At least no trains and tunnels.

I envy those of you who have vivid dreams, funny dreams, the kind with truly David Lynch-ian symbolism and imagery. I hardly ever remember my dreams, and when I do, they involve one of two things, and sometimes both: Houses and water.

In dream symbolism, these are primary colors, no-brainers, the sort of thing Sigmund Freud would delegate to the interns. Houses are oneself, water is…well, it’s usually emotions, but it’s also anything you might find in poetry. I never wake up groggy and think, “What did that mean?” I know as soon as I wake up.

When I was pregnant, I had a recurrent dream of a koi pond. I could see the brightly colored fish moving around just under the surface, with one occasionally breaking the surface long enough for me to catch a glimpse, then diving down again. It was so obvious. I was very disappointed in my unimaginative subconscious.

Here’s my typical house dream: I am living in one, and one day I open an interior door and find…a previously unknown room. Which is actually part of a whole warren of undiscovered rooms, in a variety of states of repair, but usually good, but maybe with outdated decor. In the end, I realize that my house is far bigger than I knew.

Then I wake up.

I am large, I contain multitudes — of rooms.

How was your weekend? I put a couple of 2018 things behind me, and now truly feel ready for the new year. I was going to have a schvitz, but opted to clean a bathroom instead. One makes me feel as good as the other, and the schvitz will be there next weekend, whereas my bathroom needed cleaning now.

The auto show begins tomorrow — it’s already begun, actually — and that means the Charity Preview is Friday, and that means I have to spend a few days thinking about whether it’s OK that my jewelry is silver and my clutch, sorta gold. Weigh in, if you like.

Bloggage: This is a terrible story that will make you hate the pharmaceutical industry even more than you do already:

In the meantime, a portion of the more than 7 million diabetic Americans who take insulin are stuck with debilitating costs. Though most don’t pay the full list price for insulin because of insurance coverage and other rebates, some do, especially those who are uninsured, underinsured or facing a coverage gap through Medicare. “The most vulnerable patients are subsidizing the system,” William Cefalu, the chief scientific, medical and mission officer of the American Diabetes Association, told a Senate committee in May.

At the same hearing, a father from Maine told senators that a 90-day prescription for just one of his son’s insulins would cost him $1,489.46. That’s with his high-deductible insurance. He testified that he has taken to buying the same three-month supply from a Canadian pharmacy for about $300 plus $50 in shipping. (It’s technically illegal to import medication from other countries, but the Food and Drug Administration generally doesn’t prosecute individuals if it’s a short-term supply for personal use.) He is not alone in his dilemma: The website GoFundMe has thousands of posts with people pleading for help to pay for insulin.

This stupid country. A friend just got back to the U.S. after an extended stay in France. He’d needed an ultrasound while he was there, and had to pay out of pocket. “But it’s so much money!” the clinician fretted. Never mind that, he said; he’d pay. The bill was $60. For an $800 procedure in the U.S.

Couch-based entertainment update: Now watching “Killing Eve” (excellent), just finished “Leave No Trace,” which is merely heartbreaking.

Hello 2019, hello auto show. Hello, week. Hope yours is good.

Posted at 9:33 pm in Movies, Same ol' same ol', Television | 74 Comments
 

Here for the avocados.

Interesting discussion of Used-To-Be-ism, aka Rose-Colored Glasses Syndrome, in the comments the other day. It coincided with something I’ve been trying to do lately, in the current chaos: Notice, actively noting things that are better today than they were in the past.

It’s a way to stay sane, to take the long view, to remember all that arc-of-history stuff. The bright side is hard to find these days; the least we can do is notice…

Kinder, nicer young people. I’ve never gotten all the lazy-ass derision aimed at millennials. They’re fine people, and I don’t say that because I raised one. I say that because it’s true, and they got it, in large part, from the greater culture, and who knows how that happened? Preschool teachers + an admirable president + something in the air? I can’t say. All I know is, they’re fine. I don’t worry about them.

It’s easier to be different. Let wingnuts laugh at trans people and wring their hands about silly things like nonbinary people who want to be referred to by plural pronouns. Just let them. This will settle out with time. In the meantime, and at the end of it, it’ll be a little easier to be something other than, what’s the word? Basic.

