What we mean when we say THIS.

I always think the best columns are those that don’t tell you what you already know or flatter your existing prejudices (Mr. Albom’s territory), or even those that make you think of something you hadn’t before (which is still a pretty good column), but those that make you think YES THIS IS EXACTLY IT and it’s something that was right in front of you all the time. Like those 3D puzzles where you have to find the dolphin in the pattern. You let your eyes swim out of focus, and then the dolphin is right there.

Today, that distinction goes to Monica Hesse at the Washington Post, writing about the infamous picture from Baraboo High School, of the Nazi-saluting kids, taken last spring at the prom.

On Monday, this photo surfaced online (under the hashtag #BarabooProud) and immediately went viral. The photographer later maintained he’d merely asked the boys to wave, though the gesture didn’t resemble a wave made by any hand-possessing human. In response to an outpouring of outrage, the superintendent issued a statement: “We want to be very clear. The Baraboo School District is a hate-free environment.”

If this response sounds familiar, it’s because it echoes the bland assurances recited by officials whenever poison bubbles up in America.

…So, to the Baraboo superintendent: If your defense is, “We’re a hate-free environment,” but there’s a photo of 60 of your students Sieg Heil-ing on the steps of the county courthouse, then maybe you should consider the possibility that you are, in fact, a hate-filled environment.

Maybe it hit home because it has happened a few times around here, particularly before kids realized that social media is not a private affair. There were some kids who wrote “I (heart) n*ggers” on their bodies, took pictures and sent them around, then seemed amazed that they ended up on the 6 o’clock news. There was another closer to the 2016 campaign, where they shot video of themselves being racist.

Here, as in Baraboo, the reaction was exactly the same: This isn’t who we are! And, to be sure, it isn’t who most people are, at least not out loud and in public. However, anyone who denies the casual racism that percolates in suburban and rural communities — hell, in pretty much all communities — isn’t paying attention.

I think a lot of people would like to believe they live in a hate-free environment simply because they won’t let their children drop n-bombs at the dinner table, but as Hesse says, when 60 kids will sieg heil on command, either you’re not teaching them what it means, or, option B, they think it’s no big deal.

And that’s a big deal. That’s the dolphin in the 3D puzzle.

Hesse’s columns are really good. Find them here.

And that will be it for me today, for lo, though the week is still young, it has me feeling very old. Gotta eat more protein tomorrow. Carbs are poison.

Posted at 9:16 pm in Current events, Media | Leave a comment
 

Winter is here.

Woke up to the pitter-patter of rain on the skylight, which I expected, no biggie. I stumbled to the bathroom, put on my workout clothes and filled my water bottle, stumbling out the door to — snow. The rain was the dreaded “wintry mix,” that fat, plopping precipitation that comes at the beginning and end of the season and basically sucks, although at least it’s not too cold when it’s wintry-mixing outside.

Did the 6 a.m. boxing workout, taking a few breaks to work the mitts with the trainer. Smug level: Orange.

Hey, with winter bearing down on us, we take our little rewards where we can — flannel sheets, hearty soups, red wine with friends, online shopping for the holidays. I came home to see a news alert on Alan’s phone, about police responding to another active shooter. A bit later, a correction: Not a mass shooting, a malfunctioning water heater. Well, there’s a relief. I guess we’re all on edge after yesterday’s slaughter in Thousand Oaks, with the revolting detail that some of the people in the bar — some of the people who died — were survivors of the Las Vegas slaughter last fall. We are insane in this stupid country.

I have to go out in the wintry mix later today to attend a seminar on marijuana legalization, so I’m keeping my head light this morning. Did a little scanning for gift ideas, and fell headfirst into the weird world of startup underwear — you know, the MeUndies, Tommy John, all those brands that advertise on podcasts and have their noses in the air because they’re startups, and hence superior to Hanes and what-have-you.. And excuse me for saying this, but: The day I pay $35 for a pair of everyday u-trou is the day I hit the goddamn lottery, and probably not even then. I don’t doubt that it’s got amazingly soft microfiber whatever-the-hell fabric, and I’m sure it fits very well, but it’s underwear. If I’m going to pay that much, I want it to be lingerie, dammit. For just wearing under a pair of jeans, I’m going with something I can buy in a three-pack at Target.

