Nasty, Brutish & Short

August 2007 Archives

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More on Dennis Kucinich and his freaky wife

August 31, 2007 10:32 AM

From the Plain Dealer's Openers Blog, we hear of their plans to celebrate their anniversary.  And the Kuciniches want us all to participate:

In an Aug. 22 e-mail titled "Help Celebrate our Wedding Anniversary," Kucinich notified backers that he and Elizabeth were celebrating their second wedding anniversary that week.

"I know we are newly weds and all, but I felt the undying urge to share this occasion with our supporters," Kucinich said in the e-mail.

 Um.  Ew.

"The love Elizabeth and I share encompasses all of the reasons you support our campaign and all the reasons we exist as human beings."

Using the word "love" 17 times, Kucinich proceeded to claim that "the Power of Love" could eliminate world hunger, establish universal health care and return U.S. troops from Iraq. Then he decided to see if "Love" could also generate campaign money by urging e-mail recipients to "share in our celebration."

Tacky.  Tacky.  Tacky.  An unnecessary sexual reference and a shake down for cash.  Hell, it's almost as tacky as some of the ads that are running on this site right now.  I'm making millions, by the way.  Who knew Republicans were such pervs?

Thompson Campaign Conference Call Set for Today...

August 30, 2007 11:01 AM discuss his plans to announce next week.  So now it's a conference call about an announcement.  But they won't say now what they will say at the conference call.  Which is at 4:00.  Today.

Is there anyone who wasn't already annoyed by this six weeks ago?

Mitt Romney is out with a new ad. It's hard for me to tell what kind of primary voter he thinks he'll attract with this.

What do you think?

Immature, childish humor. So of course, I think it's funny!

Hey, I got it from the Whistleblower. You can't expect something deep.

Map of Agriculture Subsidy Recipients--in Manhattan

August 29, 2007 10:43 AM

From the Secretary of Agriculture, via National Review Online

 NYC Farm Subsidy Map

Democrats want to keep the income threshold for subsidies at $1,000,000--the Bush adminstration wants to lower it to $200,000. 

What reason could there possibly be for allowing individuals who make more than $200,000 per year to collect agricultural subsidies from the feds?

UPDATE: Well, I don't know what happened to my map.  But here's another one locals might find interesting... ag subsidies in our own little slice of the world.  For the rest of you, you can check out the mapping tool at this link to find out who's getting ag subsidies in your own neck of the woods.

Leona Helmsley's Will Confirms She Was "Trouble"

She left $12,000,000 to her dog, a white Maltese named "Trouble."  At the end of his life, "Trouble" is to be buried in the Helmsley mausoleum, next to Leona and Harry.  She gave $5,000,000 to two of her grandchildren, as long as they visit their father's grave site at least once a year.  If they don't, they get nothing.  Oh, and the other two grandchildren?  They get nothing, "for reasons that are known to them."

I suppose I should also point out that the balance of her estate is to be given to her charitable trust.  That could be billions that she's leaving to charitable causes.  But it's also no excuse for so rudely and publically screwing over two of your grandchildren--"for reasons that are known to them." 

Does anyone actually believe the two screwed over grandchildren were responsible for whatever happened between them and their grandmother?

Pre-Labor Day GOP Straw Poll--Are You Paying Attention YET?

I know you've already seen this on the Drudge Report...

August 28, 2007 10:50 AM

... but I'm posting it too because I just love this photo of Winnie Langley celebrating her 100th Birthday:

Winne Langley

Hilarious.  If an American newspaper ran that photo, how many indignant letters to the editor would they receive?

And on the birthday front, check out this creepy email I got from LexisNexis Martindale Hubble: 

Happy birthday from LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell! We're also celebrating the 10th birthday this year of and we would like to invite you to make a birthday wish with us.

For the past 10 years, has played a critical role connecting lawyers with other lawyers. Each month, more than 700,000 users tap into to find the exact right lawyer to handle their matter or business referral.....

Now we'd like to hear from you about the next cutting edge features we should implement on Share your ideas with us by making a birthday wish on behalf of For each idea you submit, we'll enter your name into a drawing for a 42" plasma television.

So blow out the birthday candles and make a wish for - We hope both your wishes come true! Have the happiest of birthdays and many more!

Yes, it's my birthday.  But I don't think I care for birthday wishes from massive legal research organizations with huge databases.  It just reminds me that they know too much about me, and probably everyone else.  Big Brother is watching you!  I also don't like that they think I'm going to give away a free "idea" in exchange for a chance to win a tv.  How patronizing--they are supposed to be an organization for professionals.

