In my other life, I skate.

So what’s your parallel-destiny Olympic sport? The one you’d be playing if your life had taken a couple of different sliding-doors turns? Mine is speed skating – original-recipe speed skating, not short-track. (In the summer games, modern pentathlon.) There’s something about that Hans Brinker pose, the smooth crossovers, the blades biting into the ice – it’s mesmerizing. And a good use for my stocky-leg genetics. The hunky Scandinavians taking all the medals don’t hurt, either. I’d figure out a way to train with them.

Either that, or biathlon. Talk about a combination of two practical sports.

Elsewhere in South Korea, our vice president proved there is little this administration is incapable of screwing up. Olympics diplomacy? That’s the easiest one in the book — you show up, you applaud, you shake hands. You don’t get snitty. And now the gay athletes are doing the same to him. Another triumph!

As you can imagine, nine inches of snow, plus more on Saturday, plus freezing rain on Sunday, really made for a good weekend to stay close to home. But with no kitchen, we had to venture out, if only for food. I’m glad for the floor protection the workers put down, because otherwise the snowmelt would be ruining them. This has been a character-builder of a last few days. Heaps of snow everywhere. And coming midweek? A thaw. So the slush will not end anytime soon.

But with lots of time to read, of course I read this amazing puff piece on a person who has turned up here far more than I’d have ever imagined – Mary Cunningham, or rather, Mary Cunningham Agee, widow. Whatever shred of doubt I might have had about whether this woman is truly the bullshit artist I thought she was, it blew away when I read this. She tries to latch on to the #metoo movement, which is the sort of ballsy move only a real grifter would try. The story confirms what was hidden in plain sight in her husband’s obituary – they were separated at the end, which is the root of the dispute between Agee’s first family and his second wife.

I don’t often say, “read the comments,” but read the comments on that story. They’re great. One:

Those of us who lived through the horror of working for what was then called Morrison Knudsen, under Bill Agee, will wonder at this strange article. The real story that should be covered in detail in Business Day and every MBA school is how one man could destroy a thriving company and bamboozle a corporate board. I wouldn’t have believed it could happen if I hadn’t been forced to watch. Watching from below, Bill and Mary seemed like goofy cartoon characters who knew nothing about the business they were destroying. There were so many amazing and fascinating aspects to this story. As a much younger engineering program manager, fairly recently arrived to MK, I got to spend 15 min with Mr. Agee in a locomotive cab. I went home and told my wife, “We’re in big trouble,” and warned her to be ready for the worst. My worst fears all came true.

Two:

Those of us who met Mary Cunningham realized quickly she was a greedy con artist. We hired her to speak after her book was published and she acted like a female Trump. Demanding, dishonest, bizarre, like a spoiled rock star. Her hotel bill included an unauthorized fancy dinner for twelve friends with expensive champagne. We were a charity. She was rude to us, downright nasty, and her presentation was mediocre. She created a success persona that the press magnified. Bill Agee got what he deserved. With all that money he ended up in an assisted living facility separated from his children. If he was paranoid he certainly would have had reason to be.

And there are more.

One more piece of bloggage: What happens when you make your house as smart as it can be? It gets dumber:

It took at least two hours to get all of our Christmas lights plugged into smart plugs from WeMo and Sonoff, and then to get those plugs online with their apps, and then to get those apps to talk to the Alexa app. The first night I said, “Alexa, turn on the Christmas lights,” they all turned on in sparkly synchronicity and it was magical. But one day, Alexa stopped recognizing “Christmas lights” as a group, and I could not figure out how to fix it, so I had to ask Alexa each night to turn off the lights one-by-one. (“Turn off kitchen Christmas lights.” “Turn off living room Christmas lights.” “Turn off bookcase lights.”) This was way more annoying than turning them off manually. The fantasy of the smart home is that it will save us time and effort, but the friction involved in getting various devices from different companies to work together meant that many things took longer to do.

So, we now have a floor and grout and about half a paint job. The next time we meet here, I’m hoping we have cabinets. Me, I’m on the hunt for some decent takeout.

Posted at 5:43 pm in Current events |
 

86 responses to “In my other life, I skate.”

  1. David C. said on February 11, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    Alexa, turn on the fucking lights or I’ll reprogram you with an axe. The Hitchhiker’s Guide has an answer for everything.

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  2. brian stouder said on February 11, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    See – THIS is why I love-love-love NN.c

    The article that Nance points us to, regarding Mary Cunningham Agee, revolves around when she was a key person at Bendix…and our fine young son, who is within a year of graduation from college is currently plying his marketing skills at (wait for it) – Bendix (in Huntington)

    Anyway – it got me chuckling!

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  3. alex said on February 11, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Mike Pence, the soulless Christian from Hell. Whatever trouble Trump is in, I hope he drags that conniving piece of shit down with him. And may the Russians have kinky kompromat on both, please O dear God.

