There she went.

I see Alex posted the excerpt from the Miss America book in yesterday’s comments, about the year Vanessa Williams won. It’s very good; if you haven’t used up your WashPost clicks this month, I recommend you spend one on it.

I attended, and covered, the Miss A pageant the year before that. I always have had abysmal timing, but 1982 was the year Miss Ohio was a local girl, and that’s the year the paper decided to send me. I flew to Philadelphia and then took a puddle-jumper to A.C., and there I was, at Miss America.

And yes, you can hum those last six words in the tune of the famous song. But that year, and I believe Vanessa’s year as well, it was not sung as the newly crowned Miss A took her first walk. It had something to do with firing Bert Parks and maybe he had copyright? Can’t recall. But the song that year was called “Miss America, You’re Beautiful,” sung by Gary Collins, Parks’ replacement. It didn’t go over well, and a deal was struck with Parks and “There She Is” came back.

I’m sure I’ve told all these stories before, so I won’t bore you. But as far as Amy Argetsinger’s excellent history goes, she notes an old Texas pageant coach told his own charge, well before they arrived in Atlantic City, the following:

“Miss New York is going to win,” he said. “She will be the first Black Miss America.”

I don’t doubt it, because even I had heard that. It wasn’t that the fix was in, but rather, that the timing was right. Various parties had been pestering the pageant for years for its lily-whiteness and retro ideas about femininity, etc., and they were under the gun to show nuh-uh, they were so not racist, and along came Vanessa Williams, and she was…perfect. Black, unmistakably so, but light-skinned, blue-eyed, fine-featured, tawny hair. She was Black, but entirely in the Miss America mold. And she could sing, god, she could sing. Looked great in a swimsuit. The whole package.

After my year at the pageant, I would read anything I could find about it, and I saw an interview before the ’83 pageant with Debra Maffett, who had won the year I was there. Miss California, wore the famous Lucky Swimsuit, another one you could tell was going to be in the top five just by looking at her. And even she said, in that interview, that “the time was right for a black Miss America.” My point being: Vanessa Williams was someone everyone saw coming.

That was such a weird week, hanging backstage at the pageant, doing interviews with any Miss who would consent to one, and they all consented, knowing the worth of a little press. I was the same age they were, and yet, they were…so. So polished, so sparkly, so…not charismatic, more like packaged. No other woman my age wore her hair the way they did, unless she was a TV news anchor or something, curled and teased and sprayed into a helmet. None of my friends wore that much makeup. And none of my friends read Time magazine like Talmudic scholars read scripture, so they could drop an opinion on Israeli foreign policy on cue. They were weird. I am an outgoing person, but couldn’t imagine being friends with any of those creatures, except maybe Miss Florida, who came in a bad girl (DUI) and left one, too. You could see the real person inside, trying to escape. The rest held their own actual personalities in with shellack – polish, nail and otherwise, foundation, sequins.

It was an old trick, the day of the swimsuit photo shoots for the wire services, for one of the Misses to jump into the pool they were all posing around, knowing that picture would lead the photo package (and ruining one’s hairdo, so you were effectively excused from doing any more). Miss California did that. I looked her up today: She’s a Trumper, and I see hints of QAnon lurking around there.

Anyway, that would have been roughly 39 years ago, and Miss A is so different now…wait, didn’t the pageant go bankrupt? I can’t remember. But when I saw Miss Michigan at the auto show a few years back, she had a couple of visible tattoos. In her introduction, she was quite the little spark plug. And a women’s studies major. What a hoot.

Another 90 degree day. Considered going out in it? And thought better. Happy Wednesday.

Posted at 9:00 pm in Popculch |

70 responses to “There she went.”

  1. Dorothy said on August 24, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    I was not a regular viewer of Miss America, but I distinctly remember watching the year Vanessa Williams won, and I was 1000% confident she would win after I heard her sing. No one else even came close. I haven’t read the Post article yet but we’re subscribers, so I’ll read it eventually. It’s Crazy Town week at work and I have no idea why I’m on my laptop typing when I should be taking advantage of not being at a rehearsal, and under the covers with the ceiling fan waving me to sleep. Here I go now!

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  2. LAMary said on August 24, 2021 at 9:47 pm

    When older son was four or five years old one of his besties was a little girl name with a French name which I forget. Her mother was Belgian. My son was the only kid invited to the birthday luncheon. I was invited too. I was seated next to the birthday girl’s aunt who looked very familiar. Miss America Tawny Little. OMG. She was the birthday girl’s aunt. She had been a local news person in LA. She still looked like a Miss America type but was a lot more interesting to talk to.

