From bad to wurst.

Back in my horse-owning days, this would be heavy shedding season. You’d curry and curry and brush and brush, and still come away with a glove covered with hair after every pat. The ponies were the most fun; there was one retiree that lived in a back paddock at the barn where I boarded, and he woolied up like a stuffed animal. Even his hooves looked furry. That one required a shedding blade, sort of a serrated scraper, to help him take off his winter clothes.

Indiana’s climate is as prickly at this time of year as Michigan’s, and I always wondered why the horses would shed steadily, some starting as early as late January, through cold springs. It’s no mystery; it’s the light that triggers the cycle, not the temperature. Once the days lengthen, the hair starts to drop.

We’re having a cold spring here. The relentless chain of nor’easters is supposedly blocking the warm spring winds and allowing Canada to keep exporting its frigid garbage to my corner of the world. When I go out to walk Wendy in late afternoon, it’s usually in the mid to high 30s, and with the sun out, that’s not too bad. It’d be a gift in January, but in late March, it feels like I’m being robbed of something. And it’s all because of the light. We’re well into Daylight Saving, and I’d like to take a little bike ride from time to time, maybe sit in the back yard, but it’s so cold in the D. So I wrap up in sweaters that feel …wrong, somehow. I carried my suede purse the other day, and it, too, seemed wrong. Too soon for straw, but too late for suede.

I’m not freezing at the moment, but I will be at some point today, because that’s the way it’s been.

So now that it’s officially spring, start being spring, dammit.

You know what I’m going to do today? Not mention Him. Mainly because I found this story from the Washington Post so interesting. The premise: German food, as a restaurant business model, is dying:

All across the country, German restaurants are calling it quits. In Portland, Ore., Der Rheinlander closed after 53 years in 2016. Another Portland restaurant, the Berlin Inn, closed and reopened as the Brooklyn House, with a vegan and gluten-free menu of “European comfort food,” before closing again, permanently. Outside of Boulder, Colo., the Black Forest Restaurant closed last summer after 59 years. The Olde German Schnitzel House in Hickory, N.C., served its last sauerkraut in 2014, lasting 10 years. One of Nashville’s oldest restaurants, Gerst Haus, died last month after 62 years. That’s 10 years longer than the Chicago Brauhaus, which closed in December.

…German food’s decline “reflects the cultural mix of this country toward more Latin American, Asian and African American culture, and less of the mainstay Germanic culture that influenced this country for many decades,” said Arnim von Friedeburg, an importer of German foods and the founder of “The cultural shift is going on, and German culture has to fight or compete to keep its relevance.”

My gene pool is at least somewhat German, but my mother was never much for German food. I had to move to Indiana to find its influence on the table; the column I wrote about my bafflement at first confronting noodles and potatoes on the same plate was one that got a ton of reader response. To you non-Hoosiers: Imagine a tub of mashed potatoes. Imagine a tub of chicken and noodles, likely thick homemade noodles, swimming in the customary yellow gravy. Now put a big pile of potatoes in the middle of your plate, and ladle the chicken and noodles over it. In Indiana, that’s good eatin’, and may well owe more to field-hand cuisine than Germany. My first memories of “German” in a dish’s description are only good when it’s sweets — German chocolate cake, Black Forest cake and…I think that’s it. German potato salad made me gag, and the various schnitzels and stews and so forth were simply mysteries. As my adult tastes broadened, I came to appreciate a little sauerkraut on a hot dog, but not much else. And now that I think of it, if you had to pick the one chocolate cake that a kid would refuse, it would be the German one.

But German restaurants were big when I was a kid, always a Haus of some sort, with maybe a hex sign out front (which is Pennsylvania Dutch, I know, but few customers were sticklers about that stuff). Frankenmuth, the locally famous tourist town in Michigan, has several places with waitresses in dirndls and waist-cinchers, serving “broasted” chicken by the coop-load to visitors, but I’d be willing to bet 90 percent of the customers are old.

There’s a place here in Detroit like the German restaurants of old. It survives, mainly on the strength of its floor show — they do singalongs periodically through the night, and it’s great fun, but the one time I was there we ordered apps and beer and not much else. When you want to tie on the carbo feedbag in Detroit, you head to a Polish place in Hamtramck. Where honestly, there’s not much difference in the cuisine.

OK, off to work today. Reading about leaks, but I said I wasn’t going to mention Him, so I won’t. Just remember DO NOT CONGRATULATE.

Posted at 10:39 am in Popculch |

94 responses to “From bad to wurst.”

  1. Bitter Scribe said on March 21, 2018 at 10:49 am

    I remember having really good slow-cooked beef, with tangy sauerkraut on the side, at one of the slew of German restaurants in the Amana colonies in Iowa. It’s heavy food, no doubt about it, but if you’re in the mood for something that sticks to your ribs, you can’t do better.

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  2. susan said on March 21, 2018 at 10:56 am

    German cuisine: I say, goodbye! Heavy, starchy, goopy, bland, unspicy. German food would be improved with a Viennese accent.

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  3. Deborah said on March 21, 2018 at 11:01 am

    Ahh German food, I love it, but not the sloppy noodlely kind. One of my favorite restaurants was German, I say was because I don’t know if it’s still around. It was in Minneapolis, called the Black Forest, (I think, it’s been years) it was in Uptown. There was a very large black and white photo of the royal family (which one I have no idea) that was taken by Avedon and there was a bullet hole through it, there was a story about it that I also can’t remember. Maybe Judy Busy knows?

