Wrapping a long week.

Today my pleasant little suburb had its “first annual” — the copy editor in me winced — “family fun bike ride.” It was clearly aimed at families with children, but they needed volunteers, so what the hell, I signed up. I’d hoped I’d get assigned to sweep, i.e., be the last in the peloton to make sure no one falls behind, but instead they assigned each volunteer to a corner, to make sure everyone stayed on course.

The course, I should add, was a rectangle. Down so many blocks, over one block, back the same number of blocks, over to the starting point. Total distance: 1.4 miles. Like I said, families with kids, and little ones. The lead and sweep positions were police, one on a bike and the sweep in a vehicle, lights blazing. We don’t take chances with child safety in the tender, fearful suburbs. I rode out to my post alone, and passed a yard where the owner gave me a cheery wave. I waved back, then noticed his side door had a Trump/Pence sign on the window. Given the events of last Friday, I wanted to circle back, stop and yell HOW FUCKING STUPID ARE YOU PEOPLE ANYWAY? But I didn’t. Look at me, the adult.

Anyway, the bike ride was fun, even though it rained. (Finally, rain. The first in at least a month.) As the last of them passed my post, I got on my own bike and rode back to the park with them. It was a grandmother and her wee grandson, who still had training wheels, and was working mightily to keep pumping away. We encouraged him, and he found his second wind. The sweeping police vehicle celebrated our finish with a siren whoop. Forty-five minutes of waiting around after volunteer registration, 12 minutes of cycling, then home.

I spent the weekend running hither and yon, and so today, bike ride notwithstanding, was all about relaxation. (And doing pre-work for next week’s work.) So I had time to read the entire lengthy obituary for Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, who died Saturday. (Gift link to the obit.) What…a life. On my way back from Columbus after the moving adventure, I listened to some podcasts, and heard one, a recent “Fresh Air” episode, on Clarence Thomas, tied to a POV episode about him and Ginni. I hadn’t realized how grim and painful Thomas’ early life had been; he is the ultimate example of the therapy phrase “hurt people hurt people.” His grandfather, who raised him, emotionally abused him. White people abused him. Black people abused him. So he grew up to be an asshole. So did Ted Kaczynski, although there’s a strong case to be made that he was simply born broken.

The obit has a hell of a kicker:

Online, young people with a variety of partisan allegiances, or none at all, have developed an intricate

vocabulary of half-ironic Unabomber support. They proclaim themselves “anti-civ” or #tedpilled; they refer to “Uncle Ted.” Videos on TikTok of Unabomber-related songs, voice-overs and dances have acquired millions of views, according to a 2021 article in The Baffler.

Mr. Kaczynski was no longer the mysterious killer who had belatedly projected an outlandish justification for violence; now he was the originator of one of many styles of transgression and all-knowing condemnation to adopt online. His crimes lay in a past young people had never known, and he was imprisoned, no longer an active threat to society.

His online support did not indicate how many eco-terrorists had been newly minted, but it did measure a prevalence of cynicism, boredom, dissatisfaction with modern life and gloom about its prospects for change.

During his imprisonment, Mr. Kaczynski copied his correspondence by hand and forwarded it to the University of Michigan’s Joseph A. Labadie Collection, an archive devoted to radical protest, which has amassed dozens of boxes of Kaczynskiana.

According to New York magazine, Mr. Kaczynski’s papers became one of the collection’s most popular offerings. In an interview with the magazine, Julie Herrada, the collection’s curator, declined to describe the people so intrigued by Mr. Kaczynski that they visit the library to look through his archive. She said just one thing: “Nobody seems crazy.”

No doubt. We’ll be passing this way again, I’m sure. Have a good week, all.

Posted at 6:47 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

38 responses to “Wrapping a long week.”

  1. Brandon said on June 11, 2023 at 9:00 pm

    “first annual”

    First ever would have been better.

