Our best friends.

I think it was last week, when I was running around lower Ferndale on this and that errand, that I started thinking about how we treat our dogs. There’s a small hobo encampment under an overpass, and not far away, a pet boutique on Woodward called Fur Babies or something, a term I’m always struck by.

I coo and baby-talk to Wendy as much as anyone, but I never call her a fur baby, although I refer to myself as her mom, Alan as dad and Kate as sissy, so I can’t really talk. The biggest gift you can give an animal in your care is to simply try to understand them, to the best of your ability, knowing you’ll never get it all the way right. And while they show their devotion to us in many ways, our relationship is not parental. At all.

I think back on the way we treated my first dog, which we got when I was in junior high school, and want to cringe. Housebreaking was done by rubbing their nose in their accidents. You corrected chewing and other slights with a rolled-up newspaper across the nose. Crate-training was unheard-of; while you might confine a dog to the kitchen or another room with a baby gate or something, for the most part, when you left the house the dog was simply left to its own devices and expected to figure things out. If they didn’t, if they chewed up a sofa pillow or magazine or something, we applied the rolled-up newspaper. This was a commonly accepted training practice; everybody did it.

Don’t get me started on spaying and neutering. OK, go ahead. Only female dogs were ever sterilized, but often only after a litter or two — people spoke of “letting” their dog have puppies first, as though reproduction was a matter of personal happiness for the animal. Males were never neutered, because it was an understanding that no male would willingly inflict castration on another, even in a different species. And so lots of mutts happened, because here was the other thing: Dogs were generally free to roam. Not every dog; some were confined to a yard or tied out on a long line. But an amazing number were simply let out in the morning and did their dog thing in the great outdoors all day, at least in good weather.

Alan’s dad had a pair of Irish setters that lived in the garage, year-round. The cat stayed out all night long. Sometimes she brought home a frog.

Some exceptions: Cats were routinely neutered, because tomcats spray, but the females were more often left to go in and out of heat. But cats were hardly ever confined to a house.

There were consequences to this, of course. Dogs getting run over by cars was a thing that happened, a lot. Stepping in poop was another thing that happened, often, because no one carried bags on walks. Dogs and cats defecated where they wanted and it was left to the property owner to clean up or step in. Oh, and lots of dogs ran away and were never seen again.

This was just pet culture.

When did it change? Hard to know; I went through a long pet-free phase, but when we got Spriggy, everything was different. He was my birthday present in 1991, and Alan bought a book by the Monks of New Skete, who are known for their beautifully bred and trained German Shepherds. From them, and others, we learned just how wrong we’d been doing it. Housebreaking was learned through routine and reward, with messes cleaned up quickly and without incident. We used a crate. He was neutered promptly at six months and needless to say, never roamed free. When we walked him, we carried poop bags. The world was different.

Things seem to have shifted a gear again. I can’t tell you how many people I know who share their beds with their dogs, and not little dogs, either. Sometimes multiple dogs. Those cushy dog beds Orvis sells — my first dog slept on an old blanket on a concrete floor, in the basement — are only for when the family, “the pack,” isn’t sleeping together in the king-size. It’s routine for people to expect to take their dogs everywhere, on vacation, out to the bar, even to work. I’ve known people who get insulted when told their dogs aren’t welcome at a particular place, because of allergies or whatever reason, including because it’s a dog. People do DNA tests on their dogs, expensive surgeries for conditions that would have suggested euthanasia just 15 or 20 years ago. Aging dogs get assistive devices, slings to help big ones up and down stairs, even diapers.

You can see why I think of dogs when I see homeless camps. Most middle-class dogs live better, eat better and certainly sleep more comfortably than a great many humans.

It’s not just household pets, either. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are way out there on the fringe, but the fringe has a way of working its way to the center. Today I saw this ridiculous PETA video about what normal people call selective breeding and PETA calls “rape.” Yes, rape. Of animals. “I am you, only different,” one woman says, holding up a photo of a cow.

No. Sorry, but you’re not. This is what I mean about understanding animals, about their essential nature. What are they about? In many ways, the dogs of my childhood, turned out to sniff and poop and hang out at the bitch-in-heat’s house, may have had a better life than the pampered, bed-sleeping ones of today, provided they could avoid getting hit by cars. I don’t believe dogs want to necessarily live like humans. I think they want to be dogs, if a dog can be said to want anything so abstract as the experience of being themselves.

Here’s Wendy, not minding the floor one bit:


And woo, looky here — another whole politics-free post to take us into the weekend.

One piece of bloggage: Farhad Manjoo states the obvious, that we’re living in a fact-free world, and in posting it I’m dedicating it to everyone who clogged my social media with the “news” that the Chicago Tribune was calling on Hillary Clinton to step down, when in fact it was one Tribune columnist, and the jerk one at that.

Happy weekending, all. Not much longer now.

Posted at 9:48 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

84 responses to “Our best friends.”

  1. Suzanne said on November 3, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    We have some friends from years ago who used to visit once a year or so and always, always brought their dog. Which they penned in our enclosed porch and which crapped all over the porch every time. They’d clean it up, but never seemed to grasp that it might bother us. We don’t see them much now, by choice partly due to the crapping dog and now, the Facebook rants complaining about the lazy slackers who are takers while their daughter is on government assistance and the husband is on disability.

    We never neutered our dog when I was a kid. He surely has offspring all over the neighborhood.