    Another favorite restaurant is Cafe Sybarsky in NYC, it’s Austrian though, it’s in the Neue Gallery near the Met. And in Chicago there’s a tea/coffee house called Julius Meinl, also Austrian, on Southport and Addison, I think there’s another one also somewhere in Chicago.

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  4. Kath said on March 21, 2018 at 11:33 am

    The Black Forest is still open. The Avedon photo is of members of the DAR. Avedon donated it to the restaurant. A customer pulled out a gun and shot it. I’m not sure why.

    Another fun fact courtesy of my father: German chocolate cake is not German. It is so named because it is made with German’s Sweet Chocolate, which was invented by American Samuel German.

    St. Paul is bucking the decline in German food trend. Two new German restaurants have opened in the past year. One, the Waldmann, is in a lovingly-restored civil war era building near downtown. They make their own beer and have a menu with lots of charcuterie style options. It’s been packed every time I’ve been there.

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  5. jcburns said on March 21, 2018 at 11:51 am

    There are fewer than five German restaurants in metro Atlanta. Not sure why. Also, our grocery store sausage section is noticeably smaller than in the Midwest. Wurst-case scenario, I guess.

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  6. Jakash said on March 21, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Two of my favorite topics today — the disappointment of March weather, and German food!

    Chicago has lost a number of German restaurants, but there are still more than a few left. Laschet’s and Resi’s Bierstube on Irving Park are two good ones, the Berghoff downtown, and a swell place, Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, a suburb. Plus others…

    That Julius Meinl that Deborah mentioned is a cute spot. There was one in Lincoln Square, as well, but it closed.

    Though April is supposed to be “the cruellest month,” I always feel like March is. Close enough to the lake in Chicago, it just always seems like there are weeks when it’s about 37 degrees, with a windchill of 28. While the “normal high” today is allegedly 49. Plus, as NN notes, the light and the time change make you think things are well on their way, while the grass remains brown and the flowers and trees take longer to perk up than I expect. D’oh!

    The consensus that the Chicago NN contingent achieved for Biss yesterday was interesting to me, given that he only got about a quarter of the vote statewide. We *are* living in a bubble! ; ) And I’m sure that will be way more than enough references to the Windy City for one comment. Sheesh! : )

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  7. Jakash said on March 21, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Also, the Hofbrauhaus from Munich is certainly trying to buck the trend, having opened a number of franchised locations in the U. S. Frankly, I haven’t been that wild about the ones I’ve been to, though.

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  8. Deborah said on March 21, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Thanks Kath, as I said it has been a while since I’ve been there. I had a few projects in Minneapolis, plus I have relatives who live near there so I used to go sort of frequently. There also used to be a good restaurant in the building where Mary Tyler Moore threw her hat up in (near? The IDS building) called Aquavit, it was Scandinavian food. And there was a Polish butcher shop where you could get delicious sandwiches, seems like it was near the river. I had a T-shirt from that place that I wore for years until it became a rag.

    And Jackash, I completely forgot about Berghoff’s.

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  9. susang said on March 21, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    I grew up in Ft. Wayne. I became an avowed francophile and looked down at German food.

    Then I became a professional cook and saw the other side. German cuisine values quality and simplicity. German butchers immigrated to the U.S. and upped the game. BBQ wouldn’t be BBQ without their contributions. My mother’s mother cooked professionally and lived in Ft. Wayne. Her cooking today would be considered “comfort food,” but it was absolutely crystal clear and clean. Years later, my sisters and I can describe the food we ate as children at her table.

    The sloppy food in Ft. Wayne, as I remember it, was cooked by women who had a lot of responsibilities. They worked, had kids and were doing school and community work.

    Our family used to laugh about the fact that my other grandmother called her chicken and noodles “Chow Mein.” (My brother used to say, she’s cooking for a thrashing crew.”) She was from the boonies, and tried to take on city airs.

    And let’s keep it real, most of those supposed Ft. Wayne German restaurant (or bars or Taps) were run by Macedonians who wouldn’t be caught dead eating that crap in their own homes.

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  10. Suzanne said on March 21, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    My mother used to make chicken and noodles or beef and noodles, always served over mashed potatoes. It just seemed like normal food to us. Then I got older and discovered other cuisines, I realized about how much starch there was in that food.
    I also remember my very German grandparents always, always, always served some sort of bread with every meal, no matter what else was served. Beef and noodles over potatoes with a side of bread. Maybe this is why I think I couldn’t do a paleo diet. I need some starch now and then, although now it’s more likely to be pasta.

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  11. Julie Robinson said on March 21, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Fort Wayne, with all its German heritage, has exactly zero German restaurants. The last one was open for less than a year.

    No great loss for me. My family always ate at the Berghoff when in Chicago, but that was my only exposure, despite German DNA on both sides. I can only assume all things German were scrubbed during the world wars.

    Nancy, the Indiana version of chicken and noodles with mashed potatoes is to stick a piece of white bread underneath the whole mess. Ick.

    We ate at Meinl’s Lincoln Square locale when our daughter was in seminary, but it was for breakfast and I think we had pancakes. I wasn’t even aware it had German food. (Duh–look at the name!)

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  12. Charlotte said on March 21, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    German American Feasts was one of the 1st cookbooks I worked on in NYC in the 80s. Boy was that one a challenge to photograph. Brown on brown on brown.
    Our dad used to drag us up to Milwaukee once or twice a year for German food — not my jam, and not surprised it’s fading away.
    Although one of the very best cookbooks of last year was Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss — really great. I’ve cooked out of it a lot — and I didn’t find the time this year, but next year my father in law (who grew up in Whitefish Bay) is getting a box of the German Christmas cookies of his youth.

