The mop-up.

State of mind:


Jeebus, what a shitshow that was last night. One of the other panelists on the radio today said the debates descended down a three-step staircase to end at Depressing, and brothers and sisters, that is so true. I love how Hillary showed up in a white pantsuit, looking great, like an elder on a very advanced planet. And yet, I hate that we had to go through this ghastly election year, and that there’s more of it to come.

The host and I were chatting before we went on the air, and he marveled that debate after debate, she spent her early comments laying traps, which Trump then congenially blundered through, one by one. Which is why, as soon as I read, “he was winning until X,” I just chortle and turn the page.

I was listening to “Keepin’ it 1600” on the way home, and the guest, Kristen Soltis Anderson, a Republican pollster, was talking about her work with Republican voters. She’s been asking the “rigged election” questions, and her remarks struck me: Voters have a wide variety of interpretations of what “rigged” means. Some think the media is biased = rigged. Some think it’s more specific, i.e., that there’s widespread voter fraud. Some think something in between. So that’s where we are: We have a failure of vocabulary. Or of explanation. We don’t even speak the same fucking language. We use words like “bigly” on national television and aren’t even embarrassed by it.

Talk about depressing.

I’m cutting out for the weekend and plan to just chill, for a change. I just looked at my work schedule and see only normal-size fences for the rest of the year, not giant oxers, so that’s good.

Also, I’m going to watch “Westworld.” Have a good one yourselves.

Posted at 8:12 pm in Current events | 85 Comments

In the grinder.

Wasn’t I just saying I hoped this week would be a little easier than last? Guess what? It’s not. Nothing horrible, just a fairly blistering pace. Plus, Alan’s sick — came home with a sore throat and a canker sore, the latter of which seems to be bothering him more than the other. I hate canker sores so bad, so I get it. Probably shouldn’t have made ribs with so much chipotle pepper in the rub, however.

But once the weekly menu is set in this household, it is set. No substitutions!

Now it’s Wednesday, and things are finally slowing to a nice, steady trot. Have some lines to re-bait, and an application for a workshop/conference next spring in Columbus, spaces in which are to be awarded on a competitive basis. That means I must start the bullshit machine that lives deep in my chest, so a nice steamy batch can be perked up when I start to write.

The spot includes a week of lodging in my ol’ hometown. That’ll be fun. I’ll invite all my friends over to trash the hotel, Led Zep-style.

Before I go on, though, I want to make a book recommendation. (I haven’t changed the On the Nightstand feature in close to a year, but I have been reading, promise.) I recently finished “In the Darkroom,” Susan Faludi’s memoir about the last year’s of her father’s life, after he underwent a sex change in Thailand and emerged as Stefanie. I bought it on the advice of Hank Stuever, mainly in an attempt to sort out my frankly confused thoughts about transgenderism. I lie somewhere between full-and-open-embrace and the position laid down by more radical feminists, who reject transwomen as having a claim on the gender at all.

I don’t come to the debate with animus, however. I’m just very confused.

Faludi came to the reopened relationship with her parent — they had been estranged — as a middle-aged woman and an incisive journalist. And she misses very little about the tangle of contradictions that Istvan Friedman, who became Steven Faludi, who became Stephanie, presents to the world. A man who’s had three names and two genders in the course of a lifetime will have an interesting life’s story, and s/he is no exception. Istvan Friedman was a Jew in WWII Budapest, which meant he was no safer than Jews anywhere else in Europe. Born to a wealthy family that was atomized by the Holocaust, Istvan survived on luck and hustle, shape-shifting his identity and front to match the occasion, many of them perilous to his health. He later emigrated to Brazil and then to the U.S., where he became Steven Faludi (“a good Hungarian name”), married and became a father. But that didn’t work out, and he repatriated to Hungary and eventually shed another skin, emerging as Stefanie. His tale is only reluctantly told by the septuagenarian matron that was his final identity, but his daughter is relentless in her pursuit of her parent’s true nature. The picture that emerges — the title is a play on both her father’s occupation as a photographer and photo processor and the nature of his manipulated self — is hardly sharp. People are complicated, and some people are really complicated.