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  4. Colleen said on February 11, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    What Alex said. I thought Pence was classless in not showing respect to the Korean athletes when they entered the arena. But that doesn’t really surprise me, now does it?

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  5. beb said on February 11, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    As I despise all sports I have no parallel-destiny Olympic Sports.

    Worse news coverage of the corruption laden “games” is sucking the air out of important stories like ICE’s increasing arrests of parents who have been in the country for 20 or 30 years. This is ethnic cleansing.

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  6. brian stouder said on February 11, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    …and speaking of Olympic skaters, did you see the wardrobe-malfunction for the one pair?

    PS – and, agreed about Pence/cluelessness

    PPS – and, what Dex said the other day about our president’s ridiculous desire to have a gaudy-big military parade in DC. A few years back, Pam and the young folks and I went to the Dayton air-show, and spent an enthralling day looking at all sorts of fighters and bombers and cargo planes, on the ground and in the air….and we also watched a massive para-drop (at least several hundred soldiers) from a line of fairly low-flying C-130’s.

    By way of saying, the President and Commander in Chief can surely go to wherever a major exercise (or show) is being conducted – at no appreciable additional expense to the United States – instead of demanding that a brand new show comes to him.

    But then, the president cannot sit in a reviewing stand in DC and say “See!! I made this happen!” – which is apparently a deal-breaker

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 11, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    Curling. No question.

    Brian, I think “Hillbilly Elegy” is neither as good as its most fervent praisers would wish, nor as bad as most critics claim. He tells a story that fits both the Monongahela Valley I know well, let alone my corner of Ohio. There are aspects he misses, but little he glides over if you give him credit for all that he says. Vance knows it’s complicated, but there is a pathology at the heart of the Scots Irish Appalachian ethos we’re still trying to figure out how to heal. Doesn’t mean the GOP has a clue of how to do it.

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  8. Julie Robinson said on February 11, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    In my fantasy life I would be a figure skater, hopefully without any wardrobe malfunctions. At 5’8″ and the build of a peasant it’s also completely unrealistic. The best I could hope for would be one of the inner bobsled pushers–get it going, then plunk down in the sled and be nothing but dead weight. Yep, that’d be me.

    When I saw that Mary Cunningham Agee article I thought of this group’s discussions about her. And yet again when I read an article today about pension liabilities threatening the breakup of GE. It’s all very complicated, but two things stood out for me. First, the company has unfunded pension liabilities of $31 billion. Yes, billion. 31 of them.

    Second, there’s this from a GE statement: “in the evaluation of any alternative, we always consider the synergies and dis-synergies, and we only pursue things that generate meaningful value for our shareholders”.

    That, I believe, is MBA speak for screw the pensioners.

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  9. Heather said on February 11, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    Julie, anytime someone uses the word “synergy” I immediately discount anything they have to say.

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  10. Sherri said on February 11, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    I’m as dubious about attributing a pathology to the Scots Irish ethos, such as it is, as I am to an African American one, and not just because I am one.

    Alpine skiing for me; love throwing myself off a mountain on the edge of disaster.

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  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 11, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    There’s a passion for dramatic self-immolation I find rarely outside of the Scots Irish ethos.

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  12. brian stouder said on February 11, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Hillbilly Elegy would have been much murkier to me, had I not read (with interest) hereabouts, about the unending efforts of committed people like you, Jeff.

    No easy answers

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  13. Diane said on February 11, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    Summer olympics and an equestrian discipline in my fantasy life.

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  14. Deni Menken said on February 11, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    My husband is a GE retiree (32 years on the floor). When they slid our excellent union- negotiated medical benefits out from under us two years ago, the memorable closing line from each explanatory letter was that benefits were subject to change “at any time, for any reason.” Now when a letter arrives from GE there are heartstopping moments while I rip the portent of doom open to see how our lives will be affected. He is still a good faith believer. I know in my bones they have an entire skyscraper somewhere filled with a cadre of heartless number crunchers working against him. He is 76.

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  15. David C. said on February 11, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    Bobsled would be nice and exciting, but none of this bobsleigh stuff. No, Thank you very much.

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  16. Deggjr said on February 11, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    …how one man could destroy a thriving company and bamboozle a corporate board…

    Those who think that government should be run like a business have either never worked in a business, or have been very very lucky with the businesses in which they worked.

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  17. Sherri said on February 11, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    Jeff(tmmo), in my experience, that passion for self-immolation is more tied to economic factors than ethnic ones.

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  18. Daisy said on February 12, 2018 at 12:23 am

    My company announced that they were suspending its pension program. Anyone with less than 20 years gets nothing. For me, with 17, that means I get social security and whatever I’ve saved.

