Baby’s first existential bleakness.

My first exposure to the work of Franz Kafka came sometime in high school. I read “The Metamorphosis” and “In the Penal Colony,” one as assigned reading, the other just because. The term “Kafkaesque” was being thrown around the culture, and I thought I should know what it meant.

(This led to a sub-fling with the French existentialists, but after “No Exit” I realized these frog poseurs were best for reading in public, or casually displaying on top of a notebook in a cafe or pizza parlor. “This? Oh, yes – I’m into Sartre,” etc.)

I’m sure the assigned piece was “The Metamorphosis,” as I recall my stern-but-amusing 20th Century Literature teacher (this was in high school, senior year) chortling over the first line: “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” (This may vary, depending on your translation. I like “gigantic insect” better than “monstrous verminous bug,” which I found online.) “In the Penal Colony” kind of blew my mind, or at least the descriptions of the harrow did.

So imagine my surprise when I looked at the Facebook feed of a former colleague and discovered “My First Kafka,” or Kafka for children. From the Amazon reviews:

This kid’s book is a great one for the intellectual parents in your life. Sedate the kid in front of the TV with Spongebob blasting and read yourself this beautiful book. Look around and the shattered remains of your life and fall into a beautifully illustrated pit of existential despair.

I was so square, I read my kid Beatrix Potter. If you ask me, those animals knew existential despair, especially Peter Rabbit.

Of course, if you want existential despair you can hardly do better than this:

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 7.24.18 PM

I generally power through winter with only my fair allotment of whiny bitching, but lately I think something changes in my body at this time of year, and I actually am physically colder. Because I’ve been freezing all week, and the above makes me want to weep. (When I visited San Francisco a few years back, we left Detroit in the middle of a standard withering summer heat wave. The first few days I strolled the night streets in a T-shirt, looking quizzically at the tiny Asian girls shivering in down jackets and wool hats. Within two days I had adjusted, but never put on anything thicker than a hooded sweatshirt.)

Speaking of which, some friends of mine are eloping to San Fran/Napa Valley in a couple of weeks. They’re trying to get reservations at the French Laundry, but they’re booked for months. Any of you Californians know the secret number to call?

So, bloggage:

You saw the Daily News front page. It looks like Eduardo Rafael Cruz is having a difficult time dealing with those New York values.

The headline’s not in all caps, but it should be: 20,000 LESBIANS IN THE DESERT: WELCOME TO THE DINAH, A WORLD WITHOUT MEN.

I usually try to post three links, but shouldn’t 20,000 lesbians count double? I think so. And with that, I wish you a happy weekend.

Posted at 12:29 am in Detroit life, Popculch |

70 responses to “Baby’s first existential bleakness.”

  1. MichaelG said on April 8, 2016 at 12:59 am

    Man, as many times as I have been to Palm Springs, I had no idea that this Dinah festival existed or that PS had such a large gay population. Palm Springs is a very, very very upscale place so gay or not gay this is an extremely prosperous population. There is a Rolls Royce dealer, a Bentley dealer, Porsche, BMW, Land Rover, etc. These are not the poor folk. I’m not going to go into the economics of the place but from the looks of things, to live there you have to have money that you brought to town. The only ways I can see to make money are to sell real estate or to be some kind of financial planner type. Your working people seem live in Cathedral Springs or Desert Hot Springs.

    I wouldn’t want to go to Palm Springs during Dinah week not because I disapprove but because I wouldn’t want to intrude. But, wow, I’ve always enjoyed my times there. I like to stay at the Embassy Suites in Palm Desert. That’s at the state rate of $90 bucks a night. Reimbursed.

    989 chars

  2. Dexter said on April 8, 2016 at 2:36 am

    Deborah, yesterday you commented how Bowie and Mapplethorpe sort of were barely on your radar screen, and I can relate. If we were ten years younger we would have been more in-tune with Bowie.
    Three days after leaving the mind-blowing country of war-torn Vietnam, I was in classroom chairs and all the kids and profs were raving on about Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian brainiac , professor and inspiration to Timothy Leary and a host of other society image-shapers. ( “The medium is the message.
    We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.
    A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.” )
    And that shit drove ’em crazy.
    And I had been in the Green Machine for two years and had never heard of McLuhan.
    In philosophy class, Kafka was mentioned, so was Jean-Paul Sartre. I had heard of these great authors but barely, and had yet to even read “The Stranger”.
    Sheesh…I really needed to be brought up to speed before I became …what? …certainly not a “college kid” by that time, a 21 years old war veteran freshman…what a freak I was!
    Well, we read and discussed “The Stranger” and I progressed a bit, at least beyond ignoramus stage.
    Before I became a college freshman my literature reading favored Steinbeck and Heller. Then I got all sophisto and ever-thang.