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  2. Andrea said on November 3, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    I partially paid my way through grad school by dog/cat/plant/teen sitting, mostly on Chicago’s wealthy north shore. I got these gigs through word of mouth, and somehow got the reputation of being a big dog and cat lover, which was far from the truth. I did like teenagers, and still do, which is good, because I currently have three of them.

    To the post, I saw that kind of behavior 25 years ago in these communities and it used to raise my eyebrows. Being in grad school for social work, I was face to face with the contradictions of studying all of the ways we have tried and failed to address human misery over the centuries, while at the same time preparing elaborate meals and following over-the-top rituals for these fur babies. I spent 20 minutes a day following complicated recipes for dogs (here’s one: half-pound of raw stew meat, with grated garlic, cottage cheese, a splash of apple cider vinegar, grated or chopped vegetables, a sprinkling of alfalfa sprouts) while boiling water for my own ramen noodles.

    Clarkie prefers root vegetables in the morning and leafy greens in the evening; Molly must have her paws bathed in warm soapy water and towel dried each time she walks inside of the house; Spotty listens to classical music anytime you leave the house; Tabby can only drink from distilled water that is in motion (i.e. while you pour it); Susie must get her insulin shots every day; Marky must be carried outside every day to poo and up the stairs to sleep, because he is a doggy-paraplegic with his spine fused.

    The gigs were really steady for nearly two years — I hardly ever even stayed in my own apartment — until one day, near the end of grad school, when one of my regulars came home early from an overseas trip and discovered that I did not actually share a bed with their shit-for-brains purebred collie. They were aghast. He can’t sleep alone! they cried. Human babies sleep alone every night, I responded (this before I had ever had one of my own.) I simply could not share a bed or a room with that stinky, hairy, farting mess with dog breath, so I had moved down the hall each time to the guest bedroom. I was fired, and the word of mouth jobs that had been so lucrative dried up pretty quick.

    I didn’t mind, though, because if I had been an indifferent animal caregiver before, this excessive catering to four-legged creatures while so many humans needed this same kind of nurturing, definitely turned me against pet ownership.

    And as a bit of an ironic coda to this story, my own babies never slept alone.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 4, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Oh, facts. Pfffttt. [airy wave of hand]

    I’m not so sure, though, that there was a golden age in living memory of fact-based cultural consensus. I don’t think we’ve stepped back so much as we’ve raised the curtain . . . and how to get more facts on the table and into the discourse is still an open and ongoing question.

    It’s been a painful confrontation this fall with the amount of unsubstantiated everything going around, I would agree. Everyone has their own facts, which is like a group of kids back on the empty lot coming to play ball, and no one has a bat, but everyone is bringing their own ball, which they all insist be used. Hard to get to the first inning with that attitude.

    Did I mention the Cubs won the World Series? You’re welcome.

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  4. Sherri said on November 4, 2016 at 2:13 am

    I’m going to have to disagree with your claim that the Cubs won the World Series. This is an even year, so it is obvious that the Giants are the real winners, having won in 2010, 2012, 2014, and now 2016. Any other outcome is a conspiracy crafted by flyover country to delegitimize the obviously superior baseball of the coasts.

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  5. Sherri said on November 4, 2016 at 2:14 am

    I’m going to have to disagree with your claim that the Cubs won the World Series. This is an even year, so it is obvious that the Giants are the real winners, having won in 2010, 2012, 2014, and now 2016. Any other outcome is a conspiracy crafted by flyover country to delegitimize the obviously superior baseball of the coasts.

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  6. David C. said on November 4, 2016 at 6:16 am

    Good, but long, piece on Russian interference in the election. They should hook poor, dead Ronnie and/or Jeane Kirkpatrick up to a generator. They could power the whole country.


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  7. Suzanne said on November 4, 2016 at 7:02 am

    LOL, Sherri! I had not thought of the conspiracy angle for the Cubs win. Sadly, I do not doubt that there are people out there who would believe it was faked, orchestrated to get people’s minds off the Clinton emails, you name it! When you live in conspiracy world, there is no limit!

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  8. Linda said on November 4, 2016 at 7:16 am

    I’m sorry, but I don’t think dogs and cats had it better in the good old days. Endless breeding, dying fairly young of now-curable diseases and accidents does not seem superior. And creating tons of pups and kittens to be gassed is not suffused with a warm romantic glow, either. They might not want to live like humans, but living a Hobbesian life ain’t great, either.

    OTOH, humans should know when to call it quits on life-lengthening procedures. When a pet is old, and chemo and surgery will likely lengthen their life months while dragging through a world of pain, give it up. Your inability to endure separation from them is not a good reason to torture pets.

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    • nancy said on November 4, 2016 at 9:19 am

      I’ll grant you that it wasn’t an easier life, but it was perhaps closer to what they evolved to do.

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  9. Deborah said on November 4, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Our cats slept with us. Before we got them I said we’d never do that, but yeah, that didn’t happen.

    When I was a kid we had cats and they spent all night outside. One of those cats had kittens which we kept until they were weaned then gave them away. I don’t remember what we fed them, but I do remember putting out saucers of milk for them, which now is considered not good for them.

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  10. alex said on November 4, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Right-wing conservatives lived in their own fact-free world long before there was such a thing as the Internet. The only difference today is that polite society mollycoddles them instead of calling them kooks. For all of their whining about political correctness, they have become its biggest beneficiary. And that’s my two cents’ worth on that.

