Some last notes.

This will be the last you hear from me for a while. But when I resurface? I hope to be in the land of midnight sun. Wendy will be home with her sitter — who allows her to sleep in bed with him — and we’ll have an ocean between us.

As well as the Greenland Sea. Current temperature in Reykjavik: 48 degrees.

So just a link or two, and some requests:

Talk about whatever you want in my absence, but be advised that I don’t have much email access, or only intermittent access. So if your comment gets kicked to moderation, it’s likely to stay there a while. Try resubmitting. Please be kind to one another. I hope I get some good pictures.

Meanwhile, an interesting story on the Jonathan Weisman anti-Semitic tweet storm.

And then there was Hillary’s rather splendid throwdown yesterday:

She said she imagined Mr. Trump was “composing nasty tweets” about her even as she spoke. And indeed he was: “Bad performance by Crooked Hillary Clinton!” Mr. Trump wrote. “Reading poorly from the teleprompter! She doesn’t even look presidential.”

But Mrs. Clinton sought to turn Mr. Trump’s prolific Twitter habit into an additional bullet point demonstrating that he was “unfit” for the presidency, as she put it. She twice referred to the scene in the White House Situation Room where as secretary of state, she advised Mr. Obama on the raid on a compound in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.

“Imagine Donald Trump sitting in the Situation Room, making life-or-death decisions on behalf of the United States,” Mrs. Clinton said, eliciting cries of “No!” from her audience. “Imagine if he had not just his Twitter account at his disposal when he’s angry, but America’s entire arsenal.”

Woo. Who wrote that?

Finally, a longer read I’m not done with yet, but it’s interesting, on the genetic origins of dogs.

Bye! Wheels up for Reykjavik on Sunday. Back here eventually.

Posted at 12:10 am in Current events, Popculch | 50 Comments

First blood.

Such an exciting morning at our house. I had just cracked an egg into the pan when I noticed Wendy wagging to go outside. I opened the door, she shot out like a rocket and before I knew it, the squirrel zigged when it should have zagged and had become Wendy’s first official kill. First blood.

I think I was squeaking as much as the squirrel was. I can’t say it was entirely clean; I didn’t see any violent head-shaking, but she got the job done. Spriggy would have shaken it vigorously for a while, then trotted around with his trophy in his jaws for another while, then settled in to rend it limb from limb and fight when we tried to take it away. Wendy’s sweet personality, and perhaps a little bafflement at actually having nailed the thing, meant she basically stood over it proudly, occasionally touching it with her nose, as if to say, “Hey, get up and play some more.”

I got Alan out of bed early to do the dirty work before she tried to dismember it, roll in it or otherwise make a mess. She was bummed to have to give up the prize, and now revisits the spot whenever she’s in the yard, just to see if it’s come back, or to sniff its blood, or something.

No, I didn’t get a picture. Should have. It was a black squirrel, too; they’re generally thought to have a few more IQ points than the gray ones. My mighty huntress.

I was interrupted by Trump thoughts all day, partly because I was working my way through this David Frum essay about him. Title: The Seven Broken Guardrails of Democracy, just in case you think essay titles can’t be too portentous. He makes a few good points, although it’s hard to take seriously a piece that approvingly quotes both Rod Dreher and Jonah Goldberg. Frum makes the point that even if Trump is flattened in November, the damage is done. A presidential candidate has boasted about his penis on a national stage (in Detroit! Hometown represent!). Can’t rebottle that genie. I came away from it thinking I need to chat up my old boss Derek, whose head is a data-analyzing computer; he’ll point to an electoral map and tell me to stop worrying and start preparing for President Hillary, and I will, for a while.

At the same time, one of the things that makes life so interesting is how you really never know what’s coming tomorrow. And the night is dark and full of terrors, to quote a little “Game of Thrones.”

And there’s this, an account of this week’s Trump presser about the veterans fundraiser:

He actually believes that it’s the job of political reporters covering a presidential candidate to write “Thank you very much, Mr. Trump.” It’s not the press’ job to discover the truth or ask questions or hold the powerful accountable; their job is to promote him and compliment him. And when he doesn’t get the glowing coverage he wants, he attacks.

