Company town.

I think I told you that I spent Thanksgiving at a friend’s house. After we ate, we made coffee and played Trivial Pursuit. Two teams. Our team, through the usual strategy of getting lucky rolls and easy questions, was way ahead after about 20 minutes, so when it was my turn to ask a question, I decided to make it easy for them.

The question was something about the other name for Mt. McKinley. You west-coast people know it; most people who have been around a while probably know it, but for some reason, they didn’t know it. The answer was Denali, and my hint was, “It’s a model of SUV.” I thought that was pretty good, as clues go, but they still couldn’t get it. After I told them the answer, a player on the other side said, “Well, that wasn’t a good clue. Denali is the GMC deluxe trim package, not the model.”

These are the kinds of things you learn at Detroit parties. Honestly, I had no idea.

Last night Alan decided to start watching “The Irishman,” which now that it is on Netflix is likely being watched by some viewers the way you eat a horse — one bite at a time. About 10 minutes in, there’s a flashback to when the DeNiro and Pesci characters met, in an era that looks like sometime in the 1940s. DeNiro is driving a truck that’s broken down, and has the hood up, trying to figure out what’s wrong. Pesci ambles over, looks inside and tells him the problem is the timing chain. Just tighten that up, and it’ll run fine, he says.

Alan barked from his seat, “That makes no sense. A vehicle like that would have had a camshaft.”

Such is life in a company town. What’s your town? What’s its company? And how does it affect your Trivial Pursuit games?

So. Today is the 39th anniversary of John Lennon’s death by gunfire. I guess, for some, it’s one of those things where you remember what you were doing and all that. I shudder to think of the information drought I lived through, then. Don’t think I owned a TV. I heard about it from a morning DJ, didn’t believe it, and confirmed with my friend Kirk, who was clearing the wires at the Dispatch that morning. Another friend, however, was way ahead of us both. He’d been doing something called “chatting” on a newfangled computer thingamajig called CompuServe. One of the people he was chatting with could see the Dakota from where he lived in New York, and was reporting live to everyone else in the chat. And finally, a former colleague got a call from a very bitter ex-girlfriend, who woke him up in the middle of the night to inform him, “John Lennon was shot four times tonight. Someone was waiting for him. That’s gonna happen to you some day.” Then she hung up, leaving him listening to a dial tone.

You ask me, we lost a lot when we lost the dial tone. Such an effective punctuation, such a great way to say “fuck off forever.” You can keep the busy signal, but bring back the dial tone.

My sister sold telephone systems. She was the first to point out how, early in the cellular era, Hollywood sound editors would sometimes insert a dial tone to indicate a hang-up or dropped cellular call in a movie, because otherwise how would the audience know the other party had left the call? (Answer: By using the No Signal trope.)

That was her company-town expertise.

Quiet weekend here. Got the tree, put up the tree, decorated the tree. Now I’m doing food prep for the week ahead, because my waistbands are edging toward tourniquet-land and it’s time to get that shit under control. Operation Better Body starts the day you decide to start, holidays be damned. If I can just put sugar away for a while, I’ll be fine.

Not much bloggage, although there was a great deal of good reading over the weekend. Go looking for it yourself; between paywalls and the history of this blog, I feel like there’s nothing more to say about links many of you can’t even look at. The big joke was, of course, the president of the United States bitching about low-flow toilets, which we hashed over in this space a couple years back. For the record, my house now has two, and I love them both. They have never failed to handle a depth charge, and they don’t refill for five minutes, which can disturb your sleep when you get up to pee at 3 a.m.

Also, you know bugs me the most about that stupid toilet rant? The way he says, “We’re looking very strongly at” something. He’s always looking strongly at something. Fucking speak correct English, you moron.

But there’s this: Linda Ronstadt, shit-talking Mike Pompeo right in his stupid lying face. They should give her a fucking medal on top of the Kennedy Center necklace.

The week ahead awaits us all. Make it a good one.

Posted at 5:22 pm in Detroit life |
 

59 responses to “Company town.”

  1. beb said on December 8, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    Either people in Queens speak a very different form of English then the rest of us or he’s just a maroon. Other words he makes up or uses wrong include “Bigly”, “perfect” (as in a phone call), and “beautiful” (as in a letter). Also “reason” but most people used it the way he does as a from of betrayal, and not as a strict, legally defined crime.

