The iron heirlooms.

Now this was a weekend to enjoy. Busy, but not too. Productive, but not too. Saw friends. Weather was nice. Started on my latest project — restoring my grandmother’s old cast-iron Dutch oven. It’s currently in the garage, bathing for 24 hours in Easy-Off. Fingers crossed.

Sometimes I wonder if projects like this are worth it, then I think, what else am I going to do — throw it away? Unthinkable. In the Thomas Harris novel “Hannibal,” aka the book where the “Silence of the Lambs”/Hannibal Lecter legend really goes off the rails and ends up in Crazytown, he has this passage, in a letter Hannibal writes to Clarice Starling, telling her to buck up after a professional disgrace:

Do you have a black iron skillet? You are a southern mountain girl, I can’t imagine you would not. Put it on the kitchen table. Turn on the overhead lights.

Look into the skillet, Clarice. Lean over it and look down. If this were your mother’s skillet, and it well may be, it would hold among its molecules the vibrations of all the conversations ever held in its presence. All the exchanges, the petty irritations, the deadly revelations, the flat announcements of disaster, the grunts and poetry of love.

Sit down at the table, Clarice. Look into the skillet. If it is well cured, it’s a black pool, isn’t it? It’s like looking down a well. Your detailed reflection is not at the bottom, but you loom there, don’t you? The light behind you, there you are in a blackface, with a corona like your hair on fire.

We are elaborations of carbon, Clarice. You and the skillet and Daddy dead in the ground, cold as the skillet. It’s all still there. Listen.

I remember reading that and thinking wtf, Dr. Lecter? Maybe some of you who understand science better than I do can explain how those molecules are hanging on to the vibrations of me saying, “Whoever said you should never wash cast iron cookware in soap obviously never made a pineapple upside-down cake two days after cooking onions in one.”

Anyway, for those of you interested in these things, here’s Before:

Also for those keeping score at home, I’m now 72 hours-plus from my second Pfizer vax, and felt nothing worse than a sore arm, so I guess I’m one of the lucky ones.

Let’s keep it light in this week’s bloggage: Everything you ever wanted to know about findom, or financial domination:

“It’s controlling someone through their wallet,” said Mistress Marley. (The Times agreed to identify her only by her professional name to prevent stalkers from finding her.) “I love waking up every day realizing that submissive men pay all my bills and I don’t spend a dime.”

Trysts take place mostly online, though there can be in-person encounters. And the humiliation could be as fleeting as a few moments, or persist for hours during so-called draining sessions, when the dominatrix hurls a barrage of insults and demands that ends only when a monetary cap is reached or a finsub’s bank account hits zero — whichever comes first.

In its purest form, financial domination is not transactional. Sending money is the kink, and finsubs offer tributes without expecting anything in return. “The arousal is in the act,” said Phillip Hammack, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the director of its Sexual and Gender Diversity Laboratory. “It’s about that loss of control.”

Man, I missed my calling on this one. (And I know some ex-wives who could give Mistress Marley a run for her, um, money.) I met a woman here in Detroit who does fetish videos on customer demand. Nothing really gross, though; she said she specializes in Mommy.

“Like, mean mommy?” I asked.

“Oh no, I’m nice mommy,” she replied. She dresses like June Cleaver and smiles a lot, tells her clients that they’re good boys and make mommy very, very proud and happy.

My head, it whirls.

Seems like a good place to stop. And the week begins!

Posted at 4:55 pm in Same ol' same ol' |
 

80 responses to “The iron heirlooms.”

  1. Deborah said on April 11, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    Whoa findom, that’s a new one on me. Wow, what people won’t do to part with their money and get some titillation.

    When we were in college my then fiancé eventually ex, and I bought a rusted out pot belly stove in pieces at a farm auction in Nebraska for a few bucks. He worked in a Goodrich (Goodyear?) tire factory one summer, they sold batteries and they had 50 gallon drums of battery acid that had leaked out of some batteries. He soaked the pieces of the pot belly stove in one of those drums and it came out clean as a whistle. We used that stove in our house in St. Louis for years, it had been painted with stove black etc and it was perfect. Probably not a good idea to soak cast iron used for cooking food in battery acid, but easy off can’t be much better.

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  2. beb said on April 11, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    That kettle looks like it needs professional sand-blasting.

    What’s with Michigan being among the top five worst COVID states? Has Michigan turned into one of those redneck states like Florida or Mississippi?

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  3. David C said on April 11, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    If Alan has a battery charger he could set up an electrolysis tank to clean the dutch oven. Sandblasting is good too but it doesn’t have the mad scientist vibe that electrolysis does.

    https://www.realtree.com/timber-2-table-articles/how-to-build-an-electrolysis-tank-for-cast-iron-restoration

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  4. basset said on April 12, 2021 at 12:28 am

    You don’t want to use Easy Off, that stuff soaks into the metal. Electrolysis works, or you can do what we did with an old Lodge skillet from the forties and leave it in your oven on self clean, the rust and scale will brush right off..

    Obviously you have to re-season it after that, but a properly seasoned black iron pan won’t absorb scents and onions won’t be a problem.

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  5. Dexter Friend said on April 12, 2021 at 5:17 am

    I worked in many different jobs in the factory in my 30 years, and one was as a heat treater. They had a deep square pit below a moving line and when a stack of baskets of certain greasy parts made it to the top, an elevator sank the baskets into this deep pit containing some sort of powerful carcinogenic anti-greaser liquid. An exhaust fan above was designed to blow away the fumes, but it was easy to get a snoutful. It was like that old dry-cleaner’s smell, but intensified to the max. Instantly the parts rose back up and down the line they went, still wet, and were handled along in the process. Guys would come in on the off-shifts and de-grease nasty engine parts. Caked-on hard grease would instantly evaporate into that ether. Scary stuff.
    I reconditioned a Dutch oven once that had been in the garage a mere five years, easy to do. I just scrubbed and seasoned. The now-defunct Auburn Hardware sold them for a hundred years. Now that’s where Alex eats his gourmet steaks.