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  3. LAMary said on August 24, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    Tawny was aka Tawny Godin or Tawny Corsini. BTW.

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  4. Mark P said on August 24, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    Way back in the last century, when I was a newspaper reporter, my boss, the state editor, was married to a woman in the beauty pageant world. It was its own weird little world. I got the impression it was kind of like a sport, where the same people competed at different pageants. They knew Strom Thurmond’s second wife Nancy, who was born in Aiken, SC, where they lived. Nancy was a beauty contestant as well. Their story was that Nancy married the old coot expecting him to die fairly soon, leaving her wealthy and well-known. I guess it took four children to disabuse her of that notion.

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 24, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    Due to her appearance at an event I was doing backstage security for at Rutgers the summer of 1983 (long story), I got to talk to Suzette Charles after her runner-up award and just before she became default Miss America, and I have to say she was a very nice, normal person to chat with. I think she was just a year or two younger than me. She was entirely complimentary of Vanessa Williams (and clearly had no idea the deluge was coming in mid-July when we were speaking; I think it all hit the fan the next week), and sounded like a huge fan of hers even then, gracious to a fault. She sang for our event, and was darn good. I have to admit, I was impressed; she was less self-absorbed than your average sorority girl on a land-grant college campus.

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  6. LAMary said on August 24, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    JTMMO, you did time in the Garden State?

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  7. Dexter Friend said on August 25, 2021 at 3:46 am

    Vanessa Williams , wow. She posed for a collector’s issue for Penthouse in July/August of 1987. Incredible detailed photoshoot leaving nothing to the imagination. Of course I only know this because I read it in a magazine.

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  8. ROGirl said on August 25, 2021 at 5:44 am

    Didn’t Debra Sue Maffett do some Hawaiian ritual “dance” performance for the talent competition? It was memorable.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 25, 2021 at 7:28 am

    Mary, only two weeks at Rutgers, though that was the summer my wife spent on staff at a camp in southern New Jersey, but she only saw Elmer, NJ & Wildwood one weekend. I was part of a national event held by an organization that’s an honors society of sorts within Scouting, and it moves around every other year to a different college campus, or did. Haven’t been to one for decades. This was 1983.

    I don’t recall her talent, but I do know Debra Sue had a nasal septoplasty, which became a point of controversy before Vanessa Williams showed them what controversy really looked like.

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  10. Suzanne said on August 25, 2021 at 8:23 am

    I remember intently watching Miss America when I was a kid, Bert Parks and all. Now, I think about and am horrified at the swimsuit competition during which they would announce the women’s weight and measurements. Stiletto heels and plunging swimsuits. Gee, what was the message there? But as a kid, I had no idea.

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  11. rb said on August 25, 2021 at 8:26 am

    In Vanessa Williams’ defense, she did not pose for Penthouse. An unscrupulous photographer sold them the results of a photoshoot from her unsophisticated youth.
    IMHO – Ms Williams is the most talented MA ever.

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  12. Deborah said on August 25, 2021 at 8:48 am

    Someone brought that Penthouse to work and we all gawked at it.

    I’ve mentioned this before but I went to college with Miss Nebraska and Miss Iowa of 1968 or 69. The pageant was in my sophomore year so it must have been 69. They were good Lutheran girls who both played the organ for their talent. Miss Nebraska won Miss Hospitality, she was very sweet, we all knew she would win it.

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  13. Beobachter said on August 25, 2021 at 9:13 am

    I don’t know how it compares to the Washington Post article, but the podcast You’re Wrong About did a two parter on Vanessa Williams.

    Link (with transcript):

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  14. ROGirl said on August 25, 2021 at 10:06 am

    I had the wrong Miss America for the Hawaiian themed performance. It was Kay Lani Ray Rafko, Miss Michigan.

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  15. Jeff Borden said on August 25, 2021 at 11:35 am

    I was pretty ambivalent about beauty pageants until the Jon Benet Ramsey story came along. Seeing a little girl dressed like a Las Vegas showgirl wearing more makeup than a circus clown creeped me out. Now, the pageants seem like such a ridiculous relic.

    One of the obituaries I read about Charlie Watts tickled the hell out of me. He didn’t drive, but had a large collection of automobiles. Apparently, he enjoyed just sitting in them while they sat in his garage. I also admired his sense of style. Like David Bowie, Bryan Ferry and a handful of others, he knew how to dress cool for any occasion.

