Park bench notes.

So, when one is unemployed, is it normal to be whipsawed between optimism over the unpredictable future and despair that one is old, old, old and will never work again?

Asking for a friend.

Basically doing OK here. I’m trying to keep busy. Sent out some résumés, surfed some more job-search websites, cleaned the first floor, ate leftovers for lunch, rode my bike a bit. Swam. Tried not to feel like a leper.

When I was a kid I had a board game called Careers. The square for unemployment was called Park Bench, because that’s what you did when you were jobless, I guess — went to the park and fed pigeons. I’ll try not to be a cliché, but Wendy does enjoy occasional jaunts to the dog park in Detroit. We’ll try that.

Hugh Hefner is dead. I do not have much of a feminist take on Hef, I confess. Objecting to the grosser elements of his lifestyle seems about as effective as objecting to the same parts of our president’s – you’re not going to make a dent in the guy, and the objections seem to be a feature, not a bug. He made it to 91 living more or less exactly how he wanted, down to the last detail. A deeply strange man, fully on display in this four-year-old Esquire feature on the occasion of his 87th birthday. Thanks to Hank for tweeting it late last night. I read it during my 4:30 a.m. insomnia bout (see above). A few details:

Even after they split up, when Hefner bought (ex-wife Kimberly) Conrad the mansion next door and smashed down the wall between them, he kept a blown-up version of her centerfold on the wall in his library. It wasn’t until (sons) Marston and Cooper told an interviewer that they didn’t love seeing their mom’s bush every time they came over that it even dawned on Hefner to take it down.

and this:

On another night, Bettie Page was invited to come see, for the first time, “The Notorious Bettie Page,” a 2005 biopic starring Gretchen Mol as the early, iconic Playmate. In her eighties then and still getting used to the idea of her late-life revival, Page sat near the back of the room. Everybody hoped that she liked what she saw. (Hefner was especially protective of her, having loudly denounced a biography that documented her battles with mental illness and occasional violence. A giant topless photograph of her still hangs in the hallway upstairs.) Those hopes were shattered only minutes into the movie when Page began screaming at the top of her lungs: “Lies! Lies! Lies!” Then she burst into tears, her face in her hands. “Why can’t they just tell the truth?” she said between sobs.

and can’t forget this:

He holds two Guinness World Records, for different kinds of devotion. The certificates are on display not far from Bettie Page’s beautiful tits. He is the longest serving editor in chief of a magazine—Playboy’s first issue came out in December 1953 (he founded it after leaving his job as a copywriter at Esquire), with a sixtieth-anniversary issue planned for the end of this year—and he has the world’s largest collection of personal scrapbooks. A genial but intense forty-nine-year-old man named Steve Martinez oversees their assembly and upkeep; he has a silver tooth and dark-framed glasses. For twenty-two years, he has been Hefner’s full-time archivist, responsible for the thick black books—2,643 volumes and counting—that document virtually every day of Hefner’s long and eventful life.

(Editor’s note: I wish classy magazines like Esquire and the New Yorker would stop spelling out numbers higher than nine. “Forty-nine-year-old man named,” etc. Ugh.)

The scrapbooks part is really weird.

Time to hit the gym and walk Wendy. In the meantime a little bloggage.

When we look back on this era, the No. 2 embarrassment will be our creation of the Dragon of Gluten, although it’s certainly been a good grift for some people:

Belle Gibson, wellness blogger and founder of the Whole Pantry, was fined $410,000 (in Australian dollars; $322,000 in American dollars) by an Australian court for claiming that she “cured her terminal brain cancer by avoiding gluten and sugar.” Gibson admitted in 2015 that the claims had been made up to Australia Women’s Weekly — she did not and never had brain cancer.

“Wellness blogger.” Speaking of which, if you’re on Twitter you should be following @drjengunter, who has made a small name for herself tormenting all things Goop, i.e., the work product of wellness entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow.

As the kids say, so much This to this, a report from today’s college campuses from Ed and Gin and Tacos:

Articles about college students by people who do not spend their working lives on a college campus are inevitably bad. Hilariously bad. Bad like that right-wing Christian fantasy film God’s Not Dead, which represents a fever dream of what a college campus is like by a bunch of people who have never been on one.

Since this isn’t the Washington Post and I don’t have an editor here I’m going to cut to the chase: 99.99% of college students don’t care. About anything. Half of them consume so little news that even asking them about the major headline stories of a given time period draws blank stares more often than not. If they have opinions about political or social issues, more often than not it amounts to parroting the reactionary views of their parents and all the Fox News their parents exposed them to. The idea of college undergraduates as a gaggle of barbarians mobbing the proverbial gate is endlessly amusing to any college faculty. If you can get these kids to show up to class and hand in their assignments it’s a goddamn miracle.

OK, then. There are but 24 hours in this day and more than nine of them have already flown. Time to get some shit done.

Posted at 9:38 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

95 responses to “Park bench notes.”

