Waiting for the next chapter.

Driving crosstown after an Eastern Market stop on Saturday. I had just had my hair cut, so I was feeling the blowout and the sunshine and everything else. Stopped at a light. There was a young man holding something…a sign? No, a painting. Median-strip hustling is pretty common here, but I couldn’t figure what he was selling.

He walked past my car. I rolled down the window.

“Are you selling that painting?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

It wasn’t great, but a long way from terrible, sort of Thomas Hart Benton with about 20 percent of the technique, but he had the eye. A man playing an undulating keyboard with a woman hovering nearby, kind of like Lauren Bacall and Harry Truman in that photo, but more abstract.

“How much?”

“Two hundred dollars,” he replied.

“Sorry, I don’t have that much cash, but I wish you luck. Keep at it,” I said. The light still hadn’t changed.

“I always need money for art supplies,” he said. “A dollar would help.”

Reader, I gave him five. It was a perfect October day, after all, and of all the things I’ve been asked to help finance at stoplights, art supplies was a first. Points for originality.

The rest of the day, I played. Picked up a friend and we speculated on the work we’d have to do if the president croaked overnight.

“It’s going to be a 4 a.m. call, I just know it,” he said. “And I’ll have to write the obit.”

So we drafted a lead there at the table, in a heated restaurant tent with flow-through ventilation, built out onto the road, because of the pandemic that is still with us, because of the incompetence and failed leadership of the man whose death – from the same disease – we were anticipating. It was sort of meta. I went first:

“The improbable presidency of Donald Trump, a failed businessman who played a successful one on television, ended in reality-TV fashion early Sunday morning, as the 45th president succumbed to a disease he spent most of the year downplaying. He was 74.”

(I don’t know why obits always have the age as the second sentence. Probably because like I just did, writers try to cram everything in the first sentence.)

We went back and forth like that for a while, but I told him no way would that p.o.s. die overnight. He needs to survive to see an overwhelming election loss, then go to prison, then die of something like flesh-eating bacteria. As he has so much flesh to eat, it would take some time.

I believe we also discussed my idea for a new children’s TV show. My friend does a lot of dog sitting for a beautiful collie, whose coat is mostly black. His owner said when she walks him in Detroit, often people will see him and say, as they pass: “Hey, it’s black Lassie.” I said we need a new version of “Lassie,” set in the city instead of the country. “Black Lassie” would protect children from street dangers, not falling down wells or getting swept into fast-moving streams. Timmy, needless to say, would be black or brown (and not named Timmy).

This weekend I learned this dog lives with an all-white cat that sometimes climbs on top of him and naps in his abundant coat. SIDEKICK, I hollered. Black Lassie and his cat friend would talk to one another in their secret language and use their keen senses and animal skills to gather intelligence.

I feel very strongly this has potential. Look at these two movie stars and tell me I’m wrong:

That was Saturday. Sunday was rainy and gray, but I got my fall clothes rotated into the main closet and I tried to be ruthless in culling the summer stuff. I have no idea what I’ll be wearing this fall; I saw non-athleisure bottoms referred to as “hard pants” the other day. I’m on a crusade to lose the few pandemic pounds I gained, with all the tiresome stuff that goes with it — My Fitness Pal, mindful eating, blah blah blah. When I lose these six pounds, I’m going back into hard pants. I can’t live my life in quasi-pajamas. They’re comfy, but not conducive to my work style. Goddamn this stupid fucking president and his incompetent administration, anyway.

On Friday, the state Supreme Court overturned the governor’s emergency authority, and the GOP Senate leader stepped up to say no more mask mandates statewide, and that we’d just “have to learn to live with” this disease. Local entities – counties, cities – could do what they want, but no more of this top-down shit. Wonderful. A state version of Jared Kushner’s national strategy. Which has worked so well. Because no one travels between states, or within states. I can tell you this right now: I will not shop in, or otherwise patronize any business that doesn’t require masks, and enforce it. I want to wear hard pants again, and before 2025 or so.

This stupid country, I swear.

OK, time to put this to bed. Tomorrow is Monday and I hope I can start it off right.