Just how limited are the Enquirer's Republican connections...

... or their headline writers' grasp of politics?  Malia Rulon's article about Mitt Romney's fundraiser here next week is just awful.  First, she passes off his fundraiser as news, because his campaign just announced it yesterday.  We were asked to be on the host committee for this event six weeks ago, and the invitations have been out for at least two weeks.  It's not news.  Maybe it would help if the Enquirer didn't have Washington-based correspondents writing about local events?

She also writes:

The location of Romney's reception wasn't immediately available.

It's at Craig and Frances Linders'.  Why write about facts you don't know?  Especially when it is easy to ask someone who does?

But my big problem is with the headline:

For $2,300, Romney will pose for photo with you.

Yes, that's it.  That's the headline.  Never mind that $2,300 is the going rate for every major Presidential candidate, including the Democrats.  It's really unfair to put it in the headline like that, as if is is something special or unique... or like Romney is the only one who does that.  They all do!

"The best and the brightest," or "It looks like the South is NOT going to rise again anytime soon"

August 25, 2007 04:04 PM

HT: Jackie Danicki

Is Castro dead, and did Perez Hilton break the story?

August 24, 2007 10:16 PM

How delightful to see bitchily delicious mega-celebrity blogger Perez Hilton speaking truth to power about Fidel Castro.  Perez has great resources in the Cuban immigrant community, and this is what they are talking about:

Sources reveal exclusively to that U.S. officials will be holding a press conference shortly to announce the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

South Florida police organizations are calling in reinforcements before the announcement is made, we’re told. was the first media outlet in the world to break the news of Castro’s death. We posted THIS ITEM on it last week!!!!

A Cuban broke the story of the oppressive ogre’s passing. We are soooo proud and happy!!!

We’re so sad we can’t be in Miami this weekend.

There’s gonna be a big ol’ party en Calle Ocho, mi gente!!!!

In the words of Gloria Estefan

“Quiero my Cuba libre pa que la gente pueda - pa que mi gente pueda bailar!”

listen to this while you dance

There are plenty in Hollywood who could learn a lot from Perez.  The Drudge Report (one week after Perez) is leading with the news that Castro death rumors are sweeping Miami.  We've heard them before though.  Let's hope this time they're true.

Question for the Catholics*

From NBS's sister (also a perpetually irked Episcopalian), who was dropping her son off for his first day of kindergarten at Catholic school.  During the big first-day-of-school-drop-off, this little episode occurred in the parking lot.  It involves my two-year old niece:

...This part of the parking lot included a small rock garden with a statue of Mary.  Mary had been decorated with a wilted and ancient daisy chain and gold pipe cleaner wreath.  After redirecting Gracie from the construction trailer, she and I were discussing the merits of putting the shiny white rocks carefully down on the ground rather than practicing her forearm when she spotted Mary.  Mary and Gracie were pretty much eyeball to eyeball, and Gracie wanted that beautiful crown.

When Gracie realized that Mary was neither going to hand it over nor attempt to stop her, Gracie grabbed for the crown.  Then Gracie started either hugging Mary or tugging her up out of the ground so that she could carry the big dolly.  (You can make your own assumptions about Gracie's plans).  All this seemed like fairly normal behaviour, but deferring to unknown Catholic sensibilities I ran interference.

So does it offend Catholics for toddlers to play with/manhandle/attempt to carry around Mary or is it more offensive to hear a hot, tired, cranky mother saying "Stop that"?

Readers, what say you?  It is okay to maul Mary?

*By which of course I mean Roman Catholics.  As Anglicans, we are, of course, catholic.

Hollywood Hates

An entry, from Melissa Etheridge's partner's blog:

so if i blog
about what an idiotic, parasitical, country-raping piece of shit george w. bush is, i could
go to jail?

george bush
you are a criminal
you are raping our country of our intentions
i do wonder if his mom and dad go to bed at night
proud of little whiskey-cokey-georgie poo
his dictatorship?
how does laura lay her head down at night
pulled eyes and all
and dream sweetly of lambies and cashmere sweaters?
when she f**** him
does she call him adolf or castro?

you sweaty little piggish oompa loompa elmer fudd ass
karma is a bitch
and i don't think you'll ever get
that wascaly wabbit
while torturing the fellas at abu gharib

this war is
war for profit
something i am sure
the bible does not favor

weapons of mass destruction:
the current american government.

now come arrest me
you f*ckers.

