Blueberries and blues.

I’ve missed going to the market the last couple of weeks, but I went Saturday, and man, is it ever on. Pre-tomatoes, pre-peaches, but the greens are greenin’, the sugar snaps snappin’, and of course the blueberries and cherries are in. I couldn’t decide what kind of pie I wanted this week, so I got both. In trying to preserve my weight loss, I will generally make a whole pie but take half to my office. However, we hit that poor thing like a tackling dummy; I might have to do a backup pie tonight for the co-workers.

Mmmm, backup pie. Blueberry backup pie. Yummers.

blueberrypie

Tonight, I’m thinking pizza on the grill.

In between there was a bike ride, something I’m doing less of. Not for any particular reason, only that I’m trying not to get bored, so I’m juggling boxing, swimming, yoga and weights in the mix, and there just isn’t as much time for the bike. But I got out there on Sunday. Stopped and listened to five minutes of a sermon outside a church (with organ stings!), passed a couple splitting a joint on a park bench, observed a man sitting on his porch with a sign at the curb reading, “Barber on deck, 8am-8pm.” Just another Sunday noontime in Detroit.

Oh, and we saw a movie — “The Wolfpack,” now on iTunes and in theaters. Recommended, especially if you liked “Crumb,” as it basically hits the same theme. Which is? That art saves, and sometimes transgressive art saves the most. A review, by David Edelstein.

It’s bummer day in bloggage, but all of it good reading:

First, the most infuriating, a WashPost look at Tunica, Miss., an early gambling adoptee that somehow managed to squander a few hundred million in proceeds to local governments and still leave its people as poor and screwed-over as any in the U.S. How? By leaving the usual suspects in control of the purse, and what did they do?

What went wrong in Tunica is a matter of perspective. For many African Americans — and the county’s current officials — it was a story of a largely white political leadership that did not grasp the depths of poverty facing many black residents and did not choose to use the casino revenues that flowed into the county in an equitable way. So instead of funding skills training and providing programs for the vulnerable, they poured money into a riverfront wedding hall, an Olympic-size indoor swimming pool and a golf course designed by a former PGA Tour pro — all while implementing a massive tax cut that primarily benefited the wealthy.

Tax cuts. How bad could taxes have possibly been in a largely rural county known for its extreme (56 percent) poverty rate? I wonder if somewhere in the next world, Ronald Reagan is being roasted over a fire of dollar bills. He can give up his place on the spit when Grover Norquist joins him.

Moving on. This story is a heller to read, about how Matthew Teague’s wife died of cancer and his best friend helped him through it — for two years. I can tell you that it made me think we need better options to help people, and help the people who help them, through the last days of their lives. I know I would have called Dr. Kevorkian well before I reached about the midpoint in Nicole’s story.

If you can’t stand that, how about a DOG dying? Dooce.

Finally, a nice bit of essayin’ on something I feel I was the very last to learn: “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” the great fear novel of my young single life, was based on a real murder, of a woman with a similar name as the main character in the book, and not too many changes. The victim taught deaf children in real life, which explains why Diane Keaton’s character did in the movie adaptation, a change from the book I found jarring. Some things slide right past you; this was one of mine.

So now the week begins. I’m hoping to see half my street paved by the end of it. We’ll see.

Posted at 12:14 am in Same ol' same ol' | 81 Comments
 

The trench out front.

In addition to all the usual post-graduation, pre-college confusion going on hereabouts now, this is our street these days:

street

Our street was in desperate need of resurfacing; it hadn’t been done, as near as anyone can tell, since it was built in 1947. We passed a road bond for $10 million a year or so ago, and ours was among the first streets on the priority list, so yay! We get a new street! Then they came to do the work, and the asphalt came up, and then they dug one side down to the Indian burial-ground level, and then the gas lines were a problem and then the rains came. We already lost one park-strip tree. The guy from the gas company rang the doorbell and said, “I have good news. You’re going to get more sunshine in your yard. Because we’re taking down that maple. Its roots are right over a break in the gas line.” Well, we never liked it that much anyway, fewer leaves to rake and no gas explosions = big plus.