Posted at 9:50 pm in Current events, Detroit life |

57 responses to “Waiting for the next chapter.”

  1. LAMary said on October 4, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    The funding for the jobs I’m filling goes to July. Will they still need all these case investigators, contact tracers and community health workers then? Will they need me? I’m hoping they like me enough to keep me when the plague is over. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d type. The insistence on incompetence in the current group of awful people running things in this country will provide me with an income for a while but I hope so hard that their time will be up in January.

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  2. Dexter Friend said on October 4, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    The question arose as a topic , fodder for a satellite radio team/staff, socially distanced in Brooklyn and Queens and upper Manhattan: Since the Black Panther movie was rated as a success to some degree, who will be the next actor to shoulder the mantle? Why, now it’s a cinch: Black Lassie. In the Timmy role, just select a charming kid from a casting call. Black Lassie will be a star for the ages. Whoopie Goldberg will be Grandma June.
    And…the Lions lost.

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  3. Deborah said on October 5, 2020 at 4:04 am

    Good post Nancy.

    What is the name of Black Lassie’s side kick?

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  4. ROGirl said on October 5, 2020 at 5:47 am

    Princess Snowball comes to mind for Black Lassie’s kitty sidekick.

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  5. Suzanne said on October 5, 2020 at 8:25 am

    Speaking of COVID-19, if my weekend was any indication, we are in for a long winter in the Hoosier state.
    We attended an event on Sat evening, an induction into a high school athletic hall of fame of a relative. It was held at the Parkview Field Event Center, not a large space. When entering, we were asked to sign a waiver and choose a wrist band that let others know our level of comfort with social distancing; green (don’t need no stinking distancing), yellow (oh, I don’t really care), or red (please stay away). It looked like the majority of people chose green. We chose red but the thing is that there was no where to go to get away so what was the point? We were assigned a table which held 8 people so the chairs were not 6 feet apart. We wore masks. I am not sure masks were required for entry as most had masks somewhere near their faces, but maybe only half or less were being worn properly. There was a buffet which had no social distancing markings and most people were not staying back from those in front of them, although it was not self serve but staff filled your plate and handed it to you.
    We got some food, shoveled it in, and put our masks back on. We were by far, and I mean by far, in the minority. After eating, The vast majority of masks disappeared from sight and never returned. When the awards were presented, pretty much not a mask in sight. Several of the inductees & presenters were well into their 70s or 80s. We left as soon as we could gracefully do so.
    I was incensed by the whole thing and had I known it would be like it was, we would have stayed home. Talk about a superspreader event.

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  6. Mark P said on October 5, 2020 at 9:03 am

    I read something on LanguageLog that was encouraging and made my day. That’s irony, by the way, in the classical sense. Someone tweeted that they were concerned that 2021 would make them miss 2020.

    It does not bear thinking about.

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  7. jcburns said on October 5, 2020 at 9:39 am

    ‘Chose a wristband that indicated the level of comfort with social distancing.’ Yeeeee-gads. Because at this moment in the 21st century, it’s what we’re comfortable with that trumps what’s best for society at large. I swear, somewhere in the 80s, the section of civics/ethics textbooks on shared responsibility was ripped out and trashed.

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  8. susan said on October 5, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Mark P @6…oh oy, and I just bought this shirt. Guess they will need to design one for 2021 with the pinky finger up.

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  9. Jenine said on October 5, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Good wishes for the return to hard pants. I’m still wearing them most days M-F because they get me into the mindset for WFH. I noticed in May during a Yahtzee game that my bingo wings were wiggling a lot when I shook the dice. I can’t bear to count calories so it was going to have to be exercise. I have since learned how to do proper pushups and I hate them every single time. But my arms look good.

    I thought last Sunday when the taxes news came out that we had entered a new crazy monkey house level of news. But I had no idea.

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  10. nancy said on October 5, 2020 at 10:28 am

    The cat’s real-life name is Merlin, which I like for sidekick purposes. It suggests cat magic and cat brains at work in their adventures, while Black Lassie provides the muscle and aggression. Merlin slinks into rooms, overhears useful information, and conveys it to Black Lassie.

