Cabin fever.

The weather rarely gives us a break at this latitude. We had one week — a single week — of glorious, sunny, summertime weather earlier in April, and since then? Cold garbage. Finally my reserve cracked, and I ran some errands, taking the long way there and back. For some reason, I ended up near Camden Street in Detroit, where I shot this photo in October 2008, while escorting a pair of French journalists around town on a two-day pulse-of-America visit:

They wanted to see the famous $1 houses that were flooding the market, a story written by my old colleague Ron French that went all over the world. They were going through one across the street from this one, which was being stripped of its bricks by a couple of raggedy men. Note the professionally wrapped pallet of bricks to the side; someone was making money off this project, probably pretty good money. Old bricks are in demand for new housing. Luxury housing.

In Detroit, wave after wave of foreclosure, much of it due to mortgage fraud, was leaving neighborhoods like this rapidly emptying, and arsonists and scrappers did the rest. America was about to elect its first black president, and the agony of financial-crisis Detroit notwithstanding, optimism was in the air. It was a very strange time.

This was shot with my first iPhone, and thanks to the geotagging, I was able to pinpoint the exact spot it was taken. Which is good, because on Tuesday, there wasn’t much left:

The vacant lot to the left is where the men were working. The house on the right is still standing, but barely. Spindly volunteer trees reach the second story. The porch steps are in pieces. And the $1 house the French guys were so eager to document is gone, too. The whole neighborhood is pretty much toast, but for a few stubborn hangers-on. I went around a couple blocks and found this, too:

Ah, memories.

You know what I remember most from that visit in 2008? The realtor brought along his handyman, the guy who went through these wrecks and decided whether they could be brought back. He looked around and said, “This used to be a neighborhood.” Only a year before, he said, it’d been more or less fully occupied, with poor people to be sure, but they were hanging on. Now it’s urban farmland and construction debris.

For some reason this sent my brain cartwheeling back to the ’90s, working for Knight-Ridder, the newspaper chain. The editors had been tasked by corporate with coming up with a mission statement (yes, really) and a so-called master narrative for each city. We sat in meetings for this project and asked perfectly reasonable questions: “A mission statement? For a newspaper? Isn’t it, ‘cover the news in our city?'” To his credit, the editor running the meeting seemed as baffled as we were. And Fort Wayne’s master narrative, which we were instructed was the overarching story of the city, was only a community-theater version of Detroit’s grand opera: Once-thriving industrial city struggles to find its footing in new economy.

And to think, that was probably some vice president’s quarterly project. And they kept us inside for those meetings, when we could have been outdoors, looking for stories in houses just like that.

That’s really a non sequitur, I know, but like I said: My cabin fever is bad this year.

I guess I should say a few words about Gordon Lightfoot, recently departed. He was part of the aural landscape of my youth, but I paid little attention to lyrics. In recent years, I corrected that. “Sundown” fascinates me as a song about a man who’s thinking of hurting his cheating girlfriend, and still might. The woman in question was, of course, Cathy Smith, the background-singing, drug-dealing bit of bad news who sold John Belushi his fatal speedball. I think lots of men might be tempted to hurt her, but she did the damage herself. (Went to prison, deported to Canada, died a few years back.) As for the song everybody knows, about the ore carrier known around these parts as the Fitz, well, it’s a great song. A friend and I were discussing how often people who have never been to the Great Lakes can’t believe how big they are, once they see them. Imagine being in a ship, 729 feet long, that’s losing the battle with a storm, and not only that, an ice storm, a hurricane of sorts, the lake treating it like a toy. It must have been terrifying, the waves turning the minutes to hours, and all that.

But I snickered when a journalist friend noted on his Facebook today that he once “heard a folksinger at the Old Shillelagh, weary of endless requests, abridge the Lightfoot song as follows: ‘There was a big boat, and it sank.'”

And they’re all still down there in Lake Superior. Which never gives up its dead, but you’ve already heard that, many times. Ah, well: Rest in peace, Gordon. It was a great life you had.

Posted at 5:52 pm in Current events, Detroit life, Media |

66 responses to “Cabin fever.”

  1. Sherri said on May 2, 2023 at 6:30 pm

    The NYPD costs the city of New York over $5 billion with a b in operating costs, and more like $10 billion when you add in pensions and debt service and judgements and other fringe benefits. What, exactly, does NY get for that money?

    The mayor of NY is urging NY’ers to buy Apple AirTags to put in their cars so the police can use them to find their cars when those cars are stolen.

