Bringing home the paper.

Thank you for all your kind thoughts about our probable success in the SPJ-Detroit contest, but it wasn’t quite so grand. We have always entered the Online category, ‘cuz that’s what we are, and always done well, because there aren’t very many online-only publications in Michigan. Which is fine, but you want your wins to be significant. So this year we entered the largest print category, up against the big dailies.

And we won three awards. But the one that had my name on it (along with, y’know, three others, and the unseen name of our editor, who made it immeasurably better) was a first place.


That was the college-drinking project, fyi.

So it was a good night. I had three glasses of wine and regretted it yesterday, because I am old and can no longer handle liquor. (Next stop: The grave.) Either that, or I didn’t have enough to eat, a strong possibility as I try to go Clean again. It was still a fun night. One of Alan’s staffers won Young Journalist of the Year, so a good time was had on both sides of the Nall-Derringer Co-Prosperity Sphere.

May I just say? While you guys were carrying the load here over the last 48 hours, I was highly amused by Danny’s comment on the Tinder date, a very only-in-California story. And I was moved and heartened by MichaelG’s travel to Europe. Sail on, sailor.

Perhaps weighed down by trying to process a mere 12 ounces of wine, Wednesday was a snoozer. Fortunately, the bloggage is not. Somehow I got on the Wayne County prosecutor’s press-release mailing list, and every so often it delivers a gem:

An American Airlines co-pilot, John Francis Maguire, 50 (DOB 9/30/65), of Pennsylvania has been charged with the misdemeanor charge of :Aircraft – Operating Under the Influence. On March 26, 2016, at approximately 6:45 a.m. at Detroit Metropolitan Airport it is alleged that Maguire in the cockpit of an American Airlines plane and was under the influence of alcohol when he was detained and then arrested. He was later released by authorities on the same day.

Maguire will be arraigned and have a pre-trial hearing on May 11, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. in 34th District Court.

Prosecutor Worthy said, “Although we do not often hear of pilots being allegedly intoxicated, the laws apply to everyone – whether one is on the roads or airways.”

There’s nothing worse than drunken white girls, especially when they run in packs:

It’s a Friday night in Provincetown, in late August, and the mise-en-scène of this delicate ecosystem, plopped atop a sandbar in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, is being threatened by a new and unfamiliar scourge. They are called, simply, The Bachelorettes.

Provincetown is, of course, as gay as …a very gay thing.

Determined to find some bachelorettes who will let me spend the night bar-hopping around Provincetown with them, I go to MacMillan Pier on Saturday morning to await the first boat from Boston. Immediately, I encounter a sextuplet of blondes wearing team bride tank tops. Maid of honor Stacey will not shake my hand. I ask if I can hang with them tonight.

“I don’t think so,” Stacey says. “Girls only.”

I am completely befuddled. “In Provincetown?” I ask. She is standing only feet away from a gaggle of bearded men sipping Muscle Milk and talking about Beyoncé.

“Sorry,” Stacey says in a smug, dense way.

I’m told they do that here, too, but I haven’t been invited to a bachelorette party in decades.

Finally, while I know there are a great many charter-school foes in this readership (coff-Brian-coff), after a few years of reading and reporting on them, I think the whole movement was best summed up by a charter expert who told me, “I’ve been in charters so good they make me want to give up a tenured professorship and go teach in them. And there are some that are just terrible.”

Here’s one in Detroit that Bridge wrote about. Guess which kind it is?

Now I’m going to swallow a melatonin and try to make up for the sin of drinking on a Tuesday night.

Posted at 12:15 am in Current events, Detroit life, Media |

31 responses to “Bringing home the paper.”

  1. MarcG said on April 14, 2016 at 1:36 am

    The hen parties in Provincetown remind me of the stag parties that flooded Riga, after RyanAir introduced very cheap flights to Riga from such wonderful places as Manchester, London, and Dublin. Planeloads of drunk Brits, who thought they were all god’s gift to eastern european women, would flood the old town on weekends. It got so bad that special police units were set up to deal with them. Almost worse was encountering a group of drunk brits coming out of the local bar or brothel while walking my daughter to school in the morning. Of course, the russians knew what to do with them. They would get them into one of their bars, have a girl cozy up and ask to buy her a drink, and when the bar tab comes, OH MY GOD, the drink cost 500 EUR! Anyway, between getting ripped off by the russians, the angry cold hostility of the Latvians, and the welcoming of the local jails, the word eventually got ’round that Riga was not such a good place for drunken displays of latent colonialism. And, some other poor city got new cheap RyanAir flights, Slovenia or somewhere, so they are dealing with the bitish stag parties now.

