Clams on the side.

My local fish market had a cooking class last night, and I jumped in at the last minute. The theme? Grilling. The temperature? Mid-50s. We ate grilled shrimp and grilled scallops, grilled clams and grilled tuna and grilled swordfish. There were some pickled vegetables and, to top everything off, a nice fish taco, made with grilled cod. Didn’t learn too much new, but got some new flavor ideas. My cooking has been blah lately, mainly because I feed an indifferent teenager and a husband whose arrival in the evenings can range from 7 to 9 p.m., or even later, and I’m not feelin’ it, cooking-wise. There is a strong temptation to stock the fridge with cold cuts and tell the world to learn to make sandwiches.

This will help. The weekend temperatures might even get over 70! Woo.

Let’s skip to the bloggage, then. Because the weekend is something I kinda need right now.

I run hot and cold on Jezebel, but with the fallout from the UVA false-rape disaster still falling, someone there needs to take some deep breaths before publishing stuff like this, a supportive (and anonymous) piece by a friend of the girl who dragged her mattress, her RAPE MATTRESS in case you didn’t read any of the twelve million stories about it, around Columbia University, culminating with dragging it across the stage at graduation this week. Here is her gripping tale of sexual assault, by the same man who allegedly assaulted mattress girl:

The incident happened my junior year at Columbia, when Paul followed me upstairs at a party, came into a room with me uninvited, closed the door behind us, and grabbed me. I politely said, “Hey, no, come on, let’s go back downstairs.” He didn’t listen. He held me close to him as I said no, and continued to pull me against him. I pushed him off and left the room quickly. I told a few friends and my boyfriend at the time how creepy and weird it was. I tried to find excuses for his behavior. I did a decent job of pushing it out of my mind.

Look. I am not condoning this behavior, but if I were, oh, say… a woman I knew in Fort Wayne who had a man climb through a window she left open on the hottest night of a hot summer, a man who held a knife to her throat and forced her to perform oral sex? If I were that woman, and read Anonymous’ story of being forcibly hugged, I would laugh bitterly in her face. Not that rape and assault has to be a game of one-upmanship, not at all. But the encounter she describes is something virtually every woman I know experienced at least once by the age of 19, and no one called it assault.

Something else published in Jezebel this week: My hot, consensual introduction to the rape fantasy romance novel.

What a confusing world we live in.

You want assault? I’ll show you (alleged) assault, quiverfull-style.

Time to hang things up for the weekend. Maybe some photo posts in the next few days? I’ll keep you posted. Ha.

Posted at 12:37 am in Popculch | 58 Comments

What do you press?

You know what you need this morning. A heapin’ helpin’ of butt-kickin’ FLOTUS.

I can do all those moves except…that plyometric bench-jumping — hate that one. Not much of a rope-skipper. I bench, but not that much. Maybe I should, so I could have the Obama Guns of Awesomeness. And if I tried a roundhouse kick like that, the next movement in the sequence would be the Abdominal Crunches While Clutching Pain-Screaming Knee.

I’m going to miss the Obamas. Can you imagine a partner in the current crop of POTUS wannabes who would do this? Or this? Hardly.

A long last few days, but ahead us lies the sweet sweet weekend. Boat’s in the water, graduation is bearing down on us and the light in the evenings goes on and on. If only it would stop being so fucking cold. I keep washing my fleece pullover, promising it’s about to go into the closet until the cool days of fall. But the cold days of fall WON’T GIVE THE HELL UP.

I keep looking at a little stew pot of notes I made on accents we heard on our brief trip south, but can’t make anything of it. We stopped for lunch in Tennessee, after a long haul of not-stopping since somewhere in Ohio. That takes you past the Ma’am Line, i.e., the place where a woman of 26 is called “ma’am” by clerks and fast-food servers. We didn’t stop for fast food, but at some non-chain country-style place where I could order an item called Pulled Pork Mac ‘n’ Cheese, and did.

Some women were talking at the next table. It was a going-away lunch for someone who was retiring, and she expressed some anxiety about what was next. Her table mate told her to pray on it.

“He will nivver lead you as-try,” she said. I recalled my friend’s grandmother, who hailed from the tidewater Virginia region. She would have added some syllables: “He will ne-vuh lead you as-tray-uh.” And people think all southerners sound the same.