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  16. Heather said on August 25, 2021 at 11:51 am

    I’m imagining someone bringing Penthouse to an office today–yikes.

    I’m sad about Charlie Watts. He seemed like such a genuinely grounded guy, and dapper to boot. May he keep up the beat in the hereafter.

    Gotta wonder if Mick is feeling the veil of mortality thinning.

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  17. Dorothy said on August 25, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    Little girls in heavy makeup is just so wrong to me. I understand they wear it for dance recitals and maybe Halloween, but generally it just grosses me out to see little ones decked out in mascara, blush, eye shadow, etc.

    I’m having a rough week at work. Classes started Monday and it’s great to have all this activity after the last 18 months or so. But the hammering of constant requests and emails and little emergencies (a student carrying a water bottle that holds a GALLON of water spilled the entire thing in a classroom around 10 AM) is taking a toll. Instead of having my planned dinner of sausage links and pancakes, I might just glug a whole bottle of wine and open a fresh box of CheezIts.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on August 25, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    Vanessa Williams is a whole lot of meh for me. Voice? Not capable of singing Sondheim, admittedly difficult. When she was in Into the Woods, her songs had to be reworked, or as Wikipedia words it, “This production included songs revised for her”. Acting? not capable of showing warmth, or showing almost any emotion. She couldn’t even present well-read introductions when she hosted the PBS 4th of July celebration, but came across as fake and uncaring. Nopers.

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  19. Jeff Borden said on August 25, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    I also love CheezIts, Dorothy.

    I’m missing the classroom this fall. Again. Loyola is requiring all students and staff to be vaccinated, so that’s not the problem. I waited too long to express my interest and there were no spots left for an adjunct. But with the coronavirus still raging, I continue to wonder if schools won’t be back to online learning again.

    The Atlantic has a grim story on how Joe Biden is falling in the polls. It’s not the messy withdrawal from Afghanistan, though that doesn’t help. It’s the virus. This spring, a sizable majority of Americans believed the worst of the crisis was behind us, but now that number has shrunk to a mere 37 percent. Biden, who campaigned on competence and defeating the virus, is getting the blame. Perhaps that’s why so many GOP governors are ignoring the crisis. It hurts Biden.

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  20. Suzanne said on August 25, 2021 at 4:41 pm

    “Perhaps”, Jeff Borden? I can guarantee that’s why GOP Governors are happy to cause more deaths. We are all expendable for their power grab.

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  21. Jeff Borden said on August 25, 2021 at 4:48 pm


    I guess I couldn’t believe they were that depraved. I was wrong.

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  22. David C said on August 25, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    The cable lip flappers (not just Fox) are co-conspirators in the get Joe project. We got out, last I heard, over 90,000 people from Afghanistan but they’re still playing the clips of the first day. Anyone who would expect an operation like this to be anything but chaos especially after the time bombs TFG and Pompeo set has no right to be on TV talking about anything.

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  23. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 25, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    Made eggplant rollatini for my wife’s birthday (tomorrow, but there’s a big first day program at the college, so she won’t be home until late), and while I swear I got everything in the kitchen dirty in the lead up to the final baking dish into the oven, it was really good. And I think about 65 calories per roll for those who keep track of such things. I don’t, but she does so I’ve learned to figure the math out as I cook since she always asks. Two medium/large eggplants made fifteen in the big Pyrex and four in a side dish to freeze for a later dinner for two.

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  24. Dorothy said on August 25, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    I only I care for white cheddar CheezIts. The yellow ones gross me out.

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  25. Sherri said on August 25, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    Yes, exiting from a 20 year occupation is chaotic and messy. Why is anyone surprised by this? Yes, and this is terrible, people will die. Afghani civilians have also died from 20 years of war and drone attacks. Afghani civilians would die if we didn’t leave, along with US soldiers, because the Taliban was not going to do nothing if we didn’t.

    I have this discussion about so many things when someone complains about how some change has resulted in some harm. Yes, *but the status quo was also harmful.* First, do no harm is not always an option when the harm is already happening.

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  26. Dexter Friend said on August 26, 2021 at 1:27 am

    Little children playing under the hot Fort Bliss area sun. Great. What is next for these refugees? Most large areas have Vietnamese communities, so perhaps we’ll have “Little Afghanistan” neighborhoods battling “Little Vietnams” and Chinatowns all over the land. Last 11 days, 82,000 humans air-lifted out of Afghanistan.
    I only went to Uptown (Chicago) once for Vietnamese food. It was a BYOB place. You bought wine or booze across the street and carried it into the restaurant, no corkage fee. Of course the food was great, spring rolls included. Yes, many years ago, as I was still on the booze.
    The 25th of August is past now; it marked 52 years since I entered the army under threat of prison if I refused. Not that I had ever been in trouble, every male deemed 1-A faced the choice: prison or service. I thought the draft would have been re-instated by now, all these years later. Politicians won’t touch that hot point.