    I don’t know why people continue to obsess over Hoffa’s death. So the mob whacked him and by now the whackers have all passed on. Get over it.

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  2. susan said on December 8, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Beb says, I don’t know why people continue to obsess over Hoffa’s death. So the mob whacked him and by now the whackers have all passed on. Get over it.

    People just want to know in which football field end-zone he is buried.

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  3. Dave said on December 8, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    I didn’t know about John Lennon’s death until the next day, we lived in Lima at the time. It was about noon, when we had just returned from a doctor visit and stopped at the Lima Mall, before we got out of the car, we heard it on the news. We hadn’t had the TV on that morning, in fact, in those days before children, we seldom got up that early. I was stunned, not wanting to believe what I’d just heard. As I think I’ve said before, it was a good five years before I could bring myself to listen to The Beatles again.

    It’s rather ironic that I was first exposed to The Beatles in Lima, OH, when I was fifteen. I had a school friend who was a preacher’s kid, after his father was moved by the church from my hometown of Pickerington, his next assignment was Lima. Another friend and I went to Lima and spent most of a week with he and his family, during that week, he insisted we go see Help!, the 1965 movie. We sat through it twice.

    I had no idea that I would someday live in Lima but we did for six years.

    What’s surprising is to look back through NNC history and see a comment I made 14 years ago.

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  4. Dorothy said on December 8, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Susan – no spoilers but if The Irishman is accurate, Hoffa is not buried in an end zone of a football field, or in a parking lot, or under a boardwalk somewhere. The movie shows how he was possibly disposed of.

    Nancy I’m curious how you and/or Alan felt about the movie. I’m in the minority apparently – it did nothing for me.

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  5. Hank Stuever said on December 8, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    Um, I just saw a GMC holiday truck ad while reading this that literally touts “all GMC Denali MODELS.”

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  6. basset said on December 8, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    Mmmmm… I’m no mechanic, but doesn’t the timing chain (or belt, or in some cases a gear set) drive the camshaft?

    And on this day in 1980… I was alone in the newsroom at channel 38 in Terre Haute when the phone started ringing off the hook.

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  7. Peter said on December 8, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    I hope Linda Ronstadt will live long enough to make it to Washington when the next administration gives her a Presidential Medal for speaking truth to power.

    If my memory serves me right, I heard about John Lennon’s death from Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football.

    Obsess about Jimmy Hoffa’s death? Heck, people are still talking about Amelia Earhart…

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  8. alex said on December 8, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    If we’re a company town anymore, the company is Parkview Hospital. Its job is bleeding people.

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  9. MarkH said on December 8, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Further to basset’s post: Nancy, are you sure that’s all Alan said? All internal combustion engines (except Wankels) have specific valve actuation pieces, ie, camshafts. What varies is what moves the shaft. The truck in the film would have had either a gear drive or a timing chain. What’s wrong with De Niro’s remedy is timing chains are internal and not an easy roadside fix.

    BTW, Hank is correct. Denali started out as the GMC SUV deluxe trim package, but is now the model designation.

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 8, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    I hope Deborah understands that the new post doesn’t mean an end to the travelogue. Especially if you’re visiting a Christmas market in the south of France. Or anywhere else east of Steubenville, for that matter.

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  11. MarkH said on December 8, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    Further on cars:

    basset will likely be the only one to appreciate this, but automotive journalism has taken another hit along with the rest of news publishing. Nineteen publications are having their print products shut down. Admittedly, most of them are pretty esoteric, but the lot includes the vaunted Automobile magazine. Web publishing will supposedly continue.

    https://jalopnik.com/ten-publishing-kills-19-automotive-print-publications-i-1840273584?fbclid=IwAR32vhH38GeEcT8Pm-hOhNfHzE2fFT8v2AsWfPhxOhEfArRDLv8MBYEEi4I

    This follows last year’s demise of Autoweek and significant restructuring at Car and Driver.

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  12. Deborah said on December 8, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    Not exactly travelogue descriptions but as I’ve said the woman who owns this property where we’re staying in France is the widow of Pierre Salinger. As a coincidence Salinger was hired by Robert Kennedy as an investigator for Kennedy’s committee on labor rackets, because Salinger had been previously assigned to do an investigative series on the Teamsters Union for Colliers Magazine and had accumulated a lot of information on Hoffa. I’m learning a lot of interesting info on Salinger and that era.

