A friend of mine is making a short film and asked for my help. It’s some sort of steampunk-Western thing, so I went down to the basement to dig up my neglected riding gear and see what still might work.

The good news: I found my old chaps, and dammit, THEY FUCKING FIT. Sorry for the obscenity there, but it’s just when you have a garment that is zipped around your thighs, and you haven’t worn them in a decade, you have anxiety just looking at them. To strap on the belt — hey, it’s going to the old hole, whaddaya know? — and then reach down and bring them around to the zipper, fingers a-tremble? And then to find they fit, easily? That’s a good feeling.

The mildewy smell in the suede will be the next obstacle. I’d also like to maybe wear them on a horse again, but one obstacle at a time.

The other thing I found was this, rattling around loose in a box, yet another treasure from letters from my dear bff Deb.

We are a cruel people, journalists. Then again, sometimes those we are cruel to deserve it. Damn.

If you’d like a short list of what’s wrong with this story besides the dam/damn bit, let me lay it out for you:

** Don’t write the source’s name and lengthy title before whatever it is they’re saying. Information, then “said Smith.”

** Quotes should illuminate the information, not carry it. Especially when the quote repeats the information in the previous paragraph. Especially when it’s that boring.

** Actual drilling, as opposed to, what? Pretend drilling, I guess.

Back to work.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' | 28 Comments


The start of September Scantiness (until final deadline is met) begins with a long read, lately rendered in journalese as “longread.” It’s a classic holiday-weekend package, thousands and thousands of words and a front-page presentation that jumps to two inside pages AND a video, all on… a man learning to swim.

But of course, it’s about much more than that: Conquering fear, how we try to heal ourselves, the challenges we take on when we’re old enough to know better. The sort of thing you read on a holiday weekend, but what the hell, you might enjoy it on Sept. 2.

More longreads and tasty morsels coming, as I find them. A fine day to all.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' | 13 Comments

Deadline crunch.

Well, it starts soon: The final push to get the book done. Which means very light posting until the end of September. Links here, a pic here, but you’ll have to carry most of the load.

Fortunately, I have one. A picture, that is:


This was the view as I hit the homestretch on Thursday’s bike ride. Sunrise is coming later and later, but as you can see, it’s still worth seeing. That teeny-tiny dot on the horizon? A freighter, downbound.

Bloggage: My little gal’s band gets more love all the time. I’m so proud of them.

Judge Posner: Everybody’s new hero. (Sorry, Alex: I just don’t have the time or gas to really say much more.)

Have a great Labor Day weekend, my friends. I’ll see you Tuesday.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' | 27 Comments



Hi, everyone. Wendy here. We had a big storm night before last and while we kept our power, we lost our internet. ALL DAY, for reals. I know, it was awful. It’s still not back, and Dog only know when it will be. So I’m tapping this out on the phone and this will be it, most likely.

No bloggage, but if you could wish mild-mannered Jeff a happy birthday, that would be a very man’s-best-friend thing to do.

Thanks. Happy Thursday, all.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' | 46 Comments

A little ragged around the edges.

The temperature kissed 90 degrees today. Took a yoga class that revealed my lack of natural balance but my amazing capacity for perspiration. Arose from savasana to find two texts and a voicemail alerting me of a problem. But because of my inner peace, I opened the sunroof, drove home and discovered the problem had been solved already. In one 45-minute Power Lunch class! That’s something.

Does your yoga teacher ever do visualization? It depends on the amount of woo-woo you’ve signed up for, but I had one a while back who simply wouldn’t. Shut up. About the golden corral we are supposed to visualize around our heart center, and all the glowingness within. Visualize your pure golden heart pushing out all the negativity, etc.

I thought, seriously, about what my heart would look like, and decided it simply has to be spotted with black mold here and there, because otherwise, what sort of life would I have led up to this point? You just have to tarnish the glow a little; otherwise you’re Siddhartha, or maybe Beyoncé.

So, bloggage:

I keep an eye on the Apple movie-trailers site, but so far haven’t seen anything from the Jessica Chastain menu for the coming fall, but I was fascinated by the photo in this story. If you want to know why film acting is difficult and they get the big bucks, imagine emoting with that thing in your face. It’s sort of like working up tears while you’re getting the air-puff test for glaucoma.