    When I landed in Chicago in the 1980s, it was the first time I had ever seen people wearing plastic grocery bags as mitts while walking their dogs, and it struck me as funny at first. In the neighborhoods where I grew up, nobody did that, and only rarely did people throw a hissy if your dog shat on their yard.

    In the 1970s we had two unneutered dogs, a Labrador and a German Shepherd, that apparently operated as pack animals at night, and we were surprised at reports of our dogs terrorizing peoples’ farm animals at a fair distance from our home. The lab came home with shrapnel in his ass a few times. And every now and then we would end up with boxes of black puppies abandoned on our doorstep, perhaps by people who assumed our dog was responsible for making them.

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  11. brian stouder said on November 4, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Nancy nailed it (as always).

    Just recently, I was pondering the same thing – the way we handled our dog when I was a kiddo, compared to what would strike me as flatly and unacceptably wrong today – and (as always) Nancy said it best, and more succinctly than I could’ve. (the only reason we even had a dog – 47 years ago – was that my older brother had a paper route, and a customer gave him a puppy)

    In 2016, my immediate family is a confirmed kitty-cat family, and I cannot imagine having a dog

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  12. Bitter Scribe said on November 4, 2016 at 9:49 am

    I like dogs and cats just fine, as long as they’re other people’s. Too much responsibility for me, plus I’ve developed an allergy to cats.

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  13. LAMary said on November 4, 2016 at 10:23 am

    I love my dogs and cats for what they are. My old Lab has so often amazed me by adapting his behavior when meeting a new person. Being careful and slow with an elderly, frail neighbor and politely exuberant when meeting someone who is clearly a dog lover. My new dog, Georgia, is sweet. She loves the cats, the old lab, the humans in the house. She loves her squeaky chicken toy and adores my sons. The dogs aren’t my fur babies. They’re dogs who bark at raccoons who invade the yard and keep a watchful eye on the Fed Ex guy when I’m signing for a package. Andy they get me out the door no matter how much I want to hide from the world. They sniff everything and enjoy the sun or the rain or whatever the weather is.
    My cats do cat stuff and look beautiful. That’s enough.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on November 4, 2016 at 10:25 am

    We lived in the country and cats were dropped off constantly. If they were lucky they made their way to our house where they were loved and pampered. Some of them chose to remain feral, but they got hot food twice a day and access to the garage and blankets in the winter. We fed them dry food topped with gravy, and to this day I can make gravy with one hand tied behind my back.

    We had a dog for about a year but he ran wild and we ended up giving him away. Some training probably would have helped, but it didn’t occur to anyone. I was only five and mildly traumatized by getting knocked over.

    Like you, Bitter, it turned out I was allergic to all those furry darlings, so we haven’t had pets save for hamsters and gerbils, and I’ve really missed it. I enjoy visiting my kids and their animals, even though I’m always slightly ill around them.

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  15. Icarus said on November 4, 2016 at 10:34 am

    wow Nancy you said it. That is totally how we raised our cats and dogs when I was a little boy in the 70s. Nowadays such behavior might actually get an owner locked up! While I have no desire to go back to the way it was, I think we may have over-corrected our “Pet Abuse”. On the other hand, if pets ever take over ala Planet of the Apes, perhaps our furbaby overloads will take mercy on us.

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  16. Judybusy said on November 4, 2016 at 10:56 am

    I have often reflected that our dog and cats live much better than many people; like Andrea, I’m a social worker.

    I never thought I wanted a dog as an adult, because we had the best one ever when I was a kid. Pete was a free mutt that roamed outdoors on the farm, came in every night (and slept with me) and was fed table scraps. At one point, he ran away and was missing for two years. He showed up at a neighboring farm, emaciated, with a broken leg. Just before the farmer was going to shoot him, one of the kids said, “I think that’s the Pritchard’s dog.” They called us up, and sure enough, it was Pete. He had about 6 more years until he disappeared again and my dad came across him in a ditch. Pete was 20 pounds, shaped and colored like a black and tan beagle, and was just the sweetest, nicest dog. My family still tells many stories about him.

    My wife had wanted a dog forever, so six years ago we adopted, and as you know by my stories, we love Cora so much. Just read what LAMary says about her hounds, and that’s what I feel about this dog. There’s nothing like walking into your home and being treated like the most fantastic person EVAH. My local wine shop lets dogs in, and Cora loves going there. I am very tuned into other customers, understanding that not everyone wants to meet my adorable, friendly dog. She also comes along when I cook at one of the care homes for people living with HIV live. She’s been coming for five years, and residents and staff love her.

    The last of our four cats died in September after 20 happy years. Neither of is in any hurry to get another.

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  17. Sue said on November 4, 2016 at 11:00 am

    I hate the ads that cheerily refer to owners as pet parents. And I hate that my vets ask me to call them Dr. Mark or Dr. Nikki, as though they are preschool teachers. I don’t want to be a preschooler, and they sure as hell worked too damned hard getting their DVM to accept anything less than a professional address. It’s disrespectful to all of us.
    But, I love sleeping with pets – cozy, warm, comforting if a little crowded. And I will take advantage of newfangled advantages to keep them comfortable to an old age. Gifting an animal with a good life makes for excellent karma points.

