Nasty, Brutish & Short

Navel-Gazing Archives

Only 12% of Republicans are "very satisfied" with McCain as the nominee

June 19, 2008 04:33 PM

People think the number is shockingly low.  But I have to ask: Who are these 12%?  I know of no one.

Why I haven't been blogging much lately.

May 23, 2008 09:30 PM

Someone has stolen my heart.


More socialized medicine horror stories from our friends up north

May 14, 2008 02:29 PM

This time from The Kraalspace, where Dr. Mabuse's 18 year-old daughter is having chronic seizures:

We finally got in to see our GP, after 2 weeks' wait. A week later, Emma went to the General Hospital and had an EEG - it was the middle of the day, not a time when she usually has a problem, so it didn't show up anything too unusual. Except when they started flashing the lights at her - when they got up to 16 pulses per second, her brainwaves started going haywire, so they stopped at that point and didn't do the last 3 levels (I think they can go up to 64 pulses per second).

About 2 weeks later, we finally got the referral to a neurologist at the Civic Hospital. Are you ready for this? The appointment is for August 18. April 4, when she had her big seizure, to August 18 - that's 4.5 months, for an 18-year old girl who is having chronic seizures.

Dr. Mabuse says:

I dream about getting rich, I'm sure many people do. But I never think, "If I had lots of money, I could buy a giant plasma TV and have a computer in every room of the house, and take vacations on a private island in the Caribbean." All I think is, "I'd get my kids the hell out of this dingy backwater, and down the U.S. where they have a decent medical system, and you don't die waiting for a doctor to look at a lump in your breast."

I should point out that Dr. Mabuse lives in Canada's capital city, which hardly needs to be a "dingy backwater," but because of the stupidity of socialism, apparently it is.  Meanwhile, down here in our supposedly "broken" American health care system, I have been shallowly dreaming of plasma tvs and Caribbean vacations.  Even worse, I've been complaining that our private insurer is making us pay the annual deductible for both Mrs. NBS and Baby NBS for the exciting, expensive birth.  I guess they are two people, but I felt the charges ($500 x 2) were outrageous, because it kind of felt like it was "one event" and not two.  But at least no one ended up dead, and when we wanted to stay an extra night, they said no problem.  And they covered the balance of the bill--which was well in excess of $15,000--without batting an eye.

Canada puts it all in perspective though, doesn't it?

More on the Cincinnati earthquake: If you want homeowners' coverage for one, you can't get it

May 9, 2008 01:32 PM

Well I never thought this would be an issue.  Just got the quote back from the insurance man for homeowners' coverage on the new house (yes, we're finally moving, no I haven't blogged about it.  Not enough hours in the day).  He gave me two quotes.  One for earthquake coverage, one without.  An explanatory note says the insurance company has suspended its agents' binding authority for earthquake coverage "until further notice."  So if I opt for earthquake coverage, they'll add it to the policy, if and when they are allowed to cover earthquakes again.

This is Ohio!  Talk about something that makes you think that "they" know something we don't.  The Big One is just around the corner and the only people who know it is Big Insurance! 

I say that in jest, of course.  Kind of.  It's been so long since I've blogged, my readers (if there are any left) may not know my sense of humor.

But anyway: If they are allowed to write coverage for earthquakes again, it will cost me $250 per year.  For something that supposedly is really, really unlikely.  Is $250 for earthquake coverage--in Ohio--a rip off?  The house is brick, so any damage would be really expensive to fix.  But what are the chances?

UPDATE:  I asked the agent about it, and he said that within an hour of the earthquake, he'd gotten an email informing him that he no longer had binding authority for earthquake coverage.  And, he says coverage is going to be getting a lot more expensive, not less.  But for $250 per year in earthquake coverage, I'd like to at least be within a 10 hour drive of a palm tree. 

Mansfield's Memories: The Earthquakes of 1811-1812

April 18, 2008 09:13 PM

The memories of the earthquake of 2008, Chez NBS, are not nearly so interesting.  It involved both of us waking up, and me, briefly thinking something was wrong with the furnace and making it thump.  But why would the furnace be kicking on?  And then it was, where's Henry?  Because it was like he was on the floor, scratching like crazy with a hind leg.  But he seemed fine, and once we established that, it was back to sleep for us.  You tend to do that when you have a new baby and it's not wailing.  Back to sleep, quick!  It did occur to me for a minute that it was an earthquake.  But I didn't speak up, and now wish I had.  What an authority I would have seemed!

But anyway, what about Mr. Mansfield?  If you've never read his Personal Memories: Social, Political and Literary with Sketches of Many Noted People 1803-1843, you're missing out.  It's life in Cincinnati circa those days, and it is extraordinarly interesting.  You think times are tough now?  You aren't at risk of getting scalped by Indians.