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  27. beb said on August 26, 2021 at 2:17 am

    The press has done a remarkable job of finding every supporter of a “forever war” in Afghanistan to interview and not one person who knew from the start that it would a clusterF. They even interviewed Henry Kissinger about the withdrawal. The man who ought to in jail for war crimes! So much for non-partisan mainstream media.

    I came across an article the other day that talked the work ethics of a lot of famous thinkers. They all seemed to work for a couple hours with a break in-between and quit for the day. Not claiming to be a genius or anything, but from I do try to write things and find that I’ve good for a couple hours then feel drained. Yhere must be something to this idea. Anyone else notice a pattern to their creativity.

    Another interesting aricle was one on the concept of ownership. As in “who owns the space between the back of one seat in an airplane and your knees in from of you. This was an interview conducted by Dahlia Lithwich in Slate.
    The answer is the airline company and they are selling the same space twice: both to you and to the person in front of you. The author goes on to discuss placeholders in lines are likewise monetizing space that ought to be yours on a first-come basis. Interesting interview. He’s selling a book on the subject that sounds interesting.

    Never go shopping at Costco when you’re hungry. I went there so get some snack bars then decided to look for some chicken cordon blue for supper. Before I found then I saw a four pound bag of fish sticks. “We haven’t had those in a while,” I thought and grabbed a bag. Having taken it out of the freezer thee was a nagging feeling that this be a big much… But I ignored it while looking for frozen french fries. All Costco had was an 8 pound bag. This was clearly insane… but I had the fish sticks in my arms already…. So I came home with enough french fries and fish sticks to last this family of three for a week. I make bad decisions.

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  28. alex said on August 26, 2021 at 7:25 am

    Looks like Biden’s honeymoon with the press is over, as was bound to happen.

    Lots of lazy reporting and not much attention being paid to what appears to be an otherwise surprisingly amicable transition of power between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Is the Taliban serious about ruling with a lighter touch and being recognized by the world as a legitimate government? Or is this simply a ploy to gain access to funds that would otherwise be cut off?

    I’d say stay tuned except there are few outlets even bothering to discuss it.

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  29. JodiP said on August 26, 2021 at 9:05 am

    beb @27, I also listened to that interview, and found it fascinating. The legal angle was all about how we think ownership is really clearly defined, but it isn’t. I think the book would be worth reading for more details. The title is Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives.

    Dorothy, I hope things get better! My go-to comfort food is popcorn, made on the stove, with butter drizzled on top. Goes surprisingly well with red wine.

    We had a great Boston trip, but I am getting a COVID test this morning. We did a self-guided tour in Chinatown, and of course all the people of Asian descent wore masks even outdoors. Back in the North End, not so much, and we at our almost every day. But it felt so good to travel again!

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  30. LAMary said on August 26, 2021 at 10:34 am

    Beb if those are Trident fish sticks from Costco they’re better than average. We use them to make fish tacos. Lazy fish tacos but not bad fish tacos. Corn tortilla, thinly sliced cabbage, crema and some salsa with cut up fish stick. Add a squeeze of lime. This was as far as I’m concerned invented by my son and his girlfriend and it’s genius.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on August 26, 2021 at 10:38 am

    Getting a Covid test after travel sounds smart, Jodi. Yesterday we were getting a prescription filled and the lady in the line behind us was on her cell phone: “So I get emails from two teachers that they are going to be out of the classroom for a few days, we all know what that means, right?”

    Cheezits fit in the category of foods that taste good but I’m sorry I ate them afterward. Same with fries, they just don’t sit well in my tummy, so it’s best if someone else gets them and I can have two or three. Eight pounds of them? Whoa. Our daughter brought home some pastries yesterday from the latest trendy place. I bet they were great in the morning but by the time we had them after dinner, they were a waste of money.

    Tonight the kiddos and gf are singing in a concert. While I’m looking forward to hearing them, I hope I don’t feel the need for a Covid test tomorrow. Everyone has to wear masks, but they aren’t social distancing the audience. Maybe a double mask then.

