Honors.

Yeesh, another late one. Senior Honors Night down to the high school. We heard some names over and over, our child’s name once, but hey — she got a cord to wear around her shoulders at commencement, a medal around her neck, and she was made late to the Tame Impala show I’d given her permission to attend. The students sat on stage, and as the names piled up and the five-second claps stretched to two hours, I could see her dying up there. Oh, well. Tame Impala is lame, anyway.

Anyway, highlights: Most of these kids I hadn’t given a second thought to since grade school, when the Girl Scout troops were still intact, and Kate would occasionally tell a story from the classroom over dinner. And so I watched one girl walk and thought of the time I was driving a field trip, and heard her small voice in the back seat, saying, “My mom goes to a doctor who gives her shots in her face so she’ll be pretty.”

I thought, in 15 years, someone from this class who isn’t on the stage will be richer than all of you. Someone who is on the stage will be taking heavy meds for serious mental illness. Someone sitting here is going away and won’t go to a single reunion. Someone hates everybody else. Someone secretly loves somebody else.

What can I say? It was an astonishingly boring evening.

Tomorrow I have to get up early and head to Dearborn. I was there today, in fact. I saw no sign of sharia law. In fact, it was delightful, as it almost always is. Every time I go there, I’m plied with the most delicious hummus in the land, and fresh — really fresh — pita bread. You can win me over with a lot less.

As I was out of pocket all day, I didn’t get much bloggage material. I continue to be fascinated/astounded by the biker-shootout story:

On Sunday, witnesses described seeing a mass shootout that involved dozens of of guns being fired inside the restaurant and in the parking lot along Interstate 35, according to CBS affiliate KWTX. The station reported that panicked patrons and employees sought refuge from the mayhem in the restaurant freezer.

Hours later, authorities from multiple law enforcement agencies — including local and state police, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — were still trying to secure the area and survey the large crime scene, which was littered with more than 100 weapons.

“In 34 years of law enforcement, this is the most violent crime scene I have ever been involved in,” Swanton said, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald. “There is blood everywhere. We will probably approach the number of 100 weapons.”

Unbelievable, except all too believable.

Still sifting through “Mad Men” mop-ups, but right now — off to bed.

Posted at 12:28 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 74 Comments
 

Another milestone, marked by food.

The Derringers had an anniversary Friday — 22 years. Someday we’ll have to come up with a new idea for celebrating other than the usual, i.e., going out to dinner. Maybe we should play miniature golf, or volunteer at a homeless shelter, or do improv on open-mic night. I think our first anniversary we went to Hartley’s in Fort Wayne. There must have been many others in 22 years, but I don’t remember most of them.

This year’s was Republic, here in Detroit, a small-plates place — is there any other variety of new-hot-now restaurant, these days? — with a certain modernist take on things, which is to say there were items like pickled shallots on cheese thingies, and marrow fritters and beef-tallow fries with salt (which you’d expect) but also sugar (which you probably wouldn’t) and lamb sausage with pea smash. At least, I think the waitress said smash, but I couldn’t be sure, because it was very loud in there.

Can you tell I’m growing tired of loud restaurants? The food was very good, the drinks ditto, but I’m sort of done with loud. In the course of our marriage, we’ve gone from an entree that protein/starch/green to marrow fritters.

Anyway, 22 years. I’ll have another!

Alas, we didn’t see the new Mad Max movie yet. It was a beautiful weekend packed with activities, and it didn’t seem right to spend a few hours or even an evening indoors, watching a post-apocalytic story unfold. Maybe next weekend. But! The yard is shaped up and off to a good start, the laundry is done, the groceries bought for another week. Apocalypse whenever.

Besides, you never know when you’ll be caught in the crossfire of a multi-gang-plus-police shootout, and be one of nine cooling corpses. AMERICA.

I expect all of you want to talk about “Mad Men,” anyway, so do so. I’m off to a work week that will proceed at a gallop. Good thing the yard’s in good shape, because I don’t think we will be by Wednesday

Posted at 12:10 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol', Television | 36 Comments
 

Sleepless nights, Part 7 zillion.

Sorry for the no-show Thursday. Had a late Wednesday meeting with my posse, which is a fancy way of saying I went out for the evening with two guys who never need to worry about getting up early in the morning after a weeknight evening of tippling, at least not until they get a decade older. I was home by 10, anyway, but slept badly, which I guess a BLT and three Rolling Rocks will do. But I got up at 6 anyway, and swam my laps, and basically felt like crap all day.