Entertainment of all kinds? So plentiful. You can basically spend all day watching Netflix or listening to all the recorded music in the world. Avoid this behavior, however.

Food systems. Midwesterners: How old were you when you saw your first avocado? Yeah, I thought so. Produce used to be lettuce, onions, pink tomatoes and potatoes. No different kinds of potatoes, just potatoes. In the last months I’ve bought fennel, three kinds of citrus, fresh greens of all kinds…I can’t total it all up. And yes, avocados. Which are in season, and so cheap.

Better…things. One of my bosses, who as a young man seemingly held every low-level job in creation, revealed the other day he used to drive a route for a linen supply house. One of the things he delivered was those cloth towels on rolls, that you used to dry your hands in public restrooms. You know, the kind you pulled down from a box on the wall? The used part was allegedly taken up by the box at the other end of the loop, but it rarely did, and you mostly ended up using the same damp section everyone else used. Well, today I used a restroom, and waved my hand in front of an electric eye, which dispensed a perfectly sized portion of paper towel. Yes, I am speaking of the Miracle of the Paper Towel.

In other words, we’ve ruined the planet, but at least we have 69-cent avocados, pink grapefruit and paper towels. I’m watching a terrible movie from 1972 on my flat-screen TV, which features naked witches with big boobs. LIFE IS GOOD, DAMMIT.

And as Alex pointed out, throwing your mattress away along the side of the road is terribly frowned upon.

Things I wish were more frowned upon: A guy in the elevator the other day was doing business on his phone. On speaker. It was a real-estate deal, and he’d offered $4 million, but another bidder was offering $6 million. “I can go to six, if you give me a year,” he told the guy on the other end. “Work with me.” Then they got disconnected. There’s a special place in heck for people like that. I mean, on speaker?

I have really gone off the rails tonight, haven’t I? Must be this witch movie on Amazon. Skip to the bloggage, then.

I’ve never met Tommy Tomlinson, but he’s a Facebook friend, and married to a former co-worker of mine. This is a powerful essay on what it’s like to be obese all your life, an excerpt from a coming memoir.

After the president claimed human traffickers have “bigger, stronger, and faster vehicles than our police have,” I can’t lie: I lusted for a Mexican rocket car.

The president came south today, and came dressed for battle. Robin Givhan explains.

Have a good weekend, all.

Posted at 9:15 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 37 Comments
 

Deleting in the underwear drawer.

No big themes emerging as I sit down to wrap up the weekend, so accept this mixed grill:

Lately my social media feeds are showing me ads for undies — all sorts of undies, almost all of which I will never buy, because I think $20 for a pair of plain old panties is highway robbery. I think I mentioned the phenom of Startup Underwear here a while back, but that’s not why I bring it up.

It’s because the short video clips included in these ads frequently include un-models, i.e., normal-looking women with pregnancy stretch marks, fat asses and similar real-women bodies, and please note that I didn’t describe the above as “figure flaws.” Apparently women respond well to advertising that shows clothing on women’s bodies they actually identify with.

As part of my Delete campaign, I’ve been going through closets and looking for crap to pitch. I found a strapless/backless bra with still-firm elastic that doesn’t fit anymore, but might fit Kate, so I offered it to her. “It’s not something you’ll wear every day, but when you need it, you’ll want it,” I said. As I passed it over, I noticed the label: Victoria’s Secret. I remembered I bought it in…Fort Wayne, probably at Glenbrook Mall. Glenbrook was Da Place back then, but it’s a shadow of its former self. Also, malls in general are shadows of their former selves. And Victoria’s Secret, with its “fashion shows” featuring models with nine-foot-long legs, tight abs and gigantic fake breasts, is now a low-quality joke, mainly coveted by middle schoolers who still want PINK emblazoned across their butts. How the wheel, it do turn.

We took the holidays to the curb Sunday. It was Epiphany, a few days later than we usually do the chore. For a person like me, very little feels better than sweeping up that giant pile of pine needles and saying sayonara, tannenbaum. Kate said it makes her sad to not smell the tree in the house anymore, so there goes my scheme for a bare-branch tree next year, but oh well.