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  2. alex said on May 2, 2023 at 7:17 pm

    This Old House was airing some Detroit rehabs on PBS recently, homes being rescued from the sort of decay we see above and transformed not merely into habitable dwellings but posh pads with all the latest finery grafted onto what remained of interesting old architectural detail. Probably drops in the bucket, mother-fuck-it, but glad to see there are at least some small pockets where people are trying to reverse the blight.

    Some days I despair when I see what 15 years of even benign neglect can do to a place, like the one I’m going to inherit from my parents.

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  3. lou gravity said on May 2, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    Raggedy Men, you say. I appreciate that.

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  4. Jeff Gill said on May 2, 2023 at 9:05 pm

    Shuttling between central Ohio and first NW Indiana and more recently Indianapolis, I’ve found all sorts of non-interstate options over the last decade, working around construction and crashes and various obstacles on the “fast” route.

    But that also means I’ve spent years watching certain homes and structures slowly decline and decay and implode, nature of an opportunistic sort taking over. The small towns between the themselves struggling county seats along US 30 or US 40 or US 36 are hollowing out visibly. Not sure anyone is interested in salvaging much of the brick or boards or human capital in those places.

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  5. Julie Robinson said on May 2, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    Over 40+ years we spent a lot of hours on Highway 30 across the northern stretch of Indiana, so I know exactly what you mean, Jeff. Businesses would close, occasionally reopen but usually deteriorate, the empty carcasses in various states of decay. One burned but the shell remained for at least five years, right next to the highway, the yellow caution tape eventually in tatters.

    Same thing with old barns. They’re too small for modern farm equipment and few farmers raise animals in the old ways, so they let them go until they collapse and finally get hauled away. On the farms my grandparents owned not a single building remains today.

    So it seems completely appropriate to discuss Gordon Lightfoot and his music, that whiskey voice and the hard life he led. I cued him up on spotify and realized I knew most of his catalog.

    As a high school freshman I tried to learn If You Could Read My Mind on guitar, but the pesky bar chords defeated my stubby fingers. I didn’t know anything about love but the song spoke to my 14 yo angst. Listening to the pain in his voice, the poignant lyrics, with the strings welling up and receding brought me to tears back then, and still today.

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  6. Sherri said on May 2, 2023 at 10:18 pm

    Maybe don’t write about how you’re using government to punish your enemy in your autobiography? Especially not if your enemy is a corporation as litigious as Disney?

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  7. Joe Kobiela said on May 2, 2023 at 10:30 pm

    My first flight instructor was at a bar in Duluth one night and struck up a conversation with the guy next to him, it was captain McSorley of the Fitz my friend got a tour the next day and had the captain sign his log book, a few months later she was gone.
    Visited the shipwreck museum up in the U.P once and talked to a diver that replaced the bell on the Fitz, he thinks she was going down a wave and a freak 30ft wave hit her stern and drove her straight into the bottom. The wheel house was in front which would explain why they never got a radio message off.
    Pilot Joe

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  8. David C said on May 3, 2023 at 6:15 am

    Will the supremely corrupt court decide that a corporation’s free speech only works for giving contributions to Republicans and not for punching a meatball in the face?

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  9. Jeff Borden said on May 3, 2023 at 10:36 am

    The latest unredacted emails and texts from Tucker McNear Swanson Carlson are appalling. His racism, of course, was already well known by anyone who’s ever caught a few moments of his White Power Hour, but the cruel depravity reaches another level when he describes an almost orgasmic pleasure in watching a gang of tRump thugs beating the shit out of a lone Antifa protestor. He clearly gets off on it.

    David C., as far as I’m concerned, it’s high time to pack that fucking court with the farthest left justices we can find. The current group of atavists on the Roberts court are going to continue to roll back a century of progress. They have both the power and the will. Strip Search Sammy Alito whines and moans about the low regard in which the Extreme Court is held –he’s suffering, people, feel for him!– but they care not a whit about what the vast, vast majority of Americans wants. They’ve been groomed for decades to do this without remorse or reflection.

    They are going to revisit Griswold. They are going to revisit Sullivan. They are going to revise Obergefell. They will never stop. The only solution is to dilute their power. . .and fast. And Dianne Feinstein needs to resign like now. Clinging to her seat while ill is thwarting the appointments of more reasonable judges to the federal courts, which are still top heavy with Federalist Society golems.

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  10. Deborah said on May 3, 2023 at 10:45 am

    Dianne Feinstein is a conundrum, why doesn’t she get it? Is she becoming demented too?

