The gallop at midweek.

It’s still Wednesday, isn’t it?

Crazy beginning of the week, but at least it went pretty fast. Lots of work makes for flying hours. Two links you might consider hitting, before we start, both by me: A visit to the “Harvard of Santa schools,” with a former Hoosier; and some strict inside-baseball stuff for Detroiters, a quick-turnaround piece on a local scandalette.

Traffic is important in this job, and we’re trying to build a readership. So click and then come back. We’ll wait.

The Santa piece was fun. Ann, the woman at the beginning and end, used to read my column back in the Fort, her hometown. If you went to the Holly Trolley this past weekend, you saw her around town. She connected with me on Facebook a while back, and when this chance to go to Santa school in Michigan came up, she dropped a line. Serendipity.

So, hope you all are doing fine. I’m trying to get my Christmas ducks in a row, with the idea of having my shopping 90 percent done after this weekend. Then, to do the baking, although based on how my waistbands feel after this past weekend, maybe it’s best to delay that a while and go for roasted vegetables for a few days. Alan got me a sous vide for my birthday, and I made my first ribeye the other night. It was good, but too rare, even though the meat thermometer said it was ready. I ground the leftovers the next day and made shepherd’s pie for one (Alan had to work late). Very good. I look forward to exploring the wonderful world of eggs this weekend.

I also committed to my first swim meet, sometime in January. I’m not a fast swimmer, so I expect utter humiliation, but I will power through, as that is my sole virtue — doggedness. I show up, I put in the time, but I just don’t get any faster. Ah, well. The Olympic team needn’t call me up.

Which reminds me: If you’re a podcast listener, I highly recommend “Believed,” which dropped a few weeks ago from Michigan Radio. You can find it in the usual places. It’s about the Larry Nassar case, which I followed closely, but I’m still learning things I didn’t know from these stories. It’s very good at delving into some of the psychology behind these stories, particularly questions like, how could these young women not realize they’d been assaulted? How could this happen with their own parents in the room? And how could so many parents hear their daughters trying to tell them what happened, and still not respond appropriately? You’ll leave with more compassion for the flawed people in the world. (Although not for Nassar.)

As long as we’re back to bloggage, two more quick recommendations, and then I’m out.

Funny: Alexandra Petri on Melania’s bloody Christmas forest. Very funny.

Not funny at all: Laura Trujillo’s account of her mother’s suicide and its aftermath. Painful enough to read that if this issue is painful for you, it might be too painful. My grandfather committed suicide when my mother was 10, and it’s an act that I believe reverberates in our family to this day. But I learned a lot about suicide, and it’s absolutely beautifully written. Thanks to Hank for recommending it.

Time to draw the curtain on Wednesday and maybe eat some pizza. Talk later.

Posted at 7:11 pm in Current events, Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' |

82 responses to “The gallop at midweek.”

  1. David C. said on November 28, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Did you finish the sous vide ribeye with a reverse sear? It makes all the difference. When we first got ours I tried stuffed pork chops without searing it afterwards. It was done, but the texture was too mushy. Just twenty to thirty seconds a side on a hotter than hell griddle pan or grille makes all the difference.

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  2. alex said on November 28, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    I jumped right to the suicide piece. I’m still struggling every day with every person I’ve ever known who committed suicide. The first was the mother of a friend in grade school with whom I lost touch shortly after it happened. The explanations given to me by adults at the time were unsatisfying. It only contributed to my own fear of possible abandonment. I ran into that friend a couple of years later with his dad, who had grown out his hair and was dressing very ’70s hip and drove a canary yellow Mach I Mustang. At the time I thought maybe dad was trying to make it up to him by transforming himself into “cool dad.” In retrospect, I think it may have been “cool dad” having a midlife crisis that drove Mrs. K—— to off herself.

    Not long after that there was a neighborhood boy who had alternately been my friend and been my bully, only three years older, who took his own life at 15. That scarred me deeply as well. He came from an incredibly dysfunctional broken home, but I didn’t quite understand all of that either. Decades later I befriended his younger half-sibling and was surprised to learn that their dad had abandoned the second trophy wife and brood to form yet another family with a third woman even younger still. The younger half-sibling had taken my parents to be my grandparents upon meeting them. It simply didn’t occur to him that my parents could be a generation older than his mother even though we were contemporaries.

    There were more suicides after that and parental sexual molestation figured into some of the histories, and the disillusionment has been an awful thing to live with. The last of these have left me with a feeling of bitterness and abandonment and resentment that they had so little respect for the people who loved them that they would be so inconsiderate of our feelings, and yet I have to wonder that their hurt was so great that it’s impossible for any of us to comprehend it.

