The enormous radio.

Some years back, I wrote a column for Grosse Pointe Today about a developing murder case here in town. The basics: A beloved G.P. woman was found dead, strangled, in the back seat of her Mercedes SUV, which had been dumped in an alley on the east side of Detroit.

Now. Those of you who are journalists, or even fond of crime fiction, already suspect who the killer was. My friend Dustin was my student at the time, contributing to GPToday, and it was him that I contacted to write up a few paragraphs for the site, because I was doing something else and he had already been a staffer for a daily newspaper for some time. He said, “I’m putting on my coat, but you know who likely did this, right? Her husband.”

I agreed wholeheartedly. It looked like a botched body dump that was supposed to look like a carjacking, if you can ignore two big problems: Carjackers use a weapon or maybe simple brute force to get you out of your car. Which they then drive away, that being the point of the carjacking. It takes long long minutes to strangle a healthy person to death, at least three or even longer if you want to be sure. That’s a long goddamn time to spend killing someone whose Mercedes you’re not going to take.

But this being Grosse Pointe, with its pathological fear of Detroit, the hysteria began on Facebook almost immediately.

When are these ANIMALS going to be kept OUT of our communities was only the least of it. It started nuts and built over the course of two days and was well into a third, posts with hundreds of comments about the need for gates, for structural impediments to streets, for more police and, of course, for everybody to carry at least one gun. You know the drill. The crime was discovered on a Wednesday and the hysteria built until Friday, when in the late afternoon the police announced that the victim’s husband was a person of interest in the crime.

The sound of a social-media thread of morons ceasing to talk should make a sound. Like when tires screech into a sliding stop, or a whole flock of quarreling starlings suddenly goes silent.

Me, I wrote a column. I compared the events of the previous few days to “The Enormous Radio,” John Cheever’s fantastic short story which you should read if you haven’t already. (You can get the gist from Wikipedia.) It’s about a woman who discovers her living-room radio is picking up conversations from the other apartments in her building. Within a few days, she learns terrible things about her neighbors and the sorts of things they say in the privacy of their own living rooms.

I concentrated on just this case, but it applies to pretty much everything now. Facebook is just another enormous radio, revealing the bigotries and ignorance of people we thought we knew. I just scrolled through the comments on the Deadline Detroit Facebook page and reflected, for the millionth time, that if regular people got the sort of hate mail journalists get almost every day, most people would walk around in a state of near-nervous collapse, every single day.

No, I don’t have to read it all. But I need to at least keep up with it as part of my job. So I do.

All of which brings me to this story, from Axios, not a favorite news source but whatever, analyzing the “insane” news cycles of 2019. As per Axios, it’s not much of a story, and it contains bullet points for no apparent reason other than they like bullet points, but this right here seemed to be the heart of it:

Why it matters: The chart, based on search trends compiled by Google News Lab, highlights how short the public’s attention span was as the media darted from one big thing to another.

  • In the era of President Trump and social media, surges of Google interest in the biggest events of the year only lasted about a week before the public’s attention was drawn elsewhere.
  • Some issues, such as the 2020 election and the Mexico-U.S. border, drew more steady attention — but fewer of the dramatic spikes of interest that other topics had.
  • There’s a chart in the story that’s pretty interesting, too, tracking outrage after outrage through the year.

    I’m considering my one-word new year’s resolution in these final days, and considering Disengage. For a journalist, it feels like a betrayal. You have to stay engaged! You have to keep up! But I am honestly exhausted with keeping up. I don’t want to know anything about Baby Yoda. I don’t subscribe to Disney+, I left all things Star Wars behind in, what? Nineteen-eighty-something? Is there a filter I can install, an app of some sort, that will tell me what I want to know, and what I need to know, and maybe surprise me with some things I didn’t know I wanted to know but am now glad I know, without including Baby Yoda? And all the social-media bullshit that goes with it?

    I don’t think there is. If so, I would have known about it by now. Because you know, I keep up. I would never have turned off the enormous radio.

    I hope your Christmas was everything you asked for. We had a nice time. Watched some movies, opened lots of presents, ate our weight in carbs. I got two cookbooks — Alison Roman’s “Nothing Fancy,” and Mark Bittman’s “Dinner for Everyone.” Both look wonderful. I find myself drooling over the photos of garlicky greens. I hope that means I’m on the road back to dietary temperance.

    However, for now, it’s time to walk Wendy. A great weekend to all.

    Posted at 4:30 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |
     

    69 responses to “The enormous radio.”

