Beanies, bandies and breezes.

Long, long weekend — I worked for most of it. But it was a good kind of work, the sort that got me out of the house and into the fresh air, which…freshened throughout the day. Which is to say, the day started sunny and cool, was briefly glorious, and then a cloud bank swept in from the west — you could see it on the horizon, bearing down like a malign force — and covered us all in gloom and chill.

But Michigan won the football game. I wasn’t in the stadium, but I was outside when the band passed by:


Look at those snowy white gloves. I’m always a sucker for a good marching band, and by “good” I mean Big Ten style — lots of brass, a loud-ass drumline and no silly arrangements of music that was never made to be played by a marching band. Leave that to the high schools. (In Indiana, marching bands compete with a ferocity generally seen only on reality shows featuring drag queens and dance moms. And they don’t really march, but sort of slither around the field in this weird walk-y gait, constantly moving — it’s harder — and never playing anything as mundane as, oh, “Across the Field.”) Marches! Fight songs! HAIL TO THE VICTORS! Or, you know, whatever they play for your school. But something rousing. That’s why the good lord gave us brass.

Story will be appearing in a couple weeks.

Kate wasn’t in Ann Arbor, amusingly enough. She came home for a Wayne State event with her friends, and we discovered another miraculous perk of enrollment at the state’s flagship university — the Detroit Center Connector, a free bus that runs between the Ann Arbor campus and Detroit four days a week. All that hang-wringing during the application process over how she was going to get home for band practice, the stuff I patiently answered with “Greyhound, Amtrak, ride-sharing and you’ll figure it out” has been vastly simplified. I dropped her off at 3 p.m. in front of the Ren Cen, where she joined three girls in hijabs to wait for pickup. And that was that. That student ID is worth its weight in gold. Plus a lot more. (Which we are paying, yes.)

Some good bloggage today that covers a vast span of emotional ground, so gird your loins and let’s do the depressing stuff first.

That would be the Washington Post’s remarkable look at the people with whom Dylann Roof stayed before he massacred nine people at a Charleston church earlier this summer. As is frequently the case, Roof gave ample warning of his plans, and he gave them to the people in this trailer. They didn’t say anything. Why? Read the story and shudder — it is terribly sad and depressing, and JeffTMM, you might want to stay away. As always, I ask, “What are we going to do with these people?” We used to have a place for them. We don’t anymore. But they’re still out there.

Moving on. One of the memories of Kate’s early childhood I recall fondly was the Beanie Baby era, although I did not play the tulip-fever game; we just played with them. She was still an infant unable to sit up unaided when a friend dropped by and gave her her first one, a rabbit of some sort. I thanked her, and when I later told someone else about it, they said, “You can’t let her play with it! It might be a valuable one!” I was under the impression we were talking about a $5 stuffed animal small enough for a baby to pick up, but no. And that’s how I was introduced to the silliness of Beanies, which was silly indeed. I recall a quote from a woman in the local paper: “These are going to pay for my daughter’s college education,” which even then a person with a room-temperature IQ could tell was bullshit. My neighbor did try to get a couple of hot ones, and nearly got herself and her toddler trampled in the process, which ended her enthusiasm quickly and before she spent more than a few bucks on them.

We bought our share and always took the tags off and played with them, and I remember how I tucked her in with a couple many nights. I was quite fond of them. You might enjoy this Vice piece on how they arced through the mid-90s pop-culture sky like a comet.

I laughed out loud at this account, by a Knight-Wallace Fellow from last year, on how he pledged a fraternity during his time in Ann Arbor. Yes, at the age of 38, hence the title, “The 38-year-old frat boy.”

I was about to give up when, on the last day of rush week, the Greek gods smiled upon me. It was at Alpha Delta Phi, otherwise known by students as “Shady Phi,” a popular frat on campus, with a beach volleyball court in the front yard. (As I would later learn, the prevailing rumor about A.D.P. was that even the sand in the volleyball court had herpes.)

I managed to hit it off with the president. He was an unconventional frat boy, a vegan who did yoga. He told me he wanted to be a life coach. We started going to the same meditation group and having lunch together on campus. Thanks to him, I got invited back to more events. I won first place at the beer pong party — turned out I was something of a beer pong savant, a skill I attributed to having a master’s degree in physics — and ably slammed Cuervo Silver and Simply Lemonade at Taco Tuesday. With the president’s political capital behind me, I was in.

