Mrs. Somebody.

So, in the last few weeks I’ve been to a Patti Smith reading/signing; seen “Heart of a Dog,” the new Laurie Anderson movie; and heard Monday’s “Fresh Air” episode, with Illeana Douglas, the actress — she has a new memoir.

All are, or were, partnered with a man of equal or greater fame – Smith with Fred Smith, Detroit rock legend (OK, he probably took a back seat to his wife, fame-wise, but they were a power couple); Anderson with Lou Reed, and Douglas with film director Martin Scorsese, who was also her mentor.

I’ve been reading in the new Smith book, and I’m struck by how…ordinary it is. The story about the boat with a broken axle? Amusing, but ultimately, your life is just as interesting. I promise you. But people in the audience that night were rapt, absorbing the details of this pair’s domestic life, as though there was a secret about to be revealed — of coolness, or magic, or powerful creativity. There seems to be an inordinate interest in the personal lives of doubly famous couples, and maybe it’s a fact of being older, but the more I learn about people, the more I believe we have a lot more in common than not, and that the lives of the famous/brilliant and anonymous/ordinary contain a roughly equal number of farts, whining, dumb conversation and other things that make us wonder what life would be like if we’d only married someone famous and brilliant. (Note the children of these pairs, how often they are deeply unimpressed by mom and dad. Take your cue from them.) They probably go to better parties and have nicer clothes and travel schedules, but that’s about it.

Not that I’m not insanely jealous of Illeana Douglas, mind you; the other ladies can keep Sonic Smith and Lou Reed, but I’d pay money to share coffee with Scorsese in the morning.

The Anderson movie is very fine, but it’s about…well, it’s about a lot of things, but death is the biggie, as the whole thing is purportedly inspired by the death of Anderson’s rat terrier, Lolabelle. But someone else died in the last year in Anderson’s family, and Himself goes unmentioned, appearing in one brief shot and the very last one of the movie. There’s a certain oooh, it’s him frisson when his famous face flashes by.

No such enigmatic take for Douglas, who complained sharply about the interviewers who assume genius and influence only flows in one direction, always asking her how Scorsese affected her work, but never asked her paramour how she might have influenced his own. (If you think the casting of Don Rickles in “Casino” was genius, credit Douglas.)

Bottom line: Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman, giving all your love to just one man.

Sorry no posting last night. I wrote much of the above in my last hour of consciousness, and this morning the punctuation was definitely showing it. But that allows me to absorb the election results, which weren’t particularly surprising. I guess the Houston equal-rights ordinance being overturned is the biggest news, but I’ve felt for a while now that transgender rights are not going to be as easy a sell as the LGB variety, so again, probably not surprising. As soon as you can convince the rubes that little girls won’t be safe in their own bathrooms, it’ll be game over for the other side. I don’t want to keep returning to Toronto, but I will say I noticed a trend in the restaurants we visited — the rise of the unisex toilet.

In this country we call them “family” facilities, and they’re useful for fathers out with little girls, and vice versa, and using them, you see men and women and toddlers, most often. But in Canada many places had three one-holers — M, W, U. I have no idea if this is a transgender accommodation or not, but I noticed.

Finally, I listen to less public radio in the evenings than in the mornings, and missed the “Marketplace” interview this piece in Fortune, about Ben Carson’s ignorance of economics, is based on. Simultaneously amazing and depressing.

So, let’s tackle Wednesday. Coffee’s calling.

Posted at 7:53 am in Current events, Popculch | 30 Comments

No way to be safe.

I subscribe to a Facebook group for mothers in my neck of the woods, which I think I’ve mentioned before. I read it mostly for the entertainment, and the nostalgia; it’s easy to forget what it’s like to have little kids in the house, and the overwhelming emotion – fear.

It’s not exclusively fear. You also have a certain warmheartedness, that “I am mother to the world” thing. But always, the fear creeps back in. You may have read that some women believe their newborns will burst into flames if they take their eyes off them. Once you have a baby? You totally get it. It’s just your body telling you to stay on the job.

Fear is a useful emotion, in the sense that it reminds you what you have to protect. But today, I stumbled across a thread about dental work, and learned that in addition to a significant anti-vaccine contingent around here, there are some who are filtering fluoride out of their drinking water. Because cancer.

I guess it’s only a matter of time until we reject modernity entirely.

