Another one.

Yep, I watched the shooting videos. Both of them. Multiple angles – an editor could cut between them. You can see them both here if you’re so inclined, and I would expect most of you aren’t. I watched them, and then I checked in on the reaction from time to time throughout the day. The shootings made me mad, and the reactions made me madder.

Spare me, please, the journalists who take time to talk about how they’ve reported from so many dangerous places, and how this could have been them. Part of the outrage of this story is, the reporter wasn’t IN a dangerous place. She was doing a live standup for a story on (from what I could tell) local economic development in some backwater in southern Virginia. A crazy ex-colleague killed her. It was a workplace shooting.

I’m not turning away anymore. It kills me that this country produces violent entertainment by the truckload, but believes watching an actual killing requires trigger warnings and a discreet averting of the eyes. Both videos are way less graphic than I expected. The sound is the worst, but I’ve heard women scream louder over spiders. It turns out, in fact, that you can kill two people wearing a body camera, and an average episode of “CSI” is more graphic.

Which may be a big part of our problem, right there.

Anyway, it all put me in a mood, so let’s go to some shooting-related bloggage and get out of here.

Neil Steinberg:

Because if one thing is clear, even though most Americans don’t have guns and most Americans would like specific improvements in gun policy, most Americans also do not change their beliefs on the subject just because there is another shooting. We look up at the crack of gunfire, note the identities of today’s victims, sigh, then go about our business unmoved. It is a peasant fatalism, a resignation beneath the spirit of a great country.

Yup. Farad Manjoo:

There was uncertainty in the sharing. Users expressed reservations as they passed on the gunman’s profile and his tweets. People were calling on Twitter and Facebook to act quickly to pull down his accounts. There were questions about the journalistic ethics of posting WDBJ’s live shot and the killer’s own document of the shooting, given that it was exactly what he had been expecting.

But these questions didn’t really slow anything down, a testament to the power of these networks to tap into each of our subconscious, automatic desires to witness and to share. The videos got out widely, forging a new path for nihilists to gain a moment in the media spotlight: an example that, given its success at garnering wide publicity, will most likely be followed by others.


Posted at 8:30 am in Current events | 56 Comments


Yesterday I said I was getting back to eating vegetables, and I guess I did, but the number of carbs I managed to cram into my piehole Monday was truly horrifying. Fucking leftovers. Fucking delicious, delicious leftover tortilla chips that happen to be the best in the city, and maybe the world. And also, there was pie. So we’ll hope for a better Tuesday, because I am feeling like the Michelin man.

Meanwhile, there is some bloggage you might want to peruse.

The other at the gym I heard two men, the same two I heard a couple months ago, telling one another that Hillary Clinton had Vince Foster killed, cheering for Donald Trump and his comments about anchor babies. So, yet another think piece about Trump vis-a-vis the contemporary GOP, but not a terrible one.

Eight overdoses in a little more than an hour in one county in Pennsylvania:

The toll wasn’t from a supply of heroin that had been poisoned on its journey from South America to southwestern Pennsylvania. Nor was there an isolated party where careless junkies miscalculated the amount of heroin they could handle. Last week was simply an extreme example of what communities in parts of the country are enduring as the heroin epidemic rages on. …The national drug-death total, larger than that from auto accidents, is disproportionately concentrated in the Rust Belt, the Great Lakes region and the Northeast.


And I’m taking my fat self off to bed now. Protein on Tuesday, lots of water and leafy greens, and not much else, I think.

Posted at 12:12 am in Current events | 31 Comments

Cleaning up.

Well, in the end everything was fine. Going into a party where you’ve promised to provide food and drink for 30 or so people, unless you’re a professional caterer, it’s always tense. There’ll be too much food, there won’t be enough food, no one will have a good time, the world will collapse upon itself and so will the tent.

But it was fine. Invite the right people, and it’s always fine. I don’t envy people who go to fabulous parties all the time, because over time your standards have to get too high and utterly wonky. Cassie VonSnoot’s bash was just so…Pinterest, don’t you think? And the white wine really wasn’t right with the fish course. Whereas if you just provide something to eat and something to drink and a break from a typical Saturday, and mash together some groups that don’t meet every so often, it’s fine.

