New post, in which I give up.

I’m looking at the post-ette I started day before yesterday. It was about Garrison Keillor. Remember him? Seventy-two hours ago, maybe 48, he was in the news, which now seems like 25 years ago.

At some point in the last few hours, I gave up, and watched “Fifty Shades Darker.” It was on HBO. It’s the second movie in the Fifty Shades franchise, I believe. I’ve never seen the first one, and won’t see the third one, but God help me I watched the second one. And this is my manifesto:

The rule of threes is important in storytelling: Beginning, middle, end. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. Couple meets and does sex stuff, couple breaks up and does more sex stuff, and whatever the third movie is about, I don’t care, because hoo-boy, this second movie. It’s hilarious.

It also follows the contemporary model of girl-centered soft-core porn movies, in that sex is only a fraction of the guy’s appeal. The rest is his money, which is ludicrously abundant. Christian Grey is under 30, has a billion dollars and a million exquisitely decorated houses. Lines like “I have a place there” and “I own that” and “I had it made at my shipyard in Seattle” are repeated so often it’s kind of a joke, and needless to say, all the work we see Mr. Grey doing consists of sitting at the end of a boardroom table, while people make notes on legal pads in leather covers. He also has a closet stocked with designer gowns for his girlfriend Anastasia Steele – these names, right? :::eyeroll::: – all of which fit her perfectly and the ones she wears? Someone manages to speak the name of the designer. (I see you, Monique Lhuillier, and I’m sorry the moment went by so fast I didn’t quite catch the proper pronunciation.) Oh, and a helicopter. I think a plane, too, but that was in the first movie. At one point they go to a party, and travel in a three-vehicle motorcade. Of Audis. Like the president.

They have lots of sex, needless to say, which is very well-lit and free of awkward moments like ow you’re on my hair or move your leg or so forth. And here you’re not going to find me getting on the S&M-is-abusive train, because you don’t even need to have taken Psych 101 to see the appeal, especially for women who are submissive. If your hands are tied to the headboard, no one is going to ask you to fold the laundry, or drive them to soccer practice or even touch someone else’s body parts. You just go OK, sure, happy not to make any decisions here. (I’ve always heard this is popular among CEOs, who are mostly submissives.) But this sex is pretty boring, anyway, although there is some tension in seeing how Dakota Johnson can manage to have so much of it without ever smearing or even touching up her vivid lipsticks.

At one point I noticed that both Marcia Gay Harden (who plays Mr. Grey’s mother) and Dakota Johnson were wearing the exact same shade of cranberry-colored lipstick. That’s how boring this movie is. Of course it ends with a marriage proposal, and then I noticed that Dakota Johnson’s character will be Anastasia Steele Grey. That’s sorta funny.

And of course I did all this because if I didn’t, I’d read another million Twitter threads of other sharp analyses of the day’s events, and honestly, I’d rather think about whether cranberry lipstick is right for me.

The rest of you have a good weekend, OK? And please don’t fight anymore.

Posted at 6:48 pm in Movies |

73 responses to “New post, in which I give up.”

  1. Julie Robinson said on December 1, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    So many people talked about the first book that I finally got the audiobook from the library. It put me to sleep, and didn’t interest me enough to rewind. Meh. But the movies have done well enough that I just saw a preview for a FOURTH. What a world, what a world.

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  2. Deborah said on December 1, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    I haven’t been tempted to see any of those movies so far and your hilarious review lets me know I’ve made the right decision.

    I spent the morning glued to the TV and my laptop. Then I did some errands and now I’m back to the pundits. I’ll be glad to go to London to hopefully get some distance from all of this again.

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  3. Dexter said on December 1, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Whoa! Wotta day. Flynn flipped…Trump knows he’s toast, and all day I’ve been pre-celebrating Trump’s all-but-certain demise on Facebook and the phone. Or is this a goddam desert mirage, or all-hat-no-cattle? Do I want this to happen so badly I am just a victim of wishful thinking?