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  3. Jolene said on November 28, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Suzanne, do you have a link for the long comment on economics that you posted in the previous thread?

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  4. LAMary said on November 28, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    There are two men in my orbit who correct me whenever I call shepherd’s pie made with beef shepherd’s pie. It’s cottage pie if it’s made with beef. Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. Watch out for my brother or the in house Brit before you go throwing around the pie nomenclature.

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  5. Suzanne said on November 28, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    Jolene, See if this gets you there:

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  6. Dexter Friend said on November 29, 2018 at 3:22 am

    A kid of 15 years hanged himself at holiday season when I was 12. I knew him from vacant lot football and just seeing him around school and from around town. I could not imagine killing oneself at the joyous time. I knew nothing of depression and how holidays drive people to suicide in numbers. When I began recovering from alcoholism , I learned much. Drunks like me seemed apprehensive and even scared when the holidays approached. Many more in those rooms dreaded the whole concept and just everything about the season than loved it or grimly went through with it. Very few embraced it. The holidays seemed to be the largest trigger or reason for relapse.
    As a school kid and a travelling ballplayer and then as a soldier, I participated in many “rap sessions”, sometimes fuelled by weed and Mateus, sometimes beer, sometimes not on a circle on the floor but on hard chairs drinking coffee…topics were scattered and elaborated on, or dismissed, but anything was game. Once one of the guys from my hometown, during a late night rap around a huge maple tree at 2:00 AM, brought up our chosen place of suicide should we come to the realization we must do it…and without hesitation , even having at that time never been west of the Mississipi River, I blurted out “The Golden Gate Bridge”. I must have read how that was the most-used venue. Now , measures have been taken and some sort of mesh netting or a cage is being installed; not done yet, but will be in a couple years I think. That bridge is becoming suicide proof. That was a strange rap-topic anyway. I never once considered suicide. It is something I don’t have to fret over. I do understand it, and I was a fan of Dr. Jack Kevorkian and his suicide machine in his VW Microbus. ~ The grandmother who jumped off an overlook at the Grand Canyon picked the spot for a reason I suppose. I saw the place 48 years ago from 37,000 feet in a 737-200 aircraft and never wanted to ever see anymore of it. I hate the place, from what I see of it from a distance on TV and print; we only go around once, and I had my time in Yosemite and Sequoia and Big Sur…now that’s my inspiration. Fuck the Grand Canyon. I don’t know why I feel that way, maybe because I hate rattlesnakes. That’s me. But I did feel bad for the author of the piece, as she struggled and struggles with guilt. No, she didn’t push Mom off the goddam cliff or overhang, and I hope she can deal with the experience with help, and find peace.

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  7. ROGirl said on November 29, 2018 at 5:41 am

    By coincidence, I started listening to the Larry Nassar podcast yesterday. It was horrific to hear it unfold, especially the story of the girl whose parents made her say that she lied when she accused Nassar of sexual assault (after he had denied any of it, and he convinced her parents and the cops, who didn’t question his explanations about his “techniques”). He was monstrous.

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 29, 2018 at 7:26 am

    One heck of a lot of our local overdose problem is as much suicidal impulses as it is thrill seeking. We’ve debated at our mental health and recovery board meetings when and how overdose deaths should be included in our suicide rate.

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  9. Claudia said on November 29, 2018 at 8:24 am

    My children’s father killed himself. I was working a little late when a police officer called. He had found my office number in my ex-husband’s apartment. We talked for a short time–he said that he believed my ex wanted suicide by cop. He also said that ex had told a neighbor who saw him sitting in the hallway of his apartment building holding a gun that he wouldn’t hurt her or anyone else. I cried all the way home. And then I had to tell my children. My daughter was 10, my son 15.

    He had been sick for quite a while. After my children got older, I felt it was okay to tell them that HE made a choice and that he had the right to make that choice. And I still feel that way. What he faced as his health deteriorated was frightening.

    I had talked to him on the phone for an hour or so the night before he died. He didn’t tell me. He didn’t even hint about what he was planning.

    I called his phone number the day after he died. I think I wanted reassurance that he was really gone. Maybe, I wanted it to not be true.

    The children and I had a memorial service for him. Just the three of us and our pastor. My son never tells anyone how his father died. My daughter and I have talked about it. Both of them were deeply hurt by his suicide.

    I miss him still.

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  10. Suzanne said on November 29, 2018 at 9:09 am

    So much winning!

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  11. Bitter Scribe said on November 29, 2018 at 10:17 am

    That Santa school story was choice, Nancy.