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  32. Icarus said on August 26, 2021 at 10:47 am

    I was very fond of Vanessa Williams and even my non-woke self back then knew she was rooked. A White Miss America would never have had to give back her crown.

    We are 90% moved to Mississippi. Just have to close on the respective houses and get Nightingale down her. She has to give a certain amount of notice, which varies by the day and her mood, and then it’s goodbye awesome Chicago cuisine, hello fast food, and BBQ.

    Jeff Borden @ 19: Perhaps that’s why so many GOP governors are ignoring the crisis. It hurts Biden.

    I wouldn’t have thought of that until you said it out loud.

    JTMMO: recipe or it didn’t happen.

    Beb @ 27: It is okay to occasionally wear your Bad-Decision Jeans. My son only eats french fries, fish sticks, chicken nuggets (and only certain kinds), and hot dogs. That 4 lb bag would be gone within a week, maybe two if I focused on varying the rotation enough. To be fair, he also has a dairy allergy which makes things more problematic.

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  33. Heather said on August 26, 2021 at 11:23 am

    beb @27: I’m a writer (content marketing for B2B businesses mostly) and I find I do my best work for a few hours in the morning, then I take a long break in the afternoon if I can and get back to it in the late afternoon for a couple more hours. My actual maximum writing time (I use a timer app) is usually 4 hours. Doing much more than that is tough and I find I’m not as productive. That doesn’t mean I’m not working the rest of the time, just not actively writing. Of course I often get ideas while cooking, biking, etc., so taking breaks is important.

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  34. Deborah said on August 26, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    Heather, when I’m working on a design project I have to be on “input” for a good portion of the whole experience. Being on input to me means doing research, looking at art books, going to art museums, walking etc. Then when I’m ready to put pencil to paper and/or make mouse clicks on the computer, I do iteration after iteration, then when I think I’ve got something, I have to give it time to simmer, when I go back to it after a few hours of a break I usually start all over.

    We watched “Soul” yesterday, the animation is spectacular. The textures of fabrics of clothing is amazing and the abstracted counselor characters are genius. I was so dazzled by the look of everything I almost lost the plot.

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  35. Dorothy said on August 26, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    Today was much better at work. It helped that I had to leave at 11:30 for an eye doctor appointment. I woke at 1:50AM and never got back got sleep. Just one of those mornings! I lay down to nap after I got home from the doc’s and an emergency alert about flash flooding woke me. My phone was downstairs and on mute, but emergency alerts are never muted. It’s about to storm here again and it’s dark outside. We need rain but this is not the kind we need. It rained steadily for about an hour.

    Simply awful news about service members killed today at the Kabul airport. I’m trying not to think too much about the lives that were upended when they got the news today. It’s breaking my heart. I’ll be watching when the President speaks in 40 minutes.

    If this weather was occurring 24 hours from now I’d wonder if our show might not have an audience. We go up at 8 PM. Storms have a tendency to keep audiences away.

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  36. Colleen said on August 26, 2021 at 9:39 pm

    I am honestly confused. Why is Biden a coward for pulling out of Afghanistan at long last? Should we have just stayed there in perpetuity? IMO, he is courageous, for having the stones to do what should have been done a decade ago but no one wanted to poke the bear. I may have to put one of my FB friends on time out….she’s a very big military supporter, and thus far she’s wished Trump back, said Biden was MIA, a coward, and should be impeached. Conveniently leaving out the fact that he’s the only president in generations to actually have a child who served in the armed forces and knows the sacrifice of military families firsthand.

    Sigh. Between the goings on in Afghanistan and living in DeathSantis land, I am feeling pretty discouraged of late. And don’t get me started on the “won’t take a vaccine/will take horse de wormer” crowd. We truly do have a mental health crisis in this country.

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  37. Deborah said on August 26, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    Actually both of Biden’s sons served in the military but the younger one, Hunter was discharged early for some behavior issues. I don’t think it was a full on dishonorable discharge though.

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  38. Julie Robinson said on August 26, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    Afghanistan was a special gift left from Trump, the way the dog leaves you a special gift when you’re gone too long. This horrible debacle was waiting for whatever President was in office. No win possible, no way.

    That doesn’t mean I’m not enraged and horrified, I just don’t see it ending any other way.

    We avoided the news of the day by attending a concert tonight our kids were in. Our son sang All Good Gifts from Godspell and oh the eyes, they got misty.