    1342 chars

  3. Deborah said on April 8, 2016 at 4:44 am

    We used to go to a motel in Desert Hot Springs, CA, called Miracle Manor, it’s still there but we haven’t been for a few years. It was an old 50s motel that was bought and renovated by an architect and his graphic design partner, I think that was why we were originally attracted to it. The renovation was very simple and not expensive. It’s very quiet, Zen like, with a natural hot springs pool. It wasn’t too far from Palm Spring, we’d usually pop over to go to a restaurant, and one time we went to see Sinatra’s grave, which was surprisingly unattended.

    I went through a Sartre phase and that led me to Simone de Beauvoir. I’m pretty sure I read Kafka’s Metamorphisis at some point, but I don’t remember much about it, I don’t think it was assigned in any of my lit classes.

    I wish spring would come to Chicago, it’s pretty dismal here right now. I’m going back to Santa Fe for a week, leaving Wednesday, lots in bloom there now.

    939 chars

  4. Suzanne said on April 8, 2016 at 6:54 am

    I used to wonder about thos old people snow birds going south for the winter. Now, seeing age 60 just there over the horizon, I get it. I never did do winter sports and now seriously hate the cold, hate the ice, and generally just dislike the whole prospect of 3 months, at least, of gloom, wind, and a chilled psyche. More & more, from Nov to March (or April) I wonder what kind of fool am I to live in the Midwest?

    422 chars

  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 8, 2016 at 7:01 am

    Squirrel Nutkin is pretty darn bleak if you ask me. Owl Island still stands out in memory as a creepy destination, yet one they compulsively went to regularly, without reason. And that ending — what isn’t Nutkin telling us?

    It’s “No Country For Old Men” with woodland creatures.

    282 chars

  6. Deborah said on April 8, 2016 at 8:43 am

    I looked at the First Kafka link and I became fixated on the bad kerning on the book’s cover. I’m a typography nerd and stuff like that bothers me. The letter spacing between the f and the k make it look like Kaf ka.

    216 chars

  7. Julie Robinson said on April 8, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Thundersnow was just predicted here. I ask you. And it’s not only cold, it’s dreary, with no sun for days.

    Just read last night’s comments about Haeger Pottery closing. My folks used to haunt their seconds room and bought a fair amount of items over the years. Mom still has a pair of turquoise crackled lamps; very mid-century modern. Another bit of my childhood gone.

    372 chars

  8. Icarus said on April 8, 2016 at 9:39 am

    just wanted to say thank you to everyone who chimed in yesterday. Don’t know if I left anything unanswered, if so let me know.

    Mostly, I was just trying to figure out if people were being too hard on Gia for taking 3 days to publish an apology or if I was cutting her too much slack for being a new mommy. [As a SAHD who works from home, there are days I am lucky to brush my teeth before noon so I do know how simple things can fall off the radar and more complex things that require a level of decorum might not be easy to focus on with a small child vying for your attention.]*

    *as I type this my 18 month old is reaching for the keyboard

    651 chars

  9. LAMary said on April 8, 2016 at 10:33 am

    There’s this:

    54 chars

  10. Bitter Scribe said on April 8, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Years ago, Philip Roth published a sweetly weird fantasy about his 8-year-old self having Franz Kafka as a Hebrew teacher in New Jersey. Little Philip invites Dr. Kafka to dinner with his family, who promptly sets Kafka up with Philip’s maiden aunt. The romance blooms, then goes south. It’s all so bizarre and yet somehow perfectly plausible, just like Kafka’s writing.