    Off topic question: I have a bunch of lemons that I bought because the price was right, what can I do with them before they go bad? I put them in a plastic bag in the fridge so they last longer but there are way more than I will use normally. I usually use only a half lemon a day for my breakfast yogurt concoction. And some days I don’t have that because it gets old. I already have a jar of preserved lemons so I don’t need another.

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  11. FDChief said on May 3, 2023 at 10:55 am

    As socially nasty as the wingnuts of the Furious Five Plus One are going to get about precedents like Griswold and Obergefell, the real clusterfuck they’re going to unleash is their lust for “nondelegation”.

    They’re going to give the plutocrats their dream; make tomorrow 1889 again! Pesky air and soil and water contamination rules? Haha! We laugh at your silly cancer, pleb! Have a heaping’ helping of workplace death and injury! Here! You got sick from my shit-stained chicken carcass? Aw, poor baby! Go ahead and sue me! My lawyers’ll see you in the court run by a wingnut freak that thinks the Food and Drug Administration is a commie plot!

    The sad and sorry part of all this is that millions of the stupid wingtards will sop this up with a biscuit because somewhere some ladyboy might show up at Walgreens in pumps and a cocktail frock.

    Nope. We the People are gonna get it good and hard. Say hello to your New Gilded Age overlords…

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  12. Julie Robinson said on May 3, 2023 at 11:54 am

    Deborah, how about lemon curd?

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  13. Deborah said on May 3, 2023 at 12:02 pm

    Good idea Julie, I’ll look that up. Since I eat that a lot, makes sense.

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  14. Kath said on May 3, 2023 at 12:16 pm

    Lake Superior sometimes gives up its dead. In the 1970s, my uncle, or rather his dog, found a boot with the foot still in it on the shore north of Duluth. Apparently the boot was made in around 1900.

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  15. Dorothy said on May 3, 2023 at 12:22 pm

    My son makes a mean chicken piccata recipe with capers and gluten free pasta that we gobble up every time he invites us to join them for this dish. Its another suggestion, Deborah, for those lemons.

    I am so anxious for this dreary cold, damp weather to go away here. I think it’s been like this pretty steadily for 4 or 5 days – I’ve lost count. We’re taking the grandkids to their first baseball game (minor league, Columbus Clippers) on Sunday and it’s going to be a high of 75 that day. Woo hoo! I love baseball. I hope the grands inherit that feeling. Jack won’t get anything out of it but he’ll be in the pictures we take that day.

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  16. tajalli said on May 3, 2023 at 12:27 pm

    Deborah, when I luck into a bunch of lemons or limes (often a great price in a bag of 12), I freeze the juice in 4oz (1/2 cup) amounts using old 8oz cottage cheese containers as the form, when frozen pop them out of the form and wrap in wax paper. I stack the packets into an old bagel plastic bag for the freezer and pull one out for adding to soups or to replenish one of those Real Lemon squeeze bulbs for use on fish or whatever.

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  17. LAMary said on May 3, 2023 at 1:00 pm

    I get a lot of lemons free from neighbors with lemon trees. My son makes lemon marmalade with them. It’s excellent.
    And there is this:

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  18. Jenine said on May 3, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    Peter Sagal suggested that GL’s wreck song was only one of several in that Canadian genre. He shared a link to Stan Rogers’ The Mary Ellen Carter. I’m glad to know this one – such a hopeful refrain “Rise again!”

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  19. Deborah said on May 3, 2023 at 4:44 pm

    LAMary, I don’t have a subscription to NYT cooking, I thought I did?

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  20. Bitter Scribe said on May 3, 2023 at 6:48 pm

    A daily paper in suburban Chicago has a very succinct “mission statement”:

    “Our mission: To fear God, tell the truth and make money.”

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  21. Jeff Borden said on May 3, 2023 at 7:50 pm

    Illinois is kind of a train wreck as a state. Tens of billions in debt. Corruption that would shock Tammany Hall. Two of the last three governors jailed. But…

    Our guv is signing a bill prohibiting book bans at libraries and public schools. Those that do lose funding. Literally, the exact opposite of Floriduh and Texass.

    I’ll take brokeass Illinois over those Sun Belt censors.

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  22. Jeff Gill said on May 3, 2023 at 10:02 pm

    Joe, still a heated debate among lakers, but the idea SS Edmund Fitzgerald hit Superior Shoal and broke her back due to a rogue wave making that 22 feet deep rock a killer has been strongly disputed by former crew who were not aboard that night; her construction was extended without adequate supports or securing and she just gave out under the strain. You can only torque cold steel so far.

