The Flower House has me looking at plants differently. Like, oh, this head of romenesco I snagged at the market on Saturday:


Granted, that’s an Instagram filter kicking the color up a bit, but the shape is all mother nature’s. Or rather, mother nature plus some selective botanical fiddling. Isn’t it pretty?

Monday and Tuesday were good days, in the sense that things generally went my way and the weather was nice and I didn’t blow out my calorie allotment and there were no traffic jams and life was good. This is why, when people whine that there is no “good news” in the paper and why can’t Hollywood make a movie about good people doing good things, they are talking out their ass. Because who would see such a film? We had an editor who used to handle the no-good-news-in-the-paper calls, and he would always point out that there was a good-news story in the paper today, and yesterday, and the day before that, etc. He would tell them what they were, specifically. They never even noticed them. Because most good-news stories are boring, and bad-news stories at least offer the sick thrill of learning that there are people in the world who savagely attack EMTs.

So sorry, not much to report or even comment on. There was this:

MARION, Ala. — Judge Marvin Wiggins’s courtroom was packed on a September morning. The docket listed hundreds of offenders who owed fines or fees for a wide variety of crimes — hunting after dark, assault, drug possession and passing bad checks among them.

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,” began Judge Wiggins, a circuit judge here in rural Alabama since 1999. “For your consideration, there’s a blood drive outside,” he continued, according to a recording of the hearing. “If you don’t have any money, go out there and give blood and bring in a receipt indicating you gave blood.”

For those who had no money or did not want to give blood, the judge concluded: “The sheriff has enough handcuffs.”

Yes, it’s come to this.

More NYT, in a long but readable story illustrating why, exactly, it’s dumb to sleep with your co-workers.

And with that, bedtime calls me.

Posted at 12:01 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

67 responses to “Snoozeville.”

  1. beb said on October 21, 2015 at 1:46 am

    having given blood many times in the past, even though I have an aversion to bring poked by a needle I think the Judge’s offer of $100 off for a pint of blood is generous. Giving blood is not that hard, the nurses make sure you’re hydrated afterwards and deals with those who pass out. But some people can not give blood for health, moral or psychological reasons. I don’t think those people should be excluded from the Judge’s benevolence because of that. And of course the coercive nature of the offer makes it a deplorable offer. But ir keeps people out of jail…

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  2. Dexter said on October 21, 2015 at 1:51 am

    In my first weeks as an army trainee, our first weekend pass was upon us, and we were excited to get to Louisville for maybe a movie and some diner food, or the lucky ones who had nearby girlfriends could have a weekend in bed. That Friday our torturous physical training sergeant, Sgt. McLamb, told us we had to give blood “for the troops in Vietnam”. Nearly everyone complied except one. Me. I remember my mindset was that they already had grabbed me up and taken me from my family and friends, and my dog and my car, and were soon to send me off as cannon fodder…and on top of that they wanted to actually drain my blood. I was 19, that’s how my brain worked. And so, since it could not be forced upon me to give blood, the entire company was told they were being denied a pass to town. The Friday blood drive went on, and I abstained. I was not popular that day; I was threatened by some of my fellows and I was told by McLamb he couldn’t wait to get me out o the PT field. Still I held out. At the last minute, McLamb was overruled by the officers and we all were allowed our passes, and they whole damn thing was simply forgotten and never brought up again. And when I was again a civilian a couple years later, I showed up to donate blood, and was turned away: malaria possibility, high risk, I had been in a bad place with bad mosquitoes. I suppose when the day comes I need a transfusion, karma will catch up with me. They will be a pint short or else infuse me with tainted blood. Karma, you know.

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  3. Deborah said on October 21, 2015 at 5:26 am

    Dexter, great comment.

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 21, 2015 at 7:23 am

    People love the idea of judges doing creative sentencing until they do it. And it’s hard to throw down stuff like that off the bench without ending up saying or suggesting stuff at some point that ends up reading poorly in the next day’s paper. Which is why most of them stay religiously to the standard formulas in court, and use sentencing guidelines as a script.

