Donna saved me.

I have friends who have moved…let me count… three or four times in 10 or so years, and honestly, I don’t know how the hell they’ve survived. My brother lived in a small apartment, the heavy stuff was already done by his younger friends, and still, two days of moving his dusty shit from one place to another left me grumpy and wrung out like a worn dishrag. Driving home, I was forced — forced, I say — to put Donna Summer singles on very very loud in my car, just to keep my spirits up for the final push from Toledo to Detroit.

Of course, it would help if he hadn’t lived in one of those hellscape ’70s-era apartment complexes, about a dozen or so units that all look like this:

I mean, every single one. I was trying to find his unit in this ghastly array, talking to my sister on the phone, and said, “I bet even the people who build this shit were depressed afterward.” Of course they weren’t; this was the ’70s, and complexes like these were going up everywhere. The better ones had pools, at least, but this one didn’t. Just these ugly mushroom-capped buildings, garages and… shudder.

But he’s in a better place now, in a better part of town. And I have rested and rehydrated, got some pool time and some non-crap food, and I feel mostly human again.

And I do recommend Donna for slow periods on the road. Especially “Hot Stuff” and any playlist called Disco Forever.

After I got home, I retrieved “Heat 2” from my local library; I had to wait long enough that I’d forgotten I was on the hold list. This is Michael Mann’s novel-as-sequel to his film “Heat,” one of my favorites; one night in France when it was pouring buckets outside, we stayed inside to watch it on Netflix with French subtitles (I thought I might pick up some tips on obscenities). I read the whole 460-page thing in three days, which is to say it’s a page-turner, but oy, it reads like Mann dictated the whole thing into voice memos and left Meg Gardiner, his co-author, to turn it into prose. The action sequences — see, I’m even using film jargon here — are described in the most minute detail, as are the weapons, while the female characters are basically a combination of stock adjectives for hair, skin and body.

However! If you were a fan of the movie, you’ll probably find it worth your while. It’s both a prequel and sequel to the story told in the film, so you get lots of Neil McCauley, Michael Cerrito and Chris Shiherlis, as well as Vincent Hanna. And the female characters are all beautiful, athletic, and move like lionesses. And if you like that stuff, you’ll like this stuff.

Now it’s Monday, and it’s time to get to work. Poached eggs and spinach for breakfast, I’m thinking. I need to start the week like Popeye.

Posted at 8:16 am in Movies, Same ol' same ol' |

40 responses to “Donna saved me.”

  1. Dorothy said on June 5, 2023 at 8:53 am

    Moving a lot sucks. If it’s a corporate move, that makes it much easier. This last one we did was not corporate, so our 64 year old asses were worn OUT.

    Our job-related moves: April 2002: Eighty Four PA to Cincinnati; October 2004: Cincinnati to Simpsonville SC; September 2007: SC to Mount Vernon OH; November 2013: Mt. Vernon to Dayton OH; February 2022: this was not job related – Dayton to Columbus. Never moving again (God willing).

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  2. Jeff Borden said on June 5, 2023 at 9:07 am

    That’s a helluva reading accomplishment in just three days.

    My current read is “A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge,” which was published in 1985. It’s 645 pages of infinitesimal detail about that last ditch Nazi effort in 1944, but I want to learn as much as possible about it since it was one of the defining moments of my dad’s life. He was just 22 when he was caught up in the fight, which occurred in the midst of an actual blizzard. I can’t begin to imagine how terrifying it must’ve been for such a young man.

    He was separated from his unit and found himself in Bruges, where the family of a baker hid him in their cellar. Nazi patrols were going door-to-door, threatening the Belgians with death if they were hiding any GIs, but that family never wavered and he was eventually reunited with his unit. When I was writing his obituary –he was dying of lung cancer and heart disease– he insisted on being referred to as a “survivor of the Battle of the Bulge.”