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  13. alex said on March 21, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Jakash, I used to love Laschet’s on Irving. Glad to hear it’s still in business. The Berghoff had gone through some big changes just as I was leaving Chicago, but it sounds like it’s back in biz, just minus the unionized professional waitstaff that used to make dining there so special.

    Also used to like Zum Deutschen Eck on Southport ’til it went kaput.

    I think the noodles and mashed potatoes is an Amish thing. It’s exactly the sort of shit they serve the tourists at Shipshewanna and Middlebury.

    I like Wiener schnitzel, but only if it’s veal. In Indiana they try to pass off a pork tenderloin without the bun as Wiener schnitzel and then upcharge it for being snooty, a la the St. James in Avilla. (And those fuckers won’t let you substitute other sides for their horrid red cabbage, so vinegary it makes you choke if you inhale wrong, and their spaetzle, which is salty enough to put you into cardiac arrest if the cabbage hasn’t done so first.)

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  14. Connie said on March 21, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Used to take Grandma to the Schnitzelbank in Grand Rapids for ham hocks. We lost the Schnitz to a hospital parking lot expansion as I recall. One of my grad school professors took me on my first trip to Berghoffs in Chicago, there have been many more.

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  15. Joe Kobiela said on March 21, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Best POLSKA food I have had is in Harbour Springs Mich, the Polish Kitchen right behind the airport, walked in to order and told the owner it smelled like my Grandmother house.
    Pilot Joe

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  16. Scout said on March 21, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    I was born in Lancaster, PA. ‘Haus’es EVERYWHERE still. (Now, oncet.) I was raised on PA Dutch cooking; except for the occasional mashed potatoes and sauerkraut, I don’t eat it any more, probably because everything is meat meat meat and I am a vegetarian.

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  17. Bitter Scribe said on March 21, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Even more than its food, Chicago’s Berghoff was famous for its rude waiters. I never understood what the attraction of that was.

    When I was a small boy, my mother took me to eat there. A waiter tried to hand back a tip he deemed insufficient, saying to the customer, “Here. You must need this more than I do.”

    The customer snapped back: “My father should have shot you in Germany when he had the chance!”

    The waiter came around the table at the guy, and they got into a shoving match that the manager had to break up.

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  18. 4dbirds said on March 21, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    When I was stationed in Germany, I love a good schnitzel, a plump and juicy curry wurst and cooked red cabbage. I now make chicken schnitzel, can’t find a good wurst and make my red cabbage with olive oil instead of bacon.

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  19. Judybusy said on March 21, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Deborah, Kramarczuk’s is still open, with a great selection of German, Polish and Eastern European-style meats and other foodstuffs.

    Here’s the 411 on the shooting of the Avedon photo. I haven’t been there in many years, because there are just so many other options, and we don’t eat out all that much. I love eating out, but it adds up financially, and we love cooking. I’d rather save the money for travel.

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  20. Peter said on March 21, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    The Brauhaus closing wasn’t due to shifting tastes – that restaurant was open for more than 40 years, the owners wanted to retire, and their kids and grandkids said no thanks to taking over. There may be some other reasons – nearby Lutz Bakery is now owned by Mexicans, and some of their clientele wasn’t keen on that transfer.

    Which brings up a related subject – you think finding a German restaurant is tough, try finding a German bakery. Shifting tastes, a higher sense of cleanliness (look up Baltic Bakery), and a far flung clientele have forced many to close up shop. And bakery work makes owning a restaurant look like a hobby.

    Finally, I don’t know if this is still the case, but the Berghoff was one of the last restaurants that had independent contractors for waitstaff. Basically, the waiters rented tables at the restaurant, took your order, went to the back, bought the food from the restaurant, and resold it to you for the menu price and kept the difference. That’s one reason the tables turned over so fast – at lunchtime they could turn tables over in 20 minutes. It’s also why the menu leaned toward items that could keep on a steam table. That may have gone away when Carolyn Berghoff closed the place to bust the culinary union.

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  21. Lynn Perry said on March 21, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Fort Wayne did have a German restaurant, the Berghoff Gardens was a hot spot there for many years.

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  22. Sherri said on March 21, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    What did I say about engineers, stock prices, and CEOs whose reality distortion fields take a hit?

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  23. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 21, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    As to our last visit to Frankenmuth, when you say “I’d be willing to bet 90 percent of the customers are old,” at 56 & 58 we were the youngsters in the vast dining room. A few had grandkids with them, but otherwise . . .

    West Lafayette had a German place down on the levee, and I was sad my last visit to Purdue that it was gone, but I can’t think of the name of it. Chicago’s Berghoff I just associate with drama club trips to see shows, since we always ate there before heading into the theatre. Can’t recall a thing about the food other than the Black Forest cake.

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  24. alex said on March 21, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Lynn, I believe that the Berghoff Gardens and Chicago’s Berghoff were originally part of the same outfit, namely Fort Wayne’s Berghoff Brewing Company. In its later years the Fort Wayne Berghoff restaurant was run by John Spillson and Fay Psehes, who went their own ways and opened Cafe Johnell and Club Olympia, respectively.

    Significant in Fort Wayne history was the rather large German population in the late nineteenth century and the large number of German breweries of national prominence located there. Although the temperance and women’s suffrage movements were strong in Indiana, they were thwarted in this part of the state by the Germans and the power of the beer industry, who feared being put out of business if women got the vote. Which is precisely what happened.