Other mysteries: $200-a-pair blue jeans. Yes, yes, it’s selvage denim, supposedly superior to all other denims. Selvage, it turns out, is basically “self-edge,” and what that means is, the weave is different and it will only fray in two directions, instead of all four. Good to know! I generally expect my jeans not to fray at all — the worst money I ever spent was for a pair of “distressed” Levi’s, which have holes in the legs and can only be worn for a brief window in spring and fall, when it’s cool enough for jeans but not so cold you can’t wear the air-conditioned kind.

Anyway, jeans are one of those things that really rewards brand loyalty. You find the one that works on your bod, and you buy it forever. I’ve got a Levi’s ass, and Levi’s are my jeans jam, and I’m just grateful they don’t cost $200 a pair. You need to know what fits you, because jeans really are almost like, well, underwear.

Enough ranting about shopping. On to the bloggage.

Sarah Sanders is a lying liar, but you already knew that. That intern looks like a Sarah-in-training. Good luck, girlfriend, but I’d advise you to jump off this train at the first opportunity.

Mostly for Detroiters, but the issues are probably universal in contemporary urban America: An interview with the keeper of the Terrible Ilitches Facebook page. The Ilitches are a local billionaire family, owners of the Tigers and Red Wings, and adept at getting the city to subsidize their developments with tax money, promising payoffs that never come to pass.

Why Michigan just passed an anti-gerrymandering initiative: Because since the last round of redistricting, Democratic candidates have outpolled Republicans statewide, but find themselves outnumbered in the state legislature, and in Washington.

And I leave you with this difficult-to-watch clip. But watch it we must.

Off to the showers for a mostly work-at-home day. Enjoy yours, and your weekend.

Posted at 9:09 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 54 Comments
 

Don’t mourn. Organize.

I’m reading through last night’s comments now, and I sense a note of gloom among the commentariat. I feel none of it. If the current political situation alarms you, consider that important victories were won last night, and it’s a step forward to reclaiming whatever we mean by “this country.”

Michigan had a one-state blue/pink wave, electing all Democrats (and all women) as governor, secretary of state and attorney general, as well as brooming two GOP congressmen, replacing them with Democratic women. The state legislature will no longer be in charge of drawing congressional and state legislative districts, turning the job over to a bipartisan commission. And hey, we also legalized marijuana. Recreational marijuana.

So if you’re a Democrat, there was a lot to smile about last night, at least around here. If you think it sucked to see Stacey Abrams go down, to see Beto O’Rourke and Andrew Gillum go down, I understand. But as smarter people than I have said more than once: Donald Trump is not a cause, he’s a symptom. All the terrible things he represents — nativism, prejudice, heedless unconcern for the future in favor of now-now-now and me-me-me — is deep-rooted in the American psyche. Wall Street rewards quarterly numbers, not long-term planning. When I am tempted to despair — and despair is a sin, as good Catholics know — I look at a photo of our president and consider what it reveals:

He’s old. He’s insecure. He takes terrible care of himself, physically and mentally. He’s a tar baby of misery, who contaminates everything he touches. He hasn’t read a book in decades. I doubt he’s thought deeply about the nature of his life, his soul, even his family, in his whole life. When he goes down — and he will, because nothing lasts forever — he will take so much with him, so many things that have stuck to his tarry body. I expect Ivanka will be the last into the pit, hair flying, stilettos digging into the dirt on the rim of the hole. “Moderating influennnnnce” will be the last thing we hear from her.

I have hope, slim hope, for the future, because I have to. I’m starting to see Trumpism as the flame-out of supernova, that will eventually shrink down to a cold rock.

I hope.