    The book is helping me understand how the hubris of the Allies leadership contributed mightily to the death toll suffered by their forces. No one thought the Germans capable of such an assault. It’s always the GIs who suffer when the generals are wrong.

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  3. Heather said on June 5, 2023 at 9:35 am

    That was kind of you to help with the moving. I’m just too old to do it, even for small stuff. Last time I moved 17 years ago, I hired movers and my back ended up killing me anyway. If someone wants to give me a package of massage and chiropractic in exchange, I’ll think about it.

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  4. nancy said on June 5, 2023 at 9:55 am

    I should add, re “Heat 2” — there is a lot, and I mean a LOT, of sexual violence in it. Not explicitly described, but the main bad guy (i.e., the Waingro replacement) is a sadistic rapist who likes to put cigarettes out on women’s bodies. If you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, be advised.

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  5. Mark P said on June 5, 2023 at 10:08 am

    My father’s unit was involved with the Battle of the Bulge. The only thing he ever said about it was that they were cut off and the only food he had was apples. After a lot of urging, my father began to write a memoir of his experiences in WW II. He wrote a lot about his training and the voyage to France, where his unit landed a few months after D Day. He got right up to the point when they were going into combat, and then he died before getting to it. The only things I know about his combat experiences are the stories he told us.

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  6. LAMary said on June 5, 2023 at 10:38 am

    I very briefly had an awful job in a part of L.A. that was 14 miles away but took 2 hours of driving at rush hour. On my way home every day I was usually thoroughly pissed off at the management of that place and frustrated by the bumper to bumper traffic for about 10 of the 14 mile drive. My go to tunes were version of Comfortably Numb recorded at the Berlin Wall concert and While My Guitar Gently Weeps from the Concert for George.
    Just looked at the Glassdoor review of that place. They get a 2 out of 5 stars. I’d say that’s generous.

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  7. LAMary said on June 5, 2023 at 10:59 am

    Trashy news:

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  8. Julie Robinson said on June 5, 2023 at 11:09 am

    D was on the management train with Knight Ridder and started getting job offers all over the country, but he pulled the cord and got off. It turned out you had to commit to moving every two or three years and wouldn’t be anywhere long enough to put down roots. We decided that being part of a community was more important than the money, and in review it still seems like the right decision.

    So we moved houses three times but not towns until this last one. We’re all one story, so like Dorothy, God willing, we’ll stay. But who knows what life will throw at us, right?

    Finding new friends and groups has gone pretty well, finding new doctors has been quite a chore. Still looking for a good dentist on our plan and the optometrist left, but we’ve got a good core of internist and specialists now.

    Changing addresses for everything took forever. Remember when you would pick up a change of address kit at the post office, fill out postcards and send them off to everyone? Now a lot is done online, but sometimes we had to make an online account just to change the address. Some you could call, some in person.

    Then of course new insurance agents for house and car, new driver’s license and plates, voter’s registration. Multiply it all times two since I had to do it all for Mother. Yup, never moving again.

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  9. nancy said on June 5, 2023 at 11:31 am

    Dorothy, my boxing trainer is from Forty Fort, Pennsylvania, which for all my life I thought was Forty Four, which makes me wonder about Eighty Four: What is it with Pennsylvania city/town names like this? Is it a mining-town thing?

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  10. Icarus said on June 5, 2023 at 11:32 am

    Not counting college, I’ve changed abodes six times, though 5 were all in Chicagoland. We really purged and got rid of a lot of stuff and it still took two U-hauls to move down to Olive Branch, MS. I dread doing it again but hope that we will either move into a better functioning house here or in my dream world back to Chicago.

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  11. alex said on June 5, 2023 at 12:02 pm

    We’ve got one of those mansard-roofed hellscapes right across from Shoaff Park. Instead of replacing the asphalt roofing shingles with same on the vertical portions, they’ve been slapping on vinyl siding instead. When those places burn, which seems to happen frequently, they look like quite the melty mess.