Yes I know: Fluoride is a carcinogen. It’s also the reason most of us will be buried with the teeth we were born with, when in my grandparents’ generation, dentures were as common as artificial knees are in the current one.

Quick bloggage today, because yesterday was boring:

We’re going to this installation this weekend. Lucky me.

A few days ago, a friend came across a signed collection of Bob Greene columns in a used bookstore, which he of course snatched up for me. Talking about Bob and his era, he was inspired to go looking for Neil Steinberg’s Bobwatch columns from the Chicago Reader, and sent me one that, coincidentally, Neil himself dusted off for his blog today — a review of “All Summer Long,” his horrible novel. One of them, anyway.

The plot is pure Bob wish fulfillment. The thinly disguised Bob character, an aging TV journalist named Ben Kroeger, dragoons his two best friends into abandoning their families and spending “one last summer” in a journey across the country. “We had said that it was going to be the best thing we had ever done,” writes Bob/Ben, as if the three men were bringing vaccines to impoverished African villages instead of lounging around motel pools.

Bob’s fake premise is further undermined by his insistence on presenting the lark as a pure, shimmering quest, a search for the grail that everyone immediately grasps and then reveres. The irony of these three boobs trying to regain the sort of magic summer now being denied their own cast-off and fatherless children never occurs to anybody, least of all the author.

I can see some of the benefits of “affirmative consent,” yes, but still think the money would be better spent teaching young people to speak up when they’re in an uncomfortable situation, starting in childhood. Speak up loudly. It might scare off a few of the creepy mom’s-boyfriend and bad-swim-coach types, too.

Outta here. Good Thursday, all.

Posted at 8:50 am in Current events, Popculch | 33 Comments

The boat with the broken axle.

Contrary to my fears, Patti Smith wasn’t bad at all. A little reading, a little Q&A, two songs, a signing that was probably hours long (we didn’t wait in the line). The ticket price included a book:


She read from a chapter about life in St. Clair Shores, which absolutely nobody spells “Saint Clair Shores,” except for Patti in her new memoir-ish book, “M Train.” There are a couple of chapters about her life there, but the one she read from was about how they lived in a house on a canal and bought an old Chris-Craft Constellation, which they parked in the yard and poked around at restoring. (She doesn’t hyphenate Chris-Craft, either. IT IS HYPHENATED, DAMMIT.) Anyway, it took a while and Fred, her husband, would sit on board on summer nights and listen to the Tigers “on shortwave radio,” another weird touch, as a plain old transistor AM model would do. She read a line that rang a distant bell in my brain, but it took my smart husband, reading it in the book later, to point out:

“It turned out that our wooden boat had a broken axle…”

The boat came to a bad end before they got it fixed up, and that was probably for the best, because I don’t think they would have been safe out there on the water, even if they had fixed that axle.

I was most relieved by the fact she seemed as put off by stupid questions as I have been by their inclusion in every story about her for the past million years. Where should artists go to create? That sort of thing. She had a puppet in her pocket; she explained she’s a grandmother now, and she answered that one in the puppet voice.

So all in all, a successful evening. It was a beautiful night, and that helped:


Now I’m watching the Democratic debate, so to speak, although I have little patience for this bullshit of late. I hate everything about it, so I’m going to turn it off very soon. It’s only a matter of time before these events start to include actual dogs and ponies. Let’s skip to the bloggage:

Would you like to be depressed about mass shootings? Read Malcolm Gladwell on the subject:

In the day of Eric Harris, we could try to console ourselves with the thought that there was nothing we could do, that no law or intervention or restrictions on guns could make a difference in the face of someone so evil. But the riot has now engulfed the boys who were once content to play with chemistry sets in the basement. The problem is not that there is an endless supply of deeply disturbed young men who are willing to contemplate horrific acts. It’s worse. It’s that young men no longer need to be deeply disturbed to contemplate horrific acts.

That’s the final paragraph. The previous zillion are no more heartening.

And if you grew up reading the funnies, as I imagine a lot of us did, you might enjoy this piece on the evolution of “Peanuts,” which was simply enormous as a pop-cultural force when I was a kid, but slid into irrelevancy and by the end of Charles Schulz’ life, a pastel shadow if its former self. Of course it’s still running in hundreds of papers, as reruns. Ai-yi-yi.

Posted at 12:17 am in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' | 42 Comments

Too many shiny objects.