I got a $5 bouquet of flowers from the Eastern Market and divided them between the tables. I got plastic tablecloths and paper plates in Michigan colors. Alan iced down oceans of drinks, of all kinds and strengths. And this being a congratulatory affair, there was a congratulatory cake:


It’s our family motto.

Now I’m up for air, although the pace won’t really abate until mid-September, when Kate is relocated and my work projects reach critical mass, and by then it’ll be time for apples and brussels sprouts and, inevitably, cold weather.

I’m glad we had some fun while it was warm. Back to vegetables and clean living for a while. This cake and booze and tortilla chips makes me feel a little… off.

Some good bloggage, anyway, as we start the week.

The story of the three Americans who thwarted a mass shooting on a French train has everything, doesn’t it? Three handsome men, one bumbling terrorist and a denouement with the bad guy left hog-tied while the good guys put a good thumping on him. Meanwhile, it appears jihadi training has some problems in the supply chain:

Mr. Skarlatos, the AK-47 in hand, began to patrol the carriages, looking for other gunmen. He made a series of startling discoveries: The suspect’s guns had malfunctioned, and he had not had the competence to fix them.

“He had pulled the trigger on the AK. The primer was just faulty, so the gun didn’t go off, luckily,” Mr. Skarlatos said. “And he didn’t know how to fix it, which is also very lucky.” In addition, the gunman had not been able to load his own handgun: “There was no magazine in it, so he either dropped it accidentally or didn’t load it properly, so he was only able to get what appeared to be one shot off,” Mr. Skarlatos said.

Well, thank heaven for small favors.

Neal Pollack has a nice summation of the Ashley Madison business, I think. He had a guest account with AM while writing a Maxim story and found himself in the hall of shame:

Ever since the data-dump threats began, I’ve been thinking about the people I interviewed for that Maxim story. A couple of them were admitted sex addicts, but most were just normal people living in private circumstances. I interviewed a middle-aged woman who was in a friendly marriage with someone 25 years her senior, a man who went to bed every night at seven. She didn’t want a divorce, but she was bored, seeking sexual adventure, so she went on the site and set up some discreet liaisons. I also talked to a truck driver, happily married but on the road 200-plus days a year. Rather than pay for a hooker or masturbate sadly at the Howard Johnson’s, he set up private consensual liaisons. No one got hurt, or at least hadn’t gotten hurt yet.

The conventional narrative with Ashley Madison is that 95 percent of the accounts are either bots or horny dudes who never actually hook up with anyone. A lot may have changed on the site since 2007, but from my experience, subscribers were people who, for whatever reason, wanted to have an extramarital affair and had no other avenue to find one. Not everyone can screw around like a rock star or even a traveling Big Pharma sales rep. Whatever their reasons or circumstances—and, again, they varied widely—it was no one’s business but their own.

For you football fans, a story I’m still picking my way through, but is good so far, a feature about Chris Borland, the NFL player who quit the 49ers in his first year, to save his brain, he said. As you might expect, his life since has not been uncomplicated.

And with that, let’s take on Monday, eh?

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 53 Comments

Again? Really?

Man, sometimes these wingnuts just make it too easy. The first high-profile name that turns up in the Ashley Madison leak? That would be Josh Duggar. Yes, of those Duggars.

This happens so often I wonder if it’s even worth making sport of. Here in Michigan, we’re still living with the drawn-out story of Todd Courser, the tea party legislator fighting for his life, and he seems incapable of going a day without a Facebook posting. Frankly, it’s getting a little ludicrous, as seen here:

Normally in the morning I will listen to praise music on my way into work, but some mornings this song just feels right – eye of the tiger. I know with all the controversy it might be hard to understand, but when you fail, you acknowledge your failure, you put safe guards in place to guard your heart as unto the Lord, then you work to repair all those relationships that you have let down. Then you have to decide to either shrink back or lean on God’s promises and just get up in humility and in the fear of the Lord and return to fight for those things that matter and go out and do the job you were hired to do.

I’ve just run out of things to say. Why even be surprised?

