The good table.

The Detroit News has an annual event where they recognize the Michiganians of the Year, and this year’s was last night. I went as Alan’s date – a little reluctantly but dutifully, attitudes I shed as the evening went on. The view from atop the Motor City Casino was spectacular even on a drizzly evening, the company was good, the honorees inspiring and how often do you get to go to a party with Kate Upton?

Her uncle Fred, a Republican congressman from southwest Michigan, was being honored, along with Debbie Dingell, in a special bipartisan co-award. Dingell came close to tears describing her friendship with Fred Upton, a scene that good Republicans these days would laugh at scornfully, I suspect. Uncle Fred is said to be maybe retiring, or perhaps will run for the Senate. Dingell is in her second term, and indefatigable. Dunno what Kate’s next project is; I expect she’s concentrating on planning her wedding to Justin Verlander. And no, I never really got closer to her than looking at her blonde updo from a couple tables away, but I glimpsed her from the side at one point, and she has enviably nice legs.

And that’s why I didn’t update last night.

Back at work, and I feel pretty good so far. Yesterday was a bit of a grind, but I kept my nose to the stone and only have a little blood spattered on my blouse to show for it. In between, I caught up with some podcasts, in particular the week-old “What Happened” edition of “Pod Save America,” a 45-minute interview with Hillary Clinton. This WashPost piece concentrates on her comments about Bernie, but what stuck with me was her flinty defense of the necessity of courting big-money donors in an age of Koch, Mercer, Sinclair Broadcasting, et al. These are people who either own media empires or command them as such, and in an era when people are so easily manipulated by utter fucking bullshit, well, you can’t fight fire with kumbaya. I encourage you to click that last link, last week’s NYT magazine piece on the Russian propaganda operation, another piece I’m catching up with. It’s sort of terrifying.

And I’m multitasking with the NYT podcast looking at yesterday’s UN speech by the prez. He’s very fond of unnecessary modifiers, I notice — completely unacceptable, totally destroy, etc. Beyond that, I’ve not had enough coffee to further analyze that one.

So on to the bloggage.

We all know this, but Jamelle Bouie says it again.

Do you follow Will Sommer’s coverage of right-wing media? You should.

There’s a big freeway-restoration project going on in Detroit, the rebuilding of one side of the I-75 bridge over the Rouge River, but not only the Rouge River – it also crosses a landscape of industrial works that looks like the set of a dystopian sci-fi movie. It’s a two-year project and everyone around here knows about it. Except for this guy, who broke through the barriers, did $50,000 worth of damage to the project and nearly fell through the bridge surface. I know this is hard to believe, but police say alcohol may have been involved here.

With that, let’s tackle Wednesday.

Posted at 9:01 am in Current events, Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' | 63 Comments
 

Back to the mangle.

And in just a week, that’s that.

No complaints here. Last year’s vacations were about getting out and exploring and doing new things. This year’s was more about retreating and refreshing, and that is fine. Fine, I tell you. I desperately needed both parts of that R ‘n’ R, and the setting was lovely. The image above was from the same walk that yielded the last one, when the first maples were just starting to redden. By the time we left, the bracken ferns were browning, the milkweed was yellowing and while the forest is still mostly green, the last act of the year is underway. Sorry to break it to you, but I guess most of us check the calendar from time to time.

Thank you all for keeping up the conversation in my absence. I tried to avoid most news, but couldn’t get away entirely. Actually, me on a news diet is approximately an average American who considers themselves well-informed, I suspect, at least judging from the conversations I overhear in restaurants. We had zero cell signal where we were staying, and no wifi. Have you noticed how the only place you find video stores these days are in rural areas and poor neighborhoods? One can’t get decent-enough internet service to stream, the other can’t really afford it. I’m leaving out the exceptional film-snob place deep in some university-adjacent neighborhood, but even those are going away, I expect. So we watched cottage-shelf DVDs and read. Got through three New Yorkers, one a disappointing fiction issue, and two books – “Conversations With Friends” and “Under the Tuscan Sun,” which a friend gifted me with and said I’d love. (I realize it was a best-seller for a long time, but I remind you, I was the very last person in the world to see “A Chorus Line” on Broadway, too.)