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  18. alex said on November 4, 2016 at 11:39 am

    My last dog was a rescue Doberman and she was a very needy dog. I’m reluctant to get another dog at this time because we just don’t spend enough time at home and it wouldn’t be fair to the dog.

    I didn’t used to mind sleeping with dogs until that last one. She always insisted on sleeping with her ass near my face and she blew farts that were so nasty I didn’t even want her in the room.

    But I miss that dog terribly just the same.

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  19. adrianne said on November 4, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    This just in…former aides to NJ Gov. Chris Christie guilty in plotting to snarl traffic on the George Washington Bridge as payback to Fort Lee mayor who wouldn’t endorse him.

    Here’s the top of the story from my joint:

    Law360, Newark (November 4, 2016, 11:34 AM EDT) — Two former public officials were found guilty Friday of taking part in a scheme to cause a massive traffic jam by closing lanes to the George Washington Bridge, which prosecutors described as retaliation against a mayor for not endorsing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for re-election.

    On their fifth day of deliberations, jurors convicted former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive William E. Baroni Jr. and Bridget Anne Kelly, a former aide to Christie, of conspiring with former Port Authority executive David Wildstein to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich.

    Baroni and Kelly were found guilty of charges that they misused the resources of the Port Authority, committed wire fraud and deprived Fort Lee residents of their civil right to travel freely. Wildstein pled guilty in May 2015 to conspiracy charges related to the scheme.

    The more than six-week trial pitted the testimony of Wildstein against the testimonies of Kelly and Baroni.

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  20. Mark P said on November 4, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Alex, I’ve had four Dobermans, all strays, pound dogs, or rescue dogs. The second one had a terrible problem with farts (or, rather, I had a terrible problem with her farts), but I solved it by finding dog food with no soy in it. They were all great dogs, but one was one of those once-in-a-lifetime dogs. I have been fortunate to have had two once-in-a-lifetime dogs. Unfortunately, Dobies tend to get osteosarcoma, which is a terrible way to go. I lost two Dobies to it. I would get another Doberman today if we didn’t already have three dog, none of which we actively sought.

    From my years of experience I have come to understand that we and dogs are very much alike; not that dogs are like people, but that people are animals not all that different from any other animal.

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  21. 4dbirds said on November 4, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    I love my three dogs. I don’t walk them enough and I probably feed them too much but that is my mothering style. I call them “The boys” even though one is female. I used to sleep with them and they were my lifeline the year after my son died but hubby has a slight allergy and they sleep downstairs now with their individual blankets.

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  22. Linda said on November 4, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    On the other big story in today’s feed: Here’s something on Buzzfeed about the ridiculous stories that infest Facebook feeds: Most of them are the product of enterprising Balkan teenagers: https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/how-macedonia-became-a-global-hub-for-pro-trump-misinfo?utm_term=.bcQerOkjm&ref=mobile_share#.arv5KZkve

    I swear, my cousin’s husband puts up a zillion a day. Family: you can’t live without ’em, and you can’t unfriend ’em.

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  23. Deborah said on November 4, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    I walked up to Michigan Ave for the Cubs parade. The only way I could see anything was to hold my phone way up and take a photo and then look at the photo. Crazy.

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  24. Charlotte said on November 4, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Current pet population: 1 dog (Hank), 1 cat (Betty), 5 chickens (no names). I love my pets, and had two lovely bird dogs before this crowd — the thing that makes me Very Grumpy is the goddamn stupid Rainbow Bridge bullshit when you have to put a pet down. I loved my two dead bird dogs, and spent way too much money on vet care (especially for my Owen, dog of my heart, who blew his achilles tendon at 6 and lived to be 12). But I’ve buried both my brothers, and too many friends, and you know what? Doing what was right by those dogs, and Patsy the cat who preceded them, was sad, but it wasn’t even on the same planet as the grief I felt when I lost my beloved family members. And the great thing about pets is, I can’t ever get another brother, but three months after Owen shuffled off, I could drive over to Big Timber and pick up a very cute border collie/aussie/great pyrennes puppy who is lovely! and follows me around the house, and keeps me company.

    Short version: I love my pets. They are not people.

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  25. Suzanne said on November 4, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    THank you for that, Charlotte, and I agree.

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  26. Sue said on November 4, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    And forgot to mention – I knew immediately who the Tribune columnist was, but looked it up anyway.
    Yup – the Anti-Royko.

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  27. Sherri said on November 4, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Matt Yglesias with a good explainer about the emails: http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/4/13500018/clinton-email-scandal-bullshit

    Most of it I hand already figured out. The private email server is a red herring, no different legally from a gmail account. It likely wasn’t done to evade FOIA. The issues about classified material would have applied to her state.gov email account equally, and there’s no crime because there’s no intent.

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  28. adrianne said on November 4, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Sherri, I read that Matt Yglesias story as well, it’s the most clear-headed accounting of what the emails are all about. Oh, and Fox anchor has “walked back” his reporting that a Clinton indictment was imminent. Sorry!

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  29. Sherri said on November 4, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    In the light of all the anonymous information pouring out of the FBI in the past few days, let us recall that the FBI wants backdoors into crypto systems so they can break into phones, encrypted data, messages, etc. We can trust them to keep,secrets, right? We can trust that they will only pursue investigations based on real evidence, right? We can trust that a group of agents won’t go rogue and use tools like that inappropriately, right?

    Yeah, right.

