Someone else said it better.

I have been thinking about Jeffrey Epstein and the elites for a few days now, and am not really any closer to a coherent opinion on them. I mistrust my brain when my feelings get too involved, and I can’t be absolutely sure they’re entirely disengaged here.

So lucky for me I found a particular Twitter thread, which is long even for a Twitter thread, but gets very close to what I’ve been thinking. I’m-a let this nice lady lay out her problems with the MIT Media Lab, and just say: Seconded. (Along with a HT to Heather for finding it.)

And I’m glad someone brought up Anand Giridharadas, too. I have his book on reserve at the library.

So. Sunday afternoon and I am home alone. Alan is at work, after working Saturday, too, coordinating coverage of the UAW strike called for midnight. I have already cleaned a bathroom and am now in my gym clothes, trying to summon the motivation to actually go there. Weight work is the most difficult motivation for me, because I do it alone. Also, I’ve skipped enough lately that I know I’m going to be sore as hell tomorrow, but I really should go anyway. Maybe after some food prep, and a banana. And a little power nap. And another chapter of “The Sheltering Sky” and ooh look, gym’s closed.

Has anyone seen the new Linda Ronstadt movie? I was always a fan, if not a superfan, but seeing all these YouTubes that keep popping up is making me wonder if I made a big miscalculation, back in the day. Maybe it’s because my brain has been broken by autotune, but when I hear this, I think, goddamn, now that is a voice. Shoulda gone to more of her shows, but I saw her at the Hollywood Bowl, and once you’ve done that, Vets Memorial in Columbus looks pretty small-time.

And with that, I seem to have run out of things to say. I can’t put it off any longer: Gym. (After maybe a little snack.)

Posted at 1:58 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 56 Comments
 

Happy new year.

As always, thanks for hanging around here when the postings get a little sparse. As the summer ends, I realize I’ve taken off more days than I intended, and I don’t really have much of an excuse other than: I did it because I could. As the new year — and September is the new year, as far as I’m concerned — I need to do more non-work writing. If only to keep myself off Twitter and whatever is falling apart in the world at the moment.

At this moment, it’s the Florida coast, as an enormous storm comes ever-closer, at a crawling speed, which has of course pushed the leadership of the country into Command Centers, where they’re closely monitoring the hurricane’s progress, in contact with local relief agencies, ready at a moment’s notice to step in to help save lives and mitigate misery, and…

…never mind, he’s tweeting again:

I can’t let any more of this nonsense keep me away from doing the stuff I enjoy — reading and writing.

It was a good weekend. Some pictures? Sure.

This was Saturday, for Shadow Show’s final appearance before next year. That’s because Kate leaves for California tomorrow, and I told her not to get homesick and come running back. Stay. Stay as long as the job and the money holds out, for cryin’ out loud.

In the distance: Sign in Arabic, because Hamtramck, and a pretty good crowd. This AC/DC tribute band (Icey Dicey) wasn’t doing quite as well, but they were just getting started:

I think they were playing “TNT” when I took that. Can’t remember.

And then on Sunday, we had a sendoff for Kate at a friend’s house. We had a hot dog/not dog bar, which was GENIUS (because everybody gets what they want, and all you have to do is set out a bunch of toppings), and I brought a pie and a cherry tart. Wendy got to spend some time with her favorite uncle:

Then we all discussed our funeral playlists and put each other in charge of carrying out our wishes. Yes, beer was involved.

Today it was a long bike ride in beautiful weather, and now I’m getting ready to dip back into “The Sheltering Sky” for the remainder of the afternoon.

One last pic: The Bassets meet the Dorothys for dinner in Dayton. Someone didn’t finish their onion rings:

And so the New Year commences! Let’s make it a good one.

Posted at 2:43 pm in Current events, Friends and family, Same ol' same ol' | 42 Comments
 

The weekend, the whirl.

We start the week on a rocket blast of coffee and eggs and barely slow down. Wednesday is Hump Day, halfway to the weekend, then it’s Thursday, the official start of the weekend. (This is true; I saw some market research once that said people start thinking of the weekend at noon on Thursday, and once your mind is there, your body’s only a half step behind. Then it’s the official weekend, and it’s woo, party! Dinner guests! Activities! Errands! Laundry! And all of a sudden it’s Sunday night and you’re thinking, what happened here?