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  19. LAMary said on February 12, 2018 at 1:06 am

    After watching a short bio thing during a long ago winter Olympics, I decided speed skating was my thing too. A brother and sister both were speed skaters. I remember the sister’s name was Bonnie but the brother’s name isn’t coming to mind. Anyhoo. They practiced at home in their socks, sliding down a long uncarpeted hallway. That I could do. Where I worked at the time had long aisles in the back store room. I would take off my shoes and zip around, occasionally crashing into the college students who worked there. Note, I was about thirty years younger, much lighter, and had no fear of looking like a complete idiot. I also figured I had the genes for speed skating. Long muscular legs and growing up across the street from a pond that froze over in winter gave me the right foundation.

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  20. Dexter said on February 12, 2018 at 2:15 am

    In my wildest dreams I have never been an Olympian, but as a small boy I had a hero from Rome in 1960, the Texan Rafer Johnson, who my brother and I swore a reporter called “Raper Johnson”, and that was great joke fodder for us; we were very young and didn’t know of the ways of the wicked world. Rafer was a decathlete , and also in Rome a young man called Cassius Clay won gold as I recall. So I have had two heros from that world, personally so removed from the whole concept I never imagined myself re-born into an athlete’s body.
    Also in qualifying for Rome-1960 Summer Games, my 6th grade teacher Larry Dove of Huntertown, while at BGSU, lost a qualifier , last chance, 800 meters, by .02 second. I admired his attitude at his loss, saying that in his heart he knew he could not have mustered that last thrust of speed to win, he gave his all and he was proud of his effort. Larry passed 6 years ago.

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  21. Deborah said on February 12, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Figure skater for me too. Never mind that I could barely stand up on a pair of skates and can’t dance to save my life. It always looks like so much fun. I haven’t watched any of the Olympics this year, it seems so far away and long ago.

    We saw the movie Phantom Thread yesterday, loved it. Daniel Day Lewis should win the Oscar. I put my money on Francis McDormund and DDL. But I’m always wrong.

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  22. Jolene said on February 12, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Mary, are you thinking of Eric and Beth Heiden? They were a big deal at the 1980 Olympics, where Eric won five golds and Beth won a bronze.

    There was also a successful speed skater named Bonnie Blair, who competed in the 1980s and early 1990s, but no brother, it seems.

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  23. Connie said on February 12, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Figure skater for me as well, though I have not worn ice skates since college.

    My husband’s cousin’s son, Andy is the coach for the Mexico team’s first ever cross country skier. That would be the happy guy carrying the Mexican flag in the parade of nations. Four years ago Andy was the coach for Peru’s first ever cross country skier. Andy has also founded the only company in the US that makes ski poles. His are carbon fiber, made in Cheboygan, MI. http://www.usskipoles.com/about-us

    Andy told a great story on facebook about meeting his hero, who back in his winning days was a cross country skier know as Zorro.

    In other news at 10 a.m. the ALA media awards kick off, ending with the Carnegie and Newbery awards. I will be watching at ala.org.

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  24. Jolene said on February 12, 2018 at 9:04 am

    What are the current rules re comments going into moderation? I had thought that, unless you were a newcomer, a comment with no more than two links would be published immediately, but have recently had two comments—each with two links—go into moderation.

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  25. Mark P said on February 12, 2018 at 9:17 am

    The newspaper I worked for in the 1970’s did away with their pension while I was there. The way the replacement plan worked was obviously aimed at benefiting upper management. As an independent contractor since around 1997, my retirement is SS and savings. Fortunately I made good money, and after marrying at 55, I figured since I had someone else that was responsible for, I should start saving.

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  26. Deborah said on February 12, 2018 at 9:59 am

    This couldn’t be more off topic: my favorite, favorite food right now is so simple and relatively low in calories and fat. For breakfast I’ve been having 1/2 cup (maybe a tidge more) of 0% fat Fage brand Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of Wilkin and Son lemon curd stirred in. Oh my God, it is the best ever. I find myself pining away at night for breakfast the next morning and I haven’t really been curbing my eating lately. The tbsp of lemon curd has more fat and calories than the yogurt of course, but it makes the yogurt taste like the most decadent dessert in the world. I realize I could eat it any time of day, but I’m trying to keep it for breakfast only so I don’t get tired of it.

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  27. Jeff Borden said on February 12, 2018 at 10:39 am

    I spent half my 32 years in journalism covering business for Crain’s Chicago Business, ranging from mom and pop’s to Fortune 50 corporations. It was always a blast to write about entrepreneurs who had found an interesting niche to serve (ie., Scrub Your Pup was a walk-in dog cleaning operation in Lincoln Park, where most people live in apartments and condos.) But so many of the corporations were thick with management sludge, afflicted with boards of directors that stroked the executive level and vice-versa and CEOs with a taste for the good life at the expense of others. I once interviewed a CEO at a company that was hundreds of millions in debt in his office, which was hung with genuine Frederick Remington works and other Western paraphernalia. Coffee was served by a black man in a white waist coat in china cups and saucers. Though the office was maybe two miles from O’Hare, this guy had a Gulfstream at his disposal for his frequent trips to NYC, the most heavily traveled air sector in Chicago. When he was finally forced out after an outside investor placed his own minions on the board, he walked away with millions in payouts and a brand new Rolls-Royce. (He could only dream of cashing in like the loathsome Jack Welch.) Almost every merger I covered –always described by the firms involved as combining great strengths to make an even stronger entity– wound up being a disaster for investors and workers. Not the execs or the outside firms that were paid seven and eight figures to do the deal.