And the Hollywood left thinks Republicans are the ones with the problems?

Careful guys, this one sounds like a trap

August 23, 2007 04:22 PM

From Craigslist.  I've had to edit it slightly, to preserve that PG13 rating.

I want to meet a Republican - w4m - 19

Reply to:
Date: 2007-08-23, 12:05PM EDT

I want to meet you ASAP. No need for lots of emails back and forth. I will make you *** and *** and ***. I am 5'7", 133#, shoulder length curly hair, full lips, bedroom eyes and sexy. I'm so ready for you.

  • Location: Cincinnati
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Chalk me up as skeptical about this nineteen year-old GOP loving hussy.  You don't want to be bit by a rabid liberal.  You can't be too careful--those W. haters will do anything these days.  Chomp Chomp! 

Dennis Kucinich is harder on ABC News than he would be on [insert name of your favorite foreign threat here]

They cropped him out of a photo of the Democratic candidates, among other evils.  Dennis is "awaiting an explanation."  His indignant website is hilarious.

Also: Can you believe his campaign slogan is "Strength Through Peace"?

Apparently, due to the use of the following words: heroin (2x), sex (2x) and crappy...

August 22, 2007 03:06 PM

Bette Midler, one of Hollywood's most prominent "environmentalists"... to be fined for cutting down more than 230 trees on her estate on Kauai.  She also had a road built without obtaining necessary permits.  Reminds me of John Travolta.

Not exactly what you expect from the NYT's "Vows" Column

August 20, 2007 04:48 PM

I started out wanting to make fun of this, but I ended up rather impressed.  Here's the NYT profile on newlyweds Donnie Andrews and Fran Boyd:

In 1987, Mr. Andrews was sentenced to life in prison for murdering a man on the troubled streets of West Baltimore, where Ms. Boyd, a former junkie, said she got high on heroin and exchanged sex for other drugs....

This is not, by the way, how the typical NYT "Vows" Column begins.

Their first conversation took place on Jan. 21, 1993. The connection had been set up by Edward Burns, a former Baltimore homicide detective whom Mr. Andrews had surrendered to in 1986, and David Simon, a former Baltimore Sun reporter who had written about Mr. Andrews’s criminal activities....

They had a hunch Mr. Andrews, who was turning his life around by earning a general equivalency diploma, taking college-level courses and studying the Bible, could influence the life of Ms. Boyd, who was still nodding out in the old neighborhood. They gave Mr. Andrews her phone number.

“From that very first call, I could hear in her voice that she wanted help,” said Mr. Andrews, who was in the Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix. “She was looking for a way out.”

Mr. Andrews, also a former heroin user, understood her struggle and her pain. His first wife was murdered three years after he went to prison. He began calling Ms. Boyd frequently. Their conversations were sometimes “four and five hours long,” he said. After a $2,900 phone bill, limits were set on their calls. He used less expensive communication, too, sometimes writing three or four letters a week.

Okay, this is getting to be a nice story of redemption, but can we just pause a minute and ask why prison officials were allowing such excessive phone time in the first place?

“I was often in bad shape when I answered that phone, but no matter what I did or what I said, Donnie never criticized me,” Ms. Boyd said. “He just kept giving me reasons why I should be doing something else, saying that if he can change, I can change. Through the worst of times, I kept holding on to that.”

Indeed, there was little else that Ms. Boyd could hold on to for 28 grueling days later that year at the Baltimore Recovery Center. For six of those days she said she “lay on a cold, hard floor, all alone, just shaking and detoxing.” “On that sixth day, I got up and took a shower,” she said, “and that was that.”

Two years after they were introduced, their relationship turned a romantic corner, and the telephone soul mates decided to exchange photographs. When his landed in her mailbox, she pulled the photo from the envelope and peeked at it through her fingers. “I thought, ‘Dear Lord, please make this man be good looking,’ ” she said, laughing. “When I saw how nice looking he was, I just said, ‘Thank you, Jesus.’ ”

By now, Ms. Boyd had fallen hard for Mr. Andrews, but she was afraid to be in love with him.

“I didn’t want to be one of those woman in love with a guy in prison who was never coming home,” she said. “But I knew that Donnie really cared about me and that we were in this thing together, so letting him go was no longer an option.”