But the book is wonderful. It’s in Alex’s hands now; his father was a Hungarian immigrant, and Stephanie’s story is of a piece with her native land, itself a bundle of contradictions. I thought I knew my Holocaust history, but I knew little of Hungary’s role in it, it turns out. The details were appalling and dispiriting in the age of Trump, and the behavior of Istvan/Steven/Stephanie, both then and in the contemporary era, are baffling and revelatory. (Stephanie votes with the far-right party, the one that teeters on the edge of ethnic cleansing.)

I don’t really understand transgenderism that much better now, but I’m enlightened about one of its story threads now, and I recommend “In the Darkroom” to anyone in search of a good read on this or any of its related topics.

So, a new thread for us to chat about the final debate, and some bloggage: I’m appearing on WDET tomorrow to trade snappy banter about it with two other panelists; I’ll be the one with the higher voice and XX chromosomes. Listen live in the 9 a.m. hour Thursday, if you’re so inclined.

Last week I went to Flint and stared into a hole, watching a typical pipe replacement, a huge project just getting ramped up. Read this thrilling tale of mud and infrastructure, here, after it goes live at 6:10 a.m., EDT.

The catastrophe of citizen journalism, from NYMag.

“Mulatto cock.” OK, I’m done.

Posted at 5:50 pm in Current events, Media, Same ol' same ol' | 53 Comments

Turning the pack loose.

Today was the last warm day for a while — 20-degree drop coming in the next 24 hours — so at quittin’ time, I took Wendy to the dog park.

We don’t go there often, although it’s my favorite one. Grosse Pointe dog parks require advance registration, proof of $100,000 liability in one’s homeowners’ insurance, vaccinations, and a pass, so that the Wrong Sort of Dog doesn’t get in. Detroit dog parks require that you show up with a dog. The Detroit park is even closer. Guess which one we go to.

But Wendy isn’t really a dog-park dog. She gets along fine with other pups, but basically, all she wants from life is to be with us, and life off the leash isn’t a huge priority. Ten minutes is about all she needs to sniff the perimeter and then return to our side and ask where we’re going next.

Today, three guys were there, with three dogs — another Jack Russell, more mutty than Wendy; a Staffordshire bull terrier; and a 9-month-old German shepherd. Male, female, male, respectively. The four of them sorted out their pecking order and started to run around, while I joined the guys. They had a cooler of Bass Ale and were passing around a joint. (I declined both.) All blue-collar dudes in the great Detroit tradition of skilled labor. The conversation was all over the map, perhaps because of the weed — work, the dogs, their friends, the variations on legal weed at the dispensary, and poetry. Yes, poetry. Not dirty limericks, this one, which one of the guys was looking up on his phone.

It reminded me not to get too judgey, to assume you know everything about a person because you noticed something about their hair or clothing or language.

The German shepherd began hassling Wendy, not aggressively, but he wanted her to pay attention to him and play, and she wasn’t into it. He’d face her, and touch her head with his paw. All, I should mention, with his red dog penis in full flower.

“Hey, who do you think you are, Donald Trump?” the dog’s owner called to him. The dog was named for a Mexican drug lord. The owner was the one with the weed (and a card to buy it legally, ankle pain). He also had a large cross on a chain around his neck.

We stayed about 45 minutes, then came home to read the latest NYT story about Donald Trump. Man, this part:

“None of this ever took place,” said Mr. Trump, who began shouting at the Times reporter who was questioning him. He said that The Times was making up the allegations to hurt him and that he would sue the news organization if it reported them.

“You are a disgusting human being,” he told the reporter as she questioned him about the women’s claims.

Oy. And then this:

A senior Trump adviser says the campaign will soon bring forward new accusers: “Women are coming to us who have been groped or sexually abused by Bill Clinton.” Trump is considering featuring these women at campaign rallies to “give witness to what Hillary Clinton actually did.” The Republican nominee’s decision to close out his campaign by attacking what he alleges to be the Clintons’ history of sexual violence suggests the next few weeks could be among the ugliest in modern presidential history.

And then this, from either Uday or Qusay Trump, I can’t recall which:

“I think sometimes when guys are together they get carried away, and sometimes that’s what happens when alpha personalities are in the same presence. At the same time, I’m not saying it’s right. It’s not the person that he is.”

In the world of men’s rights, everyone’s an alpha, kind of like in the ’80s when Shirley MacLaine was running around talking about past lives. No one was a reincarnated scullery maid or shopgirl; everyone was Cleopatra or Marie Antoinette. Betas do mass shootings; alphas have “game” and get laid by grabbing pussies.