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  13. bb said on December 9, 2019 at 12:50 am

    Sorry I couldn’t offer this tip 72 hours ago when you needed it, Deborah, but we had a similar experience about a month ago. We were in town to see a Vampire Weekend show, and it just happened to be the 1-year anniversary of the yellow vest protests. They were out en masse, and walking the Champs Elysee was all but impossible (according to the police blocking the street. We never got close to any protesters.) As an alternative, we thought we’d spend the afternoon exploring the Louvre but arrived to find the same impossibly long line, in the same pouring rain, that you encountered. My better half had the bright idea to get online and see how hard it was to buy tix off the museum website. 10 minutes later we were walking in thru’ the “already have tickets” entrance. True, this trick wouldn’t have worked if we didn’t have a smart phone that works in the E.U., but it’s solid advice to any Euro travelers heading to tourist-heavy destinations like Paris or Florence: If you know what you want to see in advance, get your tickets online and/or in advance. You’ll save literally hours standing in line.

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  14. Dexter Friend said on December 9, 2019 at 3:40 am

    It’s Andiamo now, for twenty years at least, but Machus Red Fox Inn ( party hall + restaurant) was in the 6000s in Bloomfield Township on Telegraph Road. I remember driving past it maybe a half dozen times after the Hoffa-last-sighting story broke. So I was perplexed why Marty portrayed the place as in a verdant country-as-hell setting by a big lake. It sure as hell wasn’t like that. The Detroit Free Press comments section revealed I was not the only one. I was and still am convinced this is the best Scorsese ever, and Joe Pesci should vault over De Niro and claim Best Actor awards. I really am not any sort of filmmaking student,so I could not tell when the CGI was on the screen. There’s a lot of CGI, but helifino which parts were which. Also, I read about these “new” aging and anti-aging cameras, to alter the ages of the actors. So, I thought they were new, right? So Saturday night, Eddie Mueller came on TCM with his Film Noir intro, and he told of a new camera developed sixty years ago which was used to mask Merle Oberon’s face in “Berlin Express”. Oberon had been badly cut-up on her face in a car wreck in 1937. The new cameras showed face definition and allowed different, brighter lighting to be used and not wash out everything. <>
    I really enjoyed the movie because I have seen so much on TV and movies over the years involving so many of the actors. For me, it was casting genius. Sebastian Maniscalco as Joey Gallo was great, as was Bo Dietl, who was a frequent guest on the old Imus show…Dietl was an NYC detective and ran all of Bush41’s security details when Bush was in NYC. Jonathan Morris , before he gave up the priesthood to marry and start a family, was the last rites priest in the movie…he also came on to the Imus sets to talk religion around major holidays. Keitel, De Niro, Anna Paquin, Ray Romano, Little Steven Van Zandt, Jack Huston, all famous and all well-suited for this movie. I loved every frame of it. I thought
    Lucy Gallina as young Peggy was a dead ringer for the young Natalie Portman. Best film in maybe 12 years, period. 🙂

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  15. Deborah said on December 9, 2019 at 3:48 am

    bb, actually we did have our iPhones with us and we have the international plan for our trips, we’ve done this the last few years too. We did consider getting tickets online but we’ve been to the Louvre many times before and were kind of miserable after our walk and just decided to ditch it and go to a cafe. We were in Paris last December too when the yellow vests were protesting but there were no strikes, we weren’t anywhere near the protests and they didn’t effect our trip at all. This time the strike did effect us but only regarding our canceled train. We will be back in Paris next Tuesday for only a day, hopefully the strike will be over then, all indications are that it will be.

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  16. ROGirl said on December 9, 2019 at 4:19 am

    I grew up a few miles from Machus Red Fox, haven’t seen the movie yet. The setting in the movie is probably more evocative than the bland suburban shopping center on a busy thoroughfare where it was actually located.

    One thing that I do find irritating is that the actors in the mobster roles usually talk with heavy New York accents, even when the setting and characters are from Detroit or Chicago.

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  17. alex said on December 9, 2019 at 6:56 am

    Bummer about Automobile magazine. It’s the kind of magazine that belongs on a coffee table. Or in a waiting room. Guess I’ll just have to pass the time during infernally long waits with People and Good Housekeeping from now on.

