Preview of coming attractions.

Wednesday was the warmest day of the year so far. I think the temperature passed 50 degrees. I’d already arranged to peel off work for half the afternoon, to go to the Detroit Institute of Arts. To limit capacity, you have to make an appointment to visit, and the weekends are booked through the middle of March, so we did a weekday. There was a photography exhibit I wanted to see, and the usual — it’s a pretty great museum. But this being Detroit, of course there was a car thing.

Truth be told, it was just meh, a few concept cars from past auto shows with no unifying theme other than Detroit design. However, I did find the Buick interesting, because it appears to have a cloaca:

Look it up.

Afterward we had one beer in a tent outside a brewhouse before the sun went behind a cloud, the temperature dropped by five degrees and our brief hint of spring became less pleasant. Came home and ordered carryout.

But man, it was nice to get out of the house and go somewhere other than food shopping.

And now, at week’s end, I feel a bit tapped out. There are some good links to follow in the comments from yesterday, and I recommend them, but if you’re tapped out, too? Join the club. Have a good weekend, all.

Posted at 9:37 pm in Same ol' same ol' |

75 responses to “Preview of coming attractions.”

  1. Dexter Friend said on February 26, 2021 at 2:51 am

    More than a cloaca it looks like an old Studebaker that lost its pointy front end ornament.

    The damn non-partisan Senate Parliamentarian declared there can be no $15 per hour part attached to the $1.9T recovery bill. Nancy Pelosi is going to bring it up as a stand alone bill in the morning. Republicans want nobody to make $15 per hour. They always hate to see the workers get a small break, the heartless azholes.
    And the Equality Act saw the hate from Marjorie Taylor Greene and her anti-gay/transgender sign , posted in the hallway. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-NY, a married gay man, spoke eloquently about the repugg points of hatred. And…I can’t find the segment.

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  2. Deborah said on February 26, 2021 at 7:04 am

    Maloney is good, I remember when he questioned Sondland (spelling?) during the pre first impeachment.

    I made the best pasta Bolognese I’ve ever made last night celebrating our fifth year after closing on our Chicago place. I ate too much and then had weird dreams. We toasted during cocktail hour with martinis and then had a good bottle of wine with dinner, too much. But it was good.

    For our 18 years in Chicago celebration I’m just going to make a delicious salad. I signed up for a substack newsletter called Department of Salad good stuff.

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  3. Beobachter said on February 26, 2021 at 7:12 am

    Here’s what I found:

    Harley Earl (third most significant Michigan artist of the 20th century) put 45K (*1000 miles, not km) on it.

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  4. alex said on February 26, 2021 at 7:18 am

    Chevrolet made the Corvette for men with tiny dicks. Buick made the Le Sabre for guys with constricted assholes. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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  5. ROGirl said on February 26, 2021 at 8:51 am

    I always thought Buicks were for old farts. Agree on the vette.

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  6. basset said on February 26, 2021 at 9:16 am

    Old men and Chinese… Buick’s strength in China was a big factor in keeping the brand alive when GM was killing em off a few years ago.

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  7. JodiP said on February 26, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Crap news: received an email late yesterday saying our group didn’t make the cut for the vaccines. I think my staff were a bit hesitent to believe it was really gonna happen “unit the needle’s in my arm” as one person said. I was ticked for a bit becasue it seems pretty straightforward to count doses and staff….but I should be vaccinated by August either by my healthcare system or the state system that I signed up for. It was great to feel real joy for 8 hours.

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  8. Jeff Borden said on February 26, 2021 at 9:31 am

    Some old axioms are correct i.e., the early bird gets the worm. We arose at 6 a.m. today, started the coffee and hit the laptops. And — success! I have an appointment at my neighborhood Walgreens store. In the time it took for me to fill in a few bits of info, all 20 appointments were gone. Johanna’s health care providers were proactive and she’s set to get her first dose at Swedish Covenant tomorrow.

    I don’t think I’ll believe this until that damned needle is in my arm.

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  9. Deborah said on February 26, 2021 at 9:47 am

    Jeff, how does one go about getting an appointment at Walgreens?