    But I could live with Whiteboy or Princess Snowball, if need be.

    That wristband story is horrifying. That Parkview, a hospital, has its name attached to that facility is even more so.

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  11. Jeff Borden said on October 5, 2020 at 11:12 am

    How’d you like to be the Secret Service agents dragooned into protecting the Orange King while he waved to his subjects from the backseat of a bullet-proof, hermetically-sealed SUV? A Walter Reed doctor went ballistic and compared the interior of the vehicle to a petri dish. These agents are prepared to take a bullet for the president, but it must sting to have your health compromised for a cheesy banana republic-style stunt by a man unworthy of their regard.

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 5, 2020 at 11:14 am

    I’m on one of my Indianapolis loops (2-3 nights every 8-10 days) and am surprised as we go about my father-in-law’s business that Fishers & Castleton & downtown Indy are WAY more unmasked than exurban/rural Ohio. Did not expect that. My corner of Ohio is Trump banners & signs everywhere you look, but for all the social media rhetoric, most people are phlegmatically putting ’em on and wearing them around retail and out and around.

    The only exception was my wife and I gave ourselves a break to go over to Newfields (the art museum & grounds) for some walking around, and the stroller set was out in force, and fully masked. But elsewhere it’s the clerks and cashiers in masks, and the customers are maybe half . . .

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  13. Jason T. said on October 5, 2020 at 11:21 am

    Pennsylvania’s General Assembly has attempted several times to strip the governor of his power to enact rules during the pandemic — in one case, they passed a bill that (among other things) would have allowed local school boards to decide whether to have spectators at high school football games.


    1. that should obviously be our top priority during a global pandemic, and

    2. The Lower Bumpass Area School Board is obviously better prepared to make informed public health decisions than, say, doctors.

    Did I mention we have more than 500 school boards in Pennsylvania? Plus charter school boards? All of whom could have been setting their own policies? Fun!

    The gov vetoed that one and they didn’t have the votes to override him.

    But the Republican county commissioners of several counties sued the state in federal court and got a Trump-appointed federal district judge to block the state’s rules, citing a precedent from 1901. So everyone’s confused about what’s required and what isn’t as it winds its way through the appellate courts.

    “This stupid country,” indeed.

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  14. Suzanne said on October 5, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Just heard that press secretary/fashionista/professional liar Kayleigh McEnany also has COVID.
    Funny how the word Schadenfreude keeps popping into my head.

    Also, has anyone else read up on what Kimberly Guilfoyle is accused of? Ick. Double ick.
    She wasn’t kidding when she claimed the best is yet to come. It just gets better and better every day.
    Melania must be pleased, though, as she can claim she’s too ill to mess with F***ing Christmas this year.

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  15. Jakash said on October 5, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Kinda surprised you attended that event, Suzanne. I don’t know how close the relative was, but if the inductee was myself, that wouldn’t have been a close enough relation to get me to attend something like that. My fallback position at this point is that I’m prepared to bail on pretty much any situation, at any time, if I don’t like the looks of it.

    Your arms may look good, Jenine, but I wouldn’t let that keep me from saying “bingo wings” whenever possible. Not familiar with that term, but I love it! 😉 Truth be told, “bingo” is a swell word, to begin with, but adding in the rhyming wings puts it over the top.

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  16. Scout said on October 5, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    I fucking love Twitter.

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  17. Deborah said on October 5, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    I may have mentioned this here before but my husband has been reading Greek tragedies lately. Every time something happens in the news, which is always these days, my husband relates a story to me and how much it resembles what’s happening now with the Trumps and their ilk. These stories go on for hours and they’re fascinating but creepy how similar they are to our reality now. Just an example is Kimberly Guilfoyle as a modern day Clytemnestra, my husband is obsessed with that story.

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  18. Suzanne said on October 5, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Jakash, I am surprised we stayed, too, in retrospect, but we were there for my father-in-law, so felt like we had to attend.

    I can’t get what I read about Kimberly Guilfoyle out of my head. I keep trying but it won’t go away.