    Denali was originally a trim package, but so was the Chevy Caprice before it became a full-fledged model. Such useful trivia, I know.

    Bloomberg’s ads are kind of scary. Very to-the-point about fighting the NRA, making health insurance available to all without taking away anyone’s existing coverage, and making education affordable. People fault Elizabeth Warren for not making herself heard through the din of punditry; her challenge, I believe, will be to do an ad that’s as bold in its forthrightness and simplicity. But I’m concerned Bloomberg’s going to bulldoze the field just like Trump did to his rivals in 2016 only he’ll do it with his fat wallet and not his loud mouth.

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  18. Suzanne said on December 9, 2019 at 8:12 am

    I am not wild about Bloomberg but will happily vote for him if he is the Dem nominee. Unlike Trump, he at least really is very, very rich so he’s not beholden to shady characters for funding and has run NYC so has some knowledge of how a government functions. An improvement over what we have now.

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  19. Deborah said on December 9, 2019 at 8:58 am

    Much as I would be disappointed if Bloomberg gets the nomination I would vote for him over Trump. I really don’t think he will get nominated though. While he has deep pockets he has a lot of baggage.

    We’re in a cafe in a nearby village. We went to the Post Office to get boxes and envelopes to mail gifts back to the states. It was kind of a fiasco, no one spoke English and my husband’s French is rudimentary. I speak no French except for Bon jour and Merci. Lots of pointing and hand gestures. I think we got it figured out. Now we have to take the stuff back to our room and fill them and take them back to the PO tomorrow.

    I’m now eating French fries in France.

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  20. Sherri said on December 9, 2019 at 10:43 am

    Why do people assume that a rich person isn’t beholden to shady characters just because they’re rich? Surely the way rich people hung out with Jeffery Epstein and Mohammed bin Salman should disabuse anyone of that notion.

    Bloomberg is in the race because he’s afraid that solutions to income inequality might make him slightly less rich.

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  21. Jeff Borden said on December 9, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Dave,

    When were you living in Lima, Ohio? I was born there in St. Rita’s Hospital in 1951 and attended St. Rose, one of four parishes in Lima at the time. (It was the poorest. My understanding is it merged with St. John’s.) My dad took a job in Indianapolis for about two years, but otherwise, I was a Lima boy until age 12, when we moved to the Cleveland area. It looks like the town isn’t doing well. The population was about 50,000 when we lived there, but it’s now just 37,000.

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  22. Ann said on December 9, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    Those are a couple of classic company town stories, though I don’t know this version of Trivial Pursuit that involves hints. In Chicago there’s no direct equivalent, but architecture comes close. I once told my new SIL that in Chicago you have to become interested in architecture just like in Detroit you have to become interested in cars. She said she had no interest in cars, even though she grew up in Detroit. Her loss.
    So the Supreme Court just upheld the latest abortion nonsense from Kentucky. There are a lot of promises the orange bastard hasn’t kept, but he’s keeping this one. There’s no comfort in saying that I knew it would happen.

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  23. Jakash said on December 9, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    I don’t know a camshaft from John Shaft, but whether it had a timing chain or not, my thoughts were along the lines of MarkH’s @ 9. Even with my limited mechanical knowledge, I thought while watching it — “Really? He just tucks his tie aside, leans over and tweaks the timing chain with his hand?”

    Ah, upon further review, he tightened “the cap” on the timing chain! All righty, then! Here’s the scene, which will probably be taken down from YouTube before anybody can look at it, alas! ; )

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQoX0E_p2c8

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  24. Dave said on December 9, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    Jeff, we lived there from March, 1980, until May, 1986, but we actually lived out of the city in Bath Township. Our two oldest children were born at St. Rita’s, our daughter was born the same day as Ben Roethlisberger, the Steeler’s quarterback but I don’t know if he was born at St. Rita’s or Lima Memorial so I don’t know if they were cribmates. His family lived in Elida at the time so I suspect he was born at St. Rita’s. There was a baby born there then who was so large he was born with a broken collarbone, that poor mother. Maybe that was Ben, if I had access to old newspaper records, I could easily find out because all the birth announcements were published then

    My week in Lima with my friend, when I saw Help! was in August, 1965, so you had already moved away.