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  6. Dexter Friend said on April 12, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I usually don’t pile on Mitch but this piece from Sunday is irritating bullshit: https://www.freep.com/story/sports/columnists/mitch-albom/2021/04/11/mitch-albom-covid-19-test-long-relationship/7173443002/

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  7. Suzanne said on April 12, 2021 at 6:36 am

    This thread on what each of the 50 states is famous for is poetry
    https://twitter.com/human_not_bees/status/1381195962417348618?s=21

    For example: “To the best of my knowledge Michigan is famous for having a city that made enough cars that everyone could leave.”

    And “To the best of my knowledge Texas is famous for big trucks and small dicks.”

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  8. Julie Robinson said on April 12, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Hilarious, Suzanne. So I’m moving from the state named as an FU to the people originally there, to the state that’s famous for literally every news article that makes Europe go “oh god that country”. To wit, in Boca Raton, a judge was killed in a sidewalk hit and run by 23 yo Nastasia Snape, who claim she is Harry Potter. Police suspect drugs. You think?

    Reading Dexter’s link, I have to wonder why Mitch has needed all those Covid tests. Mitch has apparently been traveling and partying and otherwise living in all the ways responsible people have been told to avoid. May his next test be up a different orifice, with a very long swab.

    That said, I’m traveling to Florida on Thursday. But it’s the first time in over a year, we’re all fully vaccinated, and we’ll be wearing masks, etc.

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  9. LAMary said on April 12, 2021 at 11:40 am

    Continuing beyond the first paragraph of the Mitch thing was challenging. He gets paid for that shit?

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  10. Mark P said on April 12, 2021 at 12:30 pm

    One of the problems Saturday Night Live has always had is knowing when to end a skit. Some are funny at first, but tedious when they finally creep across the finish line. Album seems to have that problem. Cute in the beginning, but, hey, we get it. Time to just tell your damned story, if you have one.

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  11. Sherri said on April 12, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    My daughter discovered yesterday that she’s become a victim of the rampant catalytic converter theft problem. Talked to the repair shop today; it’s almost impossible to get OEM converters, and will take 2-3 weeks to get an aftermarket one. She’ll still have to park her car in an unprotected place, so in hopes of avoiding a repeat, we’ll be looking at ways to make it harder to remove the converter. What a pain.

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 12, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    “…turned into”, Beb? Michigan is like Pennsylvania, more famously known socio-politically as Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Alabama in between; Michigan has Detroit and some other urban progressive enclaves (AA comes to mind), but the bulk of the state is right down in the trough with Indiana & Ohio snorting through the latest scraps tossed out by Trump et alia. The Detroit metro keeps Michigan from echoing Ohio too closely in election outcomes; Ohio’s big problem in trying to be a two party state is that the Democrats in Cleveland and Cincinnati don’t work and play well with each other, and have an odd tendency to kneecap one another allowing weak GOP candidates to prevail when they really shouldn’t have a chance. One example on the Statehouse level: the House Dems bought a mess of pottage and voted for Larry Householder as Speaker along with a rump caucus of Trump Republicans, allowing him to take over but in the end, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, they didn’t get half of what Larry-boy promised them in the deal.

    Republicans in Ohio need a strong Democratic opposition, and Sherrod Brown has trouble doing all the heavy lifting by himself.

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  13. Deborah said on April 12, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    I’ve heard that referred to as Pennsyltuckey.

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  14. Jim said on April 12, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    Deborah: I heard (as in Orange is the New Black) “Pennsatucky.”

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  15. Jeff Borden said on April 12, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    I’ve found the descent of Ohio into Red State status pretty discouraging. There was a time when the state boasted 10 cities of 100,000 population or more and they were scattered all around the state except for SE Ohio. Unlike Illinois, where there’s the Chicago metro area and not much else, Ohio seemed much more likely to achieve political balance. And while it was pretty conservative overall, it was a “sensible shoes” kind of conservatism. . .more Robert Taft and George Voinovich than Jim Jordan and Josh Mandel. Today? I cannot recognize the place. Stand your ground laws? In Ohio? Really?

    My best friend who lives in SW Ohio echoes Jeff TMMO. The Democratic bench is exceedingly weak and lacking in any stars outside Sherrod Brown. It’s hard to see Ohio becoming a “swing state” again any time soon. . .particularly with gerrymandering, etc.

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  16. Dave said on April 12, 2021 at 6:08 pm

    Not trying to change the subject but Jeff (TMMO), is this the battle that you were fighting for so long?

    https://tinyurl.com/km6c4z3s

    Florida is dominated by a GQP legislature, governor, and most of the congressional representatives. That probably won’t change. Some of the state house representation is particularly reprehensible. Oh, I just realized I’ll put myself in moderation if I do a second link but you can look up Dennis Baxley, if you are curious.

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  17. LAMary said on April 12, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    My ex’s family lived in East Liverpool, Ohio. Pottery business. KTK Lotus ware. My sons will inherit many heirlooms that are unsuitable for earthquake country.

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  18. Dexter Friend said on April 12, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    I drive around this little city of 8,800 daily and it is beginning to make me shake my head at an increase of Trump flags flying from porches of working class older homes. Nearly every block has one, and some have 8 to 10. Only one gay pride flag flies daily, from the lesbians’ home five house from me. After last night’s msnbc special from Richard Engel, formed from many cell phone videos of what actually occurred on January 6, I deduce many here approved of Trump’s Charge to The Capitol. These locals certainly were cheering the criminals on from afar back in January.
    This police murder yesterday afternoon in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota is being touted as “an accidental discharge”, as a 20 year old lies murdered in a car. The police chief is dismissing the incident as a mistaken weapon draw…we’re told the cop grabbed his service revolver thinking it was his taser. WHAT? The handles, the weight…and the training? Certainly the cop had been trained, right?
    If the 20 year old man had not panicked (maybe?) and had become totally submissive and not struggled, yes, he would not have been shot. But watch the raw video…this was an absolute execution.