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  12. Deborah said on November 29, 2018 at 10:17 am

    My first exposure to suicide was when I was about 12, a neighbor lady attempted suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. Her younger daughter found her, the daughter was a couple of years younger than me. We watched them take the the neighbor out on a stretcher, she was crying and calling for her poodle. We all felt so sorry for the poor daughters, the family moved away shortly after that.

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  13. Sherri said on November 29, 2018 at 10:50 am

    I’ve been suicidal. It didn’t feel scary at the time. I felt empty, like I had nothing left to give. Depression makes you feel like everything is awful, that you are just sucking the life out of everyone around you, and that nothing will ever change.

    I was researching the best way to kill myself, but what ultimately kept me from the edge was knowing people who had lost parents to suicide when they were young and the impact it had had on them. My daughter was six at the time, and I decided I couldn’t do that to her.

    Now, just like with alcohol, I have a set of very intentional constructs in my life to make sure that there are roadblocks to an impulsive decision to commit suicide or take a drink.

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  14. JodiP said on November 29, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Thank you all for sharing your stories. It’s so devastating. I have been touched by suicide both personally and professionally.

    I read the Santa story–just fascinating, actually, and a fun read vs. so much of what I take in daily. There is a Planet Money podcast on how Santa suits get categorized and why it matters vis a vis tariffs. This was reported in 2015. I wonder what’s happening now?

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  15. Scout said on November 29, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    My most beloved cousin took his own life at 20 years old. He did it at home with a shotgun. After his body was removed the family had to clean the room themselves. A few years later my Aunt made that room her sewing room. I couldn’t even go near it without a feeling of dread; as a matter of fact, I don’t know how they managed to live in that house after that, but they did for the next 35 years until both my Aunt and Uncle passed within a year of each other. To this day, I feel immense horror and sadness when I think of this. Stephen was a brilliant young man, and I still wonder what he would have done with his writing and inventiveness.

    I loved the Santa school story. It was a pleasure to click that link. So, for some reason, the tRumps made a hasty exit from the DC tree lighting ceremony last night. Of course Twitter had plenty of theories, my favorite (and possibly the most likely) is that he sharted. The look on his face as they were hustling out of there sure looks like he’s walking with a pantload:

    The tampon tree display is giving me great joy.

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  16. susan said on November 29, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Here’s a cool ornament for those bloody trees…


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  17. jcburns said on November 29, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    So what’s the Yale of Santa Schools?

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  18. beb said on November 29, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Melania’s Christmas trees, like pretty much everything else she does, seems like a monumental failure of haut colture. (I probably spelt that wrong) Cristmas trees are evergreens; they should be green. A red tree might make an interesting contrast but a whole forest of them is just a bad idea gone horribly wrong. In fact the whole forest aspect of that hallway’s decorations is horrible bad. Alexandria Petri’s take on it– that something horrible lies just out of sight — is spot on.

    The thing I liked about the Deadline Detroit article was that it accented how angry the reporters were for the bait-and-switch they were given. I wish more news accounts — oh, say, of the White House — would take the thing to report on the frustrations of the correspondents with the White House Press Secretary’s constant tap-dancing around the truth.

    Two recent ads have surprised me. One is an ad by the Kitchen Aid corporation for their machine. (well mostly it promotes the many attachments that can be used by it). But Kitchen Aid was one of those products I thought never needed to be advertised because every body just knew they were the best.

    The other ad is from the Nestle Co. and pats itself on the back for continuing to give — free — thousands of bottles of fresh water daily to Flint, Michigan. Why would they mention that great humanitarian service? Is it, perhaps, because they are trying to increase the amount of water they are pumping out of a Michigan aquifer? And maybe not everyone near the pulping station wants their water table dropped by the additional pumping….

    By the way, in re the Carmack story, DelRey, the community he wanted to develop in contains both the Zug Island coking plant and the Detroit Waste Water Treatment Plant and a few miles from the Marathon (?) refinery. In short it’s a stinky region. I don’t who would want to live there.

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  19. 4dbirds said on November 29, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Scout, my son died in our home. It was accidental not a suicide but we still live there. I changed the carpeting but I don’t feel any dread about that room or our house. I adored my boy and to this day still have his ashes on a shelf in our dining room. My daughter will tell you the house is haunted and she thinks about it all the time.

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  20. Scout said on November 29, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    4dbirds, I am so sorry about your son. I believe my Aunt and Uncle staying in that house was a way to feel close to Stephen’s spirit, and I get that completely.