If I’m committed to Delete, deleting the holiday decorations feels pretty damn consequential, even if they’re just going back to the basement. A fellow blogger once observed that taking out the tree on New Year’s Day is like getting a room added to your house. Nothing to do now but wait for spring, and in the meantime, read some books and watch Netflix.

On that front: Watched “First Reformed” on Saturday, which I do not recommend to the Rev. Jeff, as it will probably make him want to stick his head in the oven. I liked it, Alan didn’t. Also watching the second season of “Atlanta,” which is spectacular. I’m reading “The Real Lolita” and “Dead Girls,” both of which I received for Christmas, both good so far. I also got the Sister Pie cookbook, a local bakery’s, which looks promising.

Finally, everybody’s talking about Rashida Tlaib’s comments about the president last week. You may want to see what she wrote two years ago, after she disrupted then-candidate Trump’s speech to the Detroit Economic Club. It was a planned protest that involved more than 20 people, who bought tickets, spread out in the room and, one after another, rose to yell at him, and then were frog-marched out of the place. In other words, she’s been after this motherfucker for a while. Good background to know.

With that, I bid you and the holiday season adieu, and look ahead to deleting more stuff.

Posted at 8:25 pm in Current events, Movies, Same ol' same ol' | 42 Comments
 

Peace, quiet and books.

Happy new year. I hope your 1/1/19 was peaceful and not too hungover. Our neighborhood resounded with gunfire, a Detroit tradition that seems to get worse every year. Yesterday was trash day, and the recycling is always the last to be collected, so the bin was still at the curb, looking ugly. I went down to pick it up shortly after we got home, around midnight-oh-five. Alan told me not to, but I did it anyway, because I like to live dangerously. Cover me, babe, I’m going for the recycling bin.

Meanwhile, in Washington:

Trump used the first day of 2019 to insult a retired U.S. commander in Afghanistan as a dumb loudmouth, sing the praises of an ultranationalist former aide and tell America to “ENJOY THE RIDE.”

That’s a teaser from the home page of the Washington Post. I’m afraid to click. So I won’t. OK, so I will. The self-proclaimed world’s greatest negotiator has invited congressional leaders for a briefing on border security, which I’m sure will be followed by this negotiation tweet: GIVE ME WALL.

But we’ll see that soon enough. Let’s talk…libraries, shall we?

I heard a little of “This American Life” on Sunday; the show was about libraries, and the chapter I heard was about a woman whose mother would take the whole family to the library every day for a year when she was little. It wasn’t until years later that she realized they’d been homeless, and the daily library trip was to give the family they were crashing with a break. She talked about the great children’s librarians who accommodated them and read to them and never made them feel anything but welcome.

It set my mind spinning back to when Kate was young, and I was trying to make it work with her in limited child care, which meant I dropped her at the sitter after lunch. The mornings are good for little kids, but the hours can be very long, and you’re always looking for something to fill them. We’d often go to the library, for story time, or just for a change of scenery from the house. The Allen County Public Library is a goddamn miracle, an institution worthy of a community far larger but somehow in this mid-size city (the county, really). The community loved it fiercely, with a few sourpuss exceptions, and for the most part, the library loved it back. There were programs for pretty much everyone, and the children’s room was particularly great.

I remember all the fantastic librarians who made us, and everybody else, feel welcome. The supervisor was a lesbian, Miss Mary (I think), who had a couple kids of her own. One of her deputies, Miss Beth, often ran story time and was hilarious. I was about as lucky as a mother of a young child could be, but when I think back on those years, I know how much I relied on others to help carry the load, and the library was a big part of it. It was one place in Fort Wayne where I felt absolutely welcome.

Here in Detroit, we don’t have a county-wide library system, and each city and suburb does its best. In Huntington Woods, they’ve instituted a drag queen story hour, which honestly sounds hilarious and something I would have enjoyed with a toddler. But as you can imagine? Some people object:

Warriors for Christ — which describes itself on its website as a pre-denominational ministry modeled after “the 1st century church that Jesus founded (which is not the Catholic Church)” — plans to meet at the library at 3 p.m. on Jan. 26 for prayer. This protest coincides with a scheduled Drag Queen Story Time, whose theme is “I Like Me Just the Way I Am!,” according to a Facebook event page.