I’m trying not to get tired of saying this, but just try to imagine what the reaction would be if Hillary Clinton came out to defend herself against some perfectly reasonable questions, and said “The press should be ashamed of themselves” or pointed to a reporter and said, “You’re a sleaze.” She wouldn’t be criticized or questioned, she’d be crucified. Reporters would ask if she had lost her mind and was having a nervous breakdown. There would be demands for her to pull out of the race immediately, since she had shown herself to be so unstable.

It’s going to be a real challenge for reporters covering Trump to continue to ask the questions they ask of every candidate, to demand answers and to point out falsehoods — which is already a herculean task when it comes to Trump, since he delivers so many of them. That’s not easy to do when you know your subject is going to assault you over it. And it’s not likely to change.

Ai yi yi.

Loose ends: The water test came back. No lead, no copper, no problems. No neurotoxins. Thanks, beb!

Finally, you know how zillionaires are always threatening to move to less-tax-y places unless they’re properly honored? Few of them do.

Posted at 12:01 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 46 Comments

Motel music.

I forgot to tell you about the Movement festival. Not that I went. It was hot as Vulcan’s dick (to steal a witticism from Titus Pullo in “Rome”) all three days, expensive as hell, and nooooo thanks. I like techno/house music OK, but not well enough to pay a fortune and stand on the hot concrete of Hart Plaza with a bunch of Ecstasy enthusiasts. But I’ll say this: Those folks can party.

Seriously. The after- and pre-parties went basically around the clock. Kraftwerk showed up at the contemporary art museum and played a set at 4 a.m. one night. A friend reported one of his posse stayed in one bar until 11:30 a.m. Almost noon the day after the party started.

I just can’t conceive of this. I’m suspecting? Maybe some drugs were involved.

But me, I went to one. I guess it was a pre-party, but it started at 6 a.m., and most people there were absolutely not fresh out of bed, but rather, zombie-white, inked with tattoos of Detroit’s longitude and latitude or its Latin motto, having cocktails at daybreak and listening to the persistent, monotonous bum-thumpa-bum-thumpa-bum-thumpa-bum-thumpa-bum-thumpa-bum-thumpa house beat.

It was held here:


If you’re thinking that looks like a run-down hotel, why you’re right. And I don’t think any of the residents — and I believe they were mostly all residents, long-term residents, not conventional hotel guests — had any idea this was coming until they were awakened by bum-thumpa-bum-thumpa-bum-thumpa-bum-thumpa-bum-thumpa-bum-thumpa, looked out the window and saw 30 or 40 zombies dancing in their motor court.

“Look at this place,” my friend said, delighted with the scene. “I bet there are as-yet-undiscovered species of bedbugs in there. It would be like going up the Amazon and finding a new bird.”

Meanwhile, just picked this up on one of the Deadly Vipers’ Facebook pages, taken in the West Hollywood Airbnb we sprang for, to get them off of a succession of floors:


Looks like the girlies are having fun. Just a few more days, and Kate flies home. Can’t wait to see her.

No links today — workin’ too hard! — but you guys always find the best ones, anyway. Dance the day away, then.

Posted at 12:14 am in Detroit life | 44 Comments

A few details.

And now begins the countdown to Iceland, and a time of Some Uncertainty for blog postings. I’ll be on vacation, but of course I’ll also want to share the experience with you guys, because that’s what I do — share and overshare. However, the only computer I’m taking will be my phone, and for a long time, the WordPress mobile app didn’t play well with this site. Remember how I used to do Saturday-morning market posts, and then I stopped? That’s because I couldn’t seem to size the photos anymore — they downloaded in their full, multi-pixel splendor, sprawling all over the damn page and grr.

But I tried a phone post yesterday, and huzzah, it worked on three different devices, so awRIGHT, I can blog a bit from Scandinavia, at least as long as I have wifi.

I will not be attempting the Icelandic keyboard set, though, so apologies in advance for mangled spellings of local place names. I’ll do my best.