  1. Suzanne said on September 28, 2017 at 10:39 am

    I have been unemployed in the past through no fault of my own and no, it is not unusual to whipsaw “between optimism over the unpredictable future and despair that one is old, old, old and will never work again.”
    And you will get to the point that you want to hit every person who says to you that you will find something so much better, or that something great will come along, or that you are better off, or that you can re-invent yourself, or that “God has a plan!”

    Will you find something? Probably. Will you like it? Maybe, maybe not. It’s life. Sometimes it stinks; sometimes it doesn’t.
    “So we beat on, boats against the current…”

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  2. Dorothy said on September 28, 2017 at 10:56 am

    YES to everything Suzanne just said. Couldn’t agree more. I’ve only been let go from a job once, and within three days or so they asked me back to work as a part-timer in a different department. I applied for anything I was eligible for and eventually was hired back. That’s what I’m doing now. So I know I’m not a writer like you, but the idea is, try to be optimistic more than pessimistic. It will help. But I’m realistic, too, and I know that I have a tendency to be more pessimistic than optimistic. It’s always easy in hindsight to say things will work out.

    I’m sorry to be late in the response to your news but I’ve been home sick for three days. Came back in at 7:45 this morning and my stomach is still rather floppy. I am working until 1 PM and then have an eye doctor appointment and will be gone for the day at that point. I don’t know if it was the flu or food poisoning – my husband got sick 48 hours after I did so who knows? The important thing is that I’m not in the bathroom doing what I was doing most of the night Sunday so that’s progress.

    My daughter wrote the hed for the paper version of the Hefner story. I really love it – she calls it ‘cheeky’. It said “Playboy founder brought titillation to the masses”. Spot on, eh? The late breaking news made her late leaving work, and she usually takes the Metro. But she had driven yesterday. And she got stopped for going 40 in a 25 mph zone on her way home – thankfully she only got a warning.

    Did I miss anyone’s birthday while I was non-participatory recently? Julie did I express my condolences about your sister? If not, please know how sorry I was to hear about her passing. I didn’t get a chance to read the obit and hope to find the link back in previous posts. I hope your mom is doing all right. It’s strange to put it this way, but I kind of enjoyed the funeral for my mom. Or enjoyed being with family is probably what I mean. After having to postpone the funeral because of the hurricane’s impact on travel, it was healing to see all of my brothers and sisters and so many of the grand and great grand kids. Olivia was a joy to have around and made everyone smile so much. Yes we were all so sad but we also took comfort in being together and knowing she was reunited with so many of her beloved relatives – my dad, her siblings, her parents, etc.

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  3. Deborah said on September 28, 2017 at 11:12 am

    The unexpectedness of it would be the hard part for me. To have something hit me out of nowhere like a ton of bricks would take a while for me to get over. I don’t know what I’d do to pull out of it, the only thing that would help me would be time, I think. When I was much younger I actually felt sorry for retired people, wondering what they did with themselves all day, but I absolutely love being retired, doing most things on my own time with little pressure. Of course that’s easy for me to say, we don’t have a mortgage and my husband works (sort of). I can’t imagine working for a company again, that would drive me crazy, I would freelance if I had to but I’m also on Medicare so I don’t have to worry about healthcare either. I don’t know where I’m going with this except to say that you have a skill, Nancy, you’ll figure it out.

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  4. Jolene said on September 28, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Dorothy, I know what you mean about “enjoying” your mother’s funeral. I feel the same, especially about my dad’s funeral. He was 90, had had a rich life, and his last years were hard, so, though we were sad, there was no sense of tragedy about his death. And he had lived in the same small town his whole life and was a pillar-of-the-community type with a cheery, optimistic disposition, so he was known to everyone and widely liked and respected.

    The gathering before the funeral was, essentially, a party, with everyone remembering him and enjoying the opportunity to see friends and relatives from across the country

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  5. Sherri said on September 28, 2017 at 11:38 am

    I had drinks* last night with a friend who, in the last year or so, has changed jobs (for a better one), had her husband walk out the door, had to find a new place to live because she couldn’t afford where she was living on her own, and then her father passed away. She’s a wonderful, bright young woman, and seems to have weathered it all, getting involved in her new community, dumping her married name, losing weight, and now dating someone. Talking to her during the time she was processing her husband leaving her (she came home one evening to his packed bags), she began to realize how much he had been dragging her down, and she’s really feeling freer now.

    *never fear, drinks for me meant sparkling water, no alcohol.

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  6. Sherri said on September 28, 2017 at 11:43 am

    A bit about how the anthem protest decision played out in the Seattle locker room:

    The Seahawks under coach Pete Carroll and owner Paul Allen are on the more tolerant end of the NFL spectrum when it comes to allowing players room to express themselves.

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  7. Jolene said on September 28, 2017 at 11:53 am

    For Dorothy and anyone else who missed it, I’m reposting the obituary that Julie wrote for her sister. It’s a lovely piece of writing that tells a real story. After reading it, I feel that I’d have liked and admired Jeri, and I want Julie to write my obituary.

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  8. Dorothy said on September 28, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Ahh that indeed is a lovely tribute, Julie! Thanks for sharing that, Jolene. I went to grade school with a girl name Gerilyn Mikolay. I had never heard that name before, and now I’ve heard of two, although they are spelled differently.