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  12. Dave said on June 5, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    In our married life, we moved seven times, two of the moves were job related and the others moves we made to upgrade or downsize. We started married life living in an apartment in Norwalk, OH, for nearly two years, and went from there to Lima in 1980, where we immediately bought a home for 12 3/4% interest mortgage, and 30% down. These folks talking about high interest rates have no idea. After six years, we moved to Fort Wayne, where we lived in one rental house and two different homes we owned in Perry Township, where our children grew up. After retirement and all three children living out of state, we made our move to Florida, where we spent six years but two of our three children were back in Indiana after saying they weren’t coming back so, neither of us really loving Florida, decided to come back, sold our home for far more than we could have ever imagined and are now back, giving up one red state for another but what are you going to do?

    I didn’t have anyone in the European theater but my uncle was in the Army in the South Pacific during WWII and how I wish I knew something of what his experiences were. He never discussed it but he stayed close to the men he served with all his life, going to reunions and what-not. I know that my aunt once told me he occasionally had nightmares.

    The pictures of your brother’s apartment complex remind me of the many apartments that sprang up in Columbus during the late sixties and seventies.

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  13. Julie Robinson said on June 5, 2023 at 12:32 pm

    Dave, we bought a house in 1984 during one of those high interest cycles and had to be content at 14.5%, hearing that if we’d waited one more day it would have been 15.25. When rates dropped in the next year or so we did a refi and cut our payments in half.

    BTW we bought that house for $35,000 and last year it sold for $159,000. For 900 sf in a middling neighborhood.

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  14. Icarus said on June 5, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    What’s better, a high-interest rate but a sensible price house, or a single-digit interest rate but the insane prices we see today?

    I’m sure $35K was a Queen’s ransom in 1984, but it would be a downpayment today, and only in select markets at that.

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  15. LAMary said on June 5, 2023 at 1:14 pm

    I paid 149k for my house in 1986. I’m told it’s now worth 1.1 million. Not bragging. I think that’s crazy.

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  16. Jason T. said on June 5, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    Nancy at 9: When I worked for the Washington, Pa., newspaper, Eighty-Four was within our coverage area.

    The official scoop was that the town was originally named “Smithville,” but in 1884, the post office required them to change the name because there were too many other “Smithvilles.” The postmaster, as Wikipedia notes, “didn’t have a whole lot of imagination.”

    Eighty-Four today is best known as the headquarters of the 84 Lumber chain of building supply warehouses.

    But there are a bunch of “coal patch” towns that were named after the nearest mine — which is why we have communities named things like “Edna No. 2” — or the postmaster’s kid or the wealthiest local farmer or whatever. I think the real issue was that so many immigrants were pouring into Pennsylvania in the 1880s through 1900s, towns were almost literally being built overnight and they weren’t giving the names of the communities much thought.

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  17. Jeff Borden said on June 5, 2023 at 3:14 pm

    Generally, the men who served in both theaters in World War II rarely spoke of it. It just wasn’t their style and, honestly, I think they simply never wanted to relive it. There was one exception when I was an elementary age kid. My friend’s father had sailed in the Merchant Marine, which obviously was quite important to the war effort, yet he claimed to have downed five Japanese Mitsubishi Zeros with a .50-caliber machine gun. His son believed it passionately but even then it seemed far-fetched to me.

    One a lighter note, good old Charles P. Pierce absolutely eviscerates a story by the NYT fashion editor in which she compares Casey DeathSantis, wife of the vertically challenged fascist, with Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. If you need a chuckle, it will suffice.

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  18. Suzanne said on June 5, 2023 at 4:07 pm

    We are in the process of moving and I fear it will do me in. We had moved 5 times before this, the last time in 1997 and always to a larger space. Now, we are downsizing and digging through all the detritus of the years is brutal. Once you decide something is going, then the question is where to send it? I am trying to avoid putting things in the garbage that are still usable. On top of it, I have the constant hum of health concerns whirring in the back of my mind at all times and trying to get all the Medicare/SS enrollment done in time.
    If we move again, I think it’ll be in the next few years before we’ve fully unpacked.

