stouder said on August 13, 2015 at 11:44 am

    beb, Fort Wayne has been doing that for the past several years. Tearing down houses that are past the point of no return, and then in some areas building homes that match the neighborhood (more or less); and it only makes sense – as the sewer/water/power grid all already exist.

    One thing Pam and I are certain of is – we will always live in the city. (Even if we won the lottery and money was no object, then there are really marvelous old homes right by a big park in west central Fort Wayne)

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  37. MichaelG said on August 13, 2015 at 11:59 am

    I just finished reading ‘The Oregon Trail’ by Rinker Buck. It’s an account of two brothers who drove a covered wagon across the trail in the summer of 2011 pulled by three mules who sort of become lead characters in the story and a charming Jack Russell terrier named Olive Oyl who turns out to be a surprisingly productive member of the team. It’s an excellent story and I learned a lot. There’s plenty of social and economic history included. Buck has plenty of opinions and isn’t shy about sharing them. I highly recommend it.

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  38. Deborah said on August 13, 2015 at 11:59 am

    I’m with you about always living in the city. Except for my childhood and my first year of marriage to my ex, I have always lived in the city. Granted our Abiquiu project isn’t in the city but it won’t be a permanent residence, at least that’s the plan now. I like living in cities, I find them interesting and stimulating.

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  39. Deborah said on August 13, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Michael G, that sounds like an interesting book. I’ve been looking for a good one to read. As a young man my grandfather took a trip in a covered wagon on the Oregon trail back to the Midwest after his family moved out west. He and his sister and brother didn’t like the west coast and yearned to go back to their childhood home in Iowa. They all played musical instruments and wrote songs, so they paid their way entertaining their fellow travelers along the way.

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  40. Deborah said on August 13, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    One more thing and then it’s back to working in the yard. We went to our land in Abiquiu last night to see the Perseids. We got there at about 11:30pm and stayed until about 1:30am. We saw about 60 meteors in that time, it seemed to peak at about 12:30 in our part of the world. Some of the shooting stars were extremely bright. The sky was clear as a bell, with the Milky Way strongly visible.

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  41. brian stouder said on August 13, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    We’re in a hopelessly light-polluted area, so the meteors – which I’d love to see – were out.

    And by the way – why do people refer to a “meteoric rise” when meteors fall?

    Or maybe only meteorites are the falling ones. Still – gravity + motion = falling – even if the “fall” is orbital

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  42. Jolene said on August 13, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Charming story about your grandfather, Deborah. Something I’ve wondered about, but never explored, is reverse migration and other forms of things not working out as planned. My great-grandfather was a homesteader (the affirmative action of the midi1800s), and I’ve always been curious about how many people stuck it out long enough to gain title to the land.

    If you are looking for another book about a trek (and haven’t read it already), you might consider Undaunted Courage by Steven Ambrose. It’s the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition. I found it fascinating–very storylike, with many amazing details about how people survived that very hard journey.

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  43. Jolene said on August 13, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Brian, according to my dictionary, meteoric is not always about direction. To wit,

    Similar to a meteor in speed, brilliance, or brevity: a meteoric rise to fame.

    Good question, though.

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  44. Kirk said on August 13, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    I second Jolene’s motion about Undaunted Courage.

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  45. Deborah said on August 13, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Brian, meteors are the ones that haven’t hit the earth. After they hit the earth the pieces are called meteorites. There is a cool shop in Santa Fe just off of the plaza that has lots of meteorites, there are many different kinds (different make up of materials, some are high in iron etc). The guy who runs the shop is fascinating he likes to talk. He told us that tons of meteors fall to earth every day mostly in the ocean so we don’t see them, most of them burn out before they reach the earth though.

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  46. Dexter said on August 13, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    I’m not straight out of anywhere having lived in so many different places with no favorite outside of the fact I loved the year I spent in California, but every place in the Midwest I lived always involved doing stuff I didn’t really rejoice in, like the drudgery of school, then a series of menial jobs, workin’ for the man, you know.
    I did have a couple geographical nicknames at times, one guy calling me “Indiana” because we were a group of ballplayers from all over the USA, and he called everybody the state they were from…real creative dude he was….
    One guy called me “Chicago” because I was always running over there on weekends for sports, museums, specialized shopping, quite frequently, via trains or cars, whatever.
    Straight outta Grosse Pointe rocks; straight out of Waterloo, Indiana sounds prettttty damn lame, so I’ll let it ride away.