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  2. Cathie from Canada said on April 14, 2016 at 2:10 am

    Congratulations on your award! Well deserved.

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  3. Brandon said on April 14, 2016 at 3:09 am

    The bachelorettes, or their late-60s analogues, probably inspired The Guess Who to write “American Woman.”

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  4. Dexter said on April 14, 2016 at 3:29 am

    If Maguire’s malfeasance serves as his moment of clarity (and the odds are greatly against that) and he is determined to fly again, he has a long row to hoe.
    At age fifty, he can forget about being or achieving captain status, but with diligence, rehab, many favorable reports from a bevy of high-dollar psychologists and psychiatrists (yes, both, and several of each) it’s possible for him to attain medical clearance and get accredited again as an F.O.
    I happen to know this because in my AA community I know someone who this happened to. Airline pilots don’t really get a true second chance once they get checked and are found to have alcohol in their system. The system makes them grovel, and best case, maybe get a job making about 15% of what they were making. The pay levels between senior captains and re-instated First Officers ( getting captain rank back is a long track to run)is unbelievable. I lve the truck drivers, no slam intended but a brand new truck driver fresh from truck driver school will make a little more than a former senior airline pilot re-instated as a First Officer, or co-pilot.

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  5. Sandy said on April 14, 2016 at 5:35 am

    Love the picture with the bachelorette story. Why are the ladies mounting the bicycles backwards? Maybe I’m just a grumpy middle-aged woman, but today’s brides irritate me. A relative had six bridal showers. Who needs that much stuff? A particular pet peeve is arriving at my hair salon on Saturday morning only to be faced with a bridal party. Typically they have a professional photographer in tow, along with breakfast food, mimosas, and kids. Congrats, Nancy, on your award.

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  6. MichaelG said on April 14, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Congratulations! That’ll look great on your wall.

    The picture of that pack of girls is terrifying.

    Things worked out all right in the tub. I should have mentioned that there was a shower included therein so I didn’t have to endure the horror of wallowing in my own dirty water. Of course the drain is slow so I ended up with water sloshing around my ankles. There’s enough stuff to hang on to so I was able to make it in and out just fine.

    I’d forgotten how good the bread here is. Rolls, loaves, croissants, it’s all superb. I don’t know what it is or how they do it. Also the wine is so good too. Just order a red, Dao, Duro, Alentejano, it doesn’t seem to matter. Slept like a log.

    It’s chilly (58 – 60) and rainy. I wasn’t able to make out the numbers or writing on the thermostat in my room. The fan part was easy. An engraving of a big fan next to one button and a little fan next to another button. Two buttons for temps. In my experience the right button will up the temp and the left button will lower it. I kept pressing the right button and it never warmed up. I still slept well.

    This AM I was able to see the thermostat in daylight and the buttons are reversed. I pushed the left one and warmed the place up.

    It’s still raining, not hard, but still. I’ve been lagging, but I guess I’ll go out and see how things are. I can always flee back here.

    What Bill said yesterday about tickets to museums and cathedrals and so on. Order up your tickets on line. Your hotel desk can do that for you. This applies everywhere.

    I can’t speak to Rome but Venice is a wonderful, atmospheric place. Crossing a canal you can just see a veiled, robed woman stepping into a gondola in the midnight mist. Just walk. There are wonderful little squares and bars (which are different in Europe) and things everywhere.

    I have a reservation tonight at Gambrinus which T tells me is supposed to be the best restaurant in town. I never believe that there is such a thing as the very best of but I’m hoping for a pretty good dinner. Here goes. Out into the rain.

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  7. ROGirl said on April 14, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Congrats on the award. Well done! Jolly good job!

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 14, 2016 at 7:50 am

    Brandon, I’m glad I’m not the only one who was humming that towards reading the end of the story.