    The percentage of truly great business executives is just about the same as the percentage of truly great golfers, surgeons, musicians. . .you name it. Being a CEO or a venture capitalist or an investment bank is NOT good training for politics. Period.

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  28. Sherri said on February 12, 2018 at 10:53 am

    It’s ridiculous that it’s legal for your company to take away your pension after 17 years. What they have done is clawed back a portion of your compensation for the past 17 years. It’s as if they came to you and said that you now owed them for the past 17 years of health insurance, here’s the bill, only conveniently, they didn’t have to collect because they already held your money.

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  29. Julie Robinson said on February 12, 2018 at 11:01 am

    How can that be legal? I thought you got fully vested after five years? It’s wrong. Why don’t we have politicians working on these kinds of issues? (Rhetorical question.)

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  30. Mark P said on February 12, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Julie, we do. They’re called Republicans. Only they’re working for the devil on these questions.

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  31. Judybusy said on February 12, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Deborah, I have the same feelings about my breakfast. Nearly every night I go to bed happy, looking forward to Brown Cow whole milk yougurt, homemade granola, fruits, all topped off with pomegranate seeds in season. I live for the cream top that comes with that yogurt.

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  32. Jolene said on February 12, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Portraits of the Obamas were unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery today. They both gave charming speeches, and the artists spoke too.

    Here are pictures of the pictures along with the views of Holland Cotter, a NYT art critic.

    About Michelle’s portrait, he says, “ . . . I was anticipating — hoping for — a bolder, more incisive image of the strong-voiced person I imagine this former first lady to be.” That sentence captures my reaction too. It’s an interesting view of her, but doesn’t convey her drive, which is what made her important to the country.

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  33. Scout said on February 12, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    As a very short person, I probably would have been pegged as a pairs skater. The ladies are always tiny so that their tall, buff partners can fling them airborne with ease. I catch myself holding my breath during those performances, though. The tricks are really dangerous, which is why I prefer the lyrical beauty of ice dancing. I’d be an ice dancer by choice.

    Two excellent reads on the latest discussions about misogyny, which of course has always existed. That it is becoming a new ‘both sides’ hot button is infuriating.
    One: http://time.com/5143589/rob-porter-ex-wife-trump-domestic-violence/
    Two: http://lithub.com/rebecca-solnit-on-the-metoo-backlash/

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  34. Jolene said on February 12, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    I love the comments about breakfasts. I don’t have it every day, but one of my favorite breakfast items is toast made with rosemary olive oil bread, which several of the grocery store bakeries here sell. Toasted, with butter, and sometimes a slice of white cheddar. Heavenly.

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  35. Connie said on February 12, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Jolene’s link didn’t work for me, so here is a different one: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-official-portrait_us_5a81b0c4e4b044b3821fa637?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009 . I can never read the NYT links anyway.

    Personally do not think Mrs. Obama looks at all like herself in the painting.

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  36. Jolene said on February 12, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    The figure skaters do so many amazing things so gracefully that you really have to remind yourself how hard they are.

    In my view, one of the most amazing things they do is get right up and skate away into some complex sequence of jumps and twirls after a fall. Even when I was their age, I think I’d have wanted a hand up and a moment to say, “Ow!” and pat my injured bum before taking off again.

    I’ve been thinking about the “what sport for me” question, and what seems right is crew. Much of training and all of performance is outdoors, rewards strength more than speed, and you work in a team—even if you don’t get to talk to them much. All very desirable qualities that capture my taste, strengths, and weaknesses. A friend once told me you have to be tall to be part of a crew team, but, as long as we’re imagining things, I’ll just go ahead and imagine that I’m tall along with all the rest.

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  37. Jolene said on February 12, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    Let me try again with the link: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/12/arts/design/obama-portrait.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

    I agree with you, Connie, re the lack of resemblance of the Michelle portrait, though I felt somewhat less bad about that after reading Cotter’s article. I think the artist was going for something else, but the two problems—the vagueness of the connection to her physical features and the failure to capture her forcefulness—make it a less successful portrait than it might have been.

    I also think Barack is leaning forward too much. He is too short from hip to shoulder, which diminishes him. The face, though, is great.

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  38. Deborah said on February 12, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    I love, love, love the Obama portraits, both of them. The thing I like the most about them is how unconventional they are. Finally, official portraits done in a way that is more in keeping with the 21st century. I think the Michelle one is very bold, as is made clear by the patterns on her dress. While at the same time she looks ethereal and intelligent, mythological. Putting Barack in a garden was brilliant, almost a juxtaposition but not really. Stunning.