In the ensuing years, Ms. Boyd, guided by the steady influence of Mr. Andrews, began standing firmly on her own feet. She became a guardian for two nieces and a nephew, while providing for her own two sons. She began doing outreach work for drug addicts at New Hope Treatment Center in West Baltimore, a methadone clinic associated with Bon Secours Hospital. And she began visiting Mr. Andrews....

In April 2005, Ms. Boyd’s unwavering love and loyalty was rewarded with Mr. Andrews’s release after 17 and a half years of time served.

The roads that took Mr. Andrews from central booking to central casting, and Ms. Boyd from heroin to heroine, led to their wedding at the Forum, a Baltimore catering hall. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Frank M. Reid III, pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore, the church where Mr. Andrews is head of security and works doing anti-gang outreach programs.

“Love never fails,” Mr. Reid told the nearly 200 guests, “You see with all the tragedies of their lives that love brought them up.”

Awwwwwww!  It sounds like these two have completely turned their lives around.  Best wishes to the happy couple.

Buy my neighbors' house*

It's adorable, it's in great shape, and it's listed at $259,000.

 Click Photo To Enlarge

And I want to be able to justify the asking price I have in mind when we put Chez NBS on the market in a few months.  Check it out if you're looking for new digs!  MLS: 1073165.

*No, I don't live right next door.  Don't stalk those people if you're looking for me.  They're innocent.

The Consumerist Rips Macy's...

...after someone (an anonymous employee, presumably) leaks an internal Macy's document to the consumer protection website:

Recently, a Consumerist tipster sent in an internal memo from Macy's explaining that the store was "flipping" 3.5 million inactive store accounts into Citibank Mastercards. The memo reads:

"Approximately 3.5 million inactive (24-48 months) Macy's accounts have been selected to "flip" to the Citibank Mastercard. That means the customer will be sent a Citibank Mastercard to replace their inactive Macy's card. "


The "flip," as they call it, was "opt-out"—which means that if you missed a recent letter from Macy's explaining that they were going to open a credit card for you, you can expect a Citibank Mastercard in the mail.

We hadn't heard of this questionable-sounding practice before, so we showed the memo to Elizabeth Warren, consumer law expert and Harvard professor. She hadn't heard of it either, but expressed concerns about what this action by Macy's might do to a customer's credit score.

As far as we can tell, Macy's is taking advantage of an "information sharing" clause in their original store card agreement. The clause states that Macy's is allowed to share information with Citibank as an "affiliate" of Macy's. Opting-out of the information sharing agreement requires calling or writing Macy's. We suspect few card holders bothered.

Nowhere in the clause does it say that the term "information sharing" means that Citibank has the right to open new credit card accounts for inactive Macy's store card holders. So why are they doing it?

Good question.  I had an inactive Macy's card for years, but it was reactivated last year when our wedding registry was at Macy's (that was a customer service nightmare in and off itself).  If you've had a Macy's account in the past--and I'm guessing lots of Cincinnatians have--you may want to look into this Citibank MasterCard matter.  There could be a credit card out there with your name on it that you don't know anything about.

HT: Amy Alkon

Matt Dole signs up with my former boss...

... Mark Weaver.  Funny how things turn out.  Matt was (until mid-July) one of Ohio's most prominent GOP bloggers.  A few weeks ago, he mysteriously announced he was closing down his blog to pursue other opportunities.  And then last week came the news that he had signed up with Mark Weaver to work at Communications Counsel.

I've been surprised by the attention this has received, such as this post from the prominent left-wing site Buckeye State Blog:

Last week Matt Dole, the prominent Republican blogger which surprised all by scrubbing his blog and going underground, popped back on the radar. Not surprisingly, Dole had been hired into to Ohio Super Republican Consultant Mark Weaver's Communications Counsel. For those out of the loop, Weaver was largely responsible for Betty Montgomery's place in Ohio government, along with countless others in the Ohio statehouse. The position with Weaver is quite a reward for the young Dole.

It will be interesting to see how these two fare together.  Mark has a bloggers' brain--he's a news junkie, he's eccentric, and he works really weird hours--so I'm a little surprised he thinks he even needs help with new media.  But he and Matt should have a good time working on creative ways to get the blogs to drive what the old media is covering.  I just hope they're careful about how they try to "use" the conservative blogs to feed the old media machine.  We're pretty savy.

Monday morning and I'm busy with real work...