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  30. Deborah said on November 4, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    The Yglesias link was great. I often travel with a laptop, an iPhone and an iPad, it makes my bag really heavy. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve got everything I need in Chicago and also in New Mexico, the only things I have to cart back and forth is technology and make-up. It will be easy to eventually duplicate mascara in each location, but computers not so much. I only carry one bag now, a leather tote and basically all it has is my technology and my cosmetics bag, maybe a few Kleenex and chewing gum. I keep my ID and credit cards in my pocket. If I don’t think I’m going to be doing design work I don’t bring my laptop, I keep it mostly in Chicago so at least some of the time I don’t have to cart that back and forth.

    Can I say there are a lot of tipsy young people walking around the streets of Chicago right now. I just got back from getting groceries and it won’t be long before there are puddles of vomit everywhere. Gross.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on November 4, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Well, I don’t have a private server, but I do use my personal email for work. At our little church so does almost everyone else. It makes access so much easier when out of the office, since I’m not there full time.

    When my sister was still working for the state of Florida, the phone rules were so strict that she always had to carry two cellphones, and if it was her week on-call, three. If she accidentally made a call on a state phone, she had to pay for it, even if it was only local. It was a huge hassle and I can certainly see why Hillary wanted to avoid it.

    Deborah, now that we have the house in Orlando, I’m trying to take a few more things on every trip that I can leave there. My goal is to just carry a purse. Tablet, phone and chargers make my carry-on heavy right away. No way would I want to carry a laptop too; in fact I’m thinking about buying one to leave down there. I have a wonky shoulder so weight is really important and I can’t even carry a light backpack. I’m weary of schlepping stuff back and forth.

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  32. Deborah said on November 4, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Julie, I’ve gotten used to buying 2 of things, like when I go to Old Navy and see shirts on sale I buy one for Chicago and one for NM. That way I don’t have to schlep things back and forth. Also somethings that I can’t find in NM, like the shampoo and conditioner I use, I have shipped to NM from Chicago. It took some getting used to, but I’ve got it down to a science now. My husband buys granola that he loves in Chicago, and carries bags of it in his briefcase to NM. I wonder what TSA thinks when they see that.

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  33. Jakash said on November 4, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Yeah, Sherri, that Yglesias link @ 27 is excellent.

    “To spend so much time on such a trivial matter would be absurd in a city council race, much less a presidential election. To do so in circumstances when it advances the electoral prospects of a rival who has shattered all precedents in terms of lacking transparency or basic honesty is infinitely more scandalous than anything related to the server itself.”

    But dammit, my reading it isn’t going to make any difference. How do we get some of those pesky, but undoubtedly super-principled undecided voters to read it? Not bloody likely, alas. I’m not one to bash the media (much), but some of the handling of this HAS been terrible. It’s like what innocent folks in the news often complain about — “Hey, the accusations were trumpeted on Page 1, why is the real story and/or eventual outcome barely noted at all?”


    “…it won’t be long before there are puddles of vomit everywhere. Gross.” Indeed, but that certainly makes today a representative farewell to the Cubs historic season — or, for that matter, the aftermath of any Cubs game. ; )

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  34. brian stouder said on November 4, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    It was a huge hassle and I can certainly see why Hillary wanted to avoid it.

    And Colin Powell, before her, protests to the contrary notwithstanding.

    Just for a chuckle – how $#^*%@! crazy would Oxy Rush/Shit-for-brains Sean (et al) become, if it came out that Hillary Clinton had a crush on Vlad Putin?

    Or that Vlad was actively working to undermine Il Duci Donald, and get HRC elected?

    His crowds would be calling for her to be ‘Lynched’ by the DoJ, even more than they are now, over ‘her damned emails’ (as Bernie memorably labeled them)

    Sorry – couldn’t let the thread remain about kitty cats and puppy dogs!

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  35. Sherri said on November 4, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Why won’t those undecideds read it? Justice Souter explained the problem four years ago: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=qyxawIuqbjM

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  36. Deborah said on November 4, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    I stopped at the Bank to make a transaction on my errand outing today and there were about 5 young women trying to negotiate one of them getting cash out of the ATM. They were all quite inebriated, smelled like it too.

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  37. Sherri said on November 4, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    I also post the Yglesias link out of frustration. With a lot of work and reading and digging into the situation, I had figured out what Yglesias wrote. But it shouldn’t have taken me that much work, and this Yglesias piece could have been written months ago by the NYTimes or the WaPo, instead of one of the zillion questions raised pieces, or gossipy Wikileaks pieces, or horse race pieces. Stop raising questions and start answering them! Instead of waiting around for FBI leaks, find out what it means to have a private email server, and how it would be different from having a personal email account, which you know everybody in government has and uses.

    There’s so little context in the news stories I read, everything is treated as if it has never happened before, but when things occur that really are unusual, outside the norms, the media can’t handle that either.

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  38. Jakash said on November 4, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    “Democracy cannot survive too much ignorance.” Hey, it’s been trying to!

    So, I’m supposed to think that a bunch of folks eager to vote for an incompetent, thin-orange-skinned egomaniac bellowing “Only I can fix it” is a BAD thing for the Republic? ; )

    Yeah, and the frustration of the “lesser of two evils” attitude being applied to this particular election is overwhelming.

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  39. brian stouder said on November 4, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Leaving aside “lesser of two evils” – how about just plain evil?:


    Pammy forwarded this link to me; I saw the story on Rachel’s show last night.