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  19. susan said on April 12, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    Dexter, the murderous cop is a she.

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  20. Sherri said on April 12, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    Daunte Wright. Say his name.

    And let’s talk about what happened before the officer mistook a gun for a Taser. Why is it that a young black man is so much more likely to be stopped for expired tags? I drove around for months with expired tags and never got a second glance from law enforcement.

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  21. Colleen said on April 12, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    Sherri, I have a friend who says we middle aged women are invisible to cops. I recently went the wrong way down a one way street in front of an officer…he didn’t stop me to ask what the hell I was doing, only asked me at the next light if I knew where I was going. I feel like things may have been different if I wasn’t a white woman….

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  22. Sherri said on April 12, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    Even if I had been pulled over, I could have been obnoxious and uncooperative and cussed the officer out, and I still wouldn’t have to fear for my life, because no law enforcement officer would ever think about pulling a gun on me. How many videos have we seen of crazy white women refusing to wear masks and yelling at police officers, and yet somehow, not a one of them is dead.

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  23. Mark P said on April 12, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    I have no doubt the cops profiled him and escalated because he was black. I am also pretty sure the cop actually thought she was using her taser. You can hear the surprise in her voice and almost disbelief when she says, “I shot him.” I expect she will get all the blame and no one will ask why she wasn’t trained well enough not only to tell the difference between a pistol and a taser, but to handle situations like that without resorting to either. You see the same thing in almost every confrontation, the cops are raging, shouting, and mindless.

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  24. Dexter Friend said on April 13, 2021 at 1:54 am

    Kimberly Potter is the officer. Initially I heard the story and assumed a man shot the victim. She has 26 years on the force, and claims that she doesn’t know her goddam right from her left. Service weapon on the right side, taser on the left. No reasonable person could possibly believe she thought the gun was the taser. The weight is different, the handling is totally different, the trigger is completely different. She murdered Duante.

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  25. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 13, 2021 at 7:00 am

    Dave, yes, today are oral arguments before the Ohio Supreme Court over the eminent domain case I was a witness for two years ago. I could make this a very long post if I corrected the misstatements that I see in this piece, but it’s a fairly good overview (Ralph Burpee was and is a very unpleasant piece of work):

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/12/arts/design/octagon-earthworks-newark-ohio-golf-course-native-american.html

    Another story that dropped yesterday catches me in an unguarded, offsite moment on a private tour; I don’t normally say that on site tours, but everything in quotes is, I have to admit, correct (at least that I said it; club members are livid and have filled my email overnight with angry denials that I’m correct in any way). What I’d wish to edit is the description of what my tour “said” from the article’s claiming I was “showing how the ancient walls and roads leading to the Octagon were possibly a ceremonial route for the deceased and the Octagon a portal to the afterlife” to this: the earthworks appear to have been used 2,000 years ago as pathways for honoring the dead, yes, but for the living to walk, and use to see & feel connected to a larger cosmos, and Native Americans still come here to reconnect to that story and their heritage — that’s what I’ve tried to say on my tours.

    https://columbusfreepress.com/article/golf-course-or-native-american-shrine-moon-ohio-supreme-court-decide-fate-octagon

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  26. Mark P said on April 13, 2021 at 9:12 am

    I can believe that a 26-year veteran cop can mistake her left for her right if she has never been trained properly not to lose her fricking mind when under stress. You see it in virtually every video of a police stop other than the most routine, casual stop. They all go crazy. What it means is that there are almost no well-trained cops in the US. They all lose their minds under stress.

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  27. Jenine said on April 13, 2021 at 9:27 am

    @LAMary, “unsuitable for earthquake country” is a wonderful phrase and, I’m sure, quite literally true.

    Oversimplifying but I wish I could enforce it: no more guns for officers doing traffic stops. Clearly that’s not working.

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  28. JodiP said on April 13, 2021 at 9:36 am

    I took a random day off yesterday to get some stuff done I didn’t get to over the weekend. Subconsciously, I think I knew I’d be dealing wih the most recent murder. I got stuff done, but spent a lot of time in a group text with the Mpls NAACP, went to the protest for a bit, then home to log on to our monthly meeting. My wife was not happy I went, because of the violence against protestors the night before. Well, I was with two other members and we kept an eye out and left for the meeting. Some of our members, including our local prez, were right at the front line. They are so amazing. One of the women I was with said her nephew had been friends with Daunte since they were 2.

    What was I doing when I first heard on Sunday? I was at a rally demanding justice for someone murdered by cops 10 years ago. They announced the latest in the middle of family members testifying about all their loved ones no longer with us.

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  29. Mark P said on April 13, 2021 at 10:01 am

    I guess in my previous comment I was assuming that other big problem with most cops, systemic racism.

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  30. Icarus said on April 13, 2021 at 10:10 am


    Looking at Today in nn.c history, I see The very expensive trash can.

    I’m not sure how often I clicked here in 2007, I had a lot going on back then and not much of it good, but I likely didn’t register how old Kate was. Now that I have a daughter of my own, I’m like how much time do I have before Natasha wants a “misting fountain.”

    As for trash cans, as the person who empties ours and transports it to the alley garbage can, I learned that it is better to have a smaller one because Nightingale will drop refuse in it until it reaches the top, regardless of weight constraints.