...but I do have to take a minute to roll my eyes over this comment, left over at the Beacon:

Of possible interest to local blogwatchers, yesterday Nasty, Brutish and Short ran an item about the Beacon’s cuckold story with the title, “Ridiculous Blind Item of the Day.”

Interestingly, earlier today the above faxed letter to George Vincent was posted as a comment under NBS’s item and appeared briefly on his blog before being deleted. (NBS, if the story’s so ridiculous, why delete a letter to the chair of the local Republican Party?)

In his item, and this is typical for NBS, he pontificates without knowing what he’s talking about. There are several examples in his cuck item which confuses cuckoldry (a fetish behavior) with swinging. Here’s the most obvious example of NBS’s ignorance of the subject:

And what about that “hot wife” clue?  Surely it’s not a physical description?  If so, it certainly narrows the list of potential cuckolds quite dramatically.

If NBS had done minimal Googling, he’d know that “hot wife” doesn’t mean “good looking wife” or “sexy wife” as he assumes. From Wiki:

The term hot wife refers to a married woman who has sex with men other than her spouse, with the husband’s consent. In most cases the husbands take a vicarious pleasure in watching their wives and the other male’s enjoyment, or enjoy watching, hearing, or knowing about their wives’ adventures.

Therefore, NBS, for failing to do mininal research before posting, for writing and posting an ignorant item, and for censoring legitimate comments simply because you disagree with the POV, you must be disciplined without mercy. Your punishment is to get down on all fours, beg, and vote the straight Republican ticket!

Oops, nevermind. You’re already there. I’ll have to think of something else....

Typical.  I suppose I should ignore crap like this, but I do want to point out that I am having major problems with comment spam, as I have mentioned numerous times.*  If a "real" comment gets deleted, it is an accident.  I would have been more than happy to have a copy of the letter to George Vincent (Hamilton County GOP Chairman) left in my comment section.  Because the letter is so asinine!

Also, who knew I'd ever be excoriated regarding the subtle difference between swinging and cuckolding?  Apparently I am an idiot on these matters, and I apologize for misleading my readers.  If you set out to swing this weekend and instead ended up cuckolded, I apologize.  It is all my fault.  You should have known not to rely on me, as I have such ignorance of my subjects!

I do know about the "hot wife" term, though--thanks for the suggestion that I google it.  As was completely obvious from my original post, I was making a joke about the relative unattractiveness of policial wives.

*Comments are turned back on, by the way.  We'll see if my new fix works.

NBS Housekeeping

August 17, 2007 12:51 PM

I've had to turn on (again) the thing that requires you to enter your email address before you can post a comment.  If you don't want me to know your real email address, just make one up.  It should still work.  Email address still do not come up for the public to see, once you type them in.

I've had to do this because of the obscene amounts of pornographic comment spam I've been getting lately.  Last night my mom called: "There's comments on your website!  About porn!"  And as soon as I delete them, they're back.  I'm hoping whatever is leaving them on my blog won't be able to come up with an email address, fake or not.

In other news, I'm feeling introspective today.  On my way back from court this morning, a homeless man yelled at me after I rebuffed his panhandeling efforts.  And what did he yell?


I was absolutely incensed!  It was a far cry from the homeless man I used to encounter every morning when I worked in Columbus.  He was a mental defective, but he'd always manage to slur out the words: "You look nice today."  Everyone always thought I was nuts because I'd always talk about how much I just LOVED that homeless man. 

But back to today.  I realized, as I was walking back, that he was right.  My tie did not match my suit!  Now it's slung neatly over my briefcase for me to take home at the end of the day.  And the earth's balance is restored.  Thanks homeless man!

UPDATE:  Well, this didn't even work for 24 hours.  I'm turning off all comments until I figure out another solution.  Email me at if there is something you want to say.

More socialized medicine fun from up in Canada...

.. where there is no neonatal intensive care space available--in the entire country.  From the BBC:

A Canadian woman has given birth to extremely rare identical quadruplets.

The four girls were born at a US hospital because there was no space available at Canadian neonatal intensive care units... Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia are in good condition at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, Montana...

Health officials said they checked every other neonatal intensive care unit in Canada but none had space.

The Jepps, a nurse and a respiratory technician were flown 500km (310 miles) to the Montana hospital, the closest in the US, where the quadruplets were born on Sunday.

In National Review Online, former Canadian Mark Steyn writes:

Well, you can't expect a G7 economy of only 30 million people to be able to offer the same level of neonatal ICU coverage as a town of 50,000 in remote rural Montana. And let's face it, there's nothing an expectant mom likes more than 300 miles in a bumpy twin prop over the Rockies.