Last night, I heard someone knocking around in the bathroom at 2 a.m. It was Kate, coming in, elated, from seeing the Rolling Stones at Comerica Park. My first question: How was the show? Answer: Amazing. My second: Where did you park the car? Two blocks away, because that’s what we do when the road is nearly unnavigable. Then I went back to bed.

I’ll be relieved when all this is over.

Bloggage:

Doesn’t this sound like a fun read?

You don’t need to be a speechwriter to realize that the phrase “I won’t begin in any particular spot” is a wretched way to start a public address. Yet those were the opening words of one of the more remarkable political spectacles in recent years: Mark Sanford’s rambling and teary news conference of June 24, 2009, in which South Carolina’s then-governor confessed that rather than hiking the Appalachian Trail, he’d been hooking up with his Argentine mistress.

In the crowd that afternoon at the statehouse rotunda in Columbia, S.C., was the man responsible for crafting Sanford’s speeches. People still ask Barton Swaim, “Did you write that speech?” He can’t even answer. “I just chuckle miserably,” he explains.

No, Swaim didn’t write that speech, but now he has authored something just as revealing and unusual: a political memoir that traffics in neither score-settling nor self-importance but that shares, in spare, delightful prose, what the author saw and learned. “The Speechwriter” feels like “Veep” meets “All the King’s Men” — an entertaining and engrossing book not just about the absurdities of working in the press shop of a Southern governor but also about the meaning of words in public life.

Read the review. It sounds hilarious:

He learned the boss’s tics. Sanford liked to have three points in a speech, never two. Never. “I’m not getting out there to talk about two stupid points,” the governor said when presented with a pair of rebuttals to a bill. “I need three points, first, second, third. Got that?” He loved referring to an amorphous “larger notion” in his remarks. Larger than what? It didn’t matter. “When we drafted a release or a press statement and weren’t sure if he would approve it, someone would say, ‘Stick a “larger notion” in there and it should be fine.’ ” The governor would often deploy an “indeed” when trying to rescue a trite phrase, as in “we’re indeed mortgaging our children’s future.” Also, Sanford always looked for chances to mention Rosa Parks in a speech. He just really wanted to do that.

I always thought it might be fun to be a speechwriter. Obama’s speechwriter, maybe. Sanford’s? Eh…

A good profile of the Awl, a website I find myself paying more attention to lately. This passage hit me:

In 2003, Gawker’s Nick Denton hired Sicha to run Fleshbot, the company’s now-abandoned porn site, then Gawker itself. Meanwhile, Balk was in advertising and writing a culture blog on the side; he landed at Gawker a few years later. Sicha left for The Observer after a year, then returned briefly in 2007. The style that he developed at Gawker, conversational with bursts of enthusiasm and ironic swerves, exerted a deep influence on the voice of the early web.

“That style became internet parlance,” says Andrew Womack of The Morning News, where Sicha freelanced while at Gawker. “You almost can’t think of a bigger effect. I can’t look at anyone type an exclamation point without thinking of Choire’s first stint at Gawker. It wasn’t snarky; it was honest and had this fuck-it-all attitude I think we’ve all had.”

Voice is one of those things I find most intriguing about writing. It’s the voodoo magic, hard to teach, sometimes hard to even describe. I wasn’t enough of a fan of early Gawker to describe Sicha’s voice with any authority, but now that I think of it, voice is one of those things that drives me most insane about Mitch Albom — that plodding, early-newspaper, listen-to-me-for-I-know-all voice that hasn’t changed since he first dipped his quill into an ink pot. Some day, when I have the time and inclination, I’ll do an explication de texte on a sample and try to show you what I mean.

But for now, it’s getting on towards Friday, and I’m-a gonna turn in. Happy weekend to all of you.

Posted at 12:29 am in Media, Same ol' same ol' | 67 Comments
 

One great lunch.

Well, thank y’all for the kind comments. I’m not going away, but I might take a few days off from time to time. I’m just feeling the need for the well to refill a little. But I will probably be here, compulsively, until kingdom come or, y’know, the alternative.

Today I was reading a story, a fairly straightforward news story, that referred to so-and-so’s “passing.” Um, OK. I prefer “died,” myself, but that’s the alternative I’m talking about.