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  19. Dorothy said on June 5, 2023 at 4:51 pm

    We lived in Eighty Four for ten years. Mike worked nearby in Canonsburg PA. We bought the house we did because it was rural, had 1 acre of land, and we could not afford a house in the pricier suburbs near Canonsburg.

    So one day included with our mail was a piece printed by the Eighty Four post office that said “I bet you wonder how our town got its name?!” And it went on to say that no one was exactly sure. But they boiled it down to two possibilities: one was that it was it was the 84th stop along the railroad between blank and blank (I can’t remember the towns). OR was it that it commemorated when Grover Cleveland stopped when his train came through the area on his presidential campaign? Local people thought the Grover Cleveland thing was more likely the explanation. I think it’s weird that they did not have some record of it somewhere!

    Now Eighty Four Lumber has its corporate headquarters there. Of course the company took its name from the town. It was owned by Joe Hardy who had quite a reputation. When we won the front row seats, limo ride, dinner for two, etc. to see Bonnie Raitt, the limo driver told us stories about Joe Hardy’s very spoiled daughter that entertained us greatly. That driver was lots of fun. She took our kids and babysitter around the block a couple of times because we’d never been in a limo before. We lived in Turtle Creek when we won those tickets – moved to Eighty Four two years later. My favorite place in Eighty Four will always be the Spring House, which had a dairy and terrific prepared food and ice cream. Across the road was the Eighty Four Auction which we attended just once, just to experience it.

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  20. ROGirl said on June 5, 2023 at 5:10 pm

    I’ve lived in my house since 1997, paid around what LAMary paid for her house, but mine ain’t worth no 1.1 million.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on June 5, 2023 at 6:09 pm

    Suzanne, you’ve described us two years ago, health concerns not included. We have a large family and a lot went to them, but clothing mostly went to Salvation Army because they’ll take it all and send to rag makers what doesn’t sell. IIRC you’re in the Fort Wayne area? Our old church has a huge garage sale during 3Rivers Festival, and they have places they downstream to for anything not sold. That’s where most of our furniture went. If you want info, I’ll find out what the intake hours are.

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  22. LAMary said on June 5, 2023 at 6:09 pm

    In a less weird world my house would not be worth that much. I get at least three phone calls a day asking if I want to sell. My house is not that great. It’s old. Both bathrooms could use a full redo. The flooring and carpeting, while not mildewy from the flood, look less than fab. All the houses around me that sold recently went for more than a million. I have the benefit of owning two good sized lots and I think that adds a lot to the “value.” My brother in Denver says real estate is going crazy there too. Here and in Denver the prices went down a bit when mortgage rates went up but not that much.

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  23. David C said on June 5, 2023 at 6:27 pm

    I tell people that interest rates aren’t all the high historically and nobody believes me. The average mortgage rate since 1971 is 7.75%. Our first one was 11.5% and I see Dave’s and Julie’s were even higher. We were over the moon when we refinanced at 7.5%. Right now, I hear, they’re a little over 6%. We were talking to our neighbor last week and she said she put in bids on 15 or 20 houses before she bought hers last fall and was outbid on every one. It was only when rates went up that she was able to buy. Our new car loan was 5.9% which I doubt is out of line over the past few decades either. I see interest rates and hear people saying it’ll ruin everything and they really have no idea.

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  24. Dorothy said on June 5, 2023 at 6:29 pm,_Pennsylvania#:~:text=Origin%20of%20name,-Eighty%20Four%20was&text=It%20has%20been%20suggested%20that,on%20the%20Baltimore%20%26%20Ohio%20Railroad.

    I should have just posted this in answer to Nancy’s question. Uncle Google knows EVERYTHING.