Finally, Mark Bittman is leaving the New York Times, for a food startup of some kind. Best of luck to him, but I hope he doesn’t get all food-scoldy like everyone else in that community.

Posted at 12:19 am in Current events, Detroit life, Popculch |

66 responses to “Beanies, bandies and breezes.”

  1. basset said on September 14, 2015 at 12:41 am

    Acacia had a big fancy house at Indiana when I was there in the mid to late 70s. No frats for me though, no marching bands either. That would have implied “school spirit.”

    We just unloaded 100-plus beanies, they were cluttering up the storage locker… traded them in for credit at a used-book store.

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  2. Deborah said on September 14, 2015 at 2:01 am

    “… food-scoldy” good one, but auto correct didn’t want to let me type that.

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  3. Sherri said on September 14, 2015 at 2:21 am

    Blaming the “soccer mom” culture of consumerism for the Beanie Baby mania ignores how regularly these manias occur. The baseball card bubble of the late 80’s and early 90’s was still splattered all over the landscape when the Beanie Baby era began, and that one can’t be blamed on soccer moms:

    The WaPo story is just too depressing.

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  4. alex said on September 14, 2015 at 5:37 am

    And don’t forget Cabbage Patch mania, the 1980s craze that ushered in the phenomenon of overnight lines and stampedes at retail stores and made sane people heartsick for humanity.

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  5. Suzanne said on September 14, 2015 at 6:58 am

    Interesting Wa Po piece. I’d seen it the other day. My son noticed years ago that there is precious little difference between the rural poor and the inner city poor, except their color. It was maybe when he was in high school, which I found astounding (he’s not the academic sort) but we live in rural America so he saw it every day. Sad. As the proprietress said, what do we do with these people? I don’t know any more than I have solutions for the urban poor.

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  6. Jolene said on September 14, 2015 at 7:12 am

    I tried to imagine what it would be like to be the people in the WaPo article and to have journalists writing an article about me. It’s hard to say, but I think that, even if I were living like they are, I would retain some sense that this is not how most people live and would not want anyone to write an article about me. It’d be interesting to know more about how the reporter gained their trust and what the experience of talking to this family was like.

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 14, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Too late, already had read it. And yes, they’re here, too; they’re everywhere, hiding in plain sight. And they live in a degree of fatalism that would do credit to a jihadi. “If Allah wills it” comes out from them as “that’s just how its gonna be.” When they’ve used up their 60 months lifetime limit on public assistance, it’s nothing but SNAP (food stamps) unless they’ve figured out how to crack the disability system, or gotten an elderly person receiving SS to move in with them.

    How to get major mental health services to the Kims in our community, in a form that she will sustain (as opposed to making an initial appointment and not returning, or even doing two or three appointments then stopping her counseling and dropping off her meds before two months pass), is something I’m on my way to a meeting about. We’ve got every last stinkin’ agency delivering BH/MH services in two counties represented in a room, and we can’t figure out how to do it, but we’re working on it. Our United Way and churches are doing a program where we’re making sack lunches and offering a free bus for second shift to the “beauty campus” twenty miles east of Newark M-F, where there are lots of $11.50 an hour jobs . . . and even at that, we keep having folks just stop showing up after two or three days on the job. They need serious mental health interventions to deal with previous trauma and ongoing depression, with just enough addiction to make it part of the plan, but that’s not even a majority of the cases (unless you count plain old tobacco). It’s trauma and depression and hopelessness that keeps them stuck.

    Sad. But we’re not giving up!

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  8. coozledad said on September 14, 2015 at 7:52 am

    The best tools for escaping poverty are the same ones that enable a person to escape bad employment. Education and agency. Above all, agency for women. But if you want a cheap labor pool, and a populace that will roll over and let itself be hosed by corrupt local governments and chicken-hut franchises, you’ve got to steadily peel back the progress of the New Deal, and get back to the mill trash systems, or in the South’s case, a new protoslavery.