The ministry has started its own Facebook event page, Rebuke Drag Queen Story, to get people to attend the protest.

Another group, Mass Resistance, has previously said it will be protesting the event.

And Rod Dreher, the conservative writer whose focus has dwindled down to Pedophile Priests and the Trans Menace, is also pitching a snit over it on his blog:

Why not Leather Daddy Story Hour? If you accept Drag Queen Story Hour, why not? What is the limiting principle? I’m not trolling; I’m asking seriously.

I guess the limiting principle would be whether parents are willing to take their children to that story hour. I’d probably have opted out of that one, but drag queens? What’s the harm? Kids see very tall women with too much makeup, playing a role. Big deal. And if they learn that people come in all shapes, sizes and …other differentiating factors, so much the better.

OK, then, a little bloggage:

The NYT podcast, The Daily, spent the holiday interregnum rerunning some of the year’s better pieces. This edition was a particularly good one, a deep look at how POTUS got rich. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything to tell you that the origin story he peddled on the campaign trail — my dad gave me a loan, I paid it back with interest, and spun it into the billions I have today — is, um, a lie.

And this story, about the possibilities of “deepfake” videos, is deeply disturbing. Wait until the Russians start deploying it.

But I don’t want to bum you out as the year begins. Let’s go get it.

Posted at 8:10 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 35 Comments
 

The whirl.

Mercy, you folks must wonder what’s become of me. Honestly, it’s been a week. Nothing bad, but just constant running/driving/cooking/celebrating, to the point I’ve looked longingly at the calendar from time to time and longed for mid-January.

And then, when it finally arrives, I’ll be thinking, that was such a nice Christmas, wasn’t it? Because contradiction, thy name is Nance.

And it was a nice Christmas. If I’m feeling a little carb-bloated, well, I have no one to blame but myself. I got everything I wanted and more. We had a nice celebration here and in Columbus. Kate’s boyfriend came for the holiday — he’s an international student, and with Michigan’s short break, there was no sense in traveling all the way to Santiago for just a few days. We watched “Die Hard” and “Crazy Rich Asians.” We ate tamales on the Eve and had hot chocolate in my old Dutch double-walled milk warmer. Everything was fine.

Then, the next day? BACK TO WORK, GUYS. Although it’s not the usual grind — one of my jobs is dark this week, so it’s still a pretty leisurely pace. Time to think about what happens in January, plan for the year ahead, to the extent it’s possible.

The one-word resolution for 2019: Delete. Delete crap apps from the devices, delete all games, delete as much b.s. as possible from daily life.

We’ll see how that goes.

I’ve been following the comments these past few days, and I’m so grateful to have traveled to Paris with Deborah, to have celebrated with all of you, one way or another. (But especially to have gone to Paris. I mean, I’m sure Chicago was fine, but…) And I’m grateful to have been alive in this remarkable American moment, to watch the president of the United States ask a 7-year-old if she still believed in Santa Claus.

Because man, you couldn’t make that shit up, could you.

A few updates before I turn this over to you guys for the long New Year’s weekend:

Remember Ann, the Mrs. Claus I wrote about for the Santa-school story? She performed for a special audience just before the holidays:

She said she asked Bill if he’d been a good boy, but he didn’t hear her.

And Jerusalem Santa, in the same story? He’s in the WashPost now.

This was depressing, but in a grim-purpose sort of way: What it’s like to work for a not-particularly-exciting-or-prestigious daily newspaper in the age of fake news. A good read.

And with that, I wish you a happy new year, and I’ll see you all in 2019.

Posted at 8:29 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 81 Comments
 

Funeral for a friend.

Jeez, what a sucktastic Saturday. I spent much of it traveling to, attending and returning from a funeral. The husband of my former editor at Bridge (the one I still speak to and like) died suddenly, of an apparent heart attack. At 37. Everyone was in shock, and the funeral home was filled to capacity with very sad people.

Derek still seemed flattened, and I expect he will be for some time. The two of them made one of those unlikely pairs that somehow works perfectly — the curmudgeon and the happy sprite, with Derek, the journalist, playing the curmudgeon role. The good news is, he has lots of people holding him up, many of whom wore bow ties to the service, in tribute to the deceased, Jesse, who wore them often.