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  23. Joe Kobiela said on May 3, 2023 at 10:26 pm

    We will probably never know for sure. The Anderson reported a extremely large 3 sister wave a bit before the Fitz disappeared, google 3 sister wave,(yikes) the diver told me he had never seen so much damage.
    Pilot Joe

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  24. Dexter Friend said on May 4, 2023 at 2:10 am

    Gordon Lightfoot played at Pine Knob in Clarkston and Carla Lee and I were big fans and saw his concerts there twice circa 1977. He was fat then and made self-deprecating fat jokes a couple times, sort of apologetically.
    Years went by and The Trib ran a story on him. He had become a gym rat and was on a diet of sorts, smoothies of kale I suppose. He was fit, unrecognizable. The last video I saw him in was at a John Prine show in a small venue, in which Prine pointed Gordon out to the crowd. Lightfoot became gaunt, I would say, in his later years. He beat fat.
    We of the golden years of CKLW-AM 800 , broadcasting in the river between Detroit and Windsor, got our fill of Gordon Lightfoot tunes. Was he that big in Miama, LA, Seattle, Atlanta? Maybe Seattle. Helifino.

    This story was probably published 8 years after I had read about his getting healthy, giving up booze and bad grub.

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  25. beb said on May 4, 2023 at 3:35 am

    A house a few doors down from us caught on fire 5 or 6 years. Windows broken and a big hole in the roof. Quite the eyesore. Unexpectedly workmen just put on a new roof and hauled a lot of trash out of the house. I can’t imagine that there’s enough of an interior to make the house salvageable but someone must think so.

    Sherri@1 The dirty little secret of “Defund the police” is that the police are not good at preventing or solving crimes after they happen.

    Deborah@10 asks if Diane Feinstein has dementia. Her staff apparently believes so. She really needs to retire now, not two years from now.

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  26. David C said on May 4, 2023 at 4:47 am

    I’ve read descriptions of Senator Feinstein’s condition. It sounds exactly like what my mom has. My mom has no ability to form short-term memories. If it’s anything like that she really needs to step down. Other than it being a cush job with lots of time off and great stock tips, why do they hang on to it like grim death.

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  27. Dorothy said on May 4, 2023 at 6:21 am

    I posit that Feinstein’s staff thinks they are protecting her legacy. But in reality they are making her legacy far, far worse by clinging to what used to be. All she’s going to be remembered for now is that she hung around far, far too long and caused damage to the Democrat’s agenda in her last term.

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  28. Suzanne said on May 4, 2023 at 8:00 am

    I don’t understand any of these really old lawmakers hanging on well after their prime, Feinstein & Grassley coming to mind immediately. Neither is fit to serve anymore. Why do they stay?? Go, enjoy what life you have left and make room for a younger person.

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  29. ROGirl said on May 4, 2023 at 8:20 am

    They would be giving up their power and relevance, a big loss if you’ve been in that realm for so long.

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  30. Dorothy said on May 4, 2023 at 8:42 am

    People need a healthy private life outside of their work life to give them the incentive to retire. If they have not made sure their circles of family and friends are thriving, they really only have their job to live for. It’s sad.

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  31. Suzanne said on May 4, 2023 at 9:48 am

    I read Tim Miller’s book “Why We Did It” a while back. Miller was a GOP strategist for years and chronicled why people stay with the modern GOP even though many know it’s a sham, bad for the country, etc. He mentions exactly what you say, Dorothy, that many of them have no friends, no life outside of their work as GOP mouthpieces, strategists, etc. and the money is good, so they bury their doubts and keep doing what they do even though they know it’s wrong.

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  32. Icarus said on May 4, 2023 at 9:48 am

    This guy tells history very sweary:

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  33. LAMary said on May 4, 2023 at 10:23 am

    Deborah, google recipes for avgolemono. There are lots of them online. Some include chicken. Jo Cooks is site with a good recipe for avgolemono. I believe Jo is Greek so there’s that.

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  34. jcburns said on May 4, 2023 at 11:38 am

    I think the back of my 1970s stereo has both avgolemono and avgolestereo outputs.

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  35. alex said on May 4, 2023 at 12:25 pm

    Love avgolemono and miss all the old Greek diners in Chicago.

    Here in Fort Wayne we’ve got one called Cosmos, but I don’t patronize it. The day after the 2016 election I went there for breakfast to commiserate with friends and the owners and staff were loudly and openly celebrating the Trump victory. Fucking idiots don’t know what side their bread is buttered on.

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  36. Jeff Borden said on May 4, 2023 at 12:33 pm


    Enrique Tarrio and his fellow traitors were found guilty of seditious conspiracy. Now, throw the fucking book at them. They don’t get out until they’re in wheelchairs.