A good Neil Steinberg blog, about the Amazon stories. He points out, correctly, that being shitty to the help is nothing new:

Why? Maybe somewhere we lost our humanity. Maybe decent work environments were a phase, a mid-20th century American fad, and now we are reverting to form. The philosophical groundwork is certainly being laid. Politicians used to paint themselves as the workers’ friend. Now a truly loathsome billionaire like Donald Trump can be the darling of the party of Lincoln, just because he promises to bring his secret rich guy knowledge to the table. Scott Walker is running on his success at crippling public unions in Wisconsin, and Bruce Rauner is aping him. We went from a society that asked itself why teachers don’t get paid like athletes do, to a society that wonders why teachers get paid so much, and tries to see that it stops, in the name of economy.

And with that, another early exit. Gotta go pull the brisket apart.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events | 47 Comments


I was thinking about Donald Trump today, not in the hard-thinking way, more the staring-at-the-ceiling sort of woolgathering you do when you’re a little spacey. Slate ran a story that featured a photo of him in his newest fashion accessory, that ass-ugly MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hat.

I say “ass-ugly” knowing that some of you might be wearing a similar hat right now, or own a few. Hell, I hardly ever wear hats, and even I own a few. No one in the world would judge you for wearing America’s favorite hat, unless you were wearing it with a zillion-dollar custom-tailored suit, in which case you look ridiculous. Equestrians, whose show clothes range from blazer-type coats to tails, will sometimes pop a billed cap on to cover helmet hair, and it looks sort of dumb with those outfits, too. Everything from the neck down is saying “Downton Abbey,” while the head cries, “Dew Drop Inn.”

Of course, candidates sometimes dress in silly outfits. Even supercool Barry O. was photographed in mom jeans. To err at the closet in the morning from time to time is human, to forgive, divine.

And I forgive Trump his hat, but bottom line, I have a problem with men who can’t come to terms with baldness. It’s so common, and detracts so little from a man’s appearance, and is such a light burden to carry compared with all the stuff women have to worry about — bums and breasts and face and thighs and whatever else the fashion-and beauty-industrial complex is on about at any given time. When the trend toward skull shaving began (almost certainly by some guy sensitive about a receding hairline), I thought, good for you, guys. Fight baldness with baldness! Whatever.

Seriously, though, I say this with love and candor: Women don’t really care whether a guy has hair or not. Maybe some do, but it’s been my experience that once you select for the important qualities — personality, sense of humor, basic sanity, etc. — you can’t be picky about the rest of it. And I’m absolutely sure that even women who want a guy with enough hair to run her fingers through do not prefer a toupee to a shortfall up top. I’ve never trusted men who wore them, because they’re so ridiculously obvious to all that you have to wonder who, exactly, he thinks he’s fooling. Bob Greene, Jim Traficant, John Travolta — come on. We see, we know, we pity. Pity is not an attractive emotion.

Nor is vanity. Pride in appearance is not the same thing. Vanity is pride taken to an unattractive length. Pride is accepting baldness. Vanity is a toupee.

So there’s Donald Trump running around in that stupid hat, apparently because the wind blows in Iowa and on helicopter pads, telling the world no one is tougher than him. Even though he can’t bear to face his own natural head in the mirror. Give me a fucking break.

Here’s something else I was thinking about, after hearing about it on the drive home: Heroin. The White House is rolling out a small program in the worst-hit states for heroin addiction, concentrating on treatment, not incarceration. On the one hand, yay, good idea. I guess it beats horsewhipping the CEOs of the major pharmaceutical companies that started this problem in the first place, anyway.

I was reflecting on how often government is the one left to clean up the messes that the free market creates. Make no mistake, you can draw a straight and true line from the efforts of Purdue Pharma and others to create a wider market for opiate painkillers in the late ’90s to the heroin epidemic (and related health issues) we have today. It’s not even debatable. I remember sitting in the office of a former colleague, who blamed the problem on those damn drug abusers, who just couldn’t leave a perfectly good, incredibly powerful narcotic drug alone so that it could help people with real pain issues. What was so great about Oxy? I asked. Well, he explained, it was time-release, so a person wouldn’t have to cycle through ouch-ahh-ouch-ahh so often. That strikes me now as exactly the sort of thing a certain sort of person would see as a brilliant advance in technology. Unintended consequences are just that — unintended. If they’re not intended, you shouldn’t be held responsible for them.