Some bloggage for y’all? Sure:

This was the most interesting thing I read in last Sunday’s NYT — a profile of a couple from Flint who are now the highest-earning in publishing. They write “street lit,” ie., some pretty unreadable stuff that nevertheless sells like crazy:

Over the past decade, the Colemans have published nearly 50 books, sometimes as solo writers, sometimes under pseudonyms, but usually as collaborators with a byline that has become a trusted brand: “Ashley & JaQuavis.” They are marquee stars of urban fiction, or street lit, a genre whose inner-city settings and lurid mix of crime, sex and sensationalism have earned it comparisons to gangsta rap. The emergence of street lit is one of the big stories in recent American publishing, a juggernaut that has generated huge sales by catering to a readership — young, black and, for the most part, female — that historically has been ill-served by the book business. But the genre is also widely maligned. Street lit is subject to a kind of triple snobbery: scorned by literati who look down on genre fiction generally, ignored by a white publishing establishment that remains largely indifferent to black books and disparaged by African-American intellectuals for poor writing, coarse values and trafficking in racial stereotypes.

But if a certain kind of cultural prestige is shut off to the Colemans, they have reaped other rewards. They’ve built a large and loyal fan base, which gobbles up the new Ashley & JaQuavis titles that arrive every few months. Many of those books are sold at street-corner stands and other off-the-grid venues in African-American neighborhoods, a literary gray market that doesn’t register a blip on best-seller tallies. Yet the Colemans’ most popular series now regularly crack the trade fiction best-seller lists of The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. For years, the pair had no literary agent; they sold hundreds of thousands of books without banking a penny in royalties. Still, they have earned millions of dollars, almost exclusively from cash-for-manuscript deals negotiated directly with independent publishing houses. In short, though little known outside of the world of urban fiction, the Colemans are one of America’s most successful literary couples, a distinction they’ve achieved, they insist, because of their work’s gritty authenticity and their devotion to a primal literary virtue: the power of the ripping yarn.

A confession: Years ago, I stumbled across an amateur porn site and spent an hour paging through the photos, looking at the home decorating details and items on the bookshelves. So of course I am a sucker to know what was on Osama bin Laden’s bookshelves when the SEALS pulled his card. No novels, alas, and at least one volume of the Bob Woodward oeuvre. Bummer.

Tom and Lorenzo’s final Mad Style was a great and fitting tribute to the series, and you should read it.

Today is Thursday. How’d that happen?

Posted at 12:30 am in Popculch | 46 Comments

You’re going out in that?

If it’s prom season, it must be time for the annual what’s-with-these-girls-and-their-hoochie-mama-dresses story, here in the New York Times and here on Gothamist, which has the distinct advantage of an array of photos showing a range of hoochie-mama dresses so we can all judge them.

Frankly, they’re pretty hoochie, but I think we all know that’s the trend. Right, Bey? Kim? Jenny? Or, to summon a role model closer to high-school age, Mylie. Can’t forget Rihanna, the OG of the naked dress.

So you can’t blame girls for wanting to dress like the famous ladies, and given that most of them don’t have Donatella Versace on speed-dial, they have to find these styles at far lower price points, which means they’re even hoochier than usual.

All I have to say is this: Thank GOD my daughter has no interest in going to the prom. Not that she’d be caught dead in these ghastly frocks; she’s way too modest.

Of course, the story is about whether schools should be imposing vague dress codes for prom, then deciding, after the money’s been spent on dresses and alterations, that a particular specimen won’t fly. Here’s the guideline for Kate’s prom: “The dress code will be strictly enforced: formal attire, NO TWO PIECES DRESSES, no plunging neck lines, sides or backs, if we deem too low etc you will be given a t-shirt to wear over your dress. Please feel free to bring a picture if you have concerns, PLEASE be sure to tell your guest this information, no exceptions.”

I was mystified by the no-two-pieces (sic) rule, until I figured it out: That’s how you show off your belly.

So, I’m watching Celebrity Jeopardy right now, thinking what I always do: Man, celebrities iz dumb. When an NFL player (Aaron Rodgers) is the runaway winner, you know…something, anyway.

Bloggage: Too stubborn to buy health insurance, he’s now going blind. Who should save his eyesight? WHO SHOULD SAVE YOUR EYESIGHT, DUMMY?

A lawsuit follows the Rolling Stone false rape story. One of many, I expect.