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  10. Deborah said on February 26, 2021 at 10:10 am

    I Googled Walgreens Covid vaccines and got to a Walgreens site where I put in my zip code and it said no vaccine appointments were available within 25 miles. So I guess I’ll try again early tomorrow morning.

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  11. Dorothy said on February 26, 2021 at 10:21 am

    If 6 AM is the usual starting time to gain access to scheduling possibilities, I should do well when they open it to 60+ folks. My husband’s alarm goes off at 4:45 M-F. And sometimes Saturday if he forgot to turn it off correctly on Friday morning! Seriously I’m usually awake by 5:30 or so. Even on weekends. Been that way for quite some time. I hope in retirement I can do some kind of shifting and coax that time up to 6 or 6:15 at least.

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  12. basset said on February 26, 2021 at 10:44 am

    Two of our neighbors scheduled vaxes at Kroger and when they got there were told none were left… had been giving em to walk ups first come first served.
    after some scratching around four more shots were found at that site and they got two.

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  13. LAMary said on February 26, 2021 at 10:56 am

    Four years of high school Latin and one episode of dissecting a frog in tenth grade biology so I know what cloaca means. It Latin it means sewer, so I’m assuming you mean the biology usage.

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  14. susan said on February 26, 2021 at 11:11 am

    ROGirl – Nash Ramblers were for old men, who wore pork-pie hats. They never drove over 40 mph. My family called them Sturdleys. (Don’t know where that came from, but it fit.)

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  15. David C said on February 26, 2021 at 11:17 am

    They’re supposed to be opening up the next group for vaccination on Monday. The descriptions on who’s next are a bit sketchy so I don’t know if I’ll be eligible or not. Walgreen’s here has open appointment times I’ll be up bright and early on Monday morning to see if I can schedule yet. They’re also supposed to have the state-wide sign-up site going Monday.

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  16. Mark P said on February 26, 2021 at 11:20 am

    Here’s my Corvette anecdote. I used to drive from my work in Huntsville Al to my home in Georgia every week. The last 20-30 miles was twisty, hilly two lanes, and I liked to drive that fairly fast. Once I came up behind a line of cars behind a tractor-trailer, including a Corvette. No one would pass. I started picking them off one-by-one until I passed the truck. So here I was in a diesel VW, passing a Corvette on a winding road, along with a bunch of other sissies who were afraid to pass.

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  17. Julie Robinson said on February 26, 2021 at 11:22 am

    Memory fails as to where I learned the meaning of cloaca, but I had no need to look it up. We are planning a trip to the much less impressive Fort Wayne Museum of Art next week; no appointments needed. Now Mom has her shots she wants to make up for a year staying home, and is very busily planning little trips here and there. It’s a good sign. Her mental health had really deteriorated in a big way, and now she’s looking forward again.

    Here’s a little tip for anyone who goes on a marketplace health plan and has a spouse who will be turning 65 and starting Medicare in the middle of the year. Make the person who will continue with marketplace the primary policy member, not the person who will be dropping off. We’ve just spent close to two hours online/on the phone getting this straightened out.

    Essentially, I had to reapply and fill out the application without Dennis. They refigured income and on and on and on and on. I am actually getting a different policy so all of that had to be done. Then we had to cancel his policy, cancel payment, blah, blah, blah.

    It took a little of the joy out of the day. Still, I’m very grateful to have coverage, and that as of March 1, Dennis is on Medicare!

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  18. LAMary said on February 26, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    I get my second shot tomorrow morning. Then I might just go nuts and go to Trader Joes. If the line is long (they only allow a certain number of shoppers at a time) I’ll bail. I love TJ’s but not enough to wait a long time in a line. As soon as my Medicare supplemental insurance card arrives I”m going to find an ophthamologist and get my damned cataract dealt with and then…I can drive! Yay!

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  19. Jeff Borden said on February 26, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    I don’t know what to tell you Deborah except to keep plugging away. It’s more luck than anything else.

    Since we’re snarking about cars and their owners:

    What’s the difference between a porcupine and a BMW?

    In a BMW, the pricks inside.

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  20. LAMary said on February 26, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    When I was teaching my sons how to drive I told them that they should assume all BMWs are being driven by jerks.