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  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 29, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    I know David stops by here from time to time, and my regrets to him on how he’s been treated over a lame joke he took back quickly — and I’ve read enough to know I don’t know what happened on that set in Paris, but the fact that the story is now understood to be about a rape makes it a profoundly unfunny subject. Does it make a tweet unforgiveable? I can’t see how the joke was defending rape if that’s what it was, at any rate. Anyhow, it’s an odd conjunction of this blog and Rod Dreher’s blog that seemed worth re-posting here:

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  22. Dave said on November 29, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Our son-in-law’s brother committed suicide in November, 2016. It’s been a hard time for his parents ever since. He was a quiet young man of about 32, a airline pilot, who planned out his suicide, even sending a letter to the Chicago Police Department, telling them where they could find him, not that anyone seemed to ever read the letter, because they didn’t find him for a good month after he’d done it. He resigned his airline position without telling anyone and killed himself about three weeks later. I think personally that he felt so alone, he didn’t seem to have a lot of friends and the only thing he had going for him was the flying, something he’d wanted to do from the time he was a teenager. He was a film fan of obscure (to me, anyway) foreign movies and our son-in-law said the ones he tried to watch, just to understand, were very depressing.

    Over the years, I’ve known several others, including the neighbor boy who killed himself with a shotgun in his bedroom in his home at the age of only 14 and a co-worker who was having marital troubles, so he drove into the garage with a fifth of Jack Daniels, put the door down, and let the carbon monoxide take its course. Fortunately, for her, his wife had already left. My ex-sister-in-law’s father was another one, done when she was a young teen, within two years of that, she was a teen mother. I’ve always thought one might have had something to do with the other. Later, she met and married my brother and although they’re no longer married, the daughter from her teen years is still close to our family and her biological father has nothing to do with her, to the point of hatefully answering any communications she ever sent to him.

    They never think about the pain they’re leaving behind them.

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  23. Heather said on November 29, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    My sister-in-law’s father committed suicide the day after Thanksgiving several years ago. He was the chief of police and there was an investigation going on into something he had done that was maybe improper but not illegal, or maybe a reporter had just been sniffing around–as I heard it explained, he was receiving a pension while still on the job and getting a salary through some loophole or something like that. Embarrassing, but not really awful. I think his self-image was so wrapped up in his position and status that he couldn’t take it. The sad thing was that his family fought for months to get his suicide note released to them and then it barely mentioned them. My brother and sister-in-law go out of town every Thanksgiving because it’s just too painful to be home.

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  24. Heather said on November 29, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Jeff tmmo @21, Dreher says there’s a “false claim” that Maria Schneider said she was raped during that scene. She wasn’t, but she felt violated–she actually said she felt like she had been raped. Bertolucci didn’t tell her what was going to happen until right before filming, so she was completely unprepared. It is another example of a man using his power to make a woman do something she doesn’t really want to do–that’s why so many women are angry about Edelstein’s “joke.”

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  25. Deborah said on November 29, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    In Santa Fe with LB, her project today is to make boeuf bourguignon from her Julia Chlld cookbook. We started the afternoon task by watching the Meryl Streep movie, Julia Julie which is delightful. I can’t wait to taste this after all the hoopla about it. We went to the local French restaurant and got a baguette and some cream puffs for dessert. We’re having artichokes with a mustard brie sauce before the main course. Yum. And I wanted to lose a few pounds before the London/Paris trip. Oh well.

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  26. brian stouder said on November 29, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    Deborah – that sounds SUPERB!!!

    (or else – I’m hungry!)

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  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 29, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Heather, no question the behavior on the set in “surprising” the actress was appalling, and would probably qualify as assault today — but does Edelstein deserve to be fired for awkwardly wording a tweet about why Bertolucci’s death is not greeted with sorrow by everyone? I just don’t see his initial comment as minimizing assault or even excusing what the director and Brando did, even if it was only what they claimed, let alone how Schneider described it later. It was a bad joke, but a job ending one it shouldn’t have been. Brando or Bertolucci might not be able to apologize even if they could, but David’s should have been acceptable.

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  28. Deborah said on November 29, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Back to seriousness. LB’s godfather killed himself a few years back. The nicest guy you could ever imagine, he was so kind and generous to LB’s father and I when she was born, there was no question that we would ask him to be her godfather. His mother had killed herself before we knew him, I don’t really know the circumstances of her death, I think she shot herself which he also did. He had married late in life, his wife lost her first husband to cancer. He drove himself to a police headquarters in Dallas where they lived and shot himself in the chest so his wife didn’t have to deal with his body. We were shocked. LB called his wife when she found out about it about a month after it happened. She said that none of us knew how much he suffered from depression. That was certainly true, we had no idea.

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  29. Heather said on November 29, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Frankly I have a hard time lately feeling sorry for well-paid white men who are being forced to be accountable for things they say. My sympathy is reserved for the women who get punished for doing or saying much less offensive things, or never even get the chance to be so prolific. Is it fair? Maybe not. But I see women facing a lot more unfairnesses, large and small, every single day.