Anyway, it got me thinking.

I found this Twitter thread last week. Someone dug up Ross Douthat’s college writings and found, whaddaya know, he hasn’t really changed since 1998. He was a smug little shit then, and remains one today. I was taken by the one headlined, “The Cross and the Triangle,” sniffing over the appointment of a lesbian to an associate-minister position at Memorial Church, which I gather is an important one at Harvard. Young Ross was “opposed to homosexual conduct,” like his church and, he points out, many others. Damn liberals.

It was a reminder that roughly 20 years ago was an utterly different era in how we think about gay people in this country. One of the last funerals for a gay person I attended was during the AIDS era, when it was common for health-care professionals and even morticians to refuse their business. My friend Paul had to find a new dentist. I expect some of the funeral directors would have preferred ditch burials, maybe preceded by an open burn, like for zombies.

But of course AIDS was, paradoxically, also one of the things that started to change our thinking. I once asked one of my gay male friends, who came of age in the ’70s, how many sex partners he’d had in his lifetime. First we had to determine what constituted sex, and settled on any activity where one or both parties reached orgasm, since body fluids were what was causing the plague. He had to estimate. It was a big number. A big, big number, and fairly common for that era, at least for men. A few years later, he was the one in the casket, having been lovingly cared for through a horrible illness by a partner he considered a husband. It was common at the time to consider gay men infantile pleasure-seekers, incapable of true romantic connection with another human being. (This, even though every city and town, large and small, had its Fred and Howard or Bob and Steve, two “roommates” who’ve shared a house for decades and always decorate it so nicely at the holidays and invite all the auxiliary ladies to use it for their fundraisers. I knew one of these guys back in Columbus; they had a custom drape to hang over the mural of semi-nude Roman centurions lounging around in leather harnesses, etc., when the auxiliaries came through.) Seeing how they mourned their dead put that one to rest.

Anyway, back to the funeral. The woman who led the service was a lesbian, and her partner/wife was one of the eulogists, speaking of their “gayborhood,” and their “framily.” I’m so happy that people don’t have to live lies anymore, to be “confirmed bachelors” but actual husbands to other husbands, wives to wives. Life goes better when you have someone you love sleeping next to you every night, drinking coffee with you in the morning, and you don’t have to hide it.

I expect I’m now at the age when the funerals will come more often. We had a “celebration of life” last summer. Saturday was a celebration of life, too, only no one was feeling particularly celebratory.

Sigh.

Otherwise? I’ve got a big day of writing ahead, so I should wrap. A little bloggage:

Thanks to LAMary for this, a collection of social-media shots from the White House staff holiday party. Folks, I’m worried about Tiffany. Very, very worried. She doesn’t look well.

If you aren’t one of those who caught this charming story about an unlikely friendship between Charles Barkley and Lin Wang, enjoy it now. Who is Lin Wang? That’s what makes the friendship unlikely.

On to my friend’s arts-grant application. Happy start-of-the-week, all.

Posted at 11:41 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 28 Comments
 

Adventures in latex.

I drove up into Macomb County at evening rush hour tonight — which you non-locals should read as, “I willingly inflicted painful torture upon myself” — to meet with a friend, one of my old filmmaking gang. He’s applying for an arts fellowship, and wants me to help write his application. He’s a special-effects makeup artist, a great guy, who worked for Chrysler for 15 years, took his buyout money and trained and transitioned into this practical art. It was very practical while the filmmaking tax credits existed, but today he spends a lot of time building prosthetic limbs in the long intervals between film work. We were talking about the intricacies of working with silicone skin when I said, “You should make sex dolls.”

“I’ve made a lot of sex toys,” he said.

Not the whole doll, but he had an early apprenticeship at a place in Los Angeles that makes dildos and fake hoo-has and various other love aids for the lonely.

“You mean, like the fake dicks of the stars?” I asked.

“Are you kidding? I cast…” And then he named a famous male porn actor who probably has a Google alert on his name. He described the PVC pipe full of latex molding compound that he prepared, with a hole cut in the middle for insertion. The actor was a pro, preparing himself for this very modern star appearance with no need for a fluffer or any other visual aid. Just drop trou and get to work. It was all quite efficient.