Let’s not talk about that.

Lunch in Ann Arbor with my editor and a source. The source picked the restaurant. Very interesting menu. Short, simple, Asian-y but not. I got roasted cauliflower because I was feeling like I should eat my vegetables, and would you look at this plate of vegan loveliness?

cauliflower

I thought $14 was a bit steep for a couple bucks’ worth of in-season vegetables, but whoever assembled that plate is an artist. The colors, the fragrance, the taste — all exquisite. In addition to the main ingredient, there’s broccolini, roasted carrots, a little white onion stewed to the consistency of butter with some curried coconut sauce. And a few raisins scattered about. Yum.

Nothing like a good meal to improve your day. My editor kept sneering because he hates cauliflower. He got some chicken schnitzel thing, but I say I got the better bargain.

Dinner tonight was skirt steak on the grill, rice and now we’re watching “When We Were Kings” on the big screen via YouTube. Love summer.

One thing about being tied up most of the day in driving and lunching and more driving? I missed the panic over the stock exchange and whatever else the world was on about today. I was just thinking…cauliflower. Yeahhhh.

Now Kate is at the Stones concert and so are a few of my friends, and I’m enjoying it via social media. That’s the way to enjoy a Stones concert, if you ask me. All the fun, none of the traffic.

A little bloggage, then?

Donald Trump is the monster the GOP created:

One big Republican donor this week floated to the Associated Press the idea of having candidates boycott debates if the tycoon is onstage. Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham and other candidates have lined up to say, as Rick Perry put it, that “Donald Trump does not represent the Republican Party.”

But Trump has merely held up a mirror to the Republican Party. The man, long experience has shown, believes in nothing other than himself. He has, conveniently, selected the precise basket of issues that Republicans want to hear — or at least a significant proportion of Republican primary voters. He may be saying things more colorfully than others when he talks about Mexico sending rapists across the border, but his views show that, far from being an outlier, he is hitting all the erogenous zones of the GOP electorate.

Anti-immigrant? Against Common Core education standards? For repealing Obamacare? Against gay marriage? Antiabortion? Anti-tax? Anti-China? Virulent in questioning President Obama’s legitimacy? Check, check, check, check, check, check, check and check.

Again from the WashPost, an interesting piece, pegged to the Jared-Subway story, about our misconceptions about pedophiles:

The public typically maintains a highly stereotypical and largely inaccurate view of pedophiles, defined as adults or teens 16 and up who are sexually stimulated by pre-pubescent children (typically 11 and under). We imagine pedophiles as creepy men with shifty eyes, stubble and a trench coat. We think they lurk around schools and playgrounds, waiting to snatch children. We think of these men as despicable lowlifes whom we can spot when we meet them, which is why news of sex crimes against children are invariably met with disbelief. “Stunned” parents and community members say the same thing: “He never seemed like that type of person.” In my three decades working with many men who sexually violate children and teens, I’ve never met one person who fit “that type.”

Women and heroin, a growing romance. Alas.

Good Thursday, all.

Posted at 12:07 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 41 Comments
 

Things can’t stay the same forever.

I’m thinking lately of making some changes here. Not shutting down the blog, no, but I’m trying to figure out a way to re-fit it into my life. It seems, night after night, I find myself sitting in front of this screen, trying to think of something to write about, tapped out. Sometimes this goes on for far longer than it should. A hobby shouldn’t be frustrating, and it shouldn’t consume this much time on the way to being frustrating.

It’s not that I lack opinions. I have them. My job doesn’t allow me to express (many of) them (publicly). It’s not that I lack links; I have those, too, but Jolene usually beats me to them. No, what I’m lacking these days is the energy and time to post those long, meandering column-like things that built whatever readership this blog once had, and maybe still has, but probably doesn’t. Honestly, I haven’t checked my traffic in years, because I fear what I might find. This was never a big-readership blog, but it had some fans.

So I thought, hell, treat it like social media — a post here, a post there, and let the comments coalesce around them. Then I consider how our commenting community here is very much like a family, and I fear what would happen if there were three posts a day here instead of one. Then I think, is that my problem? and I’m afraid the answer is yes, it is. I am my blogger’s keeper. To mangle a phrase.