And of course this news reminds me of this hysterical entry from a few months back, written by our blogospheric Canadian friend, Dr. Mabuse:

Apologies for being so dilatory in my postings. The truth is, I've been having some more health problems. Last week when I was sick, I think I must have been sicker than I realized. I've almost completely lost my hearing in my right ear. I suspect the sinus congesion ruptured my eardrum.

But fear not, you Americans. I am a beneficiary of Canada's Universal Health Care, so I will be going to see my doctor next Tuesday, to examine a problem that arose last week. In that time, I may even be able to regrow an eardrum, but if I don't, I can be put on the waiting list for one of these:

Ridiculous Blind Item of the Day

August 16, 2007 08:34 AM

Comes from The Cincinnati Beacon, where the Dean announces that a high profile local Republican (who he refuses to name) is into some kinky hanky panky:

[W]ord is that Hamilton County has its own high-profile hypocrite with a taste for unusual extra-curricular activities. Like Vitter, this Republican preaches “traditional family values” and attacks all the usual targets. Like Vitter, he’s used his own family to hype his wholesome image. But in private he’s said to indulge in a decidedly more exotic activity known as “cuckolding.”

He then goes on to explain what cockolding is, inexplicably assuming that his readers are all over the age of 75.  And the clues he gives us about the identify of this person are pretty lean:

A source tells us that Southern Ohio has an active “cuckold” subculture, complete with internet hook-ups. Rumor has it our family values Repub and “hot wife” are known on the scene.

You gotta love the ridiculousness of the phrase "a source tells us that Southern Ohio has an active 'cuckold' subculture."  Did someone finally tell him about the Terrace Park Swingers?  They've got to be a myth, by the way.  I just can't believe that Terrace Park swings.

And what about that "hot wife" clue?  Surely it's not a physical description?  If so, it certainly narrows the list of potential cuckolds quite dramatically.

Evil, leg-breaking Steelers must be in bed by 11:00, and no drinky-poo

August 15, 2007 09:07 AM

The Smoking Gun has obtained the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2007 "Hotel Requirements."  Among the highlights:

No other hotel guests on the players' floor.

No alcohol in hotel rooms; mini-bars are NOT to be stocked.

No room service delivery of alcohol.

Hotel security is needed to assist with "bed check."

Players are not permitted phone calls after 11:00 p.m.

Hmmmm.  Why do they have to try so hard to prevent drinking, raping and pillaging?

A link from the technorati glitterati!

August 14, 2007 03:50 PM

Welcome Althouse readers!  So glad to have you, so mortified that I didn't give Dolley Madison her "e."  In my defense, the Dolly Madison bakery doesn't give her an "e," though I suppose I shouldn't have relied on them.  Tant pis!

I guess I should act all mature and professional, and pretend I get links from the likes of Ann Althouse all the time.  Will you stay if I do?  Or do I have to find more first lady cleavage to get you all to stick around?

Does Edith Wilson do anything for you?

White House portrait

Michigan Reprise

August 13, 2007 10:14 PM

It is hard to say goodbye to that.  It's the view from the front porch of our cottage at dusk.  Lake Michigan is in the background.  What we call the summerhouse is perched at the edge of the small bluff going down to the beach.  My great-grandfather had the summerhouse built for my great-grandmother in 1905 for their "wooden" wedding anniversary.  A few years ago it was in danger of falling down into the lake, and we had major work done.  With modern building and zoning codes, you now have to re-build within the footprint when you're that close to the water.  And, the powers-that-be were looking for an excuse to make us take off the roof.  The solution?  Separate the roof, and jack it up over where they were working, and rebuild what is beneath.  Then, re-lower the roof.  It was a lot of trouble.  We think it was worth it.

The vacation was great, but it was so strange to be away from the news for so long.  We don't have TV at the cottage--on purpose.  There is internet access now up at the clubhouse, but who wants to sit around surfing the internet when there are so many other things to do?  I logged on a few times, but only because I had to do "real" work.  I would like to thank opposing counsel for timing his filings in such a way that he knew my vacation would be interrupted.  You are a class act, sir.