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  25. Bitter Scribe said on December 9, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    I’ve always liked Linda Ronstadt. I mean I’ve liked everything about her: music, looks and personality. This just makes me like her more.

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  26. Julie Robinson said on December 9, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Ditto Jackash on car knowledge. I just want it to go.

    I’m not sure that I’ve ever lived in a company town; two where universities were the main employer, but still had other industries and businesses. IH was the major employer when I moved here but that changed quickly, with the long strike and subsequent move to Ohio. It does seem like Parkview is constantly under construction and now IU Health is coming in with big plans too. Dunno.

    Honestly, I’m very preoccupied with home matters right now. We’ve been packing and purging like wild, planning to move on the 18th or 19th, then leaving for Christmas in Orlando on the 21st. Today the apartment people called to say it won’t be ready until a week later than they earlier promised (and signed a contract for.) Which would be Dec. 25 or 26.

    New owners take possession on the 31st, we return Jan. 2. Apartment people are “doing their best”, which is a discount on a storage unit but not covering movers. Very nicely but firmly she said that’s totally unacceptable.

    Exploring options now. Having a mover come in while we’re gone? Paying them to move us twice with storage in the meantime? We’ll definitely ask for the costs off our rent.

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  27. susan said on December 9, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    jakash @23- I like one of the comments under that yootoob clip:

    The way that Scorsese can make two 76 year olds look 72 is amazing.

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  28. Jakash said on December 9, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    A 2 1/2-minute video succinctly pointing out how the promises offered to the gullible about Trumplethinskin’s giant tax cut “have come to nothing” 2 years later. Uh, it’s about a month old, but I’ve got a hunch it’s still valid. Seeing as how Cult 45 members reply to any criticism of the Delusional Dotard by raving about the dynamite economy, it’s a refreshing dose of reality, though certainly not news to the nn.cers who don’t have a pilot’s license.

    https://twitter.com/RBReich/status/1194401585184399360

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  29. alex said on December 9, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    Not that a pilot’s license is anything special. The idjits who each thought they were gonna fuck 27 virgins on 9/11 after ramming the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were as dumb as the twits who voted for Trump.

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  30. basset said on December 9, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    Automobile magazine was interesting when it first split off from Car & Driver, before Jean Lindamood Jennings left. Definitely waiting-room material now, I won’t miss it.
    Watched the clip. The truck is a Chevy Advance-Design, sold from mid-1947 to early 1955.

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  31. Jakash said on December 10, 2019 at 12:14 am

    Good for this guy. Minute and 41-second video.

    “Houston PD chief Acevedo calls out McConnell, Cornyn, Cruz by name, urging them to pass Violence Against Women act.

    ‘And who killed our Sgt? A boyfriend abusing his girlfriend. So you’re either here for women and children [daughters, sisters] and our aunts, or you’re here for the NRA.

    So I don’t want to see their little smug faces about how much they care about law enforcement when I’m burying a sergeant because they don’t want to piss off the NRA. Make up your minds.'”

    https://twitter.com/mrkmully/status/1204081105508413441

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  32. Deborah said on December 10, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Today we had lunch in a town called Apt, with the young woman artist uncle J is a patron for. Apt has an interesting history https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apt,_Vaucluse. It’s about 40km from Le Thor where we’re staying.

    Here’s an interesting tidbit I learned about the young artist (her name is Malika Moines). She grew up in Bonnieux (a village near Apt), and she was sung to as a child by Leonard Cohen, who often visited Bonnieux to see his daughter Lorac who’s mother was “Suzanne” (of the famous song of course). Lorac and Malika were school mates. Suzanne and Cohen weren’t a couple anymore then but he was often there to see his daughter who lived with her mother. When Malika visited Lorac when her father was in town he would sing for them. How cool is that!

    Last July when we were in France we had lunch at Malika’s mother’s house in Bonnieux. I won’t repeat that story but it was a cool house built in the 17th century.

    The place we had lunch in Apt today was in a cafe called Les Valsueses. It was named after a early 70s French movie starring Gerard Depardieu and other French actors with unspellable names. In the US the name of the movie was “Going Places”. It’s one of those French movies that hasn’t held up well in this
    Me Too era because of the way the main male characters treated women, it was considered a comedy/drama back then, but it’s kind of horrifying now. Anyway much of the movie was filmed in the area around Apt, it’s in the Luberon region. I saw the movie way back in the 70s and it was weird to be reminded of it today.