    370 chars

  11. basset said on April 8, 2016 at 10:59 am

    And this:

    78 chars

  12. Kristen said on April 8, 2016 at 11:46 am

    I saw Baryshnikov in Kafka’s Metamorphosis on Broadway circa 1989. It’s the only time I ever fell asleep during a performance. No, wait, I think I fell asleep during “Cats” too… Does that make me a philistine?

    213 chars

  13. Bitter Scribe said on April 8, 2016 at 11:48 am

    Kristen: No, it makes you someone who needs more sleep.

    The Chicago Tribune had a pretty funny piece about audience members who snooze during theatrical performances. The gist was that the performers don’t mind unless the person snores.

    239 chars

  14. Judybusy said on April 8, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Weather’s crap here, too, but the American Craft Council is having their annual St. Paul Show, and Sunday we’re going to an event called Opera on Tap, wherein local opera singers show up at a sweet local bar and sing: Oddly, I’ve become more tolerant of winter as I’ve aged. Spring will come. Eventually. Meanwhile, there are a million fun things to do in this city to distract us.

    Also, how can I know about Michigan and not the Dinah thing?!

    485 chars

  15. Jakash said on April 8, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    I also can understand better, as the years pile up, the motivation to seek warmer, sunnier climes than the Middle West. I hate myself for it, though. And, all things considered, this has been an acceptable winter in Chicago, IMHO. Not much snow, never too much at one time, didn’t stick around long and reasonable winter temperatures for the most part. Plus a number of outlier days where it was unseasonably warm to change things up, which I always appreciate. Spring is almost invariably frustrating, though. You think you’ve made it, but then weeks of this nonsense. Last weekend, 30’s Saturday, 70’s Sunday, 30’s Monday. Still, I don’t care as much about it being sunny as many other folks seem to and the big thing is — whatever lame weather we’re stuck with now — winter IS over. Even if it snows, which it has this week, it barely sticks and doesn’t stick around. And there’re flowers! And the trees are coming around, though they seem to be taking their sweet time.

    Thanks LAMary and basset, for the Family Circus parodies. Good stuff!

    I fell asleep during “Grantchester” last night. They didn’t seem to even notice…

    1147 chars

  16. Deborah said on April 8, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    My Dad was head over heels for Dinah Shore, I can’t see her name without thinking of him sitting in front of the TV rapt with attention whenever she was on. That and the Chevrolet jingle for the ad with Dinah riding in a convertible, I should look for that on You Tube.

    269 chars

  17. Deborah said on April 8, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    There are tons of those commercials on You Tube, of course.

    59 chars

  18. Danny said on April 8, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    All of this talk about Kafka and Sartre reminded me of when I was nineteen and had a college roomie who was a Philosophy/Psychology major and we were all into Jim Morrison and The Doors. I decided to buy a copy of Immanuel Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason” to see what it was all about. Can’t say I enjoyed or appreciated the book, but the term a priori stuck in my memory banks.

    Fast forward to 2016, now there is a product cost management software called aPriori that many companies use to develop “should-cost” models on a part-by-part basis for their products. We’ve used it in several ways, but mainly to understand if we are being gouged by a supplier or conversely to understand if a supplier is way under cost and needs to increase their price to stay solvent.

    Wonder what Kant would have thought of all this.

    831 chars

  19. Scout said on April 8, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    There is a pretty large gay male population in Palm Springs, but when the Dinah show is in town the ladies import from all over the place. Being only a five hour drive from Phoenix, many golf enthusiasts of the lesbian persuasion make PS an annual pilgrimage.

    My weather woes are the exact opposite from most of you, and what I would love is a summer getaway somewhere surrounded by cool pines and a lake. Maybe when I retire we will pack up the cats and hit the road in an RV from June-September. Meanwhile, having grown up in the northeast I still find the southwest preferable overall, despite the ‘dry heat’ summers. I do not miss the gloom, the snow, the mud, the chill of what always seemed interminable winters at all, ever.

    735 chars

  20. Deborah said on April 8, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Scout, dry heat is so much better than hot and humid, isn’t it? NM summers are fantastic, cool at night and early morning. We only wished we had air conditioning one day last summer.

