Road notes.

Day one report, or Travel is Very Broadening, Even Little Trips, or Two Things I Learned Yesterday:

Thing one: A staged reading of “Frankenstein” taught me that if you think this story is abput laBORatories and EEgore and torches and pitchforks, you don’t know “Frankenstein.” It’s really a story about gods and creations and fathers and sons and, of course, heartbroken women. (I also saw a side idea about schizophrenia and psychotic breaks, but the monster was real, after all.) More on this later, when I have a real keyboard.

Thing two: If you get a chance to eat in an Iranian restaurant, take it.

OK, one more thing: It’s hard tomtype on an iPad.

Later, folks!

A photo posted by nderringer (@nderringer) on

Posted at 8:14 am in Same ol' same ol', Uncategorized | 54 Comments

After Thursday comes Friday.

Again, a late post. Sor-ree. The usual stuff — work, boredom, more work, Thursday night. Eastern Market After Dark, a design-festival thing that filled the neighborhood with suburbanites telling themselves they were enjoying an authentic urban experience. On the sidewalk, a DJ on every corner:


Question for the room: Do any DJs use PCs, or is DJing a Mac-only game?

Detroit-vs-Everybody is the current hip T-shirt, although based on the Detroit Hustles Harder showing last night, it might be making a comeback. Five or so years ago, everyone wanted Detroit Hustles Harder. It even inspired parodies: Detroit Hustles? Hardly. Me, I’m holding out for Grosse Pointe-vs-Everybody.

Anyway, it’s fun to get out on a school night, drink a little draft beer, watch a fashion show. My friend Dustin was trying to get me to pull a Sacha Baron Cohen, but by then my phone was blowing up with Work Problems, so work problems must be my focus today.

Fortunately? There’s much good linkage.

One of the funniest things I’ve read lately: Married role play.

Something else funny: Neil Steinberg gets reader mail. It’s useful as a guide to the People of Trump, but also as an indication of the sort of mail people send you when you write for a newspaper. People call you unbelievable names, attribute all sorts of vileness to your name. And sometimes they make you laugh. (Sometimes they turn out to be Brian Stouder.)

One reason those folks get stirred up? They’re being manipulated. Even allowing for the usual bias of editing, there’s something about this mashup of conservative media reacting to the (then-upcoming) papal visit that is sort of jaw-dropping. There are people who have this stuff piped into their home more or less all day. No wonder they’re angry.

And even though he already seems like yesterday’s mashed potatoes, Roy is always worth a read, and just the headline on his Scott Walker postmortem is worth a click.

With that? Work Problems. See you Monday.

Posted at 8:12 am in Uncategorized | 54 Comments

Marriage =/= prosperity.

I don’t want to belabor this gay marriage thing, but at the same time, it irritates me the way they squat over the whole narrative of what the institution even is. That’s why I liked this piece in the WashPost, which shows in graphic form how closely tied not to religion and culture, but demography and the economy.

I learned this when I wrote about marriage for Bridge a couple years ago: You want people to get married? Make them middle class in the first place. But in the absence of an economy that can accommodate them, it’s really difficult to convince poorer people that they’re better off married than single. (Even though, yes, some of them — some of them — would be. Might be.) So, you want people to get married? Tend to the economy first. The rest will follow.

Such good bloggage today. Sorry I’m a day late on this, but I really liked the column about Chris Christie that everyone’s talking about. It illustrates something I always tell my writing students (not that I have any at the moment): When the facts speak for themselves, let them.

Other lying politicians tend to waffle, to leave themselves some escape hatch. You can almost smell it.

But Christie lies with conviction. His hands don’t shake, and his eyes don’t wander. I can hardly blame the union leaders who met with him for believing him.

Such an elegantly simple accusation: He lies. And yet so uncommon in modern political reporting. No one wants to lose access. I guess the Star-Ledger editorial board doesn’t care anymore.

You may have heard about Ask Bobby, the Jindal campaign’s Twitter-chat effort. Why do politicians make this mistake over and over? They think they’ll get respectful questions, and they get this:

and this:

and this:

It’s entertaining, anyway. Scroll away.

Stephen Colbert dropped in and out of metro Detroit, and left this behind. It’s brilliant. Watch.

Finally, there’s a hot new band playing in Detroit this weekend. They got some good ink today.

Almost the long weekend. Enjoy.

Posted at 12:18 am in Uncategorized | 66 Comments

Breakin’ curfew.