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  25. Julie Robinson said on June 5, 2023 at 7:02 pm

    At least our timing was good with this last mortgage, at 3.25%. Of course we also paid three times more any previous home. Rates were even lower in the interim and we thought we’d do a refi for kitchen and bathroom renovations. That’s when we found out they wouldn’t write a mortgage on the promise of social security; we had to both be receiving it for 12 months first. By then rates had skyrocketed. We can take 401K withdrawals but if you take too much your taxes go up. Bummer.

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  26. Sherri said on June 5, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    Icarus, when we bought our first house in 1990, our down payment was $35,000, which was only 10% down on a jumbo loan that was 9%. We eventually sold that house (in Mountain View, CA) for $800K.

    We bought our current home here for $549K. It’s bigger, on a bigger lot, and newer, than the house in Mountain View, but that’s the difference between Silicon Valley and up here. Both very expensive housing markets, but not quite as crazy here. Zillow puts our current home at $1.8M, our previous home at $2.3M.

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  27. Heather said on June 5, 2023 at 10:19 pm

    Gotta say the price on my condo has gone up a bit but not much in 17 years, especially compared with the houses and two flats in the neighborhood. Wish I’d bought a house when I could afford one, but I don’t know that I could have kept up with the repairs and the taxes as a single person. Sometimes I wish I had a yard and a bit more space, but overall I’m quite happy where I am.

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  28. Dexter Friend said on June 6, 2023 at 2:43 am

    We all have snickered at Intercourse, PA, but what the hell, Jersey Shore, PA? It was a joke that became real, by residents on opposite sides of a river. Jersey Shore is nowhere close to an ocean shore.
    My book finally arrived.
    365 Days by Dr. Ronald J. Glasser

    Glasser’s 365 DAYS is more than just a list of horrific events; it is an insight into what transformations he underwent as a doctor in Japan treating the wounded of the American war against Viet-Nam.
    This is the 50th anniversary printing; I had never heard of it before, somehow. Glasser is gone now, dementia. I’ll start reading it today.
    Las Vegas real estate is also crazy. Daughter Lori paid $130K 12 years ago for an old house that had been on the market so long squatters had broken in and were shitting in the pool area. The real estate agent sent in cleaners, the deal was done. 18 months ago she sold it for $375K.

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  29. Dorothy said on June 6, 2023 at 9:05 am

    My dad was at the Battle of the Bulge, too, but I don’t recall ever hearing him talk about it at length. He liked to talk about the story that he wrote to Tom Brokaw about, and it was memorialized in his second book “The Greatest Generation Speaks”.

    Dad was a medic. My son posted this on his Facebook page on Memorial Day:

    During WWII, infantry companies were assigned 3 medics; my grandfather was one such medic. The other two assigned with him, as well as eight additional medics sent as backfills, were killed in action. When Pap was promoted, the man who replaced him was killed the following morning. Each year, I try and reflect on a story or person who gave their life in service to our country. This year, I am thinking about those 11 men.

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  30. robert said on June 6, 2023 at 9:57 am

    Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Wichita, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, France, Houston, France, Houston, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, NJ.

    We will be horizontal for our next (& final) move.

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  31. JodiP said on June 6, 2023 at 10:37 am

    I bought my house with my ex in 1995 for $89,000, which after adjusting for inflation is $179,500 in today’s dollars. Zillow lists the range for our place from 328,000 to 361,000. The info on the house is old and doesn’t reflect we have a fully finished basement, newly remodeled kitchen and mainfloor bath and a very nicely landscaped yard with a large flagstone patio.

    We aren’t going anywhere for a while, but plan to move to Europe in about 7 years. Well before then, we’ll be cleaning out the house. I give quite a bit away on Buy Nothing on Facebook. Some things we’ll sell (furniture, mainly) but I am sure we will just give away a lot. People have Buy Nothing Yard sales which could be an option. I mostly want to keep our cookware and various art. We have few books, preferring to borrow from the library.