It turns out I liked-short-of-loved it, but it’s an interesting artifact of its time, I’ll say, that time being the bygone Clinton presidency. Sigh. Remember that time? Everybody was earning good money, the newspaper business was robust and Al Kida was a guy who sold you your morning bagel. (Carbs were OK then, too.) You could publish a memoir about resetting your life by undertaking the renovation of an Italian villa on an American academic’s schedule, and people found it refreshing rather than self-indulgent. Even “Tuscany,” back then, was sort of a yuppie Brigadoon, a destination you visited, fell in love with and vowed to return to ever after. It’s a richly detailed book, but after the main work on the house is over, it lost steam for me.

“Conversations With Friends” was richer, and I bought it based on the fact I read this New Yorker piece about it all the way to the end. It’s not a substantial book, but it’s interesting, as a glimpse of how young people think about love. At least the young person who wrote it.

I did much of my reading on the screened porch, because the weather was so warm, approaching fall or not. This is overexposed; I was trying to capture the gnat cloud at the center — look closely — but it also captures the warmth of the day:

The next day was ever warmer, and we floated on the river for about six hours. Lunch was a sandwich on a convenient gravel bar. Longtime readers will remember the boat from 2004, when Alan built it.

Our time in the cottage was done Thursday, but we couldn’t bear to go home, so we headed over to Traverse City in hopes that the usual summer crowds had abated somewhat. They had, but the place is still too much for me, except food-wise. We had a couple of good meals there, a couple more good beers, and I found a pair of cool boots, half-price, which makes it a good trip.

And then, homeward bound. As the cell signal grew stronger, I caught up on some reading. Almost all of it is outdated, but here are a couple you might not have seen yet:

The death of expertise, via Politico. We’ve hashed this out here many times, but the dark side of the internet’s democratization of everything has been the idea that anyone can be…oh, take your pick. A filmmaker, a publisher, a writer, a politician, a designer, etc. etc. I’m ready for the smart people to make a comeback, but god knows when that might be:

Voters say they reject expertise because experts—whom they think of as indistinguishable from governing elites—have failed them. “Americans might look back on the last 50 years and say, ‘What have experts done for us lately?’” one USA Today columnist recently wrote, without irony. Somehow, such critics missed the successful conclusion of the Cold War, the abundance of food to the point that we subsidize farmers, the creation of medicines that have extended human life, automobiles that are safer and more efficient than ever, and even the expert-driven victories of the previously hopeless Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs. Experts, in this distorted telling, have managed only to impoverish and exploit ordinary Americans; anything that has benefited others apparently happened only by mere chance.

Also from Politico, the loneliest president, by Michael Kruse, who has made Trump-the-man his beat over the last year.

Finally, maybe a little housekeeping note. I’ve decided to continue the 3x/week posting, instead of the former 5x. I need to do some other writing, personal writing, and I need the time. You folks seem to carry the freight well in my absence, so keep on keeping on.

Now to find the bottom of my inbox. Over and out and back to the mangle. See you Wednesday-ish.

Posted at 4:04 pm in Housekeeping, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' | 85 Comments
 

All I ever wanted.

As I mentioned a couple days ago, today begins a week of vacation for yours truly, the first full week off since last Christmas, and yes, it’s nobody’s fault but mine. You can procrastinate on claiming your days off, the same way you can in filing expense reports and the like.

All I know right now, though, is I NEED A LITTLE BREAK. Yesterday I was toiling in one form or another for about 14 hours. Not heavy lifting, of course, and yes, there was a 20-minute power nap in there, but still. My mind needs a break from the news, from the grind, from all of it.

We’re going up north for a week. Alan will fish, I will read.

And there’ll be at least one more week off before the year-end holiday break. I mean, use it or lose it.

So now we wait for the next catastrophe. One of my Facebook network is posting intermittent short posts from Sint Maarten, the Dutch side of St. Martin, which took a direct hit from Irma and is awaiting José. It’s grim there. I know dozens of people in Florida, and I’m thinking all my good thoughts for them. And of course we don’t know what our president will think of next. All I know is I’ll have a poor cell signal for a while.