    Ted Kaczynski papers, 1996-


    Collection consists of three series: Correspondence, the bulk of the collection, which includes letters written to Kaczynski since his arrest in 1996; Publications, consisting of pamphlets, serials, and clippings sent to Kaczynski with a few added by archivists during processing; and Legal Documents, containing drafts of briefs, excluding any materials that fall under attorney-client privilege or are significant to the appeal process. Later additions include photographs and documents (some photocopies) from the FBI.


    The collection is open to researchers subject to some limitations. In particular, parts of the Correspondence series are only available in photocopied form; selected names and addresses are marked out. The original letters are closed until December, 2049. Additional legal and personal documents are also sealed until December, 2049.

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  2. Dave said on June 11, 2023 at 10:11 pm

    Your second paragraph is what I want to write to every Repugnant politician defending him and/or something along the lines of do you all think we’re that stupid. Knowing that I’d be wasting my time and my efforts would be useless is what stops me.

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  3. ROGirl said on June 12, 2023 at 7:30 am

    There’s a house that’s been plastered with banners and flags for the twice impeached and indicted former president since before the 2020 election. It’s on a main street near where I live and I usually give it a one-finger salute when I drive past (I’ve never actually seen anyone out front, maybe they only come out at night). The area is otherwise solidly blue.

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  4. Jeff Borden said on June 12, 2023 at 9:46 am

    Any pleasure I felt at seeing that orange cancer finally called to account has dissipated as the diseased party he leads circles the wagons around him. The law and order party is no more. Meanwhile, Neil Steinberg is sounding a warning call:


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  5. Deborah said on June 12, 2023 at 9:56 am

    The in your face, over the top exhibitionism of Trump supporters is puzzling. I can’t think of anything else quite like it. Except maybe Christmas decorating, when some people go overboard lighting up their houses and filling their yards with tacky inflatables. But that usually only lasts about a month out of the year. I’m sure a lot of the Trump paraphernalia display is a “fuck you” to the rest of us.

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  6. Julie Robinson said on June 12, 2023 at 11:50 am

    On this day of 2016 in the City Beautiful, an executioner took the lives of 49 souls for being at a gay nightclub. The fighting about the memorial still goes on and does not make the City look Beautiful.

    It surprised me that at 81, Kaczynski was apparently a death by suicide. I’d like to know more.

    On a happier note, yesterday was a shower for our soon to be DIL. No silly games except a Jane Austen card game. She has classy friends: it was a proper English tea, and as my mother noted, everyone wore dresses. Cucumber sandwiches? Check! Scones? Check! Clotted cream and lemon curd? Check! Proper china and teacups with saucers? Check! Damask napkins folded into roses? Check! Feeling the carb haze later? Checkity check check!

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  7. John Carpenter said on June 12, 2023 at 12:29 pm

    I went to Montana when he was arrested, covering it for the Sun-Times. My favorite detail came from a guy who published a local newspaper, which I think came out once every two weeks. Once he published an edition that was deliberately filled with errors, and offered a prize to the reader who could find them all. The winner, of course, was Kaczynski. That was also the pre-internet days, when working this type of story was much more civilized. We could send our stories from laptops, but we had to have a phone line that could handle it, meaning a fax line. There were only two fax machines in Lincoln, Montana, and I remember standing in line with other reporters, waiting for a turn to send. Then, our stories done and sent, we headed off to dinner and drinks.

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  8. Bob (not Greene) said on June 12, 2023 at 2:48 pm

    I liked this piece, written just after Kaczyinski’s arrest about how the Chicago Daily Southtown outreported the nation on the story.

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  9. Jeff Borden said on June 12, 2023 at 3:40 pm

    John Carpenter, you’ll appreciate this.

    When I worked at the Columbus Dispatch, there was an oft told story about one of the reporting legends, who by the time I arrived was working the city desk when he could remain sober.

    He was assigned to cover a big court case when only pay telephones were available to call the paper. There was a couple of them in the courthouse lobby. When the verdict came down, the scribes raced to the pay phones to call it in, but discovered one of the phones was out of order. Our guy sauntered over to the “broken” phone, removed the sign he’d taped to it the night before and called in the story. Those were the days!