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  4. Julie Robinson said on December 1, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    One of the reporters tonight said the White House was blindsided by the Flynn events today. Where have they been? Did no one ever mention it on Fox & Friends?

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  5. Deborah said on December 1, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    I just don’t believe a single solitary thing coming out of the whitehouse. They lie, cheat, steal and bully. If they say they were blindsided and in the meantime Trump is going off the deepend it’s obviously a giant lie. They’ve known this was a possibility from the get go. Flynn has been steeped in it from the beginning and when it was exposed they scrambled every which way to try to stop it. End of rant.

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  6. Linda said on December 1, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Dakota Johnson is the actress.

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    • nancy said on December 1, 2017 at 9:42 pm

      Yep. Thanks for the fix. It’s been a long week.

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  7. Suzanne said on December 1, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    This from an article in the NYTimes today: “In the end, Mr. Flynn’s lies are secondary to the demonstration that the Trump administration was actively undermining American foreign policy before it took office. This will most likely prove the most abiding scandalous fact of the Mueller investigation. And it’s one that nobody on either side of the aisle couled defend.”
    Sadly, once again the mainstream media underestimates the cult like following of Trump. They will have no basis to defend him but betcha they will.

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  8. Sherri said on December 1, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Yes, Flynn has flipped, but we’re a long ways from being rid of trump. For one thing, no one knows if a sitting president can be indicted. I still have no faith that Republicans will I,preach him. Just look at what they’re doing with this tax bill, and ask yourself if they still believe in representative democracy anymore.

    I never want to hear the words “principled” or “moderate” applied to Republican ever again. The whole party needs to die. The Republicans in Congress aren’t destroying the entire social compact without holding a single hearing because trump is president, they’re doing it because this is who they are.

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  9. Suzanne said on December 1, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Roxane Gay on the 50 Shades phenomenon:

    I know several church going grandmothers who thought 50 Shades was such a wonderful love story. Maybe they didn’t understand it?

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  10. Deborah said on December 2, 2017 at 8:53 am

    So they narrowly passed the tax bill in the wee hours, of course they did, now they have to reconcile it with the house bill and then Trump signs it. They’ll probably celebrate at the whitehouse again. Makes me want to go there and protest out front with a giant sign that says “lock him up”.

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  11. Heather said on December 2, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I’m so angry and upset this morning. I want to fly to Washington to literally spit in each GOP senator’s face. I hope they get hissed at and garbage thrown at them in public now.

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  12. beb said on December 2, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    One of the sites I visited this morning to find out of the Republicans had passed the tax bill listed tweets from several people just holding up pages of the bill to show the handwritten amendments and cross-outs to it. One example had a single line drawn down the middle of it but indication whether that page was excised, retained or what. What a travesty of rule-making. I have to echo Sherri that the Republican party has to die.

    In lighter news Elon Musk has announced the payload for the first Falcon Heavy rocket which will launch (or explode, even Musk isn’t sure) some time in January. It’s his 1st generation Telsa Roadster. If all goes well it will be sent to Mars.

    And I’ve retired. The prospect of not having anything to do come Monday is … unsettling.

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  13. Icarus said on December 2, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    I suspect they will turn on him after the Tax Bill is signed so that they can leverage that to save themselves in the mid-term elections

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  14. susan said on December 2, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    beb, congrats on joining the active crowd. You’ll find stuff to do in no time, and soon will so appreciate not dealing with bosses, loathsome co-workers, and other people’s schedules. Of course, I find a lot my time is spent going from one kind of doctor to another…

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  15. Jolene said on December 2, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    I suspect they will turn on him after the Tax Bill is signed so that they can leverage that to save themselves in the mid-term elections.

    We should be so lucky. There’s an article on the WaPo website re cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security being next on the agenda. Apparently, there’s also a bill in the House that would require states that permit open carry of handguns to honor open carry permits from other states. So, stay tuned for further weakening of the safety net and gun laws.

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  16. Deborah said on December 2, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Beb, trust me you’ll find a million things to do. And as Susan said not being beholden to a schedule that has been set for you day after day is so pleasant.