    Fort Wayne in the nineteenth century was regarded as a cesspool of lawlessness, where booze and prostitution reigned supreme.

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  25. Bob (Not Greene) said on March 21, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Jeff (TMMO), I believe you may be referring to Bruno’s Swiss Inn, which was right at the T of Route 43 and State Street. I remember pulling into that intersection for my first semester of grad school there in 1984 (I hadn’t visited at all; I accepted because they were paying) and got a sinking feeling of, “Oh man, what have I done?”

    Turned out OK, though. Met my wife (we celebrated anniversary No. 30 in January) at Purdue — we were assigned to the only co-ed floor of the grad dorm. West Lafayette was a dump, though. The only redeeming feature was a dive bar called The Stabilizer, which booked remarkably good music. I saw John Lee Hooker, Sugar Blue, The Nighthawks and Big Daddy Kinsey among some of the more memorable acts.

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  26. Julie Robinson said on March 21, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    Years ago we met a member of the extended Berghoff clan and he confirmed that both restaurants were owned by the same family. Berghoff Gardens was closed before I came here in 1979, but the Spillson family have a son/grandson who came back to town to open a brew pub type of place.

    Was there something different about the upstairs vs downstairs at Chicago’s Berghoff? Like, price? My family always went downstairs. And my mother adored their creamed spinach, so she always got mine.

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  27. Dexter said on March 21, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    The Fort Wayne Facebook page went nuts on the mashed + noodles thread…people love it. My wife learned all about it from her mother…I always bitched about 2 starches on the plate is sickening, but I was hooted at by all her family…good eatin’ indeed, they all said.

    I used to eat at The Hans Haus frequently, because I liked the pure German dishes. It was on US 31 as I recall, in South Bend. I think it has been closed now for many years.

    Since we’re talking food, anybody eat at Big Eye Fish Company in Fort Wayne? There’s one not far from Alex’s area I believe. Isn’t it sort of like the old Arthur Treacher layout? Is the fish good?

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  28. Jean S said on March 21, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Out here in Portland, I was amused when the old-line German restaurants closed: lots of tears from people who hadn’t been to the restaurants in, oh, 15 years or so. There are some new ones, one of which (Prost) is quite good, though its menu is limited.

    I had never heard of the mashed potato + noodle + gravy combo until I married. And it came from the non-German, Indiana side of the family. I call it “Granny’s Carbo Load.”

    Oh, and I concur: Classic German Baking is quite good.

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  29. Jakash said on March 21, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Yeah, Neil Steinberg refuses to set foot in The Berghoff, which he used to love, because he didn’t like the union-busting aspect of the closing and then reopening. We’re not as idealistic!

    Bitter Scribe @ 17, that’s a great story, and it certainly sounds rude and obnoxious on the waiter’s part. In my interactions with the old waiters, I didn’t actually think of them as rude, though, so much as brusque and methodical.

    Indeed, Alex, Zum Deutschen Eck was a fine spot. Laschet’s seems to be doing well. And you’re right about Herman Berghoff coming to Chicago after having been in Ft. Wayne, as Julie confirmed. Julie, the downstairs was more casual and with a more limited menu when we ate down there, years ago. Now, it’s only open for lunch downstairs, evidently.

    As for the carbo-loading — in Greektown, you’ll often be served roasted potatoes and a huge serving of rice on the same plate. Get a combo with pastitsio, and you’ve got your starches covered for the week…

    Encouraging, with regard to the Illinois governor’s race:

    “Consider these numbers:
    Pritzker-D 562,837
    Daniel Biss-D 328,854
    Chris Kennedy-D 299,978
    = > 1.1 M Dem votes

    Bruce Rauner-R 351,086
    Jeanne Ives-R 330,227
    = > 681k total GOP votes”

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  30. Deborah said on March 21, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    I’ve mentioned this here before that I went to a LCMS college in Nebraska, and the restaurant in Frankenmuth, MI that Nancy and others have mentioned was a place where a lot of young women from my college worked during the summers. It was well known and the girls who worked there and came back to school were considered sort of celebrities. For real. I have no idea where they lived while they worked there because most weren’t from MI. It was considered a plum if you got a job there.

    I only ate at Berhoff’s once for lunch, the other times I was there was for beer at the bar. It was always a stand up affair, and it was always with out of town clients, they got a kick out of it I guess.

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  31. LAMary said on March 21, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    There’s a German restaurant/bar near here that is always busy. The hipsters like the beer selection and they do sausage platters to go with the beer. My sons are both frequent customers.
    My German grandmother, born in the USA but German was her first language, never did the noodles and gravy on potatoes thing. Neither did her sister who married into a Pennsylvania Dutch clan and spoke mostly a dialect of German. We did eat cabbage and potatoes and herring pretty often and there was always a pantry full of homemade pickles and pickled beets. The Pennsylvania Dutch great aunt also made her own sausages and very smoky hams. Both were spectacular bakers. Lots of butter and seasonal fruits. If whatever those two were making was German food, it was really good.

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  32. beb said on March 21, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    It sounds like the trend is from carb heavy meals to lighter, spicier meals. Having grown up with meat and potatoes I can’t handle most spicy foods. Just call me Mr. Bland.

    Our cats have started shedding, too.

    Out of respect for our hostess; desire not to mention that person, I’d like to mention an interesting, if questionable statistic. There are on average 12.5 deaths per billion miles driven. Uber has one fatality after about 3 millions, which calculates to 333 deaths per billion miles. So obviously self-driving cars are the vanguard of the robot apocalypse! (LOL)

    Apparently the Austin police caught up with the package bomber, who killed himself with one of his bombs. Proving once again that the only way to stop a bad man with a bomb is a good man with a bigger bomb good police work and the surety of capture.