How about the women? I asked. They would come with a friend who would “twiddle the bits,” my friend said, until they were sufficiently protuberant, then the work was over fairly quickly. The latex only went on the outside, and then they hopped down and cleaned up.

I remember watching a “Real Sex” episode late at night about this practice. I mostly recall the production process, somewhere in Asia, where assembly lines of bored-looking Filipino women would hand-paint the details on the blanks. I wonder what they think of this faraway land known as America, I thought at the time. Today I’d think, I bet they understand why we elected Trump.

Anyway, my friend has come a long way from casting porn penises. He worked on the Hobbit movies, and won a local Emmy for this commercial, although if you ask me, the real workhorse was the poor actor, who had to live in that latex for 17 hours.

I love talking to people about the work they do.

So, a quick midweek hop to the bloggage? Sure.

Do you have coyotes in your neighborhood? And a small dog? That pup may need a coyote vest. Sorry, I don’t think they make them for cats.

Who is Scott Free? Deplorable America wants to know.

I petered out on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” after a few episodes last year, but Hank has convinced me I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I’ll try it again. What else do I have to do? Besides apply for an arts grant without mentioning penises, that is.

Happy Wednesday! See you (I hope) at week’s end.

Posted at 8:51 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 39 Comments
 

Cleaning up. Everywhere.

We cleaned a closet this weekend. The big closet, the master-bedroom closet, the one we share. We cleaned it because it was a two-person job.

God, what a nightmare. What SHAME. There’s nothing like finding perfectly good shoes you haven’t worn in a decade to make you want to cover yourself in sackcloth and ashes. Then you look at the shoes and think, I never really liked these anyway, which makes you feel even guiltier that you bought them in the first place.

Into the donation pile they go.

At least there wasn’t anything NWT in there — that’s “new with tags,” for those of you who don’t stalk used-clothing websites. I’ve heard those horror stories.

It took half a day to get it all out, sweep, dust, mop the floor with Murphy’s and restock it with about one-third the items. But it honestly made me so happy that the first thing I did Sunday morning after I got out of bed was go to the closet and just admire it for a minute or two.

Then I cleaned the bathrooms, and that felt even better. I’m so bourgeois I can’t stand it.

I have a friend who, when she swaps her clothes seasonally, hangs everything up with the hangers reversed. As she wears things, she rehangs them the correct way. If anything makes it to the end of the season with the hanger still backwards, out it goes. Now that’s discipline. I don’t have it, though.

And with that, you’ve heard the fun of my weekend — Christmas shopping, exercise, dust in my nose. Went to a yoga-class benefit for the 501c3 I serve on, and they gave everyone a gift bag. Sticky-bottom socks, shea butter for your feet, all that stuff. Coupons for stuff like nutritional consultation, etc. I worked in the back row, so I could look at two or three rows of bottoms way firmer than mine in skin-tight leggings. Every time I do yoga, I think I should do it more. Then I get to class and think my ass is the fattest one here.

So, it would seem the the Mueller endgame is here, no? Certainly we have passed a significant milestone. I saw someone say on Twitter that she was expecting a royal flush. Do you? What’s the best intel we have so far? It would seem that he knew all along that Manafort’s lawyers were reporting back to Trump’s lawyers, but he let it go on, so he could feed specific information and manipulate the genius POTUS into certain responses?

Just make it a merry Christmas, Bob.

One bit of bloggage today: Why so many parties? Obviously, because it’s the end of the world.

Posted at 9:31 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 36 Comments
 

The gallop at midweek.

It’s still Wednesday, isn’t it?

Crazy beginning of the week, but at least it went pretty fast. Lots of work makes for flying hours. Two links you might consider hitting, before we start, both by me: A visit to the “Harvard of Santa schools,” with a former Hoosier; and some strict inside-baseball stuff for Detroiters, a quick-turnaround piece on a local scandalette.

Traffic is important in this job, and we’re trying to build a readership. So click and then come back. We’ll wait.

The Santa piece was fun. Ann, the woman at the beginning and end, used to read my column back in the Fort, her hometown. If you went to the Holly Trolley this past weekend, you saw her around town. She connected with me on Facebook a while back, and when this chance to go to Santa school in Michigan came up, she dropped a line. Serendipity.