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  47. Heather said on August 13, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Wish I could see/have seen the Perseids. At my ex-boyfriend’s cottage in NW Wisconsin, I saw shooting stars all the time. I really miss that place this summer, although I’m pretty much over missing him.

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  48. brian stouder said on August 13, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    Heather, onward and upward (speaking of spectacles in the sky or on the ground), indeed!

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  49. alex said on August 13, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Last night the sky was perfectly clear and I was going to go out and look at the Perseids after the news was over. Then I brainfarted it and went to bed.

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  50. brian stouder said on August 13, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    The hotel we’re in is right off the Tow Path Trail, which is quite nice, but we’re within a quarter mile of the Lutheran Hospital campus – which is lit up like Las Vegas (not even to mention the constant coming and going of the helicopters, which are also quite well illuminated)

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  51. MichaelG said on August 13, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Tow Path Trail. Is or was there a canal nearby?

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  52. alex said on August 13, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    The Wabash & Erie Canal. Its heyday was 1830-1850 or so, when the railroad went up right next to it and put it out of business. Still a lot of the old infrastructure remains–aqueducts and locks. Here’s some pix.

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  53. alex said on August 13, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    It’s the Towpath Trail because the railroad went out of business a century and a half after that, leaving its right of way. (The canal bed and original towpath are largely on private property these days and interrupted if not gone.)

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  54. Deborah said on August 13, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    We finished putting up a temp fence between one of the neighbors and our building. The handyman put in the fence posts and we put up some reed fencing until later, eventually we’ll put in some trellises that we’ll plant with silver lace which is dense and fast growing to make our property separate from their really ugly place. We call the people who live there the Douche Bags. They are obnoxious. They yell at their kids and light fire crackers with abandon. I know everyone has obnoxious neighbors at some point. They can be a pain.

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  55. Julie Robinson said on August 13, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Good point, Dexter. I was born in Boone, Iowa, and Straight Out of Boone, well, it doesn’t sing, does it?

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  56. Sue said on August 13, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Your thoughts, Brian Stouder? I know you’ve mentioned the superintendent thing.

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  57. Joe K said on August 13, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Michel G,
    When Rinker Buck was 15, his brother who was 17 and a licensed pilot, rebuilt their dads Piper Cub and flew it across country from New York to California and wrote a book called flight of passage.
    Really good book.
    Pilot Joe

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  58. brian stouder said on August 13, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Sue, at the last board meeting (this past Monday) Friend-of-Nance and President of the School Board Mark GiaQuinta (along with others) became quite impassioned about the fouled up policy initiatives of our State House, and it was noted how much more difficult it is to hire in staff, and how the pool of graduates with Ed degrees is rapidly shrinking, with no turn-around on the horizon.

    I was hoping to link to a Journal Gazette article that reported this, and quoted GQ and others, but it’s not online.

    Suffice it to say, I have no doubt that the whole goal is (and always has been) the destruction of teachers’ unions and of publicly controlled schools, coupled with a craven money-grab by for-profit goons, who will happily crash everything, and cache the cash as the debris smolders

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  59. MichaelG said on August 13, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks, Alex. That’s very informative.

    Joe, I’m aware of Rinker Buck’s trip in the Cub and that he wrote a book about it. Thanks for the favorable hat tip. I’ll have to read it now.

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  60. Dave said on August 13, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Alex, the only railroad I’m aware of that was by the canal was the interurban but it came well after the demise of the canal. The Wabash, which roughly parallels it west of Fort Wayne, is alive and well, as is the Nickel Plate, which is built on top of it through Fort Wayne proper. Both now run by my former employer.

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  61. Dexter said on August 14, 2015 at 2:14 am

    Here you are Dave

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  62. Crazycatlady said on August 14, 2015 at 2:52 am

    I have lived in the city of Detroit my whole life. I have lived on the west side and the east side, downtown and here in the hood. I often dream of country life, but always wonder if I’d be truly happy anywhere but home. The city is my home.

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