    We had our air conditioning unit removed from our new place here in Chicago because we hardly ever use air conditioning. It can be hot and humid here and it can be pretty uncomfortable at night but it’s not as bad as it was in St. Louis. The building we’re moving to was finished in 1951 and I don’t think it originally had air conditioning. The air conditioning units they have now are weird, clunky things that sit on the floor and block the lower part of one of the windows in each place. We would rather have the full view than a blocky piece of equipment that we would hardly ever use. We have a pretty good lake breeze so it’s bearable.

    829 chars

  21. Deborah said on April 8, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    As you can probably tell, I’m doing it again, avoiding moving chores. This time I’m commenting a lot on nn.c, I should get my book out and read instead, to give you folks a break.

    179 chars

  22. Dexter said on April 8, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Two ladies who flabbergasted me because of their on-screen personalities and stark beauty were Marilyn Monroe and Dinah Shore. They didn’t seem real to my little-boy comprehension. Then one day, and I was still a little boy, my uncle opened up the door to his room as he entered and I walked past, and I saw wonderful Marilyn on a calendar, tits out. I didn’t know what to think, I was so stunned. I had never seen anything like that, ever, live or in print.
    And a question with many opinions but no definitiveness…when the hell did people start calling Pall Mall cigarettes “paul maul”. My daddy smoked ’em and they were “pell mells”. Old You Tube adds verify my claim. Then, when I was in the army, my buddy told a story about a fat foreman at Fisher Body, Detroit, having a work-place cardiac arrest while pushing a defective car body off the assembly line, “paul maul hanging from his lip…”
    From then on, it seems everybody says “paul maul”. Well, what the hell anyway? 🙂 (from “Musings of a Moron”, by Dexter.

    1107 chars

  23. Scout said on April 8, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Deborah, I, for one, welcome your distractions!

    47 chars

  24. LAMary said on April 8, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Palm Springs is definitely more gay than it was 30 years ago. Many of the gay men I know either live there or weekend there.

    124 chars

  25. Sherri said on April 8, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    After 26 years on the West Coast, I’m never leaving. The weather in the SF Bay Area was just about perfect (but now they’ve got that terrible drought), and even though I complain about the dark here, the summers here are glorious. I don’t miss the weather in either Pittsburgh or Tennessee. It’s 74 and sunny right now, and it looks like we’ve got a few more nice days before the rain returns.

    393 chars

  26. MichaelG said on April 8, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    I’m another one who doesn’t feel badly about living where the weather is mild. We’ve had our first 80s this week. I don’t miss Chicago winters at all.

    I had a PET scan Wed and have a Dr’s apt on Mon. We’ll see. I’m going on another trip to Europe next Tuesday.

    Don’t want to sound like a picky old man but ‘The Stranger’ was written by Albert Camus. It’s a book I’ve always liked.

    I never realized that Palm Springs was so gay. I guess it’s been three or four years since I last had a job down there but still. I usually notice that kind of thing. One thing about the place, it’s freaking HOT there in the summer.

    632 chars

  27. MichaelG said on April 8, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    The more I see of Bernie Sanders, the less I like him. He’s also becoming more and more Naderesque. That business of his followers refusing to vote for down ticket issues and people really torques my jaws.

    207 chars

  28. ROGirl said on April 8, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Does anyone else remember the scene from “The Producers” (the original one with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder) when they were looking for the worst script in the world? They started reading “The Metamorphosis” and recited the first lines, and it was too awful even for them. I think they threw the book on the floor. For all of us who had to read it in school, it was hilarious.

    376 chars

  29. Suzanne said on April 8, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    I read The Stranger in high school. In French class. I think in French, maybe. All I really remember about it was that the one guy got mad because the towel thing in the bathroom wasn’t working and that the teacher had to explain to us how one of those rolling towel things worked. None of us had ever seen one.

    I think I need to revisit it.

    344 chars

  30. alex said on April 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    I had several college philosophy classes and don’t remember jack shit about any of them, even though I digested the materials and did well. What I do remember is meeting a young gent in NYC whose surname was Kafka and his first name was the same as mine and we kept running into each other unexpectedly over the years. I think the last time was in the ’90s at the fall car show in Hershey, PA. And he was somehow related to Franz. He was friends with one of my exes who did his undergrad at Rutgers and MFA at IU.

