This weekend — today, Sunday — is the Derringer Co-Prosperity Sphere’s 29th wedding anniversary. While we’re beyond the “Gone Girl” tributes, it’s always nice to mark a milestone appropriately, so we had a 24-hour getaway.

To St. Clair, Michigan, previously known as the place where Nancy and her friend Bill go ottering in high-to-late summer. Just north of Palmer Park there, where we otter, is the St. Clair Inn. It was once a highfalutin vacation spot for swells (Bill spent his first honeymoon night there, once upon a time), then fell on hard times, then went through a lengthy, oft-delayed renovation, and reopened only recently as a swank hotel. We booked a room there for Saturday. River view, of course — what’s the point of going to St. Clair if you can’t watch the freighters go by?

That’s the…I forget which one that was. Wait, lemme zoom in… OK, it’s the Federal Columbia, a bulk carrier, upbound. A salty, which is what they call the ships that leave the Great Lakes for open ocean. We saw at least a dozen, a few of them thousand-footers like the Edmund Fitzgerald. The Federal Columbia is headed for Burns Harbor, in Indiana. Got a ways to go, but I bet it’s closer than I think.

The St. Clair River drains Lake Huron, into Lake St. Clair, then Erie, Ontario and out to sea. It’s blue, and it runs at a clip.

The bar in the Inn is called the Dive, and this sculpture outside pays tribute to the end-of-season tradition from the old days, where the wait staff would go for a swim themselves. My man on the right has about a second to correct his position before he does a bellyflop.

Today, it was a slow drive down the riverfront, through Algonac to the northern coast of Lake St. Clair, then the long way home. A whole trip that felt like a mini-vacation, and we used less than a quarter of a tank.

Of course you can’t get entirely away, and the news intruded. Another goddamn mass shooting, because we gotta have one of those every so often. Otherwise we might not have Freedom.

Bloggage: If you haven’t read this, from the Atlantic, about “how politics poisoned the evangelical church,” it’s worth your time.

Oh, and look — another mass shooting. This one…at a church. Kinda fitting.

Posted at 8:46 pm in Same ol' same ol' |

53 responses to “Mini-break.”

  1. Sherri said on May 16, 2022 at 3:41 am

    There was a story in the NYTimes similar to the Atlantic piece a few days ago:

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  2. Jim said on May 16, 2022 at 7:08 am

    Nice one young lady, hope you and your partner have a nice time . Jim, UK .

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  3. Jeff Borden said on May 16, 2022 at 8:51 am

    “You know, this used to be a helluva good country.” — George Hanson in “Easy Rider.”

    I’m so tired of this shit and it’s only getting worse. The Buffalo massacre is precisely what tens of millions of ‘Muricans want to see. They masturbate to their violent visions of slaughtering “the others.”

    We’re a nation addicted to hatred and violence. We are horrible people.

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  4. Julie Robinson said on May 16, 2022 at 10:39 am

    Happy Anniversary to the Co-Prosperity Sphere! A mini-getaway sounds wonderful.

    I read the NYT piece and was struck by this statistic: 42% of Protestant pastors have considered leaving the ministry in the last year. When I read it to my daughter, she said it sounded about right to her. The real question is how many actually do leave. Among her friends it’s probably a higher percentage.

    Anyway, the sun is shining and with a high of 91° I feel the pool calling. Will try to think about something other than 200 mass shootings just this year.

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  5. JodiP said on May 16, 2022 at 1:31 pm

    Happy anniversay, Nancy! The quick get away sounds marvelous.

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  6. Deborah said on May 16, 2022 at 10:04 pm

    Happy Anniversary to

    We’re at an inn overlooking the ocean in Newport, OR. Very nice. Earlier we stopped to look at the haystack rocks. Tomorrow night we will stay in Eureka, CA. We’re traveling down 101, the pacific coast highway.

    Saw quite a few sea lions while at my brother in law’s in Everett, WA but alas no whales. Also saw herons but no eagles.

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  7. basset said on May 16, 2022 at 10:27 pm

    Nancy, say more about the band’s tour… surely there are lots of interesting stories. Next time out they’ll play theaters, after that arenas, then stadiums, right?

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  8. jerry said on May 17, 2022 at 1:58 am

    Nancy, congratulations to you and Alan on 29 years.

    We’re trying to sell our house before we’re too old to clear out 47 years accumulated rubbish. Lots of people looking but nobody wants to buy. Our house was built in 1934 and has the typical small kitchen. There’s plenty of room to extend but I don’t think anyone wants to go through the upheaval. Not that we’ve found anywhere suitable to move to!