    I’m extremely depressed today even though I’m heading to London soon. I sort of wish I could stay there, but I’m not sure the political situation there is a whole lot better. Although not having Trump as their leader has to make them feel better.

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  17. James said on December 2, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Is it just me, or does it seem that sending Elon Musk’s car to Mars seems wasteful? Pointless? Stupid?
    Couldn’t they send a satellite or some other scientific package?

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  18. Jeff Borden said on December 2, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    The return of the Gilded Age is upon us. . .if it’s not already here.

    As the deficits soar from this horrific giveaway to the rich donor class, excuse me, tax bill, the vultures in the GOP will swoop down on Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security. It’s all part of their long-term plan. The Republican Party has no governing vision beyond “I’ve got mine and fuck you, asshole.” They sit silently in the shadow of a president who worked with a hostile foreign power to alter American foreign policy because they know he’ll sign anything they put before him. They will sit silently when a man who fondled little girls while in his 30s takes his seat in the United States Senate because he’ll be a dependable vote for further dismantling of our social structure, even if he did wipe his ass with the Constitution not once but twice while in Alabama. What does it matter if they can push their agenda?

    Flynn Flip Friday was nice, yeah, but it’s a footnote alongside the wrecking ball Congress is taking to our country. The Washington Post editorializes today that the GOP has flunked Economics 101. No, they haven’t. They know exactly what they are doing and to whom. It’s all part of the plan.

    I have to admit I’m glad I don’t have kids. I cannot imagine what kind of a nation we will be in the next decade or two, but I don’t think it will be very pretty. Check out this terrifying report by McKinsey & Company predicting as many as one-third of American jobs could be replaced by automation or computers in the next dozen or so years.

    The funds to build a new economy for the next generation have already been diverted to the donor class. The millennials will be on their own. It’s all part of the plan.

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  19. Sherri said on December 2, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    We need lawyers looking for ways to sue to stop the tax bill, like the conservatives had teams of lawyers filing suits against the ACA. This bill was so targeted, I wonder if there’s an equal protection case, for example. Obviously, I’m not a constitutional lawyer, but we need delaying tactics until we can win some elections.

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  20. Suzanne said on December 2, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    I do have kids & I am terrified for them. Neither has their own children yet for which I am thankful. I truly believe they will see the return of slavery or a nuclear war in their lifetimes.

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  21. Deborah said on December 2, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Jeff B, I do have a kid, one with a neurological disability and I’m scared shitless for her future. I just hope we can turn this all around in 2020, we have to.

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  22. Sherri said on December 2, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    I have a kid who turns 23 in January, recent college grad, work g part time as a tutor and living at home. I’m so angry about the state of the future for her.

    To stay sane, I’m exercising a lot, and focusing on what I can do to make a difference beyond just shouting into the wind.

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  23. Sherri said on December 2, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Around 10 years ago, I told a friend that conservatives were actively working to destroy public education in this country. She pooh-poohed me, but I think events have proven me right. This tax bill will change the tax deductibility of state and local taxes, including property taxes, which are the primary funding mechanism of public education in this country. Meanwhile, private school tuition will get a tax break. This tax bill is designed to attack higher education, and but for 4 Republicans, would have given special status to Hillsdale College, which doesn’t receive federal funds because of its discriminatory practices.

    This isn’t about trump. This is about the Republican Party.

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  24. Joe Kobiela said on December 2, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Sheri as I understand it and correct me if I’m wrong, but Hillsdale doesn’t receive money by choice, they aren’t denied money because they discriminate. And if they do discriminate could you sight some examples of the discrimination.
    Pilot Joe

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  25. nancy said on December 2, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    They forego federal money by choice, and what they gain in return is the ability to boot a student from school if, for instance, s/he comes out as transgender. Explainer here.

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  26. alex said on December 2, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Hillsdale’s the Bob Jones University of the Midwest, just less in-your-face about it.

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  27. David C. said on December 2, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Hillsdale was the pervy prototype of the modern Republican Party.