    My only takeaway from college philosophy: Hell is other people. The most practical advice I got in any of my humanities courses. Eternal damnation, I’m convinced, would be if there really were such a thing as an afterlife and it had to be spent in the company of the most unctuous of churchgoers. Or the most pompous of college philosophy students.

    865 chars

  31. Deborah said on April 8, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Coincidentally this video was linked to today on another blog I read called Swiss Miss Is today Kafka’s birthday or something?

    155 chars

  32. MichaelG said on April 8, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    Today I called the Sacto Bee to put a vacation hold on my subscription. The young lady with whom I spoke asked me if I wanted to donate those two weeks to I don’t know who. I told her no, just add them on to the end of my subscription. She replied that with the vacation hold I forfeited those two weeks. They would be just lost, the Bee no longer adds vacation holds on to subscriptions. I am now in the midst of an email back and forth with the Bee and with McClatchy. I believe they are flat ripping me off for two weeks of a subscription that I’ve already paid for. Unfortunately, I will be gone and won’t be able to pursue this. Vacation hold. Remember? Anyway, is this common practice now? Do other papers do this? Has anyone here at experienced this kind of piracy? I’m really pissed. And yes I told them not to renew my subscription after it expires.

    889 chars

  33. MichaelG said on April 8, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    So I’ve filed complaints with the DA’s office and with the BBB. The money’s nothing. Maybe $10 or $20. It’s the attitude and the sneaky, sleazy theft that got me. They really popped my cork. And I took great care to note to the DA’s office and to the BBB that when any of them choose to go on vacation the SacBee will happily relieve them of a week or two worth of their money.

    I may have some health problems but high blood pressure isn’t one of them.

    460 chars

  34. Jakash said on April 9, 2016 at 2:43 am

    Yeah, Michael G., the Chicago Tribune started doing that some time in the not-too-distant past with our print subscription. I don’t really know when, because I wasn’t really paying attention. When I found out, I thought maybe it was ’cause it was Sunday-only (plus digital), but probably not, based on what you’ve said. Years ago, I’d have been really pissed off, but these days, I pretty much took it in stride as just another example of the way consumers are taken for granted.

    Plus, I kinda feel like newspapers are more of a charity operation at this point than a business, anyway. PBS, NPR, newspaper — they all seem to need all the help they can get. You’re certainly right about the sneakiness, though. : )

    724 chars

  35. Dexter said on April 9, 2016 at 2:55 am

    Now that the last epi of that goddam OJ story has cabled, maybe people will quit drudging that shit up. Once was enough and I studiously avoided this re-hash.
    I hear great things about this new Dice show; it’s on cable also, and one can binge-watch all 6 epis immediately, as that is becoming the trend after Orange and HOC did it. I thought Dice was my age, nope, he’s like nance’s age.

    445 chars

  36. Deborah said on April 9, 2016 at 4:05 am

    Wow, Dennis Hastert is an unbelievable shit. To think he was Speaker of the House during most of the Bush years (W). “Stunning hypocrisy” indeed.

    145 chars

  37. Kim said on April 9, 2016 at 6:32 am

    MichaelG – To whom would you donate? Someone who hasn’t paid the bill? That is ridiculous. You go get ’em.

    106 chars

  38. Julie Robinson said on April 9, 2016 at 6:45 am

    MichaelG, this is a new one to me, and no doubt Fort Wayne Newspapers will pick up on it soon, but it does seem like you got spectacularly bad service. The donation should have been explained to you; mostly likely it was for a classroom program such as NIE–Newspapers in Education. But can they change their terms of service without informing you? I don’t think so. Fight the good fight.

    388 chars

  39. basset said on April 9, 2016 at 7:53 am

    Saw Robin Trower last night in an old factory building in Nashville, lots of gray hair in the audience including me. Even at 71 he can still get it, though. Got onto the guest list through a drawing at a hipster CD store, given the clientele there I may have been the only entry.

    280 chars

  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 9, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Coating of snow across central Ohio. April is indeed the cruelest month.

    Danny, just remember that Genghis Khan, but Immanuel Kant.

    134 chars

  41. basset said on April 9, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Had a freeze warning overnight, gonna be sunny and mid fifties today, though.

    And Trower is gonna be in the Fort on May 5 at C2G Music Hall, whatever that is.