All of which boils down to this, I think: Maybe we’re in a dry patch, maybe I’m sapped by too much stuff here and there, maybe it’s just one of those things I have to ride out. I’m not sure now. What I am sure of is, I don’t want to be staring at my laptop screen for hours after the work day is done. I may have to trim here and there. I’m asking for forbearance.

The blog can’t go away. Because otherwise, where would I share gems like this?

fifthwettest

(THAT’S WHAT JUNE SAID, as Jim Romenesko noted.)

Here’s the story of the day for me, about how Colorado took a bold chance on sharply reducing unplanned pregnancies in the state, and damn if it didn’t work. The magic formula: Long-acting birth control, provided free of charge to anyone who wanted it. And holy shit, look at these numbers:

The birthrate among teenagers across the state plunged by 40 percent from 2009 to 2013, while their rate of abortions fell by 42 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. There was a similar decline in births for another group particularly vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies: unmarried women under 25 who have not finished high school.

“Our demographer came into my office with a chart and said, ‘Greta, look at this, we’ve never seen this before,’” said Greta Klingler, the family planning supervisor for the public health department. “The numbers were plummeting.”

White House Warns Insurers About Surcharges and Gaps for ContraceptionMAY 11, 2015
The changes were particularly pronounced in the poorest areas of the state, places like Walsenburg, a small city in southern Colorado where jobs are scarce and many young women have unplanned pregnancies. Taking advantage of the free program, Hope Martinez, a 20-year-old nursing home receptionist here, recently had a small rod implanted under the skin of her upper arm to prevent pregnancy for three years. She has big plans — to marry, to move farther west and to become a dental hygienist.

“I don’t want any babies for a while,” she said.

It’s not just birth control, it’s good, long-term, safe and free birth control. Spend a dollar there, save $6 in Medicaid funding. What a radical idea. And it worked. Amazing.

Do I have anything else?

No, I don’t. Onward to a new era. Or maybe not.

Posted at 12:30 am in Housekeeping | 57 Comments
 

Better than the finale.

Every year you hear fireworks horror stories. They’re still coming in, but I doubt any will top this one:

Residents at the party began shooting off fireworks in the street — which is illegal — when someone accidentally knocked over an explosive that was supposed to shoot skyward.

Instead of going up, the explosive launched sideways into a party-goer’s 2005 Ford Escape with the hatchback open and right into an arsenal of fireworks in the trunk estimated to be worth between $2,000 and $3,000, according to police.

That set off all of the fireworks inside of the vehicle, setting the car on fire, and shot a large mortar at the house across the street, crashing through the front window.

This is the fruit of a relaxed fireworks law that passed a few years back. Although I must admit, it might have been fun to see that.

So the week is underway — hot weather, storms on the way, followed by storms and cooler. The narrative of the summer. Spent the first day of the week in Ann Arbor, the office mostly deserted, the chickadees singing in the trees. Not a bad Monday.

Some bloggage:

Nighty-night, Bill Cosby. These quaaludes will help you sleep. Deadpan is digging up the documents, and it’s every bit as squicky as you’d expect:

(The alleged victim, the plaintiff) didn’t ask for any money—only an apology—but Cosby still offered her money, according to his testimony, for her “education.” He also offered money to another woman. From the same plaintiff’s motion (emphasis added is mine):

Defendant testified that even though both Plaintiff and her mother told him that all they wanted was an apology, he called Plaintiff’s home and spoke to her mother to offer money for Plaintiff’s “education.” The following occurred during questioning about that event:

Q. So, are you saying that Andrea would have to prove to you that she got a 3.0 average wherever she went in order for you to pay for her education?

A. She would have to prove to me that while she was at said university that she was maintaining a 3.0.

Now there’s a conscience laundry, eh?

“True Detective” fans might enjoy this take on the obvious model for fictional Vinci, California — Vernon, California. A bad place.

I wish I had more, but alas. Let’s try for better tomorrow.

Posted at 12:45 am in Current events | 23 Comments
 

I was so much older then.

I think everything you need to know about my 40th high school reunion last weekend can be summed up in this scene from its final moments, when I was invited to judge the quality of my oldest friend’s boob job with a friendly squeeze.