Anyway, I’m glad the administration is finally treating drug addiction as a public-health problem. And I’m sorry that horsewhipping isn’t part of the solution, too. Progressives are always squishy on punishment, I hear.

Sorry for the no-show for most of today. Sunday was busy, and then we just decided to go sailing. By mid-August, the number of sunny, hot and windy days no longer feels unlimited.

Happy Tuesday, all.

Posted at 6:55 pm in Current events | 58 Comments

Here we (might) go again.

So, it looks like Jeb! has learned his lesson on Iraq, and is doubling down on the family legacy:

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor seeking the Republican presidential nomination, issued a blistering attack on Tuesday on the Obama administration’s handling of Iraq and terrorism issues, asserting that Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, had “stood by” as secretary of state as the situation in Iraq deteriorated.

He said President Obama and Mrs. Clinton had orchestrated an early withdrawal of American troops, setting the stage for the chaos sweeping the region now and the rise of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Jeb Bush walked past a portrait of former President Ronald Reagan after speaking at the RedState Gathering in Atlanta on Saturday.

“That premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill,” Mr. Bush declared in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library here on Tuesday night.

It’s come to this, I guess: We were right all along.

I heard this guy interviewed on NPR on the way home tonight. Fat lot of good that’ll do:

The problem with the legend of the surge is that it reproduces the very hubris that led America into Iraq in the first place. In 2003, the Bush administration believed it could shatter the Iraqi state and then quickly and cheaply construct a new one that was stable, liberal, democratic, and loyal to the United States. By 2006, many conservatives had realized that was a fantasy. They had massively overestimated America’s wisdom and power, and so they began groping for a new approach to the world. But then, in 2007 and 2008, through a series of bold innovations, the United States military bribed, cajoled, and bludgeoned Iraqis into multiple cease-fires. The Iraqi state was still broken; its new ruling elite showed little of the political magnanimity necessary to reconstruct it in an inclusive fashion. And the Band-Aids that Petraeus and his troops had courageously affixed began peeling off almost immediately. Nonetheless, Republicans today say the Iraq War was won, and would have remained won, had the U.S. left 10,000 troops in the country after 2011.

How much damage will the GOP’s revived hubris do? Inconceivable as it would have seemed a few years ago, Graham, who is now a Republican presidential hopeful, has suggested sending 10,000 American ground troops back into Iraq. (His GOP rivals generally support this idea but have not proposed exact troop numbers.) The U.S. is unlikely to send a sizable American ground force back into Iraq. But this line of thinking is troubling nonetheless, because the same wild overestimation of American power that fueled the war in Iraq now fuels the right’s opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran. To hear hawks tell it, the United States can scuttle the current deal, intensify sanctions, threaten war, and—presto—Tehran will capitulate. But Iranians have been living under the threat of attacks from America or Israel for more than a decade now. And British and German diplomats have warned that if the U.S. Congress torpedoes the agreement, sanctions pressure on Iran will go not up but down, as countries that have lost billions by limiting their trade with Tehran stop doing so.

Here’s what bothers me most about this: Jeb! will likely not be able to sell this to voters. He won’t be able to sell much else to them, either — has there ever been a presumptive GOP nominee this unimpressive in our lifetimes? (Well, yes. But never mind that.) So with Jeb! a far, far thing from a lock for the top spot, what does that leave us? I’m thinking maybe Scott Walker? Marco Rubio? One of those guys. And what happens if Hillary falls and breaks a hip, or finds a lump in her breast, or is otherwise incapacitated? President Scott Walker. Think on that for a minute. And shudder.

This is the state of our politics right now. It’s rather terrifying.

The next 16 months or so are going to be just so much fun. As for the sideshow acts leading up to the main event, well, we have this, too:

Ben Carson defended the use of fetal tissue for medical research Thursday, after a blog published excerpts of a 1992 paper describing work the neurosurgeon-turned-presidential candidate carried out using aborted fetuses. In an interview with The Washington Post, Carson called the revelation “desperate,” and ignorant of the way medical research was carried out.