I’m resolving to read more this fall and winter – for pleasure, not work, which means books, mostly novels. In the last five years or so, I’ve amassed a decent-size library of e-books, which I read on the iPad with my Kindle app, but I’m thinking I’m going to throttle back. E-books, I’ve concluded, don’t really work for me.

Things I love about them:

* See a book you want to read? Click, click, click and it’s in your hands. Thank you, Amazon and those of you who buy through the Kickback Lounge — thanks to you I usually have at least $50 or so in my kitty, and it’s a snap.

* Traveling? Take your iPad, and you take a library.

* Reading something you might be embarrassed for the rest of the world to see? With an e-book, no one knows you’re a fan of erotic fetish fiction. (I’m not, I hasten to add. But I have read some.)

Things I don’t love? Let me count the ways:

* I wonder if I got any email in the last five minutes.

* Have I checked all my social networks lately? It’s been 20 minutes? Better check again.

* Who is this character again? Let me flip back and…dammit. Lost my place. Wait, where did this chapter start? OK, I’ll just enter the name into the search function and…have I checked my email lately?

* What’s the forecast for tomorrow? Fire up the weather app.

* Why can’t I touch the screen without turning a page? Dammit, lost my place again.

* Hey, that’s a nice turn of phrase. I’d like to screen cap it. Wait, I can’t? But I can highlight it? How am I supposed to share that with my social networks? Speaking of which, have I checked them all recently?

You get the idea. Like many people, the internet has so destroyed my attention span that it’s really better for me to read novels in a place where the internet has to knock like everyone else. I’m sure there are still going to be texts that go better onscreen — PDFs, some books for work, shorter pieces that really should be $3 (I remain hopeful for a return of the novella and Kindle Single-type short fiction), and, of course, erotica if you’re into that sort of thing. But “Fates and Furies,” the book currently on the nightstand, is positively wonderful, and my progress in it is terribly slow, in large part because I’m reading it onscreen.

I’ll tell you one book, or set of books, that are ideally suited for e-booking — the Game of Thrones pile, although I admit I quit halfway through book three and am perfectly happy letting HBO handle the storytelling from here on out. With their casts of weirdly-named thousands, I can tell you right now that if I didn’t have a search function, I’d have gotten mired in Westeros at least a book earlier. Why do so many authors of successful series become such bloated messes by book three? I never could get into Harry Potter, but I’m told by my less-enamored fans that it was like wandering through Overwritten Forest after the fireworks of success detonated. Same with Game of Thrones. Fortunately, one of my friends’ teenage sons is totally into it, and can answer any question about it at all. They call him the Maester. I’m going to put his number into my speed-dial.

So. I came upstairs today, after meticulously making my bed this morning, to discover Wendy had, once again, jumped up there and unmade it. She does it from time to time, usually if one of us is gone, and the other has done some terribly offensive thing like getting in the shower. Or, alternatively, she’ll do it when left alone in the house, although then, sometimes, she will also pee on it. Needless to say, this is why we leave the bedroom door closed when Wendy is alone in the house. It doesn’t seem to be any behavior she wants to change, so it is what it is. Shelter dogs come to us with biographies we usually know nothing about, and it’s probably just as well we don’t. But maybe you dog whisperers can explain this behavior. The bed-digging I figure has to be about our scent, as that’s where it’s strongest. So she jumps up there to, what? Reassure herself that we’re still about in the world? I’m a little baffled.

Good bloggage today. This is a good dive into the mindset of many voters in the red states, angry and resentful and wondering why they aren’t prospering and no one in Washington seems to care. My answer — that they’ve been carefully squeezed since the Reagan era by a set of economic policies designed to benefit the rich and cut the legs out from under people like them, all engineered by a party with a familiar, three-letter shorthand moniker — seems not to have occurred to them.

The Lewies and Veldhovens share a visceral dislike for President Obama, and much of their animosity for Washington seems entwined with their ill feelings about the president. The state of the nation, in their eyes, was at an all-time low.

“I think we’re at the bottom,” Ms. Lewie said. “It’s everything. Taxes, the economy, the government.”

“Our money is being wasted, wasted, wasted,” she added. “And now we’re paying more and more, and our debts are going up and up, and we need to stop the debt. We have to find someone that’s going to actually take control and say, ‘Stop spending.’ ”

Her husband said, “I don’t think it could get any worse.”