I haven’t lived here all that long, but I see a theme in Michigan’s election: Don’t overreach. We passed an anti-gerrymandering measure in part because in the last redistricting, when Republicans controlled Lansing, they turned a purple state into one that, legislatively, looked more like Indiana, with four Democrats and 10 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. (Along with two Democratic senators. Because statewide elections? Purple. And now, after this election? It’s 7-7. Purple.) A lawsuit filed over the current district lines turned up emails between Republican legislators and their consultants, talking about “cramming Dem garbage” into one district, to “raise a middle finger” to a long-time congressman. Another successful ballot proposal, on voting rights, put straight-ticket voting into the state constitution. One-click (or one box, filled in) straight-party voting has been studied again and again, and shown to primarily advantage Democrats. In a practical sense, it helps cities like Detroit, which has lots of Democrats and terrible election procedure, by keeping lines moving in polling places. (We’re a long-ballot state. Really long.) But the GOP has tried to kill it again and again, in the name of “encouraging more informed voting,” etc. It passed by a wide margin.

It’s often pointed out that when Democrats were in power, they did the same thing, aggressively protecting their interests, and they did. But this year, the answer to overreaching was to take the dish off the table entirely. I can’t help but see this as a move forward.

In elected offices, the new AG is a woman who fought the same-sex marriage decision all the way to the Supreme Court, and won. The unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate was the AG who fought her every step of the way, invoking a 2004 election that put a SSM ban in the state constitution, as proof that Michigan simply didn’t want this to happen, with no acknowledgement of the politicking behind that move (it was a Karl Rove strategy to boost turnout for Dubya, imperiled that year), the way society had changed its attitudes, none of it. He overreached. The new secretary of state is an advocate of political reform; her opponent feared same-day registration would encourage voter fraud, an issue that simply doesn’t exist on a wide scale in the U.S.

Pendulums swing, but the lessons stay the same: Remember who you work for. Don’t put party over people. And don’t overreach. It’s a cautionary tale for, yes, BOTH SIDES.

I don’t think happy days are here again. I think a lot of pain lies ahead. But I believe this was an important election that revealed a lot to be hopeful about.

So, a little bloggage:

Sorry about the ads, the exploding pop-ups, all of it, but this column by Neil Steinberg echoes a lot of what I feel about you-know-who, and brings in the Great American Novel in the bargain. Worth the ads.

When I was in junior high, I read a novel with a theme of anti-Semitism. It was honestly hard to wrap my head around; it seemed such a weird prejudice to have. As we know, it’s back in a big way, and it was incredibly blatant in the latest campaign. Just in case you have to be reminded what you’re fighting for.

John Sinclair was Michigan’s “marijuana martyr.” Last night, he watched the state legalize it.

That’s all.

Posted at 12:09 pm in Current events | 79 Comments
 

The interview is not the job.

Yeesh, it’s almost over. I think now is the time to remind everyone — because this campaign has been SO long and SO heated — that campaigning is not governing.

I’ve read a lot in recent weeks about young people and how they’re getting into working on campaigns, having their voices heard, all that. You surely read this thing that flew around last week, about the youngsters who aren’t voting because they can’t figure out which corner of the absentee ballot the stamp goes on, or whatever. A few of them say something I’ve heard from a couple of Kate’s friends — that they’re not “inspired” by the candidates. I want to tell them — I do tell them — that inspirational politicians come along once or twice in a lifetime, that they were lucky to have Barack Obama as the president they came of age to, but also cursed, because brother, that guy was a unicorn. And even he disappointed people, because? Campaigning is not governing. He did what he could with what he had, he made mistakes, he had terrible people willing to do awful things to hold him back, but he still passed significant legislation. When the history of our era is written, surely Obamacare will be seen as the first, tentative step toward single-payer. That’s something.

I guess what I’m saying is, if the campaign is the heady early days of a relationship, the time after the oath of office is taken is when your partner starts farting in bed. S/he’s the same person you fell for, just…different.

So, fingers crossed. In 48 hours much more will be apparent. Hang in there.

