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
 

Coppertone baby.

There are people in the world, most of them women I expect, who put on sunscreen every morning, rain or shine. In fact, I read about one once — a dermatologist, and she lives in Michigan, no less. But she lathers up, face and hands and neck and any other area that might see a ray of sun, every single day. Winter, summer, spring and fall.

Then there is me.

I got the sunscreen memo, but I live in Michigan. Sun is only a rumor for months at a time. I try to remember, once summer comes, to apply and reapply. But I always forget. I usually get at least one Rudolph nose in summer, and it’ll catch up with me. It already is. I have a brown perma-freckle on my nose and another one or two threatening. But I neglect my arms and legs, sometimes on purpose, because I grew up in the ’70s and in my opinion a little color makes them look better. The other day I caught sight of my shoulders in a mirror and thought, they look much better now than in January.

It is vanity, yes. A deadly sin. And still, the sun beckons me to frolic beneath it, to swim and sail and cycle and don’t stress about the Coppertone, here’s some nice Vitamin D for you.

I don’t care if I wrinkle. I’d rather be a wrinkled tan than one of those weird porcelain-faced old women. At least I’d look like I got outside once in a while.

I recall an early scene in “Gone With the Wind,” when Scarlett is getting dressed for the party at Twelve Oaks, which you might recall as Corset Scene I in the movie. Scarlett wants to wear an off-the-shoulder dress, and Mammy pitches a fit:

“No, you ain’. It ain’ fittin’ fer mawnin’. You kain show yo’ buzzum befo’ three o’clock an’ dat dress ain’ got no neck an’ no sleeves. An’ you’ll git freckled sho as you born, an’ Ah ain’ figgerin’ on you gittin’ freckled affer all de buttermilk Ah been puttin’ on you all dis winter, bleachin’ dem freckles you got at Savannah settin’ on de beach.”

(Man, can you believe that? All the black characters’ dialogue is rendered thusly. It is cringeworthy.)

Later, Mammy commands her to keep her shawl on, and her hat, lest she come home looking brown, like the white-trash women in the neighborhood. There’s your class hierarchy, right there, at least in Margaret Mitchell’s telling. Which you shouldn’t trust. Although I’ve long believed GWTW was a fine feminist novel.

OK, then, with that let’s transition into the bloggage. Because vanity is not just a feminine vice, let’s start with this fine profile from Bridge, about a lawyer who made his reputation defending Detroit police at the height of the city’s violence and their own arrogance. He’s pretty vain, too. But a great lawyer, which he states more than once. With the Kathryn Bigelow movie about 1967 opening in a few weeks, he’s waiting for his moment of being played by John Krasinski. Or at least a character based on him. If you want to understand why Black Lives Matter happened, read a little bit about how this guy worked, and what he had to defend.

Moving on, I think the best single comment I read about this guy was a tweet showing him in a photo array with Trump’s doctor and Steve Bannon: Why does everyone connected with Trump look like the scene-stealer in a Coen Brothers movie?

Is Mike Pence trolling us? Ahem:

During a speech at the National Student Leadership Conference, Pence said in order for a leader to be like the president, they must listen, be humble, have a character people respect, work to serve others and learn from other leaders.

Finally, not to leave you with a disturbing story, but hey, the world is what it is, I found this via an obituary of a talented Miami Herald writer. This piece is 20 years old, but I’d never heard any of it. The perp died a decade ago, the mother he tortured some years before. It’s a modern horror story for our time, and an answer to the question of “what did trolls do before the internet?” Some of them did stuff like this.

A summer weekend ahead — make sure you use sunscreen.

Posted at 12:03 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 107 Comments
 

Rainbow connection.

City life: I took the dog for a walk close to 7 p.m., and even though it wasn’t raining here at all, there was a pretty grand rainbow in the east, which we enjoyed until it disappeared. For a while it was doubled. Very nice.

A while later Alan pulled into the driveway.

“See the rainbow?” I asked.

“Yes. And I think someone on I-94 saw it, because he’d run his car up the embankment and rolled back down. He was standing outside smoking a cigarette, and grocery bags full of his crap were all over.”

Just another Monday evening. An exhausting one, for me — slept badly and had a series of frustrating blah-blahs, but oh well. A couple squares of dark chocolate and a glass of wine should do it.

So, a little bloggage?

Your daily presidential embarrassment, via Haberman at the NYT:

In the span of 72 hours, President Trump described the email hacking that roiled the 2016 campaign as a Democratic “hoax” and as clear aggression by Russia that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, failed to address.

Other times, Mr. Trump has said the hacking might have been done by China.

Or, as he claimed during the first general election debate, the hacking could have been the work of a lone wolf weighing 400 pounds, sitting on his bed at home.

Then there was the time Mr. Trump blamed “some guy in his home in New Jersey.”

Or, as Mr. Trump has also suggested, there might not even have been hacking at all…

Twenty-two million more uninsured. MAGA, mofos.

I think I need to see “Wonder Woman” or something. Happy Tuesday to all.

Posted at 9:04 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 59 Comments
 

One busy weekend.

Welcome back, hostess-with-the-leastest. This has been a hectic past few days, but at the end of it:

1) I am a lifeguard. There will be no drowning if I have anything to say about it.

2) I nearly drowned my phone, but it recovered.

3) I attended an iftar on the last night of Ramadan.

4) I missed the Cannabis Cup.

I guess the catch-up begins on Thursday night, when a fundraiser I helped organize was held — it was a bikes-and-beer pub crawl/poker run, i.e, a visit to five closely adjacent historic taverns, on bicycles. The day was hot-hot-hot and sticky until it wasn’t, which in summer in the Midwest means we were all dying of sweatiness until a massive thunderstorm blew through. We were on stop no. 2 when it hit (the one with the best jukebox, I’m relieved to report), and it pinned us down past our departure time, and sundown. Finally, we made the executive decision to dash two blocks to the next place in a light shower, and things were pretty OK for a while.