Now I think I’m gonna shoe-shop online. I don’t need shoes, but hey — everybody can window-shop at Zappo’s.

Be good, and happy Wednesday.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Popculch | 65 Comments

Rubbed the right way.

You know what I haven’t had since…March 1996? A massage. You know what I’ve been promising myself I’d get just as soon as the pace slowed just a tad? I finally did it, the day before Mother’s Day. My present to myself.

And it was, well, have you ever had a bad massage? I guess it’s possible — you wouldn’t get me to try rolfing or anything — but it’s sort of like what Woody Allen said about orgasms: Every one was right on the money. Not that I’ve had all that many, but a good one can almost make me gibber incoherently. Once I was sitting in a salon with my hair in foil wrappers, gettin’ the lights turned on y’know, and a guy came around and asked if I’d like a free hand massage. I’m sure he was selling the miracle cream he used to do it, but I said yes and simply couldn’t keep up with his small talk, because my head was nearly lolling with pleasure. It was sort of embarrassing.

Anyway, I bravely opted for a masseur (the boy kind) and he was very respectful, but what else would you expect? Anyway, I’ve decided that if a boob slips out here or there, he’s seen a million others. He said my back was a mass of knots. I could have told him that.

How was your weekend? It was a pleasant M-day, and Kate and I went to the art museum to see the Diego-and-Frida exhibit, which was pretty great, but overcrowded. I was delighted by the large-scale sketches of the Rivera murals, as well as the Kahlo paintings, which were smaller and more powerful than I expected. I can’t imagine what it must have been inside a marriage of two talents like that, but they certainly made some great art in Detroit.

Some good bloggage this weekend, so without further blabbing:

The president visited the 50th state this weekend, and it happens to be one that loathes him. (South Dakota.) Nevertheless, this happened:

Most in the crowd, which was now three or four people deep, were die-hard Republicans and had little love for this president. “I wonder if he’s a Christian sometimes,” said Kristi Maas, 47, who owns a small hair salon in town. Just the thought was “scary” to her, she said. “He wants to take prayer out of everything. . . . Isn’t this country supposed to be based on religion?” Heads nodded around her.

…The crowd drifted slowly away. As she walked back to her car with her sister, Maas was already reconsidering her opinion of the man who minutes earlier she had believed maybe wasn’t a Christian — the man she worried was ruining the country.

… When Obama was done, the bar erupted in applause. A woman sitting in the smoking room by the video poker machines had begun crying.

“Most of the time I could care less what he’s talking about,” said Jason Hollatz, 37-year-old farmer. “Are all Obama’s speeches like that?”

A good read. You wonder what this country might be like without the propaganda factories making bank off people in South Dakota.

My husband has a thing for smart women in glasses, and I think he loves Tina Fey most of all. Here’s one reason.

Finally, a picture I took at the state capital on Friday. Remember when we were kids, and our parents might take a roll or two of photos of us over the course of maybe a year? Now it’s a roll a day.


Oh, one final note: We watched “Welcome to Me” on iTunes, which wasn’t great but was a long way from terrible — a comedy in which Kristin Wiig plays a woman who wins the lottery and uses the money to launch her own vanity talk show called guess-what. It might be the ultimate commentary on Selfie Nation. Maybe one of the kids in that picture will grow up to do the same.

Happy week ahead, all!

Posted at 12:31 am in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' | 25 Comments

No cold pizza here.

Did I just say I had some breathing room at work? I don’t have it Tuesday night. There was an election today, there was but one question on the ballot, but it was the one I’ve been writing about for a month, so I have to handle the follow-up. (Or, as we journalists like to put it in our internal memos: the “folo.”)

I’m writing this about an hour after the polls closed, and this question is going down like (insert fast-falling imagery here). Like a rock in a pond. Like a plane with one wing. Like a whore at a bachel– never mind. I haven’t seen a margin slimmer than 75-25 percent yet. Well, anyone could see it coming. I’ve never seen internet comments quite like the ones on this issue, seething rage from left to right, all of it directed at a legislature that simply couldn’t get anything done, even in a lame-duck session (important in Michigan, because of our term limits).

They got this thing done at 5 a.m. on the last day of the session. And this is what happened. Back to the old drawing board, boys and girls.