God, I’m growing to despise these people. I want Ivanka selling cubic zirconia on QVC after this shitshow is over.

As for Roger Stone, Steve Bannon, et al? I want them sleeping in doorways. They’re that bad.

Don’t let me leave you on a bummer note, though. Here’s Wendy, with Donald Trump in hot pursuit:


Have a great Thursday. I’m going to be running from pre-dawn to well after dark. Might not get back with y’all until Friday or Saturday, but we’ll see.

Posted at 9:41 pm in Current events, Detroit life | 123 Comments

Sorta speechless.

I think John Scalzi says it best:

Like many of you, I watched Sunday night’s debacle with my jaw in my lap. I’m honestly out of words, other than various versions of “what the–?” This is the culmination — or the closest version on a culmination, surely to be topped later — of something that has never been hidden. While the rest of you were passing around yet another Charles Pierce essay, I was struck by the headline for an adjacent blog. I won’t even look it up, but it read something like, “This all happened because Trump wanted to be on ‘Days of Our Lives.'”

And that’s it, isn’t it? A man for whom millions will cast their vote for president in about a month once appeared, purely out of vanity or “brand-building” or whatever bullshit reason he had, on a soap opera. No, this is not like Bill Clinton playing sax for Arsenio Hall or Barack Obama appearing on “Between Two Ferns.” This is not only a soap opera, but one of the absolute worst ones ever. (My neighbor/sitter used to watch it, begrudgingly. Her mother-in-law loved it, and it was one safe thing they could talk about. She said it was so awful you could generally get away with watching two days a week and be entirely up to speed.)

There was also his appearance in the professional wrestling ring, can’t forget that. Something about shaving Vince McMahon’s head, or something. Of the 14 seasons of “The Apprentice” I don’t have much to say, other than this: I tried to watch it once, and lasted maybe 12 minutes.

It’s mind-boggling, jaw-dropping, when you think of it. Politics and the public face of campaigns have changed a great deal in my lifetime, but this is a step beyond. This is a clown threatening tinpot-dictator justice on his running mate, on national television.

This is the alt-right. Good job, guys.

I’m not usually this gloomy, and I’m not, really. It’s just that every so often it hits me.

My neighbor and her mother called “Days of Our Lives” DOOL, for short. Dool. Like drool.

Just a little bloggage today. On the upside, a charming piece, by Hank, on the TV angle to the last three days:

(Billy) Bush, who is the nephew and cousin of the 41st and 43rd U.S. presidents, ascended from movie-junket gnat to a more lofty role reserved for the kings of infotainment — the Ryan Seacrests and Carson Dalys, whose superhuman work schedules and ability to yammer on camera never abate. They host music competition shows, New Year’s Eve countdowns, red-carpet shows, morning talk shows, Olympic Games, radio shows. They exist in a ubiquitous, onanistic state of lifestyle and entertainment worship, and they do it for so long that they eventually become the bolder name among the gaggles of barely boldface names that they “interview.” But what is their job, really? Part of me wants to call these rarefied creatures yanchors. Part of me wants to call them brosts.

They’re successful because we so rarely, truly think about them. We reward them with the same mindlessness they serve to us, a daily exchange of pablum. To think that the outcome of this election could have somehow, all this time, hinged on Billy Bush, who exists mostly because America leaves the TV on all day so the dog won’t feel lonely.

Finally, a rather startling collection of 30-second spots on workplace safety, and the necessity of vigilance, etc. Surprisingly graphic, and Canadian. Who knew?

Onward the week lurches.

Posted at 4:04 pm in Current events | 77 Comments

Round 2.

You know how we keep saying, “I wish this election were over, I’m growing to hate my fellow American”? I feel ya — I say it myself about 60 times a day. On the other hand, when confronted with video evidence that your fellow American shouldn’t be allowed to drive a car, much less vote, isn’t that a perfectly normal reaction?

Eh, it’s all but over now. Alan and I went out for our customary Friday-night dinner, talking a bout what-else, when I speculated that if nothing else, this election would reduce the Trump “empire,” such as it is, to ruin. Who would want to do business with this guy now, other than other sleazebags? Even in New York society, which I suspect is far less genteel than they might have us believe, the had-it-up-to-here factor has to be strong by now. I told some friends that I didn’t just want Trump defeated and his “brand,” such as it is, destroyed, I wanted all his children likewise and all his acreage sowed with salt.

