A placeholder.

As Beb notes at the bottom of the last comment thread, I am indeed recovering from my vacation — which was only a weekend. We got in about 8 last night, just in time to order and eat a pizza and watch Sunday-night teevee before hitting the sack. One more big trip next weekend, and then the summer whirl officially begins.

In the meantime, new thread while I take time to go over all the stuff that happened over the weekend. I checked Twitter early Saturday, saw the news of the earthquake, tried to find it on cable news but what were all the chatterers chattering about? Bruce Jenner, of course.

Anyway, this is me, Deborah and Heather at lunch on Saturday. Thanks for lunch, Deborah, and thanks for the company, both of you. It was fun:

selfiegirls

Back here tomorrow.

Posted at 9:19 am in Same ol' same ol' | 17 Comments
 

Feed my dog.

Based on the Twitter recommendation of JeffTMM, and the fact “Game of Thrones” was still 15 minutes away, we tuned in “A.D. The Bible Continues” for a while Sunday night. Jesus asked Peter if he, Peter, loved him. Of course, Peter replied.

“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus said. He asked the question again, and got the same answer. “Feed my sheep,” he tells Peter.

Alan said, “Feed my dog.”

Cracked me up.

Why are so many biblical dramatizations so awful? Actually, they pretty much all are — Jesus is too pretty and everyone’s teeth are too white. All the poetry is lost. It’s like the opposite of “The Godfather,” in which a pulpy, craptastic story was turned into a spectacular, operatic movie. These shows take the greatest story ever told and turn it into bad community theater.

I will say, though, that I never come away from these things unimpressed with the Roman soldiers. The ones in “A.D.,” etc. had breast plates with nipple rings on them. Yes, little rings dangling from the nipple part of the armor. I guess it’s so you can tie a rabbit’s foot there, or your keys.

I know Rome was wealthy, but is it possible every Roman soldier had identical fighting gear? The production of all those leather minis and brush helmets must have been a logistical nightmare.

I just figured out why the centurions wore those brush helmets. So their men could pick them out on the field of battle, right? Plan for retirement, should it ever come: Read up on that stuff.

Oy, what a day. Driving, meetings, then another meeting via speakerphone, which is only marginally better than driving nails into your palms, but does have the advantage of a mute button.

So let’s get to the bloggage, which is, coincidentally enough, mostly blogs:

Neil Sternberg bought some shoes. And wrote about them.

Gin & Tacos on the increasingly tiresome call-out culture.

Some simple rules for eating. I know, I know — to add to the million previous simple rules for eating. But they’re good rules.

Monday is over, so bring on Tuesday.

Posted at 12:11 am in Same ol' same ol', Television | 58 Comments
 

Owie.

So, after the thrilling return of “Mad Men” last week, this Sunday brings (brought) “Game of Thrones,” “Silicon Valley” and “Veep.” So it’s a happy day, except that I’m having trouble writing this, due to having sliced my finger yesterday trying to get through a bagel. I have three stitches in the left index finger, a very big bandage and if I weren’t backspacing and correcting constantly, this sentence would look like this. No, too much right hand there.

It would look as though a person who couldn’t find the T, G, V and B keys very well. And now I’m hitting them pretty well.

The guy who stitched me up was swell, an orthopedist from the Philippines who had to settle for being an urgent-care physician’s assistant (or nurse practitioner, can’t remember) here. He would have had to go through another residency, which he couldn’t afford and didn’t want to do, anyway. I liked him right up until I changed the dressing this morning and discovered he didn’t use non-stick gauze, at which I would have favored execution.

A little soak in salt water put things right, although it violated the don’t-get-it-wet rule.

So now here I am, lame but happy because spring is here, tra la and it’s warm enough to open the sun roof and the workload has eased a bit for now. Just a bit feels like a vacation.

Anyway.

Bloggage? Not much, but…

… Actually, I don’t think I have any, but I’m sure you do. Take it away. Bring on Monday.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' | 43 Comments
 

Wha gwan Internet?

Storms moving through right now. We were promised temperatures in the 60s, but hour after hour passed and things couldn’t seem to get past 50. Then there was sort of this big exhalation out of the southwest, the temperature went way up and as soon as I thought bike ride the rain started, and the tornado warnings started, so none of that stuff.

The tornado warnings were ridiculous. Nothing spotted, just some sketchiness on the radar, but it robbed me of my simple early-evening pleasure – “Jeopardy,” of course – as the weather guy broke in and riffed live for A SOLID HOUR on some stupid thunderstorms, as though Miss Gulch and Toto were right outside the door.

It is not for myself that I weep, however, but for the old people who missed “Wheel of Fortune.”

But now we slide into the weekend, and my soul is at peace, now that Proposition 1 is done, edited, published and filling the comments queues. Tomorrow I’m heading downtown; maybe I’ll have lunch with adults! So wonderful.