    Rudy is like the bad guy from Central Casting; and all he seems to do anymore is scowl

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  40. Heather said on November 4, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    I went to see the Cubs parade in Wrigleyville–got permission to work from home so I could run down there. It was early so no drunks, or very few; mostly families. I couldn’t see much and I used up all my storage space on my phone, so no room for videos once the team came by, but it was fun anyway. My friends are all amazed that I, a non-sports fan, actually went down there, but it’s history! And it was a nice bike ride on a beautiful day too.

    To return to the pet talk (sorry Brian), I have one cat that I dote on a fair amount, but not in an insane way I think. I did develop allergies to cats in the past few years and I have asthma too, so it’s a little crazy of me to have one. But as I told my allergist, either I have a cat or I’m depressed. She said she could treat the allergies but not the depression, so keep the cat.

    When I was very small we had a couple cats that went outside, then one got hit by a car and it was really traumatic. I remember my mother being very upset. I would never let a cat go outside now, unless I lived in a rural area. And declawing them is a no-no now. If you get a cat from a shelter, you have to agree not to do it.

    My anxiety is really ratcheting up about the election. I signed on to be a poll watcher on Tuesday, just because I felt like I had to do something to support our democratic processes. I would have gone out of town to canvass, but with my schedule it wasn’t possible this weekend.

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  41. Scout said on November 4, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    All my life I’ve had at least one dog and multiples of cats, until Maggie, my last dog CTRB (sorry, Charlotte!) 6 years ago. I flirt with every dog I meet on my walks, and think about adopting another, but then I realize how much doing that would f up my current 5 cats’ worlds and I don’t.

    My anxiety level is being managed by staying busy working, reading and socializing and by only checking FB and Twitter a couple times a day instead of constantly. I look forward to it being a week from now when we have Pres-Elect Hillary.

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  42. Deborah said on November 4, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    I can’t stand to even look at Giulianni when he’s on TV anymore, he just disgusts me.

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  43. adrianne said on November 4, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    It’s that death’s-head glare. He’s the worst.

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  44. Jean Shaw said on November 4, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    I call our vet “Dr. Mary” even though she got her DVM from Cornell. She seems to be holding up under the strain.

    For me, the issue about pet care now vs. when I was a kid is the unbelievable growth in the science. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should…

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  45. Deborah said on November 4, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    I’m hearing estimates of 5 million people today in Chicago out for the Cubs! 5 million! Is that even possible? Holy cow! Hard to believe.

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  46. alex said on November 4, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Mark P at 20,

    I would get another Doberman. I’ve noted that they seem to have some personality quirks in common — not bad ones — like latching onto themselves with their mouths when they sleep, or sleeping propped up against things or people. And they lean into people. They also have a unique disposition, or at least mine did. She never snapped at anyone, not even annoying children whose behavior would have provoked the best-disciplined of dogs to anger. She was very patient and if she didn’t like kids jumping on her she would just leave. I had to put her down before she was ready to go and I still feel horribly about it, but she had become so arthritic she couldn’t walk anymore. I’ve never bonded with a dog the way I did with her.

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  47. Sherri said on November 4, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Radical transparency, as Wikileaks practices it, is actually another means of stifling dissent: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/05/opinion/what-were-missing-while-we-obsess-over-john-podestas-email.html

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  48. Sherri said on November 4, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    A reminder that the Peter Thiel jihad against Gawker wasn’t just about a Hulk Hogan sex tape: http://gizmodo.com/internet-pioneers-slam-750-000-settlement-for-the-man-1788503950

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  49. Deborah said on November 4, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Maybe I’m being horribly naive but isn’t one way to stop wikileaks is for the press not to promulgate it? If the press didn’t publish what they dig up wouldn’t it just fade away?

    I’m bummed, I just found out that a woman I knew, a highly creative person who founded a company has died of Alzheimer’s and she was only 56. Very tragic, she apparently has been ill for the last 2 years. So sad.

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  50. Sherri said on November 4, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Yes, but so far the press has shown that they are unable to resist gossipy, out of context tidbits from email dumps. I suspect the only thing that might give them pause is when it happens to them.

    The Kochs have been absent from the presidential campaign picture, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t busy. State Secretary of State races have attracted their focus: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/05/us/politics/secretaries-of-state-elections-ballot-initiatives.html

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  51. Jill said on November 4, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Alex, in my experience the leaning thing is common to most big dogs.

    Right now I only have one dog but will eventually have a second. I think having two is easier than one but the right one hasn’t come along yet. In the meantime I’m helping a mixed-breed rescue by working events, fostering and fundraising and helping a breed-specific rescue too. I do home visits for both, and that always makes me think of how things have changed. When I was a kid we always had at least one dog and I am sure no one ever did any research on our family before letting us have the dog.

    I agree with LA Mary above about dogs: they’re dogs, not people, and should be treated that way. My dogs have very good lives but they’re not my children and I don’t treat them like they are.

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  52. Suzanne said on November 4, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    This is depressing

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  53. susan said on November 4, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    On Trumpcast, Jacob Weisberg interviews Financial Times Chief Economics Commentator Martin Wolf about the economic future of America under a Trump presidency and its global consequences. Scary and sobering. Ugh. Is it Wednesday yet?

    Trouble is, even if HRC wins, Wednesdayff, shit will probably even get worse. Shit is fucked up and bullshit in this late-stage empire.

