Let’s take a spin.

Hey, guys! Let’s all say hi to Joe Louis, check our coats in the Delta lounge and see what the North American International Auto Show has to offer this year, shall we?

(I’m not sure how we got on The List for the Delta lounge, but I hope we get on it again next year. They had a little pre-party and an after-party, but the best perk was a separate coat check — it let us skip another line. The finger food and the champagne weren’t bad, either.)

Onto the show floor, where every year I’m a little overwhelmed by the first 10 minutes. As I’ve no doubt said before, it’s a very strange event. The lighting is about 1 trillion candlepower, there are liquid-video screens on every upright surface, lots of noise, and thousands and thousands of people dressed in black tie. I was talking to a guy a few months ago who said he likes to take LSD about twice a year. If he did it at this show, he’d run screaming from the floor before he hit the GM space. I want to send an avant-garde cinematographer in to capture surrealism on the hoof. Me, I just hold up my phone and say a Hail Mary:

Hello, Mercedes weirdness. Of course, that’s all anybody does: Take pictures. Of themselves, each other, and once in a while, a car. Like so:

I have no idea who that woman in the pink sequins is, although she appears to know me.

The media are all there, reporting live, reporting for later, just reporting-reporting-reporting. This guy is the No. 1 drive-time morning host on the AM talk station. I find his show almost unendurable; when I’m holed up in a bunker with federal troops outside, they’ll blare it on giant speakers and I’ll surrender in a minute:

Every year, it seems the cars are less of a story than the technology. The show follows the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, every year more seamlessly. The luxury models are more and more like rolling living rooms, with price tags to match, and even the less-luxurious do everything but make you lunch, and that may be on the drawing board. We have an automotive expression in our household — “it comes with all the shit on it,” with all pronounced Texas-style: awwwllll. I’m not sure what this photo represents, all-the-shit-wise; I only welcome our robot overlords with these well-dressed people:

Jeff Borden can tell a funny story about one of his early automotive purchases, where the trunk/glove box light was part of the deluxe accessories package.

But this is a car show, so here’s a car. Ford is reintroducing the fastback Mustang from “Bullitt” in 2019. I always sigh over these nostalgia-wallows, even while I know how useful they are for whipping up the auto press. Here’s the new Bullitt next to one of the two models used in the classic chase scene from the 1968 movie. Guess which one is valued at $4 million?

(Although the first 2019 production model just sold for $300,000 at auction, a price distorted by a charity donation.)

Me, I love a concept car. Freed from the constraints of federal safety standards, designers can go wild with the coolness. Like the carbon-fiber grille on this Lexus:

That’s the LF-1 Limitless, which Alan says is likely to go into production. I’m convinced the product expert was hired because his hair matched the paint job:

“We’re never going to be able to afford this car, are we?”

Look! A bedazzled fun fur!

Here’s a Chinese crossover. The name? A total coincidence, the company says. Well, I’m glad someone else is making money off the name other than you-know-who:

The Ram logo has been squared off and made more macho. Apparently the company thought the old one looked too much like a uterus.

What I said up there about rolling living rooms? Here’s the mileage sticker for the new Suburban, which is basically a bus for soccer moms who like to spend a lot of time at the gas station:

On the way out, we passed yet another refreshment station. Hey, it’s the Detroit News autos team. Good job, guys!

You can see their full coverage here, with more stories and many, far better pictures than these. As for us, bye for now:

Posted at 4:04 pm in Detroit life |

55 responses to “Let’s take a spin.”

  1. brian stouder said on January 21, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    Excellent photos!

    Here’s a stupid question: is this event open to general public (ticket buying) admission?

    I ask because everyone in the photos seems to be well-dressed*, or at least better-dressed than the general public would be

    *Proving once again that our proprietress is indeed part of the ‘media elite’!

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  2. nancy said on January 21, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    The show itself is open to anyone who can buy a ticket for $14. The black-tie event is open to anyone who can buy a ticket for $400. The paper buys tix for the people who cover the show and their plus-ones.