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  19. LAMary said on October 5, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    Supposedly Kim got the boot by Governor Newsom because she was screwing his campaign manager (and a few other people). Newsom is very much a Democrat, so Kim swings whichever way provides her with employment.

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  20. Jeff Borden said on October 5, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    Well, if Judge Handmaiden is seated, it’s likely women won’t be the only ones to see their hard won rights discarded. Fucking Clarence Thomas is out bashing the SCOTUS decision that allowed for same sex marriage because of its impact on deeply held religious beliefs that gay people are icky and should be shunned if not stoned in the public square.

    I fucking hate these people.


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  21. Sherri said on October 5, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    I’ve been thinking over the past week or so about how they say the death knell of a marriage is contempt, that a marriage can survive almost anything else but when the partners express contempt for each other, it’s over.

    Is the same true of a country?

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  22. Sherri said on October 5, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a bad person. After his tweet today announcing he’s leaving the hospital and that COVID shouldn’t dominate your life, I want him to suffer. I want him to gasp for every breath, and watch on TV as everybody in his live throws him under the bus. I want him to lose control of every thing, and have no dignity left. I want everybody to run away from him, and leave him to die alone, like so many have done in this pandemic.

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  23. Mark P said on October 5, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    “He’s back!”

    I’m torn. Did Trump ever have Covid-19, or has his doctor just drunk the coolaid? Who has recovered from C-19 in under a week? There is a strong stench of bullshit surrounding this whole episode.

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  24. Suzanne said on October 5, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    I remain very skeptical that he ever had COVID. Nothing more than a publicity stunt to make him look tough and manly.

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  25. Sherri said on October 5, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    I think he has it, is hopped up on dexamethasone, and there’s nobody around who ever says no to him.

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  26. LAMary said on October 5, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    We absolutely know that his doctor is a willing liar so anything could be true. Or false.

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  27. Sherri said on October 5, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    I mean, his doctor Is being contradictory when he says that trump hasn’t been on fever-reducing meds for 72 hours, since he also told us that trump is on dexamethasone, *which reduces fevers*.

    We’re also told,that trump takes a daily aspirin, though we haven’t been told what the dose is, whether it’s a baby aspirin or full dose. If he did have a stroke or heart event, as has been rumored, when he made that secret trip to Walter Reed earlier, he would likely be on a higher dose.

    Another reminder: this time four years ago, he was mocking Hillary for having pneumonia.

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  28. Dorothy said on October 5, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    I firmly believe he has it, but of course he’s lucky as hell to have access to excellent care and (?) experimental therapies. The storyline that keeps running through my head is that he did not take a Covid test on purpose before the debate, with the idea in the back of his mind that if he had it, he’d pass it on to Biden. Maybe I’ve seen too many movies but I just can’t get away from the idea that he would willingly do something like that. WHY are they not revealing the date/time of his last negative test? It is very suspicious and it would take a lot of convincing evidence to talk me out of that theory.

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  29. Mark P said on October 5, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    The problem is that you simply cannot believe *anything* anyone even vaguely associated with him says. Nothing and no one. And the media simply repeat what they all say. So we know essentially nothing about Trump’s condition, good or bad. We’re reading tea leaves here.

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  30. Sherri said on October 5, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    I think it’s entirely possible that he was never (or rarely) tested until he started showing symptoms. Do you really believe that toddler was tolerating a swab stuck up his nose every day or even every couple of days? I suspect that everybody around him was being tested, and he wasn’t.

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  31. Suzanne said on October 5, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    A mummy is opened and Twitter responds with pure gold!

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  32. Julie Robinson said on October 5, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    Suzanne, you’re a very nice daughter in law to have gone in the first place. I didn’t go to my own husband’s retirement party, and was none too happy about the exposure he got that afternoon.

    Jefftmmo, you have to remember that Fishers, Castleton, and Caramel were early tea party adopters. They stripped the money out of Indiana public schools by getting the legislature to pass real estate tax caps. The caps only affected the wealthy, leaving the rest of us poor schlubs to make up the difference, as per usual.

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  33. Mark P said on October 5, 2020 at 6:13 pm

    “Don’t be afraid of Covid.”