    I read an interesting article which said that Russian Hacking isn’t the problem, Facebook is, and the only solution is to kill it. But I can’t find the article now. The problem as it saw it is that Facebook makes money by collecting massive amounts of data about its users and sells it without your permission. Cambridge Analytics’ scrapping of 50 million people’s information wasn’t a flaw, it was business as usual.

    Disappointing news out of Illinois’s primary but I have to think of it like the Pennsylvania special election. Sure the progressive lost — but only by 1.8% against a Lipinski dynasty. That was such an uphill battle the surprise was the result was so close.

    And there are reports that the Ford Motor Co. is interested in buying Detroit’s long abandoned train station. This is a lovely building but abandoned for around 50 years. Ford seems to be looking for more office space. This would be a great choice. This page on the Detroit Free Press has some great photos of the building.

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  33. Deborah said on March 21, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Propagand techniques

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  34. David C. said on March 21, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Here is Wisconsin, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a German but I don’t know of any German restaurants – not that I’ve tried very hard to find one.

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  35. alex said on March 21, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    Dex,I haven’t tried Big-Eyed Fish, but it gets good reviews. I’m a big fan of Father John’s over in your neck of the woods. They have a real-fer-real charcuterie board just like a German restaurant ought to have. Fun stuff like bison sausage on it. We don’t get over there often enough.

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  36. Heather said on March 21, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    At least Chicago still has a lot of Polish restaurants. I like German food once in a while, but of course I never went to those restaurants. I think that last time I went was to Zum Deutschen Eck with my German teacher (I studied it for a couple of years–I was working at Northwestern and classes were free). You can still hear German spoken by some customers at the farmers’ market in Lincoln Square, and a lot of the landlords in that area are German too. But yeah, several German businesses in that neighborhood closed. There was a really adorable old-fashioned German deli that closed and became another deli, but with organic milk, wine and beer, etc–really the same concept, repackaged for contemporary tastes.

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  37. Peter said on March 21, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    Oh wow, Heather, I forgot all about Zum Deutschen Eck (or Ick as we called it) – isn’t that a parking lot now for St. Alphonsus?

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  38. devtob said on March 21, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    The fancier German restaurants around Albany, NY, have closed, but Wolff’s Biergarten has been very popular for a decade or so.

    A former firehouse with picnic tables, German decor, many German beers on tap, decent wursts and schnitzels, but the main attraction is soccer on six big TVs.

    For big World Cup, Champions League, Premier League, etc., games, the place is SRO and the atmosphere is electric.

    Re: our wintry March, it’s been great for skiers — three big dumps, and no rain or thaw for several weeks, have created unusually long-lasting excellent conditions. For March in the East anyway.

    Aside from the fresh-air exercise, it’s also a perfect mental break from following/worrying about Him.

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  39. Sherri said on March 21, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    Video is out now, and it doesn’t make Uber’s autonomous car look very good.

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  40. Jakash said on March 21, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    Peter @ 37: Yes.

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  41. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 21, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    Bob (not Greene) – The Stabe! Yes, quite a place. I hope you wandered through my former haunts in Von’s Book Shop a few times, just down the block. But that’s it, and you’ve shown how untrustworthy memory can be: Bruno’s Swiss Inn. Which is technically not a German restaurant, eh? But the Triple XXX is still halfway up the hill, having been featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” and a great place for a wedding breakfast in May of 1985 . . .

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  42. Dexter said on March 22, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Back in the mid-80’s when I would ride the trains to Union Station, I and my traveling companions would sidle over to The Berghoff at lunch, to what was called Berghoff’s Men’s Bar. Lunch line, shuffle along quickly for a huge corned beef sandwich and some of their special beer they had brewed up in Monroe, Wisconsin. No stools, just a high stand-up bar…idea was to gobble your corned beef, slug back your suds and GTF out. It was always elbows to elbows in there at lunch time. We ate there in the dining room a couple times for dinner also, but more often go to nearby Miller’s Pub for lamb shanks. Those were excellent. I always hoped I’d run into Bill Veeck, the baseball empresario, in there drinking his daily Old Style draughts, but nope, always missed him. I did see numerous famous faces in the boarding waiting lines at Union Station Amtrak track waiting areas, however…football’s John Madden a few times, just before he got the great deals from corporations who sponsored customized buses for his travel around the USA. He had quit flying because of a terrible flight for him when he felt he was dying and losing his mind at the same time. He vowed to never fly again, and never did.

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  43. basset said on March 22, 2018 at 6:54 am

    I never thought the Gerst House in Nashville was anything special, don’t recall ever encountering an actual German there either. Lots of em in my native part of SW Indiana though, I remember when you could do your banking in German at the German American Bank in Jasper.
    Meanwhile, the design professionals among us might find this useful:

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  44. bb in de said on March 22, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Hey! A topic right up my new-home alley today. We’re certainly gaining an appreciation for German cuisine but what has really surprised us–as several have mentioned up thread–is the German baking. Seems like there’s a bakery on every other corner here but even at an Aldi or Lidl if you pick up a baguette from the bakery section, chances are it will still be warm. Not a heat lamp in sight, either; it came out of the oven about when you were walking in the door. Tasty, super fresh and dirt cheap. That same baguette from a bakery in Columbus would cost me a couple bucks but here, 79 cents. Tough to keep one’s carb count in check when they’re just giving the stuff away.