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  33. Deborah said on December 10, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Sorry, Cohen’s daughter’s name is Lorca not Lorac. Wikipedia has Malika’s story a little differently.

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  34. Deborah said on December 10, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    One more thing I should say, Malika speaks very broken English, so I’m the one who probably got her Cohen story mixed up from trying to follow her heavy French accent.

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  35. alex said on December 10, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    Didn’t Depardieu whip his dick out on an airplane or something? It isn’t just his films that aren’t holding up well in the #metoo era.

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  36. Deborah said on December 10, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Our hosts at the place where we’re staying told us that Les Valsuese is a slang for balls or testicles. They had seen the movie years ago.

    It’s literal translation is “the waltzers”

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  37. Suzanne said on December 10, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    Ugh. For the second time in a few months, I have had to explain to some Trump supporter that the House and the Senate together make up Congress.

    I am so tired of ignorant people.

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  38. LAMary said on December 10, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    My ex loved the movie Going Places. Of course.
    Lorac is a makeup company owned by a woman named Carol.

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  39. alex said on December 10, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    Suzanne–

    And the FBI and CIA make up the Deep State, and the freaking lame-ass Journal-Gazette is the liberal propaganda counterpart to Fox News, except that Fox isn’t propaganda but the J-G is, and wow what psychedelic trip it must be to have your head up your own ass: https://tenor.com/view/monkey-smelling-farts-smellingpoop-gif-5607689

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  40. Deborah said on December 11, 2019 at 5:52 am

    This is the president of the USA. Reading this Twitter thread in Europe feels strange https://mobile.twitter.com/atrupar/status/1204563324777779200

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  41. ROGirl said on December 11, 2019 at 7:34 am

    Lorca was named after the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca.

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  42. Deborah said on December 11, 2019 at 8:06 am

    Greta! Time’s POY 2019!

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  43. Deborah said on December 11, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Another trip to the nearby village to go to the post office again. This is the chef’s night off, we tried to make reservations at other restaurants but many are closed because it’s the off season, so we bought bread, cheese, sausage, wine, cookies and apples at wonderful little shops and will have a picnic in our room this evening. We do this a lot when we travel. Looking forward to another spectacular meal by the resident chef tomorrow night though.

    It’s a rainy day around here, we didn’t want to do a lot of driving so we’re taking the afternoon off, reading etc.

    Tomorrow we will go to Pont du Gare, an ancient Roman multi-arched bridge, and Maison Carre in Nimes which is what Jefferson modeled the state capital building of Virginia after.

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  44. Deborah said on December 11, 2019 at 11:28 am

    In my afternoon reading I came across this article about what is expected constitutionally of Senators’ roles in an impeachment trial, and of course McConnell will run roughshod all over it https://thebulwark.com/the-senate-as-an-impeachment-court-should-not-be-the-senate-as-usual/?amp&__twitter_impression=true

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  45. Brandon said on December 11, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    Other words he makes up or uses wrong include … “perfect” (as in a phone call).

    I’ve noticed over the last two years an increased usage of the word perfect as a synonym for great or wonderful. Has anyone here noticed that too?

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  46. Jakash said on December 11, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Neil Steinberg turns his attention to his native state, the one that’s “high in the middle, round at both ends.” Another Draconian, medically-unsupported abortion law, which makes him ponder whether “Ohio is giving Indiana a run for its money for the title of Mississippi of the Midwest, where Christianity is jamming its busy fingers into the gears of government, because its influence isn’t quite enough for their liking.”

    He concludes with: “Funny. These same religious fanatics abuse Islam as being oppressive. But which is more intrusive: being forced to carry a child you don’t want, or to wear a veil? Unlike the GOP, I can’t speak for women. But I know which I’d choose.”

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/columnists/2019/12/10/21004464/ohio-house-bill-abortion-pregnancy-womens-rights-steinberg

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  47. Julie Robinson said on December 11, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Just popping in for a moment with our fascinating moving news, which is back on for original dates. Sometimes polite but firm works! Back to packing and purging.