“The government is taking 39 percent now,” said Mr. Lewie, a little morosely, referring to the top income tax bracket. Not for the first time during the meal, he worried that high taxes would discourage the wealthy from producing jobs. “If they want 45 percent, they’ll take that and spend more. If they want 60 percent, they’ll take that and spend more. How much is enough?”

The Lewies haven’t settled on a candidate. But they know that their choice would probably be someone who had never worked in Washington.

They’re opposed to “regulation,” but seem blind to what too often happens when industries regulate themselves (hello, exploding China). They fret over taxes levied on the very rich, as though the crumbs from the table might not fall quite so quickly. And always, always, they assume that the answer to an incompetent political class is to sweep them out and elect another bunch of incompetents, who have no idea how to craft policy or compromise with one another to get it passed. Because if someone botches your knee operation, the obvious answer is to hire someone with even less experience to try again.

And of course they never make this connection, either: 158 families have provided half the cash in the presidential campaign so far. Never.

The next shooting war will be between Leaf owners, at least in Cali. We have these charging stations in Michigan, but they’re few and far between and I rarely see them being used.

So. No update tomorrow, most likely. A friend and I are going to a reading/Q&A with Patti Smith tonight in Ann Arbor. I had to have my arm twisted; while appreciative of her work, I’m not in the slavering hordes who greet her every utterance, scribble and doodle as Art. But my friend is a superfan, so that’s where we’ll be going.

In two days, then. Happy Monday, all.

Posted at 12:08 am in Current events, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' | 105 Comments

Girl’s night in.

So how was your Friday? I found myself at loose ends. Alan worked late, gym closed early, everybody else was booked. So this is what I did: I went home, poured myself a couple fingers of excellent rye whiskey in a Lalique crystal glass and dug into the DVR for a prizefight from a couple of weeks ago — not Mayweather-Berto, but the undercard, Martinez-Salido. Watched it. It was a fucking slugfest, went the distance, ended in a draw. I believe a bowl of popcorn was involved.

And that, friends, is how you spend a perfect Friday night. More or less. #old #winning

You gotta keep getting up in the morning. You never know the morning you’ll wake up a boxing fan. And liking rye whiskey.

The rest of the weekend progressed with this fabulous weather we’ve been having. There was a party, and some work. The latter involved a meeting in Grosse Pointe Park. I live in Grosse Pointe Woods. The meeting was three miles and change from my house. So I rode my bike. It was a beautiful day, and how many more will we even get?

You know what people in the Motor City say when you ride a bike, not for a workout, but as a means of transportation? OH MY GOD YOU RODE YOUR BIKE HERE? HOW FAR?!? A little over three miles, and they calm down.

“Oh, OK, I guess that’s not too far.”

The meeting ended, and I got up to leave. Both guys offered to let me put the bike into their trunks, and give me a ride home.

Well, I guess it is kind of a weirdo way to get around. Maybe I should move to Amsterdam.

So another week awaits. Clouds, maybe even some rain. Then more perfection. Should be fun.

A little light bloggage to start the week.

This piece on the way constant phone-checking, texting and other electronic communication is dividing and diminishing our ability to pay attention to one another touched a nerve with me. Every so often I think about how I used to handle having to look up facts, dates and other information, pre-internet. I’d mosey back to the newsroom library, call an actual librarian at the public library, or call someone I know would know. Kirk was my go-to source on anything baseball or sports-related, and I had others for different areas. Then, after we’d established the facts in need of verification, we’d catch up. That never happens anymore. Google knows all.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the Google, but I miss the human contact. And I noticed at the party last night, how people kept their phones near and would check them from time to time. I did it myself; it’s just what we do now. We all want to take a picture, maybe post it to a social network, and we all need to keep in touch with sitters or the office or whatever. They’re little balls and chains, they really are.

It was a beautiful night. I said to the host, “Look at that, would you,” indicating the moon rising in the east.

“An Instagram moon,” he said.

There you go.

I also have Shelley O, shutting it down at the state dinner last week. Tom and Lorenzo are very pleased. As am I.

OK, on to bed and the week ahead. Let’s do our best.

Posted at 12:30 am in Media, Popculch | 57 Comments

Beanies, bandies and breezes.