Nothing personal. I’m just tired of hearing about what a sweet, poised socialite Ivanka is, and all the rest of the tribe’s b.s. Not that I am extreme about it or anything.

Anyway, to our disagreement. I think Trump is not only toast for now, but toast forever, that he’ll look back on his deathbed and see June 2015 as the place when he lit the match that burned everything down. His wife will leave him, quietly, in a few months. His creditors will demand full payment, and when it isn’t forthcoming, liquidation of his assets. I think this is it.

Alan disagrees, and thinks he has a bright future – of more grifting, basically. His loyal fans will follow him to whatever tar-stained beach he washes up on.

But the second presidential debate is nigh. Let’s get the popcorn and see how it goes, eh?

Posted at 8:54 pm in Current events | 62 Comments

May the best white guy win.

I had half a post pecked out, but then remembered tonight is Veep Debate: Clash of Those Two Guys, and figured you’d want to talk about that. And then I found this wonderful site, which should be amusing to Deborah, Peter and Alex, as well as Basset and many others. People, I give you: McMansion Hell. Enjoy as much as I did, and open thread on the debate, too. Let’s get snarkin’. I’ll be back tomorrow.

Posted at 8:38 pm in Current events | 40 Comments

Oh, grow up.

I’m relearning, in my recent enthusiasm for podcasting, something I’ve long contended: If you really want to know who’s reading/listening to a media outlet, check the advertising.

When I first started reading right-wing political magazines, I noticed the back-of-the-book ads were for things like The Great Courses and Increase Your Word Power flimflams, the intellectual equivalent of Charles Atlas’ don’t-get-sand-kicked-in-your-face-by-your-liberal-friends pitch. The lefty mags had personal ads for what sounded like a whole lot of lonely academics with nose hair, handmade jewelry and leather elbow patches on their blazers. And from what I’ve been able to tell, millennials (who are the natural audience of podcasts) simply can’t do a damn thing for themselves.

Caveat up front: Every time I’ve ventured an opinion that maybe young people need to brush up on their adulting skills, I get one of them jumping down my throat about the five jobs she works for practically nothing, and “we’re not all Lena Dunham, you know!” Noted. Noted, noted, noted. I’m just saying.

Anyway, the ‘casts I subscribe to offer some truly weird services, like various incarnations of the Clothes of the Month club — these are services where you fill out some online forms, and every month, a box of outfits appears on your doorstep. You try everything on, pay for what you like and send the rest back. How mystifying, and yet also seductive. Also, a waste of money; of course everybody has “no time to shop,” but seriously, find time to shop if looking good is important to you. It’s not that fucking hard.

Blue Apron is a similar one, only for food. Blue Apron delivers pre-portioned food boxes with easy-to-follow recipes, for those who want to cook at home but pay the same price they would at a restaurant, or at least I assume so. I honestly don’t know how you put together boxes featuring everything individually packaged, including the spices, all refrigerated, all with the usual buzzwords (“sustainable,” “locally sourced”), and deliver it to someone’s front door without charging an arm and a leg. Seriously, folks, have you considered the alternatives at your local fast-casual restaurant? You might be surprised.

It turns out keeping people from the necessary adult step of shopping for food and figuring out how to cook it themselves has a price beyond mere dollars and cents. It’s driving their employees insane:

August 26, 2015, was, by all accounts, a stressful day at Blue Apron’s facility in Richmond, California.

As the sun rose over what would be an unusually warm Wednesday, a 21-year-old employee made a phone call to a supervisor at the $2 billion food startup’s Bay Area fulfillment center, where tens of thousands of meal kits are packed into cardboard containers and shipped across the continental United States. The supervisor didn’t pick up the phone that morning, so he left a message.

In it, he said he planned to quit his job at Blue Apron later that day. He also said he planned to bring a gun to the warehouse and shoot his manager, as well as other people at the facility. In two messages, he named three people specifically who he wanted to put bullets into when he got there. Around 8:30, en route to work, the supervisor called the police.

Police apprehended the man, who did not have a gun, later that morning. But at Blue Apron, the day was just getting started.

