No way to be safe.

I subscribe to a Facebook group for mothers in my neck of the woods, which I think I’ve mentioned before. I read it mostly for the entertainment, and the nostalgia; it’s easy to forget what it’s like to have little kids in the house, and the overwhelming emotion – fear.

It’s not exclusively fear. You also have a certain warmheartedness, that “I am mother to the world” thing. But always, the fear creeps back in. You may have read that some women believe their newborns will burst into flames if they take their eyes off them. Once you have a baby? You totally get it. It’s just your body telling you to stay on the job.

Fear is a useful emotion, in the sense that it reminds you what you have to protect. But today, I stumbled across a thread about dental work, and learned that in addition to a significant anti-vaccine contingent around here, there are some who are filtering fluoride out of their drinking water. Because cancer.

I guess it’s only a matter of time until we reject modernity entirely.

Yes I know: Fluoride is a carcinogen. It’s also the reason most of us will be buried with the teeth we were born with, when in my grandparents’ generation, dentures were as common as artificial knees are in the current one.

Quick bloggage today, because yesterday was boring:

We’re going to this installation this weekend. Lucky me.

A few days ago, a friend came across a signed collection of Bob Greene columns in a used bookstore, which he of course snatched up for me. Talking about Bob and his era, he was inspired to go looking for Neil Steinberg’s Bobwatch columns from the Chicago Reader, and sent me one that, coincidentally, Neil himself dusted off for his blog today — a review of “All Summer Long,” his horrible novel. One of them, anyway.

The plot is pure Bob wish fulfillment. The thinly disguised Bob character, an aging TV journalist named Ben Kroeger, dragoons his two best friends into abandoning their families and spending “one last summer” in a journey across the country. “We had said that it was going to be the best thing we had ever done,” writes Bob/Ben, as if the three men were bringing vaccines to impoverished African villages instead of lounging around motel pools.

Bob’s fake premise is further undermined by his insistence on presenting the lark as a pure, shimmering quest, a search for the grail that everyone immediately grasps and then reveres. The irony of these three boobs trying to regain the sort of magic summer now being denied their own cast-off and fatherless children never occurs to anybody, least of all the author.

I can see some of the benefits of “affirmative consent,” yes, but still think the money would be better spent teaching young people to speak up when they’re in an uncomfortable situation, starting in childhood. Speak up loudly. It might scare off a few of the creepy mom’s-boyfriend and bad-swim-coach types, too.

Outta here. Good Thursday, all.

Posted at 8:50 am in Current events, Popculch |

33 responses to “No way to be safe.”

  1. brian stouder said on October 15, 2015 at 9:18 am

    The installation thing looks like it will be extreme. The question is whether extremely impressive, or extremely depressing (context is everything, I suppose)

    My weekend starts after today, as we have an Indy wedding to roll to Friday – which will be fun.

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  2. ROGirl said on October 15, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Since the Hamtramck installation inspiration was a Paris fashion show, a Vogue fashion shoot would bring the whole thing full circle.

    Was the Big Boy statue a visual dig at BobG? The plastic hair and big gut seem to fit.

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  3. Jeff Borden said on October 15, 2015 at 9:53 am


    Bob Greene was known for many things during his reign of mediocrity, but most notably for the terrible toupees he wore. He made tons of money from his shitty books, but he never spent the cash on a good hairpiece. He also favored the jeans paired with buttoned down shirt, knit tie and blazer look. But mostly he was known as a notorious cockhound, who preyed on the pretty young things at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, where he presented himself to class after class as the epitome of a big city columnist. He was loathed by the vast majority of journalists including coworkers. Jealousy, perhaps, but also just a natural reaction to a cornpone conman selling an imaginary land of sock hops, pony tails and `55 Chevys.

    Like most Chicago scribes, I also hated the guy, but I lost the last iota of any kind of respect when he sat on his fat ass while Iowa was underwater during the terrible floods of the mid-1990s, the ones Isabel Wilkerson of the NYT Chicago bureau won a Pulitzer Prize covering. Greene continued churning out crappy columns about visiting state fairs as some kind of a backup player for Jan and Dean or some such. And then his maudlin overkill on the issue of “Baby Richard,” a child adopted by a nice, white, suburban couple illegally, who his natural born parents wanted returned. Bob fought fiercely for the adopters, but even his mighty pen of sludge could not overcome the court system.

    God, he was a hack’s hack.