Although I do enjoy swimming. Anyone else here a lap swimmer? The line passing by, lap after lap, the splashy turn at the end, the endless failure to master the frog kick. That’s my experience, anyway, although I’m fairly good at the dolphin kick. Lousy butterfly, though. And that’s about as exciting as swimming for exercise gets.

I did pedal two miles down the road to check out a new boxing gym for the ladies. (Closed.) Rode home, ran into one of Kate’s friend’s dad, and we had a little chat. These first warm days are like coming out of hibernation.

And Friday is Bike to Work Day. I’m-a try to do it, but all will depend on what the weather is doing in the morning. Forty percent chance of showers.

Have I bored the crap out of you yet? Let’s skip to the bloggage, then:

Remove all hanging ropes, razors, sleeping pills (send those to me) and other tools of suicide before you click through this slide show on the human effect on our fragile planet. Mesmerizing pictures that will make you want to die like one of those plastic-stuffed birds.

The train conductor sped up before the crash? Please don’t tell me we have another one on our hands.

I think I first saw a Mad Max movie with our own Jeff Borden. I cannot WAIT to see the latest one. But Jeff is many miles away. He will be there in spirit.

Have a great weekend, all.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 87 Comments
 

Abandon all effort.

The school year is waning here. As I’ve mentioned here before, the sole political achievement of one of my former legislators (term limits!) was to ram through a bill forbidding Michigan school districts from starting until after Labor Day. The idea was to give the tourism industry one last chance to squeeze a few dimes out of the summer, and in theory I don’t really think school should start in August, but it’s still a stupid law. (Although it always makes for a pleasant interlude to visit Cedar Point, the amusement park. It’s only about a quarter full, and everyone is wearing Michigan T-shirts.)

What it means for kids like Kate, who take advanced-placement classes, is that the tests are held in mid-May to accommodate the southern U.S. districts that will dismiss for the year in a few days. So what do kids up here do for the last three weeks of the year?

Not much. In one of her AP classes, they watched “Wall-E” last week.

Of course, this is just fine with the kids, although Kate would just as soon be shut of the whole damn place. She hasn’t liked high school pretty much from the beginning. I hope she likes college better.

So today we were promised overcast skies and rain, but it didn’t arrive until I was getting off the bus. I crossed the street in the downpour and, with two blocks to go, knew I’d be soaked by the time I got there. I ducked under the first street awning, a title company, thinking, “Right now I need just one person in the world to cut me a break.” And guess what happened? A Realtor and a client were saying their goodbyes under the awning, and the space was tight enough that I felt the need to announce I wasn’t going in, just waiting out the shower. The Realtor said, “I’ll take you home,” and she did, in a nice Cadillac. Then she announced my house was going to be worth its weight in gold, yes gold I say, in another three years.

You have to be an optimist to be a Realtor, but that was something I needed to hear.

The day also included a lunch. A lunch with a long wait for all to arrive, and then another long wait for the food, and I was ravenous enough to be borderline hangry, and my eyeline was on a TV turned to HLN, CNN’s dumber sibling. The show was something called “The Daily Share,” and even with the sound off I could see exactly what it was: A TV version of your Facebook feed, assuming that like everyone else, you have a few idiots in your network. So: Stupid viral video, a kid someone tried to smuggle onto a plane in a suitcase, another viral video, a nod to Serious News with the Sy Hersh/OBL thing, some Kardashian crap, and so on. The world’s dumbest newspaper, on TV, with anchors who bring to the table all the intelligence and insight of morning radio hosts, and I’m not talking NPR. Field reports were with aggregators — yes, the Daily Mail — via Skype, so the picture was pixelated and crappy and no one cared.

In other words, the future of news in Idiot Nation. I sat there with my smart, experienced colleagues thinking I’d better keep this job, because this is the alternative.

So yeah, it was sort of a Monday.

Bloggage? I want to catch up with “Veep.”

I used to be more of a pedant about the language, but I’m trying to become more flexible in my dotage. Gene Weingarten offers some cautionary tales of those who cannot let go, i.e., grammar and language rules of yesteryear:

“ ‘She married a man named Brown,’ is incorrect. … A woman, when she weds, is married to a man, but the clergyman or magistrate marries her.” — Josephine Turck Baker, 1899

“Moon here means month, so it is incorrect to say, ‘a week’s honeymoon.’ ” — Ambrose Bierce, 1909

“There is no such word as ‘balding.’ Why not ‘baldish’?” — Theodore Bernstein, 1958

I read Ruben Navarette’s column about Mark Halperin’s interview with Ted Cruz and could scarcely believe it happened. Evidently it did:

He told Cruz that people are curious about his “identity.” Then, the host asked a series of questions intended to establish his guest’s Hispanic bona fides. What kind of Cuban food did Cruz like to eat growing up? And what sort of Cuban music does Cruz listen to even now?