I hope to put fresh posts in from time to time, probably picture posts you can comment on, as I don’t even know our rental’s wifi status. I hear the weather will be fine for at least some of the time. The woods and river are pretty up there. No hurricanes, anyway.

Have a great week, all. I plan to.

Posted at 4:52 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 58 Comments
 

Fresh notebook pages.

It’s a bad policy, but Michigan schools are prohibited by law from starting until after Labor Day, and there’s a tiny part of me that is OK with that. I want the curtain to come down on summer before it rises on the school year, and yesterday was a perfect ending. The day was windy and increasingly hot through the afternoon, the gusts pushing the 80s out like a broom. A big front of thunderstorms was behind it all, and it hit around dinnertime where we are. It was the whistle that blew to clear the pool for good, send all the kids home to lay out their first-day outfits and backpacks, eat the final summer meal and set alarms for the first time in weeks or months.

Then, today, cool again, struggling to reach 70. My social-media feeds are full of pictures of little kids holding signs that say FIRST DAY 2017-18 and older ones smirking at mom.

People who live at this latitude say they like the change of seasons. They better, because they sure do change.

How was your weekend? We did a little sailing…

And I did a little rokkin’…

And there was relaxation, and some cold beers, tacos and laundry. The show was fun, Edgar Winter and Alice Cooper and Deep Purple on one bill, in that order. My young friend Dustin describes himself as an old soul, mainly reflected in his fondness for music that was popular when I was in high school. I wouldn’t have purchased a ticket for $5, but I was happy to be his plus-one as he reviewed the show for the local paper. The revelation was Edgar Winter, who I expected to be at death’s door, but wasn’t, and did a valiant “Tobacco Road” cover in honor of his late brother. Alice Cooper was…Alice Cooper, givin’ the folks what they came there for. Deep Purple took too many extended breaks for keyboard-solo noodling, doubtless to give the lead singer time for oxygen treatments backstage.

“One day, one of these guys is actually going to die out here in front of my eyes,” Dustin told me once. “And then my life will be complete.” He does a pretty fair impression of Roger Daltrey gasping for breath after struggling through the final yell in “Won’t Get Fooled Again” that always makes me laugh. “He actually bent over and put his hands on his knees,” D. said, eyes aglow.

Our first trip to this venue was two years ago, to see Steely Dan, and of course Walter Becker, half of that group’s central duo, did actually die over the weekend. I have complicated feelings about that. Long live their many fine recordings.

During one of Deep Purple’s extended jams, I scrolled Twitter and learned of the DACA situation. What is there to say about that? The nation’s mattress continues to get soaked with pee.

And now we have Irma coming for us, but “The Deuce” to look forward to. One of these things is not like the other thing, and I’m not making the comparison.

Short week ahead, then VACATION FOR ME. Rarely have I needed one so badly.

Posted at 6:00 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 107 Comments
 

The snapshots of summer.

Last summer at this time I was bound for California, and put up a big post of sunrise photos taken over the season of early-morning swimming. This year I’m not going to California, so I think I’ll torment you with even MORE photos, although not all of sunrises. Here we are, almost at the end of the season, and this is My Summer 2017, and if my life looks pretty dull, well, that’s life in the year 60, in Trump-adjusted terms.

Hope this download isn’t too big, but everybody has broadband now, right? So let’s get started.


June 19

The time stamp on this is 5:43 a.m. God knows what I was doing up so early, but maybe I was really looking forward to the first outdoor swim of the season. As I explained last year, this is the view of Lake St. Clair from the Grosse Pointe Shores municipal pool deck, where I’ve worked out the last two summers. You can tell this is a rich neighborhood; views like that aren’t cheap.


June 22

Almost every morning it’s like this. As we’ll see.


July 1

This was outside the venue for my high-school reunion, in Columbus. What a scarily accurate rendering of Woody Hayes. Of course, I ended up leaving the reunion and vowing to never, EVER return to this group again, after I was informed by one of my classmates that Barack Obama was “the most racist guy ever.” I blame Woody.