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  21. Suzanne said on February 26, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    Watching bits & pieces of what is going on at CPAC. The GOP is going all in with Trump, all in with the big lie, all in with the conspiracies. I am increasingly expecting a bomb to go off while Congress is in session. Half the Republicans in there are bat shit crazy and the other half has no balls and both will be fine if the place is burned to the ground.

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  22. Sherri said on February 26, 2021 at 3:09 pm

    On Planning Commission, we’re working on the major revision of the city Comprehensive Plan, looking out to 2050.

    We receive feedback from the community on a variety of topics, and consistently we hear that their top priority is affordable housing. Not surprising, given the cost of housing and a 3 to 1 jobs to housing ratio. But when you dig deeper, problems arise. People want more affordable housing, but they don’t want any trees to be cut down. They want affordable housing, but they don’t want *more* housing, because they think that brings more traffic and less parking. They want affordable housing, they just don’t want any building to happen.

    What they really want is a parking spot under a tree in front of wherever they want to go, anytime they want to go, with no one else on the road. But affordable housing is their top priority!

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  23. dull_old_man said on February 26, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    Northwestern Memorial has shots available on March 4 and 5. It’s been weeks since they had availability.

    I just got mine at Rush as part of a community outreach.

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  24. LAMary said on February 26, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    I read some of the CPAC stuff earlier and decided I shouldn’t do that mid day. I’ll wait until later when I’m done working and can enjoy a bit of CBD before I look at the hideous gold trump statue again.

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  25. David C said on February 26, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Somehow I think there’s a Franklin Mint gold former guy chess set in the works.

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  26. LAMary said on February 26, 2021 at 5:52 pm

    You could have the gold trump family and maybe the Obamas and Bidens as the other chess pieces. Classy.

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  27. David C said on February 26, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    When it’s clear to everyone the golds have lost the chessboard turns itself upside-down and screams how unfair the game was.

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  28. Dorothy said on February 26, 2021 at 7:14 pm

    I have a question that I’m guessing someone in this crowd will know the answer to. If you sell your home directly to another party, and didn’t have to list it with a realtor, I know you need to have a professional (a lawyer, right?) initiate all the paperwork to make sure everything is done correctly. But it saves you from having to pay the commission to a real estate agency. And of course the lawyer has fees. Have any of you ever done this? Are there big advantages to doing it this way, or would it be smarter to just list the house and pay for the realtor’s expertise?

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  29. Deggjr said on February 26, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    There’s a past version of the Porsche 911 with a cloaca. Someone at Porsche figured that out so more recent versions have a dual exhaust. I assume the Porsche 911 with the cloaca sells at a discount.

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  30. Deborah said on February 26, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    OMG thank you dull_old_man! I just got an appt at Northwestern Hospital at 8:45 am March 4, my husband too! Whoopie!

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  31. Deborah said on February 26, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Our appointments at Northwestern are about a block and a half from where we live. This couldn’t be better.

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  32. Deborah said on February 26, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    Dorothy, I don’t have experience selling that way but we have experience buying that way. We bought the condo in Santa Fe by owner, no agency was involved, only the lawyer of the seller. The sellers were very happy with that method. I don’t have specifics.

    That golden calf sculpture of the twice impeached former guy is puzzling. It seems to be a direct own on the right wing, not a win. It’s so obviously playing on their cluelessness. I wonder who the designers and fabricators were, they definitely had to be pulling the wool over the eyes of the supplicants. It just can’t be otherwise, can it?

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  33. BigHank53 said on February 26, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    If you’re worried about getting the maximum amount of money for your house, it’ll be better to list it with a realtor. But then you have staging and waiting and judging the offers and yes, 6% going into someone else’s pocket. A private sale works the same way as the more common sort, just without a realtor. Still need a home inspection and title search to satisfy the buyer’s mortgage lender. Any competent real estate attorney can handle the closing.

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  34. Mark zp said on February 26, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    A closing company can do it all for a home sale, at least in some places. That’s what I did when I sold my house in Alabama, and I’m pretty sure a friend does that regularly in New Mexico, or did.

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  35. Mark P said on February 26, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    I think I meant a title company. I sold my house without an agent, and did the closing at the title company. Actually, I wasn’t even there. I was in Ireland. I gave a coworker friend a power of attorney to do it for me.