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  37. Dorothy said on May 4, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    That was great, jc! Really made me smile.

    Time for a conversation veer – have any of you read The Warsaw Orphan? I’m 3/4 of the way through it and can’t put it down. It’s really good. Kelly Rimmer is the author.

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  38. JodiP said on May 4, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    Dorothy, that sounds great–I will put it on my list. I am listening to a similar novel, The Last Train to London, a fictional account of a Dutch woman, Truus Wijsmuller, who smuggled many children out of Nazi Germany.

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  39. Dave said on May 4, 2023 at 3:47 pm

    Alex, now you’ve got me feeling bad about all the money we spent in Cosmos over the time that we lived there. We were gone from Fort Wayne by 2016 so we had no idea. We used to enjoy all of those places, not just Cosmos, for breakfast at one time or another. Ugh.

    I don’t understand all of those lawmakers hanging on well past their prime, either, I think Chuck Grassley might actually get beat because of his age, if nothing else, in the last election but Iowa returned him once again.

    I know a man who retired this very week from the railroad, he started there in 1957, he was a locomotive engineer and stayed all of these years. Why? I believe he is 86 years old. The last man I knew about who did this only lived about two months after he retired, maybe that’s what he wants.

    You could not receive CKLW in Central Ohio but I remember hearing it on trips to northern parts of the state and my friend who lived in Lima was a big fan. We could get WKYC out of Cleveland, which was a little bit more progressive than WCOL, the local rocker. I know, that goes astray from talking about Gordon Lightfoot, I’ll blame Dexter for sending me astray. Sorry.

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  40. Deborah said on May 4, 2023 at 4:15 pm

    E. Jean Carroll, the woman Trump raped that is suing him for defamation currently, was born in Fort Wayne, she was Betty Jean Carroll when she lived there, she’s 79 now. She went to the U in Bloomington, she was a cheerleader while there. I read a biography she wrote about Hunter S. Thompson years ago and I ordered a more current book of her essays, that I haven’t received yet.

    As I’ve said I’ve been following the case closely. Trump has been an absolute turd during the trial, not that he’s there, but on social media. It doesn’t look good for him if you ask me, but he’ll appeal if he loses this one. She’s asked for an apology which she’ll never get.

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  41. tajalli said on May 4, 2023 at 7:42 pm

    David C@26: They hang on because their identity is all wrapped up in the position they’ve been filling. A huge loss of the sense of self-hood on retirement. All that power and seeming respect are very flattering.

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  42. Jeff Gill said on May 4, 2023 at 10:32 pm

    I hear about the Edmund Fitzgerald, I think of LST-745 which I heard a great deal about from U.S. Navy Storekeeper First Class Carl Hendrick, who transported soldiers, Marines and supplies in the Pacific during World War II.

    In his words, he “took care of the daily details of providing for the men, including traveling to supply ships in the flotilla. After we pushed ’em off and ran back, we brought support and supplies to ’em; I took care of the payroll, insurance, supplies and food. All the ship’s needs. I was the buyer.”

    Carl had a simple answer for his decision to join the Navy, instead of waiting to get drafted into the Army. “Because I didn’t want to sleep in foxholes.”

    Carl first boarded LST-745 in Pittsburgh where it ship was built. They made their way to the Gulf of Mexico via the Ohio & Mississippi. “Good raw oysters and beer in New Orleans,” he recalled.

    “You’re always in danger when you’re making invasions,” he said. “We had three invasions. We unloaded (troops), took off to get supplies and support… We brought the ship in as close as we could to shore, depending on the depth of the water.”

    At one point, the ship was caught in a typhoon when sailing from Tokyo to the Philippines. “We had to change our course of travel from south to east,” he said, adding the waves were rolling in as high as 17 to 18 feet. “The LST has a flat bottom; it doesn’t cut the water,” he said. The relentless pounding against the surf shook and rattled the entire ship. “The aft screw would be up out of the water,” he said, demonstrating a movement with his hands that looked like a bucking bronco kicking up its back legs.

    When the war was finally over, the fleet in the Pacific, including the LST-745, were witness to history. “We were in Tokyo Bay when MacArthur signed the treaty with Japan,” Hendrick said. “He flew by helicopter onto the ship (USS Missouri).”

    Carl passed away in 2010 at age 92.