One quick note before I get on this conference call with the Democratic leadership: You “Mad Men” fans who’re watching the final episodes may have an opinion on the sexual-harassment plot line in the latest one. Hanna Rosin did:

…this episode depended on some pretty crudely-drawn enemies. The bros at McCann were like guys you usually encounter only on workplace training videos about sexual harassment.

You want to know how much things have changed since the c-1970 period depicted there? Look at that observation by Rosin, who almost certainly was an infant at the time. I had a friend whose boss literally chased her around the desk, and when she complained, she was transferred, but the boss, deemed too valuable to the company, was left in place, a new assistant dropped in to amuse him. So was it bad then? I was years away from entering the workforce, but it was bad when I did a decade later, so I have no problem believing what Joan Harris was fictionally enduring up on the screen.

Many of you readers went through this. Tell some stories. Me, I gotta hoover up some quotes.

Posted at 12:24 am in Current events, Popculch, Television | 43 Comments


Since I lost weight I’ve been buying new clothes, and while I’ve never been a fashion plate and have no interest of becoming one, it is fun to look at fashion magazines and websites again and see what’s going on out there. I can report a few headlines and my own reactions:

The ’70s are back, big-time. I keep hearing that wide-legged denim is here again, and so just pack those skinny jeans up and throw them in the trash, because BELLS, BABY. As I age, there are very few things I am certain of, but one is: Not going back to wide-legged denim. I only recently bought some skinnies, but then, I live far from fashion’s nerve center. Around here, jeans and a Detroit-themed T-shirt will take you everywhere but the symphony, and probably there, too.

Anyway, no elephant bells, and I’m also going to let trendier people discover the styles of the ’70s, most of which I couldn’t purge from my closet fast enough when the ’80s finally came along. (You know what I loved best about the ’80s? All of a sudden it was all about natural fibers. Linen, cotton — man, was that a relief.)

That said, I found this interesting: Google’s predictions of spring fashion trends, based on what people are searching for. To my relief, wide-legged jeans are not on the list, but skinnies are in “seasonal decline.” Also declining: One-shoulder dresses — perfect, because I just bought one. Waist trainers? On the way up. (I think it’s a 50-shades thing.) Normcore? Outta here.

It’s a good time to be a middle-aged woman whose basic outfit is jeans, T-shirts and nothing with too much color.

A little bloggage? I think we can do that.

Here’s a profile I wrote of a high-profile tea partier in the Michigan House, but the link won’t go live until 6 a.m. Be advised.

Riots in Baltimore, but you probably already knew that. Mr. Lippman weighs in, too.

Waiting tables always seemed like pretty sucky work to me, and it is, but every so often you get a good customer. A few of those stories.

Off to bed.

Posted at 12:36 am in Current events, Popculch | 54 Comments

End of the lyne.

Well, isn’t this interesting: The Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival is drawing to a close after 40 years. I remember getting a flyer for this when I worked in Columbus, when the festival must have been in its near-infancy and spelling “women” with a y was considered real transgressive stuff.

Later on I wrote about it for a magazine here, and interviewed the founder and head honchess, Lisa Vogel. It was pretty clear there were already some deep divisions within the tribe, although at the time the transgender issue, which is apparently what brought the fest to its knees for good, hadn’t emerged in the mainstream. At the time, I was more agog that they banned male children from the main grounds, and by children I mean any boy over the age of 5. Vogel patiently explained that for the sort of women attracted to a four-day, all-female music and arts fest held in the middle of Nowhere, Michigan, it is a genuine, almost physical relief to not have to see or even think about the other gender. I get it; it takes all kinds, and while these women aren’t my kind, I respect their right of free association. It must have sucked to be one of those who had a boy child to look after, that’s all. They are confined to a separate boys campsite. Probably had plenty of fun there, but.

The real split came over the organizers’ rules restricting the festival to “womyn-born-womyn,” which is evidently a big split among feminists well to the left of me. The New Yorker had a thoughtful piece about it last summer, and Vogel is quoted:

Michfest, as it’s called, takes place every August, on six hundred and fifty acres of land in the woods east of Lake Michigan. Lisa Vogel founded it in 1976, when she was a nineteen-year-old Central Michigan University student, and she still runs it. The music, Vogel says, is only part of what makes Michfest important. Each year, several thousand women set up camp there and find themselves, for a week, living in a matriarchy. Meals are cooked in kitchen tents and eaten communally. There are workshops and classes. Some women don extravagant costumes; others wear nothing at all. There is free child care and a team to assist disabled women who ordinarily cannot go camping. Vogel describes the governing ethos as “How would a town look if we actually got to decide what was important?”