July 2

The next day. Nothing a little sailing can’t cure, although I included this mainly for the Wendy photobomb.


July 3

I wanted to capture the back yard when the clematis was in full bloom. Another Wendy photobomb — look closely.


July 7

Craft cocktailing is a thing where you live too, right? This is at the Peterboro in Detroit. I want to know where they buy those eensy-weensy clothespins.


July 25

The Tigers lost to the Royals that night, but the shadows and light were very fine.


July 28

Even gray mornings are lovely this early.


July 29

My Saturday-morning happy place. For obvious reasons.


August 4

Sometimes I stay up late, although this wasn’t that late. A little house music on a Friday night on a patio feeling a pleasant cooldown that night. That’s my friend Dustin shooting a photo of his friend Stephanie, who was on the turntables. Very meta, and would have been better if I’d exposed it better.


August 6

The ottering adventure in St. Clair with Bill, foreground. Background: Canada.


August 9

Dark enough in the 6 a.m. hour on this day to catch the moonset over in the west. Purely accidental framing.


August 11

I wasn’t going to include this until I saw the wolf in the cloud, alertly facing north. Omen? Oracle?


August 15

A pretty sunrise early, then it clouded over and I took this shot of Tim, the lifeguard/coach who’s been helping me, and many others, improve our swimming these few seasons. He’s a retired teacher and coached the high school girls for years. Love Tim.


August 23

I took a bike ride this morning, and this is a different spot on the same shoreline. Caught not only the swan and the duck, but the downbound freighter Assiniboine. I know because I looked it up on my phone app.

And while we have a few more days of summer left, I’m going to call this the wrap, photo-wise, and I’m taking Monday off, like a good working American. Sunday I’m seeing Alice Cooper at Pine Knob, wooee. I just remembered: Nine years ago I went downtown on Labor Day to see our future president, Barack Obama, who made a brief campaign speech at Hart Plaza. Of course we couldn’t get close, and I don’t recall what he said, but I remember the spring in his step as he took the stage and his slender form in profile. Who could have known that nine years later we’d be where we are today?

The sun keeps rising, and you never know what the day will bring. That’s a good thing.

Enjoy your holiday, and see you Wednesday.

Posted at 8:23 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 81 Comments
 

Just because…

This was my eclipse view:

Not entirely. One of my neighbors had an extra pair of glasses and generously shared them, so three of us stood in her driveway and alternated looking at the sky with looking at the pavement, along with that weird, slanty light that eclipses bring on.

It was a lovely afternoon.

Posted at 8:07 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 42 Comments
 

Just keep swimming.

When some of the people I swim with started signing up for an open-water race this summer, I hesitated, then thought what the hell. The thing I always liked best about riding was getting away from the schooling ring circles and doing what the discipline called for — jumping fences, hacking out in the countryside, whatever.

So why not get out of the pool? In entering, I chose a distance other than the shortest one (1.2 miles, with the other choices being .5 mile, 5K and 10K), and set some goals, in order of escalating ambition and reverse order of likelihood of achievement:

1) Don’t drown.
2) Finish.
3) Don’t finish at the back of my age group.
4) Win my age group.
5) WIN THE WHOLE FUCKING THING, GIVE INTERVIEWS TO A CLAMOROUS GAGGLE OF SPORTS REPORTERS, RETIRE IN GLORY.

The swim was Sunday, and I made it to No. 3. It was way harder than I anticipated, mainly because open-water swimming layers on another skill neglected in the pool: Staying on course. Also, navigating a start, when a zillion people all plunge into the lake and start swimming for the first buoy. An older woman I was chatting with beforehand advised starting toward the back of the pack, but we still had a scrum before the faster people surged to the front and the rest of us strung out behind. At one point I reached forward for a stroke and my hand landed flat on some woman’s ass. Sor-reee! But then the hard part started, i.e., figuring out why I’d sight the buoy and start off in that direction, and check again in a hundred yards and discover I was headed in a different direction. Nothing seemed to work, and I think I probably added a big chunk of yardage just zigzagging all over the place, trying to stay on course.