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  9. LAMary said on September 28, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    That whipsawing stuff? Yes. I’m sixty four. I’m interviewing and sending out resumes and noticing which companies appear to be sort of fake or just lousy places to work. Uber and Lyft are very interested in me. They tell me I’ll make 35 bucks an hour driving for them. I believe they are lying.

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  10. Judybusy said on September 28, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Jolene, thanks much for re-posting–I wasn’t able to read it the first time around. Julie, your sister sounds amazing and really one of those people we are glad to have graced this earth.

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  11. Deborah said on September 28, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    LA Mary, the only place I have ever used Uber or Lyft was in LA, as everyone knows you can’t get around without a car there, and driving in LA scares the bejesus out of me. I would think those drivers do ok because of that, maybe not $35 an hour but what do I know?

    I read Julie’s obit for her sister when she linked to it originally, but it was good to read it again.

    Sorry to see that Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been diagnosed with breast cancer, but these days that seems to be very survivable, not fun by any means of course, but it’s not the death sentence it used to be, thankfully.

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  12. Icarus said on September 28, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    The phrase that people mean well with, but makes me a bit stabby is “it will turn out to be a blessing in disguise” which is the specific cousin of “Everything Happens for a Reason” or “it will work out for the best.”

    Why? Because if something bad happens to someone and then it eventually works out, those who said it happened for a reason really just got lucky. And if it doesn’t work out, by the time you realize it, your sympathy chorus is gone.

    Disclosure: a little over two years ago my company announced it was outsourcing the IT dept (me). It was a blessing not in any disguise because I hated driving out to Oak Brook and it did work out in that I got a better paying job whose warts are only now starting to show themselves.

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  13. Julie Robinson said on September 28, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Y’all are very kind. Mom wrote the first three paragraphs so I can’t take claim for them, and the rest just stemmed from taking notes as we talked on the phone. It was good to remember everything she used to be and the amazing life she had before she got sick. The last 15 years were tough and the last three were nothing but medical crisis after medical crisis.

    Over the years I’ve cleaned up a lot of messes for her, literally. Three times I’ve cleaned out her homes and reorganized her life. It never took. My kids have done the same, and said no more. For the last six months we were trying to get cleaners for her. She would either call them off or find a reason to fire them after one visit. The last time was June, and since then there was also a hurricane with no power, and she didn’t get the frig cleaned out. Then she died and wasn’t found for almost two days.

    So. Tomorrow a biohazard cleaning company is coming. If you’re looking for a growth industry, they certainly seem to be one, judging by the rates they charge. We aren’t sure if anything can be salvaged from her place. I have her phone and a handle of bills and statements that have come since she died, and from that I’m trying to reconstruct what is needed to settle her estate. It’s all I’ve been doing for one solid week, save for trying to comfort Mom. These are the last gifts I can give her.

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  14. Deborah said on September 28, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Julie, you are/were a good sister, who could ask for more.

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  15. Julie Robinson said on September 28, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    I try very hard to remember that it was the disease that took her over.

    And that should be on the plane, not on phone.

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  16. Heather said on September 28, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    That is a nice obit, Julie. It really draws a full picture.

    I don’t think I knew you were from Sycamore. My ex was from there so I spent some time in the area. It’s very pretty but getting more suburbanized now.

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  17. Julie Robinson said on September 28, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Small world, Heather. I thought Sycamore was the best place ever to grow up. Small and safe, but next to a university town with a thriving cultural scene and an easy trip to Chicago. I do get the sense that it’s changed with population growth coming in from the suburbs, higher taxes, and higher crime, but I think it’s still a pretty good place. Are you comfortable disclosing the last name? It very well may be familiar.

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  18. David C. said on September 28, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    When I was last laid-off, I started out pretty optimistic. I had 16 weeks of severance coming and just completed my engineering degree. I was planning to leave anyway. I just needed to work another year so I wouldn’t have to pay back my tuition assistance. I thought I would be able to find something within a month, six weeks tops. I finally found a job that I knew I’d hate (and I was right) after 14 weeks. I did all the treat your job search as a job things, but I wish I’d have taken a little more time off. Not a lot, just a little. I hope I never have to go though that again. I’m sure it’s different at 58+ than it was at 46.

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  19. Jolene said on September 28, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    When I lost my job, the phrases that drove me round the bend were, “Hang in there,” and, “I’m sure you’ll land on your feet,” both of which I heard with annoying frequency.

    As with death and divorce, people want to be hopeful on your behalf or to offer something sustaining. The only thing to do, as far as I can tell, is to believe in their good intentions and try to keep from growling at them.

    Julie, it sounds like, in addition to her diabetes and heart disease, your sister was depressed. Was she ever diagnosed?