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  4. coozledad said on October 15, 2015 at 10:06 am

    The House Select Committee on Benghazi remains a structural wreck, and its atmosphere has been transformed. This year, some 2,000 visitors will tour Trey Gowdy’s Closet, an artistically arranged installation of reclassified state department documents and Clinton emails, some of them wallpapered directly to the crumbling ruin of Louie Gohmert’s arse. Republican House members and more than three dozen donors from the Benghazi Lives Matter Solyndra Patriot fund created the site. Their goal is to pull something fresh out of their asses, and on the taxpayer’s dime.

    The committee’s empty rooms — with their crayon doodles, exposed wooden congressmen and a few items of abandoned human dignity left in chaotic piles — have been turned into a series of still-life tableaus of Kevin McCarthy boning Renee Ellmers on an overturned rusty smoker grill. All of the plants in the ongoing testimony were imported from the previous administration, a rarity now that most of them have moved on to Bechdel, K-street, or manning the glory holes in Silver Spring, another ongoing Republican installation titled “Our Heart, our Strength, Our Joy.”

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  5. brian stouder said on October 15, 2015 at 10:27 am

    …and don’t miss the still-life Fox News display, alongside the House Select Committee on Benghazi remains; and the Rush Limbaugh annex (on the street corner).

    An amazing light show emanates from there, as they illuminate the House Select Committee on Benghazi remains, by projecting all manner of boogie-men and creepy crawlies onto the structure. It is a mind-bending surrealist experience, of the first order. (Some say to fully comprehend and appreciate it, one could enhance it by ingesting oxycontin before attending)

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  6. 4dbirds said on October 15, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Abandonment was the reason I could never like Close Encounters. It was so easy for the Richard Dreyfuss character to leave his young children apparently forever.

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  7. brian stouder said on October 15, 2015 at 10:55 am

    4dbirds, it truly never occurred to me that, indeed, Close Encounters is absolutely about abandonment…. but it well and truly is just that.

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  8. nancy said on October 15, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Steven Spielberg’s parents divorced when he was a kid, and he worked out his abandonment issues over and over again in his early films. But yes, you’re right — that was an exceedingly weird thing to do, but as I recall, the film had him withdrawing over the course of the narrative, and he walked aboard the spaceship without a backward glance, as though he were under a spell. Maybe that’s the explanation.

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  9. Bitter Scribe said on October 15, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Jeff Borden at #3 covers the waterfront regarding Greene. If I can cross-post a crack I put up at Steinberg’s blog: When he fell, if schadenfreude were an opiate, I would have OD’d.

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  10. brian stouder said on October 15, 2015 at 11:33 am

    The description of the Bob Greene sex scene gave me a flash-back cringe; I was reading the one-and-only spy novel from William F Buckley that I ever read – and there was a remarkably bad sex scene in there, too.

    It was like listening to your grumpy uncle bumping around with Aunt Ethel in the next room

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  11. MichaelG said on October 15, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about your brother-in-law, Dexter. I wish the best for both of you.

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  12. alex said on October 15, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Buckley. Greene. Lynne Cheney. All great masters of the unintentional horror genre, otherwise known as geriatric erotica.

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  13. basset said on October 15, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    and I can just see ol’ Bob whispering in the heat of passion…

    “You good?”

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  14. brian stouder said on October 15, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    basset – indeed!

    And the answer would be ‘Aw ferchrissakes, Bob! I thought y’spilled yer eye-dropper.’

    and then Bob would say ‘zzzzz’

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  15. coozledad said on October 15, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    This would sink most networks, but not one that caters exclusively to pants shitting old white guys.

    Pass that collection plate, Fox! Congregation’s a gettin’ smaller!

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  16. coozledad said on October 15, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Oh, and Huck says what we know Republicans think. They want to mainstream biblical proslavery arguments again.

    “It says, if a person steals, they have to pay it back two-fold, four-fold. If they don’t have anything, we’re supposed to take them down and sell them,” he said.

    It’s better that prisoners be indentured so that they must “spend their time not sitting on their stump in a jail cell — they’re supposed to be working off debt… Wouldn’t that be a better choice?” Mickelson asked.

    “Well, it really would be,” Huckabee responded. “Sometimes the best way to deal with a nonviolent criminal behavior is what you just suggested.”

    This is part of the whole “repeal the 14th amendment” bullshit you’ve seen the wingderps vomiting up here. You can bet if one of them is saying it, some grifter at a think tank was paid a couple hundred thousand to push it.