But the turnaround finally came, and as I started back, I thought, man, this is taking a long time. After I finished and collapsed on the grass to recover, a guy eating a banana next to me said he’d been wearing a swim watch, and the course was 2,800 yards, or nearly 1.6 miles. Oh, well. My time was atrocious — 1:05, but I finished fourth in my age group, which I believe was Pre-Medicare Crones. Three other crones were behind me. The age-group winner was 15 minutes faster, however, so better luck next year.

The distance group first-place finishers were 13 (M) and 27 (F). They were probably eating ice cream in Ann Arbor by the time I dragged my ass up the beach. But I’m glad I did it. The weather was perfect and I finally got to experience the culture of the professionally run amateur sporting event. Which is to say, I got a T-shirt, a medal and a new swim cap.

So. Monday is Eclipse Day, and in filling the nation’s pages, feeds and airwaves with related garbage masquerading as journalism, NBC News went with the Scrooge angle: The eclipse will cost America almost $700 million in lost productivity. Please join me in a hearty fuck-you to whichever economist pulled that number out of his butt. Americans really love this sort of self-laceration, which in its own way beats anything ever put on a Soviet propaganda poster. I once read a lost-productivity analysis of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. OMG the carnage in the bottom line. I can’t even.

If you’re lucky enough to be in the path of totality and have clear skies, I hope you leave your work station, go outside and have the human experience of marveling at our cosmos. I plan to.

Some more bloggage, then? Sure:

I know what whattaboutism is, but I didn’t know it was a Cold War tactic, only that it has in my experience been wielded mainly by certain conservatives I’ve known, who couldn’t acknowledge the mistake of one of their own without saying, “But what about Bill Clinton? Huh?” Here’s an explainer on the history of whattaboutism.

And just to tie up last week’s threads, I’m not the only one who has noticed the peculiar influence of the College Republicans on the greater party:

The pool of people the Republican Party will be drawing from when selecting candidates a generation from now will contain these men and hardly anyone else. Cvjetanovic wasn’t the only marcher photographed with a current Republican elected official. Allsup, the erstwhile WSU College Republicans president, was photographed with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. “I communicate with people from their office on a fairly regular basis,” he told his student paper a few months ago, also mentioning that members of his organization had earned internships and jobs in her office.

This is the state of the GOP leadership pipeline. In a decade, state legislatures will start filling up with Gamergaters, MRAs, /pol/ posters, Anime Nazis, and Proud Boys. These are, as of now, the only people in their age cohort becoming more active in Republican politics in the Trump era. Everyone else is fleeing. This will be the legacy of Trumpism: It won’t be long before voters who reflexively check the box labeled “Republican” because their parents did, or because they think their property taxes are too high, or because Fox made them scared of terrorism, start electing Pepe racists to Congress.

Hey, even the National-goddamn-Review has noticed.

Man, am I beat. “Game of Thrones,” then off to bed for me. This girl is going to sleep well tonight. Hope you do, too.

Posted at 9:31 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 50 Comments
 

Notes from well outside the perimeter.

I guess I picked the wrong weekend to try to stay away from the news, eh? I was happily plowing through an overpriced granola/yogurt breakfast at the Eastern Market when I checked Twitter out of boredom and saw the first reports from Charlottesville, of the tiki-torch march. Had a feeling nothing good would come of it. Was right.

A few thoughts:

James Fields, the young man who was apparently behind the wheel of the car that plowed into the crowd is, as you might expect, yet another young man already in life’s clearance bin. Fatherless, directionless, quiet, “kept to himself,” etc. A lot of these kids find themselves in the Army. As did Fields, until he found himself out of it:

Military records show that Mr. Fields entered the Army on Aug. 18, 2015, around the time his mother wrote on Facebook that he had left for boot camp. Less than four months later, on Dec. 11, his period of active duty concluded. It was not immediately clear why he left the military.