While company security and a Richmond police officer on patrol monitored threats outside the warehouse, inside, Blue Apron management was meeting with representatives from California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health at the conclusion of a two-week inspection by the agency that would result in nine violations and proposed penalties totaling $11,695 for unsafe conditions that put workers at risk for fractured bones, chemical burns, and more. This penalty came on top of $13,050 following a forklift accident earlier in the year, giving Blue Apron the most OSHA violations in the fast-growing, $5 billion meal-kit startup industry, and among the most in perishable prepared-food manufacturing in California. (Like many companies, Blue Apron appealed these findings, and had some of its violation classifications downgraded to “general” or “other.” One of its cases is still open.)

Just after 4 p.m. on the same day, the police were back at Blue Apron for the third time, following a noontime patrol. They were prompted by yet another call from a security guard, concerned that “a weapon might be brought.”

This time the problem was a 26-year-old man who, after being fired earlier in the day for groping a female co-worker, had then threatened the person who let him go. He was later arrested for sexual assault, as well as for violating his parole on an earlier robbery charge.

“I definitely remember that day,” said David Reifschneider, who was general manager of the facility at the time. “It’s not what happens on a typical day in a typical warehouse.”

Forgive the extra-long excerpt; it’s well worth reading the entire piece. It’s the classic story of our century so far: “Disruptors” have a big idea, regular old people suffer in its incarnation. I wonder when “disruptor” will give way to the more accurate “motherfucker.” What’s wrong with learning about food in your own way, eating out, eating in, learning what you like, what it takes to make it appear on your table? What is the need for this packaging-heavy, labor-intensive step? If your life is so busy that this is what it takes to put a home-cooked meal on the table in your house, maybe you need to reconsider your life. Or maybe I’m full of shit, but man, the thought of human hands in a California warehouse putting one tablespoon of vinegar or soy sauce into a tiny bottle just makes my heart sink.

My daughter Kate is living in a co-op house at school this year. Basically, it’s a commune with some structure imposed by the university, which owns the house. It’s a vegetarian group, and all the residents share cooking duties. She’s eaten more vegetables in the past month than she probably did the 18 years she lived here. But she’s learning how to do all this stuff I tried to show her over the years and she either ignored or didn’t care to learn: How to cook rice, plan a meal, etc. Good. Life is full of challenges large and small, and mastering rice is one you need to learn. The failures teach you plenty. I have no idea what Blue Apron teaches you; maybe how to make it all a lot more complicated than it needs to be.

Let’s give these poor hard-working kids a break, maybe? A night off from work, maybe a cooking club with their friends. They can figure it out together.

OK, then, back to the topic of the hour and many hours before and to come. If nothing else comes of this fucking election, I hope it leads to the utter flushing down the public toilet of Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie and much of the right-wing media-sphere. Guys, you had a good run, but the party’s about to be over. Hope you saved your money.

Hello, Tuesday, dead ahead. Dentist appointment and deadline for me — how about you?

Posted at 8:18 pm in Current events, Popculch | 64 Comments

Four more weeks of the crazy.

My old friend Adrianne often calls me on Sundays to catch up, and she did this past week. Of course we talked about The Only Thing Anyone is Talking About These Days ™, with all its assorted craziness. I have to be stingy with Washington Post links, because they’re pretty good about enforcing the 10-articles-a-month thing, but I really must draw your attention to two of them – this one, about a disturbed woman who is Trump’s No. 1 fan, and the frankly insane appearance of the candidate himself on Saturday night in Pennsylvania (where the disturbed woman lives! Coincidence? I think not!).

I had just hung up the phone when it occurred to me that sometimes, only Bill Murray can put it into words.

I honestly feel very bad about Melanie, the woman in the first story. Life has dealt her a raw deal, and she lacks the coping skills to make it better. I don’t think she’s typical of Trump voters, but she’s certainly a rather intense concentration of their worst traits, isn’t she? And there are so many people willing to take advantage of her emotional fragility and, shall we say, tenuous grasp on reality. Get past the stuff up top, about what she believes, and read about her life. It’s hard not to feel pity.

As for Herr Trump, well, talk about a tenuous grasp on reality.

Prediction: After the election, he’ll continue to hold rallies. And people will come. I’m not sure how he’ll make them pay off, but he’ll figure something. Guys like that don’t give up the grift easily, and he seems to feed off rallies in some strange way. He really sounds like he’s about to go off the deep end, though, doesn’t he?