    If this were an article about the borderland of Pakistan and Afghanistan, you’d have Republicans calling for preemptive military intervention, and giving lip service to building schools and emancipating Muslim women. But a two tiered system of education and abortion availability serves Republicans too well here in the states. You’d have them talking about how the madrassas of Christian homeschooling should be taken out with missles, but here, they’re the feeder pools for the Southern Republican coalition, and increasingly, states which have rewritten their histories to retroactively join the Confederacy: Ohio, Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsyltucky, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Arizona.

    But I’ll tell you what I’ve heard, indirectly, from folks in Charleston. No punkass kid in his twenties committed a political assassination without a broad, deep network of assistance. And Clementa Pinckney’s murder was a political assassination. He was preparing to run against the Republicans’ pocket black Democrat, Tim Scott, and he was going to win. Dylan Roof didn’t wait a full hour to shoot the breeze with the people in that prayer group. He was waiting for his target, Reverend Pinckney, who was late because he was in committee in the legislature. The other eight dead were collateral damage.

    Nikki Haley and the SC legislature believe that dropping the flag was payment for those nine dead, and it will all go away now. They’ve been absolved. She can even start up with the usual racist shit right away.

    The fact is, they’re wallowing in blood on this. Shamelessly. And they think the whole god damned country should look like South Carolina.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 14, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Jolene, if you sit on the curb and talk with Kim, and are non-judgmental, she and her family will not hold anything back. At all. The lack of personal boundaries is part of the problem; Kim shows some desire to re-establish them, but can’t sustain the emotional energy or strength to keep them up. The usual clinical goal is “semi-permeable boundedness” between members of a family group, however defined, but when you have complete un-boundedness, it’s a sign of some kind of other issues, just as bad as the extreme opposite which is easier to notice early on, when a parent says walking in the door of our conference room “I don’t care what happens to this kid, she’s no child of mine with that attitude.” That’s what I’d charitably note as “excessive separation from child.” And honestly, I know how to work with a family unit on boundaries when they don’t have appropriate ones, but those parents who have vocally “given up” on their children in front of them: I’ve never figured out how to put that toothpaste back in the tube. Maybe seen one out of a hundred cases ease and get back to a parent/child relationship after the adult said “I’m done with them” in hearing or mediation.

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  10. coozledad said on September 14, 2015 at 8:46 am

    I marched with this guy a couple of Sundays ago. I’m very sorry he didn’t make it to DC. It was clearly of great importance to him and the people marching with him.

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  11. Dexter said on September 14, 2015 at 8:58 am

    I was once coerced into driving to Lambertville Michigan to buy a new beanie baby. It was a staged event at a Kroger store. Hundreds of women with preschoolers and well…me. I got it. Hero dad. I always stayed for post game band shows at UM. Tunes would vary but for “Temptation” and the Hawaiian War Dance. The bandies changed but the standards never did. It was always a treat to stand alongside Hoover Street cheering on the band either coming or going.

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  12. Julie Robinson said on September 14, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Don’t forget the Furbies, which seemed demonic to me, the way their eyes followed you around. Just plain creepy.

    While at IU, I loved watching the marching band practice in the late afternoon. I would stop there on my way back to the dorm from the library; study a little, watch a little, soak up the sun a little. But I never went to a football game, so never got to see them in their uniforms. It was the only thing I missed by not going.

    What the high school bands do now isn’t marching, it’s performance art.

    Our church is downtown and we do a free meal on Wednesdays as well as hand out food vouchers for the local Big Box Food Bank, so we have people ringing our doorbell constantly. And our care minister will tell you that each one could use a full-time social worker, so complex are their issues. A lot of times we feel we’re just putting a bandaid on a broken leg. I think the answer is in prevention through better education; how are we doing on that one?

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  13. ROGirl said on September 14, 2015 at 10:40 am

    The WaPo article left me puzzled and feeling like a huge chunk of the story hasn’t been told yet. Maybe there were puppet masters who pulled the strings and set the whole thing in motion. It sure seems like the cast of characters depicted in the story, along with the shooter, couldn’t have thought up the idea, let alone planned it, in a million years. Make that a hundred million.