    1. Dexter Friend said on December 26, 2019 at 5:30 pm

      I missed and delayed seeing the family when I got so damn sick on the night of the 23rd, so now after finally feeling a little better, will drive to Columbus on Saturday. I don’t give a shit what Fox News is spewing, so I watch msnbc for my national coverage. Baby Yoda is showing up everywhere, but since the only reason I ever watched the original like 42 years ago was at the insistence of friends, and found it a bore, I can turn away from those stories easily. A big change for me which has grown from nothing to fanaticism almost, is my slow-growth attention level I now pay to Liverpool Football Club. I will now forego college football to watch “my” Liverpool Reds. They are perched to win their first Premiere League title in 30 seasons and just won the Fifa Club World Cup. This is why I just cannot cut the cord. A man needs his sports…at least I do. New Years one-word resolution? Maintain.

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    2. beb said on December 26, 2019 at 5:53 pm

      The best part of Christmas was the deserts prepare by a nephew. They were complex professional-chef level treats. Oh, so delicious, heavy on carbs, flavor and wonder mouth-feel )I watch too many cooking shows).

      The thing about the insane news cycle of today is that most of the hot topics come from two sources — Fox News or President Numbnuts. Both survive by endlessly spinning out conspiracy theories. That’s their business model. Facebook and Google also benefit from promoting the most outrageous stories. It’s yellow journalism all the way down.

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    3. alex said on December 26, 2019 at 6:15 pm

      And Twitter has become an even bigger sewer than any comments section: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/12/26/backlash-pete-buttigiegs-christmas-tweet-religious-divide-it-exposes/

      If piousness is a pissing contest, Mayor Pete’s getting hosed.

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    4. Suzanne said on December 26, 2019 at 6:52 pm

      I saw the refugee/not refugee dust up on Twitter earlier in the day. Sure. Mary, Joseph, and Jesus’s fleeing to Egypt was no different than me moving from Indiana to Ohio.

      This from the same crowd that believes the Nazis were AOC type Socialists because it’s in the name.

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    5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 26, 2019 at 9:40 pm

      Clergy, at least ones who don’t stay tightly focused inside of their churches, can give journalism a run for its money in the nastygram department.

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    6. Jeff Borden said on December 27, 2019 at 10:23 am

      I’m teaching the winter/spring semester at Loyola this year for the first time since 2016. It’s not for the money. I need to be around a more hopeful generation, around young people who shrug off religious, social and gender differences, who believe in fairness, justice and a more compassionate view of our world. They keep me from slipping into outright despair. Meanwhile, I’m trying to develop a strategy to keep me from going mad during the 2020 campaign. God, it’s going to be a filthy dirty, soul deadening experience.

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    7. Dexter Friend said on December 27, 2019 at 5:38 pm

      Agreed, Jeff. I sort of shut down for a couple weeks to be ready for the sprint to November. A long damn sprint, too. I am still all for either Bernie or Mayor Pete, either one emerging at the convention will be great. Biden and Warren and Booker and Yang and Klobucher …all are good. So will money be the reason for a selection? Will Mayor Mike, who has spent $120M already just on TV ads, buy the nomination? When HRC ran in 2008 against Obama, it was big news when her war chest topped $20M. Today, that’s small potatoes.

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    8. nancy said on December 27, 2019 at 6:03 pm

      And Don Imus crosses the river to the undiscovered country. At 79.

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    9. Jeff Borden said on December 27, 2019 at 7:08 pm

      Just saw the news on Imus on NBC Nightly News. He’s a Hall of Famer, I guess, but his rise inspired others to go further afield for shocks and gasps. Oh, Father Coughlin, what hath thou wrought?

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    10. basset said on December 27, 2019 at 7:49 pm

      Not only Don Imus but Sleepy Labeef, who I paid a whole lot more attention to than Imus.

      Stayed in Mayor Pete’s city on the way up to Michigan for Christmas with Mrs. B’s family. Pricelined a room which turned out to be on the fringes of the hood – gas station across the parking lot played loud opera music outside to keep loiterers away – and we noticed on checkin that the peephole in our door had been reversed to look in instead of out. Nice.

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    11. alex said on December 27, 2019 at 9:41 pm

      Yeah, Mayor Pete’s town is something else. Our tenant, who has biracial children, decided to put them in Montessori school there at her mother’s home after the all the crap they took in our lily-white suburban school where people pay a premium for real estate so that their children can be amongst their own low-class high-dollar white trash Republican ilk. (Our tenant is a tennis pro so those types are her clientele.)

      We hear that that the children of South Bend are so disrespectful that the school can barely retain staff or teachers. There are disciplinary problems there like nothing we have here. On the other hand, while here her children were subjected to arbitrary disciplinary actions and police abuse that should never have happened.

      I’m glad I don’t have kids and don’t have to worry about what schools to send them to because they all sound grotesque these days. And school was no picnic when I was growing up and things were supposedly better.