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  45. Deborah said on March 22, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Basset, funny link. You obviously have to be male to do that.

    St. Louis had a block of shops that were all German, on Cherokee St. a good place to buy sausages and bakery goods. The area around there was called Scrubby Dutch because the German housewives used to scrub their front stoops in competition with each other, or so the story went.

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  46. Dorothy said on March 22, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Y’all are making me salivate in memory of the first real paying job I had that wasn’t babysitting! I was 16 and started working at Sherman’s Bakery (real spelling was Scheurmann). My older sister Lou worked there before me, and after I worked there my sister Chrissy did, too. The pastries – the dinner rolls and bread – the cakes! Everything was delicious. Too bad the woman who ran the place was such a bit**. She had an older sister that was a nun, who was very sweet actually, when she would stop by the bakery. And two older brothers ran the place. They were a big family like the one I came from (maybe 8-10 kids in their family). My boss was the youngest and had such a nasty temperament, which was so odd in that family of nice people. Old Mrs. Scheurmann was always so kind to my family. If she was in the store and one of us Kirchner (another German name!) kids came in with my mom’s shopping list, she always packed up a coffee cake or some cookies to send with us free of charge.

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  47. Deborah said on March 22, 2018 at 10:48 am

    This is cute, especially the very end, stay with it or you’ll miss it

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  48. Jakash said on March 22, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Re: Basset’s link @ 43. “On a good day you had three maybe four attempts to create a letter.” Oh, to be young and a “dirty hardcore punk” rocker. I coulda helped them out with half the alphabet by lunchtime…

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  49. Bob (Not Greene) said on March 22, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Jeff (TMMO), what do you know, we were at Purdue at the same time. I lived at the Hawkins (then just for grad students) for 1984-85 and then in a house on Chauncey Street for 1985-86. My future wife lived in an apartment on Salisbury, just across our backyard. Convenient. Oh, yes, I went to Von’s many times, and Harry’s (which was on the same block?) I was an English comp TA at Heavilon Hall. Teaching that class convinced me to never want to do that again.

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  50. Connie said on March 22, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    I lived in Minnesota for three years in the late 90s. We had to arrive in Minneapolis early the next morning for an early meeting. So we met there for dinner and a show at the Guthrie. I told several people it was a play about Anglican angst. Grace v works?

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  51. Connie said on March 22, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    I meant that we had dinner at the Black Forest.

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  52. Dexter said on March 22, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    About 18 years ago a party of four of us ate at a little place in Columbus’s German Village . The food was great but the dessert pastries were other-worldly. I think it was Schmidt’s Sausage Haus.

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  53. Suzanne said on March 22, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Dow drops 700 points today. So much winning!

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  54. Deborah said on March 22, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    My husband ordered progressive glasses at Warby Parker a couple of blocks from us for $500 less than I paid for mine. I could kick myself. I ordered a pair of prescription sunglasses there, but not progressives, just for distance, mostly just for driving in New Mexico. I can’t believe how cost effective it is there compared to the place we had been going. I’m getting used to my progressives by the way, it didn’t seem like I ever would.

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  55. Deborah said on March 22, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    McMaster out Bolton in, like a bad penny he keeps turning up. Bottom of the barrel being scraped.

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  56. Suzanne said on March 22, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    The heats on Trump. I won’t surprise me at all if he starts a war to deflect. He’s already started a trade war and that’s fun, so why not a real war?

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  57. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 22, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    Bob (not Greene): my wife and I married at University Church, across from the Purdue Memorial Union, in May of 1985, and departed. She arrived as a Meredith Hall resident in 1977, me to Cary Quad in ’78. We were both in Grad House ’82-’83 (East, I forget which had what name), then I lived in Lafayette while finishing my bachelors and she her masters. If you came through Von’s any evening from August ’84 to May of ’85 then we probably have met! And I went into Harry’s Chocolate Shop (I lived above it one summer) after graduating on Dec. 22, 1984, and ordered a double Myers Dark Rum which I drank far, far too fast. But it was a good day after six and a half years of struggle. Not as good as the subsequent May 19th, which was the smartest move I ever made, even if it was my wife’s dumbest, but she’s done her best with me. We’re overdue for a Duane Purvis burger at the Triple XXX.

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  58. Mark P said on March 22, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    Huntsville Al had (has?) a fairly large German population when I worked there. All the German rocket scientists came over to Redstone Arsenal after WW II. I just checked Google Maps and it looks like a lot of the German restaurants are still going there. I only ate at one a couple of times and I have to admit I didn’t care for it. Give me Mexican.

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  59. Dexter said on March 23, 2018 at 3:01 am

    With our ethnicity thread here, does anyone know how Savannah, GA became the city hosting the biggest St. Paddy’s festival in the world? NYC has the biggest parade, but Savannah just goes balls-to-walls.

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  60. Heather said on March 23, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Warby Parker is great, but the glasses I got ordering online did not work out–my vision was all wonky. I think with my strong prescription, I need to go someplace in person. Luckily there is a bricks-and-mortar WP at the mall across from where I work. It was really fast and easy, and yeah, a LOT cheaper, even with all my special needs.

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  61. Lynn Perry said on March 23, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    Alex, you are right about John Spillson and The Berghoff Gardens. Actually, his father owned it and John went to the french cuisine (Cafe Johnell)after Jackie Kennedy made it popular

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  62. Suzanne said on March 23, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    And now a Spillson owns the new 07 pub in Fort Wayne, I think.