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  14. Jolene said on September 14, 2015 at 10:54 am

    It really wasn’t much of an idea. Buy a gun. Go to the church and shoot people. How hard is that? There are plenty of examples to follow.

    I haven’t read anything that suggests that Dylann Roof had co-conspirators or help of any kind. Even the pictures of himself waving the Confederate flag and such were reported to have been taken with a timer. So far as has been reported, no one else was involved in creating his charming photo album. He seems to have finished his manifesto immediately before the shooting. No one has reported seeing it until it was found online by hackers looking for whatever they could find about him.

    He had plenty of time to dream up his plan. It’s not as if he was doing anything productive with his time. Seems like, if the FBI had uncovered any links to white supremacist groups or any other political entities, we’d have heard about it by now.

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  15. coozledad said on September 14, 2015 at 11:23 am

    They’ve already documented his contacts with white supremacists:

    Google is your friend.

    What it will be left to South Carolina courts to decide, is whether to pursue the links between these groups and the South Carolina Republican party. That means it won’t be pursued. Niki Haley gets to stop talking about medicaid expansion and economic justice. The South Carolina legislature has no opposition figures, and it will be business as usual in that old shithole.

    Even the WAPO article is a CYA. The writer obviously doesn’t speak the slowroll language of a good ol’southern snowjob. But what else is new?

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  16. coozledad said on September 14, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Niki Haley’s direct contact with the group credited with the radicalization of dylan Roof:

    Just a campaign director, thass’all.

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  17. Jolene said on September 14, 2015 at 11:48 am

    His contact with white supremacists seems to have been fairly limited. No one else has been charged, and he hasn’t been charged with conspiracy or, as far as I could tell, any other crime that involves communication with others.

    As to whether those groups have any connection with the GOP, seems like, in the absence of probable cause, that’s a topic for journalism rather than criminal investigation.

    Honestly, cooz, the world is terrible enough without imagining firms of horribleness for which there is no evidence.

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  18. Jolene said on September 14, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    For the record, I acknowledge that it’s likely that, among the less evolved Southern Republicans (and let’s include Jeff Sessions, just for kicks), there are probably lots who had and some who may still have connections to the Council of Conservative Citizens, which I understand to be the successor to the White Citizens’ Councils that grew up in reaction to desegregation efforts.

    And I am not forgetting the various examples of racist hilarity that GOP functionaries have distributed by email and otherwise since Barack Obama appeared on the scene.

    But those people seem to lose their place at the table in pretty short order. A general assumption of white supremacy is pretty standard, if mostly unspoken. But it’s a long way from those assumptions to abetting mass murder.

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  19. brian stouder said on September 14, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Jolene – I think this is an example of the butterfly flapping its delicate wings, and causing a very slight ripple on the pond, thus (ultimately) affecting the track that a hurricane takes. I think the prosaic (and true, as far as it goes) story of this shooter is an example of the affected – but not directly connected – hateful hurricane known as Dylan Roof. If we find in his rantings any reference to the legislator (that he waited for?! I hadn’t thought of that) then suddenly his hour-plus waiting looks very much more like ‘Plan A’ than simply a random shot from the darkness.

    But I do agree with you that it is better to see evidence than to deal with (endless, and bottomless) what-ifs – although when you say

    But it’s a long way from those assumptions to abetting mass murder.

    I most respectfully disagree, and (as congress says) reserve the right to extend and revise my commentary!

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  20. Charlotte said on September 14, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    With a few different class markers, that household of depression and drifting could totally be the one I grew up in. I got out, but the getting out requires the development of skills and ways of thinking that forever alienate you from your roots, which is its own sort of trauma. Ack.

    Went to the Montana Book Festival this past weekend over in Missoula — old grad school pal was reading. Lots of great discussions with smart people, connections made, heard a few terrific readings. It’s been so long since I dipped my toe back out into the literary world that I was anxious about it — but fun! Friends, books, smart people, all good.

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  21. Jeff Borden said on September 14, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    It’s interesting to watch how much Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal subvert their South Asian ancestry to maintain their appeal to the goobers. Bobby’s official portrait even makes him look white. And hey! He hunts ducks just like those faux-billy Robertsons up the road.

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  22. Connie said on September 14, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Ohio University in Athens is the No. 1 party school in the nation, a new ranking by Playboy magazine declared on Monday.