    163 chars

  42. Julie Robinson said on April 9, 2016 at 9:42 am

    Snow here, too. Blech.

    22 chars

  43. Kirk said on April 9, 2016 at 10:27 am

    MichaelG, Columbus Dispatch has been doing the same thing for a few years now. I talked to a circulation boss about it on behalf of a friend of my sister’s. He reasoned that you don’t get a refund from the cable company when you go on vacation. I still think it’s chintzy.

    272 chars

  44. Kirk said on April 9, 2016 at 10:28 am

    I don’t recall a snowfall after the first time I mowed the grass in the spring, but my back yard was getting pretty thick so I mowed it yesterday, a few hours before the snow came.

    180 chars

  45. David C. said on April 9, 2016 at 10:41 am

    The rationale our paper gives for not doing vacation hold is that you automatically get a digital subscription with a dead tree subscription so you could still look at the paper even while on vacation. If you had donated your two weeks, do you think you could have taken your donation as a charitable deduction, or for your convenience, would the paper take the deduction for you?

    380 chars

  46. alex said on April 9, 2016 at 10:45 am

    C2G is a nondenominational fundamentalist church (Come 2 Go Ministries it’s called) whose sanctuary serves as a concert venue the rest of the week, and it’s definitely a first-rate sound stage. Sort of hippie Christian more than hardline and music is the thrust of its ministry.

    Can’t believe the blanket of snow this morning.

    Trying to motivate and continue work on refinishing our kitchen cabinets, the very last stage of our renovation project. The old beat-up wood finish was actually quite warm against the new stainless steel countertops. The new color, a muted minty green, is quite a different look and makes me wonder if I should have stuck with a warm color.

    Ordered two new chairs so far, but not the ones I was admiring last week. These are swiveling barrel chairs. I had sat in one in a store in Fort Wayne and it was comfy and just the perfect size for the space where I want to use them, but the available colors were hideous. This was at Art Van, a Michigan retailer that recently opened up here. Even though it would take 8-10 weeks to order the chair through them, they were insistent that it was available only in a limited range of garish colors. So I was surprised to find the same chair at Klopfenstein’s, a locally based retailer, where I can order it in any fabric and color I wish. So that’s where I’m doing business from now on. And I like the chairs so much I might go back and order a couple more.

    1436 chars

  47. Deborah said on April 9, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Alex, picking colors for your dwelling is really hard. It was always easy for me to pick colors for work projects and in fact I was considered pretty good at it and people came to me for advice. But when it comes to your own place where you’ll have to actually live with the colors it’s a drag and takes me days and days to make a decision. I worked with a guy who used to mull over colors incessantly for his projects, he’d hold up swatches and squint and walk closer and further away from them, and then in the end he always picked the same color for everything, Dove Gray.

    I’m going to one of my favorite places on earth today, IKEA. We have our car for about another week before my husband sells it to a guy who works in the parking garage of our building who’s been coveting it for years. Then we are sans car in Chicago, no more paying exorbitant rates for parking, no more insurance payments. We will use Zip cars when we need to drive, which will be rare we hope, and then there are always cabs for those other times where it’s too far to walk but too close to get a car. We still have our Jeep in New Mexico to get our fill of driving.

    1147 chars

  48. alex said on April 9, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Yay IKEA! Wish there was one near here. I’d have to drive to Schaumburg or Cincinnati. I think there’s one near Detroit too. Indy’s getting one but not for a couple of years.

    IKEA has some shoji-ish room divider doors that I’ve been considering, although we might just make our own to save us from having to do a bunch of framing in.

    I remember agonizing over the colors the last time I decorated this place, and though I got a lot of compliments, the colors just struck me as gloomy after living with them. So this time around I’ve done everything in a warm white and it’s bright and cheery and makes my artworks look like they’re hanging in a museum. Choosing the right white isn’t easy either, but this one distinctly looked better with the natural stone and flooring materials in the house and I know I did good.

    822 chars

  49. beb said on April 9, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    My wife loves IKEA, too. There is near Detroit, in Canton. It’s right off I-275 so it’s pretty convenient for out-of-towners. My wife took me there once. I was fascinated by their model floor plans for different sized apartments, going down to 300 square feet. I thought that was insanely small back then. Now it seems like goal for a lot of Tiny House Nation people. I still think it’s insanely small.