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    12. Sherri said on December 27, 2019 at 11:07 pm

      Imus was far enough afield. His nappy-headed hos comment about the Rutgers women’s basketball team was egregiously racist, sexist, and ignorant.

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    13. beb said on December 28, 2019 at 2:24 pm

      The best kind of owning is self-owning. Fox News is all twitter about a article by Amanda Marcotte that accused The Hallmark Channel’s ending holiday movies as Fascist propaganda.
      “Forget “Triumph of the Will” — the most insidious authoritarian propaganda comes in the form of schmaltz”
      https://www.salon.com/2019/12/25/hallmark-christmas-movies-fascist-propaganda/
      She criticizes them for being relentlessly white, heterosexual and anti-urbanist. Cheesy and saccharine also come to mind but there’s no crime in that (is there?).

      Salon reports on the Fox News claims here:
      https://www.salon.com/2019/12/27/fox-news-accuses-salon-of-attacking-american-values-after-writer-calls-hallmark-movies-fascist/

      (Anti-urban means the stories involve a return to one’s small town roots for rediscovery and personal renewal, condemning any large city as an “urban hellhole.”)

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    14. alex said on December 28, 2019 at 2:49 pm

      The best kind of owning is self-owning.

      Best chuckle of the day.

      Marcotte smacked the diminishing Hallmark demographic right where they live — in their Fox News bubble — and God but the truth hurts.

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    15. Brian stouder said on December 28, 2019 at 3:52 pm

      Grant and I are heading back home again (in Indiana) after spending the day in the marvelous Henry Ford museum. I should have twisted Chloe’s arm to come along…amongst all the other neat stuff, they had a surprisingly wonderful Lincoln*/civil war/slavery digression. In any case, a wonderful place, and an exceedingly pleasant day, indeed. *The Ford museum had the chair that Lincoln was in when he was shot, which surprised me very much! ‘Course, they also have the Lincoln that Kennedy was killed in…so it kind of bookends…

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    16. alex said on December 28, 2019 at 4:57 pm

      Too bad they don’t have Henry Ford’s “hemp car” on display, not that it was really made of hemp, but the pot activists love to overhype this story.

      In 1941 Ford introduced a prototype vehicle that was designed to run on plant-based fuel (seed oils) and its body panels were a plastic made from plant-based fibers (among which were hemp, but only a small percentage). Pretty amazing that he was thinking about renewable resources so long ago. Of course the steel and petrochemical interests quickly squelched the idea and it went nowhere.

      https://truththeory.com/2017/02/15/henry-ford-invented-hemp-cars-ran-hemp-fuel/

      http://theangryhistorian.blogspot.com/2010/10/hemp-car-myth-busted.html

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    17. beb said on December 28, 2019 at 5:46 pm

      Not to mention Rosa Parks’ bus. And a H-U-G-E steam locomotive engine. The parade of cars, the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile and the list goes on and on. The Henry Ford Museum is one of our favorite places to go to.

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    18. Brian stouder said on December 28, 2019 at 6:19 pm

      If we lived closer, I’d have a membership. Maybe after I retire, eh?

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    19. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 28, 2019 at 8:40 pm

      There some amazing “history of manufacturing” massive objects in the back (if they’re still on display) that I didn’t appreciate as a kid, and as an adult was marveling that Henry or his minions found and had the wit to abscond with. Steam engines and lathes and precision cutting machinery and lubrication technology . . . it’s usually pretty quiet back there.

      But as child and adult I loved the Admiral Byrd Ford Tri-Motor. All the polar expeditions I read about came down to that encounter with the Floyd Bennett special on the museum floor: I presume it’s still on display?

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    20. alex said on December 28, 2019 at 9:51 pm

      I posted earlier about Henry Ford’s hempmobile and it had two links in it and must have gotten hung up in post purgatory.

      Anyway, I was surprised to learn recently that Henry Ford developed a prototype vehicle in 1941 that was all about renewable resources. The pot activists make a bigger thing of it than it was, but the body panels were cellulose plastic and actually made use of hemp fibers as well as other plant-based materials and the engine ran on seed oils.

      I have a carpet made from cellulose fibers rather than petroleum-based shit and I’m pretty pleased with it.

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    21. Joe Kobiela said on December 28, 2019 at 9:57 pm

      Brian,
      Next time you go take the tour out to the river rough plant where they assemble pickup trucks, it’s fascinating.
      Pilot Joe

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    22. Brian stouder said on December 28, 2019 at 10:08 pm

      Joe, indeed the River Rouge facility is on our radar, as I’ve not ever been there. And the main museum is simply wonderful. They had a great crowd today, and we sailed past lots of things that would otherwise stop us in our tracks… but moving along and/or reading only a few of the engrossing and informative displays was how we rolled. We shall be back, no doubt! (I was expecting a ‘Ford Versus Ferrari’ echo, and although there wasn’t an overt response, there were plenty of Racey Ford’s to see)

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    23. Deborah said on December 29, 2019 at 4:32 am

      Death Valley is quite popular this time of year. We’ve been without cell service here the last two days. We had to use cash at the restaurant and weren’t able to get digital keys to our rooms the first night here because their systems were down. They had to escort us to our rooms and use a pass key every time we wanted to enter. We finally got keys and cell service returned while we were at the restaurant this evening. Suddenly phones started dinging with texts etc all over the place.