Wait, I already do that. Because of the air-puff.

Interesting: Cornel West and the insular, Obama-hating left.

Because every 9-year-old should know how to use an Uzi, don’t you agree?

Wednesday awaits.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' | 38 Comments

One too many.

Now here’s a tragedy for you: A 19-year-old Chinese freshman at Michigan State dies on orientation weekend before attending a single class. Why? Guess:

Police believe alcohol may have played a role in her death.

Really? The picture at the link is heartbreaking — so young and pretty. You have to wonder what happened. I guess we’ll find out, eventually.

I don’t have much today. It was a hot and muggy one, and tomorrow will be hotter and muggier. It’s the last week for lap swimming at the city pool, and I’m going to take advantage of it — these are perfect mornings for getting the exercise out of the way early.

OK, here’s this: Lunch and I are growing apart. Why eat lunch, anyway? To get out of the office, sure, but food wise, it’s just a big load of calories sitting in your stomach just when you need to get four more hours of work done. Today we moseyed down the block to a taco takeout joint, and I ordered the vegan naked burrito — the fillings without the tortilla. I thought it would be light and digestible, but I forgot about the red onions. Erg. An afternoon of dragon breath hardly seems worth it when you can just have a huge breakfast and do a Balance bar or something around 1 or 2 p.m. Bookend the day with calories but skip lunch, or go super-light.

Boy, I really got nothin’.

Here’s something: Judgmental Maps gets to Detroit. I live near Sailboats, but am not one with them.

Tuesday is coming for us all. Enjoy it.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' | 33 Comments

Painting by numbers.

I really should be cleaning my bathroom. I want that on the record. In fact, when I finish here? Cleaning that bathroom. Because hair and gunk and the usual. Sometimes I think letting our cleaning lady go was the biggest mistake I made last year, but she was a luxury and luxuries needed to be trimmed.

Besides, like so many cleaning ladies, she was starting to slip. Next time, I hire another service.

So, what a weekend. Lots of work, a little bit of cooking, and a long bike ride in Windsor, because why not? You pop through the tunnel with the bikes in the back of the car, find a park to launch from, and then…discover Windsor isn’t much of a cycling city. There were some nice parks, some decent lanes here and there, but not enough. So we rode here and there and did what everybody does in Windsor — found a good Chinese restaurant and ate dim sum, then stopped at the duty-free for some Niagara-region wine.

“I don’t know about you, but ‘Wayne Gretzky’ doesn’t do much for me on a wine label,” I told the clerk. She said “Dan Ackroyd” did even less for her.

There was also this: “Tim’s Vermeer,” a perfectly amusing little documentary about one man’s quest to duplicate a Vermeer painting, not for fraudulent reasons but just to see if he can figure out the tricks of how Vermeer managed photorealism in the 17th century.

As with great documentaries, it starts out being one thing and ends up being about something else entirely — the magic of art, mainly. On iTunes and Amazon Primenow, soon to be on Netflix, no doubt.

Have a good week, all. I’m going to watch premium-cable Sunday-night TV.

Posted at 12:30 am in Movies, Same ol' same ol' | 35 Comments

Fetch her.

HBO is rerunning “Rome” at 8 p.m., which is frequently my blogging hour, so I sometimes have it on in the background. I’d forgotten how much I liked it when it first aired, what? Ten years ago? Awakening the day of Caesar’s funeral, Mark Antony says, “I’m not getting out of this bed until I’ve fucked someone.” His consort, Atia, says fine, and orders a slave to “fetch that German slut from the kitchen.”

I think that’s going to be today’s catch phrase: Fetch that German slut from the kitchen.

So fetch her! Here’s a story I found intriguing, from Tommy Tomlinson, an ESPN sportswriter who happens to be married to an ex-colleague of mine. He’s a fat guy, and he’s writing about another fat guy, and do so with the insight of one who not only has been there, but is still there:

He is trying to get past the chomp-chomp-chomp phase. He orders a lot of salads. He’s cut back on the steaks in favor of grilled chicken and sushi. The drink he guzzles is Diet Coke (mostly from Steak ‘n Shake, because its cups keep it coldest). But he won’t lie. He loves Jimmy John’s. And sometimes, on the way home, that $5 Little Caesars pizza calls his name.