Here's how he recalls the earthquakes.  Yes, he says there was more than one.  He says it went on for several months:

In the midst of this work [his father surveying Northwestern Ohio and Indiana] an event occured which was memorable then, and hardly less so now.  On the night of the 16th of December, 1811, Cousin Mary and I were waked up by a rattling which we supposed to be rats, but which proved to be the handles of a trunk...

Mansfield was, by the way, from a wealthy family.  And yes, they apparently had rats.  I think everyone did.

...In a moment we found the room was shaking, and sprang up frightened.  Then we heard my father's voice calling us.  We rushed down stairs, and, with the whole family, ran into the yard.  While we ran out the bricks were falling from the roof of the house, the chimney having been shaken down...

Thank God this didn't happen to us, we just got an offer on the house, and the inspection is Sunday.

...There was a light snow on the ground, and a carriage in the yard.  My mother and little sister took refuge in the carriage, and my father went back to the house, saying there was more danger of rheumatism than of the house falling.

I like people who are sensible enough to be practical during natural disasters. 

Anyway, back to it:

In Cincinnati...

Mansfield was not technically in "Cincinnati," by the way, he was two miles away, at "Bates Place."  Bonus points to any commenter who can figure out where "Bates Place" was.  I can't tell where it was, but Mansfield says that in later years, it was called "Mt. Comfort" and that their house was "down the Hamilton Road from Cincinnati."  It sounds like was near Northside (f/k/a Cumminsville) but that community was established by then, so Mansfield must have been somewhere different. 

But back to what was going on in the big city:

...the Columbian Inn, at the Corner of Main and Columbia Streets...

Columbia Street must have been below what is now Third Street, and is probably under what is now Great American Ballpark.  There is no Columbia Street now, so far as I know.

...was the principal house of entertainment, where some of the first young men and ladies boarded.  It is said, that on that night the street in front of the Columbian Inn presented a strong contrast to the ordinary rules of propriety; in fact, there was more of nature displayed than of fashion...

I find it hard to believe that's true.  It was December, in the days before climate control.  I'm sure they dressed appropriately for bed, if it really was a respectible boarding house.

The earthquake of December 16, 1811, was the first of a series of earthquakes, which continued about five months.  My father, in order to test the state of things, put a very delicate pendulum inside one of our front windows, and that pendulum never ceased to vibrate in nearly five months.  In the meanwhile, there were, in January and February, several violent shocks....

At our house, the earthquake gave rise to a sort of new life.  Our family was, of course, much alarmed, and some of the gentlement in town would ride out and spend the night with us.... In this manner the winter passed.  Severe shocks of earthquakes occured frequently.  I remember one happening in the morning, when I was at a neighboring log-house.  There was corn on the upper floor, and I heard that corn roll from one side of the house to the other.  As I have said, these shocks did not cease until May.  At that time we were preparing to go to the East, and the government making ready its troops for the march on Canada.

Those Brits.  Still not happy about the whole independence thing. 

I remember talk of the earthquake here in the early '80s--it was in August, and we were in Michigan at the time.  It was the talk of the resort up there, since the resort is entirely made up of people from Cincinnati.  And I can remember hearing from my paternal grandmother, who was in downtown Cincinnati that day with her sister.  They saw a man running from a skyscraper, yelling that everyone should get away from the building, because there had been an earthquake.  "Oh that poor man," they said.  Because he seemed quite insane.  Not everyone felt that earthquake, I guess.

But I think most people felt the one we had this morning, unless they were sleeping really soundly.  I heard we had an aftershock around 10:30 am.  I didn't feel that.  Maybe we'll have more.  Maybe it will go on for five months!

They said it was going to be tiring, but...

March 31, 2008 08:18 AM

...I wasn't really expecting how tiring it would be.  Yes, Mrs. NBS and Baby NBS are both fine, after a chaotic arrival into the world, that involved everyone getting emergency surgery--including Henry, the dog (yes, really). 

So sorry for the lack of posting here at NBS, and thanks to those of you who have emailed.  Regular programming will resume shortly!

Nope, still no baby

March 16, 2008 08:21 PM

Thanks to those of you who have asked.  Still no signs.  I was hoping for something this weekend, so I could miss work on Monday.  But nothing yet.

The official due date is not until Tuesday.  I keep reminding Mrs. NBS of that.  "It's not like a library book," I tell her.  "You don't have to have finished with it by the due date."  I know, I'm not much help.  But really, what am I supposed to do?  Since I don't know, I just crack lame jokes, like asking, "Are you stuck?" when she was dusting under the bed.  That got a big laugh.  From me, anyway.  I thought Winnie the Pooh jokes were baby-appropriate?