Today I took Kate in for a check of her jaw, after she reported “a lump” that wasn’t on the other side. The doctor pronounced it a hematoma. I told her, “That’s ‘hema,’ meaning ‘blood,’ and ‘toma,’ meaning ‘something bad.'” The doctor had just started to say, “that’s right,” then did a double-take and said, “So what do YOU do?”

“I’m a writer,” I said.

“So you’re supposed to have a command of the English language,” he said, already sorting me into that surgeon’s hierarchy of People Who Are Beneath Me, But Whose Order Is As Yet Undetermined.

“I do,” I told him. I hope it came across with the right amount of smugness. As a person with scintillating scotoma, I’ll be the one who decides what “toma” means, asshole.

Bloggage:

Orthodox Jews, seated next to women on airplanes, demand the woman move. I would have but one question: Is the seat I’m being asked to move to in first class? Yes? Then I am happy to do so.

I had never heard of this creature until he killed himself last week, and I learned he was the model for a Martin Short cameo in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Seriously.

“Wha gwan Jamaica?” This guy. I mean. This is going to be a fun last couple of years.

Hope your weekend is good. Hope mine is, too.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 55 Comments
 

Like a dog with a deer leg.

Dead eyes on this one, don’t you think?

Well, you better angels were right: The reaction to this shooting on one side of the cultural divide was hardly the shrug that I’ve come to expect. There was the odd Facebook page, and surely there’s something more out there, but to my relief, the country does seem to believe that shooting an unarmed fleeing man in the back is a bad idea.

Glad that’s settled.

Man, this Proposition 1 business has wrung me out. Today I started back to work on other things, and I am happy not to be nose-to-nose with a policy story. But as long as we’re on a dog theme this week, and a photo theme, let me reproduce here a photo shared on Twitter by Charlotte, our commenter. I hope she won’t mind. It’s her dog with a prize he’s been carrying around for a while:

CCHH515UgAAG-iP.jpg-large

How beautiful is Montana? The gravel road, those driftwood-y looking fenceposts, the blue sky — oh, how I’ve missed those ere this long long winter — and, of course, the deer leg in his mouth. (I remember a hilarious story in Outside magazine a few years ago, where a writer in rural Montana attempted to follow his free-roaming dog through a few typical days, to learn exactly what lured him hither and yon in that amazing landscape, as well as what he was eating — it was one of those dogs that would let loud, repulsive farts and then turn around and bark at its butt.)

On the other hand, Michigan has water, which is more than I can say for the American West these days.

Another rough night, and I don’t know why. Sometimes you just have to push through insomnia. I haven’t been taking the best care of myself the last few days, but I’ve hardly been on a bender. Oh, well, this much I know: One rough night is often followed by a great night’s rest, but two rough nights always is. So I have that to look forward to.

So, bloggage:

When Obama announced our rapprochement with Cuba, a friend and I decided this was the beginning of the Fuck All Y’all phase of his presidency, and that we liked it. With the White House bully pulpit now being used to condemn “conversion therapy” for LGBT people, especially teenagers, I’m liking it even more. (The Scott Walker stuff is just the cherry on top. Bone up, son.)

There was a small dust-up here yesterday over whether the University of Michigan should screen “American Sniper” to a student audience as part as some sort of social event. First it was cancelled, then it was un-cancelled, and of course no story out of Ann Arbor is complete without the football angle. It was one of those stories where you can feel equally contemptuous of both sides. Mmmm, misanthropy.

Finally, the return of “Mad Men” means the return of T-Lo’s Mad Style, the appearance of which yesterday nearly made me weep with joy.

Off to work with a lighter heart, but sandier eyes.

Posted at 9:05 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 33 Comments
 

Sockets.

So there I was at the oral surgeon’s office, sitting with Kate in the recovery cubicle, enjoying her goofy post-anesthesia brain, remembering my own experience getting my own wisdom teeth extracted in 1978. Like me, one of the first things she asked when she came to was to see her teeth.

The nurse showed me mine; they were in fragments. The doctor told Kate hers were biohazards, and had been thrown away. “Like any body part,” I said.

“Don’t people keep their placenta?” she mumbled through the gauze. Funny what bobs to the surface when drugs are roiling everything underneath.

There was a sign in the recovery area, asking that out of respect for everyone’s privacy, please refrain from taking photos or video. Jesus Christ. I guess everyone wants to get the next “David after dentist” Youtube hit.

She sailed through it, all things considered. Swelling’s not too bad, not even much pain, but we still have tomorrow to get through.