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  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 28, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    Julie, I loved reading your sister’s obituary. Anytime you want to step into ministry, there’s a place for you. So much of it is helping people find their own and others’ stories.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on September 28, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Jolene, she was on antidepressants off and on, but nothing seemed to help her. One of the saddest conversations I’ve had was with a former coworker. They were so close at work and outside it, and shared hard times together. She told me she had been calling and emailing Jeri but she never responded. All I could tell her was that I did think she had been depressed. Jeri would be crying to me how lonely she was, when she had people reaching out. Again, I don’t pretend to understand but just tell myself it was the disease.

    Jeff, did you know I just retired from working at a church? My position was financial secretary but there was a lot of ministry work involved.

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  22. jcburns said on September 28, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Very well written (and of course heartfelt), Julie.

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  23. James Moehrke said on September 28, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    When I got laid off at 56 it came out of the blue and hit like a ton of bricks. I was just past my 30th anniversary with the community newspaper, and the only one on staff doing my task, managing the newspaper website’s content.
    The new publisher must have looked at my salary and benefits and saw a way to trim his budget. They replaced me with some scripts and tags in the news articles, automating what had been a curated daily report.
    It’s been nearly nine years, and it probably took me seven to stop being bitter and depressed. I gave up looking for work after about a year and settled into being a househusband. Fortunately my beloved wife had a great job that paid half again what I made. That, and spending some inheritance money, kept us afloat and allowed our son to go to college without student loans.
    He’s now working and moving on being an adult, she’s retired, and I just applied for my spouse benefit on her Social Security. We think we can make a go of it until I reach 70 before taking my SocSec. money, letting it grow.
    Being retired is great, just wish it had happened voluntarily.
    Oh, and BTW, the newspaper website sucks, because nobody’s in charge.

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  24. alex said on September 28, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Just watched the first 8 minutes of the new Will & Grace and turned it off. This is the show that turned around America’s negative attitude toward gay people? Ha. I think it’s the show that reinforced America’s negative attitude toward network sitcoms and that’s why most people are watching cable shoutfests instead.

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  25. Rana said on September 28, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Yeah, those emotional swings sound pretty normal. What’s also normal is being irritated by people opining on your situation with imperfect knowledge. Some of it is the optimism of those not familiar with one’s particular job market’s problems. Some of it is the people sharing leads for jobs that have little or nothing to do with what your actual professional skills entail. A lot of it is eventually getting sick of being a topic of conversation at every social gathering and morphing into a Problem That Must Be Solved. And everyone means well, so it’s hard to get cranky at them. (Plus it also contributes to being perceived as that Problem That Must Be Solved.)

    I don’t have a good answer for this. Being cheerful and boring will get most of them off your back. Reaching out to the people who actually have useful advice helps too. But mostly it’s just slogging along, and being open to things that aren’t quite what you were expecting. It’s a sucky process, but eventually there’ll be an end to it. Fingers crossed for you that something good comes along, and sooner rather than later.

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  26. Heather said on September 28, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Julie, I don’t want to write the name here just because I don’t want the ex to stumble across this blog on a search. His dad owns a lot of farms in the area too. Maybe if we ever connect offline!

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  27. A. Riley said on September 28, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    I had my perfect job, copyeditor for a nonprofit I believed in, with a communications team I loved, and a director who knew I was (and still am) an eagle-eyed copyeditor with a gift for making an author sound like herself but smarter. Loved it.

    Well, the nonprofit life depends on the fundraisers, and our fundraising was weak, weak, weak. And so I got laid off at age 55. Dang. Who’s going to hire a 55-year-old copyeditor with a print portfolio?

    I ended up in one of the fundraising arms of the umbrella org, writing direct mail and the quarterly newsletter. It’s publishing, just in another genre. So I learned about fundraising, and a few years later, when the incumbent fundraiser at my old org left, I moved into that spot.

    Now I can see another budget crisis coming but I’m old enough in case of yet another RIF to take early retirement and downshift to freelancing here and there, which would be fine.

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  28. A. Riley said on September 28, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    So anyway, where I was going with that is — if you like the nonprofit sector, consider the fundraising side.

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  29. beb said on September 28, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    So, when one is unemployed, is it normal to be whipsawed between optimism over the unpredictable future and despair that one is old, old, old and will never work again?

    I’m employed and I still feel that way.

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  30. alex said on September 29, 2017 at 6:19 am

    One of the things I’ve become conditioned to is that there aren’t any guarantees. For my entire adult working life, with the exception of the last dozen years, I always lived under the constant threat of impending layoffs. One friend from my first employer, a publishing house, just got let go after 30 years and he’s been a basket case for that entire time, always expecting to get the axe. When it finally fell, he didn’t know what hit him, although he has a generous enough severance that he has been traveling all summer and is taking a respite in California at this very moment.

    I had a good run as a free-lancer for about ten years, back when health insurance was still relatively cheap, and like A. Riley I was also a print copy editor for the first part of my career until I got laid off, although at much younger than age 55. So I branched into catalog and web site copywriting, radio copy writing for one retailer, a bit of trade journal fluff writing, a bit of corporate stuff recording interviews and transcribing them for publication, and also picked up work from nonprofits that still did print publications. It was a wild ride, to be sure, but was possible thanks to the many great connections I’d made over the years starting out in print publishing.