    Any alumni here?

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  23. Kirk said on September 14, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Well, there’s the boss herself.

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  24. Hattie said on September 14, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Too bad the goobers can’t get their slaves back.

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  25. brian stouder said on September 14, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    …..aaaaannnd – we have yet another “active shooter” – this time at a university in Mississippi.

    And tonight, the talking heads will include NRA-types railing against “gun free” zones, no doubt

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  26. MarkH said on September 14, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    …and jc.

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  27. adrianne said on September 14, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    That account from a fellow Knight-Wallace fellow of his frat pledging at the ripe old age of 38 was hilarious/scary. Alas, no more Acacia frat on the University of Michigan campus.

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  28. Deborah said on September 14, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    A while ago on Brian’s favorite show, Rachel was interviewing a guy who had formerly been a rightwinger. His dad was a big shot evangelical minister. Anyway, the guy talked about how the super fundamentals went trawling for assassins. They’d find some marginal people and fill thier heads with rage. They never outright hired them to kill but they hoped their rhetoric would intice someone to do it.

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  29. Sherri said on September 14, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Charlotte says

    the getting out requires the development of skills and ways of thinking that forever alienate you from your roots, which is its own sort of trauma.

    This is so very true, and so often overlooked by people who are already part of the successful class. You feel homeless, no longer a part of where you came from, but not feeling like you belong where you are either.

    I didn’t escape from poverty, I’m just an apple that fell far from the tree, but I know that feeling of alienation.

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  30. brian stouder said on September 14, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    I love ol’ Rachel; one supposes she does her show in much the same way one might gab with her over lunch.

    Aside from all that, I had an enjoyable long-weekend (took Thursday and Friday off).

    Thursday was Harold Holzer day (so to speak) at the ACPL, which was great! – and Friday was back-to-school day at Wayne High School.

    Between helping at the PTSA table, and then the meeting conducted by the (altogether wonderful) principals at that school, and then the football game (versus my old school South Side) where I helped sling the weenies at the concession stand, it was a good 7 hours!

    And then Saturday was band contest day at Bluffton (a nice place to visit, and then get the hell out of) where Wayne sounded marvelous (agreed about the ‘not marching; performance art’ take. In fact, that’s precisely what Shelby and the flag/rifle/sabre corps add to the show) -and it was another 7 hours or so….and sublime!

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  31. TheOtherHank said on September 14, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    My son is in his High School marching band. They do the heel-and-toe walking thing rather than marching out here in the SF Bay Area.

    They view the half time show at home football games as opportunities for dress rehearsals for the competitions that they really care about. Their attitude about football games can be summed up by a tshirt I’ve seen at competitions that says “What is the football team doing on the band field?”

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  32. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 14, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Roll step vs. high step. There’s a hybrid step that’s being used by my son’s band director, but as the booth PA announcer, I don’t follow much of that. Apparently there are websites!

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  33. brian stouder said on September 14, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    And when you have weenie duty at the football game, you absolutely cannot see the half-time show that your daughter or son is in, because…


    Good heavens – it goes absolutely crazy! Cash literally comes flying in, and the marching band/flag corps appreciates it very much.

    (I heard that the kid who is one of the drummers slipped and fell, and got much derision after that [or so he felt]…and his dad was slingin’ weenies next to me all through the evening)

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  34. Dorothy said on September 14, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    I’ve never been to a college (or professional) football game, but I won’t be able to say that after September 26. My birthday gift from my son this year was tickets to an OSU game for that day, and the six of us are going together (his wife, her parents, and my hubby). I’m really looking forward to the Skull Session that is 2 hours before the game is played.

    I know I’ll enjoy the music much more than the game itself, so I loved that tee shirt sentiment that TheOtherHank mentioned @ #31! I have a Buckeye necklace already, and one or two OSU shirts to choose from. Not that I want to see Ohio State lose, but wouldn’t it be cool if Western Michigan pulled off an upset?!

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  35. Sherri said on September 14, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Our high school doesn’t even have a marching band, just a pep band. I’m not sure why there’s no marching band (my daughter was in choir, not band), but there hasn’t been the entire time I’ve lived here.