He has trouble sleeping, and his snoring just about cracks the drywall. Stairs are starting to give him a problem, especially with his leg still healing. We see our futures, and they’re not long ones. I’m 50, and I might feel it more deeply than he does. Nobody who’s 65 looks like we do.

Most people have something in their lives that they can’t beat back with willpower alone. But when you’re fat, your problem is obvious to the world. And here’s one difference between having a problem with food and having one with cigarettes or booze or drugs: You can’t quit cold turkey. You have to eat something.

Tamara remembers times when she and Jared did really well — they ate right, exercised, even grew a little garden together. Then she’d clean the house one day and find a Little Debbie wrapper under the couch.

Changing one’s eating habits, even if they’re relatively normal, is incredibly difficult. It’s taken me nearly two years to wean myself off just the insane amounts of sugar I used to eat. And I still eat too much. So I have a lot of sympathy here.

Finally, I’m going to pimp my gentrification package one more day, in case you missed it yesterday: Main, map, sidebar. Plus guest columns one and two. You journos know the multiple-entry-points thing, right?

And now we’ve gotten to the end of the week. Enjoy your weekend. I hope that German slut from the kitchen is everything you wanted.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' | 56 Comments

Parents and their toys.

Alan brought this book — written by a Michigan author — to my attention a while back. “My Parents Open Carry” tells the story of young Brenna Strong (subtle, that) and her pistol-packing parents. They carry their heat right out on their hips, and “Our goal was to provide a wholesome family book that reflects the views of the majority of the American people, i.e., that self-defense is a basic natural right and that firearms provide the most efficient means for that defense,” as the description goes.

You can imagine.

It was amusing to see the book is now being bombarded with Amazon user reviews:

Can’t wait for the sequel,. “My Black Parents Open Carried Until the Police Shot Them 146 Times”.

I got really excited when I found out there was a sequel coming out for the really little ones: “Goldilocks and the Three Open Carry Bears”

SPOILER ALERT: This does not end well for the blonde moocher who commits a Breaking and Entering.

Three stars because…Freedom.

I am taking away two for missing the obvious opportunity for this to be a pop-up book. Each time a figure popped up, the whole family could decide to shoot or not. Maybe include a detachable color palette of skin colors to help decide.

Who needs a little Isaac Hayes on a Thursday? Note who assists him with his outfit. That’s Jesse Jackson if it’s anyone:

Thursday! It is here.

UPDATE: Y’all would do me a solid if you’d hit my story on gentrification over at Bridge. Start with the mainbar and the map. There’s a sidebar with links to a potty mouth Spike Lee rant, too. Thanks.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events | 33 Comments

Crickets in the evening.

How about a nice mid-week link salad? Because all I have to report today is: Summer, she is fading. I swam on the dawn patrol at the city pool, and it wasn’t even dawn. The lifeguard was dozing, which means he wasn’t much of a lifeguard, but what the hell, we were all good swimmers.

“Can I get you a cup of coffee?” I asked as I was leaving. (Gently. I’m not an asshole.) He’ll be back at college soon enough; I think this is the last week for dawn-patrol swimming. And then comes Labor Day, and alas alas alas.

September and October will be glorious. I hope, anyway. Just a lot less light.

So have yourself some tasty readin':

It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten canned tuna. Truth be told, I’ve liked it a lot less since they started packing it in water or even dry(ish), in those little pouches. And I liked it even less when I learned more than half of what is sold as tuna isn’t even tuna but something called escolar. I cannot deny that I still have a baby-boomer’s fondness for greasy tuna sandwich from time to time, but I have an excellent fish market at the end of my block, and I’d rather eat from their weekly offerings.

So here’s a little WashPost piece on how Americans have gone cold on canned tuna, for a variety of reasons. Hats off to the editor who resisted making “Sorry, Charlie” the headline.

The GOP might have had a chance to win a Senate seat this November, but it’s not looking good right now. One of a million reasons.

The original op-ed referred to in this Gawker rant is amazing. A cop explains how to avoid being a victim of a cop: Just do everything the cop says. OK. A few years ago, a cop made a Detroit couple perform sex acts in front of him. Is that what he means? Clarification is needed.

Great job, Officer Wilson!

And with that, happy hump day.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events | 42 Comments