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  39. beb said on August 27, 2021 at 3:08 am

    The Right is pretty good at calling someone a bully one minute and turn around and call them a wuss in the next. They have no consistency. It’s all attack and it’s all whatever sounds goo at the moment. And you might mention to your FB friends, if you’re still talking to them, that Trump was the one who started the withdrawal talks with the Taliban. He even wanted to host them at Camp David. Biden is just sticking to Trump’s withdrawal plan.

    LAMary, those were Trident fish sticks. Even my wife remarked that tasted better than our usual Grorton brand.

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  40. alex said on August 27, 2021 at 7:35 am

    I have a co-worker who’s constantly dropping bizarre conspiracy theories, for instance, she believes that COVID 19 and the delta and lambda variants were all pre-planned in 2017. She believes that Dr. Fauci and his wife are in cahoots with Big Pharma and cooked the whole thing up so they could profit from making everyone take vaccines.

    When I question where she gets her information she claims it’s on Tik Tok.

    This is a woman who’s otherwise not stupid. But God is she fucking dumb. If I weren’t pushing 60 and getting an 8 percent match on my retirement savings, I’d get the fuck out of there and not have to deal with such people. She’s not the only one.

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  41. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 27, 2021 at 8:00 am

    Icarus, it was pretty simple. Peeled and sliced two eggplant into planks, as thin as I could make them without trying too hard, three beaten eggs in one dish, a cup of seasoned bread crumbs mixed with parm and some garlic (you can use powder, but go easy) in a second, ran the planks through egg than coating, fried in vegetable oil, a half inch worth in a wide skillet, both sides. Let ’em rest on paper towels, mixed up ricotta and parm and mozz shredded with lots of parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and one more egg, the usual lasagna filling. Put tomato sauce, jarred if you got it but I had just made a big batch of marinara from our cherry tomato bushes, on the bottom of a baking dish, then grab a nicely browned but cooled eggplant slice, drop a big dollop on one end, roll it up and put seam side down into dish, repeat until you’ve got about 15 rolled eggplant pieces in there. Dab the rest of your sauce on the tops of the rolls but don’t cover, sprinkle what’s left of your filling (15 oz ricotta, cup of shred/grated parm, egg, some mozz out of a bag about a cup, you should have a bunch but not too much left) around amongst the happy, happy eggplant rollatinis.

    Bake in 375 for a half hour or so, and you’ve got a lovely dinner. Salad if you feel compelled to do so. Wine strongly recommended.

    So, Icarus, did it happen? 😉

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  42. JodiP said on August 27, 2021 at 9:08 am

    Jeff TMMO–we had that dish in Boston–it was one of our favorites! The breading and tomato sauce were very light, and the eggplant taste really came through. Thanks for the recipe, as we can now make it at home.

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  43. Icarus said on August 27, 2021 at 10:34 am

    Jeff TMMO – Indeed it did. I googled “eggplant rollatini” and found this, a tad more ingredients than yours but the steps are about the same.

    Not sure when I will be able to add it to my repertoire of recipes and into our dinner rotation…maybe the first time we host a family dinner down here.

    One thing I wonder about when it comes to cooking, how come sometimes you use powdered or dried something and other times you use fresh? Like why fresh parsley but dried basil in the aforementioned recipe?

    also, why tomato sauce and paste?

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  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 27, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    Depends on what my porch pots are producing, but it was dried parsley into the filling, like a 1/4 cup, some fresh basil went into the marinara I made from my cherry toms, both on or in front of my porch railing which is currently lost in the final explosion of green vines and yellow flowers. The sauce/paste/marinara muddle is just incompetence on my part as I type onto my tiny phone. My more Italian friends say gravy and I have to work to remember they are talking marinara-esque sauce. Not sure what I said about paste but none was involved in this one. But if I want a solid jolt of richer tomato flavor, it’s a spoonful of it to the rescue.

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  45. LAMary said on August 27, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    Beb, I’ve tried several Trident frozen fish products and all of them exceeded expectations. The salmon burgers are good. We eat them with corn relish and lime juice. No bun. Trident doesn’t add a lot of filler in the fish sticks or the burgers, just lots of fish.

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  46. Dorothy said on August 27, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Icarus – tomato paste thickens up the sauce when you make it from scratch. I use 3 cans of Contadina sauce (2 Thick ‘n Zesty and 1 Italian style) and one can of Contadina garlic tomato paste. I think they are maybe 12 or 16 oz cans. I can only find this specific Contadina sauce at a Giant Eagle grocery store. Those are based in Pittsburgh but they have a bunch in Columbus. Kroger doesn’t carry the Thick ‘n Zesty or Italian style of sauce. Just regular old tomato sauce.