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  48. Jakash said on December 11, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    Last night the local PBS channel showed a pledge-drive bit of fluff, “JFK: The Lost Inaugural Gala,” which was a concert from the night before his inauguration. “Taped in 1961 but never broadcast on television.” While it was rather entertaining in its own right, and much more my speed than the usual nonsense they use to raise money, it was also kinda depressing, from the vantage point of 2019.

    Everybody was so optimistic. It was produced by Frank Sinatra, who surely had his faults, but who made sure that the program also featured Harry Belafonte, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole, among a number of other stars. The sense that the country was finally changing and putting its racist past behind it with this new administration seemed pervasive.

    To have witnessed what’s gone on in this nation since that time — it’s been 58 years and we now have a blatantly racist and xenophobic president and 40% of voters who are proud to support him and who consider calling themselves deplorable a badge of honor — well, it certainly made the whole thing seem even more wistful than it already was.

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  49. LAMary said on December 11, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    I’ve noticed the odd use of the word perfect. It’s become a confirmation as in,”I’ll have the cheeseburger.” “Pefect” “and an order of onion rings.” “Perfect.”

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  50. susan said on December 11, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Kind of like having a whiskey “neat.”

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  51. Deborah said on December 12, 2019 at 3:15 am

    Pont du Gard not Pont du Gare. Autocorrect changes French too. A Gare is a station, train station etc.

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  52. Deborah said on December 12, 2019 at 4:18 am

    It’s also Maison Careé not Carre. I am terrible at French.

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  53. Deborah said on December 12, 2019 at 4:21 am

    Maison Carrée, sheesh.

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  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2019 at 8:16 am

    Jakash, my particular religious tradition has a history that was written at what would have been our state association’s centennial in 1952, and the last few lines go:

    Five hundred churches, many schools and colleges, missionary and benevolent agencies, and a voluminous literary heritage have been bequeathed to next century Disciples . . .The second century of Ohio Disciples’ history should be more glorious than the last. So it will be if the spirit, courage, and resourcefulness that characterized the pioneers remain at the core of the movement.
    ~ “Buckeye Disciples” by Henry Shaw

    Fast forward to 2019, where 86 congregations make up our number, the colleges are all independent or closed (Hiram College is one of them, in perilous condition even as an independent liberal arts institution), the Cleveland Christian Children’s Home is a foster care agency that barely survived a bankruptcy in 2003, and all of our publications are defunct in deference to a modest online presence.

    And our persistent problem, at least for ministers like me, is that there’s no instance of advance, no occasion or event that’s successful, of which someone older than us can say “oh, but in the 60’s we had hundreds more in attendance” et cetera. The past is an interesting burden to bear — was it essentially flawed, and we’re doing the best we can with the failure of previous generations to adapt in anticipation of social changes, or has my generation been so catastrophically incompetent as to earn the blame for where things have ended up?

    In our small situation, I’d have to say there’s blame enough to go around. The 50s & the 60s were jam packed with hubris and short-sighted narrow visions that just assumed they were scanning the far horizons from a position of power and (earned) privilege. Turns out they were more blinkered and parochial than they knew . . . but our generation was slow to change even as our ambivalent position became more apparent. We can argue that our elders fought us at every turn to stay the course, not touch their perfect institution other than in cosmetic tweaks, and we’d not be wrong, but now that we’re in an existential crisis, it’s a bad time to focus on allocating blame.

    For the country? Much the same. I look at an old school-age pamphlet on “Our Congress” and now I see all elderly crabbed looking stout white guys, and I know as a kid I saw statesmen, not prejudice. They were arrogant and unbending, and I was slow to push back against the norms I was raised with. Now we’ve got . . . well, the Iowa primaries and all that will roll out after. I guess we’ll just see how it shakes out.

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  55. Jakash said on December 12, 2019 at 11:48 am

    I’m not quite sure how to respond to that, JTMMO, but that certainly won’t stop me from blathering on! Based on much of what you’ve written before, though, in your specific case, the adage “You can lead a horse to water…” comes to mind. If you have that either tattooed on your arm, or nicely framed on a wall somewhere, I’d not be surprised.