She told me, “There’s something that I experience on the land when I walk at night without a flashlight in the woods and recognize that for that moment I feel completely safe. And there’s nowhere else I can do that.” She continued, “If, tomorrow, we said everyone is welcome, I’m sure it would still be a really cool event, but that piece that allows women to let down their guard and feel that really deep sense of personal liberation would be different, and that’s what we’re about.”

I feel passionately about a great many things, but this isn’t one of them. You have to respect those who do, however, even if it may seem a bit, oh, much. I’m glad my ideology is still a little more flexible.

For now, anyway.

Another big rewrite today, another just-plain-write tomorrow. So how about some writing by someone else?

Did you know there are kosher kitchen gloves? Well, there are. Speaking of rigid.

You know Jay-Z has been living in the bubble too long when he launches his “better for artists” streaming service by parading a bunch of his millionaire friends up on that stage and having them get all windy about Art. Predictably, Tidal is tanking.

And so am I. Happy weekend, all. I plan to sleep.

Posted at 12:22 am in Popculch | 76 Comments

Ten years after.

I’m writing this on Sunday the 19th, which means you’re reading it on Monday the 20th. April 20. If ever a date deserved the #abandonallhope hashtag, it’s April 20. Very dire portents — Hitler’s birthday, anniversary of the Columbine shootings. Today, the 19th, was the Branch Davidian fire anniversary and the event it ultimately inspired — the Oklahoma City bombing. The Boston Marathon bombing was on April 15, and I cannot tell a lie: I was sure it was carried out by domestic terrorists seeking to make a point about taxes and freedom and the rest of it. Of course, they were domestic terrorists, but not that kind.

It’s a zero anniversary for the OKC bombing. Twenty years. At 20 years, you should understand pretty clearly what led to a tragedy like this, but I’m not sure we do. Anyway, I’m grateful that Hank Stuever posted this piece from his WashPost reporting days, about the father of one of the victims, who chose to forgive Tim McVeigh. JefftMM, you’re going to want to read this, if you haven’t already.

I will admit it: I find forgiveness difficult. I suspect most people do. As a child I picked scabs and I guess I never got over it, but let’s face it: Forgiveness is hard. That kind of forgiveness, to forgive a man who murdered your child? That has to be the hardest kind of all. And the funny thing is, I think I’m fairly good at empathy; it’s what makes people interesting to me. But to use that empathy to get to a place where I can let an offense go? Man, is that hard. So I recommend you read Hank’s piece about Bud Welch, and take its lessons to heart, to the best of your ability.

Here were some key phrases: Finding his way to a mercy he still doesn’t fully understand and “What’s the difference between ‘reconcile’ and ‘forgive’? Really, I don’t know,” he says and I finally realized it was an act of vengeance and rage if we killed either one of those guys. And that was why Julie and 167 other people were dead — because of vengeance and rage. It has to stop somewhere.. I think that’s the hard part. The surrender to something you don’t understand, especially when people like McVeigh haven’t even asked to be forgiven. You just have to do it.

That might be the final lesson of April 19, 1995, as it was lived in Oklahoma City and everywhere else in this country. Which brings us to the other thing I dug up today, also an old piece, from the Observer. It’s about the OKC memorial, which opened with a speed after the event we’ve heretofore not seen in this country. I think Philip Weiss gets to the problem with it:

There are so many symbols here as to obliterate the poetry of any one of them. There are so many faces on televisions inside the museum describing their pain to you that you feel wrung out like a rag. Worst of all, the memorial has nothing to say about the important historical issues that triggered Timothy McVeigh’s madness.

The problem is obvious. “The wishes of the Families/Survivors Liaison Subcommittee are to be given the greatest weight in the Memorial planning and development process,” said the memorial’s mission statement. This was a mistake. The victims’-rights movement has been an important one that has reformed the justice system. But here it has gone too far, and turned a memorial that should address issues of national disunity into a site for the bereaved. When Mayor Bloomberg said recently that he does not want a “cemetery” downtown, he may well have had in mind the field of 168 chairs, which resembles a graveyard and is inaccessible to the general public, roped off on the day that I and hundreds of others showed up by the busload. In 100 years, those chairs will seem meaningless.