Americans work too hard, this is indisputably true.

it was a busy weekend. Eastern Market, dry cleaner, blah blah, ending at the Cannabis Cup, in town for the weekend. This is an event I was utterly unprepared for, a trade show all about marijuana, newly legalized in Michigan. I went there expecting a …trade show, but it was far more. Line around the block to get in, in withering sun and heat. It probably took half an hour just to get through the lines, and once inside? Quite nuts. Packed to the rafters, hot as hell, stinky as hell, row after row of weed vendors, selling pretty much everything weed-related.

If you live in a non-legal state, the first glimpse of Big Marijuana may be surprising. It has product specialists:

And of course it has characters:

And a certain literally homegrown charm:

But this was a big crowd, in a very Detroit space — the Russell Industrial Center courtyard:

It’s Weedstock. I’m sure someone has called it that before. I mean, the Wu-Tang Clan played.

Then, today, Sunday, was Swim to the Moon, the open-water swim I’ve been worried about for weeks. I had reason to worry; it was no easier than two years ago, when I finished it thinking I was going to die. I stayed on course better this year, maybe shaved a minute or two off my last time. But there’s simply no way to swim that far and make it easy, not at my age. But I finished, and didn’t drown, so we’ll maybe see about next year.

I’m trying to catch up with whatever I missed in the papers this weekend, but for now, I’m working my way through the 1619 Project, the NYT future Pulitzer winner about the effects of slavery in America. It’s much better than I expected, which is why so many Republicans seem to be so butthurt over it. So far, though, it’s very good.

And with that, I’m out. So, so tired.

Posted at 9:08 pm in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' | 50 Comments
 

Help from afar.

Well, that particular problem wrapped itself up in a bow. Allow me to explain:

Kate has an internship opportunity this fall that could lead to permanent employment, although that’s a don’t-count-chickens deal for now. It’s in Los Angeles, and it starts unpaid. The job itself is in Malibu, which is a bit of a fur piece from the city proper. Money isn’t a problem yet — we have a lot of her 529 left over (thanks, scholarships and diligent saving) and can help her out for a while, but housing was a big question mark, as she can’t sign a lease without an income or a job. She was hoping to find a co-op house similar to where she lived in Ann Arbor, but no dice in pricey Malibu. Nor student housing at Pepperdine. She’d been Craigslisting her little heart out, looking for a short-term sublet, but when a spare bedroom in Culver City fell through, I told her I’d see what I could do.

L.A. Mary to the rescue, and in about 24 hours, to boot. She knows a guy who has a restored vintage Airstream trailer parked in his back yard, it’s coming vacant soon, and it’s in Venice, which location-wise is about the best possible solution. So barring a disaster, she’ll be moving in in October.

And get this: The house has a pool. About a mile from the ocean. And about 20 miles from Malibu. Man, when you have a problem in a faraway city, it always helps to know a few locals, and it really helps to know our Mary.

So thanks, Mary.

I only wish my commute was on the Pacific Coast Highway, although maybe not at rush hour.

I just spent some time looking at Google Maps. Sigh.

I really hope this works out for her. She’s a hard worker. But we all have to struggle, early in our careers.

Take Jeffrey Epstein, for example. Started as a humble high-school math teacher, but it wasn’t long before his sociopathic charm took him right to the top, and he did exactly what he liked along the way until only very recently, when he decided that he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life eating bologna sandwiches and canned fruit cocktail.

You can understand.

I’m not forming an opinion about it yet. Weird shit happens every day in our crazy world, but often, Occam’s razor applies. And if the Clintons were that powerful, why are so many of the people who tormented them for so long, who torment them to this day, still walking around free? Newt Gingrich is a tub of lard who couldn’t evade a trained assassin for 30 seconds. And Anthony Weiner, for cryin’ out loud. Neither man would be much missed by their wives. Callista might even leave the bedroom window unlocked. (Hell, she’d send a thank-you note.)