So while I count down the days and tick the items off my to-do list, which involves a shit-ton of work-work along the way, and in a holiday-shortened week to boot, enjoy some stateside bloggage:

Oh, you should have seen Mark the Shark this weekend; he was en fuego on social media about Herr Trump, whose cotton-candy hairdo may go down in history along with Hitler’s mustache if he keeps this shit up:

“What happens is the judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great. I think that’s fine,” Mr. Trump said.

The “Mexican” judge was a law-school classmate of Mark’s, at the Indiana University law school. The “Mexican” judge is Gonzalo Curiel, and he was born in Indiana. Trump called him a “hater, a hater of Donald Trump” why? Because he refused to grant summary judgment in Trump’s favor in one of the Trump University-is-a-scam trials. Any lawyer can tell you that summary judgments, while hardly unicorns, are sort of like 9-0 Supreme Court decisions in the modern era, i.e., kind of a rare bird. A summary judgment is the judge saying that a case is so weak or flawed we don’t even need to have a trial; it’s just game over and one side wins.

For not granting Trump his motion, Judge Curiel became the subject of a 12-minute speech-within-a-speech in San Diego — San-Di-frickin-ego, where you know that calling out a Hoosier “Mexican” isn’t going to attract any attention at all — that went to the usual places, the “build that wall” chant, all of it. My favorite part of the Wall Street Journal story:

An aide in Judge Curiel’s chambers on Friday said the judicial code of conduct prevents him from responding to Mr. Trump.

Well, I’m glad someone’s keeping their wits about them.

Of course, Rod Dreher read the same story and came away with a different villain: The protestors, because things got unruly, and oh that’s a very bad thing. I mean, they waved Mexican flags! OMG!!!

The hell with that. If you don’t protest some things, the people who perpetrate them think it’s OK. It’s not OK. Even if you can’t make them stop, you still speak up and say it’s wrong.

On a happier note, I know many of us here are fans of Pete Souza, the White House photographer whose images of the Obama presidency have been so wonderful. Here’s a puff piece on him, but includes a few of those great pictures. Something I didn’t know: Souza was also Ronald Reagan’s personal shooter, for six years.

Finally, let’s end with comedy: The Libertarian convention, held over the weekend in Orlando. Here’s your nominee, freedom lovers!

In Saturday night’s debate, Johnson, alone among the top-five contenders, said that he would have signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and that he thought people should be licensed to drive cars. He was loudly booed for both positions.

And here’s how it ended. With a fat guy spontaneously stripping off his clothes onstage.

OK, then! I leave you with a picture of my weekend, which was hot but also pretty delightful, as you can imagine:


Posted at 12:01 am in Current events | 51 Comments

Moving. Forward.

So I stayed up late last night to finish one thing, and today got a reprieve – pushed back a week. Ah, well. Got my workout in late afternoon and just rolled with this particular non-punch. It’s almost a long weekend. Just enjoy it.

And it’s Movement weekend, i.e., the electronic-music festival that happens here every Memorial Day weekend. I told one of my nightowl friends I would attend the Movement afterparty of his choice. One option starts at 5 a.m., the other at 4:20 a.m. (ha ha). I intend to go to bed at 10, sleep a few hours, then rise at 3 to join the drugged-out masses at whatever sunrise show we end up at. I’m too old to stay up until 5 a.m. unless I have food poisoning or something.

I think stimulant drugs are coming back in a big way. Who the hell can stay up that late without them?

So I have to go to bed early tonight. Let’s keep this easy.

I’m not much for cat videos, but this is a great cat video.

We may have discussed the Jonathan Weisman case a while ago — can’t recall, too lazy to search. but it was egregious enough to prompt a piece coming this Sunday, and god, it’s so ugly. Key phrase, after explaining the blizzard of anti-Semitic shit that dropped on his head after daring to tweet an anti-Trump op-ed:

And still, we have heard nothing from Mr. Trump, no denunciation, no broad renouncing of racist, anti-Semitic support, no expressions of sympathy for its victims. The Republican Jewish Coalition on Tuesday released what can only be described as equivocation as an art form: “We abhor any abuse of journalists, commentators and writers, whether it be from Sanders, Clinton or Trump supporters. There is no room for any of this in any campaign.”