    I like the “idea” of what the judge was trying, as beb notes, but wish there had been some alternatives . . . but more to the point, I just keep wishing someone would do a broader, deeper dive into how we got the system so “fined” and “fee-d” up. That’s not how it was until relatively recently, I’m pretty sure, and I uneasily suspect the prevalence of fees started with a desire to create non-incarceration options, then in the tex-cutting fevers of the 1980’s and since it became yet another way to tax a) stupidity and b) poverty, which we now have plenty of new ways to do, from lotteries to casinos to what I suspect is going to be the ultimate impact of marijuana legalization.

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  5. basset said on October 21, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Never heard of that strange broccoli-related organism before yesterday, just by coincidence I got a recipe book out of the free box at our used-book store which had some directions for it with nice color pics. Now I just need to find some.

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  6. Ann said on October 21, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Interesting article about the Stanford situation. Lots of money to spend on lawyers, apparently. My favorite was “Ms. Gruenfeld, 53, focused on how power leads people to do stupid things.”

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  7. alex said on October 21, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Understanding Ben Carson isn’t rocket science.

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  8. coozledad said on October 21, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Finally, Carson told a long-winded and wind-baggy story about being called away to perform emergency surgery the day of his son’s fifth birthday party. That night, on returning home, having missed the cake and gifts, the balloons and singing, Carson apparently woke his small son up and told him, “This year, I didn’t have time to get you a present, son, but this year, for your birthday present” — and here, Carson paused for dramatic effect — “I saved another child’s life!”

    Republicans- forgetting that discretion is the better part of valor, even when they’re making shit up.

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  9. brian stouder said on October 21, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Alex – that is a tremendously good article, and a quick-read, to boot!

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  10. Suzanne said on October 21, 2015 at 9:28 am

    One of the comments on the Carson article mentioned this:
    Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy ~ Ezekiel 16:49

    Hmmmm. Haven’t heard Huckabee or Cruz or Carson discuss this.

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  11. Judybusy said on October 21, 2015 at 9:28 am

    The picture tickled my brain about a cache of photos taken by a gardener, Charles Jones, in Victorian England. They were re-discovered in 1980. Here is a nice blog about them. The Seed Savers’ Exchange in Decorah, IA always puts out a gorgeous calendar of photos every year, too. Then there was this guy

    Basset, if you can’t find the romanesco this year, if you garden, you could grow them from seed next year.

    And remember, today is the day when Marty McFly and Doc Brown arrive!

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  12. Judybusy said on October 21, 2015 at 9:29 am

    I really, really want that edit button back. I read, re-read and try not to mess things up. At least the link works.

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  13. A. Riley said on October 21, 2015 at 9:43 am

    First time I saw that veggie in the grocery store I stared at it for the longest time fearing that all that blotter acid in my misspent youth had finally come back to give me hallucinations.

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  14. Bitter Scribe said on October 21, 2015 at 10:38 am

    The great Mike Royko once wrote a typically hilarious column about how good news isn’t news. It took the form of a conversation with some suburban lady who was pushing him to wrote about her flower-arranging guild or some such thing. When she wouldn’t take no for an answer, he told her about some fellow columnist who once vowed to write about only positive subjects. In less than a year, the poor wretch was starving in the street, and he vowed never to let a kind word pass his keyboard again.

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  15. basset said on October 21, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Judybusy, I do garden but with mixed results… cabbage worms are really bad in our area, though, which I discovered when I grew some broccoli, put it in the steamer, and opened it up to find a bunch of little caterpillars which had crawled out of the broccoli heads and gotten cooked onto the sides of the pot. Extra protein, but still.

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  16. Judybusy said on October 21, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Oh, Basset that is so gross! I wonder if covering them in light landscaping cloth early in the season would prevent the parent from flying in and laying eggs.

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  17. Connie said on October 21, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Soak your broccoli in a sink full of salted water before you cook it to get rid of those little icky things.

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  18. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 21, 2015 at 11:17 am

    What Connie said. Nothing will keep broccoli from getting those little wormy things in them; trust me, you’ve eaten a few if you eat much broccoli at all.

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  19. susan said on October 21, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I stopped planting cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts because of aphids. And I LOVE broccoli. The one time I did grow brussels sprouts the plants looked like aphid magnets. Honestly, I’ve never ever seen that many of those creatures. Every square millimeter on those plants were covered with them. And that makes me wary of buying them in the store, thinking, hmmmm, I wonder what pesticide the grower used on these things.