Long, long weekend — I worked for most of it. But it was a good kind of work, the sort that got me out of the house and into the fresh air, which…freshened throughout the day. Which is to say, the day started sunny and cool, was briefly glorious, and then a cloud bank swept in from the west — you could see it on the horizon, bearing down like a malign force — and covered us all in gloom and chill.

But Michigan won the football game. I wasn’t in the stadium, but I was outside when the band passed by:


Look at those snowy white gloves. I’m always a sucker for a good marching band, and by “good” I mean Big Ten style — lots of brass, a loud-ass drumline and no silly arrangements of music that was never made to be played by a marching band. Leave that to the high schools. (In Indiana, marching bands compete with a ferocity generally seen only on reality shows featuring drag queens and dance moms. And they don’t really march, but sort of slither around the field in this weird walk-y gait, constantly moving — it’s harder — and never playing anything as mundane as, oh, “Across the Field.”) Marches! Fight songs! HAIL TO THE VICTORS! Or, you know, whatever they play for your school. But something rousing. That’s why the good lord gave us brass.

Story will be appearing in a couple weeks.

Kate wasn’t in Ann Arbor, amusingly enough. She came home for a Wayne State event with her friends, and we discovered another miraculous perk of enrollment at the state’s flagship university — the Detroit Center Connector, a free bus that runs between the Ann Arbor campus and Detroit four days a week. All that hang-wringing during the application process over how she was going to get home for band practice, the stuff I patiently answered with “Greyhound, Amtrak, ride-sharing and you’ll figure it out” has been vastly simplified. I dropped her off at 3 p.m. in front of the Ren Cen, where she joined three girls in hijabs to wait for pickup. And that was that. That student ID is worth its weight in gold. Plus a lot more. (Which we are paying, yes.)

Some good bloggage today that covers a vast span of emotional ground, so gird your loins and let’s do the depressing stuff first.

That would be the Washington Post’s remarkable look at the people with whom Dylann Roof stayed before he massacred nine people at a Charleston church earlier this summer. As is frequently the case, Roof gave ample warning of his plans, and he gave them to the people in this trailer. They didn’t say anything. Why? Read the story and shudder — it is terribly sad and depressing, and JeffTMM, you might want to stay away. As always, I ask, “What are we going to do with these people?” We used to have a place for them. We don’t anymore. But they’re still out there.

Moving on. One of the memories of Kate’s early childhood I recall fondly was the Beanie Baby era, although I did not play the tulip-fever game; we just played with them. She was still an infant unable to sit up unaided when a friend dropped by and gave her her first one, a rabbit of some sort. I thanked her, and when I later told someone else about it, they said, “You can’t let her play with it! It might be a valuable one!” I was under the impression we were talking about a $5 stuffed animal small enough for a baby to pick up, but no. And that’s how I was introduced to the silliness of Beanies, which was silly indeed. I recall a quote from a woman in the local paper: “These are going to pay for my daughter’s college education,” which even then a person with a room-temperature IQ could tell was bullshit. My neighbor did try to get a couple of hot ones, and nearly got herself and her toddler trampled in the process, which ended her enthusiasm quickly and before she spent more than a few bucks on them.

We bought our share and always took the tags off and played with them, and I remember how I tucked her in with a couple many nights. I was quite fond of them. You might enjoy this Vice piece on how they arced through the mid-90s pop-culture sky like a comet.

I laughed out loud at this account, by a Knight-Wallace Fellow from last year, on how he pledged a fraternity during his time in Ann Arbor. Yes, at the age of 38, hence the title, “The 38-year-old frat boy.”

I was about to give up when, on the last day of rush week, the Greek gods smiled upon me. It was at Alpha Delta Phi, otherwise known by students as “Shady Phi,” a popular frat on campus, with a beach volleyball court in the front yard. (As I would later learn, the prevailing rumor about A.D.P. was that even the sand in the volleyball court had herpes.)

I managed to hit it off with the president. He was an unconventional frat boy, a vegan who did yoga. He told me he wanted to be a life coach. We started going to the same meditation group and having lunch together on campus. Thanks to him, I got invited back to more events. I won first place at the beer pong party — turned out I was something of a beer pong savant, a skill I attributed to having a master’s degree in physics — and ably slammed Cuervo Silver and Simply Lemonade at Taco Tuesday. With the president’s political capital behind me, I was in.