    409 chars

  50. Dave said on April 9, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    On this day in 1982, I shoveled out our Lima, OH driveway. I know it was 1982 because our daughter was a newborn. That made me decide we needed a snowblower.

    Now, all these years later, I’m sitting in Florida reading about the snow. Like some other recent comments, I didn’t think I would ever want to duck winter but here I am.

    Today’s my 66th birthday and that’s why I’m certain of when I had to clean out the driveway.

    434 chars

  51. alex said on April 9, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Happy birthday Dave! We’re on our way out the door to celebrate a friend’s sixtieth.

    84 chars

  52. brian stouder said on April 9, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Happy birthday, Dave!

    My lovely wife wants to replace my favorite chair, and she wants a recliner,and today we saddled-up* and went to Klopfenstein’s and then the new Ashley Home Store (on Jefferson), and she’s leaning heavily toward one at Klop.

    Her birthday is just less than 2 weeks away, so all is good!

    *Issue #1 one, for Shelby and Chloe and Pam and I was – where shall we lunch?

    I was voting for Noodles or Firehouse Subs; Chloe wanted McDonald’s or Taco Bell (her chances at victory were roughly the same as Ben Carson’s); Shelby wanted McAllister’s or 800 degrees (I referred to that place as less-clean-than-Chipotle’s); and Pam and I were indecisive, except that Noodles sounded good and there it is and we rolled toward their parking lot and Pam dithered and then I said (in as decisive a voice as possible) “Let’s eat here!” – and we did, and everyone ended up happy!

    892 chars

  53. Julie Robinson said on April 9, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Based on personal and family members’ experiences I would stay far away from both Ashley and Art Van. The stuff looks good in the storeroom but doesn’t hold up well at all. It’s really hard to tell with furniture.

    There’s another IKEA in the Chicago area, in Bolingbrook on 355, and from here it’s about the same distance as Schaumburg. The bonus is it’s never as busy. I can never talk the hubster into the Detroit location because, well, he just likes Chicago better.

    Happy Birthday, Dave! You should be glad to be in Florida this April.

    545 chars

  54. Deborah said on April 9, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    I thought I had added another comment about getting back from IKEA, but I must not have hit submit. We usually go to the Bolingbrook one because it’s easier for us to drive there from the city. It was very crowded today, checkout lines were almost unbearable. I also didn’t get everything I wanted because they didn’t have it, which was disappointing. Now I have to go to the Container Store to see if I can find the rest. Bummer, it’s usually cheaper at IKEA. What I like best are the bargain bins where you can pick up really useful stuff for 79 cents or 99 cents, I usually stock up on that stuff because they never have it again when you go back. I usually get there around once a year. There are no IKEAs in NM.

    716 chars

  55. Julie Robinson said on April 9, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Sounds like Chicagoland discovered Bolingbrook.

    47 chars

  56. Connie said on April 9, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Out of town visitors always want to go to Canton/Detroit Ikea, an easy shot down 275 from here. Our first trip to Ikea was Schaumberg in the late 90s. I remember two hours and 80 dollars.

    Now that Legoland has opened we have a new visitor destination to try. Must be accompanied by a child!

    293 chars

  57. Deborah said on April 9, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    From Slate about the ethics of Talese and the motel voyeur

    174 chars

  58. Brandon said on April 10, 2016 at 12:48 am

    On Susan Bernofsky’s new translation of The Metamorphosis.

    89 chars

  59. ROGirl said on April 10, 2016 at 7:02 am

    I went to Ikea once and couldn’t deal with the crowds, plus the configuration of the store forced you to walk through the entire thing before you could exit. You couldn’t move back against the crowds to get out: there is only one entrance. I get really uncomfortable in crowded stores and look for a way to escape immediately, and this place was getting to me.

    360 chars

  60. basset said on April 10, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Our only problem with IKEA is that the nearest one’s in Atlanta, a city we do our best to avoid. There’s another on the far side of Cincinnati, about an hour further; maybe this year on our annual drive to Michigan we’ll hit that one and the mega-Cabela’s outside Detroit, recreational retail.