Another work-hard weekend, and now I can’t even remember what we did. Oh, right — Costco, Kroger, dry cleaner, library, leaves, lawn, all that shit. In between, watched “Isle of Dogs” and four episodes of “The Haunting of Hill House,” both of which were enjoyable, although “enjoyable” is maybe not the word for the latter. Skillfully done, maybe. I saw the first HoHH, c. 1963, and it scared the crap out of me. Didn’t see the second adaptation; all I know about it is, Catherine Zeta-Jones played a beautiful lesbian in a furry vest. The TV version kept the beautiful lesbian and dropped the furry vest, and it’s more of a story about grief and loss, but it works.

Of “Isle of Dogs” I can only say that Wendy has been speaking Japanese to me all day.

As we lurch into the bloggage, I have to start with two of my own — a visit to Janet’s Closet, a Metro Detroit store for trans women and cross-dressers. And this column, about my experience taking mass transit this summer. Feedback welcome.

But on to the good stuff! How many of you are familiar with Jordan Peterson? I had a bad feeling about the guy when I heard about all the young conservative men who were flocking to see him, because he was helping them Become Men. I also heard one of his rules for life is to clean up your room, which is honestly hilarious, because I assume most of these guys had mothers who probably told them the same thing about a million times. Well, as they say: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I couldn’t get through any of his writing, myself — contemporary philosophy isn’t my game, folks — and the stories about him seemed to single out his nuttiest ideas, like that women are somehow cheating by wearing makeup in the workplace, because something something “the flush of orgasm,” or some bullshit.

But the latest I heard is that he went on an all-beef diet, on the recommendation of his untrained but self-styled nutrition expert daughter, and it fixed everything that was wrong with him, except maybe his dumb ideas about makeup. And by all beef, I mean ALL beef, plus water. I mean beef for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and nothing else. But just to get an idea of what we’re dealing with here, enjoy this passage from a recent Atlantic story on the beef diet, quoting Peterson. I’m suspending my usual three-paragraph rule so you an enjoy this anecdote, beginning to end:

“Both (Peterson’s daughter) Mikhaila and I noticed that when we restricted our diet and then ate something we weren’t supposed to, the reaction was absolutely catastrophic.” He gives the example of having had some apple cider and subsequently being incapacitated for a month by what he believes was an inflammatory response.

“You were done for a month?”

“Oh yeah, it took me out for a month. It was awful …”

“Apple cider? What was it doing to you?”

“It produced an overwhelming sense of impending doom. I seriously mean overwhelming. There’s no way I could’ve lived like that. But see, Mikhaila knew by then that it would probably only last a month.”

“A month? From fucking cider?”

“I didn’t sleep that month for 25 days. I didn’t sleep at all for 25 days.”

“What? How is that possible?”

“I’ll tell you how it’s possible: You lay in bed frozen in something approximating terror for eight hours. And then you get up.”

The longest recorded stretch of sleeplessness in a human is 11 days, witnessed by a Stanford research team.

I remind you, for maybe the dozenth time, that the people who follow Peterson’s philosophy are fond of calling the rest of us snowflakes.

Anyway, this recent column about Peterson is a stitch, and you should read it.

With that, it’s time to hit Publish and go heat up some chili for dinner. Also included: Apple crisp. Hey, stop by! And don’t forget to you-know-what, tomorrow.

Posted at 5:46 pm in Current events | 94 Comments
 

The balm of b.s.

Believe it or not — and I had a hard time believing it myself — I saw David Brooks speak yesterday, and I enjoyed it.

One of the organizations I work for, the policy group, wrapped its pre-election work, and yesterday was an uncharacteristically light day. So I decamped for the CityLab conference downtown. There wasn’t much news being made, but the speakers moved through quickly and some were interesting, and then, whaddaya know, here’s David Brooks, and he’s talking about mending the social fabric.