      During the day we drove out to remote Racetrack Playa, a place we had never been in Death Valley before. Normally it would be a lonely drive but we encountered lots of vehicles on the narrow dirt road, lots of tourists. But the drive was still beautiful.

      We’ve been able to spend a lot of quality time with my husband’s granddaughter which was the whole purpose. She’s been through a lot this year.

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    24. Connie said on December 29, 2019 at 6:34 am

      I would also like to take the tour of the Ford River Rouge plant. My daughter’s partner is a machinist at that plant, he says he can’t get anyone in for any reason and the tour goes nowhere near where he works. His team spent about a year making the dies for the new Ford Bronco. He works seven days on, seven off. During the seven days off he works for a large tugboat/barge operation on Lake Michigan and Lake Erie.

      Brian we were very close when you were at the Henry Ford, as we were doing this metro area drive that went near there. My husband’s Facebook page now stars a picture of the House of Dank.

      We drove Eight Mile from Inkster road to the lakeshore in the Points, then drove up the shoreline to Nine Mile. I think we saw your pool Nancy.

      So thing we saw the most of on Eight mile: medical marijuana dispensaries. Second most? Gentleman’s clubs.

      We went back east on Nine Mile, which had some very unusual looking construction in the center lanes. There were several things that looked like farm silos built of wood. I think they were some kind of caisson, with giant augers for boring and large metal pipes going in vertically. The best we could figure was that something major was happening underground. We had an interesting day just wandering the metro area.

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    25. Sherri said on December 29, 2019 at 11:15 am

      My dad’s hip replacement surgery went well, and I’m here with my parents until tomorrow. I don’t discuss politics or religion with them, but it’s clear from looking at their bookcase that Fox News has thoroughly captured them. There are hardcover books by Michelle Malkin, Dinesh D’Sousa, Jerome Corsi, and others about how evil and terrible Obama is. There was a sheet of paper with discussion questions about the Rapture. Dad made a racist joke with a friend.

      I’m doing my duty and getting out of here tomorrow.

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    26. Brian stouder said on December 29, 2019 at 12:21 pm

      Sherri, here’s wishing you continued strength and patience, even though it sounds like you have things well in hand!

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    27. basset said on December 29, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      Last time I was in the Rouge plant they were making Fox-body Mustangs and Capris, that’s how long it’s been. Late Seventies.

      We really enjoyed the Henry Ford, also the Gilmore auto museum between Grand Rapids & Kalamazoo. They have a restored diner car you can actually get something to eat in, and Mrs. B was pleasantly surprised to see, among the period furnishings, a Be-Mo potato chip can… she was an inspector there one summer, watching em go by still warm.

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    28. Sherri said on December 29, 2019 at 12:59 pm

      Thanks, Brian. The good news is, my parents are in pretty good health for 81. The surgeon said my dad’s bones were good, he doesn’t have any heart problems other than high blood pressure, and he’s quite active, or was until very recently when his hip just wore out.

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    29. alex said on December 29, 2019 at 4:03 pm

      Took my mom out for her 91st birthday last night. She’s a little unsteady on her feet and hard of hearing but fortunately remains sensible in her politics.

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    30. ROGirl said on December 29, 2019 at 6:14 pm

      I went on the Rouge plant tour a few years ago. It takes you through some interactive exhibits, then you are brought out to a mezzanine several stories above the production floor. That’s as close as you get. It does have a green roof, with ground cover growing on it.

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    31. Colleen said on December 29, 2019 at 8:19 pm

      Alex, my mother is the same. Both of my parents, actually. So when we visit there’s commiserating about the disgrace in The Oval Office. I am so lucky that my parents are still sharp.

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    32. beb said on December 29, 2019 at 9:05 pm

      The giant steam engines of the 18th and 19th centuries are still at the Henry Ford as I recall. There is a old time diner car in the museum where you can buy a variety of cold items. Obviously the museum is hesitant about starting a fire in the middle of the museum. There is also a nice collection of glass in the museum and a glass blowing factory next door at Greenfield Village.

      Driving along 8 Mile Rd. so always an experience. One the south (Detroit) it’s endless abandoned storefront with the occassional strip club and pot shops. Every so often civic groups want to clean up 8 Mile by which they mean close down the strip clubs. Please, the strip clubs are the only thing bringing in money to Detroit. The north side of 8 Mile is full of thriving businesses because it’s not Detroit or even Wayne County. The northern counties often take pride in how long it’s been since they crossed over into Detroit.