    In some ways, the stress of not knowing where my next paycheck was coming from was less stress than living under the constant threat of being laid off in a work environment where everyone was fearful and crabby.

    I have a job now that is intellectually stimulating and makes good use of my writing skills, although I feel like my creative side has gone soft and deconditioned because everything I do is very dry and to the point.

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  31. Dorothy said on September 29, 2017 at 6:29 am

    Nancy have you considered teaching by any chance? I know adjuncts are the lowest rung on the faculty ladder at colleges but it’s a possibility. And there are other writing jobs at universities – read through lots of online ads at schools – I’m willing to bet your skill set would make you eligible for lots of different kinds of jobs.

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  32. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 29, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Julie, didn’t know that. Too bad you retired, because a good financial secretary, who can find? They are more precious than rubies.

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  33. 4dbirds said on September 29, 2017 at 8:26 am

    So sorry about your sister Julie. You wrote a lovely obituary. Nancy, I wish I had some advice. I’ve luckboxed into most of my good jobs. That and being a veteran put me in position to land a job in the civil service. I hear everyone say “do what you love and the money will come”. Now I’m not sure that’s true, maybe it isn’t in the least bit ture, but I do hope you find something in your field and you love it.

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  34. Julie Robinson said on September 29, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Jeff, I retired because Mom is 85 and I see how she’s slowing down and needs more help. I am blessed that we are secure enough to drop my wages, though you can guess they were paltry.

    I loved the work and found it a perfect

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  35. Julie Robinson said on September 29, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Perfect fit for my right/left brain balance.

    And I hate typing on phones.

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  36. Deggjr said on September 29, 2017 at 10:07 am

    I sure felt the whipsaw of emotions.

    People who would ask “how’s it going?” and then listen for five minutes were very helpful. They gave me a chance to speak out loud my contacts, meetings, etc. The spoken words were always better than what was festering in my head. That question from people who care is very healing. The ‘solvers’ aren’t helpful at all.

    The networking process was very gratifying. I hated the thought but the only other option was to wait passively for something good to happen. Almost everyone I contacted made affirming comments. I got two jobs through people who influenced the hiring decision makers. One influencer was a former colleague who actively campaigned for me.

    My conclusion was that if I had a positive vibe for someone, they probably had a positive vibe for me. That’s a nice life lesson. I think it’s a general rule not unique to me.

    Still, job searching stinks. That can’t be sugar coated.

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  37. Sherri said on September 29, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Will the BernieBros ever wake up and see how they’re being played? And the fucking NYTimes.

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  38. Judybusy said on September 29, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Wow, Sherri, that’s discouraging. I don’t have any faith that those on the further left will ever be able to acknowldge how they were played in the 2016 election.

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  39. Deborah said on September 29, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Sherri, that link makes me furious, when will they learn? That Mercer guy is a huge creep, he owes millions if not billions in taxes because of his computerized hedge fund or brokerage or whatever it is. He’s trying to get out of paying it by hook or by crook, by buying politicians. Also he’s a whacko in his personal beliefs. Of course he’s giving big money to try to curtail Warren, of course he is.

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  40. brian stouder said on September 29, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Sherri – that was an interesting piece– but somewhat on the wrong foot, in my opinion.

    Secretary Clinton convinced several million MORE voters to vote for her, as opposed to her opponent. I think the biggest thing that happened to her was when #%^&I&^ Comey had that July public statement about an email investigation, and yet had nothing to say about all the damned Russians literally bumping into one another on the Trump campaign.

    I’d concede the point (with 20:20 hindsight!) that HRC’s campaign should have put more time into Michigan and Florida (especially Florida) – but waddaya gonna do?

    In any case, I genuinely believe that a person who reads BOOKS (as opposed to Twitter), and sounds like she knows what she’s doing, and what the job is, will defeat the R nominee in 2020 (whether it’s Trump or Pence or some member of congress we haven’t heard of yet)*

    *thinking Agnew=>Ford/’76 here, but that’s another subject!

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  41. brian stouder said on September 29, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    So I did a fly-by of the Fox News site, and they seem to have blown a circuit today, with headlines blazing about Dr Seuss (really!) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (why does SHE get a pass from the meeeedia, huh?? Well – huh??!!).

    And of course, as always, they have a main-page story about another (female) teacher off-the-rails with male students…this seems to be a ‘thing’ for the Fox News demographic

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    • nancy said on September 29, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Interesting. Mitch Albom just wrote a lame-ass column about teachers fucking their students, particularly women. He lectured us all that it’s “not cute or sexy at all,” then linked to a FoxNews piece that practically leered about it, describing one teacher as “romping” with her victim.

      I guess what that tells us is, Mitch is a Fox News fan. As if we didn’t know.

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  42. Deborah said on September 29, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Speaking of romping, yesterday I was taking a walk to Lincoln Park I was walking north on state when I happened to pass the former playboy mansion and a photographer was setting up a photo of a makeshift shrine to Hefner. The shrine was just a few bunches of flowers, a candle and someone had lined up some cigarettes. I took a photo of it and put it on facebook, where Nancy commented that she didn’t get the cigarettes because Hef smoked a pipe. Maybe it was in reference to what a lot of people do after having sex, or at least they used to before all the facts came out about smoking.