I’ve known Ted for more than a decade and I could tell he was uncomfortable. But he played along, listing various kinds of Cuban food and saying that his musical taste veers more toward country.

I kept waiting for Halperin to ask Cruz to play the conga drums like Desi Arnaz while dancing salsa and sipping cafe con leche — all to prove the Republican is really Cuban.

It gets worse, too.

Finally, an OID story with the sort of headline you can’t help but love: Police report: Naked Sen. Smith confronted ex before shooting. Her car, that is. He shot her car, 10 times, with a shotgun Rifle. BECAUSE, THAT’S WHY.

I know just how he felt. Some cars just won’t die.

Happy Tuesday, all.

Posted at 12:18 am in Current events, Media, Same ol' same ol' | 57 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.

capitolsteps

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
 

Summer is here.

Kind of a lazy day today — a drive to Ann Arbor, radio thing*, lunch at the Korean barbecue joint, back to the A2 office, phone calls, emails and the fallow period between stories when you sow your seeds and hope something sprouts.

Fortunately, it was warm and sunny. Oh, summer, come to mommy. I’ve been waiting so long.

*Someone asked in the comments for a heads-up on radio things when they happen. I’ll do that from now on, but I’m not sure when this one will air yet.

In the meantime, tomorrow will be a repeat of today. Driving to Lansing. Sunroof open, I expect.

So how about some bloggage to lead us into Mother’s Day weekend?

Not exactly a …maternal story, but a good one just the same: Riding along with a woman on her long, long way to get an abortion. (She lives in Wyoming. The clinic is in Montana. Wide open spaces.) A sad story, well-told.

This happens all the time in Grosse Pointe: The police being called for “suspicious activity” that boils down to “I saw a black person.”

A nice photo essay, with an introduction by Roy Edroso, aka alicublog. “Hyper gentrification” — a new one on me.

Friday, I hug you and kiss you.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 45 Comments
 

Snapshots.

Whoa, as much as I like to travel, I’m equally happy when I’m done traveling. I’ve been working so hard lately, and I finally have some breathing space, and now I’m staring at this blank page and blinking cursor, thinking: (Blink.)

How about some pix from the trip?

Here’s a topiary that will be truly impressive once all the plants fill in:

earthmother

That’s the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which is truly impressive itself. We spent a couple of hours there, and it could have been a couple of days. My eyes were so starved for green, I could have moved in.

Back at J.C. and Sammy’s house, I was confronted with the evidence that John, he don’t throw nothin’ out:

postcard1

The postmark on that was 1979. Front? Sure:

postcard2

And to top it all off, he handed me a thumb drive with about 1,000 pictures of us — the four of us, plus Kate, plus a few others — taken over the last 15 years, just in time for graduation-season posting. Won’t the rock ‘n’ roller’s friends get a kick out of this one?

Nancy Nall Derringer

My little girl. All growed up.

Then the long road home. Hello, Cincinnati:

roadhome

But it’s great to have all this. And now it’s time to go to work. Bloggage tomorrow, I think.

Posted at 7:53 am in Friends and family, Same ol' same ol' | 27 Comments
 

Where I am today.

So here we are, in beautiful, warm, sunny Atlanta. For a wedding, but of course we’re staying with J.C. and Sammy. Who have some spectacular neon in their neighborhood.

neon3

neon2

neon1

We drove, and broke it into two days, leaving after work Thursday and spending the first night in Cincinnati. A question for the room: Whatever happened to Red Roof Inn? I recall it as the cleanest and safest of the budget-hotel segment, and given that we were staying for less than 10 hours, it seemed silly to pay for anything more. Alas, it was seedy and smelly and creepy. There were bloodstains — yes, bloodstains, falling well short of shotgun-massacre but definitely WTF-happened-here — on the wall of the bathroom, and the door of the room next door had dents in it, at precisely boot-kicking height: CHRISTINE! YOU BITCH! YOU AIN’T KEEPIN MY KIDS FROM ME! OPEN THIS DOOR OR I’MA KICK IT DOWN!

Well, we got shut of that p.d.q. Friday morning and had breakfast at Bob Evans. Another bad idea, alas.

But now we’re here and dinner last night was far from a bad idea. And it’s not cold, and the sun is out, and everything is groovy. Open thread, and enjoy the pictures. Because I’m a journalist, one more — Manuel’s, the media-hangout bar, doomed-but-not.

manuels

Happy weekending, all.

Posted at 9:40 am in Friends and family, Housekeeping, Media, Same ol' same ol' | 73 Comments
 

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' | 35 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