“You have to look at the intent,” Carson said before beginning a campaign swing through New Hampshire. “To willfully ignore evidence that you have for some ideological reason is wrong. If you’re killing babies and taking the tissue, that’s a very different thing than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it.”

Can someone please explain what that means? Because I have no idea. A month ago, he said there was “nothing that can’t be done without fetal tissue.” He also said 17-week fetuses were “definitely” human beings. Guess what Carson’s research used? Fetal cells from a 17-week fetus.

I’d have more respect for the guy if he said something about having different beliefs then, and he evolved or something.

I first learned of the vile labor practice of “on-call” shifts when Kate worked at Cold Stone Creamery. She explained that she couldn’t make plans for Saturday night because she was on call and might have to work.

“What are you paid for an on-call night?” I asked. Stupidly.


This is how it works: You’re scheduled to work, but they reserve the right call you an hour or two ahead of time and tell you not to come in, because it’s slower than expected. (In the winter, at an ice-cream shop, this happened a lot.) I told her, “Well, now you know why we had a labor movement in this country. And why we still need one.” At least one practitioner is calling it off, albeit with a nudge from the guvmint:

The office of the New York State attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, said in April that it was investigating 13 large retailers over whether the increasingly unpredictable work schedules adopted by some retailers violated state labor laws.

Abercrombie & Fitch said in a statement on Friday that all of its brands would end the practice for workers paid by the hour. As of the end of January, the company ran 799 Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister stores in the United States.

And how did I know that somehow, “data” would be behind this?

…Retailers often rely on sophisticated software to track the flow of customers, assigning just enough employees to handle ever-changing demand, resulting in far less predictable work hours for much of their part-time work force.

When you’re a 16-year-old working your first minimum-wage job, the stakes are low. I had no idea it was as widespread as it is, but it is. And it’s horrible. I’m sure President Walker would approve.

I need a break from all this gloom. My boxing trainer sent me this today, a 40-year-old Sports Illustrated story on the Thrilla in Manila, Ali-Frazier, 1975. It was an ugly fight, but this is a beautiful piece of writing. At the end of the 14th round:

“Joe,” said his manager, Eddie Futch, “I’m going to stop it.”

“No, no, Eddie, ya can’t do that to me,” Frazier pleaded, his thick tongue barely getting the words out. He started to rise.

“You couldn’t see in the last two rounds,” said Futch. “What makes ya think ya gonna see in the 15th?”

“I want him, boss,” said Frazier.

“Sit down, son,” said Futch, pressing his hand on Frazier’s shoulder. “It’s all over. No one will ever forget what you did here today.”

And yet, we apparently have forgotten what we did in Iraq. Some people have, evidently.

Have a nice weekend! It’s gonna be sunny and hot here.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events | 98 Comments

And we’re wrapped.

Well, we made it back. You get in the car in the crystalline, low-humidity loveliness of the north woods, and you stop for gas somewhere around Saginaw, where the air is smudgy and your hair immediately plasters itself to your skull like a wet towel.

(“I’m going to miss this place,” I said on our last day. “My hair looks the same in the evening as when I dried it in the morning.” Alan: “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.” Only women notice hair.)

It was a nice time. We didn’t do much, by design. Alan fished every night and some days, and I read “Missoula,” by Jon Krakauer; “The Drop” by Dennis Lehane; and “Between the World and Me,” Ta’Nehisi Coates, as well as some rereading — an old Travis McGee pulper I found in the cottage, and Laura Lippman’s “When She Was Good.” And a kinky romance about a woman with rape fantasies, because I read an interesting story about this market niche somewhere, and wanted to see what it was about. They’re all e-books and as cheap as candy bars. (Noted some details, including this: While women notice hair, when they write erotic fiction, they don’t spend a lot of time describing the women involved, for obvious reasons. The reader is free to imagine herself in the starring role. Sex scenes written by men are the opposite. I gave up on one popular crime novelist 20 pages into my first try, when he described his main character, a woman with the usual high, firm breasts and tight, round ass and long, long legs, etc. The real eye-roller — and book-closer — was her smooth olive skin and violet eyes. I’m like, pick one, dude. You don’t get both in the same gene pool.)