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  47. LAMary said on August 27, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    Try the Marcella Hazan tomato sauce. Maybe not for rollatini but for pasta definitely.
    Ingredients: one can of good plum onion, half a stick of butter.
    Directions: put the tomatoes in a pan, cut the onion in half and out it in the tomatoes. Cut the butter into chunks and drop them into the sauce. Simmer for 45 minutes.Take out the onion halves. Serve.

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  48. Dorothy said on August 27, 2021 at 5:41 pm

    I second what Mary said! San Marzano plum tomatoes are the way to go – a large can (28 oz I think). I haven’t made it in awhile – I like this recipe for when it turns cooler outside. As it cooks, press a spoon up against the tomatoes as they cook down, pushing them against the side of the pot, to make sure the tomatoes are mostly crushed. The first time I read that recipe I thought “BUTTER in tomato sauce?!?” I’m glad I ignored my horrified instincts and tried it.

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  49. Sherri said on August 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    I agree with LAMary on the Trident salmon burgers: surprisingly good.

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  50. Sherri said on August 27, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    I feel for the other students in this class, but can not blame the professor at all.

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  51. Suzanne said on August 27, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    I may have to try this marinara sauce. My husband planted Roma tomatoes which aren’t that great for just eating but might make a fine marinara.

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  52. Mark P said on August 27, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    Sherri, UGA requires new students to be vaccinated for mumps, measles and rubella, but because we have a worshipper in the cult of death as a governor, the university system cannot require a Covid vaccination.

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  53. LAMary said on August 28, 2021 at 12:16 am

    We had a great dinner with older son and girlfriend came over and I made what should have been tabbouleh for 6 that was wiped out by 4. Lots of mint, parsley and cherry tomatoes from the garden with added cucumber, kalamata olives and chick peas. Chicken thighs done like in cooking shows : skin side down high heat until crispy, flipped and moved to the oven. Works every time.

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  54. David C said on August 28, 2021 at 6:09 am

    Last year we planted Polish Plumb tomatoes. They’re ugly things but the made the best tomato sauce I’ve ever had. We planted them again this year but with all the rain we’ve been getting they got tomato blight. I’d never seen a plant go from vigorous to rotten mess so quickly. So this year’s tomato sauce will be Romas from the farmer’s market.

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  55. alex said on August 28, 2021 at 9:04 am

    David C, we also experienced tomato blight this year — first time ever — and it seems everyone is having the same issue. Fortunately we figured out what it was and started treating our plants right away so we were able to save much of our harvest. (What would we have done without the internet?) Though largely denuded of leaves and lower limbs, the plants are still producing.

    Not so fortunate with our peppers, though, which don’t do well in wet soil and couldn’t be saved.

    We love roma tomatoes for making tomato paste and this year we planted Amish Paste tomatoes, a roma heirloom. They also make for a great chunky salsa if you like a pico de gallo consistency and I made a superb batch last weekend.

    I used to parboil tomatoes and pop the skins off and squeeze the seeds out when making refined sauces but I just don’t have the patience or the time anymore. San Marzano whole tomatoes are the way to go.

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  56. David C said on August 28, 2021 at 9:39 am

    I neglected our plants until it was too late because of all the damned mosquitoes. I’ve tried every repellent and nothing keeps them away from me. They leave Mary completely alone but I’m their USDA Prime.

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  57. Deborah said on August 28, 2021 at 11:44 am

    LB planted tomatoes in pots and they are producing, not lots but enough to add to a few salads from time to time, they’re cherry sized, don’t know the exact kind. The rest of the stuff she planted, cucumbers, yellow squash and eggplant did nothing. We planted runner beans for the vines and pretty red flowers that attract hummingbirds, they only produced about 5 bean pods, we will use the beans for seeds for next year.

    We had more bees around the yard this summer than last year, I think it’s because our silver lace vines flowered a lot more and attracted them. Our lavender as I said before is dying out but it did make a last gasp and the bees like the lavender so that helped too. And our Russian sage did quite well, they are quite drought resistant.

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  58. Heather said on August 28, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    I’ve seen a lot of bees and butterflies around our patio garden this year. After my neighbor said she saw a hummingbird buzzing around some flowers on my balcony when she was taking care of my cat, I bought a feeder, and since then I’ve seen one a few times. We generally only get ruby-throated hummingbirds in Chicago, and I think this one is a female based on its coloring.