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  10. nancy said on June 12, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    That reminds me of a story I read on Romenesko, back in the day: The world’s press was waiting for a new Pope to be named; it must have been John Paul II. There was a bank of pay phones where you could kinda-sorta see the Vatican chimneys, and rumor had it that the decision had been made, and a Sun-Times reporter was able to grab a phone and was making chitchat with the desk, just to keep the line open. Then, suddenly, the smoke began to pour from the chimney, but contrary to what everyone has been led to believe, it was hard to tell if it was white or black. So the reporter puts the phone down, and goes to a closer spot to scrutinize. While he’s doing so, a random citizen picks up the phone and says something in Italian that Chicago can’t understand. The desk man is yelling DON’T HANG UP DON’T HANG UP then yelling to the newsroom DOES ANYONE HERE SPEAK ITALIAN and back into the phone DON’T HANG UP DON’T HANG UP. Just then, a copy editor wanders in from lunch, and someone goes, “Hey, that’s Bob! Bob speaks Italian!” The desk man waves him over frantically and says TELL HIM DON’T HANG UP! Bob looks puzzled, takes the phone and says, “Don’t hang up.”

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  11. Sherri said on June 12, 2023 at 7:33 pm

    Many Silicon Valley companies of the last few years have engaged in regulatory arbitrage; they have started a new company that ignores the current regulations in hopes that the company will get so big/popular that regulators will change regulations to accommodate them. Uber is the prime example of this move.

    Crypto exchanges have tried the same path, but have run squarely into an SEC that so far has been unwilling to yield. Crypto’s claim is that “we’re special, your old 1930s era securities laws can’t cope with us”, to which the SEC replies, “if it talks like a security, and walks like a security, it’s a security.”

    The biggest test of this is beginning now, with the SEC suing Coinbase. If you want to understand the ins and outs of the Coinbase-SEC battle, I recommend following Molly White.


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  12. LAMary said on June 12, 2023 at 10:52 pm

    I wasted some time watching Chris Christie on CNN. He still looks like my sister in law in New Jersey. Must be something in the water. He hates Trump which is probably enough to get some votes and he hates Biden and Obama as well. He bullshat his way through a question about Bridgegate.

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  13. Dexter Friend said on June 13, 2023 at 3:16 am

    I watch a lot of TCM films and it’s always a kick when a verdict is read, the fedora crowned press scramble for any phone available.
    Hey Jeff B. : Last time I was at Wrigley Field there still was a long bank of pay phones, and at Union Station, too. They still there? I am referring to 2000.

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  14. Heather said on June 13, 2023 at 11:35 am

    This would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic (and scary):

    “There are 33 bathrooms at Mar-a-Lago. So don’t act like it’s just in some random bathroom that the guests can go into,” Florida Rep. Bryon Donalds says on CNN. Speaker McCarthy has also defended that location, saying at least “a bathroom door locks.”


    And as several people have pointed out, bathrooms generally lock from the INSIDE.

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  15. alex said on June 13, 2023 at 12:21 pm

    Recollections from the woman who spurred Megyn Kelly to proclaim “Santa is white and so’s Jesus!”


    I don’t know about Santa, but Jesus was woke, a fact that’s lost on most Bible thumpers.

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  16. Julie Robinson said on June 13, 2023 at 1:46 pm

    Has anyone seen the phrase “no bedsheets available” on a hotel site? I’m looking in NYC for context. I’ve already decided not to stay there so I don’t think it’s worth contacting them as to what it means. I’ve never seen it before. This one also has free wifi in the lobby only. What the what?

    75 minutes until the big booking!

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  17. David C said on June 13, 2023 at 2:36 pm

    Ooh, I know this. I saw Rick Steves talking about it. It’s what it sounds like. Bring your own bedsheets.

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  18. JodiP said on June 13, 2023 at 3:03 pm

    BYOS? Sounds like a bed bug situation, so I’d skip, unless someone can tell me otherwise!

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  19. Deborah said on June 13, 2023 at 3:41 pm

    No, a hard no, I wouldn’t stay at a hotel that made you bring your own sheets and only had wifi in the lobby. Weird. Also, maybe I missed something Julie, but didn’t you recently get back from a trip to NYC?