One last note: As I was getting ready to leave her in the operating room, the nurse wheeled in the cart with the instruments. They were covered with a paper towel, and it slid a little, revealing the serious heft of the handles. All at once, I remembered my own surgery, the nurse slipping the needle into my arm just as another one pulled the towel off the tray to reveal…instruments of torture. Hammers, chisels and is that a fucking miniature maul? It was.

No wonder I had a chinstrap bruise for a week.

Closing in on the end of a project about Proposal 1 in Michigan; the first two parts will be published at 6 a.m., and y’all can enjoy the fun I had trying to translate this into plain English. Policy ain’t my forte; I prefer people, and that’s my next assignment. Whew.

So, bloggage? Sure.

Eternally starring in the action movie running in his own head, a would-be hero suffers a flesh wound when his gun goes off in church. During the Easter vigil, no less.

The Rolling Stone report was horrifying, mainly because no one got fired, but also because the offending writer notes how hard it’s all been on her, so that’s good to know. This Slate story rounds up a few reactions that track with my own.

I’ve never heard of the Food Babe, but if this takedown is accurate, that’s probably for the best.

Onward. Good Tuesdays to all.

Posted at 12:47 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 48 Comments
 

Not exactly #crucifixionproblems.

Another day spent staring at the screen. Maundy Thursday, right? I always liked to say that, although as a child, I mainly recall Holy Week as a series of going to church and not liking it very much. Especially Good Friday, when I was expected to sit quietly in my room or elsewhere in the house from noon to 3 p.m. and contemplate the suffering of Christ. (I didn’t.)

In Fort Wayne, the public library closed from noon until 3 p.m. on Good Friday. A public library. I wrote a column about it. The director said it would likely never be changed because it was an employee benefit, and benefits are hard to take away.

Of course, that was years before the great recession, when we all learned how easy it is to take benefits away.

But now it’s the end of the week, and the beginning of the weekend, and lordy, am I ready. So much to do over the weekend — write another piece, shop for a Mad Men dinner party, go to Toledo for Easter brunch, jump down turn around pick a bale of cotton. And on and on it goes until they plant you in the ground.

Maybe I need a vacation. A real one.

In the meantime, I need a bit of bloggage.

Of course, if Mad Men is firing up again, so are Tom & Lorenzo and their essential Mad Style blog entries. Here’s an introduction for you newbies. Sometimes I think they overreach, but mostly? Dead on.

The Hoosier Fiasco reaches a climax as the compromise on the IRFDA basically turns into a total skinback of the stupid bill. Two amusing asides, both passed along by friends there: “Mike Pence has done more for the LGBT community than any politician ever in Indiana,” and “I predict when Pence is out of office, no one asks him to head up a university. Maybe the Montana School for the Tall.” Yup.

If it’s Easter, it must be time for….PEEPS. Enjoy. And happy egg-hunting, y’all.

Posted at 12:25 am in Same ol' same ol' | 49 Comments
 

A day downtown.

I don’t get to the office as often as I should, although I do when I can, and I’ll be going more now that the weather is breaking and commuting isn’t such an ordeal. What’s the truism? If you want people to get things done, let them work at home. If you want them to be creative, put them together. Lately I have a lot to get done, so I’ve been staying home.

But today I went in. I had to do a radio show first, then headed to the office. Three doors from my building, a homeless man brayed, “You a sexy lady! Yeah, you like Beyoncé. You woke up like this!” I guess I should have scowled, but the thought of being compared to Beyoncé is so absurd I had to laugh. Another homeless guy heard this and added, “I second that!”

I should get into the office more often. The other day one of my colleagues was talking on the phone, looking out the window, and saw a hooker servicing a client in the alley, next to a dumpster. The best moment? When she stood up, lifted her skirt, turned around and offered the goods, and the john backed off, waving his hands hell, no.

She said that when she told this story later, the most common reaction is, “Did you record it?” No.

I realize those two anecdotes may make it sound like I work in some kind of cesspool of vice. I don’t. The hooker story was amazing, as Detroit has cleaned up its downtown and central city so much that you just don’t see that sort of stuff at all anymore, let alone in broad daylight. As for the homeless guys? Well, they have eyes, don’t they?

A little bloggage:

This has been going around a couple days, but it is hilarious and probably NSFW: Martha Stewart, absolutely killing it at the Justin Bieber roast. Of course she didn’t write the material, but she delivered it so well, you’d think she did.

Drew Miller, a Detroit Red Wing, almost lost an eye when he was hit in the face by a skate on Tuesday. Fifty stitches. Very scary. But when he appeared at a presser today and I saw the picture, all I could think is, when that thing heals, he is going to be the sexiest man alive. Scars are so fabulous, and a good facial scar is the best of all. I know how sick that sounds, but you’re looking at the country’s other No. 1 Omar fan.