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  36. Sherri said on February 26, 2021 at 11:55 pm

    When we sold our house in California, we sold it to our renters, so we never listed it, and we didn’t use an attorney, either. How the process works varies a lot from state to state; in California, attorneys are rarely used for home buying and selling. Nolo Press puts very helpful DIY legal forms and guides for California, and that’s what we used. We agreed on a title company that had offices both in California and in Washington, so we didn’t even travel down for closing. We each independently did our own market research and comps and came up with the same number for the value of the house, so negotiations were easy.

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  37. Kim said on February 27, 2021 at 8:53 am

    Dorothy – we sold our house without a Realtor’s help in a hot market. It helped that our house was on the corner, with a lot of looky-loos driving past on their hunt to find a house. I believe the buyers paid their agent a couple percent out of pocket for literally driving them around for a couple days until they saw our FSBO sign (typically that fee comes out of the sellers’ pocket). We made it clear we weren’t going to pay a buyer’s agent because we had multiple interested buyers and the hot market at our backs.

    We also bought the house we’re in without a Realtor. The logistics were easy, because of laws. But dealing with other people can be a real pain in the ass, which is where the Realtor can provide a nice buffer. Example: The 80-something sellers didn’t want to pay the daily rental fee, based on our quite reasonable mortgage, for the three weeks between when we closed and when their new construction house was ready. Why did they not want to pay? Because they hadn’t had a mortgage and didn’t think it fair to have to pay to live in “their” house. Meanwhile, we were paying substantially more to live in the house we’d just sold.

    My husband, who is a much nicer person than I, said screw it, it’s only money and they’ll be dead soon. This follows his general principle of “If you can solve a problem with money, you don’t have a problem.”

    It is a technically easy process to DIY, but depends on your appetite for potential drama. I’ve found real estate to be a wrecking ball among otherwise well-adjusted folks. Hope this helps.

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 27, 2021 at 9:01 am

    Sherri #21 — I’m confused. I didn’t know you lived in my town. You’re talking about where I live in Ohio, right?

    (We’re in the middle of another massive battle over the right of those who just got into the clubhouse to pull up the ladder behind them. Sorry, kids, it don’t work that way.)

    Speaking of interesting vehicle rear-ends, that reminds me of my childhood right here:

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  39. alex said on February 27, 2021 at 9:10 am

    Dorothy, I’ve bought property a couple of times without having realtors involved, and yes, all you really need is a lawyer. I wouldn’t have done it that way, however, if I hadn’t known I was getting a good deal. Most buyers want to see the comps and appraisals and inspection reports to make sure it’s a good value for the money and those are services you get when you list with a realtor. So you may find some buyer resistance unless you have an extraordinary property or you’re in an exceptionally good location.

    My first purchase was a condo in Chicago 30-some years ago. I had been renting it and the owner wanted to put it on the market and gave me first dibs. There were plenty of comps for sale in the 750-unit hi-rise building so I knew it was a good deal, and it happened that my condo was located in a rarely available tier with a mostly unobstructed southern view. I unloaded that place 15 years later for four times what I’d paid.

    The other such purchase was my current investment property. When the old lady next door to me died, her son, a fat cat who lived out of town and didn’t want to be bothered with disposing of it, offered it to me and kept dropping the price until it was simply too good to refuse. At the time, the real estate market was sluggish and the home’s value was trifling compared to the inheritance his mother had left him. (She had one asset portfolio worth $4 million as I discovered from some papers that had been left behind. No wonder he didn’t give a shit about the house or its contents.) My parents jumped in and helped me purchase the house for cash so that I could have it as an income generator in my retirement. Today it’s worth more than double what we paid and it’s in an area that is now in high demand.

    I’ve always been lucky at finding properties with good long-range prospects for appreciation. Location location location, as they say. Better to buy the shittiest house in the best location than the best house in a shitty one. You can always improve the house.