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  39. Deborah said on February 12, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    I read that Michelle said she liked that particularly girls of color can look at her portrait and see a portrait on the wall of someone that looks like them. Making her more iconic and less photographic helps do that.

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  40. Jolene said on February 12, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Here are the comments of Philip Kennicott, a WaPo critic, who has some useful things to say about the portraits—and the country.

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  41. Heather said on February 12, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    I don’t think I’d be down with any of the winter sports but I would have liked to be a gymnast. Went to gymnastics camps as a kid and unfortunately, I’m not very flexible, or brave enough to try to do backflips, etc. It was fun to pretend though. My favorite was the uneven bars. I can still remember part of the routine I did for parents’ day.

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  42. Icarus said on February 12, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    For the Olympics I’d want some running sports, either ALL the track events or the marathon. Heck, why not both.

    daisy @ 18: that is awful and I’m very sorry that happened. Not that it would be any better, but I don’t understand** why it is all or nothing at some arbitrary cut off point. A prorated amount for those under 20 years would be somewhat more humane, or let everyone get whatever money is there now and pay their tax penalty if they choose not to roll it over somewhere.

    ** of course I understand…its cost cutting so someone elses profits aren’t touched any more than they have to be.

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  43. Dexter said on February 12, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    I knew what day I would retire as soon as I began my last job, in 1972. I embraced our UAW 30-and-out, which is now way more layered and complicated; there are no more 48 year old retirees as far as I know…at age 62 the UAW cut my monthly magazine off, when the early-out money ended at age 62, and we all had to go on SS, the union was done with us. I get SS, my wife gets a third of what I get , and we get my little company pension, so small it buys some groceries, that’s it, and not even all the groceries.
    And then, ah yes, and then…then a new contract came up and all of us retirees were thrown under the bus. Claims of substantial dollars were paid in cents. No, I am not being cute or coy…we received statements of $.08 and $.07 cents paid for claims. Thinking a computer glitch caused this, we were told no, this is your new way, pal, so suck it!
    We opted out and searched the market for policies and found a couple fair ones, and then the Veterans Administration stepped up big and began paying 100% for my 9 ‘scrips, plus compensating me, finally, as a disabled war veteran. So now it’s OK, for today. I mean, I don’t sit around worrying about bills anymore, and I didn’t have to borrow money to replace the junk van last month. So life is good, but then again, my grandma’s favorite poem:
    “Life is sweet
    But oh how bitter
    To kiss an old tobacco spitter.”

    So happy trails…it all works out anyway. By the way, I did know many 48 year old retirees, I was 53 which was old enough for me.

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  44. Bitter Scribe said on February 12, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    So Mary Cunningham Agee can still sell journalists the Brooklyn Bridge. She really had that Times reporter believing that her life was like a Bonnie Raitt song. I don’t know whether to laugh or be appalled.

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  45. Jolene said on February 12, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    One more reaction to the Michelle Obama portrait. This one is also from Kennicott, but, as it’s a brief interview, he is more expansive. Also, this is the biggest version of the portrait that I’ve seen online, and the size, even though tiny in relation to the real portrait, gives it more power.

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  46. LAMary said on February 12, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    It was the Heiden siblings I was thinking of, Jolene. Thanks. On the subject of breakfast I have a yogurt fetish as well. When peaches and nectarines are in season, I like Trader Joes Greek yogurt with sliced fruit and some Trader Joes almond granola. Blueberries are a fair substitute, but peaches are the best.

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  47. Bitter Scribe said on February 12, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    I can’t very well imagine being an Olympic athlete. All I’ll say is, I’d probably go for one of the sports that does not involve subjective scoring by judges. I don’t think I could take the frustration.

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  48. Dorothy said on February 12, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    I always wanted to be able to skate very well, but my family couldn’t afford lessons. I went to a local rink on Friday nights in middle school to join with my friends, but I was embarrassingly bad. I kept at it, though, until I could get out to the middle of the ice. I am positive all the falls I had which eventually gave me VERY swollen knees have something to do with the bad knees I have now. So I’d have loved to be able to be an ice skater. OR a competitive swimmer or diver. I’m also not very good at swimming so if I could do a do-over, I’d try to be good at both of those things.

    Jolene we are kindred spirits when it comes to rosemary olive oil bread. A nice hot cup of tea and lightly toasted and buttered bread is about all I need to be a happy person at breakfast time. A couple of scrambled eggs with some cheese in it wouldn’t hurt, either. That’s a once-a-week breakfast, usually Sundays.

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  49. Peter said on February 12, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    I like the portraits, but I like this comment from the Tribune better “Why in God’s name is Sox fan Barack Obama sitting in front of the outfield wall at Wrigley Field?”

