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

Saturday morning market.

How hipsterism settles into kitsch: Ten years ago this town couldn’t catch a break. Today, Detroit tsotchkes everywhere.


Posted at 10:22 am in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

That’s *my* pie.

I’m reviving the long-dormant NN.c tradition of the Pie of the Month, now that I have an office and co-workers again. Today, I made Betty Rosbottom’s raspberry mousse pie in a chocolate brownie crust. The cookbook it came from is 30 years old, and whaddaya know? Here it is, sans copyright but pretty much word for word the way it appears in Rosbottom’s book.

Can you copyright a recipe? That’s an interesting question. I wonder if I care enough to look up the answer. Probably not.

But the pie was very good, although not very good for an office offering. Soon, fruit of all sorts will be back in season, and the PotM will be something that draws the FBI agents from their several individual offices in our Detroit building. I don’t know what they’re up to, only that every so often when I go to the vending machines on the tenth floor for a soda, I run into some guy with a gun and a badge on his belt. Today we ate lunch at a restaurant around the corner, and sat next to a table of uniformed and plainclothes state police. It’s the safest corner in the city.

The state boys — I prefer the U.P. usage — had one of their cruisers parked outside the restaurant. I was unaware we are the last state police department to still use the gum ball roof light design, even though they’re now equipped with LEDs. I just like the cars, as long as they’re not pulling me over.

So, a lovely day today. I took the first early-morning bike ride of the season. It was chilly and the sun was blazing over the water. I tried not to look directly at its dazzle, but at one point I glanced over and thought, huh. Sharks. Don’t see that very often in fresh water. It was two swans turned ass-up to root for whatever they eat off the bottom, but for the life of me, it looked like a couple of dorsal fins.

I’m making no sense, right? Skip to the bloggage, then.

I found this excoriation of Franklin Graham via Neil Steinberg, who noted that Franklin’s father skipped every chance to take a strong moral stand on the issues of his day, preferring to suck up to presidents. I’m not well-versed enough on my Billy Graham Crusades history to know whether that’s true, but his son is certainly a shit.

If a motor vehicle has to crash into my house, please, let it be the Wienermobile.

And so the week is underway. Forward!

Posted at 12:30 am in Uncategorized | 31 Comments

Saturday morning market.

Everything’s coming up green. Finally.


Posted at 11:02 am in Uncategorized | 21 Comments

The hash of the day.

Just once, it would be nice to see a Democratic president stride to a microphone after an event like this Wednesday’s at Fort Hood and say, “America, you’ve made your bloody bed. Now lie in it” and then walk away. It would be cruel and unnecessary, but I don’t know what the alternative is.

What a day. Dahlia Lithwick covers the latest from SCOTUS:

Roberts honestly seems to inhabit a world in which what really worries the average Joe about the current electoral regime is not that his voice is drowned out by that of Sheldon Adelson, but that he might be forced to spend his millions “at lower levels than others because he wants to support more candidates” or that he is too busy making billions of dollars at work to volunteer for a campaign, or that he has Jay Z and Beyoncé on standby to perform at a house party in the event that his billions are tied up elsewhere this week.

…But I worry that the court has located itself so outside the orbit of the 99 percent that it simply doesn’t matter to the five conservatives in the majority that the American public knows perfectly well what bought government looks like and that Breyer is describing a level of cynicism that has already arrived. Worse still, I worry that it matters very little to them that we will stop voting, donating, participating, or caring about elections at all in light of this decision to silence us yet further. In which case McCutcheon is a self-fulfilling prophecy in exactly the way Breyer predicts: Money doesn’t just talk. It also eventually forces the public to understand that we don’t much matter. It silences. It already has.

That lady has a way of getting right to the point, doesn’t she?

Another day that leaves me a little wrung out at the end, but there’s some good bloggage, so let’s get to it:

I was a fan of Laurie Colwin’s novels before I ever read her food writing, but once I did I loved that, too. I never loved it as much as these people obviously do — she had a weird crackpot streak that was both endearing and, when she was rhapsodizing over English food, a little off-putting. But it’s fair to say we both feel — felt; Colwin died some years ago — exactly the same way about food, that it’s a way to bring people together and shouldn’t be fussed over too much. Unless you really want to:

During her life, she gained a reputation first and foremost as a novelist and a composer of delicately calibrated short stories. But in the years since her death, at the age of 48, her following has only grown, and her highly personal food writing, collected in the books “Home Cooking” and “More Home Cooking,” has attracted a new, cultishly devoted generation of readers. Her musings, anecdotes and quirkily imprecise, not-altogether-reliable recipes show up with regularity on food blogs. Which only makes sense, because even though Ms. Colwin expressed wariness about technology and cranked out her essays (most of them for Gourmet magazine) on a mint-green Hermes Rocket typewriter, there is something about her voice, conveyed in conversational prose, that comes across as a harbinger of the blog boom that would follow.

I will say, however, that all this came through in her fiction, too, so I’m a little puzzled that this story barely mentioned her fabulous novels of domestic life: “Goodbye Without Leaving,” “Family Happiness,” “Happy All the Time” and “Shine On, Bright and Dangerous Object.” The very first thing of hers I read was a short story called “The Achieve of, the Mastery of the Thing,” which made me laugh out loud. That doesn’t happen often. She’s been dead since 1992, but I bet she holds up.

Neil Steinberg talks to a conductor and asks why he waves that stick around.

And off to bed I go.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Uncategorized | 28 Comments

Saturday morning market.

There’s a place in the meat mall that has the world’s prettiest corned beef. Here’s the line. Everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s day.


Posted at 11:17 am in Uncategorized | 15 Comments