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  40. Deborah said on February 27, 2021 at 9:32 am

    We had a similar experience in Santa Fe, we rented the place for 8 years before we bought it. We thought we knew everything about it and the neighborhood. We asked the seller our former landlady to have the fireplace rebuilt before we agreed to buy it but that was the only thing. She had already replace a lot of the appliances. What we didn’t realize a year later we’d have to replace the toilet, the hot water heater wasn’t looking good but it worked when we bought the place but also had to be replaced a year later. We will be replacing all of the windows in the near future if the condo association can ever come to an agreement on which Windows we want, they all have to look the same but each unit owner will pay for their own. There is one problematic owner, she wants to cheap out on the Windows and everything, her place is unoccupied and has been that way for years. We want her to sell it. Autocorrect keeps capitalizing Windows and I’m too lazy to change it.

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  41. David C said on February 27, 2021 at 9:49 am

    When we sell our house, we’re going to try a for sale by owner. I’ve never received value from a real estate agent that I thought was worth what we paid. The appraisals from the agents are biased toward a quick sale for them. An independent appraisal costs about $350 around here. You can get listed on the MLS for $100 in most places. A real estate lawyer is about $400 around here. I don’t see that they do anything to justify a $12,000 commission. When we sell it will be because I’ve retired or I get approval to move back to Michigan and work remotely. Either way, we won’t be in a hurry so we can wait until we get the price we want. Our neighbors sold their house themselves. They eventually sold it through the buyer’s real estate agent but for only a 1% commission which seems more than fair compensation driving someone over and filling out a state mandated buyer’s agreement.

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  42. Julie Robinson said on February 27, 2021 at 10:06 am

    We’ve bought and sold both with an agent and without, and I think an attorney is good insurance. One time we got to closing and realized we both had misinterpreted the property taxes. The lawyer stepped in and worked it out.

    This last time I’m really glad we had a realtor because there were all kinds of issues, and she knew how to get them fixed and fast. I think a lot of it is your comfort level.

    Two covid deaths this week among friends have left me reeling. Neither was unexpected but I was hoping against hope. Damn.

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  43. Icarus said on February 27, 2021 at 10:45 am

    like many industries, Real Estate* needs an overhaul. Thanks to the internet, it is certainly easier to go with a realtor today than 20 or 30 years ago. That said, for every story about a successful FSBO there are probably two unsuccessful ones. Sellers tend to overestimate the worth of their house.

    Having a realtor as a buffer is beneficial. Make sure you get one that will show your home personally, not just provide a lockbox code to the other side. Some realtors still try to act as if they have listings you might not be aware of when all they are doing is setting up a search against the MLS database via a 3rd party middle tier.

    A lot of it comes down to your specific market. Here in Chicago, property in Lincoln Park is gonna be snapped up faster than one in Belmont-Craigin. By that I mean if you literally took a greystone from LP and moved it to BC, the price it commands will be at least 50% lower in Belmont-Craigin even if it has all the bells and whistles of a modern rehab.

    *My blog at ChicagoNow was originally about house hunting so I’ve talked to a plethora of realtors and have a few friends that are in the industry.

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  44. alex said on February 27, 2021 at 10:48 am

    Anyone have any experience buying a car through Carvana? They also claim to take trade-ins.

    We have a 2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP convertible, which is a sardine can of a vehicle for two tall middle-aged men, so we never use it. It’s also a rather undignified vehicle for anyone over 30 to be driving anyway, although it’s probably too fragile a vehicle for anyone under 30. All in all, just an impractical toy. We’d like to unload it.

    At the same time, we love driving a stick and the options are severely diminished at this point. We’d like to snag a Civic Si or an Accord Sport 2.0T, 2018-20 vintage, although those are few and far between. On it looks like we’d have to go to Detroit or Chicago to find one and it’s probably harder to negotiate with a dealer when you’re not on your own home turf.

    Other cars I could consider are the Subaru Crosstrek. Or a Toyota Tacoma pickup, which comes with manual, although we already have a full-size Toyota pickup and don’t really need a smaller one.

    VW offers plenty of cars with manual trans but I’m wary of the local dealership after it botched some work on a previous VW that I owned. Also, much as I loved the car, it was repair prone and expensive to repair. I’ve never had such issues with Honda or Toyota products and that’s why I’m more inclined to go back to those brands.

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  45. Sherri said on February 27, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    Jeff@37, exactly. Last week it was my flood plain mansplainer, who was an affordable housing proponent who doesn’t think we ought to build. This week, it’s all about trees, and people who scream bloody murder every time a tree is cut down.