That said, what an utter failure of what should be simple procedure in a federal lockup. Hanging oneself in a cell isn’t as cut-and-dried as a drop from a gallows; often the deceased suffocates, and that takes time. This never should have happened, but you don’t need me to tell you that.

The other big event this weekend was the old-folks’ swim meet we held Saturday morning. It was all team events, almost all relays. We all swam two or three races, and the teams I was on won some, lost some. It was a very casual event, as you can imagine; we were encouraged to “take the ribbons you think you deserve,” for instance. I left with none. What am I going to do with ribbons? I had a great time, and saw our old buddy Tom, who took much of the last year off as he waited for, and then received, a kidney transplant. Now he’s back in the pool, and here he is, after finishing his lap:

Man, nothing photographs like a pool on a beautiful summer day.

I hope the next day you face is beautiful. See you Tuesday/Wednesday.

Posted at 6:35 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 65 Comments
 

Sweating gel.

A sweaty weekend. By my reckoning, I sweated through to the ends of my hair about five times over the weekend — a serious Saturday workout, then a bike ride in the early-evening heat, then cleaning the house, the usual — and now, on Sunday, my hair is basically held in place with dried sweat and truth be told, it’s not a terrible look. Maybe these hack-your-biome people are on to something. Once upon a time, it would be a disaster; I’ve always been a little on the oily side, but in my dessicated-crone years, I seem to have reached an equilibrium.

(I hasten to add that I still showered a couple times over the weekend. But I didn’t get my hair wet, because the last thing you want to do on a sweaty weekend is blow hot air on your head.)

And it was a decent weekend, hot, and a little upended. I had plans to do a river swim with a friend today, but we cancelled because police were looking for a drowning victim right where we usually go. Perils of summer, I guess, along with things like the blackout in New York.

What a blast that must have been, with Broadway casts singing in the streets and everybody jolly and helpful. I get the feeling people elsewhere are somehow disappointed when New York fails to disintegrate into a zombie-apocalypse scenario under such conditions, and instead rises to the occasion with grace, humor and generosity. When a water main broke in 1999 in Fort Wayne, cutting off water to a big chunk of the city, there was pushing and shoving in the bottled-water aisles at the grocery stores. And service was restored in just a few hours. Afterward, the tension was chalked up to “concerns about Y2K,” but if I was facing a tense situation, I know where I’d rather be.

Which brings us to the story of the weekend, wherein the president of the United States reveals himself, yet again, to be a racist, and half the nation gapes, appalled, and the other half essentially yawns, shrugs and says, “Portfolio’s doing pretty great. Nobody’s perfect.”

This stupid country. We are so deep into our Good Germans phase we’re soaking in it, and who cares? You do, I do, lots of people do, but not enough.

I want to say one last thing about Jeffrey Epstein, at least until I say the next thing: There’s an idea going around, that if you try to distinguish between “pedophilia” and what Epstein apparently has, i.e. “ephebophilia,” i.e., attraction to post-pubescent adolescents, that this is the hallmark of a creep. I get it, I really do, but I think it’s important to make a distinction, because it goes to the heart of the way young women are treated in this culture.

It’s in the porny way we treat “Lolitas,” and it’s not just people like Epstein and Larry Flynt and other creeps. It’s also evident in the way virginity is prized in evangelical cultures, this idea that women can be “spoiled” by sexual activity outside of marriage. It’s deeply misogynistic.

And it’s far more widespread than we acknowledge. I understand that men will look at beautiful teenage girls and recognize that they are attractive; that’s biology, and it happens. In ancient cultures, women were married off as soon as they were capable of childbearing. And this is what a lot of the don’t-call-it-pedophilia seem to be saying: That this is somehow OK, because it used to be OK for men to sleep with teens. Obviously, that’s not what I’m saying. When adults act on those urges, I think it’s a mistake to call it pedophilia, because that reduces young women to children in the name of protecting them. Of course they still need protection, but it’s different from the way we protect young kids; rather, it’s a way of valuing their potential and the life that lies ahead of them.