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  31. Suzanne said on April 13, 2021 at 10:12 am

    Training for police has, I imagine, gone by the wayside like training for any other job. I have switched jobs more often than I wanted to in the past 15 years and I can tell you from experience that on the job training is gone with the wind. So I imagine that policing is the same. Hire people, give them some broad ideas of the goal of the job, and send them out to learn by doing. Continuing ed which is of vital importance in a job like law enforcement is often watching some stupid videos occasionally, not hands on learning. Never hands on because that takes too much time and money.
    Obviously, the difference is that in most jobs, the only downside is writing expense reports incorrectly or something; in policing, people end up dead.

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  32. LAMary said on April 13, 2021 at 10:37 am

    Suzanne, I’ve been bouncing from one contract/temp job to another for four years and I agree. On at least three of those jobs I was parked in an office, told to take a look at the recruiting software they use, and start hiring people. At my previous long term job I was the beta tester for applicant tracking systems. I knew three systems, very different from each other, backwards and forwards. But I didn’t figure them out in a couple of hours. I have not used the same ATS twice in any of the jobs I’ve had since January 2017. Every company has different HR policies too. I spent years working for a company that had 9 different union contracts at six locations.I managed to not inspire any picketing. Toss me into some family owned organization with a blurry set of policies and it gets tricky.

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  33. JodiP said on April 13, 2021 at 11:14 am

    Oh, on a lighter note: a friend of ours (also a co-worker of my wife’s) restores cast iron as a hobby. For the holiday gift exchange, he gave his giftee a skillet and ingredients to make cast iron skillet pizza. We thought it was so thoughtful!

    Also, after healing from adopting and returning a dog, we took home another one on Saturday. We asked a ton more questions, and had our dog trainer friend interview the staff at the shelter. His biggest issue is shyness. He has totally bonded with my wife, and is slowly getting used to me. Last night, when he woke up from my routine 3 AM bathroom break, he let me give him scritches and belly rubs, then got overexcited and started humping. I managed to calm him down. This morning, I’m back to getting the side-eye! I haven’t shared this widely because we need to see how he does with our cats. We really hope things work out this time. I know I am holding back attaching too much, but after a few weeks I am ready to fall full out in love. Our dog trainer friend will come over to help model how to introduce him to new people. We love having friends over, so this will be a key skill. Oh, and we can entertain because all our friends are getting vaccinated!!!

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  34. Connie said on April 13, 2021 at 11:31 am

    Also today’s topic in the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/food/interactive/2021/cast-iron-pans-family-stories/?itid=hp_dontmiss

    Bassett, we were in Cadillac last week and I think I saw your bar. On Mitchell st north of downtown. My husband has just inherited ten acres of what was grandfather’s 80 acre farm, outside of Cadillac. We drove around some bumpy trails in the woods to admire our shiny new survey sticks.

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  35. Dorothy said on April 13, 2021 at 11:35 am

    I have no experience or much knowledge of how small towns train police officers. All I know is what my co-worker told me two summers ago as her son (M), a graduate of the university we both work at, was accepted into the police academy for the city of Cincinnati. Her son was enthusiastically training and participating in the months’ long academy. He was an excellent candidate and did very well in testing and courses. I think he began in January or February and graduated in July. New officers are teamed up with a veteran and the first one he was with was a pretty good partner. M was learning a lot. Then they switch off to another partner, the second one was much tougher on M than the first one. But he was, he told his parents, really loving the job. It was challenging and he was working hard. But the second partner was also not pleasant to work with.

    Then one day in August he had a double whammy of cases. One had to do with a prostitute who was pimping out her 16 year old daughter. The woman was angry at the teen for something, God knows what she was mad about, and she screamed at the police to please just kill her daughter. Kept screaming SHOOT HER! After they wrapped up that one, M and his partner had to answer a call regarding a man who had raped his 8 year old daughter. M had the task of talking to the girl, who was so distraught and asked over and over again if whatever she told M, would that get her daddy in trouble. Because she did not want that to happen. M made the decision the next day to quit. He realized he could not take being on cases with children being in such dire situations. I guess training is vastly different from real-world situations. (Duh)

    I would like to think that police training even in smaller towns is not slap-dash. But I don’t know. But in this most recent case in Minnesota, I’m simply stunned that a cop that’s been a cop for 26 years could not tell by the feel of a weapon in her hand cannot tell, even in a highly stressful situation, if it was a taser or a real gun. She cannot be a police officer anymore. She needs to be tried for murder.

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  36. Sherri said on April 13, 2021 at 11:44 am

    The problem isn’t the individual police officer, and training the individual police officer isn’t going to solve the problem. No matter how much we train that new officer, we’re still putting them into a rotten system, and the system will win out over training,

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  37. Jeff Borden said on April 13, 2021 at 11:58 am

    The most infuriating thing about these high profile shootings and civilian killings are the picayune reasons for the police actions. Eric Garner was strangled to death in NYC for selling loose cigarettes. A black man shot eight times in the back fleeing a cop in South Carolina on foot was stopped because of a broken brake light. George Floyd is dead for trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill when buying cigarettes. The guy killed in Minnesota a couple of days ago was stopped for an expired tag and an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror. (Illegal in Minnesota based on the argument they obscure the driver’s view.) If you saw that horrible attack on the U.S. Army lieutenant in Virginia –the guy who was repeatedly maced by a couple of Barney Fifes– he was pulled over for tinted windows and not having a rear license tag, though his temporary tag was glued to the back window of his SUV.

    WTF? It’s happened to me in Chicago. I was driving to my class at Loyola’s Rogers Park campus when an unmarked SUV came up behind me and hit the lights and sirens. Three guys got out and stood around
    my car. My crime? I had a clear plastic cover over my license plate, which is against state law, though you can buy the covers anywhere. They spent enough time running my plates and my driver’s license that I was late for class. And my ticket was $60.