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  32. brian stouder said on June 6, 2023 at 10:46 am

    It won’t be much longer, now that our youngest has graduated from Wayne High School, before we sell the house we’ve been in for almost 3 decades, and move to Logansport/Cass County, from whence my lovely bride came. Honestly, Pam is much the stronger person than me; she came to Fort Wayne after graduating high school, in order to continue her education and then enter the job market after graduating. So – I definitely owe her, and always will!

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  33. nancy said on June 6, 2023 at 11:19 am

    My sister found the website for our brother’s ex-apartment, with a photo gallery. JUST THE PLACE for an older man with increasing mobility issues, don’t you think?

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  34. Dave said on June 6, 2023 at 12:41 pm

    I know right where that is. There used to be a school right at the corner of Alum Creek and Williams Road. When I was young, my mother worked at a railroad interlocking tower on Williams Road, to the west of there where the railroads cross, a place named Valley Crossing. The Columbus Motor Speedway was also nearby. Of course, it wasn’t all built up then.

    Yes, my mother was a railroader, working as a telegraph tower operator for the Norfolk and Western for 28 years but those jobs are all but extinct today.

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  35. Julie Robinson said on June 6, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    No bathroom on the main floor? Up rickety stairs? No tall toilet, no walk-in tub?

    We had a devil of a time finding a place for my sister, and the one she ended up in wasn’t really that great, but it was the best that was available. The senior apartments my mom lived in and that we moved to were 100% accessible, and what a difference in safety and peace of mind that provided.

    Orange County’s proposed development plan calls for every dwelling to be built accessible. I got in a big argument with a person who claimed it was too expensive. BS, I told her politely, citing our own experience building our addition. The halls and doors are a little wider, you use lever handles instead of doorknobs, there are no steps entering. Then you have a few changes in the bathroom. A tall toilet doesn’t cost any more than standard height. Walk-in tub or shower, again, if it’s new construction, not costly.

    We’re all getting older and even those who are young can suffer a catastrophic event and need accessibility. You know what’s expensive? Trying to retrofit or having to move.

    Whew! Apparently I’m passionate on this issue.

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  36. JodiP said on June 6, 2023 at 3:41 pm

    Julie, I recently read this article from National Geographic on aging in Japan. Unfortunately, it’s for subscribers only. But many towns are empty and the government and private companies are working hard to figure out how to care for the aging population. It’s especially challenging, as Japanese people live quite long. Robots are involved, but mostly as monitoring functions.

    I don’t know if our demographic shift will be a severe, but we are getting older, and with our ragged social safety net, it’s gonna be ugly for people who don’t have significat means and are too “rich” for Medicaid (which pays for nursing homes and sometimes assisted living situations.)

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  37. Brandon said on June 6, 2023 at 3:45 pm

    I see Cornel West is running for President.

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  38. Jim said on June 6, 2023 at 5:59 pm

    The 2013 archive post features mucho RFK Jr. linkage.

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  39. alex said on June 6, 2023 at 7:04 pm

    The girl with emphysema goes walking
    With rhythmic peals of wheezing and hocking
    And when she passes a crowd
    She passes a gob

    I’m sure Cooz could do it better, but my rewrite was a fave among my circle long ago. We even went to see Astrud at a midnight show at a club in Chicago in the ’90s, and as such shows inevitably go, it started hours late and was quite short.

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  40. Ann said on June 6, 2023 at 8:54 pm

    Yup.Bought our first house in June 1980. Mortgage was at 15.5%. Felt like bandits when we refinanced later to 11.5. I seem to recall that there was an intermediate refi at 13 something. I do know we had a regular mortgage refinance person and were always doing the math to see if the better rate was worth the closing costs. Do they still do a percentage and points? I remember a lot of fuss about figuring that out too. We sold that house in 2006 and haven’t had to have a mortgage since, thanks to downsizing. But we couldn’t get over watching our kids refinance from 4.5% to 3.75%.

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