I keep thinking of something I read in the original Miami Herald piece about Epstein that started all this, last fall. One of the girls said she was triggered by the word “pure,” because that’s one Epstein used with her, over and over. I guess when he was done with her, she was no longer pure.

Women are people, and they’re real, not precious glass sculptures that you throw away when one’s leg gets snapped off. They’re not children, either, as much as we want to treat them that way.

OK, time to face the week ahead. Still gonna be hot. I guess it’s preferable to January.

Posted at 9:15 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 29 Comments
 

Could you repeat that? LOUDER?

I was sitting down to blog last night after dinner when all the house’s various white-noise sounds — refrigerator, ceiling fans — went silent and the internet stopped working, and whaddaya know, we’re having a power outage.

It wasn’t a widespread one, but it meant no blogging, no HBO, limited phone use to preserve battery life. I took the opportunity to go to bed at 10 p.m. — not really; I always go to bed at 10 — after reading until the light was all the way gone. Primitive things, these “books,” but oddly calming at bedtime.

And all was well and I was sweetly slumbering until 11, when the power came back on and my neighbor, who I suspect had been drinking earlier, bellowed THE POWER’S BACK ON while standing in his driveway, more or less directly under my bedroom window, and then I was wide awake until 1 a.m. and that, my friends, is how what started as a pleasant Little House on the Prairie Sunday night turned into a drag-ass Monday.

Why not sleep in? you may be thinking. Can’t do that. I’m signed up to do an open-water swim in about five weeks, and it’s time to put the hammer down, training-wise, and Monday is a swim day, so that’s what I did. Anyway, it’s summer outdoor swimming, and you don’t skip that just because you didn’t sleep well. Here’s the view from the pool deck at 6:21 a.m.:

I’ve been reading about the Jeffrey Epstein case, and have decided I don’t care if Bill Clinton gets his pecker caught in a mousetrap on this one — if he was a part of this, he richly deserves it. A friend posted this New York magazine piece from 2002, and I read it this afternoon. Epstein is close to Leslie Wexner, Columbus’ richest scion and the first billionaire I ever interviewed, maybe the only one, although at the time, he was merely a $600-millionaire. Reader, I cannot lie: I liked him and totally swallowed the story he was peddling, about how he emerged from a haze of work and empire building to become a money-slinging mover/shaker in the early ’80s. It may well be true, I don’t know, but anyone associated with Epstein is suspect by association. Anyway, this passage brought me up short:

“Before Epstein came along in 1988, the financial preparations and groundwork for the New Albany development [a wealthy exurb Wexner conjured out of farmland east of the city] were a total mess,” says Bob Fitrakis, a Columbus-based investigative journalist who has written extensively on Wexner and his finances. “Epstein cleaned everything up, as well as serving Wexner in other capacities – such as facilitating visits to Wexner’s home of the crew from Cats and organizing a Tony Randall song-and-dance show put on in Columbus.” Wexner declines to talk about his relationship with Epstein, but it is clearly one that continues to this day.

I really need to know more about this Tony Randall song-and-dance show, and I’m disappointed no editor asked that question.

I saw a booking photo of Epstein today. Despite (according to NYMag) “an hour and fifteen minutes every day doing advanced yoga with his personal instructor, who travels with him wherever he goes,” he looked quite slope-shouldered. No swimmer, he!

OK, then, with this measly update we start the week.

Posted at 7:16 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 32 Comments
 

A half-dozen items in search of a blog.

My god, when was I here last? Sunday? Now it’s Thursday. It was…a week. A few snapshots from it:

1) I’ve been trying to take the bus as often as possible this summer. Saves on parking, saves on gas, saves on peace of mind when I can spend the ride reading or relaxing or doing anything other than gripping the wheel and getting driver’s blood pressure. I generally ride the Detroit city bus coming in and take the suburban system home. There are differences.

The Detroit bus fills up about halfway to downtown. It is hardly ever not full, no matter when I take it. And it is overwhelmingly full of people wearing the polo shirts of various downtown restaurants, or otherwise dressed like people who have to take the bus because they don’t have a choice. The suburban bus is never more than half full, going home. The Detroit bus often features…conflict. Last week, two men yelled at each other for a few blocks, making less and less sense until one shouted, IF THERE’S ONE THING I CAN’T STAND IT’S A DOPE FIEND and the other one shouted back ME TOO and then the argument was over, just like that. It’s good when we can all come together and agree on something.