    So now we’ve got a Tree Canopy Strategic Plan and a Housing Action Plan, and little recognition of how those two plans conflict. Which is where I am, reminding people that space is a limited resource, that adding requirements to development adds costs to development, and asking what is the purpose of the TCSP, which council didn’t specify when they passed it other than more trees good. It specified a target (increase from 38% tree canopy to 40%), but not *why*. Which makes it challenging to evaluate what changes in the zoning code are appropriate.

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  46. Dave said on February 27, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    We sold our first home ourselves, purely through happenstance. We’d had it listed on the market and taken it off after getting some dismal offers. We were held to a six month after delisting agreement that the real estate agent would get a commission if it sold. I think that was standard.

    We had gone to Florida in January to my mother-in-law’s home for a few weeks, our children were small and not in school. The afternoon we returned, we had just walked into the house and the phone started ringing. The folks on the other end had looked at our house and wanted to buy it, they said that was the first time they’d tried to call. We sold it to them, using a title company and they had a lawyer friend look at the contract. Nothing went wrong, thank goodness, I think today we’d have a real estate-savvy lawyer look at things but we were much younger and dumber then.

    I’d love to drive a stick again, just to do it and would especially like to drive a three speed on the column. Drove many of them in my youth, even had a 1967 Ford Galaxy for about a year with a three speed on the column. I called it my old man car, it’d been owned by, yep, an old man and was pretty standard.

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  47. Sherri said on February 27, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    The only three speed on the column vehicle I’ve driven was my dad’s old F150 when I was in college. It was a pain because it also didn’t have power steering, and I wasn’t the power lifter I am today, just a skinny college kid. I had to brace myself to make a turn.

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  48. LAMary said on February 27, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    Just got shot number two. Didn’t run into my oldest friend waving cars through the line this time and it looked like they were a little short of vaccinators, slowing things down a bit, but over all I have no complaints. I’m done.

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  49. Suzanne said on February 27, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    This is interesting. Indiana isn’t doing as well with vaccinations as I thought.

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  50. Deborah said on February 27, 2021 at 4:47 pm

    Illinois is pretty far down the list, but Indiana is even further down. I’m just glad I have an appointment for Thurs morning. Hopefully that wasn’t a glitch in the website. I keep checking it to see it it’s still there and so far it is.

    It was 50 degrees in Chicago this afternoon when we went out for a walk, lots of folks on the streets which makes me nervous now because of the virus. This will get better, right?

    I’ve just mixed up my third batch of no knead bread, hopefully when I bake it tomorrow morning in my Dutch oven it will turn out better than the first two. I’m doing something wrong because so far the bread comes out doughy, but it makes great toast.

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  51. Dave said on February 27, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    I think the Florida gov, Desantis, bragged about how great Florida was doing just yesterday at the gathering I refuse to name. Now, I can’t find that specific remark but he did say Florida is an, “Oasis of Freedom”, referring to masks and shutdowns.

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  52. basset said on February 27, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    Three on the tree… my first car had it, ‘63 Chevy II bought with paper route money. (Remember paper routes? I had two… delivered the Bloomington Herald-Telephone from one end of town to the other, and the Bloomfield Evening World on the way back.)

    Mercedes had a four on the tree for awhile, have never driven a Mercedes or as far as I can remember even sat in one, though.

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  53. Dave said on February 27, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    Saab had a four on the tree, I had a girlfriend whose parents had one.

    I don’t recall ever being in a Mercedes, either.

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  54. Deborah said on February 27, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    My Dad got a 62 Ford Falcon with the manual gear shift off of the steering column, is that what’s called “on the tree”? I had not heard that reference before. That’s what I learned to drive on and that’s the car my sister and I had through high school. I have never in all of my years driving had an automatic, always stick. Only in rental cars have I driven automatics and I’m always leery of them.

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  55. Julie Robinson said on February 27, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    Probably 35 years ago, a friend was trying to convince us to buy his ancient Mercedes. It was 15 or more years old and had almost no floorboards, but it caught eyes. Every place we went, people would comment that we must be moving up. We weren’t moving up, we were barely paying the bills, but that was the Mercedes perception. We bought a used Ford Escort instead.