    Is this because more police departments are being used to generate income through bullshit tickets like this? Or is this just a bunch of macho guys in uniforms deciding to screw around with a citizen because they can? I don’t have an answer. But I will say this: I’m glad I was an old white guy wearing a suit and tie when I was stopped. I didn’t fear for my life. Many Americans of color cannot make that statement.

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  38. Sherri said on April 13, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    I’m sure police would justify these bullshit stops with some variation of broken windows, which itself is debunked, or talk about how often they find outstanding warrants when they make these stops. Of course, the outstanding warrants themselves are for not paying fines from previous bullshit stops, which then gets criminalized.

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  39. Deborah said on April 13, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    LB had a disabled parking tag that could be used in any car she was riding in, which allowed us to park in the disabled spots, which was handy. Because of that I became aware of how many people I saw driving with those tags still hanging on the rearview mirror. Onetime we saw an old guy with a still hanging tag making a right turn on red nearly run over a guy who was in the cross walk. The pedestrian was able to keep from getting hit, barely and boy howdy he was understandably furious at the driver. Somehow those hanging airfreshener thingys don’t seem as obstructive. The car wash place we go to in Santa Fe automatically hangs one from your mirror unless you tell them not to. I don’t like the smell of them so I always opt out.

    There was a fire department boat on the lake across from our building this morning. Two guys were diving near the shore, they didn’t seem to find anything, maybe they were training?

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  40. nancy said on April 13, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    Dorothy’s story reminds me of a time in Fort Wayne, when I was speaking to a women’s club of some sort. Talk about an antique idea: An actual ladies’ club, meeting at the lunch hour in somebody’s home. It was already outdated by then, but I showed up. Everyone seemed to be fairly prosperous, and they were all nice. During the lunch, I sat next to a woman who told me she’d been a police officer before quitting a few years ago to marry her well-to-do husband and eventually devote herself to full-time mothering and housewifing.

    She told me, with a startling lack of affect, that she and her partner one day had to investigate a case of a 2-year-old girl with gonorrhea, thanks to mom’s boyfriend. For some reason the boyfriend was going to get away with it, and so she and her partner hatched a plan to kill the guy. It started as an anguished “that guy needs to die” shared in the squad car, and was moving along a track to actually set up some situation where one of them, or someone else, could put a bullet in him and get away with it.

    I honestly thought she had a mild form of PTSD, to be telling me, a journalist, this as though it were no big deal. She was so calm about it. I’m glad she’s not a cop anymore. And the more I think about it, the more I think that would be an outstanding setup for a crime novel.

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  41. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 13, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    The hazard in so many law enforcement positions is that you do see some pretty horrible behavior on a regular basis, and you get your nose rubbed in how frequently awfulness doesn’t face consequences . . . so you start to fall into a dual trap of thinking everyone, or at least many people are like this, and that you are all that stands between chaos and order. I know I have to work at remembering that most families are not molesting their children, that few are maintaining an abusive household with sour milk and an empty jar of pickles in the fridge and a few cans of green beans in the cupboard keeping the roaches company, and that there are still grandparents who love unconditionally and care compassionately for their relations. Because when you see and deal with a long day and week and month of one nasty case after another of self-absorbed high functioning narcissism treating kids like extras in your personal drama, you can start to react skeptically to healthy if clueless parents around in your personal life, and start to wonder how you could “help” a case out in your professional life when other agencies keep spiking your reports “no action at this time.”

    The street cop version of this is the well known “sheep, wolves, sheepdogs” model which I think has been pretty clearly shown to end up reinforcing implicit bias and racism, if not indirectly stemming from those influences. But many/most cops I interact with, from newbies to older officers, have one version or another in their mental toolkit of “I am all that stands between ravening evil and innocent victims,” which is a mindset that turns toxic in a hurry carried into every traffic stop . . . which as I think Sherri already said is poisoned by the fact that 2 of 3 traffic stops turn up outstanding warrants, but that’s because so many outstanding warrants are the detritus of so many silly charges and filings all bashing into the realities of low-income life.

    Having said that, I do note that the awful people are certainly out there, though fewer than the news might make you think, but enough to keep cops and social workers wary. It’s just that us more social work types don’t carry sidearms, and a good thing. What we need are half as many fully-armored street cops and twice as many street outreach social workers.

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  42. Sherri said on April 13, 2021 at 3:50 pm

    A friend of mine, who once worked as a uniformed police officer, told me that she believes that most law enforcement officers could not pass the psychological screening that they have to pass to enter the academy after a few years on the job. Another friend, the wife of a cop, tells of the extremely high suicide rate of retired cops.

    Training isn’t going to fix this system. Incremental reform isn’t going to fix this system. We have to fundamentally rethink what we’re asking the system to do.

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  43. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 13, 2021 at 4:08 pm

    Starting at the 911 center & dispatch, on out from there . . . we send cops to EVERYthing, and yet most are woefully un-prepared and under-trained for 90% of what they face. They have more range time firing at targets, the very last thing we claim we want them doing. But how to engage, de-escalate, assess: all that is for too many departments a voluntary additional training option, not at the core of the work. It needs to begin with how we screen and deploy whom, and many/most calls do not need a guy with body armor and a gun. We will always need some of those, but not to every call. Not even most.

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  44. Mark zp said on April 13, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    Sherri, indeed. The entire system of policing needs to be changed so that citizens don’t fear cops. But that’s not going to happen.

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  45. basset said on April 13, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    Connie, it sure was… the Party Lounge, draft beer for forty cents and that tells you how long ago it was. The future Mrs. B was out with her friends, I knew one of em and that gave me an in.. She was sitting in a booth right under a wall lamp wearing a red sweater and my first thought was… well, never mind what it was.

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  46. Sherri said on April 13, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    Mark, the barrier to change is that not all citizens fear cops. If cops treated middle class white people the way they treat black people, pulling them over for bullshit and pulling guns on them all the time, change would happen in a hurry.