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  3. brian stouder said on January 21, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    I wonder who gets to be the ‘wardrobe police’ at the front door (I betcha there’s a funny anecdote or two around that!)

    This is front of mind as Pam and the young folks and I grabbed lunch at a hole-in-the-wall place on State Street, near Parkview hospital Saturday, before I ran off to a (very interesting*) public education event at a library further east on State Street (at Georgetown)…and on their wall they had a very large photo of the grand opening of the Embassy (then Emboyd) Theater (approx. 1928) – with a very large (I’d guess 2-300 people) crowd at the entrance.

    The more I looked at it, the more interesting it was. All the men had on suits and ties, and all the women had on fancy shoes and dresses and hats; and there was more than a few Fort Wayne police officers tending the crowd (and/or eyeing the photographer)…..and (not for nothing) one also noted the monochromatic ethnicity of the folks, but we digress!

    *http://www.journalgazette.net/news/local/20180121/public-gets-some-answers-on-graduation-pathways-plan (I must be a boring old guy; I found the whole thing enthralling)

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  4. brian stouder said on January 21, 2018 at 5:42 pm


    (the photo on the top-left is the one they had made a wall-sized print of, at the bagel-place we visited)

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  5. coozledad said on January 21, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    A distinct lack of mayonnaise butterdouche on the mall in Raleigh.


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  6. coozledad said on January 21, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    Photo by Ellen Sabin.

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 21, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    So, you and Laura Lippman are married to the same guy? Fascinating.

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 21, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Just got back from a high-end multi-day event in the Miami area where I’m really just a spousal hod-carrier. Lots of chances to chat with the house staff and catering crew, and I don’t even know where to start on all the Mar-a-Lago stories. Truly, I worry about getting some of these lovely people in trouble, but they were very free with their conversation less about the Owner than the overall atmosphere. This was a place where we were that I really shouldn’t have been, and few of us in the comments ever would; the staff were mostly Cuban and Haitian and other Central American (how many were citizens I don’t know, doubt if any were/are undocumented, but from what they said I’m sure most of them have plenty of family & neighbors who would be), and again — they weren’t much interested in politics per se or even immigration, but just entirely put off by the crowd around the Owner up the coast. “They don’t pay much more than here, and it’s just not worth it.”

    As a tall white older guy obviously connected to the client base you could take anything they’re telling me with a grain of salt, but let’s just say there was no indication they were concerned about currying favor with anyone, let alone me. One of the captains, a lady who had over 20 years at that resort, said to me “we know what to watch for with ones like you who know just enough Spanish to make us nervous you hear what we’re saying” with a big smile. “What do you do, then?” I asked, and her answer “we just go full Cuban on you. None of you guests can follow that!” True.

    I’ve been to this venue before, and haven’t liked some of the petty posturing and brusque behavior I see around me, but what I mostly heard regarding Mar-a-Lago was by way of comparison: the worst guests there would be the best you’d have to serve “up there.” It was interesting how often the staff, people of color all, would say stuff about “old money/new money” talking about the various challenges people like me presented. I’d point out “I” was new money, so to speak, and both times I got a laugh — “You are staff like us. We can tell. Some guest staff people talk to us, some pretend we’re invisible. But guest staff can be the worst, because they worry people think they’re us.”

    Most shocking Mar-a-Lago story I was told: “those people who go there, they just try to get the house staff to watch their kids all day.” Apparently there’s no “kids” program, but a large number of members who have children (which made me think about poor Barron again). “They just grab you and shove a hundred dollar bill in your hand and ask if we can keep track of them until dinner.”

    If you haven’t had a look at the place — with lots of product placement in the photos — you really should. http://www.maralagoclub.com/

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  9. Deborah said on January 21, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    Jeff, I don’t really want to give that link a click. But I am curious.

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 21, 2018 at 7:51 pm


    (But the wiki page doesn’t have the pics of the interior.)

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  11. Julie Robinson said on January 21, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Fancy duds, indeed! You know, if you look at photos of laborers from that era, they’ll all be wearing suits and ties and hats. The concept of casual clothing was much later.