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  9. alex said on May 17, 2022 at 7:33 am

    Congrats on 29 years!

    My partner and I will be celebrating 15 years this year. And for the fifteenth time we’re scrambling to get our garden together. Harry planned this week off for it, then we come to find out that the garden soil people do not have enough of a supply and so we’re on a waiting list for delivery and we’re unlikely to receive anything this week (heavy rains so they’ve been unable to dig up soil to sell). And the universal joint and rear bearings in our truck need work, so even if we wanted to go pick up some dirt, we don’t dare load the bed until after the auto repair place takes care of it and we’re on a waiting list for that too. First World problems, I know.

    For Memorial Day weekend, my brother and his family are coming up from Atlanta to abide my mom’s wishes and scatter her ashes and hold a non-religious memorial service. Thing is, we have some religious family members who want to attend. My brother’s solution is to place an urn in the family cemetery and tell those folks where it is should they wish to pay their last respects. I’m not completely sold on the idea. Also, it’s not a weekend to go spreading ashes illegally as the place is likely to be busy with folks placing flags and flowers, and what my mom really wanted was to have her ashes spread there under the radar.

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  10. Julie Robinson said on May 17, 2022 at 10:32 am

    Jerry, we made ourselves do sorting out for a hour or two every day but still had a huge rush at the end. Moving to a radically smaller place does focus you on how little you really need. As far as renovation upheaval, we have two bathrooms and a kitchen in bad shape, and I still have PTSD from last year’s project.

    Alex, it’s not just you–we are having to wait almost a month to get our son’s truck in for repairs and in the meantime it’s undriveable. Fortunately he’s in a remote job.

    Did you know you can get more free at-home Covid tests beginning today? I’ve already ordered ours on the post office website, and you can get eight this time. We went through them fast when all five of us had it so it’ll be nice to have more here instead of running to the pharmacy when you feel crummy.

    BTW, shout out to my mom, who is listening to the annual meeting for an insurance company where she once worked and still holds stock. She may have needed help navigating the sign-in, but she’s still sharp enough that it interests her. For me it would be like pulling teeth.

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  11. Icarus said on May 17, 2022 at 12:32 pm

    Jerry @ 8: whereabouts are you located?

    last summer we moved from Chicago to Olive Branch, MS. I had about two months to purge, sell and give away a ton of things. Some things sold quickly and for a tidy sum. For instance, in March I bought an outdoor furniture set. Because of supply chain issues, I was able to sell it for almost as much as I paid for it.

    But it isn’t even about the money. I got real joy from getting rid of stuff that we didn’t need or could buy down here (or inherit from the inlaws) instead of it taking up valuable space in the U-Haul.

    Olive Branch, (technically a suburb outside of Memphis, TN) has a smaller population so there aren’t as many people giving away or buying things like back home. But we do okay. And yes, I’m homesick.

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  12. jerry said on May 17, 2022 at 1:32 pm

    Icarus you asked where I am. I’m one of the further flung readers of this blog.

    I live in Sidcup which is a dormitory town for London. You’ll find us on the south eastern edge – about 11 crow miles from Trafalgar Square.

    At the end of the month Myra and I will celebrate 55 years of marriage.

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  13. jerry said on May 17, 2022 at 1:45 pm

    Julie, I meant to pick up your comment on clearing things out. We made a start but I’ve just had an operation on my right hand and am still finding it difficult to hold anything firmly.

    We won’t know until we’ve found our new house but I expect we’ll have to discard quite a lot of books – my estimate is probably about 1500,

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  14. Julie Robinson said on May 17, 2022 at 4:13 pm

    Jerry, you get a break for now. Maybe you could use the time to call around and find homes for the books.

    Does anyone still watch DVDs or listen to CDs? We still do from time to time, but our kids only stream. Our daughter’s church has a thrift shop, and CDs, and DVDs do not sell well. We downsized quite a few before we moved and it’s probably time to go through them again.

    This morning I took a picture of a hibiscus plant with five blooms and an equal number of buds. I’m really enjoying new flowers; missing the spring blooms from up north but fortunately I see a lot of pix from friends.

    Icarus, that’s quite a change. Are you missing the city or friends more?

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  15. Icarus said on May 17, 2022 at 4:48 pm

    Julie Robinson, a little of both but I’m homesick for the walkability. We have to drive everywhere here. Also, back home I could not only find any ethnic food I wanted but there was usually more than one choice, often too many. And I’m not the biggest fan of BBQ.