Meantime, the memorial declines to show the curious where McVeigh parked his Ryder truck packed with fertilizer. And the National Park Service Rangers who work the site sound like funeral-home workers.

A memorial should emphasize the Who, of course. But if it says nothing about the Why, it fails. I guess Maya Lin’s Vietnam memorial in Washington D.C. began the contemporary emphasis on the Who; while local monuments might carry every name that perished, a national one never did (or rarely did, I’ll qualify; what I’m really saying here is, “I don’t know of one”) until Lin’s tremendously sad wall. Lin is a native of Ohio, but of Chinese ancestry, and the wall has a certain Asian minimalism, the way it starts small and swells to the crescendo of 1968 and then tapers off again. If it had been left alone it would have been perfect, but the usual squawkers started meddling with it, so now we have a row of flags, and the Three Ethnically Diverse Soldiers Looking at It, along with the Don’t Forget the Nurses statuary.

But it’s real legacy is the names. The 168 chairs is a direct result of the Vietnam wall, and I don’t see how you can deny that. Where else would you leave your bouquet of flowers? Who even mourns in cemeteries anymore? I think Weiss’ broader point, that memorials have to be more than just places for flowers and teddy bears, is very sound, though. Time has to pass, sometimes, for that to happen. When I was a Knight Wallace Fellow, we had a seminar one night by the man who chaired the 9/11 memorial committee in New York, and I asked him the too-soon question. He said that was probably true, but hey — New York City real estate can’t just sit around waiting.

Maya Lin did that one, too.

So. New subject.

Did anyone read the story in the New Yorker a few years ago about the guy who was running fake marathons? Or fake-running fake marathons? Whaddaya know, it too is online. A good story about deception and the way it can ensnare a person. Interesting that it happened to be marathon running; remember when Paul Ryan said he’d had a sub-three hour marathon, but “couldn’t remember” his exact time? A friend of mine, who’s run three Bostons, said, “You NEVER forget your time once you break three, or in fact, ever.” He’s right. There’s really nothing like a marathon to encourage obsession, is there? The months of training, the online training diaries, the months of boring your friends with your workouts (“Hey, come back here, I wasn’t finished!”), and finally, the race itself. It really lends itself to lying and deception. So the guy in the New Yorker story is one, and now there are two (that I know of), a woman who crossed the finish line in St. Louis to “win” the women’s race, only not really. It’s funny when you consider bragging rights is all you’re competing for in most of these races, and honestly, a winner’s story isn’t all that interesting. I’ve never heard one, I should say; who knows people who actually win marathons? Those are super-humans who are usually on the next flight out of town and en route to their next training run, culminating in the Olympics or something.

Lying about your marathon performance is like lying about yoga — what’s the point?

So now this weekend, that started out warm and sunny, is closing out gray and chilly. Such is April, but I’m still glad we got a gorgeous couple of good ones before the week begins. We were owed, dammit.

Happy week, all. Let’s get it going.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Popculch | 25 Comments

Alice, again.

Every time I get irritable about terrible health quackery peddled on the internet, something happens to remind me that newspapers were really on the bleeding edge of this stuff. Behold:


I felt like sending away for some, just so I can see how those pads manage to pull all that gunk out of the soles of your feet. Toxins!

Another mixed grill of bloggage today, because my life is just that boring.

You know a city has arrived jumped the shark when the people who left a hundred years ago come back and everybody makes a big stupid fuss over it. In this case: Alice Cooper and John Varvatos. The former called the latter “pure Detroit,” and delivered this stunningly dumb line, although he gets a pass because he was the paid entertainment and it’s not like we expect pith or intelligence:

“This is great,” Cooper said before his performance, “because Varvatos is pure Detroit, and this is the beginning of building this downtown area the right way. The restaurants are all here. People are coming into these old buildings and they’re opening these really cool restaurants, which is going to draw people and they’re gonna start drawing in the boutiques and everything, and pretty soon it’s going to be a very hip city.”

Back to Arizona on the first flight, I expect.

Evildoers II: Change one letter, go back to war! Coming soon to a campaign near you!

Alan, today at breakfast: “In any other city, this would be on Page One.” In Detroit? Page three: It takes cops five tries to find a body in a house. The house was being looted the whole time. Now there’s a contrast with that gala boutique opening, ain’a?