I’m going to write an epic poem at the end of the warm season, all about DDOT bus #31. I’ll call it “#31.”

2) One day I didn’t drive, because I had to go up to Bloomfield Hills for lunch. It would take, literally, six hours to get to where I needed to go via bus, so I drove. Bloomfield Hills is a wealthy area, and I drove past strip malls of boutiques, specialty groceries and high-end chain stores, because god forbid you do yoga in stretchy pants from Target — they have to cost $90 and come from Lululemon. Beautiful late-model cars glided past in oncoming traffic. If I hadn’t been expected at lunch, I might have stopped at one deli my boss is always raving about. It’s very good, but a tuna sandwich costs $14.

Later that day, the freeway was clogged, and I drove home from downtown on surface streets, along my bus route, some of the poorest neighborhoods of the city. It was…a contrast, shall we say. Nothing like a big city to give you a constant slide show of drama.

3) Here’s a police brief from my community:

4) Here’s a headline from Detroit:

5) Are we going to war with Iran this week? Anyone know?

6) This is old news by now, but check out the pictures and consider: This photographer did his job while a gunman was shooting at him. #EnemyOfThePeople, right?

Into the weekend we lurch. Stay on your feet, people. You never know what’s going to happen.

Posted at 9:58 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 28 Comments
 

Too much about vacuums.

A productive weekend, all things considered. Nothing like all-weekend clouds and rain to get your errands run. Grocery, dry cleaner, drugstore and — because the weather was at least warmish on Saturday — a bicycle run to handle those chores that never seem to get done, like a stop at the vacuum store to get bags. I got two packages of three, which means I won’t have to do this one again for quite some time, nor make small talk about my Kenmore vacuum, and the declining quality of the old Sears brands.

I also started a new novel — about which I’ll have more to say, once I finish it, but it was written by an infrequent member of our commenting community — and did some yoga on the bedroom floor. Got up covered with dog hair, so I vacuumed, but with the upstairs vacuum, which doesn’t use bags (a Dyson, bought secondhand, and a steal).

Why not take the upstairs vacuum downstairs, you might ask? Because I like the downstairs vacuum, too, and it’s kinda heavy, so a pain to lug up and down the stairs. When a friend offered to sell me her recently restored super-lightweight Dyson for a very good price, well, no-brainer. My upstairs rugs are cleaner than ever, but I still have a dog that sheds.

I live in a community where people have second-floor laundry rooms, master suites with wet bars and fireplaces, spare bedrooms converted into closets with dress forms to rehearse outfit combinations and all sorts of luxury foofrahs. I refuse to feel guilty for having two vacuums.

(Jeff Borden has a bedroom-turned-closet, said the tattletale. He calls it “Imelda’s Room,” and I totally approve. They don’t have kids, and when you can see everything you own, clothing-wise, you get more wear out of it.)

In a while I will finish this blog and paint my toenails, and my weekend chore list will be over. I just got a call from a pollster, testing my attitude toward the 2020 U.S. Senate race here, as well as the presidency. I portrayed myself as an independent of moderate political attitudes who wants Joe Biden to reconsider how he wants tp spend the latter years of his eighth decade.

(Now Wendy, sleeping next to me, is having a dream. Her hackles are raised, and she is wagging her tail furiously. This must be some kinda dream. Maybe a pollster called her subconscious.)

So on to bloggage, so I can get back to my book:

I’m not a fan of online video, but in 60 seconds, you can learn everything you need to know about Marianne Williamson. And then never think about her again.