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  56. Mark P said on February 28, 2021 at 12:03 am

    I had a very pretty Mercedes 300 CD, a 1986 or ‘87. It was a bluish silver turbo diesel coupe that I got used. It was a very nice car that was a pleasure to drive. But it had a lot of wind noise at highway speeds. It used vacuum lines to control everything, so when all those little valves and T’s and such began to leak, stuff didn’t work. A vacuum valve shut off fuel to the engine to stop. When that didn’t work, I had to lift the hood and press a lever to make the engine stop. Diesels in those days didn’t require an electrical system to work once the engine started. It was all mechanical. Anyway, I loved the way it looked and the way it drove, but it was going to nickel, dime, and hundreds-of-dollars me to death, so I sold it. I still prefer the looks of that vintage over the new ones, but that’s because I’m old.

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  57. basset said on February 28, 2021 at 9:15 am

    That’s right, Deborah. Back then it was either “three on the tree” or “four on the floor.”

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  58. Deborah said on February 28, 2021 at 10:07 am

    Suddenly there are lots of stories about fraudulent gaurdianships of elderly people. I watched the movie “I Care a Lot” with Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinkledge (who’s excellent in it, he can express so much in just the twitch of an eyebrow). The local Santa Fe newspaper, The New Mexican has a story about an elderly woman and her son who got conned and the NYT has a book review about women con artists. When my husband was the Power of Attorney for his uncle he learned about gaurdianships and how fraudulent they can be, he was nervous that the gold digging third wife was going to try to pull something like that. She made off with a lot of Uncle J’s money but she wasn’t able to squirrel him away in a nursing home where she could control everything.

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  59. susan said on February 28, 2021 at 11:17 am

    basset, my Subaru has six on a stick.

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  60. Icarus said on February 28, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    If this blog existed in 1963:

    man I miss the rotary dial phone. You had more control over the numbers you select. The pushbuttons are too close and you might misdial!

    I understand the nostalgia for manual transmission but automatic is light years better in this day and age.

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  61. basset said on February 28, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    and mine has infinity on a stick… CVT with no discrete gears.

    also has a big video game panel in the middle of the dash that everything runs from. been replaced once and reprogrammed twice in just over a year. this is a car I wish I had not bought, even when everything is working perfectly the user interface is confusing and too complicated.

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  62. susan said on February 28, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    Icarus @59 I understand the nostalgia for manual transmission but automatic is light years better in this day and age.

    Not as much fun to drive, though.

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  63. Deborah said on February 28, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    Partly agree Icarus, but if that’s all you know, your body tends to want to do the same thing whenever you drive. Every time I drive an automatic my foot keeps looking for the clutch. Just like wearing bifocals you eventually get used to it I suppose. Also cars with manual transmissions get better gas mileage, at least that’s been my impression.

    My third try at making no knead bread is out of the oven. I think it’s better than the last two, but my kitchen is once again coated with a thin layer of flour.

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  64. Mark P said on February 28, 2021 at 1:23 pm

    It used to be pretty uniformly true that manual transmissions got better mileage than automatics, but that is generally not the case today. That’s partly because the automatic can be programmed to maximize efficiency by choosing the right gear, while humans don’t usually do as good a job. I’m perfectly happy with an automatic, just like I’m happy with power brakes and steering and a computerized spark control. I think I will be happy eventually to give up the transmission altogether once we can afford a battery-electric car.

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  65. David C said on February 28, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    Yeah, Mark P. I wonder if there were old men who complained when centrifugal spark advance took over from manual. I know there probably was. I haven’t driven a manual transmission in about twenty years. I don’t miss it. I did do what you mentioned after I switched to automatics Deborah. I’d come up to a stop sign and “push down on the clutch”. Putting two feet on a wide brake pedal isn’t recommended. So many things in driving are habit. When we moved to Wisconsin I had a hard time with traffic lights. Not just that they call them stop and go lights but they’re positioned differently than in Michigan. It must have taken me the better part of a year to get used to it.