Finally, Mark Bittman is leaving the New York Times, for a food startup of some kind. Best of luck to him, but I hope he doesn’t get all food-scoldy like everyone else in that community.

Posted at 12:19 am in Current events, Detroit life, Popculch | 66 Comments


Well, it was a perfect day for a move, if you love temperatures in the high 80s, ditto humidity and an elevator-less, A/C-free building. Michigan does the perky-helper model of kids who swarm your car and drag all your stuff up to the room, but the unpacking, the rearranging and the sweating-buckets part was up to us, limited somewhat by the fact we only had an hour before Kate had to go to a welcome activity, so we got the furniture how she wanted it, made the bed, hooked up the stereo and booked it.

I didn’t even get a final picture. All three of us looked like we’d been showered in steam, anyway.

But that’s why the good Lord gave us Zingerman’s, and its slow-roasted pork sandwiches with garlic aioli. We brought home some of that outrageously expensive jamon serrano, just to celebrate.


Neil Steinberg on Kim Davis.

Remember the Colorado program we talked about a while back? Give low-income teens and women long-acting, no-brainer birth control and watch the pregnancy and abortion rates drop? It probably won’t last long. It sends the wrong message:

When seed money from the Buffett foundation ran out this summer, Hickenlooper asked for state funding to continue the program. But Republican state lawmakers like Kathleen Conti said no. Conti complains the long-acting birth control is too expensive and sends the wrong message to teenagers who should instead be taught to refrain from sex.

“Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the doctors encouraged the kids: ‘Now that you’ve got this, feel free to have sex with everybody.’ But I think it by default, takes away one more intimidating problem.”

Labor Day weekend suggests I should stop doing labor for a couple of days, and I think I will, except for maybe making some potato salad. You?

Posted at 12:35 am in Popculch | 66 Comments

The clerk with the crowning glory.

Caveat emptor: A commenter informs me she’s not an Apostolic Christian, but a Pentecostal congregation with “apostolic” in its name. She’s probably right, but I bet the same modesty/hair thing applies. These folks are nuts about long hair.

I’d never heard of the Apostolic Christian church before I moved to Indiana. A friend, native to Bluffton in Wells County, filled me in on this sect, which has one foot in Anabaptism (that would be the Amish/Mennonites for those who live far away) and another in Mormonism’s go-go capitalism. They dominate the business community in Bluffton, and over the course of a few visits, I learned to spot the women, with their long hair and modest hemlines, and their almost freakishly clean-cut menfolk. They were cohesive, insular and walked their talk.

Young AC church members don’t date, but socialize in chaperoned youth activities like “singings,” the genders separated to warble with one another from opposite benches, feeds and whatnot. When a young man feels attracted to a potential mate, he prays for discernment and if he gets it, takes the revelation to his parents and elders, who then approach the young woman for her response. (If I’m getting all this wrong, I blame time and memory.) If she’s amenable, they marry with a minimum of fuss and get to the work of building families and businesses, the latter because moms stay home and dads have to support ever-growing broods. They don’t do public assistance like some fundamentalist religious groups do, but they’re clannish in their economic dealings and support of fellow congregants, so they tend to prosper. My friend informed me you could hardly do a Saturday’s errands in Bluffton without supporting an AC business, and what resentment this might have raised among those business owners who had to work harder for customers might be grumbled about, but not much more.

I’ve been gone from Indiana for a while, but when I saw Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, her anachronistic appearance rang all my Hoosier bells. Just the shot in this story shows you what I’m talking about — the hair, the dowdy dresses made dowdier by the long-sleeved undershirts she wears with them, all of it. (A lot of modern Muslim women around here wear those undershirts, too, but in Michigan, where it’s winter half the year, you don’t notice it so much. Davis lives in Kentucky. And it’s summer. I have a few myself. I bought a couple at Costco a few years ago and loved their substantial fabric, their extra length — great with lower-rise jeans — and the elasticity in the fabric hugged my body — ooh, sex-ay. I bought a few more. When they wore out, I looked online to restock. The label said ModBod, which I was surprised to learn is a Mormon company, and the shirts were originally made to be worn as modesty layers, just like Kim Davis’. They’re cut tight to fit under more clothes. Oh, well. They still look great by themselves.)