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  50. Deborah said on February 12, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    My husband has the same thing every single day for breakfast, Greek yogurt, granola (a brand, called Milk & Honey that makes a recipe by Rick Bayless, that I will admit is the best granola I’ve ever had) and raspberries or blackberries, all topped with honey (a lot). I like to mix it up, right now I’m on the kick I mentioned above but I know I’ll get tired of it eventually. I like plain old Cheerios, and plain old corn flakes sometimes, and other times just toast with jam. When I have them on hand I occasionally have hard boiled eggs or scrambled eggs.

    The Milk & Honey, Rick Bayless granola isn’t available in Santa Fe so my husband buys it by the case and takes it in a suitcase, he likes it that much. Also he’s very particular about his honey, he buys it in bulk at farmers markets whenever possible, then he pours it into a squeeze bottle that has an opening just so. Sometimes he reminds me of Reynolds Woodcock in the movie, Phantom Thread, in his obsessiveness about certain things and routines.

    Judy Busy I noticed that Brown Cow yogurt for the first time today at the grocery store, it does really look good, I’ll have to try that someday.

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  51. Deborah said on February 12, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Jolene, your link at #45 didn’t work for me.

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  52. Dexter said on February 12, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Wow…I am stunned. My walker/rollator sort of fell apart after 3 years so the V.A. replaced it, and it just arrived via van from Farmington Hills, Michigan. It’s a carbon fiber hum-dinger…damn, so nice. I was curious and I Googled it…it retails for $863. I am an advocate for V.A. Healthcare Systems, by God I am. And, I do like free stuff. Thank you taxpayers, thank you.

    I ain’t gonna live long I believe…I mean, you folks eat granola and fresh fruit for breakfast ; I opt for bacon or sausage, fried, one fried egg, buttered toast x 2, I English-it-up with a tablespoon of baked beans on the side, I have an orange or tangelo, half the time I fry half a potato in the pig meat grease, and I drink coffee like a fiend. I give myself points, however, as I skip lunch altogether after eating my huge breakfast at noon-thirty. Retirees are like that, we are…at least when we are a little off the rails anyway. 🙂

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  53. Judybusy said on February 12, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Dexter, I am very happy to pay for that stellar walker!

    Deborah, if you get the Brown Cow, it’s full fat. The top inch is super thick cream. I scrape it to the side and put a tablespoon on top of my little bowl of yogurt each day. I really pay attention to those bites–it’s so good! I saw a recipe for peanut butter granola and thought I’d try it, but a third cup packs in 235 calories.

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  54. basset said on February 12, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Breakfast? There’s biscuits, there’s gravy, and everything else is just details.

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  55. Deborah said on February 12, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    Yeah, there’s nothing low cal about my husband’s breakfast, the granola and the honey are high in calories (and the granola in fat). He never eats lunch (neither do I most of the time) and eats sensibly for dinner so if you’re going to indulge, do it for breakfast.

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  56. Peter said on February 12, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Well, my doctor many years ago said “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”.

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  57. Sherri said on February 12, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    I’m eating steel cut oats with egg whites, blueberries, and almond milk for breakfast these days. I’m also eating around 3000 calories/day, because I’m lifting so much and we’re trying to put a little weight on me right now.

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  58. Jolene said on February 12, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Not sure why my links are screwing up. Here’s another try for the link I mentioned @45.

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/12/politics/michelle-obama-portrait/index.html

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  59. Jolene said on February 12, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    Another critic views the Obama painting as a portrait of loneliness.

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/12/opinions/obamas-new-portrait-of-loneliness-maltby/index.html

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  60. Jakash said on February 12, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    Whatever else one may think about it, the weather the past few days in Chicago has made for the most impressive batch of icicles I’ve ever noticed. There are some remarkable formations out there right now.

    When I was at the age when I actually cared about the Olympics (which was a lot, at the time), I was rooting for Jim Ryun as he won a silver medal in the mile run. (Well, 1500 meters, actually.) I was never fast at all, so sprinting wasn’t anything I cared about. But running a mile seemed like something I could do! I could — and have, along with a lot of other random running — but not very well, alas. That’s what I’d have liked to been better at, though. I’ve always found it kinda odd that a 5k is a “distance” run in the Olympics, but it’s the short run for amateurs just going out in local charity races.

    Deborah, we saw Phantom Thread at the Music Box theater last weekend, presented in 70mm. The topic was not exactly my wheelhouse, but I thought the two main performances, in particular, were excellent. My wife noticed a similarity or two between Mr. Woodcock and me, as well. I didn’t take it as much of a compliment, though I had been thinking the same thing! I hope, at least, that she was focused more on the obsessiveness than the haughtiness. ; )

    We’ve been to Milk and Honey Cafe in Wicker Park, where that granola originated. A swell spot, and, yeah, the granola is top-notch if you don’t mind the calories. : )

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  61. Jolene said on February 12, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    One more, and then I’ll stop—unless, of course, I run into something brilliant.*

    This writer speaks about the relationship of the Obamas to art and artists, about all they did to bring both the visual and, especially, the performing arts into the White House and highlight them for all Americans. The absence of anything of that sort now is just one more way this horrible administration is undermining both the presidency and the country.

    https://www.cnn.com/style/article/barack-michelle-obama-official-portraits-unveiled/index.html

    *When I drop links here, I have the sense of myself as a cat who brings the carcass of a mouse or bird and drops it at the feet of her owner. It’s a gift for you. That people are sometimes interested is as good as a scratch behind the ears.