Sheldon Adelson, perhaps the most prolific Jewish donor to Republican causes, has not only endorsed Mr. Trump but is also encouraging Jews to rally round him.

Unbelievable. And Trump has a Jewish-convert daughter.

OK, sorry for the thin content this week, but I’m working hard and exhausted. And now we’re at the real beginning of summer. Huzzah. It’s been a long time coming.

Posted at 12:11 am in Current events, Detroit life | 75 Comments

What’s the matter with kids today?

I’m crashing to get a story done, after which I have to nose-grindstone it on the next one, so some more shortness of shrift today. Fortunately, some of you will have already read this, the New Yorker piece on the tender nature of the aggrieved students at the nation’s liberal arts colleges. In fact, it’s about the students at one liberal arts college – Oberlin.

You might remember the Derringers toured Oberlin, and Kate applied, and was admitted, but opted to become a Wolverine instead. After reading this, all I can say is: Whew.

But I don’t want to come down too hard on these kids. It’s easy to forget how high emotions can run when you’re 19 or 20 years old; most of us channel it into relations with our love interests, but many don’t. It’s also easy to forget that, at its basic level, complaints about micro aggressions and political correctness is essentially one person telling another not to be an asshole. (Seriously, when someone tells you they’re “not politically correct,” what do you immediately assume? That the person is an asshole. And aren’t you almost always right? Thought so.)

Even with those caveats, though, I think these kids are nuts, one literally so. But if nothing else, it should make you feel good about your community-college, or some other less impressive school, graduate. Because those kids are going to wipe the floor with these kids, the Oberlin kids.

Beyond that, I don’t have much. Lively conversations in comments yesterday, for which I thank you all. Someday we’ll all get together for a big party, maybe in the next world. But it’ll be fun.

Back to the grind.

Posted at 12:18 am in Current events | 39 Comments

Suddenly summer.

And the title says it all, today. We had to get our pictures taken today for various company purposes, and I thought I might wear a dress that was sort of last season. With stockings (which, I don’t care what anyone says, are Still a Thing). I left in early afternoon, fairly gasping for air. Well over 80 degrees. Wendy is no longer a lapdog, the birdies wake me up in the predawn gloom, and here we are. Summer.

What we’ve all been waiting for.

Complaints about the heat and humidity begin in three, two, one…

But first, some bloggage!

I know most of you have probably already seen this, but it took me back. What my mother sees in Hillary – The author describes what it was like for her mother, widowed young, to make her way in the world without a man, in the 1970s, when the modern women’s movement was just getting rolling. It wasn’t always pretty:

Political decisions and opinions are personal and emotional — maybe more so than they are ever practical. Our identities are tied up in our choice of candidate in any given election cycle. This person represents me. It’s never been a question that Mrs. Clinton would be my chosen candidate. For me, it’s not just that she’s a woman who fights for women. It’s her giant heap of experience in governing — a heap so much higher than any other candidate’s.

And yes, I also love that she is always the last woman standing. She has survived ceaseless attacks. It must get very tiring, and yet she never flags. She has been called a bitch and a witch and characterized as Lady Macbeth. She’s shrill, she shouts, she barks. She’s uninspiring, she’s unlikable and she’s not exciting the base. Sometimes I think that many people in this country are still scared to see a powerful woman. But I am more ready for her than ever.

In the years when my mom was a single mother, people commented on her lifestyle with alarming frequency. Why wasn’t she living with her parents, they wanted to know. Wasn’t she worried that if she didn’t marry again soon, her son would grow up to be gay? Her landlord came over after her husband died, hemming and hawing, saying how sorry she was, but also that she was hoping my mom might move out to be closer to family, which would probably be better for everyone.

Well. My mother persevered. She smiled politely and bit her tongue and did what she had to do to survive those rough years.

I’d forgotten the endless Lifestyle section articles on how a single woman might get her own credit cards (!!!), take out a loan, deal with a handsy boss. It wasn’t that long ago. Ready for Hillary, indeed.