I was riding what I called Bike Uber, our old Schwinn Twinn, a c. 1971 tandem that has a curb weight about half that of my car. I always liken its ride to that of a Soviet limousine; it takes its time getting up to cruising speed, but once it’s there, it has a spectacularly solid momentum that’s truly a pleasure to pilot.

We scratched the fourth bar and I was headed for the final stop, alone on the bike, in a light drizzle. And the skies opened. By “opened” I mean all the water in the world fell on my head for about two minutes. I was already damp, but now I was well and truly soaked to the skin. I checked in at the last bar, made sure I had no chores to do on the fundraiser, and left for home – air conditioning is nearly intolerable when you’re that wet.

But by then the rain had stopped for good, and the ride home was kinda magical. The pedaling banished the chill, and Grosse Pointe was reflecting light from every wet surface in the face of inky darkness. All the storm drains were gurgling; hardly anyone was out and about. When a car’s headlights appeared in front or behind me, I just turned a corner and adjusted the route home, noticing which blocks had the new LED streetlights and which still had the old ones. The Soviet-limousine ride was pleasant. I made it home in about 15-20 minutes, and didn’t even have the brown stripe of muddy water up my back, because old bike = fenders.

The only casualty was my phone, which had its ports facing up during the downpour, and the mic/speaker stopped working. But Alan put it in a bag of desiccant in the hot sun, and it healed itself.

Lo, I have a lucky star.

Saturday was more lifeguarding class. We practiced all our saves and had our water test, which we all passed. I still don’t feel competent, but I’m less incompetent. Sunday was the written test. The instructor plugged some gaps in our instruction, including the dreaded AFR — accidental fecal release. We were told the sanitation procedures for both the Baby Ruth variety and the chocolate-milk spill, and she revealed that some years ago, her lowest-performing guard arranged just such an event to force a closure and an early quitting time for himself.

Reader, I cannot tell a lie: My first thought was, I bet I know who he voted for.

And Saturday night was a big feed for the final night of Ramadan. Dearborn was popping. Fireworks and food trucks all over, once the sun went down. There were Eid gifts for the children, and for once, I went home from a dinner party with no wine in my belly and woke up Sunday feeling just fine, although not capable of driving 70 miles north to the Cannabis Cup, where LAMary’s son was selling swag. I should’ve, but it just felt like a bridge too far.

So sorry, Pete.

I didn’t have time to do more than glance at the Sunday papers. What did I miss?

Posted at 8:38 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 58 Comments
 

Midweek. More week.

There are times, in the middle of a busy week, when only “The Great British Baking Show” and a glass of wine will work to calm one’s shattered, or at least frayed, nerves.

Frayed. Yes, that’s it. It’s been a long one, and it won’t stop until…a few more days. I have weekend stuff, too. But there’s a long weekend coming up eventually, and it’s not like I’m digging coal here.

Lifeguard training is going well, in the sense that no one has actually drowned. I had difficulty doing the deep-water rescues, as either the victim or the saver, because I float like a cork. I think it’s Charlotte who has difficulty floating? I can’t sink.

“Adipose tissue,” I said as I failed to touch the bottom of the deep end yet again. “I’m a manatee.”

But little by little, we four are getting it. You wouldn’t necessarily want to hire us at your water park, but we can certainly be useful assistants in an emergency. At least I hope so.

Man, water parks. I’ve been to the one at Cedar Point a time or three, when Kate was at an age to enjoy it. I always liked the lazy rivers, and could have stayed in one all day, if I were allowed a cocktail every third circuit or so. But guarding them must be maddening; so many people simply don’t know what they don’t know. (How to swim, for starters.) Not that this keeps anyone out of the water. I’d go nuts in 15 minutes.

So. Shame about Ossoff, although I wasn’t getting my hopes up. I’m done with that. Grim resignation, that’s my new default. Pendulums swing. Let’s just hang on for the ride.

In the meantime, some bloggage: A WashPost story about Kosciusko County, Ind., just west of the Fort, where the demand for skilled factory workers to fill the artificial-joint plants is acute and not being met by the market:

Kosciusko is only one of 73 counties in the United States with unemployment rates of 2 percent or lower, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many are in ­energy-rich counties in the Midwest and Colorado, where the fracking and natural gas booms have vacuumed up the workforce.

They also include communities that defy the heartland stereotype of industrial decay — like Warsaw, in northern Indiana, and Columbus, about three hours south.

Cummins, a global engine builder based in Columbus, recently opted to open its new distribution center an hour north in Indianapolis, where the labor market is much larger. (Columbus is the seat of Bartholomew County, which also has a 2 percent unemployment rate.)

Companies in Warsaw probably would not move manufacturing jobs abroad, said (economist Michael) Hicks, who follows the region. Firms are more likely to transition to Indianapolis or Chicago, he said, since quality control is crucial for medical implants, and businesses want to protect their designs from foreign competitors.

This is where the importance of talent comes in. And that is where the importance of good schools comes in. I’ve been gone from Indiana long enough that I can’t recall the quality of the schools in rural Indiana, but I think it’s safe to say they’re hit-or-miss. And the legislature has been working mightily to strip the public districts of funding, so that vouchers can be issued for religious schools. Dunno how they do in preparing the workforce of tomorrow. They need to be good. They better be good.

(We talk about this issue in Michigan a lot. Safe to say the legislature is not entirely in agreement.)

And the Senate health-care bill is set for its big reveal. Discuss.

Posted at 10:03 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 95 Comments