Apparently he’s joined the Aspen Institute as some sort of adjunct, and his initiative is called Weave — get it? Fabric? — and he gave the 20-minute version of his speech about it. There were a lot of impossible-to-verify statistics (35 percent of Americans are lonely), and some heartwarming anecdotes about communities coming together to lift up children, but at the end, you couldn’t help but think: Mensch. I mean, yeah, you can pick it apart and think we need a truth and reconciliation commission before we can start weaving, or whatever. But on a Monday afternoon, after a gruesome week? I was happy to let it wash over me.

Maybe a balm of bullshit. But it beat the alternative, i.e., reality.

So, a few items of bloggage today:

When I heard Whitey Bulger was dead in prison at 89, of course I figured he’d had a heart attack or stroke or something. Nope, a beatdown. Mercy. What does it take to kill at 89 year old man? I wouldn’t think much. Tough old bastard to last that long in the first place.

Did you ever think you’d see a time when the president of the whole damn U.S. of A. would arrive in a city, and the usual bigwigs would pass on even meeting him? Remember Jan Brewer’s finger in Obama’s face? Seems like a kiss on the cheek.

Two women from Detroit were raped in a Jamaican resort last month. Today, the reporter who wrote the story in the Freep followed it up with a piece on how often that happens in Jamaica, even in gated, all-inclusive resorts, where guests presumably feel safe. A terrifying story that I’d consider if I were planning a Caribbean vacation.

Posted at 9:49 pm in Current events, Detroit life | 77 Comments
 

Scary weekend.

Well, friends, no two ways about it: We just came through a shit-tastic week, and there’s every chance next week will be equally shit-tastic. I was looking at an inside page in the NYT this morning, and there was a story about one homicidal maniac above the fold, and another below, both with headshots, and they even looked alike. They’re blurring together, the homicidal maniacs who are absolutely, positively not motivated by our president at ALL. Just ask any prominent conservative. The guy in Pittsburgh actually disliked Trump:

Because we are obliged by the sickness of our political culture to analyze every despicable event in a manner designed to confirm our priors, we have already, mere hours after the barbarity, sunk into a nauseating discussion about how much blame to assign to the president for this unspeakable act. The obvious answer is: None. Donald Trump should be assigned no such blame, even if the shooter were the president of the Donald Trump Fan Club, because he pulled no trigger and committed no crime. Period. To do that, to assign blame, is to whitewash the crime itself and the criminal’s responsibility for it. He becomes a cultural robot, seized by an evil collective unconscious that drove him to his crimes.

Remind me of this the next time someone claims Barack Obama is the godfather of ISIS, OK?

Blech. What an awful weekend. We went to a costume party at the end of it. The topical costume of the night was an easy one for middle-aged men — Brett Kavanaugh. Needed: A black robe, a Yale baseball cap and a calendar with BEACH WEEK blocked out. Not bad, although I think this pic, which I found on Facebook, might win the whole holiday:

Alan and I went as devils. We were devils the last year we went to a Halloween party. Horns, simple eye masks, demonic attire — Alan in nothing pants and shirt, me in a tight red dress with black gloves and seamed stockings. Also bright red lips, because that’s a demonic color. I put a spell on you…because you’re mine.

Ultimately, as bad as things have been lately, I’m trying to shrug off the worst of it, and just concentrate on Nov. 6. And the election after that, and the one after that, and so on. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.

So, bloggage:

Why social media sucks at doing what editors have done for decades.

Anything lighter? Just checked the usual traps and…no.

We hope for better things.

Posted at 9:14 pm in Current events | 60 Comments
 

Pipe bombs.

I was tired last night and thought I’d blog this morning. Thought I’d have a few minutes early. I didn’t. Then the pipe bombs began turning up, and game over for the blog.

Because I haven’t had enough misery today, I’m watching the televised Michigan gubernatorial debate and want to open a vein. No, an artery. A big one. Eight, nine good spurts and then vision would start to fade and I’d be out of my misery. Remember when debates were actual arguments? These are contests in who can come up with the most bumper-sticker phrases and put them into a Vitamix, pouring out smoothies on command.

What a terrible day.

Here, this is fun: Can you spot the fake or the real photo? I couldn’t. I got 22 percent. Maybe you’ll do better.