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    33. Deborah said on December 30, 2019 at 12:53 am

      We are in Pasadena now which is a little crazy right now because of the upcoming Rose Bowl parade. I’m not sure if we’re able to walk to it from where we are, but I’d kind of like to. We have a whole mid century modern house full of art to ourselves on my husband’s sister’s compound. It’s pretty fabulous.

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    34. Dexter Friend said on December 30, 2019 at 1:59 am

      The Ford Museum locomotive is so big it takes you aback. It seems like a mock-up but it’s a real deal.

      Imus, love him or hate him. He never threw producer Bernard McGuirk under the bus after it was Bernie who started with the talk of the stench in womens’ NBA locker rooms and launched into the nappy headed hos disaster. Imus took all the blame when what he did was quote part of Bernie’s talk and then laugh. The shit hit the fan. AZfter I retired in 2002 I watched old Gunsmokes on cable then began watching Imus in the Morning. His comics, Larry Kenney and Rob Bartlett were so funny, but they too offended people with clownish portrayals of gays . Imus was a Republican but oh man did he lay into Bush43 on a daily basis over Iraq. Vicious attacks also came from many guests like John Kerry. Then he’d bring on McCain regularly. he had Bush41 on, and people from all walks of life, and he got me interested in Outlaw Country music, so different from the crp they play on local FM around here. Imus also cajoled McCain, Kerry, and every US Senator and US Rep. he had on his show to up the death benefit paid to survivors’ families after war deaths. I have been told it’s now $12,400 in GI Insurance + $250,000 death gratuity. I believe without Imus keeping after his friend McCain and others, this never would have happened. Imus had basically all the NYT op-ed team on as guests, but then he was also pals with that goddam Trump. Morning radio and simulcasts will never fond such a character. And then…a good friend texted and reported he had popped open a bottle of bubbly he had laid-in for New Year’s Eve when he heard Imus had passed. And…this friend never-ever watched Imus at all, but the hate was fierce.

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    35. Dexter Friend said on December 30, 2019 at 2:10 am

      Ford Rouge Truck Plant was gutted right down to the bones a few years ago to roll out the aluminum body trucks. A cable show documented it last year. Now it is so clean and modern it could be considered a marvel. Every wire, ever workstation, are new. They are not ageist at Ford…they had a man working there who is 85 with 67 years seniority.

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    36. 4dbirds said on December 30, 2019 at 9:54 am

      Dexter, SGLI, the servicemen’s life insurance was 50K when I joined in 73 right now

      “Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance
      Each service member entering a period of active duty or reserve status is automatically covered for the maximum $400,000 death benefit. Premiums, which currently run $27 per month for the maximum coverage, are automatically deducted from their paycheck.”

      Of course when my son was over there if I’d have lost him, no amount would make up the difference.

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    37. LAMary said on December 30, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      Even if you walk to the parade area you might not find a space where you can watch the parade. People sleep on the sidewalk the night before. There is a place where you can look at the floats up close post parade. My office is about six blocks from the parade route and there are RVs cruising looking for parking spaces around here. Some of the floats are built in a humongous building down the street from my office on Raymond Avenue.

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    38. Deborah said on December 30, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      LA Mary, the parade route is about 4 miles from my husband’s sister’s place so too far to walk there and back. We’ve talked about some alternatives to see the floats post parade but so far nothing has been determined. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on it, I just want to say I did it basically. I heard that people sleep on the sidewalks of the parade route. Crazy.

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    39. LAMary said on December 30, 2019 at 9:23 pm

      I never felt the need to either sleep on the sidewalk in Pasadena or spend a hundred dollars or so on a seat in the bleachers. It is sort of weirdly cool to see the stealth bomber fly over when the parade starts but I can do that from my dining room window. I know someone who is fanatical about decorating floats and personally I think she’s crazy. The over the top floats and the cost of making them seems like a waste to me. If I had the time to volunteer that many hours I think I could find a more rewarding task.
      The city of Pasadena and the Rose Parade Committee make money from the parade. The Tournament of Roses organization was until recently all male and all white. Women held lower
      positions. It’s the group the social climbers in Pasadena donate dollars to join.
      Thirty something years ago Firesign Theatre would do a narration of the parade on the local Pacifica station. You could tune in to the radio and watch the parade on TV with the volume down. Best part was they played a marching band version of Louie Louie for every band that went by. Salvation Army Band? Louie Louie. All American High School Band? Louie Louie.