Halfway through the statement, Trump took a nearly 20-minute-long break to cover a range of topics, including these:

— He reflected on how his movement has “the smartest people… the sharpest people… the most amazing people.” He said the pundits — “most of them aren’t worth the ground they’re standing on, some of that ground could be fairly wealthy ground” — have never seen a phenomenon like this.

… — He recounted how the “dopes at CNN” and “phony pundits” refused to acknowledge how well he was doing during the primaries. “Then we started getting 52 percent, 58 percent, 66 percent, 78 percent, 82 percent,” Trump said, not making clear what those numbers mean. “And they just didn’t understand what was going on.”

— He said Clinton could not fight bad trade deals or Russian President Vladimir Putin because “she can’t make it 15 feet to her car,” alluding to video that showed Clinton buckling as she unexpectedly left a 9/11 memorial service early. Her doctor later said she had pneumonia. Trump then imitated Clinton by flailing his arms and jostling side to side. He walked unsteadily away from the podium as if he were about to fall over. “Folks, we need stamina,” Trump said. “We need energy.”

— He claimed that he has a “winning temperament” while Clinton has “bad temperament.” Trump continued: “She could be crazy. She could actually be crazy.”

When are the Trump endorsements going to start coming? You know they’re out there, being written by sweaty men and women who are, just this once, thanking God that editorials are, by tradition, unsigned. They hope they can get away clean. We’ll see.

Does anyone think the tax story will change anything? I don’t. It won’t change the polls, anyway, but I enjoyed reading this how-we-got-the-story story, just the same.

So, how was everyone’s weekend? Me, I got started on what I expect will be a multi-month affair — cleaning the basement. Multi-month because I can’t stand to do it all at once, and prefer to ruin an hour or two of a succession of weekends. I opened a box that was sealed and marked, in Alan’s handwriting, “Nancy’s letters.” Found this:


More from my vast collection of purloined letterhead.

There were also letters, one from my first boyfriend, after we’d broken up. He wrote that he still loved me and hoped to earn back my respect someday. (We’d split up over his drinking.) Alas, he died before we could be reconciled, in a one-car fatal. Which seems as good a transition as any to the bloggage, which starts with this great Jon Carroll remembrance of a recently deceased friend, who was also his AA sponsor. Great sponsor, difficult friend:

I found that the program worked. Not entirely, because I will always be an addict, but better. And it was Pamela who brought me that. It was Pamela who made sure I went to meetings; who framed the issues in a more useful way; who took my telephone calls at any time in the evening. I was just one of her sponsees, and her phone rang a lot, and she always had time. She was just a miracle. Her sponsees adored her. I adored her.

I didn’t drink. Stuff got better.

But things change. After 15 years or so, I slowly stopped going to meetings. Part of was the God thing; I was an atheist. “Are you drinking?,” Pamela would ask. “Then don’t worry about it. AA doesn’t care.” And, officially, it doesn’t. But then someone at a meeting says, “God never gives you more than you can handle,” and people in the metal folding chairs nod their heads and murmur, and I don’t say, “that’s demonstrably not true. Example one: death,” because even though you’re supposed to be honest, some kinds of honesty will alienate you from the group.

They were estranged in recent years, although Carroll’s wife befriended her and was, in fact, the one who found her body. There’s a nice passage in there about forgiveness, but I don’t want to give away the store. Read it yourself.

This Scott Adams takedown Alex posted over the weekend is great. What a maroon.

Finally, mankind’s battle with raccoons is not going well. The raccoons are getting smarter, as any person who’s ever taken them on knows too well.

And so another week looms ahead of us. Mine will be simultaneously fast-paced, vexatious and fun. Hope yours is, too.

Posted at 12:18 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 92 Comments

Rainy day.

Yeah, it was just that kind of day:


Torrential overnight rains FUBAR’d all the local freeways, not just the Lodge, abated for much of the day, and then picked up again at quitting time. Alan generally works from mid-morning until early evening, leaving for work about 9:30. Typically it takes him 20 minutes to make the drive. I texted him at 11:15 asking how bad the commute had been, and he reply was: “Just got in.” Ugh. There are days when I wish I had more contact with two-legged mammals during my work day, but there are just as many that I’m profoundly grateful my work can be done anywhere I can take my laptop and phone.