    I have a few DVDs but I haven’t watched them in ages. I suppose if we had a situation where we have electricity but no internet, they would come in handy but that thankfully hasn’t happened yet.

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  16. Little Bird said on May 17, 2022 at 4:55 pm

    I still listen to CDs. Almost exclusively.

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  17. David C said on May 17, 2022 at 5:30 pm

    I haven’t listened to a CD since I got streaming. We still watch DVDs occasionally. We have a lot of favorites we watch maybe once a year that we don’t ever see on streaming. It’s nice when we’re in a mood for something reliable.

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  18. Deborah said on May 17, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    We’re in Eureka, CA tonight, no ocean views from our room like last night but we’re only a block or so away from the beach. We drove through Redwood National Forest on 101 which was impressive. Driving through a tall dark cathedral of giant trees was awesome.

    I was very impressed with Oregon, I had only flown into Portland for a work meeting and that was just a day trip, no overnight stay. We went through a small corner of OR on our way up to WA on this trip and that was beautiful but obviously very different the landscape of west coastal OR. I could live in Oregon, but that will never happen in our stage of life.

    Tomorrow we go to San Francisco where we stay for a few days.

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  19. LAMary said on May 18, 2022 at 11:18 am

    CPAC is in Hungary this year.

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  20. Julie Robinson said on May 18, 2022 at 11:28 am

    Just saw this: Fort Wayne Newspapers is buying KPC Media. Will be interesting to see the synergy.

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  21. Jeff Borden said on May 18, 2022 at 12:08 pm

    The ‘Murican right loves Orban. Little Tuckems has declared Hungary enjoys more freedom than ‘Murica ’cause them Hungarians don’t give a shit about women’s rights, gay rights and other icky things ‘Murican fascists find nettlesome.

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  22. alex said on May 18, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    No, Julie, no! They’ll ruin it.

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  23. Marge Taylor said on May 18, 2022 at 1:53 pm

    With Terry Householder retired, this paper needs help. Very little local news published.

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  24. Julie Robinson said on May 18, 2022 at 2:16 pm

    Non pay-walled:

    It is true that everything Ogden touches turns to dross. First move will be an assurance that pay won’t go down, followed by a restructuring of pay in which, in fact, everyone’s pay will go down. Etc. Etc.

    Can’t blame the owners for cashing out while there’s still cash to be gotten.

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  25. Sherri said on May 18, 2022 at 5:03 pm

    John Scalzi looks at “Lowest Difficulty Setting”, 10 years later.

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  26. alex said on May 18, 2022 at 6:28 pm

    I subscribe to both the J-G and KPC (typically I read Auburn and Steuben, not Kendallville so much) and I think they do a better job than the Fort Wayne rag quite honestly. (Other than, of course, featuring the stylings of Jon Stossel and Leo Morris on their opinion page.)

    I worry that Ogden will run these papers into the ground.

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  27. ROGirl said on May 18, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    I just took a home covid test about 1/2 an hour ago and tested positive. I ordered them last week when I was feeling kind of crappy one day, but felt better after that. Today I had a headache, runny nose, was slightly nauseous all day, and my throat started acting up, too. I took my laptop with me from work because I thought I might end up having to stay home.

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  28. alex said on May 18, 2022 at 8:24 pm


    ROGirl, I’ve managed to evade COVID so far (or so far as I know) and it surprises me when otherwise healthy people who’ve been vaccinated turn up positive.

    I don’t know whether it affects my immune system, but I’m on sliding scale insulin for the time being because my blood sugar has been out of control. This episode has just about wiped out my HSA. My employer cheaped out on a new health care plan last year that purports to have a $3K deductible like the previous one, except that it’s a two-track deductible that keeps on charging for diabetic meds and paraphernalia. If it sucks this bad, maybe I should just retire like I want and get an ACA plan.

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  29. Deborah said on May 18, 2022 at 9:30 pm

    During our travels Saturday evening at my brother-in-law’s in Everett I started having a runny nose and a slightly scratchy throat I thought I better take a Covid test, it was 8 days after being on an airplane but traveling through a number of states by car. It turned up negative so I attributed it to allergies because the Seattle area was bursting into spring and I spent a lot of time outside that day. It developed into more on Sunday so I took another test but still negative. After that it turned into a cough so Monday I took a 3rd test and all were negative. I decided it was a cold and it started getting better. I guess I could have had false negatives but no one else seems to have gotten it from me. Including my husband and even if it’s a cold he hasn’t gotten it. It’s a mild cold so that’s good.