Also, this: The boob job was a restoration following a double mastectomy, which itself followed a second bout of the big C in a decade. Because of the previous treatment, the restoration was no simple matter, requiring skin stretchers and all sorts of gruesome-sounding shit. But my friend, Cindy, and her husband Mark, are amazingly upbeat about it all. I think the reason I was invited to handle the goods was because, she said, they didn’t really feel like breasts anymore, with all their sensitivity and tingliness, which I guess stands to reason.

Reader, I cannot deny it: I honked the horns. They felt fine.

“Now all we have to do is shop for nipples!” Mark reported. Evidently that’s the final step.

So that’s life in the late 50s, I guess: Boob jobs, but not for the typical reasons. Grandchildren. Older but wiser. There was a memorial video for the ones who are permanently off the mailing list, so to speak. One word: AIDS. A little more kindness all around. The head cheerleader, apparently the only member of the class with a child younger than mine, explained the circumstances of his debut — 40s, no man on the horizon, sperm bank. A guy I’d always assumed was a drug casualty was finally revealed as an obvious psychiatric case. The funny pot dealers were there, still funny, still probably holding. (I didn’t ask.) At least one pill refused to wear the event T-shirt because the theme was “Forty Shades of Gray” and wearing that on your chest would be counter to God’s law. If he’d said, “Because God disapproves of lousy fiction,” I could get behind that, but I don’t think that’s what he meant.

My class reunites every five years, which always struck me as way too often. It was also a group of nearly 800 souls, which is way too big. You’re lucky to have known a quarter of them, and if 10 percent of them show up at a reunion, you’re lucky. I went to the five, 10, 15, 20 and 25-year events, and said after the last one that I was done forever. So did Cindy; she said that after battling cancer she was in no mood to waste time with vague acquaintances. But this year they roped her onto the committee, and she roped me into going.

Another thing that happened as I was making my way to the door, after the boob squeeze: I was drafted to work on the next committee. There’s a price for everything, I guess.

And that was most of my holiday weekend. How was yours? I’m writing this a few hours before leaving for a backyard barbecue. I was kind of thinking I’d see “Magic Mike XXL” today, but give it a few more days and another all-day rain will roll in, and that’ll be much better weather for it. Barbecue while you can, because you can’t do that via Netflix.

Not much bloggage today, but there’s this:

BASTROP, Texas — The office of the Bastrop County Republican Party is in an old lumber mill on Main Street, with peeling brown paint and a sign out front that captures the party’s feelings about the Obama administration: “WISE UP AMERICA!”

Inside, county Chairman Albert Ellison pulled out a yellow legal pad on which he had written page after page of reasons why many Texans distrust President Obama, including the fact that, “in the minds of some, he was raised by communists and mentored by terrorists.”

So it should come as no surprise, Ellison said, that as the U.S. military prepares to launch one of the largest training exercises in history later this month, many Bastrop residents might suspect a secret Obama plot to spy on them, confiscate their guns and ultimately establish martial law in one of America’s proudly free conservative states.

I wouldn’t live in Texas for all the money in the world.

Also this, Neil Sternberg’s valedictory for the open-outcry system at the Chicago Board of Trade, which I’m glad I got to see before it went away, because it was something to see.

And finally this, Frank Bruni’s backhand to the Kennedy spawn spreading vaccine alarmism:

If you had told me a while back that I’d someday dread, dodge and elect not to return phone calls from a prominent member of the Kennedy dynasty, I would have said you were nuts.

Then Robert Kennedy Jr. started reaching out.

Not just reaching out, mind you, but volunteering to educate me. To illuminate me. That was his tone of voice, somewhat pitying and vaguely patronizing, the one time we talked at length, after he’d left messages and before he left more.

Midsummer starts now.

Posted at 12:25 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 40 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
 

Wonder woman.

Well, here’s a headline you don’t see every day: Woman gives birth, fights off bees, starts wildfire in Northern California.

And yes, it’s exactly as delightful as you’d wish, although I’ll admit that the situation it describes couldn’t have been pleasant to endure. Still:

The bees wanted the placenta, she said with a chuckle.