The Hoosier fiasco continues. A friend there emailed this week to say, “I am fully fed up, fed up of course with dingbats who claim that RFRA doesn’t target gays, but also fed up with people who act as if this is an anti-gay Kristallnacht. It was a hamfisted sop by Rs for their reactionary base, a kind of consolation prize because the anti-gay marriage amendment was shot down. RFRA was a clumsy overreach by the ruling clique, and now they and Gov. FumbleBlunder are eating the shit they cooked in their own kitchen.” Shit cooked in their own kitchen — that’s it exactly. Meanwhile, here’s yet another analysis, by Amy Davidson at the New Yorker. There’s not a great deal new here, but a good turn of phrase that doesn’t bring to mind shit in a kitchen:

Pence said that the Indiana law “simply mirrors federal law that President Bill Clinton signed in 1993”—which is correct only if the mirror is the kind that adds twenty pounds when you look in it.

Have a great Thursday, all. We’re over the hump.

Posted at 12:15 am in Current events, Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' | 33 Comments
 

The $65 cocktail hour.

Hey, guys. We arrived late last night, and after all the decompressing and unpacking and mail-sorting, I had no time to update. Then, today, I start a brutal week with two projects circling for a landing.

So you’ll have to wait for the Toronto download. We had a nice time. I will never drive there again, although I will probably take a rolling suitcase.

In the meantime, just one bit of bloggage: This piece on the Indiana RFRA situation, written by an IU law professor who’s a friend-of-a-friend. If it doesn’t go viral, there’s no justice in the world; he does an excellent job nailing the specifics down, in simple, easy-to-understand terms.

I leave you with this perfect moment: Cocktail hour at the Fairmount Royal York Hotel, where we killed the last hour before the train left. I’ve been pinching pennies all my life, and am not one for many indulgences, although I’d love to just once own a really, really high-quality black cashmere sweater. IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK? Anyway, we thought we’d have a drink, and the drinks were so good we had two. The waiter anticipated everything, bringing water without being asked, the wifi password, a little dish of salty snacks (that’s Alan bogarting all the wasabi peas) and, of course, two absolutely perfect cocktails — a Manhattan for the gentleman and this lovely concoction of vodka, champagne and raspberry deliciousness called a Bubbles & Berries. The bill? A mere $65. I think it was worth every penny:

cocktailhour

Talk tomorrow, then?

Posted at 8:57 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 59 Comments
 

Beep torture.

Being a terrier, Wendy is a little high-strung, although not overly so. But today she came upstairs where I was working, jumped up next to me and cuddled up, trembling like a leaf. It took me a while, but I figured it out: There was a smoke alarm chirping with a dying battery, down in the basement. Spriggy was also high-strung, but brave as a mongoose, and chirping smoke alarms had the same effect. One day I came home and found him in an absolute lather — trotting from one end of the house to the other, panting, frantic. All over a little beeping.

And that? Was pretty much the extent of the news developments at this end today. That, and the usual household annoyances, plus 7,000 emails.

God, I can’t wait for warm weather. Thirty-seven degrees today was the best it got. Worst cabin fever I’ve had since…last year.

So a quick stop by the bloggage, and I’m headed to bed.

This site has been around for a while, but I’m just finding it: The Reductress, the Onion of women’s magazines. Case in point: Local woman wins stress-eating contest:

The third annual Häagen Dazs-Frito Lay Stress-Eating Contest was held this weekend at Morgantown County Fair in Morgantown, West Virginia. Eight competitors from the area took their places on the stage with one goal in mind: to stress-eat heaping piles of food until their feelings went away. But only one woman would come out on top: head server at Rocky’s Water Hole and recent, Mica Sullivan.

“I fucking deserve better, you know?” said Sullivan, in a rambling Facebook status posted at 3:14 this morning as she scraped the bottom of a bag of chips. “He’s trash.”

It appears Ben Carson is crazier — or just more offensive, in every way — than we thought. Here’s Carson and Armstrong Williams watching the SOTU:

“He looks good,” Williams said. “He looks clean. Shirt’s white. The tie. He looks elegant.”

“Like most psychopaths,” Carson grumbled. “That’s why they’re successful. That’s the way they look. They all look great.”

For those unfamiliar with the mood of America’s far right, casually branding the president a psychopath is exactly the sort of talk that strikes a chord—and just the thing that has made Carson a sensation in the GOP. Today the former pediatric neurosurgeon—who’s never run for elected office—is suddenly besting candidates like Jeb, Marco, and Rand in some 2016 polls and preparing to announce his campaign for the White House. As for the current resident, well, Carson is sometimes encouraged to cut him just a little slack before he hands over the keys.

Psychopath. Good one. Keep it up, guys. This is a winning strategy if there ever was one.

Facebook as the great publisher of the future. Oh, joy.

Killer Wednesday ahead. Expect…not much posting until Thursday.

Posted at 12:24 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 127 Comments