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  20. brian stouder said on October 21, 2015 at 11:57 am

    speaking of creepy-crawlies in the garden, what’s up in Congress?

    I will bet one 32-ounce icy cold Diet Pepsi (or a nice lemonade) that Ryan will not get the Speakership, which he doesn’t want in any case.

    I think we’re on the verge of the formalization of what has been the reality on the ground for some time now –

    the dissolution of the Republican party at the national level.

    The presidential-level party might not splinter in 2016; that is, all the losers may still support whoever wins the Republican nomination.

    But if (for example) Donald Trump wins the nomination, turn out the lights, the party’s over

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  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Go to your favorite search engine, type in Biff and Trump, and click images. You’ll be rewarded.

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  22. coozledad said on October 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Why does the Republican House keep inviting this piece of Nazi trash to wipe his feet on the carpet?

    The modern Republican party is built on the aspirational white nationalism of both the Confederacy and the Third Reich. Here, Netanyahu is burnishing his credentials with the Prescott Bush wing of the party with old David Irving non-sequiturs. Someone pointed out that this means the Iran deal is out of Netanyahu and the Republicans’ hands but good.

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  23. basset said on October 21, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    speaking of Nazis, how about a cozy little planned community:

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  24. alex said on October 21, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    On a brighter note, Joe Biden won’t be mucking up Hillary’s cakewalk to the Oval Office:

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  25. Deborah said on October 21, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    I never knew the name Romenesco before. I see that veggie at the farmers market a lot but never heard the name. It’s lovely.

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  26. MichaelG said on October 21, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    To take off from Dexter’s post @#2. When I was in the service they did blood donating the opposite way. The blood letting was done in the early morning and those donating got the rest of the day off for free. There was a belief that with your fluid level a pint low, you could get drunk cheaper. Thus, there was a long line to donate. The carrot vs. the stick.

    Also, later on when I was in country during my second tour there was a situation that required a lot of donated blood right now. They wouldn’t take mine since I had recently had malaria. That happened again several years later. Eventually, ten or fifteen years on, I was able to donate.

    Thanks, guys. I’ve got broccoli in my refrigerator. And that romenesco is a little too scary and hairy for me.

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  27. coozledad said on October 21, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    Sure wish they had open carry in the House Republican Conference:

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  28. Suzanne said on October 21, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    That is the thing with ideologues. If you can wait ’em out, they always start to eat each other.

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  29. Sue said on October 21, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Joining the broccoli discussion:
    Yes to the salted water thing but also try to find a variety that’s known for forming side shoots. I bought some cheap calabrese seeds (the off-brands you can find for a few packets for a dollar) and planted them this year. I cut off the main head when it was ready and have been harvesting quarter to half-dollar sized florets ever since. The plants are now 4 feet high and 3 feet wide, full of little florets that you would pay extra for in the store, and the best thing is that the moths either can’t find the florets or can’t be bothered to fuss with the little heads. I’ve seen them fluttering around the plants, looking confused (ok maybe not looking confused but they really do not seem to know what to do). 3 plants from last spring, lots of fresh broccoli and several bags in the freezer, and no sign of finishing any time soon in spite of two frosts last week.
    That’s my suggestion anyway.

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  30. basset said on October 21, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Hmmm, wonder if that’d work indoors during the winter? may have some seed around here somewhere.

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  31. Judybusy said on October 21, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    My guess is that unless you have a greenhouse, the plants won’t get enough sun to produce the florets.

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  32. Deborah said on October 21, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    I may never eat fresh broccoli again.

    Alex, great link about Carson, explains a lot.

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  33. brian stouder said on October 21, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Regarding buggies in my broccoli – I remember, long long ago, reading an article in TV Guide(!) about Ron Howard, and there was an anecdote about how intelligent he was, even when he was a kiddo.

    He was having lunch on some sound stage, and eating some sort of glop – and Red Skelton sat next to him. Skelton said something like – you do know that that stuff is cat brains, right?

    And Howard never missed a beat, and said “Well, cat brains are pretty good stuff!”

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  34. Julie Robinson said on October 21, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Puh-lease guys! I had broccoli on the menu tonight but it’s gonna take a while to get that image out of my head.