Speaking of the ’70s, you remember when the microwave oven was a miracle, when suddenly there were different types of lettuce in the markets, and then that lettuce started coming pre-torn and already washed, and now it’s so easy to buy organic baby greens? I can’t remember the last time I had to put a bunch of spinach through three washes to get the grit out of it – no, wait, I do, I think it was last summer – and chard and kale in their infant form are as easy to buy as peanut butter.

So now comes the pre-sliced apple. And it’s working:

Three years ago, a group of researchers at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab had a hunch. They knew that many of apples being served to kids as part of the National School Lunch Program were ending up in the trash, virtually untouched. But unlike others, they wondered if the reason was more complicated than simply that the kids didn’t want the fruit.

Specifically, they thought the fact that the apples were being served whole, rather than sliced, was doing the fruits no favor. And they were on to something.

A pilot study conducted at eight schools found that fruit consumption jumped by more than 60 percent when apples were served sliced. And a follow-up study, conducted at six other schools, not only confirmed the finding, but further strengthened it: Both overall apple consumption and the percentage of students who ate more than half of the apple that was served to them were more than 70 percent higher at schools that served sliced apples.

This may be good news, it may be bad. But I guess it’s good enough. The heirloom varieties I favor in the fall don’t take well to pre-slicing; the Northern Spies I buy for pie start turning brown almost immediately. It doesn’t affect their taste, but it would affect a picky child’s appetite. But if they’re eating apples, it’s better than not eating apples.

Finally, I loved this. So proud of my old buddy Mark the Shark:

Things have gotten a bit testy between several members of the Fort Wayne Community Schools board and the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

Last week the foundation sent a new report extolling the virtues of vouchers via email to Mark GiaQuinta, president of the Fort Wayne Community Schools board.

He responded with “more distortions and lies.”

That’s when Jennifer Wagner got involved – a well-known Democrat who has bucked her party’s stand against the state-paid vouchers that largely go to religious-based private schools.

She is now the Vice President of Communications for Friedman, and responded “Hi, Mark. Thanks for the thoughtful and constructive feedback on an issue that’s very important to the roughly 4,700 Fort Wayne families who are using Indiana’s voucher program.”

GiaQuinta didn’t hold back in his response to Wagner – saying ” it is very important to those desiring a religious education at taxpayer expense. You know it and I know it. Fewer than 10 percent of the recipients ever attended a public school. Congratulations for taking funds to educate the poor. You people are despicable.”

Despicable! He never holds back. And he’s so, so right about this.

Reading that today prompted me to surf over to the alma mater and see if they’re still putting out the laziest, most boring, recycled-crap editorial page in the Hoosier state and probably several others, and yes, yes they are. This sinecure-holder farts out another trombone solo, and as for Leo, well, it’s the usual regurgitated-from-blogworld stuff, the “apology tour,” Michelle Obama’s “obsession” with our eating habits, etc. Sad. But not really surprising.

Bedtime for me, and I need my beauty sleep today.

Posted at 12:07 am in Current events | 59 Comments


We’ve been having a little problem with the water here in Michigan; maybe you’ve heard.

When the Flint story began to break big, I asked Alan to check our water service line, and he did, reporting back: Lead. OK, no need to panic. The whole country is full of lead or lead-welded infrastructure, and it’s not necessarily an E-ticket to brain damage. When the dangers of lead were first grasped, we didn’t instantly dig them all up, we started adding anti-corrosive agents to municipal water systems. Over time — this is among the 10,000 fun facts about water treatment that every state resident has learned in the last six months or so — this builds up a layer of protective coating on your pipes, so no more lead leaching into your water.

(In fact, one of the problems with Flint now is, the residents are so leery of running their water for any reason that even though the city is now buying treated, finished water from Detroit again, they aren’t running enough through their home pipes to allow them to heal, so to speak. But I digress.)

So, theoretically, because we’ve been drinking treated water from Detroit since we’ve lived here, we should be fine. I didn’t rush to have our water tested, figuring the labs would be inundated with samples from Flint, where they legitimately have reason for concern. I didn’t want to take up lab time because I feel nervous.