    When I was working on a project that involved a mosaic we were interviewing companies who did that kind of thing. One company came in with a portfolio that was almost exclusively photos of work they had done for former playboy bunny Barbie Benton. It was horrible, garish stuff and it was everywhere in her house (or houses). I think she single handedly bankrolled this company. It was the first time I ever encountered what would be described as horror vacui.

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  43. Deborah said on September 29, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Here’s an example of a bunch of mosaic stuff in Barbi Benton’s house in Aspen,h_734,w_1100,x_0,y_0/c_limit,w_1080/v1454195977/0214-Barbis-Dream-House-Eye-Room_ff7zrf.jpg

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  44. nancy said on September 29, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Barbi Benton gets a mention in this classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning piece on the murder of Dorothy Stratten. Something to read over the weekend, maybe.

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  45. Peter said on September 29, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Deborah. Wow. Just wow. Almost Trumpian.

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  46. jcburns said on September 29, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    The story on the Stratten murder is by Teresa Carpenter, one of my all-time favorite writers from (then) the Village Voice. She ended up marrying tech writer Steven Levy and, to my regret, not writing quite so much after that.

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  47. Peter said on September 29, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Nancy, I don’t have anything to add to the comments about your predicament other than to say that I’m sorry. A close family member got the ax a couple of years ago, and it was the usual – corporate reorganization, the suck up got the plum job with the understanding that she’d have to get rid of all of the competitors; a few months after that, she got fired as well. Very French Revolution.

    I don’t know why – but when I was canned in the early ’80’s – and in my early ’20’s – I was panic stricken – how would I come up with the $275.00 rent? How am I going to make the $200.00 car payment? Now I’ve got a mortgage that dwarfs those earlier payments, and I’m like – get laid off? Whatever.

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  48. Peter said on September 29, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    And by the way, Emperor Hirocheeto just said that Puerto Rico is surrounded by water – “big water, ocean water”. No wonder Fox loves him – while talking about tax breaks for the rich, he also educates. You’re welcome snowflakes!!!

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  49. Brandon said on September 29, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    @peter: Interestingly, the actual Emperor Hirohito “was deeply interested in and well-informed about marine biology, and the Imperial Palace contained a laboratory from which the Emperor published several papers in the field under his personal name ‘Hirohito’.”


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  50. susan said on September 29, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Mebbe Lord Thin-skin “Emperor Nerocheeto” would be more appropriate.

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  51. Judybusy said on September 29, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Deborah! Now I can’t unsee that ghastly mosaic room. Yikes.

    Susan, I refrained from name-calling thus far, but “Emperor Nerocheeto” is way too clever to let it go unused. Thanks!

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  52. Deborah said on September 29, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Actually, now that I’m giving it more thought, maybe it wasn’t mosaic that we were looking into vendors for when I encountered the Barbi Benton stuff, but it might have been for terrazzo work. A detail that probably makes no difference to the story.

    We’re having another lovely cool fall day in Chicago so of course I’m going back to NM soon. We leave on Tuesday, my husband will be there a week and I’ll stay for two weeks because I hate turning around so fast when I travel. When I get back to Chicago on Oct 19th it will probably be winter. Sorry Jakash.

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  53. Dorothy said on September 29, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    When Mike and I were sick this week, our Nestle was the most attentive puppy nurse. I nicknamed her Florence Nestle-gale.

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  54. Jolene said on September 29, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Tom Price, our high-flying HHS secretary, has resigned!

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  55. Suzanne said on September 29, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Price must have figured out the hassle he was getting and working for Emporer Nerocheeto just wasn’t worth the trouble any more. May he be the first of many. And may one of them sing!

    Also, thanks so much for those gawky mosaics. I now cannot get that out of my retinas. Ever.

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  56. beb said on September 29, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    But will Price reimburse the federal government the half million he spend on private, charted flights? He offered to pat back what the seats wouldhave cost if he had flown commercial.But he sin was chartering private flights. He needs to pay back the full cost of the charters less the cost of a seat on a commercial flight. But he’s a Made Mad, part of the Trump family of the mafia. He wont pay shit.

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  57. Jakash said on September 29, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Well, Deborah @ 52, I suppose it’s *conceivable* that you weren’t responsible for the lousy weather. After all, the last few days have been close to ideal, while still taking place on your watch. And I usually like late Oct./early Nov. weather around here — 50s and 60s are fine by me, so here’s hoping that there will be no blame to assign after your next round-trip is complete. : )

    “the first of many,” Suzanne? So many of the rats (er, I mean “the best people”) have abandoned or been thrown off that badly listing ship of state that one can hardly even keep track, it seems to me…

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  58. David C. said on September 29, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    I wish it would be difficult to find a worse HHS secretary than Price, but in tRump world, it’ll be all too easy.

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  59. basset said on September 29, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    That mosaic would probably work in one of Philip K. Dick’s acid visions.