A lot of people have noted that Davis is on her fourth marriage, so by definition she’s a hypocrite about God’s law vis-a-vis holy matrimony. I won’t argue, but I’d encourage you to spend more time around fundamentalist Christians of all sorts, and you’d swiftly understand what she’s about. She may well have been married three times previous to this one, but now she’s married to an Apostolic Christian, and she’s been forgiven. She is washed in the blood of the lamb, and her eyes are on the heavenly escalator that will one day carry her up to Heaven. Evangelicals, in my experience, don’t spend a lot of time brooding on their past mistakes. We all sin, we’re all fallen, the world is broken, but they’re moving forward. Moral complexity, reconciling past with present, reconsidering one’s point of view — they leave that to us New Yorker subscribers. Nothing about this woman should be unfamiliar to anyone who’s been to a church-basement potluck in the American midwest. Or read a Josh Duggar confessional lately.

We’ll see how this case works out. But now you have a cultural reference to her hair, anyway.

Not much bloggage today as I keep up with work and prepare for Kate’s departure. A couple of tidbits, though:

At 180 degrees from Kim Davis, a hilarious take on sugar dating, i.e. prostitution by any other name:

SeekingArrangement is just one of several sugar-dating sites, but a popular one. On all these websites, the splash page features a beautiful young woman, elegant but with sideboob, and either she’s overtly dangling a piece of jewelry or she is wearing it. She looks into the camera. Each time, a man, older, nearing silver status, is looking right at her, unable to take his rich, priapic eyes off her. He has the beginnings of male-pattern baldness: baldness that says, “I’ve lived, I have money, here is a bracelet.” He is about to lean into her neck, maybe take a big old bite out of it, and she hangs back, only for a moment, only to tell us her secret, which is: “Look, I got a bracelet.”

Everyone on SeekingArrangement knows what they’re there for, Thurston says. What is so bad about formalizing the arrangement so that we can all just go home happy? And aside from that unpleasantness with that woman who scammed him, all Thurston had to wrestle with, really, was the nagging guilt that maybe this whole sugar-dating thing isn’t so okay, particularly since he began before his divorce was even finalized. “I went to church every Sunday. This felt like an ethical dilemma.” But he reminded himself that he was actually helping someone, a poor student, or someone who badly needed the money for, I don’t know, medical bills or back taxes or vaping supplies. And that’s what it came down to: “The whole concept of a sugar daddy intrigued me, because even if I were dating someone traditionally, I’d give them money anyway.”

What becomes of a graffiti vandal sentenced to grow up? He does, and he doesn’t. Not too long; recommended.

And this profile of Larry King from last week’s NYT magazine is hilarious.

Time to start grinding.

Posted at 12:15 am in Current events, Popculch | 52 Comments

Open thread, plus MYLIE!!!

It must be said: The more I see of this girl, the more I like her. These outfits are just a stitch.

Posted at 9:21 am in Popculch | 29 Comments

The beginning of the slog.

I have a number of looming hurdles to clear in the last weeks of summer, and none of them are brush boxes — a little hunter/jumper reference for the two or so of you who might get it (hey, Charlotte). That is to say, not easy. So there may be some outages between now and mid-September. Be advised. And be advised we’re going to be a little jangly today because: See above.

On the other hand, I learned that one of my colleagues was working at a farmers’ market last week, and there was a shooting just across the parking lot. If anyone ever tells you think-tank work is boring? They don’t work in Michigan.

Did you know Apple, as part of the promotion for “Straight Outta Compton,” is making it possible to do things like this?


Is that not awesome? Even though I hate that Beats stuff.

Neal Rubin is a columnist for the Detroit News I should include here more often, because he’s frequently wonderful. This piece, about a 71-year-old couple who accidentally wandered into a thrash-metal concert at a local amphitheater, is particularly so:

Jeff, whose goal was to take his wife to the nearest show to her birthday, thought maybe he’d bought tickets to an oldies revue. But The Shirelles weren’t on the bill, either.

Instead, there was an Australian metalcore band called Feed Her to the Sharks. At the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, the Pardees were most definitely fish out of water.

Finally, it’s a function of how out of it I’ve been lately that I saw these Serena Williams photos earlier this week and didn’t think I should blog this. Fortunately, LA Mary sent them along and nudged me out of my torpor. Check ’em out. She’s amazing.

So forward we go into a big month or so.

Posted at 12:24 am in Housekeeping, Popculch | 62 Comments