    I’m not sure why, but I’m disappointed about Biden not running.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 21, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    It’s not only a vegetable, it’s good for you by sharing news and analysis about journalism, so call it a win/win.

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  36. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 21, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Julie, the “Motivational Biden” Facebook page has, by way of those feelings out there, spun off the following “Thank You, Joe Biden” page:

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  37. Sue said on October 21, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Jeff, that would be Brassica oleracea, var. “Romanesco”, sub.var. “Jim”

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  38. MichaelG said on October 21, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    By the way, I got a flu shot the other day and no pain or other symptoms.

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  39. Deborah said on October 21, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Michael G, I got a flu shot too and a little pain but not anymore than usual when I get them.

    I dug up a photo of me sitting in a Delorean with a hoverboard on my lap and posted it on Facebook this morning. It was taken a couple of years ago out front of the Cocteau Theater in Santa Fe, owned by George RR Martin (the theater not the car). They were showing Back to the Future and had the car displayed for a few nights and let you sit in it etc. It’s been fun.

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  40. basset said on October 21, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    We have a greenhouse window, that might work. No flu shot problems here, yet.

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  41. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 21, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    A for the appetizing veggie, E for the extraordinary tweeter.

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  42. Kirk said on October 21, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    I got my flu shot on Monday, a few inches below the shoulder. Still pinches just a tad, same as most years.

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  43. brian stouder said on October 21, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    When Pam was taking me back to work after lunch today, we passed a DeLorean going the other way –

    which was definitely worth a chuckle!

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  44. Jakash said on October 21, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    I’m happy to hear that nobody besides Dexter and I seem to be having any problems with their flu shots. Mine was administered very close to the shoulder, which I thought odd, but figured was the new thinking, or something. Talked to the pharmacist (not where I got the shot) the other day and she didn’t understand why it would have been so high, but thought that that and my reaction must be pretty rare. Despite everything, I’m in no hurry to return to the doctor and be subjected to an array of evaluations that, from what I’ve read, will do me no good, regardless. Anyway, my shoulder, but mostly my arm, still hurt a lot. Not all that often during the day, but every day. Still hoping it’ll go away at some point; perhaps it’s getting a little better. At least I have full range of motion and am not impeded from any activities, though even running makes it hurt surprisingly much.

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  45. alex said on October 21, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Got my flu shot last week and no bad repercussions.

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  46. Dian Kim said on October 21, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Glad to see the flu shot/arm pain issue mentioned again. For almost 30 yrs. I was in private practice doing deep tissue myofascial release and massage therapy. I had one client getting allergy shots regularly. She’d have them in alternate upper arm and would schedule her regular appt that same day or the next. She’d have me massage the liquid (felt like btw 1t and 1T in the fat/muscle tissue)for 5 or 10 minutes before we proceed on to her regular back, neck and shoulders. She’d had something similar happen to her, IIRC.

    Plus, working csr svc @ Home Depot they have an onsite nurse come in and give them every fall. One of my co-workers mentioned the same problem as you’ve had. She said the injection probably went into or near a nerve branch, or a tendon and was causing pain and/or inflammation.

    I’d recommend some alternate heat and cold to the area. Heat increases circulation of blood/lymph but can make swelling and therefore pain worse. Cold numbs the area and slows down pain transmission. Using as a combo sets up a real good ’tissue flush’. Ever been to a spa where there is a sauna/hot tub and then a cold plunge? Same idea.

    And of course massaging it should help, but only go to the point of ‘hurts good’ not true pain you want to recoil from. Since you’d probably be doing it using one hand on the other upper arm, the depth shouldn’t be too difficult to gauge.

    You’ll know either immediately or within 24 hrs or so if either technique helps.

    At least, that’s what I used to tell my clients.
    (Cue Elton John: A long, long time ago, I can still remember…)
    Bright blessings.

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  47. basset said on October 21, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Cue Don McLean, isn’t it?

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  48. Dian Kim said on October 21, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    ok Basset,
    So I don’t remember the composer, you got me. But that opening line is fine….just don’t ask me how to complete that first lyric. Ain’t aging grand?

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  49. Sue said on October 21, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Dian Kim, the definition of aging for us mid-boomers is remembering all the words to American Pie but not where you put your car keys.
    … how the music used to make me smile…
    Shall I go on or does someone else want to take the next few lines?