    Trump getting Covid-19 and not having severe symptoms is the worst possible thing that could have happened.

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  34. Dorothy said on October 5, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    No the absolute worst will be if he’s re-elected.

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  35. Deborah said on October 5, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    I’ve been spending a lot of my time today trying to stay busy doing laundry, cleaning out cabinets etc to stay away from the news. Mainly what I’ve gathered since I came back is that Trump is losing royally and he is desperate. This may be the only suffering we see him endure until the election is finally decided. But he will lose bigly.

    Sherri, one of my favorite movies is “Contempt”, directed by Goddard, starring Bridget Bardot and Jack Palance about the dissolution of a marriage that takes place in Italy. Palance plays a movie director, not the husband, can’t remember the name of the actor who plays the husband. I think I’ve seen the movie 30 times, could see it 30 more. I highly recommend it.

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  36. Sherri said on October 5, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    A year ago, I don’t think Dahlia Lithwick would have written this. I heard her interview someone advocating expanding the court a while back, and it was clear that she was uncomfortable with the idea.


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  37. St Bitch said on October 5, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    All hail our SuperSpreader-GuineaPig-in-Chief.

    Regarding national security concerns…I was actually feeling safer while he was hospitalized. Now the suicide bomber is back inside the White House, and it doesn’t look like they’re evacuating.

    A group of vultures in flight is called a “kettle”, while a gathering of vultures feeding on carrion is called a “wake”. How befitting that the wake of predators in the Rose Garden, feeding on the flesh of RBG’s legacy (may she rest in Power), infected each other with their gluttony and hubris.

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  38. LAMary said on October 5, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    Fun videos.


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  39. susan said on October 5, 2020 at 11:02 pm

    some perspective:

    Herman Cain/coronavirus timeline:

    6/24: Attends Trump Tulsa rally, maskless
    7/2: Tests positive for Covid-19
    7/10: Says he’s improving
    7/15: Says his doctors seem happy
    7/27: Says he’s really getting better
    7/30: Dies

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  40. Dave Kobiela said on October 5, 2020 at 11:15 pm

    I was not 100% convinced that Trump really had the Covid. Almost too perfect a setup for him. Take focus off debate, taxes, debt, Melania F-ing Christmas. Emerge from Walter Reed as superman, having shown the “China Virus” who’s the boss.
    Then I watched the video of Trump pulling off his mask and standing on the White House balcony. I asked my daughter, a recently retired US Army Nurse (LT COL, PhD) if she had seen the clip. Her reply? “Yeah, no, he’s not good. I’ve seen that breathing pattern a hundred times before. Right before I put oxygen on someone”.

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  41. Jakash said on October 6, 2020 at 12:36 am

    From Sherri’s link @ 36: “Because court expansion remains relatively unpopular among the American public, a cautious approach makes sense in this political moment.”

    Could we possibly focus on winning the White House and as many House and Senate seats as possible, rather than hypothesizing about 13 Supreme Court justices at this point?

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  42. Dexter Friend said on October 6, 2020 at 3:38 am

    The one day Trump wished he would have served a little bit in the armed services: https://tinyurl.com/y4cssanv

    Yeah, he left Marine 1 , entered the White House, had orange makeup applied hurriedly, and came out, the TV lights came on, and Trump saluted himself.

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  43. alex said on October 6, 2020 at 6:43 am

    Cheers to St. Bitch! And to Susan for the Herman Cain timeline, which (if it tolls roughly the same) suggests that Trump will be roadkill on election day. At least he won’t have to die of humiliation.

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  44. Suzanne said on October 6, 2020 at 7:54 am

    Thank you Ms LuPone!


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  45. Mark P said on October 6, 2020 at 8:46 am

    Former CIA Director John Brennan was commenting of Trump and C19 on the Today Show this morning. He said he wanted two healthy candidates for the election, so he could was pleased with Trump’s apparent recovery. He said he was concerned with possible side effects of the medication he’s taking because “the last few thing we need is for Donald Trump to be more confused, more impulsive, more aggressive.”