    Speaking of casual, did anyone in the Fort see pictures of Addison Agen at her big concert at the Embassy, wearing…a prison jumpsuit? http://wane.com/2018/01/21/agen-performs-for-sellout-crowds-at-embassy-theatre/

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  12. jcburns said on January 22, 2018 at 12:35 am

    It’s kinda sad, actually. Nancy’s husband had a pilot script where James Franco played five different, yet identical guys, but Simon got there first.

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  13. Connie said on January 22, 2018 at 7:59 am

    So Free Press said it was all about black dresses with an occasional splash of red, green….. Your comments on that?

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  14. adrianne said on January 22, 2018 at 9:00 am

    JC, that comment really made me chortle!

    Having a great Monday after watching the Iggles dismantle the Vikings on Sunday. Highly satisfying. My favorite story involved squads of Philadelphia workers going out and smearing utility poles with Crisco to keep inebriated fans from climbing them. Oh, and it was with the BACKUP quarterback.

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  15. Suzanne said on January 22, 2018 at 10:28 am

    This sent chills through me. If a green card means so little, how long before your citizenship papers can be revoked for minor reasons.

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  16. Connie said on January 22, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Mitch Albom’s version of that story. https://www.freep.com/story/sports/columnists/mitch-albom/2018/01/21/mitch-albom-jorge-garcia-deported/1050874001/

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  17. Jakash said on January 22, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Well, Adrianne, I hope you’ve got a plenty big bandwagon over there. Other than somebody such as Mr. Burns from the Simpsons, I find it hard to believe that there are many impartial fans who’ll be rooting for, uh, the other team, in the Big Game. I’d have assumed that you were a Giants fan, but what would be the point of that? ; )

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  18. Suzanne said on January 22, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    And the Democrats caved…

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  19. john (not mccain) said on January 22, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Getting six years of S-CHIP and another, better chance to get DACA in 3 weeks doesn’t count as caving. It counts as playing and possibly winning.

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  20. Suzanne said on January 22, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    I sure hope so, John!

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  21. susan said on January 22, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    john(nm), not everyone is so sanguine. Tengrain laid it out, before the vote (Look out, it’s a trap!):

    Let’s twig through the many ways that this could go wrong!

    1. Mitch keeps his word (hahahaha, I jest!) and holds a vote.
    2. If the bill passed, would Zombie-eyed Granny-Starver Paul Ryan bring it up for a vote in the House? (No, this is what happened before when Rubio got burned.)
    3. If ZEGS does bring the immigration bill to a vote in the House, would the House Freedom Caucus kill it? (Hint: YES.)
    4. If an immigration bill should make it through Congress, would Comrade Racist veto it? (Hint: Possum Hollar must be appeased at all costs.)

    Does anyone believe any Trump promise, anyway? No?

    Anyway, this is why the Dims rightly think that any immigration reform must be attached to a must-pass legislation. Don’t fall for the very reasonable sounding idea of separating the issues.

    Think Progress also sees this as caving by the Dimwits.

    Would you trust Turtle McConnell? Or any goddamned Republican? We need better and smarter and younger Democrats.

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  22. Deborah said on January 22, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    I don’t trust the Republicans after what they did with SCOTUS during Obama’s term. They’re weasels for sure.

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  23. Suzanne said on January 22, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    My worry is that Dems are trusting the GOP to keep their word. Like an abused spouse, “He promised he’d changed! He said he wouldn’t do that again!”

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  24. beb said on January 22, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Mitch Mcconnel has been a traitor to the law since Barack Obama was elected. We have no reason to believe he will keep his word. The Democrats needed to play hardball in this occasion. They didn’t. It was a cave. We need more and better Democrats.

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  25. john (not mccain) said on January 22, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    And if it turns out McConnell is typical lying conservative filth (which he is), then in 3 weeks the government shuts down again. At which point the narrative is “the GOP didn’t keep it’s word” and not “the Demonrats don’t care about the troops.” He said hopefully.