Starts strong, finishes weak, but if you like snark: The Man Who Was Upset, an essay about oh-god-of-course-you-know-who:

The thing about impressiveness, however, is that it resides entirely in the eye of the beholder—and in Trump’s case, he typically invokes it in a crass gambit to annex and manipulate the inner workings of that beholder’s eye and generate maximum ego-gratification for himself. As with most things Trump-related, the form that this ascriptive impressiveness takes can be mapped with laughable ease over whatever failing he is most keen to conceal at that moment. When his marriage was falling apart on the front pages of New York City tabloids, Trump called the editor of the New York Post to vouch, on behalf of his then-girlfriend Marla Maples, that “Marla says with me it’s the best sex she’s ever had.” During his years in the cultural wilderness, Trump reportedly made it a stipulation for film productions that wished to shoot in the properties that he owned that there be a scene in which Trump himself appeared. “Martin Brest had to write something in Scent of a Woman,” Matt Damon told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017. “And the whole crew was in on it. You have to waste an hour of your day with a bullshit shot. Donald Trump walks in and Al Pacino’s like, ‘Hello, Mr. Trump!’—you had to call him by name—and then he exits.”


In 1991, as his divorce and a series of pyrotechnically misconceived business ventures ushered in the beginning of his long tour through our popular culture as an overleveraged punch line, Trump went ahead and just spelled his super-hero aspirations out. The story Trump told the New York Daily News was this: While driving to a Paula Abdul concert in New Jersey with Maples and another couple, Trump had seen “a big man with a big bat” committing a “brutal-looking” mugging. In Trump’s telling, he ordered his limo driver to stop and got out of the vehicle. “The guy with the bat looked at me, and I said, ‘Look, you’ve gotta stop this. Put down the bat,’“ Trump told the Daily News. “I guess he recognized me because he said, ‘Mr. Trump, I didn’t do anything wrong.’ I said, ‘How could you not do anything wrong when you’re whacking a guy with a bat?’ Then he ran away.”

How does a 25-year-old hairstylist clear a quarter-mil a year? This way. I respect the guy; I certainly wouldn’t pay $2,000 for hair extensions, but someone will, and he’s found enough to make it work for him. But this line blew me away:

He studied at Paul Mitchell The School in Sterling Heights on Van Dyke Avenue, near 18 Mile Road. It was about $22,000 total in 2011 for a 10-month program, he said.

That’s cosmetology school, mind you. He started out making $30,000 a year, and I’ll bet almost all of his classmates never go all that much higher. Talk about highway robbery.

Happy week ahead, all. Off to paint my nails.

Posted at 4:23 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 62 Comments
 

Ducking (responsibility), goosing (geese).

I didn’t have a terrible week, but much of it went like this:

The battery in my computer has been in failure mode for a while, with “a while” = “a year.” Finally took it to the Genius Bar and the genius told me sure, they could replace it, but it would have to be shipped elsewhere, because they don’t do that in-house, and with shipping/repair time, I could expect it back in 10 days.

“That’s out of the question,” I said flatly. I use my computer for hours, every day that I work and for an hour or two every day that I don’t work. With no two-week vacations coming up, sorry, a non-starter. A battery replacement ought to be simple; you can’t do it while I wait? Even with an appointment? Nope, sorry, the genius said. “But Micro Center might,” he added, proving his bona fides as a genius. “Try them.”

So I called Micro Center, described my problem, and they said sure, they kept those batteries in stock, and if I showed up very first thing when they opened, they’d do it while I wait. Excellent.

So a few more weeks go by, and there’s a day on my schedule when no dogs are barking for my ass, so I get up and head across town to Micro Center — because of course it’s across town, because nothing I need is on the east side — and am there, as instructed, bright and early at 10 a.m.

I’m first in line at the repair counter. You know what’s coming next, right?

“We can’t do that,” I’m told. “Apple won’t let us work on anything newer than a 2011 model.”

“They literally told me to come here,” I said, using that word correctly in a sentence. “They looked at it, diagnosed the problem” — that’s another Genius Bar rant, how you come in knowing exactly what the problem is, and tell them so, and they run all their diagnostics and tell you to your face, without a hint of irony, what you just told them, in your exact words — “and told me to come here. What’s more, the person who answered your phone when I called said you could do it while I waited, if I came first thing in the morning.”

I didn’t add a second “literally,” but probably could have. The guy was just a serf. He didn’t deserve it.

“Well, that person was wrong,” he said. “We can’t fix it.”