Mama went out last night. Mama did not get hammered, but it was midnight before she walked through the door, and friends, I am no night owl these days. These are the wages of having 25-year-old friends.

Yes, that was the occasion: A 25-year-old’s birthday. “Congratulations,” I told him. “Your brain is now fully mature.” Then we destroyed a few brain cells.

We went to the Temple Bar, probably one of the last — I’m growing to hate this word, but it works — authentic bars of the old Cass Corridor, now rebranded Midtown and movin’ on up. The door has a buzzer to keep the worst of the riffraff out, although some get in anyway. There’s a bar dog, named Jameson. And last night he had a few friends in for a playdate; their owners/foster parents were wearing Detroit Dog Rescue T-shirts and having a few pops at the bar while four sizable dogs galumphed around, play-fighting and mostly moving too fast for photos:


After the visiting dogs left, the other bar pet came out for a visit. Here she is with the birthday boy:


It was a nice evening. The internet jukebox had the Wutang Clan and Warren Zevon. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

So here we are on hump day, and here’s some bloggage for you:

Via Hank, a nifty piece of explanatory journalism on a heavy-metal drummer. Yes, explanatory:

At what tempo will a series of sonic events fail to register as a beat? Our conception of rhythm roughly corresponds to the span of the human heart rate, and Fox is curious about what happens on those margins. He says he’s been spending his free time trying to build the stamina to drum at the speed of a hum or a drone.

Just a very enjoyable read, which you’ll want before you plunge into the bummer of the day, yet another police shooting, this one in South Carolina. I am eager to hear the justifications that will be offered for this one. I’m also interested to hear what media gurus say about the increasing number of these incidents, as cell-phone cameras improve and improve and improve. I recall when J.C. and I first talked about bystander videos, back when maybe one in a thousand people might be carrying a small video camera when news is breaking. There was a helicopter crash where two people in the crowd were so equipped, and CNN was able to cut between angles. Then everyday digital cameras had video, and then they had better video, and so on.

I imagine the reaction will be something like this: Who you gonna believe? Me, or your lying video?

Forty-six comments on my story yesterday on road repair! Hardly a record, but it gives you an idea of how strongly people feel about this issue here. I was telling the table last night, when I was talking to the guy quoted in the lead, and he was describing the pavement disaster that totaled his Honda, I was thinking, “Gee, this almost sounds like getting hit by an IED.” I asked, “What did that feel like?” He replied, “Like an IED,” my soul smiled, and I was happy. A good quote is a simple pleasure to a journalist.

Happy Wednesday, all. No more late nights for me for a while.

Posted at 9:38 am in Uncategorized | 30 Comments

Day off.

Sorry, guys. My Easter weekend was packed, and now I’m trying to finish two stories while nursing an oral-surgery post-op patient, i.e., Kate, newly freed of four impacted wisdom teeth. New thread, and I’ll see ya later when I come up for air.

Suggested topic of discussion: The Rolling Stone fiasco.

Posted at 10:44 am in Uncategorized | 29 Comments


Happy Halloween.


New and open thread, obviously. A good holiday to all.

Posted at 9:48 pm in Uncategorized | 75 Comments

The grand canyon.

Remember what I said the other day about making room in your life for delicious foods of all sorts, because they are wonderful? Today I had to attend a Thing — you know, a Thing — that included a “light breakfast,” according to the invitation. I arrived to find fruit, bagels and doughnuts.

Had a little fruit, ignored the bagels, because if you can’t toast a bagel, what’s the damn point? Most of the doughnuts were the sort I don’t like — chocolate-frosted, sprinkled — but there, nestled among its less-appetizing brethren, a little spotlight from heaven fell on my favorite doughnut of all time: Sour-cream glazed. Hello, beautiful, I thought, and selected it for my own.

I don’t mind telling you that eating it was like manna from heaven, if a little overpowering. I’ve been eating eggs and spinach and yogurt and protein-y breakfasts for so many months, I’d forgotten the simple, now-verboten joy of the Homer Simpson special. My heart soared like a sugary hawk. The program started. Ten minutes into the keynote, my eyelids grew heavy. That sucrose is one powerful drug.

Back to eggs tomorrow. I don’t need this sugar-crack stuff.