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  43. Dexter Friend said on May 5, 2023 at 3:53 am

    When I get to New Orleans I am checking out the WWII museum and their LST.
    And signs and wonders…Merrick Garland does indeed have a pair. He hinted that Trump is next, since the Proud Boys are soon off to stir. Of course, I watch the lawyers on MSNBC by the hour, trying to garner hope that Trump will go down, down, because…

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  44. alex said on May 5, 2023 at 7:41 am

    Dave, we used to get CKLW in northeast Indiana too and it was my favorite AM station, much hipper than WOWO.

    So the Clarence Thomas corruption scandal seems to be bottomless. Now it comes out that Harlan Crow paid pricey boarding school tuition for a Thomas relative. And Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society slipped $100K to Ginni under the table and used Kellyanne Conway to do the handoff. I’d bet the farm that it doesn’t stop there and it doesn’t stop with just Thomas.

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  45. JodiP said on May 5, 2023 at 9:44 am

    Alex, I’ll add to your post, from Heather Cox Richardson notes on yesterday’s new revelations on the Thomases:

    And this is the profound national crisis at the heart of the stories emerging about Thomas. His votes were decisive not only in Shelby County v. Holder, but also in the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, also decided by a vote of 5–4, which opened the floodgates for dark money in political campaigns. Those decisions dramatically undermined our democracy. It now seems imperative to grapple with the fact it appears a key vote on the court that decided those cases was compromised.

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  46. Jeff Borden said on May 5, 2023 at 11:28 am

    My dad, who served in the Big Red One in Europe, was envious of sailors and airmen who slept in warm beds, ate hot meals and could take the occasional shower. He ate so much cold corned beef in his K rations he couldn’t abide the sight or smell of it when he returned.

    On the flabby orange cancer front, it appears Jack Smith has a mole in Mar-a-Lardo. Bad news for the QOP nominee, but unlikely to sway the moronic cultists who fall at his feet to worship.

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  47. David C said on May 5, 2023 at 1:09 pm

    My mom’s cousin was a submariner in WW2. Somehow, his letters home before he died when his submarine was torpedoed were in my grandmother’s stuff when she moved to assisted living. It sounded like a pretty grim life. All were stamped as censored so I wonder if it was even worse than he wrote. He complained about the food and said the submarine smelled like an outhouse.

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  48. Julie Robinson said on May 5, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    We trooped through the German U-2 submarine at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago more times than I can remember. Even as a child it felt claustrophobic, with triple bunks that weren’t even your own, but shared with someone on the opposite shift. Multiply it by unwashed bodies, unwashed clothing, no fresh air, and the bathroom situation, I would have lost it quickly. I feel a little panicky just writing about it.

    The Orange One is now saying he might testify. Judge is giving him until Sunday. He won’t, of course, it’s just another delaying tactic.

    More awful legislation has been passed this week in Florida, but I’m feeling a groundswell of opposition. Our daughter spoke Sunday at a huge protest gathering and march, wearing her clerical collar and noting that the current actions are wrong and unBiblical. Wednesday we had a teach-in/read-in and made plans to teach the unloved African American history AP class this summer, in person and online. These are just two small things I know about; now we have to harness it all.

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  49. Scout said on May 5, 2023 at 2:36 pm

    It is comforting to know there are good people making good trouble in Florida. The media certainly isn’t presenting anything resembling hope for decency and fairness in that state. My fervent wish is that GQP over-reach swings back to bite every single corrupt one of them in the tushies. And not just in Florida, obv.

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  50. Bob (not Greene) said on May 5, 2023 at 5:36 pm

    Fun fact, I am related to Daniel Gallery, the man commanding the task force that captured the U-505 at the Museum of Science and Industry.

    My grandmother on my mom’s side was a Gallery, and my mom remembered being introduced to “The Admiral” as a kid.

    In 2018, my wife and I and my mom visited where the Gallery came from in County Clare, Ireland, and tracked down a relative who drove us around to the old family landmarks — the family farm, the cemetery where they’re buried — it was amazing.

    The Daniel Gallery wing of the Gallery family was the reputable wing — Daniel’s father was at one time corporate counsel for the city of Chicago and his grandfather (also named Daniel) settled in Chicago in 1854 and, according to his obituary in the Chicago Tribune in 1904, was an original member of the Chicago Board of Trade.

    My mom’s wing of the Gallery family was the shanty Irish wing, who came to Chicago in the 1880s and evidently hit up their betters to get them city jobs. My great grandfather Patrick and his brother, Michael, were both Chicago cops.

    Michael Gallery was a true loose cannon. He got kicked off the force for robbing someone and then was REHIRED some years later and rose to the rank of captain.