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  36. coozledad said on September 14, 2015 at 4:29 pm

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  37. brian stouder said on September 14, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    • Our daughter’s school, which is not small (1,334 students, last I knew) has a small (10 people) but growing (last year it was 5 people!) marching band, and a stable flag corps (about twelve young ladies, including Shelby). On the hallway back to the music room, there are photos on the wall of Wayne marching bands of the past (we’re talking 1990’s and thereabouts), which seem to be 40-50 strong or more. I suppose these things are somewhat cyclical, and especially dependent on the skills (musical, artistic, and people-oriented!) of the people who run the band and the flag corps.

    Over the past couple years, Wayne has been reinvigorated and resurgent, after (apparently) the music kind of stopped, for awhile

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  38. Dave said on September 14, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    OU, 72, but I didn’t really spend much time on “Main Campus”, as we branch students called it. I only spent three quarters there, the rest was at OU-Lancaster, which had a brand new building in 1968, when I started. Today, they’ve got either two or three buildings and you can get a four year degree without leaving Lancaster but I don’t really don’t know much more about it. I did spend some time on N. Court Street, it probably wasn’t to my overall benefit.

    I’ve been to one Colts game (they lost), one game at OU, and one OSU game when they played OU, five years ago this fall. OU lost that one, too, but that was the game where the OU mascot took out Brutus Buckeye, which was his plan and the only reason the OU person wanted to be a mascot.

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  39. Sue said on September 14, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    My sister in law was one of the ones who was going to get rich on beanie babies. She didn’t. And holy gods were those cabbage patch dolls ugly. That didn’t stop my mother in law from making sure some kid didn’t get his/her cabbage patch kid by grabbing one for my two month old. I can still remember thinking – what’s the matter with you?

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  40. Connie said on September 14, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    I did four years of marching band momdom with a serious competitive band that took Indiana 1st in state class B twice. And second twice. And second last year. And first in class at the Goshen invitational last Saturday. Go Concord.

    I still keep an eye out for them all these years and miles away. And second in class B in the most recent poll.

    It was fun and I was ready for it to be done.

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  41. Jeff Borden said on September 14, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    One of my poker buddies took me to the Notre Dame vs. University of North Carolina in South Bend last year. My interest in the Fighting Irish is somewhere south of nowhere, but it was an amazing cultural experience and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I actually hated OSU while working for more than 10 years at the Dispatch, but again, to see a game at Ohio Stadium with a huge crowd is something not to be missed. And TBDBITL is definitely worth the time. Hope you see a script Ohio performed.

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  42. Colleen said on September 14, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    The radio station at Purdue is in the Elliott Hall of Music. Sometimes when I would leave work, the band would be marching back to the band room. I had my own private parade!

    That article was definitely depressing. I think those are the people who think everything in life happens TO you, that you have no control over your destiny. And why wouldn’t they? They have precious little control over anything in their world, let alone something as big and nebulous as their own destiny. That’s not to say that we aren’t all a victim of circumstance once in awhile. But we can make good choices, and these folks don’t seem to think they have choices.

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  43. Jolene said on September 14, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Dorothy, I have friends who, because their daughter attended, became OSU football fans. The daughter has long since graduated, but she has remained in Columbus, so they are all still fans. This past weekend, they posted pictures taken at the stadium, which led me to conclude that they must prosecute people who don’t wear red shirts. Definitely a requirement to have your wardrobe in order!

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  44. David C. said on September 14, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    When my nephew was in marching band they were fundraising for some air cannon thing that shot a big flag or curtain or some such thing across the front of the field so the band’s moving from position to position was hidden from the adoring crowd. It was something like $15,000. It’s getting like football without concussions.

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  45. Deggjr said on September 14, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?” is one version of Henry II’s question before Thomas Becket was murdered. Wikipedia has an alternate phrase, “What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?”

    Either way, using murderous rhetoric to influence the weak minded while maintaining deniability is not a new idea.

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  46. Sherri said on September 14, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Thread win for Deggjr!

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  47. Wim said on September 14, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    I’m sure it’s pointless to mention that Arkansas was an actual part of the Confederacy, no rewriting necessary, no joining retroactive.