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  62. alex said on February 12, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    My new breakfast is the meal replacement shake at the juice bar by my office. It was satisfying and I wasn’t hungry again until much later than usual. Wish I’d have tried this sooner.

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  63. Deborah said on February 12, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    I went through this criticism, that an artist’s portrait (painting or sculpture) should look exactly like the subject. I worked with a lot of artists on one of my design projects (which I worked on for 5 years). The director of the organization, our client, wanted to sacrifice the emotion and expression of greatness about an individual for the photographic likeness. I found this unfortunate, in particular for a sculpture that was commissioned for this extremely important figure, who had accomplished an amazing feat, that probably saved the lives of millions of people (some say billions) in the field of agriculture. We were looking for a sculptor who could capture the magnitude of the person, not just a stilted representation of his likeness, which could be found in a myriad of photographs. Think of the sculptor Rodin, the way he used the energy of his process to convey meaning or stupendous significance. Look at his sculpture of Balzac, for example. We found an artist who did a good job despite the client’s inability to understand the difference. The subject was Norman Borlaug and the sculptor depicted him, running with wheat stalks in hand, as he imagined him being so excited to share what he had discovered http://www.hillstream.com/artist/john-collier/sculpture-gallery. In a hundred years, who really cares what the guy looked like exactly when you could see a million photos of him. Rather, if you could get a glimpse of what it would feel like to accomplish something magnificent, wouldn’t that be more meaningful and memorable?

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  64. Jakash said on February 12, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    I’ll just say that I’m not wild about either of the portraits, myself, though Michelle’s seems more disappointing to me. But I’m a philistine, so there’s that…

    To wit: As a chaser after Jolene’s and Deborah’s erudite analyses, I’ll throw this guy’s observation out there:

    “Check out the big hands on MY President.”

    https://twitter.com/gknauss/status/963082171945598977

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  65. Julie Robinson said on February 12, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    Sorry to be so negative, but that creamy yogurt sounds nasty to me. I could never stand the whole milk served by my grandparents. My grandpa would bring it straight in after milking and as it cooled it would form a thick layer of cream at the top. Even if you stirred it the globules would never really mix in, and it gagged me. The only way I could choke it down was with chocolate syrup stirred in.

    Come to think of it, I guess it was raw milk, wasn’t it? My grandfather kept his milk parlor meticulously clean, so I don’t think there was any danger.

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  66. Deborah said on February 12, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Ah Julie, I would drink heavy whipping cream straight from the bottle if it weren’t so bad for you. I hate milk, the texture of it makes me gag, but cream, wow.

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  67. Deborah said on February 12, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Sorry, I gotta show you the work of this other sculptor we used on that project. I love this photo of a sculpture he did of MLK on another project. This sculpture is so expressive, has so much energy http://www.alstonsculpture.com/martin_luther.html

    This guy is another favorite for different reasons http://www.robertgraham-artist.com/catalog/index.html

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  68. Deborah said on February 12, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    I see what you mean about moderation Jolene, I included 2 links?

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  69. alex said on February 12, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    At least the Obama portraits are safely outside the boundaries of Scary Lucy territory.

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  70. Deborah said on February 12, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    The Hancock building down the street from us is getting a new name https://www.google.com/amp/www.chicagotribune.com/business/columnists/ct-biz-john-hancock-center-name-ryan-ori-20180212-story,amp.html

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  71. BethB from Indiana said on February 12, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Dexter–could you provide the google link your your new rollator? Mine is about kaput. I probably can’t afford one like yours, but I’d like to see what it looks like and read its specs.

    About raw milk–I think my aversion to drinking milk grew out of my experiences on my grandparent’s farm outside of Cadiz, Ohio. Grandpa would bring in milk straight from the milk house; it was never cold enough, and it had the cream on top, as well. Then, in school there were those wax cartons of milk that that were placed on our lunch trays–they were never cold enough either.

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  72. susan said on February 12, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    Could have been worse. The Obama portraits could have been painted by Cecilia Giménez.

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  73. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 12, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Sausage McMuffin with egg, large black coffee.

    And I can’t believe there’s not anyone with me on the curling team.

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  74. susan said on February 12, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Ah shore dew luv me some Randy Rainbow!