    Because it doesn’t happen to white people, too many white people are fine with it, because it keeps order. As a result, political systems have abdicated control of police forces. Cities and states can’t hold law enforcement officers accountable, because they’ve given away that authority through bargaining and statute. It’s next to impossible to pull a law enforcement officer’s license, even if a jurisdiction fires the officer for misconduct (and makes it stick). So they turn up on a different force. Law enforcement officers are never personally liable for their actions, taxpayers pay the costs.

    New mayors, new police chiefs come in, determined to change the culture, but it’s very hard to do. I’ve watched multiple mayors and multiple chiefs come through the Seattle PD, which has been under a DOJ consent decree for over 8 years, and yet when protests happened last year, the SPD pretty much did everything imaginable to make things worse. Even when the police chief (since resigned) said they were going to stop using tear gas, there was no change in how they operated. Even when a federal judge issued a restraining order on their use of tear gas, they kept on using it.

    At least six SPD officers were in DC on 1/6. That we know of, though their names have not been released.

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  47. Colleen said on April 13, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    What baffles me is how quickly the bullshit stops escalate into overreaction. In addition to being trigger happy, it seems that “peace officers” are crappy at having peaceful exchanges with Black people.

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  48. Sherri said on April 13, 2021 at 9:22 pm

    Highlighting just how bullshit this stop was: https://twitter.com/CapehartJ/status/1381947216244453379

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  49. Dexter Friend said on April 14, 2021 at 4:55 am

    Merging into northbound traffic on I-75 years ago, I found myself trailing an Ohio State Patrol car, this one with 2 troopers, eating what appeared to be KFC, taking their time, driving 60, no hurry, but I was not about to pass them. After slurping the last of their Cokes, wiping their mouths, the driver pointed his speed gun across the divided freeway and clocked the first car he saw and immediately crossed over at a cop-only turnaround lane, lights, sirens on. I thought what bad luck for that driver…everybody was at 80 mph and he gets tagged and ticketed. I too have been stopped by cops while driving many, many times, for speeding usually, but also for too much snow on my windshield, twice, once in Indiana, once in Ohio. Once for a burned-out headlamp and once for driving down a London, Ontario one-way street the wrong way, for which I was told to get on the 401 freeway and don’t stop until I got to the the bridge to Detroit.

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  50. ROGirl said on April 14, 2021 at 7:14 am

    I keep to the speed limit or close to it when driving on expressways in Ohio because of the state cops. It’s a different experience in Michigan.

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  51. basset said on April 14, 2021 at 8:21 am

    How’s the iron pot doing?

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  52. Julie Robinson said on April 14, 2021 at 10:44 am

    Bernie Madoff has died. May he rest in hell.

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  53. Sherri said on April 14, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    Okay, I know there are some Formula 1 fans on here. I’ve been binging Formula 1 Drive to Survive on Netflix, and now I’m obsessed. I want to know more about the stuff Netflix isn’t spending time on, like car design and logistics. Where do I go?

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  54. jcburns said on April 14, 2021 at 2:16 pm

    Monaco?

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  55. Deborah said on April 14, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    Sherri, there’s a series on Netflix called “Abstract” that has various episodes on design. One of the episodes is about car design, it focuses on one car designer, how he came to be a designer, about his love of cars, and the process of car design. It’s not about formula 1 cars in particular but it does get into car racing some. It may not be exactly what you were asking about but I found the whole series fascinating in general, but then design was my profession and still is to some degree. There are 2 seasons in the series, I don’t remember which season had the car designer episode.

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  56. Sherri said on April 14, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    While going to Monaco would show me *something*, I don’t think I would get to see what I want to see, unless I was a billionaire looking to spend money on a Formula 1 team!

    I want to understand what it is that teams are doing to make a car faster, what are the trade offs they’re making, what changes are they making from race to race, what kind of data are they getting from the cars and how are they using it, how do you build a Formula 1 team, what moves from race to race and what’s at the venue, what are all the things on the driver’s steering wheel, what kind of fuel do they run on, more about how pit crews work …

    Just a few of the questions I’ve wondered about watching the show.

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  57. brian stouder said on April 14, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Well, my second-favorite website (afetr this one) is:

    http://www.formula1.com

    aside from all the chatter about the teams and so on, lots of other stuff can be found there

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  58. Jeff Borden said on April 14, 2021 at 5:08 pm

    A driving while white story. . .

    We’re hauling ass through Indiana –always a good idea to get through there as quickly as possible– traveling to the Cleveland area to celebrate Christmas. The back seat is covered by bags of holiday gifts, Outlaw Country is on the satellite radio, Johanna has her nose in a book. I’m generally traveling 80 to 85 on clear stretches of the Indiana Toll Road, but notice the needle is tickling 90.

    An unmarked state police car comes outta nowhere and pulls me over. The trooper looks to be late 20s. White. Squared away. He takes my license and registration. I endure the withering commentary of my wife while he runs the numbers. I’m certain the ticket will cost a fortune and thank dog I have a AAA card.

    The trooper returns. Tells me he clocked the speed at 91. . .enough above the legal limit to charge me with reckless driving. Is there a reason I’m driving so fast? No, sir. Not one.

    He hands me a written warning, tells me he’s alerting other troopers to my car and license plate and asks me to slow down. He returns my documents, wishes us Happy Holidays and drives away.

    And that is white privilege.

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  59. Jakash said on April 14, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    Sunday, on Twitter, Nancy wrote: “I find typos everywhere, but the fact readers *never point them out* and hardly anyone else seems to see them, makes me wonder if anyone cares at all.”

    I notice them a lot, too, but my attitude toward them has changed in the past few years. Having the feeling that the copy-editing crew has been severely pared, if not eliminated in many places, I just am no longer surprised when I see errors. And there are so many! While I *care*, if they’re of a simple variety that doesn’t affect the gist of the story, I’ve pretty much given up pointing them out, though I used to.