I’ll leave it to you vets to speculate on what might have cut his service short. I saw some Twitter commentary on an interview with his mother, whose own affect seemed a bit flat. She stays out of his politics, she said. No part of this was surprising to me; I have met a thousand versions of this woman, an older, wearier version of her son. They’d been living in Toledo for about a year, in one of those townhouse developments where a person could, if they were so inclined, more or less disappear from the face of the earth. (He had moved out a while ago, however.) The video showed her sitting next to a silver car. You’ve passed a dozen of her on your way into work today. Silver cars blend in. Middle-aged women blend in. Townhouses are pre-blended in housing. Just a reminder you never know. About anyone.

Meanwhile, this oxygen thief (thanks for that one, FDChief!) thinks the whole thing was staged. And some of his oxygen-thievin’ listeners probably believe it.

By the way, if you’re not reading Will Sommer on the various tribes of the right, you’re missing out. Here’s his C’ville report in The Hill. Here’s his Twitter. And here’s a link to his weekly-ish newsletter roundup.

You should also read Roy on this subject, as well.

So. Other than that, how was the weekend? Tiring. I spent most of Saturday cleaning the kitchen, but then cleaned myself up and went out with Alan to celebrate a friend’s birthday. We went to the proverbial chic downtown hotspot, which was crowded and loud and where Alan got the surprise of his life when he ordered a rye manhattan and was charged $19 for it. Yes, $19. For one drink. But that was just for cocktail hour. We went later to a different place for dinner and I’m not sure what manhattans were costing there, but I bet it was less than $19. It was a nice evening. Kathryn Bigelow stayed at the hotel connected to the $19-manhattan place when she was in town last month, but I’m sure the studio was paying.

Sunday was more cleaning, but the house is no longer a Den of Shame and Dust, and we managed a graduation party in the afternoon. The host had a bottle of Grey Goose vodka and was pouring summer refreshments for anyone who wanted more than a beer. “Here you go,” he said to Alan, fortifying his lemonade. “I’ll make it a double and it won’t be $19.”

Have a swell week ahead, all. Let’s hope everybody simmers down.

Posted at 8:36 pm in Current events, Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' | 47 Comments
 

Cricket time.

Did we talk much about Glen Campbell? I don’t think so. Of course his death was coming, everybody knew it. (Yours is coming too, and if you don’t know it, you should.) I took the opportunity to run through a few Jimmy Webb-written classics on YouTube, and thought what I always do: Jimmy Webb is an astonishing songwriter.

“By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Wichita Lineman” are two of the best songs ever written about adult heartbreak and loneliness, and Webb was barely out of his teens when he wrote them. He’s only 71!

I just said this again, at dinner. Alan pointed out that Billy Strayhorn wrote “Lush Life” when he was 17, and that song is even more knowing and sophisticated and world-weary. But then, Strayhorn was gay; some of those guys have that stuff baked into their bones. I love those lyrics as much as I do anything by Webb:

I used to visit all the very gay places
Those come-what-may places
Where one relaxes on the axis
Of the wheel of life
To get the feel of life
From jazz and cocktails

The girls I knew had sad and sullen gray faces
With distingué traces
That used to be there
You could see where
They’d been washed away
By too many through the day
Twelve o’clock tales

I snuck a “Wichita Lineman” reference into a Bridge story, because I could. Here’s to Glen, a great artist.

Man, it’s been a long week. Long for the usual reasons (work), long for the newer reasons (Trump), short for more poignant ones (ah, fleeting summer). I want to take two full days to myself this weekend; I think I deserve it.

In the meantime? Some bloggage:

Someone said on Twitter a while back that everything you need to know about dietary supplements can be seen in the fact that so many grifters find their way to them. Alex Jones is no exception, and Buzzfeed sent away for a few of his branded products and had them tested. The good news is, they’re basically what they claim to be. The bad news is, they cost about 200 percent more than they should, but of course, only Alex Jones is sending you Alex Jones-branded patent medicine. For something called Anthroplex, for instance:

Claimed ingredients:​ Zinc Orotate, Horny Goat Weed, Tribulus Terrestris, Tongkat Ali-Longjack, Fulvic Powder

Test results: Labdoor found that Anthroplex passed a heavy metal screening but noticed a discrepancy in the reported amount of zinc in the capsules. According to Labdoor, there’s 31% less zinc than advertised. “When we look into the zinc dosage, it’s so ridiculously low that you’d basically be buying a worthless product for $40,” the report reads.