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    40. Deborah said on December 31, 2019 at 12:15 am

      We went out to Westchester this evening to the home of one of my husband’s nieces and had dinner with family, lots of cute little kids. My sister-in-law’s husband drove and it was terrifying. I’m not fond of driving around on the LA freeway systems. No thanks.

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    41. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 31, 2019 at 9:01 am

      Someday, I’ll have to check this out for myself.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVVqlm8Fq3Y

      Tonight, my son gets on a plane to Boise, as his last Marching 110 formal show will be at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, on Friday at 3:30 pm Eastern. Yep, the blue field. The furthest west I’ve been is the back side of Devil’s Tower, but I’m glad my wife and son have both seen more of the country . . . but Boise? I look forward to hearing more about it Saturday from him. (Joyce got a job offer in Moscow ID that she turned down, and has been to Yellowstone three times professionally, and Los Angeles twice.) I could skip seeing the Rose Parade, I think.

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    42. Julie Robinson said on December 31, 2019 at 9:44 am

      My dear late MIL loved the Rose parade, no doubt in small part because two of her children landed in Pasadena and Glendale. She got herself a color TV just to watch it. That’s kind of how I think of it, as a throwback to a time when a parade was such a big deal, it was anticipated for an entire year. I do like the marching bands, though. Jeff and I agree on that.

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    43. basset said on December 31, 2019 at 9:49 am

      Trivia… the first US nationwide color TV broadcast was the Tournament of Roses parade in 1954, on NBC:
      http://eyesofageneration.com/the-first-rose-parade-color-cast-nbc-january-1-1954this-was-the-first-ever/

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    44. Deborah said on December 31, 2019 at 4:07 pm

      My sister-in-law needed to get some groceries at a place near the parade route so she took me up part of Colorado, there were scads of people already camped out in chairs etc lining the street. The weather is perfect in Pasadena today, sunny and a high in the low 70s. It’s supposed to be similar tomorrow but the parade is in the morning so it’ll be a little cooler.

      One more full day in CA tomorrow and then on to NM.

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    45. alex said on December 31, 2019 at 4:35 pm

      It just occurred to me that Y2K NYE was 20 years ago, and I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was with a group of Chicago friends and we were taking a vacay to visit friends who’d moved to Miami Beach. They had a fab house with a beautiful pool, excellent munchies, intoxicants galore.

      The following day we piled into a car and drove to Marathon Key and spent a couple of days in the most wonderful retro beach cabins. We had the place all to ourselves. I think it was called the Islamorada Inn. Probably replaced by a hi-rise by now.

      Not doing anything all that special tonight, just dinner out with the hubs.

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    46. Sherri said on December 31, 2019 at 8:56 pm

      I’m back home, and happy to be there. Went with my dad yesterday to his first PT appointment, he did great, and then I hopped a plane home. I’m passing up the usual NYE gaming party I go to because I just want to curl up at home.

      Still in kitchen remodel chaos, though the end is in sight. The painters were really slow, which screwed with the schedule, and now the tile guy has the flu.

      The best part of my trip to TN is that I got to reconnect with my favorite cousin who I haven’t seen in years.

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    47. Deborah said on December 31, 2019 at 10:01 pm

      I’ve decided that my one word resolution for 2020 is going to be “survive”. I’m not the only one, it’s popular for the coming year.

      Just having dinner with the in-laws at their place in Pasadena, not going out anywhere. I doubt that us old folks will stay up until midnight.

      Happy new year to you all.

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    48. alex said on December 31, 2019 at 10:33 pm

      It’s only 10:30 and we’re still relatively sober so chance we’ll be up ’til midnight for whatever that’s worth. Had a nice dinner out, peppercorn ribeyes big enough to have leftovers. Menu planning for tomorrow because I have to cook a big family dinner. Probably will do Instant Pot split pea soup and still need to figure out a main course.

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    49. LAMary said on December 31, 2019 at 10:43 pm

      It’s supposed to be in the low forties overnight so those sidewalk campers better be wearing the woolies. All the public parking lots near my office tripled their rates in celebration of the parade.

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    50. basset said on January 1, 2020 at 12:39 am

      Old folks’ NYE for us, we continued our last few years’ tradition of playing music at an art gallery in one of the outlying communities and knocking off before 9 so everyone can get home and turn in before the drunk traffic peaks.
      Spent the early part of the afternoon back at our Subaru dealer experiencing what they call “encore delivery,” or encore something anyway… after you’ve had the car for a few weeks they contact you and offer a $25 gas card if you’ll come in and get help with anything you don’t understand about the ridiculously complex touch screen system or anything else on the car. I now know how to make my phone screen show up on the big screen, but I still refuse to talk to Siri.