    In November, another right-wing wolf cloaked in family values sheepskin was unzipped to the American public. George Roche III resigned as president of conservative Hillsdale College in Michigan after accusations of a quasi-incestuous relationship with his daughter-in-law, Lissa.

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  28. Deborah said on December 2, 2017 at 6:05 pm


    Sight is what you do with your eyes.

    Cite means to quote, to summon officially, to mention formally, or even to compliment. It’s also the noun form of the same things: a formal summons, or an official mention. You have to cite your sources when you write a paper, but it’s also a nod to wherever you got your idea.

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  29. Deborah said on December 2, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Holy cow, this is where we’re staying in London with uncle J I’ve never traveled in so much luxury. This is where uncle J usually stays.

    I also found that the sunset happens in London at around 3:50 this time of year.

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  30. Joe Kobiela said on December 2, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Thanks, I try but I only finished highschool so I need the help at times with my spelling and English, I know about the scandal at Hillsdale, but it was a while back and had nothing to do with taxes I don’t believe, and did Hillsdale throw out a transgender? Must not have heard about. Brother Dave who is a Hillsdale graduate, did they discriminate against anyone you can remember?
    Pilot Joe

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  31. Deborah said on December 2, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Joe, I’m a pretty bad speller and not great at grammar either, so what I try to do is proof what I wrote before I press send. I don’t always catch my mistakes. Also, if I have any inkling that I might not know the right usage I google it first. It takes more time, but I always learn something and hope it sticks.

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  32. Sherri said on December 2, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Joe, when my daughter was in third grade, she knew how to use Google, so I suspect you can too. I’m not your researcher; Wikipedia can explain why Hillsdale stopped
    taking federal funds.

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  33. Heather said on December 2, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    “The scandal had nothing to do with taxes”–wow. Talk about missing the point.

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  34. beb said on December 2, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    James @17: The Space Launch System that Congress mandated NASA build and which will launch no more often than every other year — that’s a pointless rocket and a wastes of billions. The Falcon Heavy may not launch much more often than that but since it uses parts from the Falcon 9 series it will be able to distribute production costs widely, thus be cheaper to maintain over the years. The thing is no one wants to put anything of real value on the first launching of a new rocket when there is a very real chance of it blowing up, so the choices are a bunch of sandbags to simulate the weight of satellite or some other weight. Musk is send up his old car to visibly demonstrate the payload capacity of the Falcon Heavy and because it’s kooky, eccentric and fun.

    Pilot Joe take heart. cite / site/ sight is the scourge of modern communications, replacing its / it’s and your / you’re as common errors. Sight is what you see, site is where you are and cite is giving a reference but since they all sound the same it’s hard to people to remember which is which.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 2, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    Too often I go to spell check just to see it tell me two tow trucks don’t need a hyphen, but two turtledoves are a one word bird, whether the sun shines or it rains down on us all. I try to toe the line on spelling and usage, but the reign of English leaves me struggling to home in on the right signal to follow. If you hone down the sharp edge of your discernment, judgment can distinguish between various principles and the principal issue, which is whether data are plural or media are many.

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  36. FDChief said on December 2, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    IIRC one of the principal rationales for the break with Great Britain was that the wealthy white guys here in the colonies were pretty pissed off that the British legislature was dumping taxes and duties on them and they didn’t have a say in the business. “Taxation without representation”, amirite?

    So here we are. The federal legislature just dumped a massive collection of taxes and duties on us in a piece of legislation that is supported by, at best, perhaps a quarter of the citizens (and that’s with a massive campaign of lies and evasions intended to obscure to those citizens exactly who wins and who loses in this trainwreck – presumably were the thing to be reported accurately the support for it would be even lower).

    Foisting this monstrosity on three-quarters of the nation seems a hell of a lot like “taxation without represntation” to me. So who’s all-in on dressing up like Wampanoags and dumping McConnell and Ryan in Boston Harbor.

    Preferably with a hatchet buried in their foreheads.