    Bonus: a funny three-comment string from our former nn.c buddy Jolene in the replies to the tweet.

    https://twitter.com/nnall/status/1381238985842917379

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  60. Deborah said on April 14, 2021 at 8:49 pm

    I miss Jolene here. She’s a FB friend, but I miss her comments at NN.C

    Chris Hayes was on fire tonight.

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  61. LAMary said on April 15, 2021 at 12:18 am

    I may have told this story before. In the last days I was living in NYC I drove from the Bronx down to my inlaws’ apartment each night. I had given up my apartment for the month of December as I’d be heading off to LA before Christmas. I was on the FDR drive, going down the east side of Manhattan. Traffic was hideous. I bailed out and figured I’d go across town and take a surface street south to 80th and West End where my inlaws lived. I had to cross through Harlem. On 116th street I heard the bleep noise that NYC cops cars made. I stopped. A cop walks over to the car, asks me why I’m in that neighborhood. I explained why. He seemed to accept that but still looked around in the car with his flashlight. He went back to his car. Came back to me, with his partner. Asked, ‘are you really five foot ten? And blue eyes? Apparently they had just got a computer in the cop car and they could look up my info. He had given my license back to me. So I’m feeling nervous. Why are these guys looking at me in a way that makes me uncomfortable? Did they already have that info from running my license plate? I said yes, I was five ten. They flirted a little. I tried to look faintly flattered but uninterested in the attention. For one thing, I had been stopped for driving while white in a black neighborhood. But for another, those jerks were playing games with their new toy computer, checking out the ladies. I was happy to be sent off without a ticket or some even more unwanted attention.

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  62. Dexter Friend said on April 15, 2021 at 2:07 am

    Jeff Borden: I also was stopped on the Indiana Toll Road, 44 years ago. Winter, dry, cold, 3:30 AM. My crime was driving 44 mph. In those days I was an active basketball junkie, and a member of the Notre Dame Tip-Off Club, which entitled me access to a room at what was then called the ACC to drink pre-game draft beer in a cordial environment. I went to almost every home game. This particular night I had stopped at a bar for a post-game “road Coke”, and the nice people there invited me to stay after hours to fire up some rope, which I did. I admit I was blitzed out of my fucking mind but felt I could drive OK. But, you know… driving too slowly is an indicator of indeed being blitzed out of one’s mind. A state boy pulled me over. I was as upbeat as I could be, I got him to crack a smile, and he said if I drive straight for 2 miles he would turn around and I was free to continue. I white-knuckled it for sure; I was free.

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  63. Julie Robinson said on April 15, 2021 at 7:58 am

    My record of never being pulled over remains intact. There’ve been lots of times I deserved to, but most of them were on back country roads with no other cars around.

    We’re on our way to the airport! 401 days since I’ve flown and 401 days since I’ve hugged my daughter.

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  64. David C said on April 15, 2021 at 8:38 am

    I was pulled over once for my brake lights not working. So it’s good that he did. It took two minutes. He didn’t ask to see my license. He could have and probably should have given me an R&R but didn’t. I didn’t have contradictory instructions yelled at me. Just fix your brake light and off you go.

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  65. Suzanne said on April 15, 2021 at 10:17 am

    Julie, I am envious! I haven’t seen either one of my kids for that long and it’s making me sad. But, both will soon be vaccinated, so we can hopefully get on a plane soon and go! If I remember how an airport works…

    I have been pulled over several times. Once when I passed a state trooper on the interstate. I had my cruise control on so I didn’t give it a thought that I might be speeding. Cop gave me a warning and told me to get my speedometer checked. I did. It was off. I have never passed a state trooper again.
    Once I was rushing to get to work and pulled over. Yeah, I knew I was speeding but I thought the speed limit at that spot on the road was higher than it was. I had to pay.

    I was stopped one other time, same scenario, thought the speed limit was 45 but it wasn’t. I was heading to a funeral visitation, trying to get there before the time was over and had had a lousy day at work. I almost cried when the very young cop just gave me a warning. I truly think he just couldn’t give a citation to someone that was old enough to be his mother, or even his grandmother.

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  66. JodiP said on April 15, 2021 at 10:30 am

    Julie, that is such great news! I hope you enjoy the reunion!

    I have only been pulled over twice for speeding. The last time was around 2004 going to see my mom, about 15 miles form her house. When I told her and my step dad, they were like, Oh, yeah, you have to be careful there. It’s a speed trap! They of course, knew the name of the cop too, it being rural/small town.

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  67. Deborah said on April 15, 2021 at 11:29 am

    Julie and Suzanne, I’m curious if you would have been able to see your kids earlier if you could drive there? I’ve not flown since Jan 2, 2020 but have taken at least 2 road trips to NM and 2 road trips back to Chicago. We have 2 places in NM so some quarantine is possible once we get there, plus we all get tested right away.

    LB will get her second shot on May 4th I think and we are driving down again and will be in Santa Fe on the 9th, so she won’t have had the requisite 2 weeks after the last shot. Hopefully there will be more info by then about whether people who have been fully vaccinated can pass on the virus. NM is more sparsely populated than metro Chicago by a lot. Metro Chicago has over 4 times the population of the whole state of NM. We will still mask up and social distance etc, when we’re around people in NM. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll use restrooms yet on the trip down. I’ll probably make that decision at the last minute when there’s more info about which states are surging.

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  68. LAMary said on April 15, 2021 at 11:59 am

    Deborah, the CDC is now saying the chances of catching Covid from surfaces are very slim. One in 10,000 I believe.

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  69. Suzanne said on April 15, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    Deborah, my husband & I aren’t retired so driving to see our children (one on the east coast, the other southwest) would use up all our vacation time. Flying gets us there quicker. During much of the last year, COVID numbers where they live were worse than in Indiana, and not much was open, so it didn’t make sense to go. By the middle of May, though, we will all be vaccinated so it’s time to start planning some trips!