    We’re at our hotel in San Francisco, going to dinner at Cafe Jacqueline soon, it’s the place that mainly serves soufflés in North Beach.

    On our way out here we stopped briefly in Bodega Bay where the Hitchcock movie The Birds took place. I watched that movie at the theatre when I was 12 and I was enthralled with Tippi Hedren driving on the highway along the coast on her way to deliver the lovebirds to Rod Taylor’s little sister. I wanted to be Tippi in a little convertible sports car driving on the coastal highway. She and Jackie Kennedy were my roll models for a long time.

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  30. Jeff Gill said on May 18, 2022 at 9:46 pm

    We talk sometimes here about the long history many of us share at NN.C; a site I think of as being adjacent in a number of ways to what Nancy is doing here is John Scalzi’s “Whatever,” and it’s shocking to realize this piece is a decade old:

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  31. Julie Robinson said on May 18, 2022 at 10:22 pm

    ROGirl, I’m so sorry, and I hope you won’t get too sick. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about Paxlovid, because you only have a few days. I’m still ticked that the ER didn’t give it to my mom, and the rest of us were too out of it to realize it could have helped her.

    Three of us are still fighting residual effects, mostly fatigue. I was swimming 30 laps/day and haven’t been able to do more than 20 every other day.

    Also, Deborah, I should tell you that I never tested positive, even at my sickest. If I wasn’t so careful about masks and not going out, I could have spread it all over the place. Monitor your temperature–that’s how we knew it wasn’t just a cold.

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  32. Deborah said on May 18, 2022 at 11:19 pm

    Make that role models, lol. Not roll models.

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  33. David C said on May 19, 2022 at 5:57 am

    My mother-in-law has Covid. She got it Mother’s Day from my fundie sister-in-law who probably got it from the Jesus camp where they spend their summers. When Mom told SIL she had it, SIL laughed. Mom and the rest of us are not to pleased with SIL.

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  34. ROGirl said on May 19, 2022 at 6:37 am

    I don’t feel bad, considering, it’s like a mild cold. It’s in my sinuses, but it hasn’t gotten any worse, and the nose leakage has stopped. I ordered some more tests, just in case.

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  35. Mark P said on May 19, 2022 at 9:15 am

    Talking about sick, I just saw a campaign ad from Georgia Gov Brian Kemp where he brags about his conflict of interest. He’s talking about how he opened up the state in the middle of the worst pandemic in a century, and says he was worried about layoffs at *his own business*. I don’t know what his business is, but now we know he will take official actions as governor to benefit it.

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  36. Jeff Borden said on May 19, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    The car Tippi Hedren was driving was an Aston-Martin, signaling she was not only chic but quite wealthy.

    The Pennsyltucky GOP governor candidate is vowing to outdo Ron DeathSantis in Floriduh on batshit. He’s already bragging that he gets to appoint the secretary of state and that he can invalidate election results “with the stroke of a pen.”

    The MAGAt gubernatorial candidate in Colorado wants to eliminate one person one vote in favor of an Electoral College that would give overwhelming power to conservative rural areas.

    These fuckers are dead serious about creating their own MAGAland. If they’re not stopped this fall, it may be too late. Hell, maybe it’s already too late.

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  37. Scout said on May 19, 2022 at 1:12 pm

    My triple vaxxed son in LA got Covid last week and immediately went on Paxlovid. He was better in a day and a half. Apparently there is a five day window from the onset of symptoms in which it will be effective, so don’t delay.

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  38. LAMary said on May 19, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    To paraphrase Sue Storm from Fantastic Four comics, “Jeff, don’t say it. Don’t even think it.” She always said that to Reed but in this case it’s Jeff’s comment about it being too late to stop a MAGA takeover.

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  39. Deborah said on May 19, 2022 at 1:59 pm

    Yes, the character that Tippi Hedren played in The Birds was a wealthy heiress.

    Our soufflé dinner last night was stupendous, asparagus soufflé at first and a lemon soufflé for dessert. We’re eating there tonight too. Jacqueline is still making the soufflés and she’s quite old now. After dinner our walk back to our hotel was horrendous, seemed like uphill the whole way. And the hills were very steep.

    I’m going shopping now, I hope to find some shoes.

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  40. Sherri said on May 19, 2022 at 2:14 pm

    Pretty much the entire GOP has passed the Antisemitic Point of No Return, with their reaction to the Buffalo shooting.

    I said in 2016 that Trump supporters were either racists or okay with racism, and things have only gotten worse.