    As for the country, it essentially boils down to two things, it seems to me. One is the runaway power of Big Money in determining the narrative in this nation, via Fox News and an ever-increasing number of other news outlets, producing the effect that hard-right conservatism is seen as mainstream, while Nixonian-era, middle-of-the-road pragmatism is seen as akin to communism. The other is the outsize political muscle of the less-populous states in determining legislative, (and executive and judicial) outcomes. People who’ve never met a Muslim person electing the guys who decide what the immigration policy should be for the whole country. People who believe “taco trucks on every corner” is some kind of existential nightmare. People who think Devin Nunes is a statesman. People who think that, because they’d like to have some rifles and handguns on their ranch in Wyoming, that means that anybody who wants to should be able to open-carry an AR-15 into a bodega in New York City.

    But that’s too political, of course. What I’ll never understand is how so many of the “cool kids” from the 60s so totally morphed into caricatures of their own parents, whom they’d have mocked mercilessly back before they became so afraid of the world and all its ambiguities.

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  56. Suzanne said on December 12, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    This pretty much sums it up.
    https://eand.co/this-is-how-a-society-dies-35bdc3c0b854

    Maybe it’s the cold, the dark, the thought of going out Christmas shopping, the impeachment proceedings during which the GOP look like braying asses to me but patriotic heroes to many of my friends and relatives, the city council of bedroom community to Ft Wayne (New Haven, IN) declaring itself pro-life, the podcast about Jeffrey Epstein I am listening to, maybe it’s all that together, but I just feel it is over for the USA. We will never recover from this. 40% of the country either thinks God chose Trump to lead us or, like some of Jim Jones’ people, know he’s a sham but think he is doing positive things.

    The lunatic fringe has taken over and I used to think the sane people could outlast them. I no longer think that.

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  57. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    I think we’re mostly agreeing, here; my point looking back is that I’m amazed and horrified at how blind we were as a nation to the racism of our national institutions, let alone state and local laws, with elderly white guys just being an accepted public norm. So we go from not being able to see bias at all, to now we are so painfully aware of it in multiple forms it quite frankly feels difficult to turn in any direction or make progress of any sort. It’s better to be conscious and aware, but at some point we have to filter and select and make choices, any of which will be less than ideal.

    The church stuff I dragged into our conversation because now, looking back, it’s clear that the seeds of our own destruction were sown in that era, but they could only look back and see 40 years of solid annual growth and increase, and so projected forward nothing but the same, and when 20 years later they started losing altitude, they blamed the new pilots and not the age of the airframe or having moved into a different weather system.

    Now we’re about to crash (as a church body), and people from that earlier era are still crowding around the cockpit shouting “pull back on the stick harder!” (Or “more cowbell!”) Nationally, I’m not sure if we’re as close to crashing as a country as we are simply in a position to make a major course change, but it’s still going to shake up the cabin. I think Big Money had a seat close to the cockpit years ago, too, but now the curtain is down, and we’re more aware of how the Dollar$ are driving the captain’s course correction. Are we worse off than in 1954 or 1961? I don’t think so, but it certainly feels more unstable. This is the challenge for modern democracy: we have so much information in front of us, and yes a big chunk of it biased/made-up/spin-based info, that we’re somewhat paralyzed in our decision making. I don’t think putting the curtains back up, returning decisions to the back room, is an option, let alone a good idea — but this is where we need librarians and curators and editors in a public sense to help us sift and sort the data and inputs we’re getting.

    Nancy, is this a good time to mention donations to Deadline Detroit as a news curator? I threw some in, and I don’t even live there. Maybe if it prospers it can reproduce and spread into adjoining states . . .

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  58. JodiP said on December 12, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Hey all, tangentially related to discussion of racism: today I learned via the podcast Codeswitch about the reverse freedom rides. Definitely worth a listen! The description: Many people have heard of the Freedom Rides of 1961, when black and white civil rights activists rode buses together to the South to protest segregation. But most people have never heard of what happened the very next summer, when Southern segregationists decided to strike back, using unsuspecting black families as pawns.

    They also draw the connection with what’s happening today, when Trump threatened to send refugees to sanctuary cities.

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  59. LAMary said on December 12, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    I have two brothers left. I used to have four. Of the two left, I have little interest in sustaining much of a relationship with one and the other one nearly died of cancer a few months ago. We love each other but I am so disappointed that he can say that he knows Trump is a terrible person but the economy is doing so well so who cares. I don’t want to argue with him. I tell him I disagree and that character and respect for the Constitution and for one’s fellow man and for the environment are really important to me. He just keeps telling me the economy is better than it’s ever been and that breaks my heart a little every time he says it.

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