Sort of gives new meaning to the phrase “mother and baby are doing fine.” They are, it’s just…it took some doing.

So, how was your day? Mine was eh. Half a day in Ann Arbor, lunch at a coney island, which is always restaurant choice No. 58 on a list of 60. (Nos. 59 and 60? Buffalo Wild Wings and Hardee’s.) But it was a group, and I was outvoted. I wanted bibimbap from the Korean place two doors down, but it was closed. I’m a late convert to bibimbap, and I’m glad I lived long enough to discover it, and now I have some catching up to do. Had a gyro, which I immediately regretted, even as I ate every delicious bite. I think gyro meat is one of those protein sources it’s best not to think too hard about. Fortunately, I only have one about once in a blue moon.

It’s been a cool summer so far, so much so that slipping into the heated pool at 6:45 a.m. today was a relief from the morning air. I bought dark goggles for those outdoor backstroke lengths staring up at the sun, but didn’t need them today — overcast. It’s what we do here in Michigan half the year, you’d think we could get a little break in the sunny season, but nooooooo. But I did my damn laps. I’m a fairly terrible swimmer, but my slow, plodding style is better than sleeping another hour. I puffed through a mile last Friday; it took 40 minutes.

I hope that would please the First Lady, who invited a bunch of Girl Scouts to have a campout on the White House lawn last night as part of the Let’s Move program. It looks like it went well:

Did I ever tell you my best camping story? Probably. I’ll tell it again: On Alan’s and my first camping trip as a couple, we…well, we overpacked. But hey, no problem — we were car camping, so it’s just a matter of squeezing it all in. We went up to the Au Sable River over Memorial Day weekend, and it was crowded in the National Forest campground, but we took an extra day off at the end of the weekend, and by Monday night, it was as quiet and peaceful as you want the forest to be — no canoes on the river, no rednecks blasting Lynyrd Skynyrd around the campfire, nothing. On Tuesday, we carried all our crap back to the car, which was a distance from the site, around a bend in the path and entirely out of sight of the campsite and the river. As I picked up the cooler on the final trip, there were but two beers left, still cold in the melting ice. I took them out and put them on the picnic table and said, “Let’s load this stuff, come back, drink these last two Budweisers and hit the road.” Alan said it sounded like a plan, and we humped the last load to the car.

When we came back three minutes later, there were two wet rings where the beers had been. I looked up and down the river. Nothing. I looked up and down the path running alongside the river. Nothing. I listened for any sound other than the wind in the trees. Nothing. Someone must have come along, seen two ice-cold beers sitting on a picnic table with no one else in sight, looked up at the sky, whispered “thank you, God” and made off with them.

I hope, somewhere in Michigan that weekend, someone told a different version of that story.

OK, so the bloggage, then:

I hope Caitlyn Jenner is happy with how she looks now, but man, those are some positively Seinfeldian man-hands, and I agree with Tom & Lorenzo — she should go up a size.

Roy takes on the First Things (“Opus Dei stroke book”) symposium on same-sex marriage with a lot more humor and insight than I ever could muster.

Wednesday already? How the hell did that happen?

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 36 Comments
 

Time runs in one direction.

Before the rainbows fade or are pushed aside by the next news event coming down the pike, I have to spare a moment more for the people who are so unhinged by the SSM decision. I always ask, what do they want? And every so often one will answer, in so many words: For homosexuals (because it’s always “homosexuals,” never “gay” or “LGBT”) to just go away. Back into the closets, the bars, the bearded marriages, the three-martini cocktail hours and all the rest of it.

How can they not see it? The world never runs that way. Well, let them yearn.

All-lite bloggage today, because why not:

I’ve said before that Reductress is the Onion of women’s magazines, and here you go: This beautiful destination wedding really inconvenienced everyone.

Guests were told to come “dressed to impress,” looking sleek and sharp in their black tie attire at the base of the mountain, though many became noticeably fatigued and regretful of their footwear choices as they hiked up to the ceremony site.

“I shouldn’t be doing this at my age,” said the groom’s grandmother at the beginning of the ascent. “I’ll be lucky if I don’t collapse a lung.” She did, in fact, collapse both lungs.