    Haven’t looked at a Playboy in years but the Hefner article was indeed very interesting. btw, Basset Jr went to the same high school as Bettie Page, Hume-Fogg in downtown Nashville.

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  60. Deborah said on September 29, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Yay! I couldn’t be happier that Price resigned, made my day! I can’t stand to look at the guy. But of course, as some have said here, will his replacement be worse? Hard to imagine that it could be worse, but in Trump world it’s highly, highly possible.

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  61. David C. said on September 29, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Oh, shit. Rumors are frothy mixture Santorum is up for new HHS Secretary.

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  62. Deborah said on September 29, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    This from Newsweek about the new HHS Sec, don’t know if it’s true maybe it’s just acting HHS not permanent. I certainly hope it’s not Santorum.

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  63. Suzanne said on September 29, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Rick “Take your dead baby & show the kids” Santorum. I will now commence drinking my evening wine on that note

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  64. Charlotte said on September 29, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Meanwhile the Mayor of San Juan is on national television pleading for help:

    From the guy who a)left the PR holding a 33 million dollar debt, b) is up to his ears with the Goldman Sachs guys who bankrupted the PR, and c) hates POC. This is all working out so well.

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  65. adrianne said on September 29, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    There’s a great Washington Post story about how Trump started out with a focus on Puerto Rico and then just…lost track when he got started on unpatriotic NFL players, Big Luther Strange losing and the disastrous health-care bill. Tom Price wouldn’t have been forced to resign over private jets is the health-care bill hadn’t failed, methinks. Here’s a link to the story:

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  66. Dexter said on September 30, 2017 at 2:23 am

    I thought of an old TV show about a kid who pedalled an ice cream bar cart through a campus and sneaked into classrooms to obtain a fee education, because he couldn’t afford any tuition dough…I thought this show was ridiculous until I read this a while back:

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  67. Andrea said on September 30, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    The president’s tweets about Puerto Rico this morning filled me with rage and despair. Why is he acceptable to those who have the power to take him down? Is their fantasy about tax cuts for the rich so compelling that they must ignore repeated, conclusive evidence of his unfitness and the actual damage he is causing to our country? Gah! If Ryan, McConnell et al really wanted to, they could take him out in a heart beat. We would be saddled with President Pence, which would be also terrible, but I have to think they would not mind at all. Why don’t they act???

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  68. Heather said on September 30, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Because they’re OK with what he’s doing, Andrea. They’re showing us through their actions, or non-actions, what they really believe and what they care about. And it’s basically money and white people. That’s it.

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  69. Jakash said on September 30, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    First, the usual disclaimer — I realize many, if not most, of you don’t like Bill Maher. But, if you’re willing to put up with him for 8 minutes, here’s a pretty apt and funny “crime investigation connecting the dots via photos on a bulletin board” – style analysis of Dolt 45’s, (aka “Fat Donnie,” aka “Edward Babyhands”) and his mob-style henchmen’s Russian operation. Featuring Don Trump, Jr., aka “Donnie Douchebag,” Vladimir Putin, aka “The Bodfather,” 2 Russian agents, Ivana Goldenshower and Natasha Urinkostekstra, (“consider them armed and hydrated”), Paul Manafort, aka “Slime Shady,” “currently under investigation by every agency in the U. S. except William Morris”… Oh, and Mike Pence, aka “Mike Pence.” Well, you get the idea.

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  70. ROGirl said on September 30, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Read the Kottke post and the linked twitter thread. Seems plausible to me.

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  71. Deborah said on September 30, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Heather, as much as I hate to think so, I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head, they like it. They’re not going to do anything about Trump, ever. I just hope the American people finally let that sink in and vote the mother fuckers out of office. The problem with that obviously is that a lot of the American people like it too. I just hope next time there are more of us than them. Wait… there were more of us than them last time and yet here we are.

    Jakash, my favorite part, after Maher went through all the AKAs was the one for Pence, I see that you mentioned it in your comment but I missed it and it was a hilarious surprise.

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  72. Heather said on September 30, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Deborah, I find it hard to believe sometimes too. But actions, unlike words, don’t lie.

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  73. Suzanne said on September 30, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    I am thinking more & more tRump’s response the Puerto Rico is a) the residents speak Spanish and b) the cast of Hamilton called out VP My Pants respectfully at the end of a performance that he attended, which tRump & his minions found egregious. Hamilton was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and where does his family hail from? Yeppers! Purto Rico.

    The one thing tRump does excell at is grudge holding, isn’t it?

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  74. beb said on September 30, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    Kevin Drum a centrist blogger suggested that there maybe something wrong with il douche
    The nut graph is Is Trump lying? Or is he showing signs of senility? It’s possible that we’re all missing the big story here by shrugging off all his peculiar lies as merely standard Trumpian bluster and misdirection.

    His inability to stay on topic, his constant airing of old grievances all point to a mental disability. Another possible sign of his disability is the way he speaks in small words and expresses himself in the tritest fashion. He speaks like a child. I don’t recall a president having so much lack of gravitas as this one.