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  59. Julie Robinson said on August 28, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    Hummers may have started their migration by now. Skeeters have been horrible here too, despite attention by our former mosquito worker. One day he was looking at the pet waterer (it’s got one of those upside down bottles) and saw larvae in there. Inside the fricking house! I’m only going within the lanai and screened in pool, the couple of times I’ve tried to work outside or in the garage I was inundated. I’m one of the ones they love.

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  60. LAMary said on August 28, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    I was awakened Thursday morning with my left hand feeling like it was on fire and unbearably itchy. I watched redness spread from my thumb to three fingers. The veins on the back of my hand and thumb swelled up. I washed my hand very cold water and applied some hydrocortisone cream. It took all day but it gradually returned to normal except the pad of my thumb which stayed red and swollen until yesterday. I will find that spider and make him pay.

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  61. Dexter Friend said on August 29, 2021 at 3:30 am

    Summer got here late. High humidity and mid-90s for days on end. The day it was 97 in Las Vegas, Nevada it was 95 here. Today it was 94. Wednesday , high will be 80. I can handle that. So old people always want to go some place warm for their old age, eh? I hate hot weather. I don’t like slippery ice and high snows either. Spending a year in a Mediterranean climate in Monterey Bay’s peninsula made me realize what climate I was suited for. You west coasters know the cost of real estate and rental properties there. Gotta leave that area for the well-heeled now. Soon it will be wonderful cool fall. I can wait. Right now I have a troubled dog who likely needs surgery for a tumor on her underside that I thought was a tick. Nope. Monday she goes to a vet. Where I do not know. My vet can’t see her for 2 weeks. Emergency vet care here starts at around $500. She’ll have the best care I can find for her. For once, I wish it was Monday right now. Weekend emergency vet care is out of my sphere of finances.

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  62. Deborah said on August 29, 2021 at 6:57 am

    Plans have changed and I’m staying in NM until the 18th instead of going back to Chicago on the 4th with my husband. I’m staying because of the window replacement project and boy has that gotten even more complicated. We had our routine last Saturday of the month zoom call with the condo association and it was contentious again because the a-hole owner went apeshit as usual but then at the end she told us she had gone ahead and ordered the windows we all want. Our jaws dropped but we don’t believe her, she’s scamming us. The President of the association called her bluff and asked to see her documentation, signed contract with the company. She balked, hemmed and hawed and sort of said she’d send a copy. Which we know we’ll never see because it doesn’t exist. We previously selected the lawyer that we want to use and we’ll have to get council from him to find out our next steps. I’m sticking around partly for that and partly because the window company is coming out to field measure the windows in the four units we signed a contract for. It’s crazy town.

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  63. Deborah said on August 29, 2021 at 10:03 am

    I should also have added that after our zoom call, I contacted our rep for the window company and he said the owner did not go through him to order the windows. He said he’ll call the National company on Monday to see if she went through a different rep. We’re pretty sure she didn’t order any windows and she’s just stalling for time because she has court case coming up for a trial in early October with the co-trustee of the trust that really owns her unit. The co-trustee is trying to get her kicked out of the trust of her father who passed away a few years ago. I can just imagine that the co-trustee is sick to death of the a-hole.

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  64. susan said on August 29, 2021 at 10:07 am

    Dexter@61- Maybe it’s a lipoma, and not a tumor?

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  65. LAMary said on August 29, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    Labs are very prone to lipomas Dexter. Not sure how old Pogo is but from about age 12 on Smokey had a few. He had larger fatty tumors the last few years but the vet said it was more dangerous to do surgery than to just let them be.

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  66. Mark P said on August 29, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    … but, on the other hand, or paw, as the case may be, sometimes it is a tumor. I had a dog that was diagnosed with a lipoma that turned out to be a malignancy. I doubt that a correct diagnosis would have made a difference, but still.

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  67. LAMary said on August 30, 2021 at 1:19 am

    I’m sticking with the Labbie lipoma theory. The ones on their chest or belly can be the size and color of an engorged tick. Smokey had a couple of those. He made it to 17.

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  68. Dexter said on August 30, 2021 at 5:29 am

    Thanks. The dog info eased my mind.

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  69. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 30, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Hey, Bassett, stay dry! Big rain coming up out of the south. A retreat center I’ve done programs at in the past just got stomped flat (northeast of Hammond LA). Ida is powerwashing whole counties.

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  70. LAMary said on August 30, 2021 at 10:14 am

    Dexter, even though he went on to
    Lab immortality almost two months ago, the Smokester abides.

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