Then elevated lead levels were found in a few isolated spots in the local public schools, and I overheard one of the janitors talking to the lifeguard at the pool, saying, “Well, what did they expect? They took the samples at the end of Easter vacation. That water had been sitting in the pipes for days.” Personally? What I expect would be no or hardly any lead in my water. So that was worrisome. And as more emails are released from various government entities, a culture of gaming the testing samples is becoming evident; there’s a protocol that allows outlier readings to be thrown out, or averaged, or something, so that the reaction when a bad sample turns up isn’t oh no lead rush to fix it, but quick get a bunch more samples, so we can throw that one out.

Enough time has passed that the Flint samples must have eased off at the state lab; time for Nance’s peace of mind. It’ll cost $26, assuming I filled out the form properly – it seems very to-the-trade, and how do you like that tiny envelope?


I’ll keep you posted on the extent of our brain damage.

What a weekend. Spring is here, and we set off for the local Junior League’s Decorator Show House. It was our family doctor’s father’s house, who I gather was something of an eccentric (when he got tired of keeping up the landscaping, he brought in goats, and ignored all official attempts to evict them), and a pack rat. After his death, the family spent months just clearing the place out. Late one New Year’s Eve, we got a text message inviting us there for one final, impromptu throwdown, and we went. It’s a spectacular house, and even with its ’70s shag carpet and years of neglect, it was clear the good bones were still there. Paul, our doctor, showed us the secret room where the booze was hidden during Prohibition (you could see the bottle marks on the floor), and the basement dry dock — yes, it has a canal leading to a boathouse that can be pumped out and boats hoisted for storage and repair, a feature that I’m sure got its share of action during the ’20s, too.

Every lakefront house in Grosse Pointe has some sort of Prohibition story attached to it, many of them b.s., but this is one whose stories I believe.

Anyway, the decorating was uneven, as most show houses are, but there were a lot of nice touches. The best were the ones where they let those good bones show through. Some moneybags will own it now, and it will nevermore host goats, I imagine. How often do you visit a house with its own lock, and not the kind on the doors?

So, then, a bit of bloggage?

Neil Steinberg with another Trump rant:

Have you looked at his face? The strain. The white circles around the eyes. He just doesn’t look like a well man. Yes, his keeling over dead sometime in the next six months would be a deus ex machina solution. But God looks kindly upon America. Or did.

Not to get overly personal and mean, which smacks of Trumpism. I don’t wish the man dead, just not living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The toughest challenge, facing him, is not to become like him. Because we lose that game, since he’s better at being him than we are.

“When fighting monsters,” as my favorite Nietszche quote goes, “take care not to become a monster.”

A daffy fashion piece by Robin Givhan, about Elizabeth Warren’s sleeves. Headline: Elizabeth Warren is sending you a subliminal message with her sleeves. For real.

The week ahead will be a bear, but I think I’m ready. I better be. You too?

Posted at 12:12 am in Current events, Detroit life | 79 Comments

This way to the weekend.

A mixed bag today, as the week lumbers to a close. It was a fairly productive one; can’t complain, even though I was a no-show yesterday. Just one of those days, when nothing much went well and I ended it thinking all I wanted from life was a little Netflix and a book. The next thing you know, you look up and there’s been a plane crash, Morley Safer checks out and…it’s Thursday night.

Happy Friday.

So let’s start with the best bloggage of the bunch. We were talking a few weeks back about the various eagle cams and falcon cams and all the rest of the cams that show us avian predator life in its cuddly fledgling stage. A great piece follows, from the WashPost, about the nest-cam operators who are shutting down, because the thousands watching online? Can’t handle the truth:

The osprey cam at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is trained on a nest near the Massachusetts seaside, and the pair that call it home are now waiting for three eggs to hatch. But for the first spring in a decade, the camera is dark, and a note on the institute’s website offers only a two-sentence explanation.

“Regrettably, the cam will not be operating this season due to the increasingly aggressive actions of certain viewers the last two years,” it begins.

That is a staid reference to cam fans whose emotions about the nest morphed into vitriol — and fighting words. When the osprey mother began neglecting and attacking her chicks in 2014, anxiety exploded among some viewers, as did demands that the institution intervene to save the baby birds. When the same thing happened in 2015, the public passions took a more personal turn.