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  30. Deborah said on November 29, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    LB’s father and me. Sorry.

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  31. Dexter Friend said on November 29, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    Sherri, the first time I heard my pal Tony say “Before I decide to take a drink I remember to play the tape through…”, of course referring to the consequences he would encounter after the first pop. I suppose it is now “play the digital reminder in my head first” for most, but I still have a tape player in my ancient 2008 van. And, a bushel basket of cassette tapes. Oh…if any of you have a drunkie in your family, suggest they go to YouTube and watch some Father Joe Martin videos…25 years ago I watched them all on VHS. That old priest knew about alcoholism. ~ A thought crossed my mind about half-efforted suicide attempts. My ex-wife downed an entire bottle of aspirin and some other pills from the medicine cabinet once, told me when I came home from work, and I rushed her to a stomach pumping session. She never did that again, nor hinted at suicide or mentioned it, and as far as I know is still alive today on the coast. I guess she just wanted the experience, the attention, or really did have a blasting invasion of fleeting severe depression.

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  32. FDChief said on November 29, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    This year Melania may just possibly have topped her work in 2017, when she really DID create a perfect Narnia/White Witch set (the “always winter but never Christmas” line from the Petri piece is a nice subtle reminder of that atrocity).

    I have a hard time thinking that anyone who read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” as a kid could have looked at her frozen 2017 hellscape and not dimly suspected Melania of having some Turkish Delight secreted somewhere on her person.

    This year’s Red Forest is really, REALLY ug-lee, tho.

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  33. Julie Robinson said on November 29, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    Jefftmmo, as a pastor I’m sure you’ve counseled women who have been raped, so how can you think there is anything remotely funny about Edelstein’s comment? There’s never anything funny about rape, and anyone who makes such tone deaf “jokes” absolutely should be fired.

    Reading everyone’s comments about suicide make me realize how fortunate I’ve been not to have been touched more directly. It happened in the extended family a couple of generations ago, and I know people who have made attempts. My heart goes out to all of you. Thank you for your courage.

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  34. susan said on November 29, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    jeff @21 – Rod Dreyer. Really? Gads. I read that piece as far as when he wrote, “Fresh Air, hosted by the insufferable Terry Gross…” and knew I didn’t to go any further. Thought I’d give him a chance. Not much of a chance.

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  35. Connie said on November 29, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Susan, exactly there, same thing.

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  36. David C. said on November 29, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    You needn’t go any further than Roy Edroso for all you need to know about Dreyer.

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  37. Sherri said on November 29, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    What Heather said. I just don’t have it in me at this point to waste time on high status white men who may have been treated unfairly or excessively, unless it involves actual civil liberties. Losing a job over a tone deaf remark isn’t that, especially when compared to women who are never allowed to even get that far.

    I seldom discuss this with anyone, but my freshman year college roommate tried to commit suicide, in our dorm room. There was a teacher from my elementary school who did commit suicide when I was in junior high, after she discovered she had MS. I remember trying to talk with my parents about both of those, and essentially being told that it had nothing to do with me, they didn’t understand why I was so bothered by it.

    Those weren’t the only times I was told I wasn’t feeling what I was feeling. I never talked about being depressed with my parents again until I was 40, and it didn’t go well then, either.

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  38. Suzanne said on November 29, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Can anyone enlighten me on why Melania Trump rarely puts her arms in the sleeves of her coat? It seems odd to me.

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  39. Jolene said on November 30, 2018 at 12:03 am

    Deborah, how is the mustard brie sauce made?

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  40. Kim said on November 30, 2018 at 12:43 am

    Ah, NN.C people – as always you speak truth to power. I have experienced suicide of both family members and friends, plus the attempted suicide of a child that left me gobsmacked. It is a horrible, untethered experience. I appreciate your eloquence and this space to share, really.

    The Santa boot camp story was great; it made me want to stitch some white fur to everything I own and try living as Mrs. Claus for the month.

    And as disconnected as this may sound, anybody near East Lansing this Saturday? It’s the NCAA men’s soccer quarterfinals, my kid’s team is playing and I am making the trip. All those years of driving him around for soccer have primed me for this.

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  41. Jolene said on November 30, 2018 at 12:54 am

    As silly as it may sound, I am still very affected by the suicide of Anthony Bourdain. The idea of him taking the steps to hang himself and of his friends and colleagues finding him the next day is beyond sad. And there is no better example of the kind of bleak vision that produced suicide. Surely, hundreds of people would have been glad to take his phone call that night. A person whose work has entertained millions but cannot find a reason to live is certainly living in a world of pain–or emptiness–that has no empirical foundation.