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  26. Jolene said on January 22, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    I think the bigger risk is not what McConnell will do, but that the Senate will pass a bill that the House will not support.

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  27. Scout said on January 22, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    The GOP has been spinning madly all weekend trying to paint the shutdown as being all the Dems’ fault. The GOP are proven liars and cannot be trusted any further than I can throw President* Lardass. I am torn between my fear that the Dems caved too easily and thinking that they did the right thing for CHIP and the troops, and that DACA is still in play in three weeks time. Trusting McConnell is like trusting Lucy not to pull away the football, though. He has zero credibility left.

    Meanwhile, literally millions peacefully took to the streets this weekend. Our march in Phoenix was much larger this year, up to 25,000 from 20,000 according to estimates.

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  28. Dexter said on January 22, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Paul W. Smith, what a bore, indeed. He makes me yearn for the days of yore, when https://i.ytimg.com/vi/vh24Qann_lA/hqdefault.jpg
    J.P. McCarthy had that slot, powered by his Rolodex, he could call Presidents and kings, paupers and hell-raisers on a whim, and they’d answer. Hard to believe Paul W. has been in that slot for 23 years now. WJR-AM 760, Detroit.

    I drove to the old defunct FW Holiday Theater in 1968 two Saturdays in a row to watch Bullitt. As a kid, it inspired me to get out of that theater as quickly as possible and ram my 8-cylinder Ford Galaxie around Fort Wayne and I-69 like a maniac; I loved that chase scene, and less than 2 years later I had that same old Ford on those same San Francisco roads & streets, but going airborne in a sedan did not happen. ( I had gotten stationed in Army-days Central Cal.) I almost bought hot Mustangs several times, but the insurance…young man, big-engine muscle car? No-go for a po’boy. Long Live the ghost of Steve McQueen as Bullitt. And if I was an African-American movie producer/director and my name was Steve McQueen, in deference to seniority, I would at the very least change my moniker to Steven or better yet, Stephen…right?

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  29. Icarus said on January 22, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    I’m no political analyst (though everyone on my FB feed is, apparently) but I want to believe that there is an end game to this move. I’m going with there was never going to be any action on DACA so why suffer any negative optics? Since we are beating the Lucy pulls the football analogy to death, it’s similar to pretending to go for it on 4th and 1 in the first half, hoping to draw the other team offsides. When they don’t, you burn a timeout and punt for field position. But now your OC has seen how the defense lines up and hopefully dials up a play that gets them in the 4th quarter.

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  30. nancy said on January 22, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Guys, sorry, but I’m not getting your comments as emails of late, so I’m late responding to some of them, and approving one that was hung up in moderation.

    To answer Connie’s question: There were two fashion trends above all others, to my eyes — metallics and cutouts. One woman wore a memorable combination of the two, sort of a bikini with a long skirt and covered with broken mirror shards. Alan referred to her as “the belly stick-out,” a reference to toddler Kate’s description of her two-piece swimsuit. I will attend in Carhartt coveralls before I wear anything eve remotely similar.

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  31. David C. said on January 22, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    If McConnell has rolled Schumer, again, he needs to resign as Minority Leader. That and I’m going to Washington and set a three-card monte table in front of the DNC headquarters. I’d make a fortune.

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  32. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 22, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Follow the queen, follow the queen my friend, she jumps, she leaps, she stops and sits.

    Tap your card and win the money, friend . . . ohhhhh, sorry.

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  33. basset said on January 23, 2018 at 1:09 am

    Mrs. B and I may scuttle our plans to go see the Cirque du Soleil Beatles show in Las Vegas… been looking up rooms, flights, and other stuff to do and there is just nothing else I can find there, except for dinner, that looks even remotely interesting. Don’t care in the least about gambling, or faux volcanoes, or faux Italian villages, or faux any damn thing, I know the whole place is supposed to be an illusion but it’s not mine.