“Missoula” was a rare Krakauer disappointment for me, strong out of the gate and mired around the halfway point with courtroom procedural passages begging for a chainsaw edit. It was also about rape, the real, non-fantasy kind, but it was really about alcohol. And “Between the World and Me” is a heartbreaker, but an absolutely necessary one, and I highly recommend it.

At night, when I wasn’t reading and Alan was fishing, I watched movies. The house we were in didn’t have cable or an antenna, so I couldn’t watch the Republican debate, but it did have a DVD player and an uneven selection of movies. First were the good ones I’d already seen (“Michael Clayton,” “The Departed”) and then some fun crap (“Dirty Harry”), before finishing with ones I’d only heard about and never got around to seeing, like “The Green Mile.” Sixteen years after its release, I offer this review: P-U. (Alan suggested an alternate title: “Mr. Jingles and the Magical Negro.”) Last up was “The Grey,” which I turned off 30 minutes in while contemplating forming a Wolf Anti-Defamation League. Not just bad, offensively so.

And that was about it. We lost power in the big storm for a day and change, popped over to Traverse City for an afternoon and watched Wendy excavate the outside woodpile for two solid hours, trying to get the red squirrel squeaking inside. No cell service, no internet unless we drove through a coverage zone. And we floated a few miles of the Au Sable, and it looked like this:


Pure Michigan.

It looks like y’all had a good week. I still have a few pages to go in the Coates book, mainly because on the way home, as soon as we drove into cell coverage, my phone exploded with this story, about the Tea Party legislator I wrote about in April. Turns out he was sleeping with his legislative ally, and — you can read all the tawdry details at the link. The rumors about them started flying after my story ran, and I wondered whether they might be true, then decided such a hookup would be too Hollywood for words, like Frank Burns and Hot Lips Houlihan getting it on in “M*A*S*H.” It turns out that sometimes reality is just that — Hollywood. I keep looking at my notes, and the story, wondering if it was in front of me all along. Maybe it was:

Just yesterday, Courser posted, on his website and Facebook, a 3,300-word defense of Gamrat, referring to “the forces of tyranny” that are “attempting to silence a huge voice for liberty,” i.e. Gamrat, and calling on Speaker Cotter to reinstate her. He chides Cotter repeatedly and implies the Speaker – the leader of his own party’s caucus – lied about Gamrat to justify her ejection.

New rule: When a man tops 3K words defending a female colleague, look harder.

Anyway, I’m doing a Michigan Radio interview this morning, along with the reporter who broke the story. Should be fun. I’ll pop into the comments with a listen-live link when I get it.

I see you guys kept the bloggage going in my absence, so I don’t have a whole lot to offer, as I’m just catching up myself. This profile of an uncooperative Chelsea Clinton was very good, I thought. I found it via Hank Stuever, who commented on his Facebook that perhaps his parents had taken Jacqueline Onassis’ advice about raising their daughter in the White House to a fault: “When Caroline Kennedy sort of ran for office a few years ago, one single interview with the NYT made it clear that a lifetime of being sheltered from challenging questions had not done her any favors at all. She was in no way ready for real politics or much of anything that wasn’t ceremonial and scripted. Ergo, her current job — ambassador to Japan.” Chelsea is the same, I fear. Much posing and smiling, not much else.

Oh, and Coozledad sent along this wonderful piece from his local alt-weekly. Speaking of atrocious writing.

So the week begins anew, and I’m tanned (a little), rested (mostly) and ready (better be). Hope you are, too.

Posted at 12:06 am in Current events, Movies, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' | 39 Comments

Break coming up.

First a little light housekeeping: Light-to-nonexistent posting next week, as it is time for the Derringers to lay down their scythes and head into the cool north woods for a few days. It’s one step up from a staycation, but the price is right and a river runs through it. Alan will take his fishing gear, I will take a stack of books and other non-work reading, and we will both eat a lot of tavern cheeseburgers while I avoid cooking.