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  48. Dave said on September 14, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Speaking of college colors, we’re visiting in Knoxville, where our daughter is living, and it must be a similar crime if you don’t wear orange on football Saturdays. UT seems to have a overwhelming presence here, much as OSU in Columbus and I feel fairly safe in saying that all the folks I saw on Saturday wearing orange aren’t alums.

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  49. MichaelG said on September 14, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    Where did this “THE Ohio State University” bullshit come from? Guess you can tell that I’m not an OSU fan. Nor am I an Urban Meyer fan.

    There was also “Tickle Me Elmo”. I remember one day at work someone was enthusing about some deal someplace they had a promo to give away a free TME doll. A friend spoke up and said “I don’t know about that but I’d sure like a Tickle Me Cindy Crawford.”

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  50. MichaelG said on September 14, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    where they had a promo

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  51. TheOtherHank said on September 14, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    @Sherri – one reason to not have a marching band is that it is expensive. Here in California, in a not terribly affluent district, the school pays the band director’s salary (he also teaches music and history classes) and provides a band room. Everything else we have to fund raise. Our typical budget for transportation, music, fees, instrument repair, etc is about $35K every year.

    The band marched in the same uniforms for about 30 years. Some parents found a charitable group that funded a grant to pay for new ones a couple years ago (Yay!). It’s really hard to fund raise for uniforms; “Hi, could you give me some money so in 7 or 8 years we can buy new uniforms for kids you’ve never met?”

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  52. Andrea said on September 14, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Great insight, Charlotte.

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  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 14, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    The marching band uniforms are $700 each. Which, when you go from 54 to 104 band members, is a whole lot of lemon shake-ups, candles, and mattresses to sell.

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  54. Sherri said on September 14, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    @TheOtherHank, it is expensive, but I’m pretty sure that money isn’t the reason here. If this high school wanted a band, the parents would find the money. There is a full-time band teacher, with multiple bands and a strong band boosters program, just not a marching band. There just doesn’t seem to be the interest, but I don’t know why. I find it mildly curious, but I’ve never cared enough to find out why or the history.

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  55. devtob said on September 14, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Mark Bittman is already somewhat “food-scoldy,” but rather gentle about it.

    Like his “This evidence is overwhelming at this point. You eat more plants, you eat less other stuff, you live longer.”

    And he has been relentless about industrially processed foods vs. real food.

    I suspect he will be more “food-scoldy” at his new place, which will presumably not have to worry about advertisers who produce foods that he believes, with ample evidence, are essentially unhealthy.

    Also, good to hear that the Vipers are evidently staying together despite college. Their Ann Arbor gig Thursday will be something few freshmen can do in their first month — perform a great concert of original rock music.

    Best of luck to them.

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  56. Kirk said on September 14, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    MichaelG@49: You and me both. Living in the middle of all these obnoxious front-runners makes it easy to hate Ohio State football. I root for them to lose every week.

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  57. BethB said on September 14, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    I used to attend Univ. of Nebraska football games in the early 1980s when my now ex-husband was a grad student and we got free or greatly reduced tickets. They used to say that on Football Saturdays (as they were called in Lincoln), the stadium was the third largest city in Nebraska, after Omaha and Lincoln. I’d never seen so much red.

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  58. brian stouder said on September 14, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    So, I watched about 25 minutes of the Donald’s big speech at Dallas(?) this evening, and then concluded it was never actually going to end (it didn’t really seem to be going anywhere, really); just sort of an endlessly arrogant stream-of-conciousness thing.

    So changed the channel and went on with life, and when I checked in here, I clicked Cooz’s Moral Monday link at #36, and it was… cleansing.

    I begin to think our R brothers and sisters are actually angry enough to give their nomination to the Donald, come what may.

    Truth be told, I think Donald Trump is so incredibly ill-suited to be President of the United States that he would lose the general election by a YUUUUUUUJE margin, to whoever the Democratic party nominates; but thinking that is akin to making a pass on a curvey 2-lane highway at midnight.