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  42. Jakash said on November 30, 2018 at 1:26 am

    If one were to start with the premise that Terry Gross is “insufferable,” how on Earth could you come up with an adjective sufficiently more damning than that to apply to Rod Dreher?

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  43. Jolene said on November 30, 2018 at 1:42 am

    Great job on the Santa story. Many wonderful observations and phrases. I particularly liked the idea that they “come to work on their ho-ho-hos.”

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  44. basset said on November 30, 2018 at 6:44 am

    >>Watch out for my brother or the in house Brit before you go throwing around the pie nomenclature

    LAMary@4, Mama Basset was a Brit born & raised, made that dish with beef and always called it shepherd’s pie. I’ll try making it with venison & report back.

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  45. alex said on November 30, 2018 at 7:27 am

    Everyone jokes that Oprah created a monster when she introduced us to Dr. Phil. But he at least did one thing right when he introduced us to Elizabeth Warren. I had no idea.

    A good read and well worth your time.

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  46. Deborah said on November 30, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Well, the boeuf bourguinon was good but for all of the trouble it took to make it wasn’t spectacular. It’s basically a beef stew with just about an entire bottle of wine and a couple of sticks of butter in it. It’s very complicated and time consuming to make. Poor LB worked her butt off. It smelled fantastic when it was in the oven.

    Jolene, you asked about the mustard Brie sauce, it involved heating butter with whole grain Dijon mustard in it (I’ll have to ask LB how much). After the artichokes were boiled, we hollowed out the centers, defuzzed them, put Brie in them and poured the mustard sauce over the Brie then put them in the oven long enough to melt the Brie. It turned out to be difficult for me to eat because of my front tooth problem from my fall. The way you have to skin the artichoke leaves through your teeth was just impossible for me.

    Don’t get me wrong it was a delicious meal, but holy moly it was a LOT of trouble to make for LB, she seemed to be perfectly happy doing it all though.

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  47. Icarus said on November 30, 2018 at 9:56 am

    When I was a kid, a friend of the family died while cleaning his gun. It took me decades to realize that was code for committed suicide.

    Shepherd’s pie vs cottage pie. chili with or without beans. Soda vs Pop. It’s almost as if we are designed to fight about things that really don’t matter perhaps to distract us from the things that do.

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  48. Connie said on November 30, 2018 at 10:40 am

    I can eat chili with or without beans, but that macaroni filled chili that is served all over southern Indiana never did it for me. We call it chili macaroni soup.

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  49. LAMary said on November 30, 2018 at 11:16 am

    I await your report, Beb. Check on what they would call it when it’s made with ground turkey. I did that once and just put it on the table without saying anything.

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  50. alex said on November 30, 2018 at 11:26 am

    I had a friend who “cleaned her gun” as it were — while having a drunken fight with her controlling, abusive husband. Rather than shoot him, she just put it to her own head and exploded her brains right in his face.

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  51. Deborah said on November 30, 2018 at 11:44 am

    I can’t beleive I wrote this:
    “Poor LB worked her butt off. It smelled fantastic when it was in the oven.”

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  52. susan said on November 30, 2018 at 11:50 am

    Deborah, that made me laugh. Most amusing! Poor LB’s butt. My brother and I exchange danglers we find like that, and keep a record of them. That’s a good one.

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  53. Little Bird said on November 30, 2018 at 11:50 am

    For clarification, my butt did not go in the oven. But I’m never making boeuf borgignon ever again. Unless it’s in someone else’s kitchen, and only for someone like Barack Obama. And then only if it was specifically requested.

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  54. brian stouder said on November 30, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Little Bird for Thread Win!!

    (and now I’m humming “Hot Crossed Buns”…!)

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  55. Scout said on November 30, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    I make a vegetarian version of boeuf bourguignon that is amazing. Even my meat eating friends love it. No hineys are sacrificed to make it.

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  56. Julie Robinson said on November 30, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    This thread needed a little levity, so thank you Deborah and Little Bird.

    Now, for a Fort Wayne story/cautionary tale. Part one of the dismantling of the Dick Freeland empire took place yesterday, when his five million dollar horse farm sold for $675,000. The new owners raise pigs for inseminating 4-H projects.

    It’s been five years since his death, and in a sidebar it’s noted that his hideous mansion still hasn’t found any takers at $30 million. And that the enormously overbuilt headquarters for his Pizza Hut franchises is also on the market.

    All this makes me think of the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12. Faced with a prosperous harvest, he decides to demolish his barns for bigger ones, when God says “You fool! This very night your life shall be required of you.” Freeland wasted his money while alive and is burdening his children after his death.