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  20. Deborah said on June 13, 2023 at 3:50 pm

    Sorry to hear that Cormac McCarthy died. RIP.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on June 13, 2023 at 4:09 pm

    We were just there a couple of weeks ago but we want to see more shows and we didn’t get to any museums at all last time. We don’t know how many good years we have left.

    Our last NYC hotel didn’t have washcloths, which I know you don’t get in Europe. (They brought us hand towels to use instead; why not just have washcloths?) But this hotel is over $400/night so I figured they’d include sheets and wifi. I’m still on the search if anyone has a favorite.

    I just came in from the pool and haven’t looked at the TV, but my mom is out there watching the sausage get made.

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  22. Heather said on June 13, 2023 at 4:22 pm

    I haven’t heard of BYO bedsheets, but a friend stayed at one of those automated hotels with no staff and said it was kinda creepy but she had an OK experience.

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  23. LAMary said on June 13, 2023 at 4:37 pm

    To paraphrase the philospher: Cormac McCarthy is dead but Dick Cheney lives on.

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  24. Dorothy said on June 13, 2023 at 8:24 pm

    You all might get a kick out of this. My daughter forgot her laptop at the office today and she works from home tomorrow. So they took advantage of the nice weather, went for a walk around D.C. before they swung by her office and then came home. She said if we zoomed into the pic she took of the White House, you could see big t.v.s and tents. Her partner said “I think they’re having an indictment watch party.”

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  25. Jeff Gill said on June 13, 2023 at 9:12 pm

    – Who did you think I might be? he said.
    – Just somebody. Somebody I sort of been expectin…
    – What does he look like?
    – I dont know. I guess more and more he looks like a friend.
    – You thought I was death.
    – I considered the possibility.

    ~ Cormac McCarthy, “Cities of the Plain”

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  26. tajalli said on June 13, 2023 at 9:55 pm

    Just started in on Passengers, McCarthy’s latest, the first of his I’ve come across. The lack of punctuation initially was disconcerting, but am acclimating. A rather grim tone so far, particularly since I’ve been watching episodes of Corner Gas so whipsawing between geographical and emotional deep South humidity/intrigue and Canadian sarcasm.

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  27. Deborah said on June 14, 2023 at 2:07 am

    Tajalli, I read The Passenger and after that the follow up book, Stella Maris both by McCarthy. The Passenger is about Bobby and Stella Maris is about Alicia, his mentally disturbed sister. Both are pretty grim but fascinating.

    I read, The Road and a few years back, All the Pretty Horses. The Road was pretty grim too.

    Cormac McCarthy lived in Santa Fe, they say he used to have lunch every day at a place nearby, I kept hoping I’d catch sight of him some day, but never did, or if I did see him, it didn’t register.

    Another regular at a different place nearby was the late actor Sam Shepard, I never saw him either.

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  28. Dexter Friend said on June 14, 2023 at 2:22 am

    Hours of following the indictment and one bit of joy:
    “If only half of these charges are true, he’s toast.” —Bill Barr, Trump’s main defender until the break-up.
    Trump now calls Barr a gutless pig.
    Did Trump load up on doughnuts and eclairs at that Florida bakery/coffee shoppe he stopped at on the way to the airport?

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  29. Jeff Borden said on June 14, 2023 at 10:33 am


    There are zero pay phones at Wrigley. Don’t know about Union Station.

    I want to read McCarthy’s “Border” trilogy. I’ve read “No Country for Old Men,” which the Coen brothers adapted beautifully, and “The Road,” which was overpoweringly dismal and I have a strong tolerance for dark stories. One obituary today compared McCarthy to William Faulkner, one of my favorite authors, but Faulkner occasionally leavened his work with humor. Nothing funny about McCarthy.

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  30. Deborah said on June 14, 2023 at 11:14 am

    McCarthy’s first editor had been Faulkner’s editor, I always wondered if that editor might have been partly responsible for McCarthy’s prose style.