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  17. Brandon said on October 15, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    In Hawaii the water is not fluoridated, except on military installations.

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  18. Sherri said on October 15, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    There have been at least 43 toddler shootings this year. That’s not 43 toddlers being shot, that’s 43 toddlers picking up a gun and shooting it. In other words, guns don’t kill people, toddlers do. Obviously, we need more good toddlers with guns to stop the bad toddlers with guns.

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  19. Sue said on October 15, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Sherri, Gawker picked that story up, and the first comment was: “This is the reason I avoid having children in the house. Those things are dangerous.”

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  20. Sherri said on October 15, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    I like many things Obama has done, but I hate his assassination program. And that’s what it is; we can call a drone program, but the drones are the tool; the intent is assassination, and they don’t even do a good job of it.

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  21. Suzanne said on October 15, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Hopefully, those toddlers shot the idiots who left a loaded gun within their reach, proving that what stops a stupid guy is a good toddler with a gun.

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  22. ROGirl said on October 15, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    The ultimate argument against fluoridation:

    Ripper: Have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation. Fluoridation of water?
    Mandrake: Uh? Yes, I-I have heard of that, Jack, yes. Yes.
    Ripper: Well, do you know what it is?
    Mandrake: No, no I don’t know what it is, no.
    Ripper: Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face?

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  23. Connie said on October 15, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Just turned on the TV to see Nancy’s name, the Bridge logo, then her face, with commentary on college game day drinking. Fox2 News Detroit. Perfect surprise timing.

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  24. basset said on October 15, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    In all seriousness, though, what IS a young guy supposed to do when his consensual partner decides the next morning that it was a mistake and wants to blame everything on him? She wakes up, looks over at him through the hangover fog and… “OMG, what did I DO? and with HIM!”

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  25. Sherri said on October 15, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    basset, if I had a college aged son instead of a daughter, my advice to him would be, don’t hook up with drunk young women.

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  26. Wim said on October 15, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Basset, has such a thing ever happened to you, or anyone you know?

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  27. Deborah said on October 15, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    My husband got royally scammed on the Internet today. He knows even less about computers than I do. It’s too long of a story to explain here but watch out for people who know how to take advantage of people like us. Every once in a while I have to marvel that my husband has a graduate degree from Harvard and still he can get caught up in a scam like this one. We had to alert our bank and stop all of our credit cards.

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  28. Dave said on October 15, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    Deborah, was he trying to buy something or did he click on a link in a phishing e-mail? It might be a long story but would it save someone some grief if you could give us a bare-bones account? Oh, and I have to confess, you’ve aroused my curiosity (and perhaps others, too).

    Afghanistan until they can defend themselves? Altogether now, that’s never going to happen.

    Saw an article today predicting a Cruz-Rubio ticket. I shudder to think . . .

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  29. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 15, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    Don’t have sex with drunk people. That seems like a reasonable guideline. But I’m a prude, so…

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  30. alex said on October 15, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Cruz-Rubio. Sounds like a one-way ticket to Havana under Batista. And Washington under McCarthy. (As in Jenny, not Joseph.)

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  31. Deborah said on October 15, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    Dave, basically an error message showed up on his browser window (we have no idea how) saying that his computer was being hacked and he should immediately call a phone number for help. Instead of asking me about it, he stupidly called the number. They told him they could fix the problem for him for a fee of $199. And then like a total idiot he gave them a credit card number and then did everything they asked him to do so they could have access to his computer remotely. I kid you not. I was in another room but I could hear a bit of what he was saying and I was curious so I went in to the room where he was to see what was going on. When I realized what he was doing I motioned for him to shut it down immediately and call our bank and credit cards and stop everything. He felt pretty foolish for falling for it. I was flabbergasted and still am. After that he backed up all his data and tomorrow he’s taking his computer to the Geek Squad to see what kind of Malware he might have acquired somehow. Beware.

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  32. Deborah said on October 15, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    Dave, another dead give away that it was a scam is that all of the people he spoke with could barely speak English, he kept asking them to repeat what they were saying and he kept repeating what he was saying. Really, you’d think he had just fallen off the turnip truck.

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  33. brian stouder said on October 16, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Deborah – but (as I often point out to Pamela, when she bails me out of whatever stupid thing I’ve fallen into) he had the very good sense to chase after you!

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