Farther ahead at the halfway point.

More proofing to be done tonight, but hey — it’s Wednesday, i already got a lot done this week, and once Thursday starts the weekend is more or less under way. At least to my mind.

As you might imagine, I’ve been reading about Iceland between chores. Of course the Derringers will be visiting the Icelandic Phallological Museum, i.e., the penis museum. Which is? A collection of more than 200 penises from the animal kingdom, from whales to elves, and no, I’m not sure how the elf deal works. “I want to see the elf weiners!” Alan chirped. This marvel is only blocks from our apartment, so yeah — on the list.

I’m also looking forward to swimming there, as it’s apparently a big-deal national pastime, with wonderful public pools in every town, and each includes at least a couple of hot pots, for after-lap soaking. The oldest one in the country is steps from our apartment, and this amazing complex is a mile or two away. All the guides go into great detail explaining the scrupulous scrubbing one is expected to give oneself before dipping so much as a toe into the pools. It’s a very clean country, and I intend to abide by local customs.

Beyond that, I’m thinking lots of skyr, lamb, local beers, steam, walking and birdwatching at midnight.

Super Tuesday turned out pretty much as advertised. I’m trying to be aware that I’m living through history, and I should pay attention and take good notes, but I keep getting distracted by a) terror; and b) the need to laugh uproariously from time to time. That look on Christie’s face is one for the ages.

But now we have a little time before the next primary (it’s Michigan’s, although the mood here is not exactly outward-looking, as the Flint disaster is still the story everyone talks about), so let’s look at some different topics today.

Remember when Hamtramck, the little city within the big city (Detroit), elected the first majority-Muslim city council in the country? The local alt-weekly did a story about how they’re getting along, now that everyone’s settled into office now. The answer? There’s plenty of conflict, but not the kind you might expect:

One weekday afternoon I sit down at Aladdin Sweets, a popular Bangladeshi restaurant, with Kamal Rahman.

He’s with the Bangladeshi-American Public Affairs Committee, and he’s here to help set me straight on the history of immigrants from Bangladesh. A thin, well-educated 47-year-old with a slight accent, he tells me that people have come to Detroit from Bangladesh since the 1920s, although it’s been just a trickle compared to the flow of immigrants from, say, Lebanon or Iraq.

Rahman’s duties as cultural emissary have included documenting the way Islamic culture has blossomed in the Detroit area, and have even seen him take Sen. Hansen Clarke back to his grandparent’s village in Bangladesh. But the meat of his job is helping native-born Americans understand that immigrants aren’t invaders, in fact, they’re most often the victims of racism and bigotry. He tells of a Bangladeshi family who bought a house near Hamtramck High School and found it vandalized with the message, “You are not wanted here.” The family sold the house and never moved to Hamtramck.

“I think the fear is mostly of the unknown,” Rahman says. “People aren’t familiar with the new culture.”

These are the sorts of patently obvious things Rahman has to say over and over. Though he can do it articulately, you wonder why it’s necessary to explain that people fleeing sectarianism and terror would embrace America’s secular culture and ballot-oriented politics.

“Those who experience conflict, those who experience suffering, they tend to not to want to repeat it,” he says. “The Muslims that are coming here, most of them have suffered through war, through terrorism, through everything. They know what to avoid. It’s highly unlikely that someone would like to be in the same situation as they were before.”

These days, after seeing media people bring up Sharia Law again and again, he doesn’t even care to joke about it.

It’s a very good story. Recommended.

Because I don’t follow sports, I wasn’t very familiar with the Erin Andrews story. I find my old friend Jones’ story about it very compelling, though. God, what a horrible experience to go through; I hope she recovers everything she’s asking for. And when she testified that it never stops, she was right. It never stops.

On to the proofing.

Posted at 12:10 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

38 responses to “Farther ahead at the halfway point.”

  1. Mark P said on March 3, 2016 at 12:29 am

    I worked with a guy years ago who took a camping vacation to Iceland. He said he enjoyed the visit and it was a very beautiful place, but, he said, “You can never go outside.”

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  2. Jerry said on March 3, 2016 at 3:17 am

    We’re currently watching Trapped, an Icelandic thriller. Very good but very claustrophobic. It takes place in a small seaside town with only three police. It is cut off from the rest of the world by the weather! In an interview with the lead yesterday he said that they spent three months on location and every time there was a snowstorm they went outside to film. He also said it wasn’t as cold there as New York in winter.

    I’m sure it won’t be like that for Nancy and Alan – at least I hope not.