The highlights of the week?  Getting enough sleep.  Hanging out with Mrs. NBS when our schedules aren't so crazy.  The water temperature of Lake Michigan in August (70 degrees).  Our new swim raft, and discovering Henry will jump off it to swim after a tennis ball.  Reading a real book until falling asleep, even if it is just one paragraph.  Fancy modernizations at the cottage that look like they've been there all along.  Proving I still have the chops to win at Monopoly.  Cherry pie made from our own cherries.  Watching nephews swim.

The lowlights?  The idiots at the Sleeping Bear sand dunes who have decided dogs aren't allowed on the dune climb.  They always used to be!  The unusually dry Michigan climate... it was strangely dusty.  The low water again this year.  And, suing our next door neighbor.  I wish I could say why we filed, because it's a great story.  But I don't blog about pending cases, and I think that's a good rule.  Suffice it to say that we are on the side of righteousness and truth, but that it is sad to sue the grand-daughter of good friends of great-grandparents.  Being a good neighbor is not always reciprocated, and after five years of patience, enough is enough.

All in all, the good far outweighed the bad.  It was too early to come back.

Deleting spam comments and listening to

How fun is that for a Monday night?  More so than you might think: This episode of Bloggingheads has supreme legal blogger Ann Althouse talking to Robin Givhan of the Washington Post about Hillary's cleavage, Al Gore's earth tones and Jeri Thompson's being hot and over 40.  Fast forward if you're short on time to their discussion of crocs--they hate them, as do I.  Please, people.  Do not wear crocs.  Up until the croc discussion, though, it's a fascinating commentary about fashion and how people in the political spectrum chose to present themselves.

I completely agree with both of them that these topics are fair game.  This has been an issue since the famous debate between Nixon and Kennedy.  Nixon refused to wear make-up, because he thought it word of it would get out, and it would make him appear unmanly.  Kennedy, of course, wore make-up and looked fantastic (obviously he had other advantages over Nixon in this regard).  After the debate, people who had watched on tv thought Kennedy had won; those who heard it on the radio though Nixon prevailed.

It's a long episode of Bloggingheads, but it's well worth it.  For the record, I thought Hillary wasn't showing too much cleavage.  It's just the thought of Hillary showing any cleavage that I have a problem with.  It's just too weird, too un-Hillary.  It's so much of a departure from what we expect from her that it is disarming.  It is pretty unfortunate that the first major female presidential candidate is so unfeminine.  She could have been feminine while she was first lady.  Then it would have been natural.  Dolly Madison had a decent rack, and now there's a whole line of cookies names after her.  By today's standards, she showed a lot of cleavage.  But Hillary refused to be feminine as first lady, because it just wasn't her.  She wanted to be taken seriously, and thought she needed to look like a man to achieve that.  Now she's the first woman to have a real shot at the presidency, and she can't take advantage of her feminine wiles.  Does she have any?  Or because it's Hillary Clinton, are we just too skeptical about being manipulated? 

With Hillary, you have to ask whether she's wearing something low-cut because of some political calculation.  Is she channeling Eva Peron now?  She used to be channeling Eleanor Roosevelt.  What gives?  Is it just too hard to believe Hillary would do something because it's what she wants to?  With Hillary, do we assume there has to be a reason?  Hillary and her mind games!

Mind games, manipulation.... maybe she is feminine!!

As for the comments I'm deleting, I've noticed that I've gotten a lot of bowflex spam since I started posting about the elliptical machine.  Do the bowflex people think someone's going to buy their machine after reading a post about how I can't even carry my elliptical machine up the stairs?  What's up with that?

And I'm still getting lots of spam comments that advertise Cialis.  Who would buy Cialis off a website called Nasty, Brutish & Short?  That's what I'd like to know. 

Did you miss me?

I'm back and still trying to dig out from the pile of mail, email and list of calls that need to be returned--not to mention the 10,000+ spam blog comments that I have to delete.  The good news is that I'm tanned and rested.  The bad news is that I'm ready to turn around and go back.  No one in their right mind stays in Cincinnati in August.  It's miserable. 

I'll have more later after I'm back in the swing of things.*  Right now I just want to thank Cincinnati Post writer Joe Wessels for pointing out that this site was "worthy of a mention" in the Cincinnati Best Blogs contest that The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber (of Commerce) put on.  I'd also like to thank Jackie Danicki for nominating NBS for the best blogs contest in the first place.  Even though my plan to screw the Chamber out of a free iPhone (the prize they awarded to the author of the two "best blogs") didn't pan out, there's always next year. 