    Go out in the desert and look at rocks or something, there’ll probably be a $40 or so fee for geologic viewing, another the same for breathing the desert air, and a third for “resort transportation” in the tour company van… we found one room that had a $35 “refrigerator fee” added. Maybe we can find a one- or two-day out and back, aside from that the hell with it.

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  34. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 23, 2018 at 7:35 am

    Land at McCarran, walk through the myriad slot machines in the terminal, rent a car, drive up The Strip, stop and walk through a lobby if you wish, then keep driving north to St. George, Utah (about 2 hours or less). From there head east an hour to Springdale and Zion National Park. Play Beatles tunes on your headphones as you walk around the village outside the park gates. Enjoy the park — shuttles take you up and down the canyon, plenty of easy or hard hikes, either way you like. Drive back, see The Strip on your way to returning the rental car at the airport.

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  35. basset said on January 23, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Sounds perfect but Mrs. B can’t hike and we really do want to see the Beatles show. We keep hearing that we should go to Hoover Dam, can’t understand the appeal of that at all though.

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  36. Julie Robinson said on January 23, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Completely off topic, I discovered a new word and just have to share it: recrudescence. It was in a story translated from Chinese about a figure skater’s injuries, and I thought it was just a bad translation.

    But no, I looked it up and it means recurrence or relapse. I guess it’s a fancy medical term, but it feels like it applies to so much in the world today.

    We thought the country was on the right track under Obama, but now we’ve had a recrudescence of the worst politics possible. Damage to the environment is increased because our policies have undergone a recrudescence. The possibilities for this word are limitless.

    It kind of helps that the word sounds like coughed up phlegm.

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  37. Diane said on January 23, 2018 at 9:11 am

    Julie @36
    I love it-the possibilities are indeed endless!

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  38. Deborah said on January 23, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Love the word crudescence, auto correct is not familiar with it. How do you pronounce it?

    Crew-des-ens? Or

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  39. Jolene said on January 23, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    The first version is correct, Deborah. You can here it pronounced at the link below.


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  40. alex said on January 23, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Funny. Recrudescence seems to be the word of the moment among the punditocracy. I’ve seen it multiple times recently having never noticed it before.

    Remember “puling”? Its day in the sun was in 2012, if I recall. When I heard my mother using it, I knew she’d been watching too much MSNBC, although it was also popular among right-wingers to describe liberals before the advent of “snowflake.”

    Recrudescence will die of overkill, just as “overkill” died of overkill back in 1985 or so.

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  41. Deborah said on January 23, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    Speaking of MSNBC and vocabulary, I love the way Chris Hayes speaks and writes, his vocabulary is quite extensive. Just the other day he used the word “tautology” on Twitter. I sort of knew what it meant but I looked it up to remind myself. I love it when people use words like that casually.

    I had an eye dr appointment this morning, got dialated so I’m having trouble seeing my screen. I had my regular check up and also trying to figure out why my eyelids keep acting up, redness, swelling, itching, he thinks it’s a bacterial infection caused by excess production of oils. I’ll be glad to find out it’s not from what I eat or drink as I had been told in Santa Fe. I go back in 3 weeks, I have drops to use until then, twice a day. I also got a new prescription for glasses, bifocals now, or progressives as they call them. I stopped at the eyeglass place and ordered them. Boy are they expensive.

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  42. Deborah said on January 23, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    What! No editing?

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  43. Deborah said on January 23, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Ok, it’s back now.

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  44. Mark P said on January 23, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Basset, I saw an overlook of Hoover Dam at night about 40 years ago. I don’t know whether you can still get that view, but if you can, I think it’s worth it. The dam is, of course, an incredible engineering feat, but it’s also quite a sight at night. The overflow towers (I think that’s what they are) make it look like a Buck Rogers science fiction set.

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  45. Jakash said on January 23, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Neil Steinberg likes to apply the term “revanchist” to the Republicans and their agenda, such as it is.

    “an advocate or supporter of a political policy of revanche, especially in order to seek vengeance for a previous military defeat.”

    revanche: “the policy of a state intent on regaining areas of its original territory that have been lost…”

    Obviously, it’s a military term, but the way Il Douche and Co. are intent on reversing as much of what Obama accomplished as they possibly can, it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch.