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  3. basset said on March 3, 2016 at 7:10 am

    The musum souvenirs do seem quite reasonably priced, with the Icelandic kroner worth 77 cents right now as best I can determine.

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  4. Lou Gravity said on March 3, 2016 at 7:28 am

    I was surprised by the reaction to Chris Christie’s countenance at the Trump spectacle. I live in New Jersey and have seen him up close and personal for the last seven years. Believe me, he always looks that way. Angry and miserable is Mr. Christie’s default face.

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  5. adrianne said on March 3, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Thanks for the link to David Jones’ story about sports reporter Erin Andrews. My shop (Law360.com) has been covering the trial remotely as well. I hope she gets tons of shekels out of it, but no amount of money can make up for the violation she’s suffered.

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  6. beb said on March 3, 2016 at 8:13 am

    We soend w-a-y too much time worrying about people we’d never vote for. Let’s spend some time thinking about the democrats in office, like Debbie Wasserman-Schults:

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was enacted to set relations on financial organization to stop them from gouging consumers. Since Finacial organization pretty much exist to gouge people, the CFPB is not a popular organization. DWS, chairman of the DNC, is spearheading an effort to delay and limit the rules concerning payday loan institutions. So while Bernie goes around saying that the system is rigged against ordinary people, DWS is going around helping to keep it rigged.

    DWS is also an embarrassment as head of the DNC because she limited candidate debates to four, and scheduled them on weekends when no one would be watching, thus robbing Hillary’s competitors the chance to present themselves to the American people. She’s also been accused of organizing a money laundering scheme with Hillary’s PAC so big donors can get around the limits on how much they can donate. With friends like Debbie Wasserman-Schults, we can say hello to President Trump.

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  7. Connie said on March 3, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Detroit News Endorses Gov. John Kasich as GOP Nominee


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  8. Deborah said on March 3, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Not being a sports fan, I had never heard of Erin Andrews, but wow, what a nightmare. I watched some of the video of her testimony, she was obviously suffering. How horrible to have been exploited like that by the guy who took the video and by the blog that posted it. There certainly is a downside to fame and fortune.

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  9. Julie Robinson said on March 3, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Reportedly the waitress who turned in the executive quoted him as saying something like “if I have to pay millions of dollars, I might as well get to watch it and enjoy it”. NBC has removed this video from their site so I can’t quote it exactly. It’s very disturbing. I can’t imagine the pain she has. Stupid men.

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  10. Kirk said on March 3, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Christie looks like Homer Simpson dreaming of his next pizza.

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  11. MichaelG said on March 3, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Another thing is that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is the absolute shits as somebody running a campaign. Secty. Clinton’s campaign is one of the worst ever. The absolute worst was the campaign of Kathleen Brown (she’s Jerry’s sister) against Pete Wilson for governor some years ago. Wilson absolutely buried her. DWS needs to go for a variety of reasons.

    I think this all out assault on Trump by the GOP and spearheaded by the Mittster is a way dangerous move. They’re doing Secty. Clinton’s campaigning for her and doing a way better job than DWS. It is also paving the way for a possible third party candidate.

    I remember being vaguely aware of Erin Andrews but never paid any attention to her. I’ve seen some of the trial stuff on the news and she comes across as very human and as somebody truly in pain. She has my vote.

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  12. brian stouder said on March 3, 2016 at 11:56 am

    What Julie said!

    Maybe that guy can make an involuntary contribution to that museum in Iceland

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  13. basset said on March 3, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Viewed through the reversed peephole he rigged up to see through her door.

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  14. Sherri said on March 3, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Since Super Tuesday, I’ve seen a lot of articles from the Very Serious People on the Right (like Mitt Romney) on just how awful Donald Trump is and how he must be stopped. Okay, I agree, Donald Trump is awful, but none of them have proposed alternatives. None of them have even addressed the fact that Donald Trump is winning the race to Republican nomination because more Republican voters are voting for him than the other guys.

    Trump is a crude demagogue, but aside from how he is saying it, is what he saying different than what Ted Cruz is saying?

    Trump wants to build a YUUGE wall and make the Mexicans pay for it. Cruz wants to build a wall that works and triple the number of border agents, end birthright citizenship, prioritize for refugee status Jews and Christians being persecuted by radical Islam, add more interior detention space, end sanctuary cities.

    Trump can’t decide whether he should denounce David Duke. Ted Cruz held his Super Tuesday party at the Redneck Country Club, owned by his longtime friend Mike Berry, a racist radio host.