Bridge had some good stuff this week, about a class-action lawsuit filed by juvenile prisoners incarcerated in the adult system. You can find the links on the right rail.

OK, I gotta get on the horn with some people. A great weekend to all, and to all some nice weather for a change.

Posted at 10:09 am in Current events, Popculch | 41 Comments

The circle of Stones.

Among Kate’s graduation presents is a ticket to the Rolling Stones show coming up in July here in Detroit, at the baseball stadium during the All-Star break. No, I won’t be going, too — I already saw the Stones, coincidentally in the first days after my own high-school graduation 40 damn years ago. I recently ran across a photo of the event on The Plain Dealer website. I’m stealing the photo with great guilt, because I couldn’t figure out how to link to just the picture, and I wanted the impact of seeing it right here on this page in all its gray monumentality:


Photo by Robert Dorksen, The Plain Dealer.

Cleveland Municipal Stadium, June 14, 1975. The “Tour of the Americas,” a fairly snooty name for a Stones show, but if you were facing a crowd like that night after night, you might think you were some sort of Lord McDonowrong, too. Anyway, I don’t remember much other than that the crowd was so huge and thirsty and toilet-flushy that there was zero water pressure in the fountains. This being before everyone went around with huge water bottles all the time, I was feeling woozy in the heat in no time at all. I went to the first aid area, took a seat and said, “If I don’t get some water, I’m going to need some first aid.” They gave it to me, took my blood pressure, had me sit a bit and drink a little more, then released me back to my seat. I don’t recall much of the show, except for “Fingerprint File,” sung by a tiny figure way off in the distance who might have been Mick Jagger, but in those pre-Jumbotron days, who’s to say?

But I left with what I came for — the ability to say I’d seen the Stones. If you’d told me that night that in 21 more years I’d give birth to a daughter, and that she too would see the Stones in the first days following her high-school graduation, I’d never, ever have believed you. But life has symmetry that way.

Man, look at that crowd. Insane.

Kirk’s wife once told me an incredible story about crowds at Cleveland rock shows. It has a terrifying setup, which I’ll try not to gloss over too much, but basically: She and a friend were kidnapped, more or less, one night in Cleveland. I forget whether they invited two strangers into their car or they forced their way in, but basically, they thought they were doing two guys with a broken-down car a favor and almost immediately realized they’d made a terrible mistake, as the guys either showed or said they had a gun and directed them on a long, terrifying route through some very dodgy neighborhoods. They didn’t know if they were going to be raped, murdered or both, and it went on for some time. Then, abruptly, they were both put out of the car and the two guys sped away. It was very upsetting, of course, and the police came, there was an investigation, but nothing came of it. Almost a year later, she was at a big show like this, in a crowd that was being herded like cattle toward a gate, with another crowd coming the opposite way for some reason, and in this sea of faces her eyes lit on one and it’s THE GUY. He looked right at her, and she knew he knew who she was, but before she could even open her mouth, the crowd swept them both in opposite directions and she never saw him again. Freaky.

I’ve also been neglecting my Saturday Morning Market posts, not because I’m not spending time there, but because WordPress’ mobile app will no longer let me post custom photo sizes, and the posts were getting all fubar with huge pictures, and I just didn’t care enough to do them after I got home. But I really want to show you this bike:


The guy who owns it is one of those dyed-in-the-wool, no-bullshit, back-to-the-landers-in-the-middle-of-Detroit folks. He and his wife sell all year, specializing in sprouts. They don’t own a car, but they own this bike-truck thing. I think he said it was custom-made for them, or maybe not — anyway, it’s European. The middle section is where the cargo goes. The kids — they have two — have their own trailer and they may even have more add-ons. I wonder how that thing is geared.

Finally, here’s a story to turn your head inside out, about a 78-year-old man on trial for having sex with his Alzheimer’s-afflicted wife in her nursing home. Just when you think you’ve heard every detail you didn’t want to think about, about pulling those nursing-home curtains around beds for privacy, etc., it gets into some interesting discussions about consent, about how we’ll live our last years, and of course, yet another area in which the baby boomers are changing things.

Another late night last night. Man, I gotta stop this stuff. Happy Thursday — the weekend draws nigh.

Posted at 7:45 am in Popculch | 71 Comments