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  57. beb said on November 30, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    LAMAry @49 — I think you confused me with Basset who’s making the shepard’s pie with venison. I also am interested how it turns out, but I’m sure it will taste great. My Dad did a little deer hunting when he was younger and my brother in southern Indiana does a lot of deer hunting and would share some of his venison with Dad, so I’ve had venison. Ground and cooked into chili or meatloaf you can’t really tell the difference, as a roast it has a different taste from beef but not unpleasant.

    Like Jolene, I’m still sadden by the death of Anthony Bourdain. And a little mad because he abandoned his 10(?) year old daughter. But people who commit suicide have stopped thinking about others. Their pain is too deep. A man who collaborated on some Japanese/cooking comic books says that in hindsight he should have realized Anthony was drowning in despair because in their frequent telephone communications Anthony’s replies were growing increasingly monosyllabic. It’s always easier to see these sign afterwards.

    Deborah @51 — I am dull today. I read that line about LB and didn’t notice its comedic content at all.

    Lame-duck republicans in Michigan are busily trying to undone citizen initiatives for minimum wages and paid sick time. Good reason to ban lame-duck sessions.

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  58. Sherri said on November 30, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    I’m going to push back a little on the idea that suicidal people have stopped thinking about others or that it’s purely a selfish act. What I think is a more accurate reflection of their feelings is that they can only see the negative impact they have on others, that they’ve lost the ability to see any positive impact of their presence in the world. It’s not that they aren’t thinking of anybody else, it’s that their perceptions are so skewed that they can’t make accurate judgements.

    Depression is like an alien presence in the mind, that takes over and tries to kill you, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly.

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  59. basset said on November 30, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Beef, turkey, venison, it’s all good… the only common requirement is Bisto gravy.

    I came to deer hunting late, was past fifty before I ever shot one. In the field right now, not much happening though.

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  60. Colleen said on November 30, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    I’ll agree with Sherri. When you are in that dark place, you truly don’t think you will be missed. It’s not that you aren’t thinking of others, you just figure they aren’t thinking of you as adding anything positive to their lives.


    Thanks for the suggestion of the Nassar podcast. I binged it while working today. Amazing how a PowerPoint and some fancy doctor talk could erase suspicion…

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  61. LAMary said on November 30, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    What Sherri said. Sometimes it’s easy to think people would be better off without you. My best friend’s brother committed suicide. I knew the whole family for years and was close to his parents and siblings. His death was devastating but I’m sure he thought some people he was close to would be better off without him.

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  62. nancy said on November 30, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Did anyone read the story I linked to? The woman who wrote it was doubly fucked, because her mother — who was a loving parent and grandparent, beloved by the author’s kids and many others — jumped to her death not long after her daughter told her about the sexual abuse her second husband had inflicted upon her for years. So she not only had to deal with the grief, but also the condemnation of her own family, who blamed her for her mother’s action. I can’t imagine.

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  63. nancy said on November 30, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    To wit: For a while we ignored the subject altogether. But slowly her denial gave way, and she started asking questions. She wanted to know how the man she knew, the one with the gentle heart who hired a homeless man to work in his bike shop, could be capable of this. We went days without talking, then talked until we both couldn’t breathe from crying.

    One night, maybe a month before she died, while she and I talked or mostly cried on the phone about how sorry she was and about how much it hurt me and how sorry I was and how much I missed her and needed her, she confronted him. I could hear her yelling at him with me on the phone: Did you do this? He kept saying, “I don’t remember. I don’t remember.” Maybe he didn’t, couldn’t. She was angry, yelling at him: “Why did you do this?”

    Her husband was 66 and sick. He drank a lot, and a brain tumor and stroke left him dependent on her. My mom and I had been circling each other like wounded animals, each apologizing to the other, for a few months when I wrote and deleted and rewrote the letter and finally hit “send.” It didn’t tell her anything she didn’t know, but it spelled out that he had abused me for years, how hard it was to have him come into my room so many nights, and then there was this: I didn’t tell her then because I wanted her to be happy. I told her I didn’t forgive her, because I didn’t need to. It wasn’t her fault. I told her I loved her and needed her.

    We’re not supposed to blame ourselves when someone we love kills herself but often do anyway. What if I hadn’t moved away? What if I’d kept quiet about my stepfather? What if I had answered her phone call that morning?

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  64. Sherri said on November 30, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    I read the article, and there was so much truth in it, it was incredible. Not just about the aftermath of her mother’s suicide, but her own suicidal ideations and steppping back from the abyss.