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  37. susan said on December 2, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    I’m in, especially if there is disemboweling involved with those quislings before the hatchet burying.

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  38. Sherri said on December 3, 2017 at 2:06 am

    I believe hanging, drawing, and quartering is the traditional
    punishment for treason.

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  39. Jerry said on December 3, 2017 at 3:48 am

    Deborah, that hotel looks pretty spiffy. I didn’t even know it existed.

    As for the political system, things are pretty bad right now. The Brexit negotiations are a nightmare and I’m looking forward with horror to the outcome. Meanwhile we also have a senior Government minister accused of having (legal) porn on his Government computer some years ago. Police say they found the images some years ago whilst investigating an unrelated matter. He, of course, denies it all.

    The only topic uniting politicians is annoyance at Trump for retweeting those videos from the nasty racist group Britain First. All have united to tell him firstly that he’s out of order and then that the videos aren’t actually true. He is, of course, unconcerned. I think May should have told Trump to worry more about the home grown terrorists shooting up schools with legally held weapons.

    I feel as if we are all going swiftly to hell in a hand basket.

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  40. ROGirl said on December 3, 2017 at 6:39 am

    The fix is in and we’re the marks.

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  41. Deborah said on December 3, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Calling on the Grammarians, is the past tense of plead: pled or pleaded?

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  42. adrianne said on December 3, 2017 at 8:56 am

    I’m totally stealing part of Jeff Borden’s comment for my FB.

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  43. Deborah said on December 3, 2017 at 10:10 am

    The reason I asked about the past tense of plead, is because in the text of the incriminating Tweet that Trump made in which he said he fired Flynn for among other things, lying to the FBI, Trump used the word pled. But now the WH is saying the Tweet was actually written by Dowd, one of Trump’s lawyers. Wouldn’t a lawyer at that level know that the correct term should be pleaded? Many were saying yesterday that by that Tweet Trump basically admitted to obstruction of justice, so now it appears they’re scrambling to spin it otherwise.

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  44. Deborah said on December 3, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Is this for real?

    I’ve gotta get off the internet or my head will explode.

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  45. alex said on December 3, 2017 at 10:43 am

    I know several church going grandmothers who thought 50 Shades was such a wonderful love story. Maybe they didn’t understand it?

    Oh diddlefingers! Their generation was raised on bodice-ripper fiction. Nonprocreational love is the only kind of love they want to read about.

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  46. Jolene said on December 3, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Deborah, that specification re teachers being able to deduct for school supplies is not yet settled. If you read the responses to the tweet you linked to, you’ll see that the House and Senate bills handled that issue differently. The Senate bill doubles what was a $250 deduction to $500; the House bill eliminates it. So, we have to wait and see what they will do.

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  47. Connie said on December 3, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Bodice ripper fiction pretty much started when I was in high school. Everyone read The Flame and the Flower, which according to wikip was one of the first.

    In local news today’s implosion of the Pontiac Silverdome is a failure.

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  48. Sherri said on December 3, 2017 at 11:39 am

    There are differences between the House bill and the Senate bill, but one thing is true of both: they represent a massive transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the very top. Exactly who gets screwed and how varies between the two plans, but don’t get too lost in the details. Even if the teacher expense deduction survives, or ANWR drilling were to go away, or taxing tuition waivers, this is still an awful bill, passed in the dead of night with no hearings or pretense of any kind of legitimate process, a completely unprincipled raw power grab.

    GOP delenda est.

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  49. Sherri said on December 3, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Okay, a palate cleanser. I went out to Redmond Lights last night, our tree lighting/luminary walk/art/music event last night with friends, despite the 40 degree rain, and it was lovely. I got to see the Emerald City Voices, one of my favorite local choirs, a group of young adults many of whom went through the same choir program my daughter did. They’re quite good:

    I just picked up their most recent album of Christmas music and am listening to it now.