Right now I’m propped up against the foot of my bed, with Wendy close by. Cozy, but she’s going to need a walk soon and she hates the rain.

I did a fairly innocuous story a few weeks back, about how Michigan cities are changing their infrastructure to deal with rain events like these, which are far more frequent in this era of climate change. An interesting thing I’ve noticed lately: No one I spoke to, or speak to on related matters, bothers to deny climate change, and I’m not just talking to commie college professors who’ve walked across melting glaciers. It’s here, it’s happening, we better get used to it. Someone from a state farming organization told me a grain elevator is either built or being built near Saginaw, a farther-north location than had ever been able to support one before. Corn and beans are being grown, in pockets, as far north as Gaylord; make your Michigan hand map, find the topmost knuckle on your middle finger, and that’s where Gaylord is. That’s pretty damn far north, 50 miles south of the bridge, above 45 degrees latitude, for crops we generally associate with the flatlands of downstate Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, among others.

Meanwhile, many elected officials continue to insist it’s either a) not happening; or b) not our fault; or c) can’t be fixed, so woo, let’s all put a pineapple tree in the back yard. Also meanwhile, we just endured a blistering, dry summer, and just took in a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours.

Sorry, great-grandkids, we broke the planet. Enjoy the off world colonies.

I’m not really depressed or anything. In truth, I adore an occasional overcast day like today. We had one — just one — when I was in California, and the locals were moping about it. “You mean, the sun isn’t actively trying to kill me today?” I said. “This is not a terrible thing.” We had a very California summer, so this feels like a pleasant reprieve. Of course, knock wood, I got no water in my basement (yet). So there’s that.

Now I’m thinking about dinner, and have some grocerying to do beforehand. Let’s see what sort of bloggage can be scrambled here.

The Detroit News, Alan’s employer, has never endorsed a non-Republican for president in its 143-year history. Until today, when the editorial board endorsed…Gary Johnson. Sigh.

Remember how Donald Trump kinda-sorta defended himself for stiffing contractors at his various properties, saying, “Maybe they didn’t do work to my satisfaction”? I wonder what this piano dealer did to displease him. Was middle C flat?

The New Yorker knows how to deal with this beauty queen.

Great weekend, all. See you Monday.

Posted at 5:45 pm in Current events, Media, Same ol' same ol' | 117 Comments

Hoosier reppin’.

I kept waiting for Tom & Lorenzo to do the dirty work on this, but OK, it falls to me: What do we think of Mrs. Trump’s debate-night dress?

(Yes, we seem to be on a fashion theme this week.)

That it is lovely and expensive (Roland Mouret, $2,645 retail) goes without saying. I’m just wondering if bare shoulders are exactly appropriate for a presidential debate, but we’ll give her a pass because she’s European, this isn’t her scene and being a model, she looks pretty great in it. (Michelle Obama would be crucified over it; she was huffed over for wearing sleeveless dresses, after all. But let’s not dwell.)

Sitting next to Ivanka, they both exhibit the long stems that seem to be the birthright of eastern Europeans. You know who I feel for? Poor Karen Pence, with only her husband as a buffer between her and the two beauties. She looks completely appropriate for a similar event in Indianapolis, or even Washington; it’s not her fault she has to share a row with the Trump ladies. (It’s her husband’s.) All I have to add is that the Daily Caller’s “entertainment editor” should know that a knee-length dress is not a “gown.”

But as you pointed out here yesterday, the copy editors have all left the building.

I don’t know what more can be said about Monday night’s main event. I’ll add this: I’m a feminist, but I’m not a certain kind of feminist, in that I try not to get too touchy about stuff. But honestly, the events of the past few days, and weeks, and months, have me nodding along with this:

I get the point, not that I didn’t get it before. If I speak up, I’m a shrill nag. If my weight fluctuates at all, I’m a gross, inconvenient fatty. If my husband cheats, it’s on me. If I try to defend or salvage my marriage, I’m a stupid dupe. Men like Trump and Giuliani have advanced ideas like these so the women in their lives will be cowed, thin and compliant, while if they err, they’re swashbuckling and strategic. The idea that we should trust men who hate us in private to protect us in the public sphere is the ultimate insult to our intelligence.

And the comments are hideous, as you’d expect.

Ugh, what a week, and it’s not even half over. So I’ll be taking my leave early.

Posted at 12:03 am in Current events | 100 Comments