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  65. Suzanne said on November 30, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    I read the article, too. I reminded me of the story a friend from years ago told me, a friend I rarely see any more. She said he father molested her and when her mother found out, her reaction was to tell my friend that she knew her husband was having an affair but she never imagined that it would be her own daughter luring him into infidelity. I can’t even imagine what that does to a person.

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  66. Jolene said on November 30, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    I thought the killer line was the stepsister saying, “That’s not the man I knew,” meaning the writer was not only blamed for the revelation of abuse that might have contributed to her mother’s death, but was, in at least some parts of the family, not believed. Talk about being alone with a burden.

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  67. Dexter Friend said on November 30, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    He shoved her, he then kicked her, and he lied about it, but with the widespread release of the tape, superstar Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt from The University of Toledo is unemployed. Don’t feel sorry for him, he deserves whatever he gets from this brutal 2-pronged assault. Fuck this asshole.

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  68. Dexter Friend said on December 1, 2018 at 1:54 am

    What a fighter he was. President George Herbert Walker Bush has shuffled off this mortal coil. Quite a life , quite a legacy.

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  69. Deborah said on December 1, 2018 at 3:47 am

    I read Nancy’s link too. In fact I rarely don’t read her links, unless I’m in Abiquiu, where access is spotty.

    I read this about people not knowing NM is a state, you’d be surprised how often this happens

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  70. basset said on December 1, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Look at the letter George Bush wrote to Bill Clinton… then just try to imagine our current President even reading something like that, let alone writing it:

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  71. alex said on December 1, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Frontline did an interesting piece on HW several years ago in which it was said that he hated retail politics in Texas and that’s why he went into administrative government work instead. Per the documentary, he despised the religious right and found kowtowing to them unbearable.

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  72. Jakash said on December 1, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Did I watch “Jeremiah Johnson” on TCM last night?

    The TCM host, afterward, said something to the effect that the real-life Johnson was called “Liver-Eating Johnson” because he’d eat the livers of the Crow Indians he killed in revenge for them killing his wife. When Redford first read the script, he said he loved the first 50 pages, but the liver-eating stuff referred to later really turned him off.

    Uh, yeah, I can see that… Unsurprisingly, neither the title nor the film feature that detail, as the book it was based on did.

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  73. Sherri said on December 1, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    I don’t do sentimentality or nostalgia very well, so in the midst of the hagiography of GWH Bush as a reminder of a better time, I’m just going to mention Dan Quayle, Clarence Thomas, Willie Horton, and his apparent tendency to grope women.

    I’ll also always remember him for attacking Dukakis for being a card-carrying member of the ACLU.

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  74. Sherri said on December 1, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Iran-Contra isn’t on that list just because we don’t know his involvement.

    Why speak ill of the dead? Because only certain people get the privilege of only having the good remembered. Others are defined after their death only by the worst.

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  75. beb said on December 1, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    And don’t forget Iran-Contra. HW had to have been in the middle of that.

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  76. brian stouder said on December 1, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Loved loved loved the “Harvard of Santa Schools” piece offered by our proprietress; truly – whatever the Christmas Spirit is – that essay captures and elucidates (and indeed – spreads) it.

    And indeed, hereafter I’d get in line to visit the Mrs Claus person – who apparently came to Fort Wayne when Steve Shine (et al) lit their Broadway Christmas Tree.

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  77. brian stouder said on December 1, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    And – in a sideways holiday-related link, there’s this, about a holiday-related song…which (for me) counts a genuine eye-opener.

    I’d never given the lyric a second thought (let alone a first thought)

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  78. Deborah said on December 1, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    Yikes, lots of riots in Paris right now. Protesters going ape shit over gas tax hikes. It’s really one of the only ways to combat dependency on bad acting countries in the Middle East and Russia, also to curb climate change. We need to hike gas taxes here too, but it won’t be popular at all. I wonder if they’ll still be rioting in Paris when we’re there later this month?

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  79. Suzanne said on December 2, 2018 at 11:40 am

    Very good thread which I agree with a lot.

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  80. Deborah said on December 2, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Suzanne, interesting. I wonder why political operatives and those reporting on them, keep getting it wrong?

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  81. Sherri said on December 2, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Here’s a thought, Deborah: too many of them are white men.

    I think there is a lot of truth in this thread:

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  82. Suzanne said on December 2, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    This sheds some light, too, on the evangelical culture that is at the heart of much of the political mindset of rural, white voters, which I think reporters over and over miss because it’s so foreign to them.

    As one man says, this is such an insular community that when they talk about life,etc., many people don’t even understand what they are saying. Evangelical speak is like a different language. Most of the reporters that go to the heartland to interview these people don’t speak evangelical.

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