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  66. Jakash said on February 28, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    This pretty well expresses my attitude toward Mars-mania. It’s kind of sad for me, a guy who has a scrapbook of the Apollo 11 mission and was unmoved by the “let’s spend the billions right here to help people” folks at that time, to have arrived at this juncture these days, but there you have it.

    tl/dr: Mars is a hellhole. Bonus: screw Elon Musk.

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  67. Deborah said on February 28, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    I will have to get used to it and I probably will. But I really hope our next car is all electric if our current Jeep lasts that long. Jeep is coming out with a bunch of “electric” versions, I think mostly hybrids by 2024. It doesn’t have to be a Jeep but so far all of the SUVs that I’ve researched don’t meet our needs or they’re outrageously expensive. As I said, so far.

    I never got used to bifocals so I’m just a natural curmudgeon.

    Off topic, but this has been a beef of mine. Most pronounce antifa as an-TEE-fah. I think this makes it sound foreign and “other”, so it puts it into a shady connotation. Antifa means anti-fascist, shouldn’t everyone be anti-fascist? I pronounce it ANti-fah. But I’m in the minority on this, I realize.

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  68. Julie Robinson said on February 28, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    LOL, Icarus. Except it was more like 1983 before we had a touch tone phone. And yes, I did have to walk uphill both ways to school through snow.

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  69. Deborah said on February 28, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    One more thing about stories I’m reading online today: where were you when you realized the virus was going to be a catastrophe a year ago. I had been to a restaurant in mid-March with Heather and I realized how uncomfortable I was sitting near people, strangers. By that time we weren’t hugging and elbow bumps were beginning to be the way you greeted people. People weren’t really wearing masks yet. We were scheduled to fly to NM on March 22nd, but we canceled our flight and instead rented a car a few days earlier and drove down. We were still stopping for potty breaks at public restrooms then. We arrived on March 20th after stopping at a Walmart in Dodge City, KS to deliver groceries to LB in Santa Fe that she wasn’t able to purchase there. No flour, no TP, no bleach or disinfectants were available there. We had a cooler with us so we purchased ground beef and chicken and some other things so we were somewhat successful. Those were dark days people were dying in droves in NYC and many other places. Here we are a year later and half a million + deaths. It didn’t have to be this bad.

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  70. alex said on February 28, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    I don’t drive a manual for gas mileage. I do it for pleasure. It makes me feel engaged in the whole driving experience.

    It’s shirt sleeve weather today. Truly unbelievable.

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  71. David C said on February 28, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    Jackash @ 65. I’m sure it won’t surprise you that Shannon Stirone, the woman who wrote the Mars article is getting death threats from Electric Jesus’s followers.

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  72. Julie Robinson said on February 28, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    We were on vacation in Orlando when it started to get serious, and by the time when went home I was nervous about being on a plane. There were no changes at the airport or on the plane. That was March 10. We came home, stocked up on groceries, and started quarantining the next day.

    As Alex mentioned, it was glorious today and I really want to get out and garden. My fingers are itchy for the dirt.

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  73. Mark P said on February 28, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    Elon Musk is the reason I wouldn’t buy a Tesla even if I could afford it. He’s a prime jerk.

    And I’ll bet Musk won’t be among those poor, doomed people who he sends blasting off to die on Mars. The whole idea that he could terraform Mars is incredibly ignorant and stupid. It’s almost certainly impossible even on a geological time scale, absolutely impossible on a human time scale.

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  74. David C said on February 28, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    Is there anyone who wouldn’t believe if Musk’s Martians went on strike he’d turn their oxygen off.

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  75. Sherri said on February 28, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    I’d be fine with Elon Musk going to Mars. He can take his buddy Peter Thiel with him.

    But nobody is going to colonize Mars anytime soon. I’d be surprised if anyone steps foot on Mars in Elon Musk’s lifetime. The problems are so much harder than a Moon landing, and we haven’t even done that in almost 50 years. The space station, in low earth orbit, is a comparative walk in the park.

    It takes seven months to travel to Mars. And you have to take everything with you. That’s a lot of food, water, fuel, equipment, all of which has to be launched into space, which is really expensive in terms of fuel. Leaving earth’s orbit is hard.

    Some Fox News guy made some dumb tweet that he thought the JPL guys staged their celebration over the Mars rover for television. No, that shit is hard, and they’ve spent years working to get there.

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