Tom and Lorenzo pointed out an amazing fact today: Kate Middleton, aka the Duchess of Cambridge, aka Cathy Cambridge, is now as old as Princess Diana was when she died. Damn, they’re right — where does the time go? Pretty sure the tiara in that pic is the one Diana was married in.

This is old, but it’s good: Stormy Daniels on the last year. Which has been…strange, to say the least:

And now if you go to one of my shows, it’s large groups of women, oftentimes in homemade matching Stormy shirts. They are loud, and they’re angry. They’re like, “Fuck Trump.” Or they’re crying. I’m like, “Jesus Christ.

There’s no crying in tittie bars. What’s happening?” People are grabbing me and giving me money, and then later they’re sharing their personal stories — women are saying, “I was molested or I was raped, and you’ve given me the inspiration to file charges against my boss.” Just heavy, heavy shit every night.

“We hope for better things” is part of Detroit’s motto. Let’s all think that before someone gets killed.

Posted at 9:23 pm in Current events | 69 Comments
 

Pants ablaze.

Today I coped with Oncoming Election Stress Syndrome by clearing off a pile of crap on my desk. Renewed our auto registration, paid the cable bill, made some lists, dusted and vacuumed the second floor. I was feeling pretty good. Then I read the Axios newsletter for Sunday and headed back to a full boil:

Trump told reporters in Nevada yesterday that he and House Republican leaders are working “around the clock” on “a very major tax cut for middle-income people. And if we do that, it’ll be sometime just prior, I would say, to November.” But Republicans on the Hill seemed to know nothing about it, and both chambers are out until after midterms.

There’s also the non-existent dissolve-the-borders bill that he keeps claiming Democrats are ready to drop, and the number of jobs tied to the Saudi arms deal has now been bloated to more than half a million.

I’m not the world’s biggest Frank Bruni fan, but he certainly hit the nail on the head with this column:

Trump enjoys a kind and degree of immunity that few if any politicians in my lifetime have been given. His own exhaustively established indecency inoculates him. As a result, all manner of ugliness slips by — unnoticed, barely noticed or noticed and accepted as Trump being Trump.

And so back I go to the little tasks that keep me sane. Next will be closets, and the bathrooms could use a scrub. Just a couple more weeks.

We’ve been having a macabre little local story unfolding here in Detroit of late. First was the discovery of a funeral home that wasn’t finishing the job, so to speak, and had mold-covered bodies stacked in a garage and a number of fetal remains stuffed behind a false ceiling. This was called the classic One Bad Apple case, until police, acting on a tip, raided another funeral home and found something like 63 more fetuses in freezers and boxes.

I’m pretty flummoxed by this one. I have one authoritative source about the funeral industry, and he doesn’t get it, either. Most mortuaries and crematoriums will handle fetal remains and stillbirths at low or no cost, and funerary services are offered to all women who miscarry. This latter case is apparently tied up with couples who thought they were donating their infant/fetal remains to scientific research. But man, what a creepy story.

Is anyone else a little leery of balconies? Balconies, cantilevered walkways and other flat surfaces with sketchy means of support? Yes? Good, then you should know we’re justified in our caution — an actual floor collapsed during a dance party in South Carolina this weekend.

And with that, have we had enough Halloween-y frights and freakouts to start the week? Yes? Then let’s do so. Because we all have work to do.

Posted at 8:25 pm in Current events | 66 Comments
 

Dumbstruck.

I think one reason I’m finding it hard to blog of late is this: Every hour or so, I read something like this, and I’m struck dumb:

President Donald Trump again blamed California for the year’s dangerous and deadly wildfires and threatened to withhold federal funding from the state.

During a cabinet meeting Wednesday, he said the state needs to clear old trees to prevent fires.

“What’s happening should never happen. I go all over the country and I meet with governors. The first thing they say is there’s no reason for forest fires like that in California. So I say to the governor, or whoever is going to be the governor of California, you’d better get your act together because California, we’re just not going to continue to pay the kind of money that we’re paying because of fires that should never be to that extent,” he said.