    Chances are, you’ll successfully make it….but if things go wrong and there’s something in the oncoming lane, it will have been a YOOOOOJE mistake

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  59. Dexter said on September 14, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    I used to hate football maybe because our little school didn’t play the sport, but sometimes I’d get interested a little, like when a couple pals of mine were frosh at Notre Dame in 1966, the year of the infamous 10-10 tie with MSU. Duffy Daugherty and Ara Parseghian were the big rival coaches then. I used to hate visiting my inlaws in the early 1970s because they were football nuts. Then in the mid 70s I got hooked on U of M football. It was glorious. I loved it. I ended up seeing 101 games at M Stadium and about 30 road games in Columbus, Bloomington, Evanston, East Lansing, State College, and Champaign-Urbana, which I heard isn’t called by that moniker anymore. There are millions of people who have numbers that dwarf my attendances,but it looks like I am the champion football-goer in this little corner of the nets. Pro football…I am a piker, only about a dozen games total, and all in Detroit or Pontiac. Pro baseball is my game. I have seen hundreds of games at the stadii around the US and Canada.
    But even after meeting Larry Czonka and Greg Landry in Vietnam ( yeah I’ve told this before 🙂 ) I only became a Lions fan later on. Now I love the Honolulu Blue and Silver. Go Lions!

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  60. Dorothy said on September 14, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    I don’t consider myself a ‘fan’ necessarily of OSU, or Penn State, but of course I applaud their accomplishments – academically and otherwise – because my children went to those schools. They both got excellent educations and are thriving in their jobs. My daughter was in the PSU Honor’s College and my son was in the Scholars Program. To me it’s a waste of energy to feel such a strong dislike towards a specific college or university. Life is too short to do that. I’d rather get caught up in the fun and enthusiasm of a game. Both sides have loyal fans and supporters and I respect that.

    Here’s an explanation about why it’s called The Ohio State University. It’s not bragging or elitist or showmanship – it just what the name is!

    From The Ohio State University web site:

    “Ohio State’s roots go back to 1870, when the Ohio General Assembly established the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The new college was made possible through the provisions of the Land-Grant Act, signed by President Lincoln on July 2, 1862. This legislation revolutionized the nation’s approach to higher education, bringing a college degree within reach of all high school graduates.

    The college’s curriculum was a matter of bitter dispute among politicians, the public, and educators. One faction, the “narrow gauge” group, held that the college should devote itself solely to the teaching of agriculture and mechanical arts. The “broad gauge” faction wanted a wider program that featured English and ancient and foreign languages as well. Joseph Sullivant, a member of the first Board of Trustees, pushed the “broad gauge” idea through the Board of Trustees, where it passed by a margin of 8-7. His legacy endures; Ohio State continues to offer a broad-based, liberal arts education and a diverse range of study.

    Classes began at the new college on September 17, 1873. Twenty-four students met at the old Neil farm just two miles north of Columbus. In 1878 the college’s name was changed to The Ohio State University.”

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  61. LAMary said on September 14, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    My alma mater University of Denver, has no football team. Lots of hockey, soccer, rugby and they are the national lacrosse champions.

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  62. Bill said on September 14, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Justice Stephen Breyer is on Colbert tonight. Sounds like it could be an informative interview.

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  63. Deborah said on September 14, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    It’s always astounding to me how much people put into their school colors. I did a presentation before I retired for a project that was trying to get funding for a high speed train from Chicago to Detroit (among other cities). one of the developers for the project was a former Michigan basketball star. I did some research about train colors and I used the colors that I researched in the presentation. One of the color combos I came up with was red and grey because I found that was a typical train color. Well, the former Michigan basketball star went ape shit because those are the colors of Ohio State. This guy graduated from Michigan decades ago and who cares? But I was forced to change the colors to appease him. I was floored that this matters to people. How small minded can you get?

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  64. Deborah said on September 14, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    I got some excellent news today, my Medicare card was delivered to my Chicago address, I turn 65 on Oct 11th, but my Medicare card is active on Oct 1st. Whoo-hoo! I have been eagerly anticipating for this day! Sorry about the exclamation points, I can’t help it!

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  65. brian stouder said on September 15, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Deborah, congratulations, and early-Happy-Birthday to you!

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  66. Dexter said on September 15, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Oh these youngsters. ..why,I have been 65 for nearly a year. Medicare and SS do help, and without them life would be a scramble.

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