Review snippet: “This product is a waste of money. The claim that ‘Anthroplex works synergistically with the powerful Super Male Vitality formula in order to help restore your masculine foundation and stimulate vitality with its own blend of unique ingredients’ is fluff on multiple fronts.”

Can’t get upset by this. If you’re dumb enough to believe Jones, someone’s going to get your money. Might as well be him.

From Philip Kennicott at the Washington Post, an essay about his border collie, a rabies scare, and some thoughtful thoughts about how we behave in a crisis:

In a serious pandemic, in a country full of people not just skeptical about scientific consensus but also deeply hostile to government authority, what chance is there that people will abide by basic public health mandates during an emergency? What if the Ebola virus scare of 2014 happened today and was managed from the White House by tweet? Even if you understand the idea of risk intellectually, the words “There’s a very low risk” aren’t comforting when it’s your health in the balance, which is one reason it is so difficult to contain costs in our medical system.

Finally, how you-know-who and his right-wing pals latched onto the death of Kate Steinle and rode it across the finish line. Good policy is based on fact. What is based on distortion of fact?

You tell me. And have a good weekend.

Posted at 9:05 pm in Current events, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' | 97 Comments
 

Diurnal animals.

I don’t know what you were doing late on a Sunday afternoon, but after cooking two complicated, and error-filled, dinners on Friday and Saturday afternoon, I can tell you what I’m doing: Dreaming of a pizza made by someone else. And then watching “Game of Thrones.” Because Sunday funday.

Everyone is out enjoying some activity. Alan went sailing, Kate’s at Belle Isle with her buddies, and I’m listening for the dryer buzzer. Did a bit of a bike ride, but a persistent backache set in at mile six or so, and I turned around rather than gut it out. Once out of the evaporative breeze of movement, I commenced to once again re-secure my title as World’s Sweatiest Woman. But it’s nice and cool in the AC and under the ceiling fan; time to enjoy my solitude and get a little blogging done.

A quiet weekend, all told. I feel like we’re getting old — we’re not doing much this summer, but truth be told, I don’t mind. Happy to stay home and bake cherry pies and not get sweaty waiting in lines. And lines are simply the reality at some of these summer events we’re all beckoned to. You might as well bring a picnic basket. A couple weeks ago, I spent a lengthy lunch hour riding the new streetcar down to where the food trucks were parked, and ended up in a bar, unwilling to wait in line for 20-30 minutes to get a cardboard-bowl lunch. So sorry, missed the Concert of Colors last night, but we watched “Nocturnal Animals” on iTunes and it was very disturbing, but a pretty OK movie.

Can’t complain.

Can complain about this, though: No more celebrities running for office, for fuck’s sake. Their recent record is, how you say, uneven. Sorry, Caitlyn Jenner. Sorry, Kid Rock. (I won’t link, because I can’t even bear to Google.) Sorry, actual Rock. Now more than ever, we need competence. I don’t generally swoon over Frank Bruni the way some people do, but buried in his Sunday column was this brief passage:

Infrastructure that’s no longer competitive (or safe), a tax code crying out for revision, a work force without the right skills: When do we fix this? How far behind do we fall?

In-effing-deed. When? How? The world is at a very dangerous precipice. Career politicians, which is to say, people who know how the game is played and how to get results out of the system, may be our last hope.

Meanwhile, the picture of Jenner that accompanies that story is ghastly. Looks like she ordered the Madonna model cheek implant in XL.

Meanwhile, some comic relief: A little bit of the sunshine Ann Coulter spreads in the world came back to her over the weekend. We can all agree that when Ann has a bad day, the world gets a little bit nicer.

Finally, think you’re good at spotting fake news? Here’s a game that will let you show your skills. (Use the quick start option.) I found it pretty easy, considering you could view the source for individual stories.

For me, it’s back to “Game of Thrones” homework. See you mid-week.

Posted at 12:23 am in Current events, Movies, Same ol' same ol' | 92 Comments