I might do a little yoga on the deck, but nothing more strenuous.

There might be some photo posts along the way. It depends on how picture-perfect things are. And how robust the cellular network is, and whether the WordPress mobile app is still a pain in the butt to work with.

Funny to think about these things. Kate is off in the great American west with intermittent cell service, and I just have to get used to her being out of range for a while. That’s what life used to be, and not that long ago.

I’ll do what I can.

Meanwhile, it remains hot here, although a line of thunderstorms yesterday blew out the humidity, if not the heat. It’s a little Los Angeles-y today, hot and dry and blindingly sunny. This I can live with, even as it makes me feel a little like a kid stuck in school, having to work when all this gloriousness is going on outside. But that’s what next week will be about.

I’m ready to take a news break, frankly. Donald Trump, lion killers, the construction outside my front door — it’s time to unplug.

That said, this isn’t a terrible take on Trump, and by a Republican, no less.

Capturing people who don’t collect their dogs’ poop with? What else — DNA.

Finally, Jon Stewart comes clean about his relationship with POTUS.

As for the rest of the weekend, I think Connie said it best:

Hope yours is good.

Posted at 12:03 am in Current events, Housekeeping | 88 Comments


I mentioned a while back that I gave blood? And they gave me a $10 Kroger gift card, up from the old $5 Target cards? Today, a new wrinkle:


It’s like an open adoption, isn’t it? They tell you where your blood went. As it turns out, the sides of the triangle formed by St. John Hospital, the gym where I donated and my house are no longer than half a mile. Now that’s some locally sourced blood. That’s blood a blood snob would be proud to infuse.

They must really need blood. Probably you should give some, if you’re able.

A mixed bag today. The heat wave continues. Kate’s leaving tomorrow on yet another trip, a straight vacation this time with friends, so there were some errands and I made a big pile of granola. (They’re going backpacking.) And I worked, simultaneously thinking I wish I were in an office with people and thank God I don’t have to get dressed so I can be around people. Of course the social-media story of the day was the lion killer, which I see you have already started tearing apart in the previous post’s comments. The local paper seems to be on top of things, and I don’t know what to add — it’s just a terrible story. The hunter sounds terrible. The situation sounds terrible. The whole idea of traveling to Africa to hunt heads – terrible. That this guy is a cosmetic dentist – terrible.

Which seems like a segue into yet another NYT piece on the outlaw seas, more of the Ian Urbina package on the astounding lawlessness on the high seas and yet another argument for the human race as not much of an improvement on primordial slime. The piece does have a hero, the environmental group that pursued an outlaw fishing vessel for more than three months, only to see it almost certainly deliberately scuttled to hide evidence of its crew’s crimes. But a good read just the same.

Finally, you may have read about the unveiling of the Satanist statue in Detroit. This is the real story. You’re being trolled, America.

In spite of the heat, I took a little bike ride. And I took a little picture:


It’s the original. Accept no substitutes.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 56 Comments

Scraps of notes.

Another late night without much inspiration. So here’s the last night of the Deadly Vipers’ tour. It was posted at way past their bedtime last night; I don’t expect them home early:

A bunch of opossums in St. Louis

A photo posted by The Deadly Vipers (@deadlyvipers.detroit) on

They seem to be making friends.

Here’s another Neil Steinberg blog to contemplate, about a 1915 disaster I’d never heard of until today. More than 800 people drowned when a ship capsized at the dock on the Chicago River. They were close enough to shore to easily swim, but that was when swimming was a rare skill. Eight hundred forty-four dead, and the ship was still tied up. Mind-boggling.

I swam this morning. Couldn’t find my rhythm, felt off the whole time. Maybe I’m being haunted by the ghosts of the Eastland, drowned 100 years ago today.

I see there was another mass shooting last night. Today, I swear, CNN was tweeting a piece about “movie-theater safety.” No words. And Bobby Jindal informed the world he was rushing to the scene, inspiring Twitter to yell at his exhaust plume, Make sure you tell ’em how much you like guns, Bobby! Awright.

OK, to work and to the weekend. Enjoy yours.

Posted at 9:19 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 70 Comments