    Both think our military needs to be bigger, that we need to hit ISIS harder, that we should rip up the Iran deal. Trump is less interested in Israel than Cruz, who thinks we should move our embassy to Jerusalem, never send any tax dollars to the Palestinian Authority, withhold tax dollars from any university that boycotts Israel, and increase our military aid to Israel.

    Ted Cruz believes that religious liberty applies to Christians, says he will investigate Planned Parenthood on day one, and that we must uphold the truth of marriage as between a man and a woman.

    Oh, and he will institute a simple 10% flat tax, and the economy will know no bounds. Well, no bounds for some people is true, I guess.

    That’s all I can stand to look at from the web site of the man in second place for the Republican nomination. I could look at Rubio’s web site, but would it be any better?

    Romney and the rest, you’ve created this. What’s your solution? Are you going to join us in voting for Hillary, or are you going to continue to demonize her? Are you going to decide that Cruz is less dangerous than Trump, because he can still speak in code sometimes? I don’t think you can prop up your puppet Rubio anymore, and I don’t think there’s enough time left to turn Kasich into a Trump beater.

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  15. Jolene said on March 3, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    I agree with you on Cruz, Sherri. In some ways, he may be even crazier than Trump. In particular, his religiosity and fear of religious persecution are off the scale. In some presentations, he has sounded exactly like a revivalist huckster. In one speech that I happened to catch, he said that, if Hillary were elected, we could expect to see the crosses and Stars of David sanded off tombstones in military cemeteries. Honestly! He is absolutely the only person I have ever heard speak of such an idea. Such paranoia! Where does it come from? How could anyone believe such things?

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  16. MichaelG said on March 3, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Here’s what Romney has to say:

    Cruz is stark raving mad. Period. Trump is a narcissistic megalomaniac. Trump scares me less than Cruz does.

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  17. Sherri said on March 3, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    The one thing scarier about Trump, and it’s not a small thing I admit, is that he is attracting hate groups, and they’re attacking protesters at his rallies. I haven’t heard of that happening at Cruz rallies, because it usually takes more than just a dog whistle to bring them out.

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  18. basset said on March 3, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Change of topic:


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  19. brian stouder said on March 3, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    But first, back to the penis museum!


    an excerpt:

    “Mitt is a choke artist,” Trump told supporters at a pre-debate rally in Portland, Maine. Trump went on to call Romney disloyal, claiming he begged Trump for his endorsement the last time around.

    “You can see how loyal he is. … I could have said Mitt, drop to your knees, he would have dropped to his knees,” Trump said.

    This isn’t even a dog-whistle thing; nor ‘throwing a bone’ (so to speak).

    I think the Donald is still irritated about the “small hands” canard from Rubio, and he wants us to know he (and his Mr Happy) could “choke” any one of these guys….

    or maybe it’s his VaVaVaVoom for Ms Kelly, in advance of tonight’s debate

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  20. MichaelG said on March 3, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Good point, Sherri.

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  21. nancy said on March 3, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    I don’t think Cruz believes for one minute that Hillary will be filing down religious symbols in military cemeteries. He’s not stupid, but he thinks the people he throws that sort of preposterous rotting meat to are that stupid. Right now, he, like everyone else in the party leadership, is just pissed that Trump throws better meat than he does. But the people on the receiving end know contempt when they hear it.

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  22. LAMary said on March 3, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    It’s only right that elf weiners and Donald Trump’s little hands should be mentioned in the same thread. I still love what Spy magazine used to do whenever they mentioned the Donald’s name. “Short fingered vulgarian, Donald Trump…”

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  23. Scout said on March 3, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Whoa… the party elite seems to be willing to burn down the village to save it. Problem is, I’m not sure you can put this (racist) genie back in the bottle. It’s the proverbial elephant in the living room now.


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  24. alex said on March 3, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Perhaps Romney thinks there’s some way he’s gonna jump in and save the day. It would be perfectly in keeping with his magical thinking on election night 2012 when he refused to concede until the eleventh hour, and then only with some begrudging crap about Obama buying off the electorate with welfare goodies. Mitt calling the Donald a phony is pretty rich, if you ask me.

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  25. LAMary said on March 3, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    What Alex said. I’m trying to think of a Republican with enough credibility to really make a difference speaking out about Trump. I know there’s someone out there.

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  26. alex said on March 3, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Bob Dole already did. And nobody cares what Dick Lugar has to say anymore were he to speak up. I think it’s a lost cause.