    Didn’t know anything about Jen Harris before, but loved her quote: “Generally,” Harris continues, “women are caring people. Women feel terrible when they think they’ve hurt someone. If a drag queen or a bar manager plopped down with these women and actually talked to them, and said, ‘I feel like you’re objectifying us and you make me feel uncomfortable,’ here’s how that would go down: One girl would be a bitch — only because she was confused. One would yell about it. And the other three would feel terrible. And the sixth one would bawl her eyes out, and not leave until everyone was friends again. The next day, she’d be the one to send an Edible Arrangement.”

    She adds, “Women are way more dynamic than the cages people put them in, and this one just happens to be a hen cage.”

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 14, 2016 at 7:51 am

    MichaelG, thanks for letting us hitchhike with you through Europe!

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  10. alex said on April 14, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Just as I think politics couldn’t get dirtier or nastier, I find stories like this from the middle of the last century. And it destroys my faith in humanity all over again. Good reading though.

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  11. basset said on April 14, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Here in Nashville if you see a “pedal tavern,” a kind of bike-powered wagon, it’s often carrying a bridal party, usually drunk and loud:

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  12. nancy said on April 14, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Marc’s comment about roving bands of shitfaced Brits in Latvia is dead-on. When we were reporting the Game Day project last fall, I did a little recreational reading about drinking cultures around the globe, mainly because I was tired of hearing about how Everything Is Better In Europe, Where The Enlightened Populace Has Life Pretty Much Figured Out. Not true — binge drinking is a problem everywhere the economy is a problem, so you have plenty of misery, and oceans of alcohol, in the U.K., Russia and elsewhere. (Can’t forget the Aussies, but there it’s really part of the culture.) The story I most recall was about bachelor/bachelorette weekends in Brighton, with horrifying details; it sounded like American spring break times 5, plus a lot more squalor.

    On edit: There used to be a go-go boy bar deep in the west side of Detroit called Watts Club Mozambique. A great name — Elmore Leonard set a shootout there in one of his ’70s-era books. It was mainly a black gay bar, and the dancers were said to be fantastic. It burned to the ground a couple years ago, and in googling around, I found an online discussion among the bar’s patrons about the black bachelorette parties that would crash the place on the weekends and paw the dancers, spill drinks and carry on like fools. What a scene.

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  13. Danny said on April 14, 2016 at 8:56 am

    “Sorry,” Stacey says in a smug, dense way.

    That is perfect writing.

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  14. alex said on April 14, 2016 at 9:09 am

    My gay friends in Chicago say the bar scene has become overrun with straight women. I guess it’s a thing.

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  15. Deborah said on April 14, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Congratulations Nancy. And MichaelG, I love reading about your travels.

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  16. Connie said on April 14, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Yesterday I went looking for local news about the journalism awards. The Detroit News had a nice article about awards won by their staff. Crain’s had a nice article about the winners on their staff.

    Nancy made the Deadline Detroit winners list today.

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  17. Jerry said on April 14, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Nancy, congratulations on the award- well deserved.

    MarcG mentions drunken Brits. I’m afraid we have had a reputation for heavy drinking and public brawling for centuries. I seem to remember a mention in one of Shakespear’s plays but I’m too lazy to check it out. Stag and Hen parties are something to be avoided. On the night before my wedding my brother and I went to the pub and had a couple of pints and went back home. I don’t regret the lack of something more exciting.

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  18. MaryRC said on April 14, 2016 at 11:23 am

    My gay friends in Chicago say the bar scene has become overrun with straight women.

    It’s a way for women to go out with their friends, drink and dance without being harassed by obnoxious straight guys. Unfortunately it seems too easy for them to become the obnoxious harrassers instead. As for the article, no matter how rude some of these women are, I don’t think the party of women in the photograph asked for their pictures to be taken like that; it seems unkind to say the least.

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  19. Andrea said on April 14, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Congrats, Nancy.

    And I agree with Sandy. All this emphasis on the wedding, as if we all are living in a reality TV show. It’s gross, and really distorts the point.

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  20. adrianne said on April 14, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Nance, you and Team Bridge did a fantastic job on the game-day drinking stories. Glad to see those journalism judges thought so, too!