    Kudos, Alex — that’s some breathtaking internet-warp-speed cynicism featured @ 40. And I thought *I* was a curmudgeon. Julie mentions a word many of us are not familiar with, and you’ve already written it off as being well on its way to being overused 3 comments later! ; )

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  46. Scout said on January 23, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    So go to Vegas and see your Beatles show. Then rent a car and go to the Grand Canyon. It’s breathtaking. You can see the Hoover Dam on the way. Hell, you’re that close, might as well go to Sedona too. I promise you won’t be sorry.

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  47. Bitter Scribe said on January 23, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    I don’t know what kind of miracles people expect of the Democrats when the Republicans control the House, Senate and White House. Just keeping the GOP from completely wrecking the country and fucking over everyone in sight is miracle enough for me.

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  48. Dorothy said on January 23, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Basset I’ll second what Scout said. Go – see the show, spend the $$ and don’t bitch about it. It’s a bucket list item, right? And just so you can say you gambled a little, drop $20 or $50 bucks into slot machines and then take a drive around the beautiful countryside not too far away. We did that when our son got married there in December 2012. We saw a Cirque show, we rented a car and saw the Red Rock Canyon National Park. It was gorgeous. The time did not work for us to see the Hoover Dam TOUR, but we drove around it and I got some great pictures. We did not see the Grand Canyon but we plan to go back. I’d prefer not to ever step foot in Vegas again if I could avoid it. Once was enough. But I’m glad I went.

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  49. Suzanne said on January 23, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    I third seeing the Grand Canyon & Sedona while you are in Vegas. Both can’t be described and, quite honestly, even though I have been to both several times, I still have a hard time believing they are real! The look so other worldly.

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  50. Charlotte said on January 23, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Victim 190 just got up to give her victim statement in the MSU Larry Nasser trial. Why the entire program, and the USGA are not all being prosecuted is beyond me. Institutions protecting themselves. I haven’t been able to watch women’s gymnastics for a few cycles now — they always looked like hostages to me. Fierce hostages, but hostages nonetheless. And now we know to what.

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  51. David C. said on January 23, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Nothing is really going to happen at MSU until/unless the donors revolt. The President’s Larry Nasser, who’s Larry Nasser bit is probably wearing thing with the faculty, students, and Michigan residents. Izzo’s “if they got the right guy” bit was disgusting and his walkback was as lame as anything from the tRumps. As long as they bring in donor money though, they’ll be fine.

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  52. Sherri said on January 23, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    Little Girls in Pretty Boxes, by Joan Ryan, was published in 1995, and was about the abusive world of Olympic level gymnastics and figure skating. Nasser didn’t exist in a vacuum; the Karolyis certainly did their part to create a toxic culture in USA gymnastics.

    Nor are those sports unique. USA swimming has had some big issues with coaches and sexual abuse, and there are plenty of cases of sexual abuse by coaches in the AAU basketball world. That’s just what I’m aware of; I’m sure there are more.

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  53. Suzanne said on January 23, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    I read a bit of the Ryan book when I was browsing at a bookstore. It made me glad my daughter wasn’t into that. The bit I read was about the rampant bulimia and anorexia that no one really blinked an eye at. If you die or get sick or suicidal, oh well. Guess you can’t cut it.

    I’m with you, David C, in thinking that as long as the Spartan donors don’t balk too much, nothing will happen, which just emboldens more Nassars and Sanduskys. Sick.

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  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 23, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    You’re all wrong — Zion National Park is the only bucket list item worth prioritizing! And you can enjoy it without any hiking at all.

    Yes, my wife was once a park ranger at Zion. We’re also huge North Rim fans of the Grand Canyon.

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  55. basset said on January 23, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    This is all good guidance, thanks… I like the idea of just blowing through the city and going out to enjoy nature. Jeff TMMO, where should we stay out by the park?

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