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  54. Dexter said on November 5, 2016 at 1:34 am

    I had several dogs, Ben, a terrier back in 1957 and he lasted until I got back from Vietnam to say goodbye, then when I packed up and moved away to take a whack at college, he passed away. Then, long spells dog-less but we had a Pomeranian who was murdered because we let him out to pee and he was shot dead. Then we had Major, then P-Dogg, and now we have 15 year-old Noellie and Pogo, JRT and Labbie, respectively. I walk them both many times a day, and Pogo goes with me most places in the van. The ladies at the drive-through now know Pogo and she gets a biscuit every day from them . The old ladies at the donut drive-thru also give Pogo a biscuit. Sometimes I get glazed donut holes and give a couple tidbits to Pogo. It’s now been 15 months since I got a Houdini leash, meaning she has not escaped since then. Before then, 17 escapes, and the cops who have been so helpful said I had better get this dog under control and the Houdini leash did the trick. I offer this address if you have a pulling dog or an escape artist. This works http://petreview101.weebly.com/harness-lead.html

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  55. Dexter said on November 5, 2016 at 1:40 am

    I heard a band playing on Daryl’s House last night, Guster. Notes of seventies pop music, reminding me of David Crosby, Counting Crows, even Teenage Fan Club and R.E.M. and even Jackson Browne. They’ve been around for 21 years and I had never heard of them. What a shame…tons of their work on Spotify.

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  56. David C. said on November 5, 2016 at 6:29 am

    American’s for (Koch Brothers) Prosperity have been very active here in Wisconsin against Russ Feingold. I don’t watch enough commercial TV to know if they are on with ads, but my mail box is full of their crap. It’s addressed either to me or Mary, not every door direct, so they’re obviously not targeting very well. I guess when you have all the money in the world you can do that. We get the same thing from Betsy DeVos’s Americans Federation for Children(‘s Poverty) working against our State Senate candidate. As if fucking up Michigan isn’t enough for them, they feel the need to further fuck up Wisconsin. Oh well, I bought a bass guitar on Friday. It’s the first bass I’ve had in about 10 years when I decided I was bored with it and started playing guitar exclusively, so I’ll be busy until at least Wednesday doing a setup and getting used to the long scale again.

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  57. adrianne said on November 5, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I think Hillary will win big on Tuesday, and the Trumpsters will fade away, muttering about rigged elections and such. Let them go. And let’s go on with our lives.

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  58. Deborah said on November 5, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Adrianne, I too think Hillary will win on Tuesday, I hope it is a huge win, that’s what I’m not so sure about. I don’t think it’ll be a squeaker, it will be more than that, maybe enough to take a few Senate seats too. Obviously this is my humble opinion. I hope the Trumpsters fade away, far away.

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  59. brian stouder said on November 5, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Deborah, I think you’re right.

    HRC with a respectable popular vote margin, and a crushing electoral vote margin, is my guess.

    Plus – a 52-48 majority in the United States Senate…Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Pennsylvania (and maybe NC) look like the ones to watch, Tuesday night….

    This site thinks 7 of the Republican seats are up for grabs


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  60. Deborah said on November 5, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    I thought it was hard to believe. They’re now walking back the estimate of 5 million people out for the Cubs yesterday in Chicago. There were a lot, but not nearly that many.

    We’re having another beautiful day in Chicago. Little Bird told me that there’s snow on the mountains in Santa Fe today, which is later than usual, it usually happens in October. I will be back there for Thanksgiving and then will stay there through December.

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  61. Kirk said on November 5, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Jean Shaw@44: The science indeed. Our next-door neighbors are on the Ohio State vet school faculty. He’s a small-animal orthopedic specialist; she’s an animal neurologist.

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  62. Sherri said on November 5, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Just back and drying off from canvassing for Dems in the rain. I was down in Renton in a condo complex, where there’s a Dem challenger against an incumbent Republican state senator. Of course, nobody knows who their state senator is, but at least I was able to get her name in front of them. Clinton, Patty Murray, and Jay Inslee are safe in their races. I was also handing out literature for the vote on extending light rail, which I hope passes. The opposition says we don’t need light rail because autonomous cars are going to solve all transportation problems.

    I talked to one woman my age who was voting Republican because she was pro-gun; didn’t want to argue with her! Another 40ish man said he wasn’t going to vote because it didn’t matter and he didn’t like any of them. A young woman with 2 small children said she normally votes Republican but doesn’t like Trump, so wasn’t sure what she was going to do. Every non-white person I talked to was definitely going to or had already voted for Hillary and Dems. My job was to make sure they had a plan for voting: do you know where to turn in your ballot? Or are you going to mail it in? When? Don’t forget you need a stamp if you mail it, etc.

    I think Hillary will win, and the Dems will take the Senate, but House obstructionism is going to be a problem. The Senate filibuster has to go, and the rule that lets individual Senators place holds will probably need to go as well.

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  63. David C. said on November 5, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    We weren’t canvassed at all today. The Saturday before is usually a pretty heavy day. I hope that means the Dem’s targeting is good enough to know we’ve already voted and they don’t have to use any time on us.

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  64. Sherri said on November 5, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Roger Angell on the Cubs World Series win: http://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/at-last

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  65. Sherri said on November 5, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Now we’ve got another Bernie or Buster threatening not to cast his Washington Electoral College vote for Clinton: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/hes-a-state-democratic-elector-but-robert-satiacum-says-he-wont-vote-for-clinton/

    I hope this convinces our state party to start using the primary rather than the caucuses. That would have significantly changed the balance of the delegation, and maybe made some of these guys a little less self-righteous.