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  31. JodiP said on June 14, 2023 at 2:05 pm

    Julie, I have a couple hotel recommendations for you.

    One is the Royalton. https://www.royaltonhotel.com/ We stayed there in 2018 when we stuck in New York due to flight delays. We were commiserating with another couple and the guy happened to be some bigwig at the hotel so we got in at a nice rate. We loved it.

    Last year we stayed at CitizenM in the Bowery. They also have a location near Times Square. I don’t have time to mess around with an embedded link, so just Google CitizenM New York. It’s a Dutch chain that is very unique, but we absolutely loved it. Their rooms are super small but smartly designed. You feel like you’re sleeping on a ship. The rooftop bar was incredible and the staff are top notch.

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  32. tajalli said on June 14, 2023 at 2:34 pm

    Deborah, the weird thing about Passengers is the amount of smack talk or outright gas-lighting between characters. When the conversation shifted to a discussion of quantum physics and which Manhattan Project scientist proposed which portions of the various theories, including Bobby’s fictitious father, I just skimmed past – about as illuminating as the gas-lighting dwarf in Alicia’s hallucinations. I’m teetering on the edge of not bothering to read further. Faulkner was an order of magnitude better reading.

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  33. Deborah said on June 14, 2023 at 6:21 pm

    I hear you Tajalli, I almost gave up a number of times but the dialogue kept me going. I actually liked Stella Maris better than The Passenger. Because I thought the character Bobby was too unbelievable and unbearable as a person. There are some dropped strains and some tiring dramas that I found a slog, but in the end I’m glad I stuck with it.

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  34. Dorothy said on June 14, 2023 at 8:42 pm

    We stayed in a super small hotel room in Dublin, our first stop in Ireland in 2019. It felt like we were tripping over each other all the time. We were on a two week trip and condensed our packing, but we still had to open our suitcases when we changed clothes. I wasn’t comfortable in such a small space. That being said, the year before that we were in NYC at a Hampton Inn midtown which had smaller-than-I’m-used-to rooms. So maybe that’s the norm! New York is a huge city. And an expensive one. For a few days one could tolerate a small room.

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  35. Mark P said on June 14, 2023 at 9:56 pm

    Some friends and I stayed in NYC in a hotel near Broadway. It was around 1999, so I can’t remember the hotel name or the street. It was a very narrow building with the lobby on the second floor. I didn’t even realize it was a hotel at first. It was an older building. The rooms were small, but we only stayed one night. That’s the hotel I might have mentioned before where I got up around 3 am and looked out the window. There were more pedestrians than my town’s Broad Street on its busiest day.

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  36. Jeff Borden said on June 15, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Johanna and I stayed in a hotel near the Queensway tube stop in London that was in a renovated townhouse building featuring nothing but extremely tiny rooms. But the bathroom was even smaller. . .to use the can I had to stick my legs out into the room. Taking a shower meant, basically, wearing the shower curtain. Johanna said she could hear my elbows banging into the walls. No matter. We spent as little time in there as necessary and it served its purpose.

    I’d like to get out of this goofy ass country for the entirety of 2024. I see a shitstorm coming that. . .in the words of the orange cancer. . .like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Dear dog, what a strange time. An entire political party in denial. Tens of millions of brainwashed goobers rallying to defend a selfish slob who would never let them near him. A news media seemingly unable to deal with the profusion of idiocy. I fear for my mental health.

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  37. Scout said on June 15, 2023 at 1:28 pm

    Jeff Borden @ 36 – I hear you. I feel the exact same way. I’m already exhausted by the mendacity of the GQP and the enabler media trying to normalize them. Next year is going to be unbearable.

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  38. Julie Robinson said on June 15, 2023 at 5:45 pm

    Thanks for hotel recommendations; I’ll look them up when I have a chance. I’ve been swamped with visitors (nice, except when they call the night before and you have to rearrange other plans AND clean) and a new volunteer position. I’m helping out with some of the finances at church, which I used to do, but then I was income and now I’m outgo. Totally different and it’s quite a learning curve for me. Good for the little grey cells, as Poirot would say.

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