*It probably won't be tonight, I'm going to the Verizon store for a throw down over the crappy phone that kept me incommunicado for 10 days.

Good times and station wagons

August 1, 2007 09:10 PM

Well, the kitchen is full of luggage, tennis rackets, Henry's life jacket and two bottles of wine (one to share with Mrs. NBS's parents, one with mine).  We leave at first light.  Or, as soon as the missuz gets home from l'hopital, showers the germs off, and has a bite to eat.  She'll sleep in the car.  I'll drive.  Henry will keep an eye out for pigs. 

Taking off for the yearly trip to Michigan brings back so many memories of hot, sticky station wagons crammed full of yours truly, my three sisters, my parents, and two weeks worth of clothes for all of us.  Those were the days before we had a washer and dryer at the cottage, and had to send it all in to town to the Progress Laundry.  This was such a inconvenience that we usually packed enough socks and underwear to last two weeks.  Even with the modern conveniences, though, there is still a quite a bit to take, because in Northern Michigan, you need warm weather clothes, cold weather clothes, beach clothes, cocktail party clothes, tennis clothes, etc. etc.  It's not that it is terribly fancy, it is just that there are so many activities and the weather is so unpredictable.  This makes packing a nightmare, but it is a little easier than it was when I was young, and it is a lot easier than it was when my great-grandparents were going up, via train, then ferry (we're on the mainland, but it was so isolated, in those days you had to go by boat from town).  They traveled then with steamer trunks, and most importantly, "help," which sounds more glamorous that it probably was.  I highly doubt it made things easier than we have it now, and we do not have to wear wool bathing suits like they did.  That counts for a lot. 

I only remember the station wagon trips with my parents, and when I was allowed to go up early with my grandmother.  I remember convincing her to stop at McDonald's--she had never been.  She preferred Lester's, in Bryan.  She thought is was important that you go in somewhere and sit down to eat.  I did not see the appeal in that.  Our trip to McDonald's went like this:

My grandmother, standing at the counter before the big menu: "Fillet O, what kind of fish is it?"

Pimply teenager at the Paulding McDonald's: "Eeets uhhh sqwaaare feesh."

My grandmother: "A square fish, I've never even heard of a square fish!"

Like it was some kind of tilapia or something.  She also liked Big Boy restaurants.  "It's the best kind of fast food restaurant," she'd say assuredly.  "You can go in and sit down." 

And just this past Sunday, I saw an old station wagon--exactly like one we used to have--parked in front of a Big Boy:


Can you imagine four kids, two adults, and all their belongings traveling 500 miles in that?  But we did.  In "the way back," which was where you went if you wanted to be alone, or if you were bad, the seats pulled up out of the floor, and there were two little benches that faced each other.  It was really cool.  But not when you were in trouble, when it was called "being sent to Siberia."

We had so many station wagons, it is easy to confuse them.  This could be the car we were in that time we broke down in Ann Arbor and had to stay at the flea bag motel.  Or, it could be the car we were in the time we were all set to go, with all the luggage and everyone in the car, and mom threw the keys on the dashboard to run back inside to get something...only to have the keys go down the air conditioner vent into God Knows Where.  You may have noticed, they now make air conditioning vents on dash boards so they have these screen-type things.  There's a reason for that.

Good times and station wagons just run together.  Our experience with them probably wasn't worse than the train delays of the 1890s, or getting the car stuck in the sand at the Kingsley cut-off in the '50s .  But it was still pretty memorable.  I'll be sure to tell my kids about the station wagons of the '80s.

As for us in the Naught-ies, with any luck, we'll be off tomorrow without any mishaps of the ancestral variety.  The missuz lacks my genetic predisposition toward calamity, so I'm optimistic.  But I'm also aware of how fun calamity can be.  Several years later, the once-awful is usually really hysterical. 

So for the car trip, calamity is on the agenda, and so is shouting "Kaaaaaaaaaalkaska," in a nasal Northern Michigan train engineer's voice when we get to Kalkaska.  Even though it's been a hundred years since we've had to go through Kalkaska by train, we always shout "Kaaaaaaaaaalkaska" when we get to Kalkaska.  Because when you get to Kalkaska, you know it won't be long before you see the lake. 

And here at NBS, please don't expect any updates for the next week and a half.  I had harbored illusions of writing posts in advance, and having them programmed to appear each day.  Since being a litigator means you have to work twice as much one week to take off the next, this didn't happen.  Please do come back to NBS though, after August 13.  Peace out!