Nineteen days before the election. Maybe 18, 17 by the time you read this. I’m just numb at this point. I have Battered Voter Syndrome.

But all is not lost. From time to time, when I feel like my life needs more complications in it, I read Dan Savage’s column, and it clears right up. I love “Savage Love,” because it makes me feel very suburban and boring. I have never, for example, considered the conundrum of being a straight guy with a yen for receiving oral sex, who’s been letting his gay friend do the job:

My problem is I am starting to feel guilty and worry I am using Sam. He’s a very good buddy, and I’m concerned this lopsided sexual arrangement might be bad for our friendship. Sam knows I am not into guys and I’m never going to reciprocate, and I feel like this is probably not really fair to him. But these are literally the only bl*wj*bs I’ve received since I was a teenager. What should I do?

Savage contacted Sam, and Sam said, hey, not a problem! Problem solved. (I asterisked that word, just in case any of you have content filters at your offices.)

I’m amazed at how many people have polyamorous or otherwise open relationships, and the kinks? Wow:

I’ve been dating this guy for almost a year. Everything is great, except one thing: He wants me to kick him in the nuts. It really bothers me, and I’m not sure what to do.

I would…not know how to answer that compassionately. My advice would be one word: Leave. Not that I wish to kink-shame, but um, wow.

Nineteen days. Remember that. I’m off for a very long Friday and — I devoutly hope — a pleasant weekend. Hope yours is, too.

Posted at 9:14 pm in Current events | 41 Comments
 

Frozen faces.

I was just thinking about how, as the fall colors peak at our latitude and the lovely crescendo of autumn takes us inexorably into winter, just a few weeks away, we have this to look forward to:

A new season at Mar-a-Lago.

And a new season at Mar-a-Lago means new press photos of the Trumpettes!

See, the older I get, the more I notice bad plastic surgery on women of a certain age. Take a look at the taut puss of Toni Holt Kramer, self-identified leader of the Trumpettes. I see…nose work, lip fillers, maybe a chin implant and certainly those weird cheekbone puffs that make a woman’s face look like a freshly restuffed saddle, not to mention the shiny skin that screams Botox.

Actually, the entire Gallery pulldown on their website is worth your time, but especially Ms. Kramer’s birthday lunch, which looks positively surreal. Also, her busy time is split between her homes in Bel Air, California and Palm Springs, where she lives with her husband Robert and her beloved poodle, Caviar Deux.

I bet her hero never called her Horseface.

How’s everyone’s midweek? I had to take Wendy to the vet today — she caught one of her dewclaws in the leash ring on her collar, and it was sticking straight out, bloody and sore. She wouldn’t let me touch it, but by the time we arrived at the vet, she’d self-cared by biting it off, and seemed to be feeling pretty good again. The vet clipped her nails all around, said she’d be fine once it grew out, and didn’t charge me a dime.

“Don’t you want to amputate?” I asked. He looked startled.

“Not her paws,” I said. “Her dewclaws.”

No, he didn’t. Most breeders who do that do it when they’re three-day-old pups, because it actually requires snapping off a bone. Ouch, not for my sweetie pie. She has a natural tail, and I guess she’ll have a natural set of toenails, too.

And then I had a very long phone interview with a fascinating person that I hope grows into a story worth reading, and by then it was early afternoon, so I worked from home the rest of the day.

Do I have some bloggage? A bit:

Remember how shutting down Backpage was going to thwart online sex trafficking? And how sex workers said it wouldn’t work that way? Listen to the experts, because they were right.

Meanwhile, this pimp is dead — and after partying with Grover Norquist, no less. Of course, he still may be elected, because:

Nevada law specifies that candidates who die after the fourth Friday in July will still appear there, but the county clerk must post a notice that the candidate is deceased at every polling place.

And that, I think, is all. Three weeks until Nov. 6. A little less, actually.

Posted at 9:26 pm in Current events | 42 Comments