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  50. Sue said on October 21, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Damn, where did I put those keys?

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  51. Dian Kim said on October 21, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Sue, @50. I go to the last place I saw the keys, and whistle for ’em, clapping. “Keys, here keys!” clap clap. “Where’d you go?” Like they were my smart dog or sump’in playing hide and seek, and will lead me there. I wait quietly, listening, and see what floats up in my intuitive consciousness. If that doesn’t work, I wash a couple dishes, or go to the bathroom, and take my attention off of this search at hand. Sure ‘nuf, it’ll come burbling up.

    This has worked way more times than chance would suggest. Course, I’ve practiced this obscure talent most of my life. Now, if only it paid well in the corporate world.

    If I’m pressed for time, I go get the extra set of keys. It just isn’t as much fun, or nearly as intriguing. “Use it or lose it.”

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  52. Deborah said on October 21, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Little Bird and I have this routine down pat when I’m in Santa Fe: Whenever I say I can’t find my keys or glasses, she says, “let me help you look”, and I miraculously find them before she’s barely started to look. We don’t know why but this almost always works.

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  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 21, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    . . . and I knew if I had my chance, that I could make those people dance and maybe they’d be happy for a while . . .

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  54. Sue said on October 21, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    But February made me shiver, with every paper I’d deliver… bad news on the doorstep, I couldn’t take one more step…
    (Remember, no looking up the words, people)

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  55. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 21, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    I can’t remember . . . .


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  56. coozledad said on October 21, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    We got girls in their Chevys comin’ down from the levies to eat KARLS disco wiener haven.
    They sizzle.
    They grizzle.

    You stand up to the griddle
    Salas y ketchup
    ask me and I’ll fetchup…

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  57. Dian Kim said on October 21, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    ooh! ooh! raises hand expectantly. Is this where:
    So bye bye miss American Pie
    Drove the Chevy to levy
    and the levy was dry.
    And good ol’ boys were drinking whiskey and rye
    Singing This’l be the day that I die. This’l be the day that I die…

    NOW I know why I first thought this was Elton John. His Crocodile Rock and McLean’s American Pie were both popular when I was in high school.

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  58. Dian Kim said on October 21, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    See, now I know something about a number of you: we’re up at this time of night. Some of these posts are almost in real time.

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  59. brian stouder said on October 21, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Cooz – an odd link, indeed; and the next video is from one of my favorite odd-ball movies of all time – Blue Velvet.

    The scene made little sense to me at the time, and remains somewhat senseless now…although David Lynch makes movies that I find viscerally appealing.

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  60. brian stouder said on October 21, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Here’s an ‘Only In Indiana’ story for ya – under the topic “This Shit’s Gotta Stop”

    The lead:

    LAGRANGE COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) LaGrange County commissioners voted 3-0 Wednesday night to not pass an ordinance that would require horses to wear diapers. The vote was the result of a petition drive launched by LaGrange County resident Chad Fry after he grew tired of driving his vehicles through manure. A few weeks ago the issue was brought to county commissioners to pass an ordinance requiring the horses to wear diapers, essentially bags to catch the manure. Dozens of people showed up to the meeting Wednesday night.

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  61. Brandon said on October 21, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    “American Pie”

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  62. Jolene said on October 21, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    John Mayer sings American Pie on one of the last David Letterman shows. Almost as much fun as trying to remember the lyrics yourself. A really good performance.

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  63. Dian Kim said on October 21, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Am I too new here to nominate Brandon for thread win for joining two disparate topics happening contemporaneously into two words? Brilliant. (bows in reverence to his gloriousness)

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  64. brian stouder said on October 21, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Dian – in my opinion – NO and AYE!

    (not too new, and brilliant indeed!)

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  65. Little Bird said on October 22, 2015 at 12:06 am

    I can’t remember if I cried when read about his widowed bride, but something touched me deep inside the day the music died…..

    This is one of my favorite songs…

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  66. Little Bird said on October 22, 2015 at 12:08 am

    Brandon! Really?

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  67. Brandon said on October 22, 2015 at 12:47 am

    The “American Pie” cover was one of two songs Madonna did for The Next Best Thing soundtrack. It was a far bigger hit than the movie itself.

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