    Apparently the Brits have a terrible rep for shit-faced drunken behavior at resorts all over Europe. Stay away – far away – during peak vacation season.

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  21. Bob (not Greene) said on April 14, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Say it with me, news folks. We’re No. 1 — Again!

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  22. nancy said on April 14, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    The lack of a photo caption tells me that could easily be a public-domain photo filched off Flickr or another site. It could be another country entirely, for all I know.

    Loved this passage, though:

    I’m chatting with Yaz outside his DJ booth at Wave Bar when a hen party gyrates through the door. Now Yaz has a simple solution to get rid of them. “I just immediately put on gay nightclub classics. Classic disco and show tunes are the audio equivalent of Mace to those people.”

    No wonder I’m so comfortable in gay bars; classic disco and show tunes are catnip to me.

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  23. brian stouder said on April 14, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    1. Congratulations to the House of Derringer (et al) for superb work and all-around excellence 2. Kudos to Michael G, who is living life to the fullest (one cannot do any better than that) 3. I nominate Jeff’s #8 post for Thread-Win, but Alex’s linked piece about the hardball political stuff from mid-last century was marvelous. Sort of dovetails (in fun-house mirror fashion) what Eagle Forum is doing to the ancient Phyliss Schlafly, even as we speak. 4. Don’t anyone go to a play today (speaking of another Derringer, from a century and a half ago) 5. I plead guilty as charged to having no regard for publically-funded Charter Schools (et al). The deal seems to be precisely what conservatives used to say they opposed: throw money at a problem to make it go away. Locally elected school boards, and locally accountable officials running public institutions, open to public scrutiny, is the way to go – always, I say. 6. That is a marvelous, marvelous (day-brightening!) photo of our Proprietress, indeed.

    Back to work!

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  24. alex said on April 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Brian, very much enjoying the Schlafly schadenfreude. Hope she’s ready for the special place in Hell she’s earned through her life’s work.

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  25. basset said on April 14, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Mace to me as well, I’m afraid. Way to go on the award!

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  26. brian stouder said on April 14, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Alex – you and I both.

    Even when I was a right-wing whacko, I had no use for her (or Falwell, or Robertson, or the others who were more into defining their enemies than cultivating their friends)

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  27. Sherri said on April 14, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    Alex, You Must Remember This is a surprisingly great podcast. Karina Longworth is in the middle of a whole series on the Hollywood blacklist and the HUAC, and I highly recommend it. She did an earlier series on the Manson Family that was also fascinating.

    Another podcast I’m enjoying this election season is Slate’s Whistlestop podcast, which looks at stories from previous Presidential elections. The most recent episode of that is about George Wallace’s 1968 campaign.

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  28. Sherri said on April 14, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    One Senator blocked money for Flint in the energy bill. We can argue about whether this was a good use of money, we can discuss the problems of Senate rules that allow one Senator to gum up the works so thoroughly, but let’s remember the name of that one Senator: Mike Lee, of Utah. Why is that name important? He’s the best friend of Ted Cruz in the Senate, and Ted Cruz has talked about him as a potential Supreme Court nominee.

    I don’t care if you think Hillary Clinton calls up Jamie Dimon every morning to ask what she should do, give a minute of thought to the idea of Mike Lee on the Supreme Court for the next 30 or 40 years and then try and tell me that there’s no difference between Clinton and the Republicans.

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  29. susan said on April 14, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    I collect headlines. Found a good one today, on yahoo “news.” That would also make a nice cartoon, which I’m thinking about.

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  30. Sherri said on April 14, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    So, who knew, tumors love ridges!

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  31. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 14, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    A lawyer/asst. county prosecutor of my acquaintance, seeing my parallel rantings on Facebook about the surge of requests I’ve been getting this past year to “put a scare into these kids, wouldja?” gave me a very helpful link about the utter stupidity and ineffectiveness of “Scared Straight” type programs — not only that they don’t work, they perversely seem to be the only program guaranteed to *increase* the rate of juvenile offenses in a population.

    Seriously, anything I can do to convince people that this is the absolutely wrong approach will make me feel like my work is worthwhile . . . please read and pass along in your own circles.

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