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  70. jerry said on April 15, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    Back in the late seventies I was driving into London on a Sunday afternoon to collect some kit from the office. Not much traffic and I was doing 50 when the limit was 40. Pulled over by a motorcycle cop. I moaned gently that the limit was too low and he agreed. He told me the ticket was for not paying enough attention as he had been following me for the last mile!

    As for family we haven’t seen our son in Australia in the flesh for over 900 days and it will probably be another few hundred before we do. Thank the lord for free video calls over the internet.

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  71. LAMary said on April 15, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    I see my sons a lot. The younger one daily. He’s living at home, his merch roadie life interrupted. I get tales of the LA River, homeless encampments, disgusting stuff he’s seen and general weirdness. His clothes and boots smell like the LA River and that is not a good thing. But he’s a good guy. We only drive each other crazy a little bit. Certainly less now than when the pandemic started. He still uses too many pans and utensils when he makes breakfast for himself. He still leaves the smelly boots in the hallway and I have to febreze the entire area. But I see a lot of things about him that I missed when he was traveling for a few years. He’s got good instincts. He does the right thing. When his boss makes him do something objectionable he’ll fight back. Loses sometimes but he tries. He also has a good sense of humor. His brother has a sly sense of humor but younger son Pete’s is good too. Yesterday he was using a grappler at his job. He was pulling junk out of the river. Pete’s about 6’4″ and he has a co worker who is about 5’5″. Pete found a child’s chair in the river, picked it up with the grappler and presented it to the short co-worker. “Here you go, Marco! We found your chair.” Heh heh. But he did that all day. He would use this big machine to put the tiny chair next to the co worker, in the back of the co worker’s pickup. This may sound mean but I think it was taken well and certainly broke up the ugliness of what they were doing yesterday, which was clearing out trash from a homeless encampment next to the river. Lots of syringes among other things. A woman who had been staying in the encampment came back to see if any of her stuff was still there. She told my son that the local gang had rousted them out of that encampment. That the gang said they were not paying enough rent to the gang to stay there. Same gang was the source of the drugs that those syringes were for. Overall a very fucked up situation. The guys who work with my son are a pretty rough bunch and they were shaken by all this. So teasing the short guy with a little chair is probably ok.

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  72. Julie Robinson said on April 15, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    Dennis drove down once, but I can’t leave Mom by herself these days, just too complicated. I survived. The phone helps a lot.

    The Pandemic has taught me so much about gratitude, patience, and perspective. No one in our family got sick and we came through okay financially. We’re all vaccinated. So, no complaints.

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  73. Deborah said on April 15, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    Suzanne, it’s not the surfaces in restrooms that worries me, it’s the air flumes from flushes. Human waste can contain the virus and when it’s flushed it becomes airborne, and can hang and swirl around in the air for a while. So when someone using the stall next to you or before you flushes you’re vulnerable. Yes, that’s gross. I suppose the wearing of masks helps, but if you can smell it, it’s probably able to get through. This is all stuff I read months ago though, so they may have found that this isn’t as much of a problem as they thought, like touching surfaces turned out not to be.

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  74. Sherri said on April 15, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    A man, unhappy about being asked to wear a mask, attacks a store employee with a piece of lumber. Police find him in a parking lot of another store, car chase ensues. When the man stops and officer approaches, the officer gets his arm stuck in the driver’s window, and the man drives off with the officer, while also hitting the officer on the head with a hammer.

    Yet, this man was arrested without being shot or Tased, in Minnesota. What’s that? Why yes, he is a 61 year old white guy.

    It’s so hard to figure out why white men can commit violence and not be met with violence from law enforcement, yet black men are treated violently for minor trespasses. I’m trying to think why that might be…

    https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2021/04/14/police-man-drags-hutchinson-officer-with-car-hits-him-with-hammer-after-face-mask-dispute/

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  75. Deborah said on April 15, 2021 at 2:16 pm

    I should have said toilet plume not flume.

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  76. Deborah said on April 15, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    After briefly doing some research, it seems that public restrooms aren’t thought to be that risky anymore https://www.salon.com/2021/02/02/are-public-bathrooms-restrooms-safe-to-use-covid-pandemic-transmission/

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  77. LAMary said on April 15, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    I think there’s new thought about vaccinated people being able to infect others as well.

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  78. Deborah said on April 15, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    I’ve read that the video has been released of the 13 year old boy who was shot by police in Chicago, and it’s supposed to be devastating. Police said the kid was armed but they say from the video it shows he was not at the time and had his hands up and police shot him anyway. I’ve read that he was in special education classes and of course since he was shot instead of being treated carefully as you suspected, he’s brown. I’m hearing lots of helicopters, may not be connected to civil unrest, but now I’m paranoid. Our building sent out an alert in an abundance of caution on Monday, that they were taking precautions, in case. I can’t bring myself to watch the video, it is apparently horrific. This slaughter has got to stop. Will it ever end?

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  79. Heather said on April 15, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    I haven’t watched the Adam Toledo video–apparently it’s very disturbing and a lot of people on Twitter are saying don’t if you don’t have to. The screenshot is bad enough: apparently he was running with a gun, must have dropped it somewhere, he’s cornered nad the cop yells at him to put his hands up, he does, AND THEN THEY SHOOT HIM ANYWAY.

    If Lori Lightfoot and a bunch of other people who have known what that video showed for a week don’t resign over this, I don’t know what’s going to happen in this city.

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  80. Dorothy said on April 15, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    I think most of us who hang out here have gotten both doses of the vaccine, but in case anyone is wavering about maybe skipping it, here’s a good article (free) about why it’s important to get it.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2021/04/15/covid-vaccine-second-dose/

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