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  75. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 30, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Deborah, I am very unhappy that you posted that link to the Benton house picture without sufficient warning. I will not be able to unsee that room. As I try to rest my eyes, the lids close and all I can see is . . . oh my. Oh my. Oh, my.

    Seriously, that was horrible. Maybe not Trumpian gold rococo horrible, but pretty darn retina-burning terrible.

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  76. susan said on September 30, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    beb, what Kevin Drum says is what lots of people of various disciplines have been saying since last November. Nothing new. Except that Emperor Nerocheeto’s pathology is getting worse by the week.

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  77. Sherri said on October 1, 2017 at 12:04 am

    I’m a 5, but I use a toaster oven, not a toaster.

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  78. Deborah said on October 1, 2017 at 12:15 am

    I recently bought a toaster to replace the old one that we finally threw away, that we’d had for maybe 25 years. The new one is a Smeg brand, makes excellent toast. I like the 3.5 setting.

    Sorry, Jeff tmmo, I will try to do better about warning of a linked image that may require eye bleach after viewing.

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  79. Jakash said on October 1, 2017 at 1:54 am

    I’d say 4 or 5, but I certainly wouldn’t throw out a 6, like it says a 5 would do! I might throw out an 8 or 9.

    We’ve had our toaster for over 30 years, FWIW, but we don’t eat a lot of toast…

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  80. Deborah said on October 1, 2017 at 4:56 am

    I finished reading Nancy’s Dorothy Stratten link, very well written but depressing. I remember watching a movie about the grisly murder with Eric Roberts playing the smarmy Paul Snider. Roberts fit the part perfectly. Stratten was played by Mariel Hemingway (what ever happened to her?).

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  81. basset said on October 1, 2017 at 7:35 am

    From the Sunday Times’ account of a 2011 visit to Hefner’s mansion:

    “A sour, suck-face blonde in ski wear, Kendra Wilkinson has squeezy-cheese hair and a light ginger pubic arrangement more suited to an Aberdeen whorehouse than the pages of a magazine that once ran Vladimir Nabokov, Jean-Paul Sartre and Ian Fleming.”

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  82. Connie said on October 1, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Toast at 8 please. At restaurants I ask for whole wheat well done, in the hopes I can get bread that is beyond warm beige.

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  83. basset said on October 1, 2017 at 9:58 am

    Light ginger would be about a 2, I think…

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  84. alex said on October 1, 2017 at 10:19 am

    And you need at least a 7 for squeezy-cheese.

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  85. Sherri said on October 1, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    It’s been a little bit since I gave an update on my food plan and training progress. I’ve now lost almost 35lbs, which is probably where I want to stop. Weight loss per se was never the goal, it was a necessary part of getting healthier, stronger, and more fit. That continues to happen; my workouts keep getting more intense, which in turn gives my mood a huge boost. To give you an idea of the intensity of my workouts, quality calories, but still.

    None of my old clothes fit, so my stylist at Nordstrom is becoming a good friend. Here’s the Little Black Dress she put me in:!Atkosto9G5MX6Tis07_h1Igh0EMq

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  86. Sherri said on October 1, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Imagine the outrage…

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  87. Deborah said on October 1, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Sherri, nice dress. 35 lbs, wow! You look terrific and probably feel even better.

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  88. Judybusy said on October 1, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Sherri, congrats on getting fit. The link didn’t work for me, but I’ll take Deborah’s word that the dress is smashing!

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  89. Sherri said on October 1, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Margaret Sullivan on dying local journalism:

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  90. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 1, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Eye bleach – I like that. (As a figure of speech.)

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  91. Dexter said on October 2, 2017 at 3:38 am

    Our daughter Lori, the nurse practitioner in Las Vegas, just posted they are ready to receive some of the dozens of shooting victims from the mass-shooting on The Strip. At least two terrorist attacks Sunday, one in Winnepeg, plus a police riot somewhere… Multiple victims hospitalized after shooting on Las Vegas Strip
    By Sun Staff (contact), Ricardo Torres-Cortez (contact)
    Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 | 10:27 p.m.

    Gunshot victims are being transported to hospitals after a mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday.

    University Medical Center spokeswoman Danita Cohen said the Las Vegas hospital is taking in “several” people with gunshot wounds. She didn’t have any more immediate information.

    Authorities shut down part of the Las Vegas Strip after receiving reports of an active shooter.

    Officer Aden Ocampo-Gomez says deputies are heading to the scene Sunday near Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.

    No further information was immediately known.

    The Associated Press contributed to this story. This is a breaking story…

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  92. Suzanne said on October 2, 2017 at 6:38 am

    So far, it appears it was a 60ish year old white man with an assault type weapon who did the shooting. Lived in the area. Death toll keeps rising.

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  93. Dave said on October 2, 2017 at 7:28 am

    No one is ever prepared to get up in the morning and learn such terrible news. Knowing that it will make no difference to the NRA crowd doesn’t help.

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  94. Deborah said on October 2, 2017 at 8:13 am

    What a horrible weekend in this country, the horrible shooting in Las Vegas and the end to CHIP. Guns and a lack of empathy seem to be unstoppable.

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