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  66. Charlotte said on November 5, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    I’m as nervous as a cat about Tuesday — waiting to go vote in person because our small-town voting is really lovely. It’s looking cautiously good for Denise Juneau in our sole GOP seat — Ryan Zinke is taking serious hits for mostly living in Santa Barbara. That would be nice — she’s smart and was a great head of public education — plus she’s both Native American and gay — and he’s a total putz. Our governor is in a tighter race than he should be, his opponent has thrown tons of money at him as have the Forces of Koch — in part because Bullock took an appeal against Citizens United to the Supreme Court when he was the AG. Our local race should be good — I think we can oust a charter schools lobbyist with a smart local person. So, guardedly optimistic when I’m being rational — terrified the rest of the time. Knitting a lot. Hanging out on Instagram looking at pictures of pretty vistas and more knitting.

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  67. Dorothy said on November 5, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Charlotte I’m truvy57 on Instagram, and I knit too! Would you mind sharing your Instagram name?

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  68. Sherri said on November 5, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    I’m seeing Christmas lights on houses already going up around here, which is not typical. I think it’s that we’ve had unending rain for the last six weeks, so it’s really dark, and the election has everyone worn down and in need of some cheer.

    Or maybe I’m projecting.

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  69. Sue said on November 5, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Just watched the first episode of ‘The Crown’ on Netflix. It was remarkably dull. Portraying Phillip as a super-engaged dad is kind of silly but I guess that’s one way to represent the agreement they had to allow him control over that aspect of their marriage, but what the hell was the reason for the mice in the Royal Kitchen? One of them was dead I think.

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  70. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 5, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    Sherri, you can have the Senate when you pry it from our cold, dead . . . wait, that’s the plan, isn’t it?

    Watching SNL, and I should mention my wife suggests that if you watch “Doctor Strange” in 3D don’t eat right beforehand. But (said this 60’s & 70’s era Marvel geekhead) it was wonderful. Just what this weekend needed.

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  71. Sherri said on November 6, 2016 at 12:57 am

    That is the plan, Jeff(tmmo). Not to destroy you personally, of course, just what your party has become.

    I saw Doctor Strange in 2D, lifting my moratorium on comic book movies because Benedict Cumberbatch, and it was worth it.

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  72. Deborah said on November 6, 2016 at 8:22 am

    I’m bummed that DST is over. The darkness of winter is coming.

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  73. David C. said on November 6, 2016 at 9:06 am

    So am I Deborah. I have mild Seasonal Affective Disorder. I don’t have full blown depression from it. I just feel sluggish and I find myself nodding off at 7:30 or thereabouts and not sleeping well at night. I’ve tried lightbox therapy, but that doesn’t seem to do much. I increase my exercise during the winter and that helps a bit. I really would like DST year around so what little daylight there is is at a time when I can use it. I’m not he only one.


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  74. Jakash said on November 6, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Email from the New York Times today:

    “As journalists who have covered our fair share of campaigns, we consider these moments to be among the most important in the life of a democracy. We believe that everyone, without exception, deserves a deeper understanding of the candidates, the issues and the results of this unprecedented election.

    So we have decided to open our digital platforms to all — without charge — on Nov. 7, 8 and 9. We invite you to come back as often as you like to take advantage of our reporting, analysis and commentary, from the lead-up through the aftermath.”

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  75. Deborah said on November 6, 2016 at 10:43 am

    I can take the cold of winter over the darkness. When I visited Helsinki a couple of years ago I thought it was a fabulous city that I could imagine actually living there. Until I remembered they have times of total darkness in the winter and I thought, no thanks. It used to really bother me before I retired, having to walk home in the dark from work for months. Being retired it’s less bad, but still depressing.

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  76. Suzanne said on November 6, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Ooooh! Thanks for the NY Times info Jackash! I will be checking in with it, for sure.

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  77. basset said on November 6, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Rundown house trailers with junk cars out front are nothing unusual here in Tennessee, but I just passed one with a trashed Bricklin in the yard. Really.

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  78. David C. said on November 6, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    If Malcolm Bricklin had only been happy with importing Subarus to the US his name wouldn’t be such a joke in the auto industry. But he had to put him name on that crappy car and then imported Yugos. I guess his latest venture is to try to import Chinese Cherry cars to the US.

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  79. Deborah said on November 6, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Take that you asshole Giuliani, Comey finds nothing.

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  80. Deborah said on November 6, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Donald’s next lawsuit http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/08/29/melanias-diary-by-paul-rudnick?mbid=social_facebook

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  81. Sherri said on November 6, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    James Comey: https://youtu.be/V3FnpaWQJO0

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  82. basset said on November 6, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    DavidC, do you remember the Subaru 360? I believe that was the first Subaru he imported – little tiny car with a 360cc engine. A Ford dealer in Indianapolis used to throw one in with the purchase of a new LTD.

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  83. David C. said on November 7, 2016 at 6:19 am

    I don’t think I ever saw a Subaru 360 in the wild, basset. I’ve seen pictures of it and it always seems to show up in lists of the worst car ever. I don’t think Grand Rapids even had a Subaru dealership when they were making them.

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