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  50. Sherri said on December 3, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    And a question…

    I had my first Community Truancy Board meeting of the year last week, and was struck again by something about some of my fellow board members. I’d say about half of the volunteers I’ve encountered on the boards don’t have much recent experience with high school or teenagers; they’re community members who care and want to help, which is fabulous. But the come in with some preconceptions about things that aren’t helpful. They assume that the kids we see are going to be lazy and unmotivated, and that’s why they’re skipping school. They are genuinely shocked when they begin to see what the kids are dealing with.

    Obviously, we need better training, but even these boards are now required by state law, there’s no money provided for them. I was talking with one of our coordinators about maybe coming up with a reading list that could bring people up to date. The first book that came to my mind was Doing School, by Denise Clark Pope. Anybody else have suggestions, of books or articles, that might help (mostly men) of my age and older who seem stuck in the past about teenage and high school life.

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  51. ROGirl said on December 3, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    I always called that domed white thing in Pontiac the Plasticdome.

    Maybe Trump’s lawyer told him to say that Flynn got fired for lying about wearing plaid.

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  52. beb said on December 3, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Deborah @43: There was an article on Ar Technica (I think) about the evolution of English, which is fluid and unpredictable. Examples include the use of “dove” in place of “dived.” So it seems irrelevant whether one says “pled” or “pleaded.”

    Hopeful Deborah’s head won’t explode before she has a chance to read this.

    I think we all need something mindless and fun, so I recommend “Jane’s World” on GoComics.
    but it’s best to start at or near the beginning…
    When the relationships are less convoluted. Jane is a 20-some Lesbian with the same problems as most people, coffee first thing in the morning, glazed doughnuts, slacking off at work the lack of stable relationship in her life and constantly running into her exs. The writing is very sharp and clever. The character are well realized and from time to time weird stuff happens that keeps this from being just a story about relationships. The creator, Paige Braddock apparently worked for Charles Schultz towards the end of his life and you can see his influence here. There are moments when I literally LOL’d.

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  53. Jolene said on December 3, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    So it seems irrelevant whether one says “pled” or “pleaded.”

    In this case, though, the issue is not so much correct usage as whether an experienced lawyer would have typed “pled,” as the president’s lawyer is claiming he did in an effort to get the prez off the hook for saying something unfortunate on Twitter. Many suspect that he is not telling the truth (that is, it isn’t true that he rather than DJT composed the tweet) because, in the legal community, “pleaded” is the more standard phrasing.

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  54. beb said on December 3, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    connie @47: the incomplete implosion of the Silverdome suggests that the Detroit Lions were so bad for so long that they’ve cursed everything associated with them — like the Silvedome.

    Sherri @50: A friend of mine who’s since passed, used to tell me stories of his daughter teaching in Highland Park. Highland Park is a village embedded in Detroit, it makes Detroit’s poverty look middle-class. Her kids would do things like pull a knife on her. Now my friend was something of an SOB in life so his daughter was not one to be easily intimidated. Still the stories she told her dad, who told to men was enough to convince me that inner-city schools really needed to have social services open offices in the schools because so many kids needed their help — right then and right now. Jeff (TMMO) could easily write a book (and should) but until then when not collect some of his longer essays about working in child protective services. The kids he works with are basically the kids your group has to deal with.

    I started this posting to share links to a couple stories. One concerns the woman running to Michigan’s Attoney General. I don’t know anything about her, or that’s she’s even running until I read this Buzzfeed article:
    The core of the ad she’s released is to ask who do you trust not to show his penis to you? She answers, “perhaps the person without a penis.” That’s so funny and true that I have to vote for her.

    The other piece is:
    A hattip to Atrois for liking to it. Another man who harassed women — women of color no less — and was covered up for years because he was a handicapped white male.