“It is absolutely disgusting that you will not take those chicks away from that demented witch of a parent!!!!!” one viewer emailed to Jeffrey Brodeur, the communications specialist who ran the camera. Another wrote: “I realize this is nature, but once you put up a cam to view into their worlds it is no longer nature. You have a responsibility to help n save when in need.”

It’s a great story — lots of anecdotes about people who are way too over-invested in the world that flies around over our heads. How much so? Oh, you have no idea:

In 2014, when the chicks featured on a bald-eagle cam in North Fort Myers, Fla., weren’t getting much to eat, some viewers decided to take matters into their own hands. Under cover of darkness, they headed to the nest site and tossed meat into it — a roast, to be specific.

I love the eagle cams as much as the next person, but when things get a little dicey, I just click away. That’s why we have Donald Trump – for the distraction.

Speaking of which.

The WP also has a pretty good piece about the next generation of Trumps, specifically his sons, Eric and Don.

It’s pretty good, but Hank Stuever started an interesting Facebook conversation about the difference between the Trump scions, who at least talked to the Washington Post, and Chelsea Clinton, who apparently still thinks it’s 1993 and she’s 13 years old, protected like the tender bud she was then. Now it’s 2016 and she’s 36, and she still doesn’t answer a question that wasn’t vetted, but feels she can campaign for her mother and face only the scrutiny she approves. So, then: Props to the young Trumps, who I liked better after reading this. Dammit.

Can we trust the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education? Because these numbers are crazy:

If 10 percent of American smokers gave up cigarettes and the rest cut back by 10 percent, the U.S. could shave $63 billion off medical costs the next year, the analysis found.

It doesn’t pass the smell test, but I have no idea it’s a big number. But is it that big?

The new study found that regions with lower smoking rates had substantially lower medical costs from 1992 through 2009.

Californians spent $15.4 billion less on healthcare in 2009 than they would have if they smoked as much as the national average, the analysis estimates. At the other extreme, Kentucky residents spent an estimated $1.7 billion more than the national average on healthcare because they smoked more.


Here’s a nice Neal Rubin column from Detroit, about the breakup of a chain of sleazebags ripping off Detroit Public Schools. I don’t want to excerpt anything from it, but read it — it’s good.

Finally, Lisa Belkin, the former NYT reporter and author “Show Me a Hero,” wrote a piece about the time when, as a young reporter, Donald Trump made a pass at her. It attracted this fan mail:


Sorry for the language, but this is the sort of thing women who write on the internet get used to. Enjoy your weekend. May you get no communiques like that.

Posted at 12:02 am in Current events, Media, Same ol' same ol' | 60 Comments

Deep water.

I checked my email before leaving for the pool this morning, and learned that a filter at the pool had gone out, a part was needed and hadn’t been located yet and the pool would be closed for the rest of the school year. But the district wasn’t leaving us out to dry — ha! — but was relocating the sunrise swim to one of the high-school natatoriums. Which is only a few years old and several orders of magnitude nicer than the middle-school pool we use now.

So hey, I rolled up, parked, found the locker room and got wet. It was delightful, the keepers of this pool adhering to the more modern idea that the water should be on the cool side. And there was an extractor in the locker room, as well as, what’s this? Private showers? With curtains?

Yes, it appears the gang shower of yesteryear, the stage for Carrie’s disgrace and probably yours in some forgotten nightmare, is a thing of the past, at least here. Which immediately made me think that, once again, all the fretting about locker rooms is probably just more wasted worry.

And! There was an extractor for swimsuits! The rest of this year’s pool time is going to be 100 percent win.

(This opinion wasn’t shared by all, I should add. Two women confessed they felt freaked out by the vastness of the diving well, and the fact the shallow end of the lanes was nearly 7 feet deep. Neither will be going to the Olympics, I guess.)

I was called upon to do a late work chore this evening, which cut into my blogging time. In lieu of links, accept this photo of Saturday’s appetizer. Salmon tartare. So much yum.


And happy Wednesday.

Posted at 12:10 am in Same ol' same ol' | 74 Comments