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  41. basset said on May 19, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    Went to our first major league soccer game last night, Montreal at Nashville… nothing I care about but Mrs. B wanted to see a game at our new stadium. Didn’t see cash in use anywhere, at the gates, parking, or concessions; that was new to us, then again we don’t get out much.
    The game, well, there was already a lot I didn’t understand about soccer and now there’s more. Constant drumming and nearly constant singing, had never seen that level of fan involvement. 163 steps up from ground level parking to our seats, a nice late spring night and I got my phone mailboxes cleaned out; now we can say we’ve been to a MLS game. Passed on the $15 Bud Lights, though.

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  42. Jim said on May 19, 2022 at 3:28 pm

    We just got back from visiting Olympic NP and Mount Rainier. At the inn near Rainier a giant crow kept banging on the restaurant door below us after closing. The third morning it was on our window ledge, and when my wife walks over it banged into the window and cracked the glass! My sisters advice was that if they started lining up on the electric wires to get out immediately.

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  43. Julie Robinson said on May 19, 2022 at 3:38 pm

    My dad used to haul me along to all the high school and college sports events he was covering for the radio. None of it took. Soccer is really hard to follow in person and before long you’ve stopped paying attention, then wham! a big play happens and you’ve missed it. Fortunately I shouldn’t have to go to another sports event again.

    Anyway, we’re seeing Paul McCartney in a couple of weeks and it’s at an outdoor stadium, high up, because damn the tickets are pricey. 163 steps, her I come. Parking is $40 but one of the kids will drive us.

    I just hope we don’t sit by any screamers. We saw a Beatles tribute band and the girls behind us never stopped.

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  44. Sherri said on May 19, 2022 at 4:02 pm

    Catharine Glenn Foster is the CEO of Americans United for Life. She has a law degree from Georgetown. She has worked for the Alliance Defending Freedom, and is involved with the Federalist Society. In other words, she is in the intellectual heart of the GOP, such as it is.

    She also just testified in Congress that aborted fetuses were being incinerated to provide electrical power in DC.

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  45. LAMary said on May 19, 2022 at 4:10 pm

    Sherri, what’s really disturbing about that is that people believe it. What has happened to critical thinking or reason?

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  46. David C said on May 19, 2022 at 5:05 pm

    I doubt she really believes it but she believes the rubes will. She’s probably right. Seeing as fetuses are more bags of water than us the physics are all wrong to get energy out of the deal but as Strip Search Sammy says it doesn’t matter if anything is true as long as you’re right wing and can fake believing it.

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  47. Deborah said on May 19, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    Since most aborted fetuses are teeny tiny cellular blobs, it would take billions of them to generate any electricity.

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  48. Deborah said on May 20, 2022 at 12:13 am

    I found shoes! Yay and the price was right and we still have one more day and night in San Francisco. Tonight’s walk to the hotel from Cafe Jacqueline was better we learned to stop mid-block on those hills and catch our breath instead of plowing ahead upward

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  49. Sherri said on May 20, 2022 at 12:29 am

    There are so many things Republicans, even highly educated Republicans, say that are simply physically impossible that it boggles the mind. Whether they really believe those things or not hardly matters; the impact is the same.

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  50. Mark P said on May 20, 2022 at 1:31 am

    At another site I read the question was raised whether Rush Limbaugh was a racist. I said I don’t know, but he panders to and encourages the beliefs of racists, so what’s the difference. Same thing applies to Republicans.

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  51. Dexter Friend said on May 20, 2022 at 2:12 am

    Alex, my uncle wanted his ashes to be spread in the family plot where his headstone was installed about 55 years ago…when Grandma died he just had two stones placed. He died a few years ago and it was simple, the funeral preacher simply called the cemetery sexton and told him of the deceased wishes and it was copasetic with all. After the graveside service, my cousin just dumped and spread the ashes and that was that. Not illegal, state of Indiana.

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  52. alex said on May 20, 2022 at 7:59 am

    Dex, the funeral home that did the cremation gave us a lecture about having to notify the recorder of deeds and go through a bunch of bureaucratic rigmarole in order to spread ashes anywhere. Of course, that might have been a ruse to convince us to embalm and buy a casket and go the more expensive route. Who knows.

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  53. basset said on May 20, 2022 at 9:11 am

    Most of my brother’s ashes were thrown off the Tulip Viaduct, a tall bridge down in southwestern Indiana,
    with about a small spoonful reserved for spreading on the center court logo at IU’s basketball arena. No bureaucracy or permission involved in either location.

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