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  63. Suzanne said on March 23, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Did anyone any of Trump’s so-called press conference a little while ago? I heard a few minutes. He made no sense. Just random thoughts. Very bizarre

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  64. Dorothy said on March 23, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    I did not see it, Suzanne, but doesn’t your description describe about 90% of his talks anyway?

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  65. Suzanne said on March 23, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    This seemed worse than normal. This, then that, then back to this, then some nonsense, then back to that.

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  66. Deborah said on March 23, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    Some are saying one million people expected to march in DC tomorrow. Oh please, say it’s true, please. Locally the weather prediction has changed for the better, they are no longer saying there’s a 70% chance of perception tomorrow, but unfortunately wind is still in the forcast in Chicago. I’m going to try to walk to the March and back although it will be about a 7 mile walk round trip. Not a big deal but if it’s super windy I might take the green line.

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  67. Deborah said on March 23, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Ok I recalculated it, it’s more like a 5 mile round trip walk. Better.

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  68. basset said on March 23, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Meanwhile and unrelated, Craigslist stopped running personals today, apparently due to fear of liability under an upcoming new Federal law.

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  69. Dexter said on March 23, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    Jeezuss Kreist, talk about a flip-flop. Trump says he is going to veto the spending bill even as the pen to sign the bill is thrust into his tiny hand. And immediately he pronounces he will never again sign anything again unless it’s all about what HE wants, not the unwashed others who are in guvmint.

    I heard that Anderson Cooper interviewed the Playmate who was fu( l< ing Trump, and Cooper was asking skeevy questions about Baron's bedroom and I guess asking details of the acts performed? OK…let us watch:

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  70. alex said on March 23, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    I don’t expect the ballyhooed 60 Minutes segment will be any more appetizing than that CNN piece, which has fairly ruined my appetite for this evening.

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  71. brian stouder said on March 24, 2018 at 10:41 am

    When I read this installment, I had to laugh – as just an evening ago Pammy did up a very pleasant supper of chicken-breast/goopy gravy/mashed potatoes (anymore we just get the Bob Evans pre-mashed mashed potatoes in a tub) and it was precisely what the doctor ordered!

    Aside from all that, we seem to be at a tipping-point for our incredible (as in – ‘lacking credibility’) president…when even his apologists and defenders have to choose whether to honestly assess their asinine president, or continue as his constantly murmuring Amen Corner, as the whole show collapses in upon itself.

    Their flimsy constructs – “deep state” and “fake news” leap to mind – ain’t gettin’ it done.

    The Trump presidency was always going to be a train-wreck; but now it seems to be setting up as a climactic head-on crash, with the never-silent “conservative” (so-called) media having to eventually choose the moment when they have to jump onto the siding, or else get creamed by cascading events

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  72. basset said on March 24, 2018 at 11:13 am

    It’s not going to “crash,” and it’s not going to get any better.

    Too many people either don’t believe there’s anything wrong or don’t care as long as he keeps on the way he has, threatening, denying, and antagonizing whoever he damn pleases.

    Too many don’t think “deep state” is real, it’s just another lib’rul smoke screen, and they’re all too ready to believe that anything they disagree with is indeed “fake news.”

    What we think are signs of impending collapse are actually points for the faithful to rally around as our bold president continues to shake Washington up, stand up to them foreigners, and champion the common man.

    We are more fucked than we want to admit, or even realize. This shitshow is not stopping or even slowing down any time soon, and the Russia investigation, if it even gets finished, doesn’t mean a damn thing to his base or to most voters on the right.

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  73. brian stouder said on March 24, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Culinary update: Pam and I had lunch at Saigon – a very pleasant place on Calhoun Street in Fort Wayne – which became steadily more packed, as we dined.

    I can see why; the food was excellent, the service was fast, and the prices we paid didn’t amount to more than a stop at Arby’s would have.

    We were out and about, because there was an article in the paper about a jerk-dentist who is in a dispute with a doughnut/cookie place next door to him on State Street – and we wanted to support the women at the doughnut/cookie place (plus – their scones are marvelous!)

    So – after the excellent lunch, we stopped at the bakery (and parked at the library branch across the street!) and got some goodies….a fun Saturday, altogether

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  74. LAMary said on March 24, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Photos worth a look.

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  75. Deborah said on March 24, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    I wrote a long comment earlier and then promptly lost it inexplicably (?) I’m to lazy to repeat it all…
    We went to the march today, walked there and back, it was cold and windy but not as bad as I was expecting. All the speakers were students, most black or Hispanic, some quite emotional (we had tears) and they were good. The topics were intersectional, since Chicago has a huge problems with gun violence on the south and west sides both inside and outside schools, poverty, violence on women etc. Lots of families attended, trying to get a fix on the number of protesters, but not finding anything definitive, maybe in the 35,000 range. But there were a number of other marches in surrounding suburbs so not everyone in one place like the women’s marches. My favorite sign was, “the scariest part of school should be a pop quiz”.

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  76. basset said on March 24, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    And Mrs B’s school just won the Division II national championship:

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  77. David C. said on March 24, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    I graduated from Ferris State too. That should be fodder for at least a couple of fund raising letters.

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  78. Rana said on March 24, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    deborah, I was there too, with a couple of friends, who are teachers and mothers. I appreciated the seriousness of purpose in the crowd today. It felt like we were all there to bear witness, and to remind ourselves of the work that needs to be done.

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  79. Rana said on March 24, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    Though I was obscurely cheered by the sight of the one lone anti-protester being thoroughly ignored into irrelevance by the crowd pouring past him.