    294 chars

  61. brian stouder said on April 10, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Deborah – thanks for the link; interesting stuff.

    I still think there’s a good chance that story is largely fabricated (very Rear Window-ey, right down to accidently witnessing a murder), but who knows?

    205 chars

  62. MichaelG said on April 10, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Happy birthday, Dave!

    I enjoy taking a walk through Ikea every six months or so. I’ll go at ten on a Tuesday morning. No crowds then. I’m overdue.

    156 chars

  63. Deborah said on April 10, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Well we sold the car this morning, I was surprised I thought my husband said it would be next Sunday but I was mistaken. So there’s one happy guy down in the parking garage. We’ve lived here for 13 years and that guy has worked there the whole time and he loves that car. He knows how well we took care of it and how rarely we drove it. It feels good to be rid of it, we were paid up for parking until the end of the month but my husband didn’t want to wait until the last minute. Only 18 days to go until we move and I’ll be gone for a week of that. We started taking stuff over to the storage unit in the new place yesterday because the unit is full of plaster dust and lots of work is still going on. It’s looking good though.

    729 chars

  64. Jakash said on April 10, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    We like Ikea well enough. Unfortunately, everybody else and her brother seem to, as well. Haven’t made it to the Bolingbrook one, but I’d sooner spend an hour in whatever circle of Hell is the least crowded than join the herd in Schaumburg on a Saturday afternoon.

    Good Slate link, Deborah. I was really outraged by that New Yorker piece when Nancy posted it the other day. I waited a couple days and then googled to check in on the national opprobrium I was sure Talese must be facing, but all I saw at that point was one article from the Denver Post just reporting on the article. Lots of stuff about his OTHER current dust-up with regard to not naming enough female writer influences in some interview, which is a total non-issue, IMHO.

    Anyway, the Slate thing quotes him: “I also feel responsible for communicating his very complicated and controversial relationship with his life-long compulsion to invade other people’s privacy.” Uh, yeah, he IS responsible for that, duh!, though why he’s more concerned about the complicated voyeur than he was about, oh, say, the MURDER VICTIM is troublesome. It may not have been illegal, but it certainly seems unethical to me that he didn’t turn the guy in to the authorities when he first found out about him. Though I also agree with Brian in having wondered while I was reading it whether the article didn’t have a substantial fictional component.

    Also, Neil Steinberg addressed this the other day. He concludes his column with “The question, ‘Should Gay Talese have kept his word?’ will echo. Though as a journalist, the answer is easy: certainly. There wouldn’t be a book otherwise. We’re not a social service.” Gotta say, a number of the commenters on his blog disagreed with him about that, as do I.

    1874 chars

  65. ROGirl said on April 10, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Here’s another response to Talese.

    174 chars

  66. Julie Robinson said on April 10, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Most IKEAS do have that House on the Rock design, where there’s only one way out, which is through. At House on the Rock that includes a gift shop in the middle of the place. The one in Schaumburg is a different design, more circular, with two or three floors where you can look across and see the rest of the store. I definitely like that layout better, and I can see where the other design could make you feel claustrophobic.

    427 chars

  67. Deborah said on April 10, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Retail designers used to want to make you get lost so you would wander around more and make serendipitous purchases along the way. Then studies were done that showed it made shoppers mad when things weren’t clearly findable in stores. Some designers still do it, I find it extremely irritating. One of the worst is Macy’s on State St, in the old Marshall Fields store. I want to pummel the people who work there when they send you on a wild goose chase if you happen to make the mistake of asking for directions. The IKEA layouts don’t bother me because they have directories all over the place that show you where you are in relation to where you want to go. It gives me sensory overload when I walk through and try to take it all in, but I’m usually pretty focused on what I want and where to find it.

    803 chars

  68. alex said on April 10, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Just solved my guest room/study furnishing quandary with these pieces from West Elm. Eight to ten weeks. [sigh]

    210 chars

  69. Deborah said on April 10, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Very nice Alex.

    15 chars

  70. Little Bird said on April 11, 2016 at 1:47 am

    If you pick up a map at IKEA, there are shortcuts marked so you can get through without having to see EVERYTHING. You just have to be REALY good at map reading. And even then, it’s not super easy.

    198 chars