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    51. jerry said on January 1, 2020 at 4:19 am

      We were up at midnight at New Year for the first time for about 15 years – normally we’re well asleep by then. But an old friend has just found a late romance; they are both divorced, both in their seventies. And she was eager to introduce us to her new man, who seemed very pleasant. Only six of us there which was just the right number for me. A good evening.

      I’m with Deborah in having survive as my resolution for 2020. We have all the disaster of Brexit to get through. On a personal level I had a hip replaced last year. In the aftermath I was found to have a raised PSA count and am now waiting on a biopsy to investigate irregularities in my prostate.

      So, survive.

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    52. alex said on January 1, 2020 at 11:38 am

      Basset, I also refuse to talk to Siri, but she interrupts conversations any time she hears the words “serious,” “seriously,” “series,” or “Sirius.” Commandeers my car’s audio system even. What a pest she is. The few times I’ve asked her to look up phone numbers or information on the internet, she either doesn’t comprehend what I’m saying at all or returns absolutely useless information.

      No one-word resolution for this year, at least not yet, but I am definitely resolved to get serious about health. I recently had my first Smart Lung CT scan, which is now recommended as preventive care for anyone who has ever smoked, and boy have I ever smoked. I was pleased to learn that I have clean lungs with no nodules. So glad for the reprieve that I’m going to quit while I’m ahead and this time make it stick.

      I also underwent a pancreatic ultrasound because of familial pancreatic cancer and to rule out type 3 diabetes, which is often mistaken for type 2, with which I’ve been diagnosed. I’m happy to report that I have type 2. (Type 3 is what can lead to pancreatic cancer.) Still not a great thing to live with but I may yet be able to reverse it with diet and exercise.

      And I got it all done just under the wire while my deductible was done for the year. Yay!

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    53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 1, 2020 at 1:37 pm

      I have plenty of resolutions left over from previous years, so no new ones for 2020.

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    54. basset said on January 1, 2020 at 3:39 pm

      Siri hasn’t done that to me yet but I didn’t set it up with voice. One word… declutter.

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    55. Suzanne said on January 1, 2020 at 4:33 pm

      I made it to midnight, switching between channels to either watch Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen (I think?) getting tipsy and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rocking Eve with hosts I mostly didn’t recognize. Both shows featured all sorts of singers that I had never heard of. My husband gave up and went to bed at 11:00.
      For lunch we ate lentil soup (to bring wealth) & dinner will be pork and kraut (for good luck). It can’t hurt!
      Tomorrow, back to work. Ugh. I dislike reality.

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    56. Deborah said on January 1, 2020 at 4:53 pm

      We’re taking a walk in Pasadena, stopped for a root beer. The weather is fantastic, most everything is closed and my sister in law has a hard time finding a place open for dinner tonight. We’re going early when the Rose Bowl game is still going on otherwise the place would be packed.

      Black eyed peas are for good luck in the new year and my mother used to get a jar of pickled herring for the new year. I doubt that either will be on the menu where we’re going though.

      Tomorrow is a travel day, the part I’m dreading the most is the freeway drive to LAX. I arrive in Santa Fe at around 10pm tomorrow night, on LB’s birthday.

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    57. Scout said on January 1, 2020 at 5:46 pm

      December was the most events packed I have ever had, culminating in an amazing 5 generation Christmas Eve. My great grands are precious beyond words.

      And then on Sunday, it all caught up with me and I got so sick with fever, coughing, headache and the snots. Spent NYE on the couch binge watching Queer Eye.

      My 2020 words are ‘You’re fired’. You all know to whom that is directed.

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    58. beb said on January 1, 2020 at 10:34 pm

      I was fascinated by Basset’s Subaru dealership inviting new buyers to come back to discuss anything they don’t understand about their new car. Does any other car manufacturer do this? It sounds like a great way to get feedback from owners on what the manufacturer has done right or wrong with their new vehicles. It sounds like something every car maker should be doing. Especially the American companies whom no one seems to like anymore.

      We had a quiet New Years Eve. Made from pizza rolls for second supper / party snacking. The gun fire was more frightening them usual. Someone was firing some kind of semi-automatic — you know, bam – bam – bam – fast and regularly spaced. But where in the past these were loud firecracker like explosions – bang! bang! Bang! – these were deeper and louder, more boom boom boom. I thought maybe they were using some kind of semi-automatic shotgun. Or maybe a magnum caliber gun. Bad enough that it sounded like a howitzer going off, it sounded like it came a couple doors down the street. No bullet holes in the car this morning, so that’s a plus.

      Here’s hoping for a better new year.

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    59. Carol said on January 2, 2020 at 3:12 am

      This 2019 was a great year for me. Many ups and downs and I started a new business (small business but planning to make it big one in 2020). This Christmas was bit fun for me but I wish that 2020 would be a great year for you Nancy. Happy New Year!!!!