    During the 1919 race riots, Michael Gallery (he of course turns up in the Chicago Tribune for this) tried to break up a fight by firing his pistol into the ground. The bullet ricochted off the pavement and hit a man holding a child.

    Also, one of his kids, Thomas Sarsfield Gallery went to Hollywood and became a silent film star who ended up marrying — ta da! — Zasu Pitts. I kid you not.

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  51. Deborah said on May 5, 2023 at 8:15 pm

    Whoa, Bob NG that’s quite a saga.

    We went to the Rick Bayless place, Xoco, and completely forgot it’s Cinco de Mayo. Miraculously we only had to wait 5 minutes to get seated. Boy my margarita tasted good!

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  52. Julie Robinson said on May 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    Bob, my Pigott and Brown great grandparents came from County Clare. Haven’t made the journey back yet but others in the family have and I’ve seen pictures.

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  53. Dexter Friend said on May 6, 2023 at 3:54 am

    I would have lost it totally had I been aboard a submarine. Dad wanted me join the Navy but that was before the 3 then 2 year enlistments were en vogue…I would have had to serve 4 years, so I just took my medicine with the Selective Service. Dad said a nice clean ship was better than a jungle or crawling in a rice paddy. He didn’t mention Swift Boat duty in Vietnam. Hell, those guys had it much worse than I did as a medic in Vietnam. Being stationed on the South China Sea, naturally I saw sailors , and they worked their asses off much harder than we soldiers did.
    So canned corned beef was the must-to-avoid? For soldiers, we of the C-ration generation had a real corker, Lima Beans and Ham. Guess what? I thought that shit was pretty good, probably because my parents fed us properly, vegetables every dinner, and lima beans were in the rotation. The guys called them “ham and motherfuckers”. The real delicacy was canned pound cake. That stuff was heavenly. Now it’s MREs. I saw videos of them, so much better than C-rations.

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  54. Deborah said on May 6, 2023 at 10:27 am

    My mom made creamed dried beef on toast which my dad called shit on a shingle because that’s what they called it when he was in the navy. He hated it, I have no idea why my mom insisted on making it then, probably because it was cheap to make. We all hated it, but it was part of the rotation. That and salmon croquettes, which was salmon out of a can mixed with an egg and crumbled up crackers then fried, also cheap to make. My dad liked ham with white beans which he also got during the war but was OK with him. My sister and I hated that too. As I’ve said here before my mother was a lousy cook, she read books while cooking and lots of stuff burned.

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  55. LAMary said on May 6, 2023 at 10:39 am

    I’m making coronation chicken salad today because the recipe sounds good. Mango chutney, mayonaisse, yogurt, cilantro, chopped dried apricots and chicken? Sounds better than King Chuck’s coronation dish of spinach and broad bean quiche. The CBS team covering the big event tasted it and the reactions ranged from not too bad to a big no. Yesterday I made big batch of quacamole. My guac is generally pretty good but yesterday’s was proclaimed epic. It’s a good year for avocados here. They’re plentiful and much less expensive than in the drought years. My recommendation for making guac better: Cholula green sauce and lots of lime juice.

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  56. alex said on May 6, 2023 at 11:48 am

    Shit on a shingle and salmon patties are two of my faves. I seldom eat them, but have no strong objections. Just had a corned beef sammich from an Irish pub yesterday and it was as salty as that Hormel stuff out of a jar and it kinds of gives me a hankering for shit on a shingle.

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  57. Mark P said on May 6, 2023 at 2:58 pm

    My mother made salmon patties when I was a small kid. They were ok with ketchup. Never had SOS, but my father (Army WW II) mentioned it, although he never said the “shit” part. It was definitely part of a low-income diet. At that time my mother budgeted literally to the penny. Later, with my mother working and my father doing pretty well at the Post Office, we seldom had salmon patties.

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  58. Carter Cleland said on May 6, 2023 at 4:17 pm

    Hey Bob NG @ 50, You neglected to mention that your relative Rear Admiral Daniel Gallery had two brothers who were also Rear Admirals in WW11, and a third who was a Navy chaplain. (Some Gallerys lived outside Chicago, in Winnetka, I believe, so that’s how I’ve heard of them, being from those parts.)

    He had three younger brothers, all of whom had careers in the U.S. Navy. Two brothers, William O. Gallery and Philip D. Gallery, also rose to the rank of rear admiral. The fourth brother, John Ireland Gallery, was a Catholic priest and Navy chaplain. Their grandfather Daniel, born about 1839, emigrated to the U.S. from Ennistymon, County Clare, Ireland, in the mid-to late-1800s.