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  75. ROGirl said on February 13, 2018 at 4:31 am

    The comments for the Cunningham article were spot on. There was one from Agee’s younger sister who said that she had lost touch with him for a long time, he reached out to her shortly before he died, and she forgave him. If he had dementia, would he have been able to do that?

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  76. Deborah said on February 13, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Paczki! For the first time in about 5 years I’m in Chicago on Fat Tuesday where I can get all the paczki I want. Just try finding paczki in Santa Fe. Impossible.

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  77. Deggjr said on February 13, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Daisy @18, that doesn’t sound right but who knows? Private pension plan rules don’t apply to government and church plans and maybe other plans for all I know. As a suggestion, call the Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration. This is their website: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/about-ebsa/ask-a-question/ask-ebsa It has their phone number 1-866-444-3272. They were very helpful for us on a COBRA question and not so helpful on a government pension question.

    There is no charge which makes them a great starting point and why the Republicans want to eliminate or defund such agencies.

    For another option, a friend used the Indiana Department of Labor to recover Worker’s Compensation medical expenses that her employer wouldn’t pay. No charge.

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  78. Deborah said on February 13, 2018 at 10:03 am

    ROGirl, yes he would have been able to do that with dementia. He may have been in the early to mid stages, which my husband’s uncle is in. That Cunningham put him in assisted living rather than bringing someone in to care for him at home is telling. The last, last thing Uncle J wants is to go into a home and he has plenty of money to make sure that never happens. He just has to trust that the people around him won’t put him there. If we have anything to say about it, they won’t. And my husband has plenty to say about it since he has power of attorney now.

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  79. Connie said on February 13, 2018 at 10:36 am

    JoeK, facebook is sending me suggestions we should be friends. But that picture of you in a swimming pool that comes with it……….

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  80. Suzanne said on February 13, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Whoever up above said “Those who think that government should be run like a business have either never worked in a business, or have been very very lucky with the businesses in which they worked.” I say amen! I say this to people all the time. Corporate America is a mess. I have worked for non-profits & corporations. The non-profits, although lower pay, were much better places to work.

    If I could do any winter Olympic sports, I go with luge, although it would terrify me.

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  81. Connie said on February 13, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    My brother used to be a webmaster and bigtime Adobe customer. Every year Adobe held a big customer event in Park City Utah, and at one of those he got the chance to ride the Olympic luge. He enjoyed it but said once is enough. And he is no longer an Adobe customer, rather an Adobe consultant assisting customers with the softwear he used to use.

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  82. Joe Kobiela said on February 13, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Connie,
    Too much or not enough.

    Pilot Joe

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  83. Dexter said on February 13, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Paczki? Since pay walls ruined my free daily newspaper montage-reading, I gave up and I had no idea it is Fat Tuesday. Also, I wrote a blistering blog post when a friend told of buying paczki about 6 weeks ago; yes, the local grocery and W.Mart were selling them that long ago. I guess I’ll pass on driving to Archbold to the ma & pa bakery there to buy paczki today…too late and I gotta get over to see Carla Lee in the nursing home. One more day and a wake up, transpo to Cleveland Clinic Hospital, new knee on Friday.
    All three daughters are coming to Cleveland, two driving and one flying into Hopkins Int’l from Las Vegas, Nevada McCarran Int’l.
    Our youngest is 40 today. Forty years ago today and I remember everything I did that day and night. We were still encompassed in deep snow from the January 25 blizzard. Some damn nurse wouldn’t let me pass into the birthing area until I raised hell so much they finally gowned me up and let me in to be there. I sat for hours in a lobby while Carla Lee was in labor…I could have …well…I was fucking mad as hell at that nurse for not letting me be there while labor progressed. Some people are fucking morons. Who ever heard of a policy like that? When someone in authority came to see who was raising so much hell, in the end she admonished that old bitch nurse, whose response was “Well, he didn’t TELL me his wife was in LABOR!” Like I hadn’t been making a scene for hours. Jesus Christ, what a night. Forty years ago.
    beth: http://www.drivemedical.com/index.php/walkers.html
    They also have knee walkers, as you see.

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  84. Deborah said on February 13, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    I bought 2 paczki at Whole Foods just now. They are everywhere in Chicago. Going to be for dessert tonight. I think they are raspberry flavored on the inside. At first it looked like I’d have to buy a package of 6, but then I found out they sold them singly too.

    At the place I worked before I retired, a polish guy always bought them in for the whole office, hundreds. And they were good too. And the building we lived in before, across the street had a small commissary in the ground level. You could order ahead for paczki, but I forgot about it because I haven’t been here in February much the last few years.

    And next week I go back to NM where the weather is much better.

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  85. Heather said on February 13, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    We had paczki at work–someone brought them for our Fat Tuesday potluck. I made Emeril Lagasse’s red beans and rice–it was really easy and good. First time I’ve ever bought ham hocks! We also had jambalaya, bbq shrimp, sweet potato casserole, king cake and some other desserts. I’ve been in a food coma since 1 PM.

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