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  46. Sherri said on October 6, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Jakash, there’s not time to do one thing at a time. We don’t change popular opinion by not talking about it.

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  47. Deborah said on October 6, 2020 at 10:03 am

    I forgot to mention this: when my husband came back from Uncle J’s Sunday, he said he was surprised that there were hardly any Trump signs in and around the town where Uncle J lives and there were LOTS of Biden signs. This is one of the most Republican small cities in Illinois, 2 hours north of Chicago very close to the Wisconsin border. Four years ago it was the reverse. When we were driving through the Midwest returning to Chicago from NM, we saw some makeshift homemade Trump signs along the highway, not a lot, but the ones we saw were very large and ostentatious. We didn’t see many Biden signs but then we were not in residential areas. Each voter only gets one vote obviously, no matter how loudly or enthusiastically you mark your ballot.

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  48. Julie Robinson said on October 6, 2020 at 10:19 am

    In Rockford? That really surprises me. Over the last 15 years Rockford was having a lot of racial unrest and a lot of violence in general, because there are a lot of racist people living there. When I was growing up we went there a lot, and it was a strong city economically, with great shopping, all our medical specialists, and several strong theatre programs. As the economy soured it brought out the worst in too many. If it’s changing, I’m happy.

    So how is Uncle J?

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  49. LAMary said on October 6, 2020 at 10:53 am

    Way off topic. There’s a proposition on the ballot here that requires more oversight of dialysis centers. Prop 23. One of the ads for it has a woman who says she was in the music scene for years and has stories she can’t tell. She says vote no on 23. First time I saw I thought it was Janet Planet. I was up too early for anything reasonable this morning so I looked it up. No confirmation from the no on 23 people but it sure looks like Janet Planet. Do I care? Not really. The ad identifies her as Janet from Mission Hills. Mission Hills is a working class, heat sink in summer part of LA. Janet, jeez. You used to hang with Van Morrison.

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  50. Sherri said on October 6, 2020 at 11:14 am

    Mandy Patinkin and his wife do an ad.


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  51. JodiP said on October 6, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Sherri, thank you! That was awesome.

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  52. Mark P said on October 6, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Another quote from the news. A doctor talking about Trump’s tweet on how he feels better than he has in 20 years. The doctor said he chuckled when he read the tweet. He said it was “classic steroid euphoria.”

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  53. Sherri said on October 6, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    Several of the Joint Chiefs have to isolate as they’ve been exposed, thanks to the White House becoming a C19 hot spot.

    But we shouldn’t let it dominate our lives.

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  54. Suzanne said on October 6, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Joint Chiefs of Staff in quarantine and if you want to understand why Trump stays in power, let me tell you what I was asked today by a woman I know who is a very successful local businesswoman.
    She asked me, “What are the Joint Chiefs of Staff? Is this a big deal?”

    Ignorance is rampant in Middle America.

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  55. ROGirl said on October 6, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    Even Putin must be saying,”What a fucking asshole.”

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  56. Deborah said on October 6, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    Julie, they’ve got uncle J’s pain management squared away and he seems resigned to having to stay in bed so he isn’t trying to crawl out anymore. They were able to have him spend a little time in a wheelchair, so they can take him outside for a bit, that seems to be helping him. He’s very weak and frail though, doesn’t eat much, they will probably have to hook him up to some equipment if they haven’t already to get some nourishment in him. He likes to eat chocolate ice cream still, always has.

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  57. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 6, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    Julie, thanks for the info on Fishers and surrounding; outside of one house which I know right down to the bolts on the commodes, I know almost nothing about the area other than how to get to the various stores. Useful to learn.

    The (non-cable) TV was running endless negative ads for the local house seat; the Dem used to work with a friend of mine, but I’ll not get my father-in-law to vote for her. I’m just put off by the fact that all the ads I saw were anti-the-other, and so much negative ad traffic, save one for Christina Hale speaking for herself about her intentions. Almost enough to make me shift my . . . nah, voting in Ohio. Our polling is STILL running 47-47%. In this county (I’m back home now) it must be 74% Trump by the flags and signage.

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