So. I was surprised to see myself Twitter-tagged on this story, until I read it and realized one of my tweets had been cited as evidence of the little-known cult of fans of the big-vagina subplot in “The Godfather.” Not the movie, the novel; Francis Ford Coppola wisely left those pages on the cutting-room floor when he wrote the script, although Lucy, the possessor of the oversize vagina in question, is in two brief scenes. As I think we’ve mentioned here before, it’s a strange little diversion in a badly written novel about organized crime. Lucy is one of Connie’s bridesmaids in the wedding, and is filled with shame because her vagina is SO BIG — how big is it? — it’s SO BIG that guys can’t even feel it. But Sonny Corleone has a giant Italian sausage and can please her. He first does so at the wedding; she’s the bridesmaid he’s seen banging against the wall, early on. His death at the toll plaza devastates her, until she meets a nice doctor in Las Vegas, who does vagina surgery on her and tightens her up again. They get engaged.

I read this when I was old enough to know what sex involved, but before I’d actually had any, and I can’t tell you how much this concerned me. Could I, too, have a giant vagina? How would I know? Would I be like Lucy, and just have to glean it from the grumbling of my unsatisfied boyfriends, who would mutter I was “too big down there?”

Do you start to understand how women’s minds work? Find us a topic, we’ll figure out a way to worry about it.

I tweeted the story to Laura Lippman, who once told me she, too, remembered Lucy. She replied: “Meanwhile don’t forget Puzo’s other valuable lesson — the best sex in the world is had by a Sicilian virgin on her wedding night.” We’ll save that analysis for another day.

Today’s unfortunate ad placement. You newspaper people know how this stuff happens. They are endlessly amusing to me.

Finally, some of you who read Bridge know that one of the services we provide during election season is fact-checking campaign ads, mailers, etc. — political speech of all kinds. You are certainly welcome to rummage around the Michigan Truth Squad section of our site, but I call your particular attention to this mailer, which encourages voters to call the candidate and complain about Obamacare. But the number given rings at the bedside of the candidate’s 91-year-old mother, who is in a nursing home. You think you’ve seen ’em all, and then you see another.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen one of the six “Say Yes to the Candidate” spots, we did that one, too. You may spot a familiar prose style.

Happy downside of the week, all.

Posted at 8:25 pm in Movies, Uncategorized | 75 Comments

Everyone forgets you but the pigeons.

Today’s Snapshot of Blogging Laziness is Gov. Stevens Mason, Michigan’s first. He stands in a park in Detroit and birds poop on his head.


And for those of you who don’t follow the comments, but who did follow our brief chat a few months back about Ben Stein’s weird column in the American Spectator, this story, about some fairly run-of-the-mill skeeviness on Stein’s part, is for you. You know the sick making passage? This one, from Stein’s own version of what happened when he met a pregnant escort and tried to get her to let him “touch and kiss” her for money. They’re talking about her now-estranged baby daddy:

“I really didn’t like him that much,” she texted me. “I just wasn’t into him that much.”

“Well, you must have been into him pretty much and he must have been very much into you because you’re carrying his baby.”

“I know,” she said, “but I’ll just be a single mom. Will you help me out?”

I am so pro-life that I can never say no in these cases but I am worried about it.

He gives her money because he is so pro-life. I can’t stand it.

Anyone else? Tony Dungy takes the easy way out on welcoming Michael Sam to the NFL. Which is to say, he doesn’t.

No blog tomorrow, but! I think you might enjoy Thursday’s — a friend and I are going to see a Mitch Albom play today. JUST BECAUSE.

Happy hump day, all. Over and out.

Posted at 12:30 am in Uncategorized | 56 Comments

Saturday afternoon sailing.

I scored a spot on one of the press boats for the start of the Bayview/Bell’s Brewing Port Huron-to-Mackinac race.

It’s a downwind start. Very spinnaker-y. Pret-ty sweet.


Posted at 12:33 pm in Uncategorized | 73 Comments

Salad again.

Not much to say tonight, but a mixed bag of pretty good links, starting with today’s OID story: A soccer ref working an adult-league recreational game is sucker-punched by a player he’s trying to red card, and DIES two days later. So much for the beautiful game.

The great Monica Hesse went to the men’s-rights conference last weekend, and came back with a better story than most.

How is the NYT’s Blackwater coverage not getting a higher profile? I don’t know what’s more astonishing, the first paragraph or the second:

WASHINGTON — Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.

American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports.

A difficult-to-read story about a man’s rape that will make your stomach churn, but perhaps illuminate the issue from a new direction. Starting with the why-didn’t-he-report-it angle.

And with that, I’m off to bed. A short week, half-done.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Uncategorized | 35 Comments