So, hope you all are doing fine. I’m trying to get my Christmas ducks in a row, with the idea of having my shopping 90 percent done after this weekend. Then, to do the baking, although based on how my waistbands feel after this past weekend, maybe it’s best to delay that a while and go for roasted vegetables for a few days. Alan got me a sous vide for my birthday, and I made my first ribeye the other night. It was good, but too rare, even though the meat thermometer said it was ready. I ground the leftovers the next day and made shepherd’s pie for one (Alan had to work late). Very good. I look forward to exploring the wonderful world of eggs this weekend.

I also committed to my first swim meet, sometime in January. I’m not a fast swimmer, so I expect utter humiliation, but I will power through, as that is my sole virtue — doggedness. I show up, I put in the time, but I just don’t get any faster. Ah, well. The Olympic team needn’t call me up.

Which reminds me: If you’re a podcast listener, I highly recommend “Believed,” which dropped a few weeks ago from Michigan Radio. You can find it in the usual places. It’s about the Larry Nassar case, which I followed closely, but I’m still learning things I didn’t know from these stories. It’s very good at delving into some of the psychology behind these stories, particularly questions like, how could these young women not realize they’d been assaulted? How could this happen with their own parents in the room? And how could so many parents hear their daughters trying to tell them what happened, and still not respond appropriately? You’ll leave with more compassion for the flawed people in the world. (Although not for Nassar.)

As long as we’re back to bloggage, two more quick recommendations, and then I’m out.

Funny: Alexandra Petri on Melania’s bloody Christmas forest. Very funny.

Not funny at all: Laura Trujillo’s account of her mother’s suicide and its aftermath. Painful enough to read that if this issue is painful for you, it might be too painful. My grandfather committed suicide when my mother was 10, and it’s an act that I believe reverberates in our family to this day. But I learned a lot about suicide, and it’s absolutely beautifully written. Thanks to Hank for recommending it.

Time to draw the curtain on Wednesday and maybe eat some pizza. Talk later.

Posted at 7:11 pm in Current events, Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' | 82 Comments
 

Tryptophan hangovers.

You guys! I’m so bad at blogging this week! And I apologize. Somewhere along the way of having a birthday party, preparing 1.5 Thanksgiving meals, driving to hell ‘n’ gone and eating my weight in pretty much everything, this little task got dropped.

So here it is Sunday morning, a turkey breast is in the oven (yes, it’s too complicated and boring to explain), and I’m seizing this chance while I can. So, the weekend! The holiday! How was yours? The feast at Mar-a-Lago looks like it was lit, as per usual. Let’s look at the photos, shall we?

Fox News selected a set in which Melania managed to creak into a half-smile, and even Barron — poor Barron, forced to put on a goddamn necktie — seems to have a semi-pleasant emotion stirring behind his usually impassive face.

The Daily Caller proclaimed Melania “wowed” in a black lace dress, then posted photos where you could see approximately seven inches of the dress. Fashion coverage of Melania’s outfits is the best reason to read right-wing media, because that’s where they really shine. FLOTUS never fails to wow.

This is the pic most outlets went with. I like Melania’s thousand-yard stare.

I trust everyone else had a decent holiday, barring disaster. No neckties, anyway. And I hope the football team of your choice won the big game, although that certainly didn’t happen north of the 42nd parallel. The Lions sucked, the Wolverines sucked, and we’re supposed to get a few inches of snow overnight. Michigan — it’s a character-builder.

I was thinking about fake news a bit, especially after reading a rather disturbing New Yorker story about the future of AI-assisted “deep fake” technology. This is the programming that will someday allow you to see Meryl Streep in pornography and Barack Obama having a celebratory cocktail with Osama bin Laden. You think your Thanksgiving arguments with Uncle Foxnews are fun now? Just you wait.

The problem, of course, is not that people believe these things — although some will — but that far more people will then not believe anything. It’s one reason people grow frustrated with the chilly, cat-lays-the-bothsides-mouse-at-your-feet journalism of today, which is problematic in a world where all the rules have been suspended.

OK, my turkey is beeping and I have to get moving. Happy Sunday, see you soon.

Posted at 9:10 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 59 Comments