Plan C: Alan and his fearlessness in the face of complex repair problems, as long as there are YouTube tutorials (there are) and Amazon carries the parts (they do). He is my all-purpose Genius Bar.

Also, I hate — and by “hate” I mean with the white-hot fury of 10 million suns — dealing with any Silicon Valley- or tech-based company. I know I’m going to have a ram-butting-heads thing with Hulu next week when “The Handmaids Tale” starts, and it’s going to be ugly.

I took the long way back to the office Friday morning, and took some pictures of Detroit blight for our photo bank. Here’s one:

Also rolled through a squatters’ community that appears well-established in this neighborhood. As you can see: Lots of fixer-uppers.

The lovely weather helped my mood immensely, and it turned out to be an OK Friday. Got some good news about a friend, and even this situation ended about as well as could be expected:

This little goose family was on the sidewalk, attempting to cross Woodward Avenue. They’re blocks from any sort of sustaining habitat, but there was no way I or anyone else could herd them down to the river without a hell of a lot of backup.

But I figured I could save them from getting hit by the light rail if I got them into Campus Martius Park, where maybe they could chill until a quieter hour. So I and a couple other animal lovers made a team and got them into the park and beyond the border hedge.

After which I went to work. Good times.

Do note that blue scooter in the photo. This is the latest entry in the scooter market in Detroit, the fourth company to make these grab-and-go conveyances available. I shudder to think what a bunch of half-in-the-bag bros can do on a few of these. I just hope I’m not there to see it.

No links today, except for this one. Mostly for the picture. Sigh.

Have a good week, all.

Posted at 12:51 pm in Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' | 59 Comments
 

Long weekend.

Ah, a long weekend to start the season that’s always too short. Fitting.

So far it’s been pretty great. I haven’t done much — errands, shopping, a Movement party, “Booksmart” and still a fair amount of time to relax and finally make some progress in “Streets of Laredo,” which is my bedside read, put aside time and again for other stuff. To be sure, it’s only taken Larry McMurtry 225 pages to really get the plot moving, but it’s moving for sure now, and I’m less inclined to put it down after a page or two because my eyelids are so, so heavy.

In a while, I’m going to do some food prep and then a bike ride. Reading for pleasure is deeply calming, and I need to do more of it. Reason No. 2 billion to despise the commander-in-chief.

By the way, it’s Memorial Day — has he pardoned any war criminals yet?

And yes, Memorial Day. That’s also a good reason to stay off social media. Never mind the confusion with Veterans Day (M-Day is for the dead, V-Day for the still-standing), it’s the memes — those thanking the ones who died “so we could be free.” By my reckoning, WWII was the last war fought for our freedom. I guess “our” could encompass a lot more than Americans, however, so OK, I’m not going to quibble. And I guess the dead are still dead. But holidays are funny; what’s supposed to be solemn is more often a good day to go water skiing, but then again, what is freedom for, if not for choosing to go water skiing?

Actually, the reading-for-pleasure part of the weekend has convinced me that I simply HAVE to put up better barriers in my personal time. It’s a mental-health thing. Every time I open my eyes and see something like this?

One of the best-known but least visible former members of President Trump’s White House staff is facing an existential question: whether to comply with a congressional subpoena in the coming weeks.

My head threatens to explode.

The person in question is Hope Hicks. I did not know that complying with a subpoena was a choice, let alone an existential one. There are legal strategies to fight a subpoena, to be sure, but the question of compliance isn’t an existential question. And the picture! Oh my god. As someone on Twitter remarked, she’s a former assistant to the president, not a moody singer/songwriter with an album called “My Truth” dropping on Tuesday.

Of course, what this tells us is, Hope Hicks has been a very good source for Maggie Haberman, and a soft kiss on the cheek like this — known as a “beat sweetener” — is delivered in the hopes she will remain so. But now we have the New York Times noting casually that compliance with a subpoena is a fucking existential question, and so our democracy degrades just a little bit more.

I can already feel my shoulders tightening. Need to not let that happen anymore. It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining and I should be on my bike. Think that’s what I’ll do.

Posted at 11:09 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 74 Comments