    The thing about retirement was that as I left the grounds on Friday, and had to call security to open the gate because I’d already turned in my ID badge, was the thought that I’d never be doing this again. I’d never go to the lab where I had been comfortably nested for twenty years. I’d never have to talk about water issues again, or run emergency analyses or anything. It’s such an enormous change in my life but it hadn’t hit me fully before then. Now I have all the time in the world to babble incoherently on NN.c

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  55. Deborah said on December 3, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    I’ve been spending time researching things to do in London instead of reading the pundits, to keep my head from exploding. We got tickets to the Oscar Wilde play “A Woman of No Importance”. It wasn’t our first choice but our four preferred choices weren’t available during the week we will be there, well actually not a full week there because part of it is travel time. We also found some restaurants and other places to go, to keep uncle J stimulated. It’s so important to do that for people with his stage of Alzheimer’s. He loves the hustle and bustle so just getting out and walking in a fantastic city that he loves is a big adventure.

    Jolene, you’re correct about the fact that if Dowd really did write the Tweet he probably would have used “pleaded” instead of “pled”, because he’s a lawyer with much experience. So the claim is suspect, indeed.

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  56. Deborah said on December 3, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    And also can I just say that the tweet I linked to about the teachers vs the luxury cars deductions, the point was not that the teachers are not exempt from their expenses (or for how much) but that luxury car owners are. If I read it correctly the luxury car owners in this bill (senate?) are allowed to quadruple the amount of deductions that they can claim for depreciation from $2,500 to $10,000!!! That deductions helps NO ONE except the very, very wealthy. Maybe I’m just not understanding it?

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  57. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 3, 2017 at 3:41 pm


    Anyhow, Sherri, I should have books for you, and reading your question over again, I realize that I don’t — so please share what you find! Our Ohio version of this is a mandated (but unfunded) “absence intervention team” which is largely being evaded by business as usual administrators doing what they always did and putting new headers on their pro-forma paperwork. I’m trying to leverage between the schools and the county prosecutor, who in his previous guise in the Statehouse wrote the bill that birthed this new model for handling truancy/excessive absence, and I’m getting mostly nowhere, except in specific cases where I can muster a full-court press . . . but that’s not scalable.

    If I were independently wealthy, if I had $2 million in a bank account, I’d start a non-profit to do resourcing and interventions with our 11 county school districts to push towards a 90% graduation rate. “America’s Promise” is sort of the model I have in mind, but they’ve gotten caught up in mission creep and grant pursuit activities which have spread them too thin. The problem inside the school districts is that often there are a few teachers and admins who know what they need to do in a hatful of cases, but the mass pressure to do the next-dang-thing in front of them means they still are caught up in a morass of robo-calls, auto-letters (that often really don’t go out, and if they do, don’t get to the person who needs to see it) and a punitive system that’s held back because it’s too much in most cases, but then asked to come full-on in a few where in fact punishment is the last thing needed. Specific targeted plans in particular cases can help build back regular attendance and open up paths to success; bulk mail chastisement not so much.

    As I’ve said here before, to reaffirm what Sherri’s looking at: I’ve handled thousands of cases of truancy/absence, and IMHO I’ve seen about 2 cases of kids who were just lazy and wanted to stay home to watch Sponge-Bob or play Call of Duty. Two.

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  58. Sherri said on December 3, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    This is still early in the process for us; this is the first year that CTBs have been required by state law. Our community probably looks a little different than Jeff(tmmo)’s, and we’re seeing a carefully curated selection of kids right now, ones that the coordinators think will be successful in the process.

    We’re an affluent community, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have substance abuse issues, mental health issues, or issues of families just barely able to hold it together. They just look a little different.

    The CTBs are modeled after a successful program in Spokane, but I’ve been concerned all along that the legislature took the form but not the substance from the Spokane model. Spokane started with just random community volunteers, but their program became much more successful when they added people from social service agencies to the boards.

    Our district has ~25K kids, and 4 truancy people, assigned geographically. Each of those people has a caseload of about 50 kids; these are the kids who have remained truant beyond individual school level interventions. So far, only a handful have been referred to a CTB. I’m trying to use my connections with them, the school board, and the schools foundation, to see if we can turn this into something beyond a feel good thing that doesn’t really accomplish much.