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  27. St Bitch said on March 3, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    I shouldn’t be flabbergasted at clueless Mitt/McCain et al not realizing what a valuable contribution they’ve just made to Trump’s Napoleonic march toward the nomination.

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  28. susan said on March 3, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    The only Rafael Cruz ad you need to see.

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  29. Joe K said on March 3, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Drove thru your neighborhood today, are you on the north or south side of the lake?
    Saw a house on the south side looking like it was being rehabbed, that one yours?
    Always thought that was a cool lake, any idea how deep, good fishing, swimming?
    Pilot Joe

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  30. basset said on March 3, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Adrienne@5,how do you cover something “remotely”?

    Anthony Bourdain’s on CNN right now talking about Detroit food, or he will after wading through ruin porn for awhile. At the Packard plant right now.

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  31. Suzanne said on March 3, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    There aren’t any GOP leaders with enough credibility to denounce Trump because when for the past 8 years, he and a whole treasure trove of goobers were saying crap like Trump is now saying, none of these same leaders said “Enough!” So now, when they yak, nobody listens.

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  32. alex said on March 3, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Joe, I’m on the north side. No exterior stuff going on so you wouldn’t know the inside’s all torn up. My lungs are burning from the plaster dust from refinishing drywall and blown-in insulation falling out of the ceiling. Just did another run-through with the shop vac. Hoping to get all the electrical done this week and get the walls closed up. We discovered a lot of overloaded circuits with ungrounded wiring and can’t believe the codes permitted this even in 1951 when the place was built. The new lighting is awesome and I must say that LEDs have come a long way in just a few years. They look a lot more like warm incandescent lighting than they used to and it’s bright and clean.

    Good fishing, although the last two cold winters killed off a lot of fish. We used to be able to go out on the dock and huge fish and even turtles would all show up hoping to get some food. You could throw in a piece of bread and they’d come from all directions and make it disappear in a flash. Swimming would be better if we could all agree on getting it dredged and paying for it. With so many trees there’s been a huge accumulation of slimy crap on the bottom. It’s about 20 feet at the deepest but mostly about 12 feet.

    The house you’re thinking of is across the water from me. Light green was it? I think they’ve got a dumpster. They’ve been doing a bunch of exterior work on the rear. We’ve got a big chunk of land on the north with two houses, one light green and one dark green, and lots of trees.

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  33. Deborah said on March 3, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    Susan, that link is a stitch, I love those bad lip-reading videos. There’s a hysterical series of short videos that Samantha Bee did using out takes of Cruz ads, the one that cracks me up is the Cruz family sitting on the edge of a dock and Ted is creepily massaging his wife’s back. I’d link to it only I can’t find it.

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  34. susan said on March 3, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    Boy, the New York Daily News sure has been kicking ass on its covers recently.

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  35. alex said on March 3, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    Been watching the debate and it’s all as surreal as those lip-synching videos. The GOP is really crashing and burning and getting its karmic comeuppance.

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  36. adrianne said on March 4, 2016 at 12:36 am

    Bassett, we subscribe to a news service that streams high-profile trials. Our NY trials reporter has been covering the Erin Andrews case by watching that. But generally we try to get reporters into courtrooms for live trial coverage.

    The incomparable Dahlia Lithwick in Slate had a hot take on the three female Supreme Court justices grilling the Texas lawyer over the idiotic abortion law. My favorite line: “Each of the female justices takes a whacking stick to the very notion that abortion — one of the safest procedures on record — requires rural women to haul ass across land masses larger than the whole state of California in order to take a pill, in the presence of a doctor, in a surgical theater.”

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  37. Dexter said on March 4, 2016 at 1:10 am

    A man who had the job that Erin Andrews has back around 1980-81 was Pat O’brien of CBS. I used to see him frequently at Michigan Stadium walking around the sidelines, grabbing interviews for TV. He had a great attracting personality and soon was a major TV star. He had one hell of a run until the wheels flat fell off. He’s been to several rehabs by now…alcoholism is a killing disease alright. I hope he’s OK now, a while after this piece:

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  38. Fritinancy said on March 4, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Re swimming in Iceland: I haven’t been there myself, but a fellow member of the Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club here in San Francisco is Icelandic, and she says there’s splendid ocean swimming just a short walk from downtown Reykjavik. In the summer, she tells me, water temps are in the low to mid 50s F — comparable to SF Bay in the winter and very doable, if only for the bragging rights. There are hot tubs, too! http://totaliceland.com/sea-swimming-the-way-it-should-be-done-in-iceland/

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