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    60. David C. said on January 2, 2020 at 7:37 am

      This will scare the bejesus out of you. I’ve never had anyone close to me with dementia and I’m not a neuropsychologist, so I just figured he was an asshole. It looks like he’s a demented asshole and those around him know it. As it says near the end. He has the launch codes.

      https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/1/2/1908694/-It-s-degenerative-dementia-as-well-as-malignant-narcissism-And-the-public-tipping-point-is-coming?utm_campaign=trending

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    61. JodiP said on January 2, 2020 at 9:10 am

      Happy New Year, everyone. My word: engage. (in community activism to create a better future.) And so: I began a conversation with a young black man on the train this morning and let him know when the next NAACP meeting is going to be.

      We had a last-minute invite to an ideal party: a five-minute walk away with other like-minded folks who are also hilarious as hell. But, I did a spin/cycling class and was physically worn out. I made dinner (cacio and pepe + salad), and we watched a new favorite (old) show, Britain’s Best Bakery. It was the precursor to the Great British Baking Show. It is really fun as the bakeries are from all over GB so you get to know a bit about each region and its specialty foods.

      My wife had made an amazing vanilla and reaspberry swirl cheesecake which we shared with friends yesterday after going out to lunch. We spent 4 hours together; they only went home to feed one of their cats who has special needs.

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    62. Julie Robinson said on January 2, 2020 at 10:54 am

      Mmm, that cheesecake sounds amazing.

      The last day of the year was a particularly good one for us, as we closed on our house in Fort Wayne, long distance since we are here in Orlando. Now from frying pan to fire, we’re going to add a couple of bedrooms and bath to this house. We had discussed it before with an architect friend, and this trip proved how much we need more space.

      He’s drawn up plans and we love them. Now to find a contractor. They’re scarce as hen’s teeth around here, and the one we used before has retired. First world problems, right?

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    63. Heather said on January 2, 2020 at 12:33 pm

      Happy New Year, everyone! I began 2020 by figuring out I have a white mold problem in my bedroom. (Not on walls or furniture but growing on some clothes–probably due to lack of light/ventilation.) Hmm, maybe that’s why asthma seems worse in winter, durr.

      I planned to stay home for NYE but a friend invited me over for some apps and bubbly. I rode my bike there in 25-degree temps–first time I’ve ever ridden on NYE, I think. It wasn’t too bad–maybe I’ll have to rethink my 35-degree cutoff. I only stayed for about an hour and a half, came home and rang in 2020 with my cat. I had two brunches on New Year’s Day so I think I was sufficiently social.

      This year I’m looking forward to growing my freelance writing business. Currently compiling a list of LinkedIn contacts to reach out to. I’m simultaneously terrified and excited.

      I am also going to try to remember that no matter what happens, there are more kind and compassionate people in the world than those who are cruel and evil–even when more of the latter are in charge. We’ll get through it together.

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    64. beb said on January 2, 2020 at 2:18 pm

      Heather’s comment about the kindness of strangers reminded me of an article i read recently. It spins off of a number of research studies about the domestication of animals. Breeding wolves for less aggressiveness tends to bring out a number of dog-like features, like floppy ears. The article I read said that some features of human anatomy also show that kind of modification, suggesting that humans, too, have breed themselves to be less belligerent. We’re not as far along in our breeding as dogs as, but it does suggest that there is hope for humanity.

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    65. Deborah said on January 2, 2020 at 4:27 pm

      We’re at LAX, it’s not nearly as crazy as I expected. They’ve streamlined TSA in this terminal, and we have TSA pre, so it was a breeze. My flight to Albuquerque isn’t for another 2 1/2 hours and my husband’s to Chicago is 15 minutes before mine.

      Heather, your comment makes me hopeful about humanity.

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    66. Dorothy said on January 2, 2020 at 8:11 pm

      Happy birthday Little Bird!

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    67. Deborah said on January 2, 2020 at 9:27 pm

      I’m back in NM, at the airport in Albuquerque waiting for the shuttle to Santa Fe.

      December was a crazy travel month for us. We left Dec 2nd for France, returned to Chicago on the 19th. Then 9 days in CA, starting on Dec 24th. I’ll be glad to be in one place for a while.

      It’s colder in Albuquerque right now than Chicago, and even colder in Santa Fe. It snowed in Santa Fe today too.

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    68. lisa said on January 2, 2020 at 9:33 pm

      Here in Ohio, we had damn near tornado strength straight line winds on Monday that took out the electricity for a day. Telephone poles down all over the place along with trees. It always surprises me how much losing the electricity affects all a person has to get done. I didn’t get a thing completed that day. The worst was how cold the house got and our two beagles didn’t like that at all.

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    69. Deborah said on January 2, 2020 at 9:35 pm

      Just checked online news after my flight, are we headed into war with Iran?

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