“We miss her dearly,” says the groom now, looking at a framed picture of his grandmother. “But she died doing what she loved: watching me get married.”

One of the trainers at my gym got married at a five-star resort in the Dominican Republic. I’m sure it was a lovely ceremony.

Hey, e’ry body, watch this: The first fireworks casualty of the season. (OK, so not lite, but funny in a newspaper-y sort of way.

Martin Scorsese talks about “The Third Man,” one of my favorite movies.

Another damn basement hog in Detroit! (OK, Highland Park. Practically Detroit.) Three makes a trend, so I’m waiting.

Posted at 12:07 am in Current events | 35 Comments
 

We’re gonna need a bigger news hole.

Friday night is traditionally cocktails-with-friends night, and last week’s debrief took place at St. Cece’s, which used to be a bad Irish bar/restaurant and is now a much better one, not Irish anymore but with all the decor left mainly untouched.

Everyone was sitting outside, summer being short and this summer particularly so. We sat inside.

Of course, topic one was SCOTUS, followed immediately by the president’s eulogy in Charleston. I said there what I said in the comments Friday, that this is truly an extraordinary presidency, one I don’t expect to see again in my lifetime. If you missed the speech, I urge you to look it up online and watch it. First, you might find it helpful to read James Fallows’ analysis. That’s because the speech is so good you’re going to want to just let it wash over you, and knowing why it’s so good will help you appreciate it so much more:

Here are the three rhetorical aspects of the speech that I think made it more artful as a beginning-to-end composition than any of his other presentations:

— The choice of grace as the unifying theme, which by the standards of political speeches qualifies as a stroke of genius.

— The shifting registers in which Obama spoke—by which I mean “black” versus “white” modes of speech—and the accompanying deliberate shifts in shadings of the word we.

— The start-to-end framing of his remarks as religious, and explicitly Christian, and often African-American Christian, which allowed him to present political points in an unexpected way.

I’ve noticed something over the weekend; I’m not hearing much discussion of this from the usual suspects who bemoan the lack of religion in daily life. Rod Dreher, as previously noted, it having a nelly-ass meltdown over same-sex marriage, and the coming purge of Christians he is dead-set convinced is going to happen ANY MINUTE NOW. I won’t link to a specific post. You can just hit the home page and scroll.

Pretty much everyone, from right to left, is melting down in one way or another over SSM. It is a big, big moment in our history, a real arc-of-justice thing, so I totally understand. This was the other big topic at Friday cocktails, and for once, I don’t think I have to give you a linkage roundup, although I thought this column, by the Freep’s consistently excellent Brian Dickerson, was, yes, excellent. It’s about an estranged gay partner who had the misfortune to have her custody battle in recent years, when she was a legal non-entity in the lives of three children she helped raise for a decade. It’s moving and sad, and when you contrast her story with Dreher’s chicken-littling, it’s even more so.

(Oh, and I don’t know if you’ll get the same autoplaying ad on the autoplaying video that I did, but man, it’s fucking weird — a “Michigan Celebrates Marriage” campaign from the Catholic church, of all entities. Horrifying bad taste, considering the circumstances, if you ask me.)

The above got us through two rounds of drinks, and then someone checked Twitter, and it was all about the hog story, a real OID about a guy who died — not in his own house, but nearby, very OID — and a couple days later the cops get a call that there’s a live pig in the guy’s basement, who’s allegedly been surviving on human remains. That last part turned out to be b.s., but the pig was very real, a female living up to her hocks in her own shit. Poor piggy! And when the cops got there, it turned out the steps to the basement were missing, because of course they were. So there was a several hours-long situation, with neighbors gathering at the yellow tape line and everybody joking about barbecue.

We talked about dropping by, maybe with a six-pack or something, but then they somehow fashioned a ramp that the pig found agreeable, and she was free. She’s going to a shelter or sanctuary or something, and as long as she doesn’t have any serious medical conditions, she’ll be living out her days there. Thank god, because that pig earned her some retirement.

More happened over the weekend, but let’s save something for the rest of the week. Lord knows what it’ll be like. (The prison breakout story is already wrapping up.) Let’s hope for the best.

Posted at 12:26 am in Current events | 42 Comments