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  59. Catherine said on December 3, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Sherri, FIRES IN THE BATHROOM was recently recommended to me as a good pre-training text for artists who are becoming mentors for lower-SES HS students. More for teachers than maybe board members, but written by kids and about creating a culture of respect. Buy here:

    BTW, seems like the Kickback Lounge link is broken.

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  60. Diane said on December 3, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    I have to differ on the conclusions being drawn by the use of the word pled. While I don’t believe for a nanosecond that Trump didn’t write that tweet, I don’t think using pled instead of pleaded can tell us anything about whether or not his lawyer wrote it. I was a lawyer a long time ago (20 years) in a galaxy far away (the East coast) and everyone used pled. I never heard the word pleaded in actual usage. Now, that may have changed since I was in the business and younger lawyers may use it but I would bet quite a bit that an East coast lawyer of a certain vintage would use pled.

    I take absolutely no stand on grammatical correctness.

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  61. Deborah said on December 3, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    Interesting point Diane. Thanks.

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  62. Peter said on December 3, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Sorry I coming late to this party – it’s been a long weekend.

    But my wife, a legal secretary at a huge firm who’s a legal Nazi says the past tense of plead is pled.
    Feed – fed, Bleed – bled, Plead – pled.

    Meanwhile my niece is freaking about the new tax bill – and with good reason. She’s in a doctoral research program, and gets free tuition and a small salary for her lab work. The university told her that now her free tuition and fees are considered taxable income, and told her that her taxable income for this past year will change from $24,000.00 to about $85,000.00.

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  63. Peter said on December 3, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    On another matter – am I the first to mention the interesting stuff from Corey Lewandowski’s mash-up of the Trump campaign? Guy goes off message – you don’t say. Trump goes on rants – who’d have guessed. Hope Hicks steams his suit coat and pants while he’s wearing them? Kinky….

    But his go to meal is two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish, and a chocolate shake? Ay carumba!!! How this guy is not fatter than Chris “Crisco” Christie is beyond me.

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  64. brian stouder said on December 3, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    I love, period.

    This place is a genuine oasis.

    Aside from that – back when there was an actual (if infinitesimal) chance of me becoming a member of the Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of Trustees, I read a (genuinely wonderful) book called

    What School Boards Can Do

    by Donald R McAdams.

    The nut of that book – which he reiterates again and again – is that boards set policies and goals, and then monitor progress toward them…and they should actively avoid day-to-day management decisions

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  65. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 3, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Caseload of 50. Oh, the joy…

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  66. alex said on December 3, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    My name and e-mail address aren’t appearing automatically anymore in the comments. Not sure if it’s because I just upgraded my OS. Some upgrade. Slower than molasses.

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  67. alex said on December 3, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Whoops. Wrong e-mail.

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  68. basset said on December 3, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Sherri, I would think you’d be getting a lot of pressure from the same people who want to run the schools like a business, punish those who don’t perform to standard, that bunch.

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  69. Sherri said on December 4, 2017 at 12:11 am

    Oh, we have those people, too, Basset. The the CTB isn’t on their radar. They get more exercised over bond measures and levies, and we’ve got a bond measure coming up in February.

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  70. Dexter said on December 4, 2017 at 3:49 am

    Now just what in the hell am I going to do with these duffel bags of cash I have crammed into all these lockers at various bus stations? According to NBC Nightly News, cash is not just on its way out…at many places it IS out, meaning many restaurants and quality merchandise stores now refuse cash. One young woman said she has not had any cash in her possession for 2 years now. My friend Earl in New York City just posted a photo of this contraption” The beginning of the end of the Metrocard…installation of the new smartphone based fare readers already at Penn Station.” We have no-burn laws here so I can’t burn this moldy old cash…I guess I’ll cram it into giant sealed cans and bury it all somewhere secret…maybe it’ll be a nice find for some history students in 2020.

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  71. David C. said on December 4, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Other than the cash I get out for the farmer’s market every other week, I rarely have cash in my wallet. It doesn’t seem necessary in a world where vending machines take cards. What’s the interchange fee on a $1.00 package of peanuts?

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