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  59. beb said on May 6, 2023 at 5:17 pm

    Cream beef on toast and salmon patties. We had our share growing up. We ate the salmon patties with a topping of french dressing. I liked them both. Beef tongue I thought was disgusting but liked beef heart. The less said about brains the better. Dad had 5 acres so we had a sizeable garden and a sizable freezer. Of all the beans we grew Lima beans were the least palatable. We also had asparagus, strawberry and rhubarb which were dekicious, Also gooseberries which no amount of sugar could overcome their inherent tartness.

    If I could make one change to the US Constitution I’m torn between two choices. One would be to flat out excise the second amendment, The other would be to reduce the votes needed to impeachment a judge from 2/3 of the Senate to a simple majority. At the moment I’m not sure which is the greater danger, an Imperial Judiciary or unregulated gun possession.

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  60. Mark P said on May 6, 2023 at 6:21 pm

    I think the Supreme Court is the greater threat to democracy and a functioning society. They are no longer an equal branch of government, they have arrogated to themselves the power to control both of the other branches with no constitutional basis. They need to be reigned in, and made accountable. Unfortunately, since they are dancing to the Republican tune, there will never be sufficient political will to take them on. There are some cases coming up that could cripple the government. If I were President, I would communicate to the supremes that the wrong decision would be ignored.

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  61. FDChief said on May 6, 2023 at 7:07 pm

    Dexter’s ham and motherfuckers seem to have made a BIG impression on his peers, my platoon sergeants and first sergeants when I was a private; they all swore that no matter what we hated about the 1980s-era C-rations there was nothing worse, not even “ham and eggs, chopped” which you couldn’t find a trade for.

    The pound cake was still the prize, tho. A favorite cherry-pranking would be to hold up a B can and ask “who’ll trade for a pound cake?”. When the noob had given up his entire meal he’d discover he was now the proud owner of a “chocolate dust (nut) roll”.

    “This ain’t pound cake!” would be met with the suggestion that if the kid pounded it up his ass, it would be. Ah, GI wit…

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  62. Deborah said on May 6, 2023 at 7:30 pm

    I had occasion to eat salmon patties again not that long ago. We were invited to a friends house for lunch and that’s what they served. It wasn’t as bad as I remembered from my youth, but not great either.

    Today at the farmers market I saw rhubarb but passed it up, I’m kicking myself now, why did I not get some?

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  63. Sherri said on May 7, 2023 at 12:13 am

    We regularly had salmon patties growing up, and I hated them. It was a surprise to me to move to the West Coast and discover that salmon could actually taste good!

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  64. Dexter Friend said on May 7, 2023 at 3:25 am

    I have 3 cans of Pink Salmon in my cupboard now, for making patties. I eat them probably 2 or 3 times a month.
    I remember when “Silence of the Lambs” was playing, we couldn’t find fava beans anywhere for a month or 3.
    I worked with a man who had a massive heart attack and made life changes, eating only sardines, canned salmon, tuna, and raw vegetables. He went from obese-max to thin in just a few months.

    My Derby Horse started strong and was boxed out in the stretch. Kingsbarn. I never bet, just watch.

    Long Live The King! Geez, was that whole show amazing.
    I never will be a king, but I finally scored a decent pickup truck. You know, simple pleasures for simple minds.

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  65. LAMary said on May 7, 2023 at 11:13 am

    I associate canned salmon with hurricane prep food we kept on hand back east. Powdered milk, spam, canned salmon, canned pork and beans. We had a house on the north fork of Long Island and our connection to electricity was a little sketchy. The house was on a point between the two forks and was about seven miles from the nearest town. LILCO, our local power company, was slow to restore power to our woodsy little peninsula. We had a chest freezer in our cellar that was stocked at the beginning of the summer with a side of beef. One year our power was knocked out for days so my father invited everyone we knew to a barbecue. A farmer brought sweet corn and tomatoes and all the contents of the freezer in late summer got cooked on the grill. It was a nice communal feast. When everyone was stuffed and many were drunk, the lights came on. I remember it was when drunks were all singing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”

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  66. alex said on May 7, 2023 at 11:35 am

    I slimmed down during the quarantine in 2020 by eating salmon patties or salmon loaf in a rotation of other easy recipes cribbed from an old box of index cards that had belonged to a little old lady who lived next door to me and was a great cook. Chicken breasts braised in V8 juice was another surprisingly good one.

    Yesterday I accomplished my first round of garden shopping and today I need to quit procrastinating on the computer and get out there and get planting. The rain that had been forecast has cleared and it’s supposed to be nice the rest of the day.

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