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  80. Deborah said on March 24, 2018 at 11:56 pm

    Rana, I didn’t see any anti-protesters, I was wondering if there would be any.

    We went to the Symphony tonight, sat near a bunch of teenagers who were really into the music, which was gratifying to see, must have been an orchestra or choir group. The piece in the second half was a beautiful Schubert Mass with the symphony chorus made up of many voices, it was very moving. Today was a day to be inspired by young people.

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  81. Dexter said on March 25, 2018 at 2:29 am

    I go crazy this time of year when my team is vying for the Final Four, this year to be played in San Antonio. Last night the Wolverines beat a very good Florida State team by 4 points to advance to next Saturday’s semis. The problem is that my Wolverines are squaring off against Jeff Borden’s Loyola Ramblers. The Ramblers are an 11 seed and the Wolverines a 3 seed. This means not a goddam thing. Jeff is Loyola family, a cog in the machine there along the big lake. I am a hayseed fan from another state, but I love and support Wolverine sports, and have for nearly 50 years. It’s on, Jeff Borden…batten down the hatches! Man, I will say this…Loyola Basketball’s team chaplain has won the heart of the world.

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  82. Dexter said on March 25, 2018 at 2:52 am

    my last FB post: I protested too, since I was 15 and called radio shows about my opposition to having US troops on the ground in Vietnam. Four years later at age 19 I was hauled off and flown to that war. When I got out, the war was still going. I joined John Kerry’s Vietnam Veterans Against the War and with a Quaker named Phil founded the Fort Wayne chapter. I shouted Agnew down at a Fort Wayne Republican rally and he screamed back at me in October, 1972. The war raged on and on…giant protests did not stop the war. So what did? Congress FINALLY quit funding it in 1975. And it was over. Hey these daggone high school kids are smart…did you hear them chanting “VOTE THEM OUT!” ? They are good and sick and tired of being targets of mad killers. So…think it’s already over, blown over? Understand the power of social media. It’s only just begun.

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  83. Connie said on March 25, 2018 at 8:34 am

    So Brian, tell us the story about the dentist and the bakery.

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  84. beb said on March 25, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Was the Viet Nam War protests worthless? Is the March for Our Lives futile? This article says ‘no.’ Protest is important.

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  85. Andrea said on March 25, 2018 at 11:35 am

    The Chicago March was wonderful. I too was in tears for most of the speakers. The young people who spoke were so impressive — authentic, powerful, articulate. I really felt cheered by this. Two students from my daughter’s school spoke. It was a great intersectional multicultural multiracial group. The future is in good hands.

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  86. Jakash said on March 25, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Deborah, we attended that concert on Thursday night. Amazing to see and hear so many people on stage performing such a piece. The world premiere in the first half — uh, not so much, alas. ; ) And to continue with the theme of the thread, we went to the Berghoff beforehand and stopped by Miller’s Pub afterward…

    We’ve got no connection to Loyola, other than having attended a few events there and strolling through the campus occasionally, but it’s certainly been fun to see them advance to the Final Four.

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  87. Deborah said on March 25, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Beb, thanks for that link. It rankles me when people say that protests do no good. I have been to maybe a dozen protests in my lifetime and a third of those have been since Trump’s inauguration. Of course they’re not the end all be all, but they make a difference, as do phone calls and letter and email writing and giving money to causes, joining organizations, talking to your friends and neighbors, ringing doorbells of strangers and above all VOTING and persuading others to vote. It’s never easy, it takes time and effort and money, a lot of people don’t have the time, I happen to be retired so I have more time for these things now.

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  88. Deborah said on March 25, 2018 at 11:49 am

    Jakash, wasn’t that piece in the first half awful? I read the poems before it started and I couldn’t wait to hear the piece… Then what a disappointment.

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  89. Julie Robinson said on March 25, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    The Schubert Mass is a beautiful piece of music; one of my favorites, along with the Brahms Requiem. We also got to hear live music yesterday, when our orchestra accompanied the ballet for Coppelia. It was the first time my mom had been to the local ballet, and she really loved it. I was worried she’d be disappointed, since she was used to going into Chicago, but it was quite well done. And the music was heavenly!

    The ballet was at the same time as our local march, so I participated vicariously. I’m so proud of our youth for leading us and pray they don’t get discouraged.

    The dentist vs bakery story:
    Parking lot is between the buildings and used to be shared, but dentist owns it and wanted more rent. Bakery couldn’t pay, dentist got snippy and put up a towing sign right in front of the bakery’s sign. Sign on the building, that is. It’s silly and nasty.

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  90. Joe Kobiela said on March 25, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Quick thought on the Dentist squabble, yes its petty and hopefully they can work it out but if your going to the bakery, and park in the lot owned by the Dentist and something happens you slip and break your leg, who is responsible?
    Pilot Joe

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  91. brian stouder said on March 25, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Julie – thanks for the link. We saw the story in the paper (the paper paper, if you will!), and I couldn’t find it in their electronic edition

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  92. Julie Robinson said on March 25, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Nor could I, though that’s where I saw the story too. The search function blows.

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  93. Suzanne said on March 25, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    To think that this man was a presidential candidate. Sigh.
    These protests gave me hope, though, that maybe some sense will prevail.

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  94. brian stouder said on March 25, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Well, I think the much-ballyhooed Stormy Daniels interview was pretty much a bust (so to speak); interesting enough, but over-hyped.

    That said – it’s pretty clear that the Donald and his team could F-up a two-car funeral (as my dad used to say)…and that ain’t news (really)

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