I did get a laugh out of her when I packed my bag for the hospital.  It started out with me thinking that I may have to come straight from work, and would not want to go through all that "hospital stuff" in a suit.  So I packed my own bag: Duck boots (in case things get messy), wicking fabric shorts and shirt (if it's sweaty) and airport-sized bottles of rum that I got out of a piñata at a Halloween party a few years back (no parenthetic explanation needed).  And no, cheap rum is not my beverage of choice, but I think it's tacky to make a liquor store run just so you can pack you childbirth bag.  And now's actually a good time to get it off the NBS bar--I never have it out if people are over.  I think it's orange flavored, or something like that.  But as they say, any port in a storm.

Ooooo.  There's an idea.  Maybe I should pack some port? 

 Bean Boots by L.L.Bean®, Men's 6

Family Planning, as it should be.

February 3, 2008 08:44 PM

Except we're not going over the top with wallpaper and cutesy tootsie murals.  But the sentiment is right.  And honestly, the happy waspy '50s couple kind of looks like us.

Sunday Morning. Supportive Husband.

Mrs. NBS:  "I just feel so.... wide."

Me:  "Well!  There's a wideness in God's mercy!"

Just six more weeks to go.

From the "good to know" department, helpful information for new parents, that's easy to understand

January 28, 2008 02:42 PM

And this one seems especially apt:


HT: Blake Fox, (and here are more helpful pictograms).

"The Groesbecks were another comely race."

January 22, 2008 10:05 PM

In the comments, Polite, Refined and Tall suggests that the video "Price Hill Girls" should be reason enough for me to visit the West Side.  And here's what that comment reminds me of, and that's this passage from The Serene Cincinnatians, which was published in 1950 as part of the "Society in America" series (if you haven't already, do check out The Spectacular San Franciscans, the authors of which must have had no idea of what was yet to come):

The Groesbecks were another comely race.  In mid-nineteenth century, the Misses Olivia Groesbeck and Sally Carneal were spoken of as the two most beautiful girls in Cincinnati.  A portrait of Olivia by Thomas Buchanan Read, in the home of a kinswoman in New York, confirms not only the fact of her beauty but of Read's fine ability as a painter.  She visited England once, and met the Duke of Wellington, evidently making a distinct impression upon that old connoisseur; for there is a legend that when, long afterward, he tasted some of Nicholas Longworth's wine, and praising it, asked where it came from, "Cincinnati!" he repeated.  "Ah, that is where Miss Groesbeck lives."

Back in my Bachelor days, I used to think this anecdote would make a great toast.  I would re-tell it, and then raise my glass to the beautiful young lady, and salute both her, and our fair city, saying, "To Cincinnati.  Where Miss Groesbeck lives."

But you know what?  We never had any Groesbecks as débutantes.  Much less any from there. 

When I said I feared the NBS baby would be a Democrat, perhaps I misspoke.

January 18, 2008 11:35 PM

Though it is a pity Democrats would say it's child abuse to kick his ass.

So what do I look like?

January 17, 2008 11:26 AM

Mostly Kimi Raikkonen, a Finnish Formula 1 driver.

But I'm also 67% Angela Lansbury, 66% Emma Watson, 64% Steve Fosset (dead), 62% Regis, 62% Jared Leto, 62% Rupert Murdock and 62% Chester Bennington (who?).

Strangely enough, I do actually see the similarities with each of them. Especially that sexy Angela Lansbury.

Another book I won't be writing...

January 11, 2008 10:43 PM

Someone beat me to it!  One nephew, at the age of three, once pointed to beer in their refrigerator and explained "Das daddy juice."  So it runs in the family.

"We are facing an epidemic of cocktails served in inappropriately large glasses."

January 10, 2008 09:54 AM

Well at least it's not bird flu.  A oversized cocktail epidemic?  Is this really a concern?  Apparently so:

"A too-large glass gives the drink more time to lose its chill and initial zest, and a half-filled glass looks unexciting, so an average-size cocktail glass of 4 1/2 ounces is the most satisfactory," wrote Collette Richardson in the 1973 edition of "House & Garden's Drink Guide."

Thirty-five years later, just try finding a 4.5-ounce cocktail glass. In fact, most glassware called for in cocktail books has become exceedingly difficult to find. Retailers also are stocked with ridiculously huge double old-fashioned glasses, clocking in at 10 to 15 ounces. Finding the normal six- to eight-ounce old-fashioned glass that most drink recipes call for is difficult but not impossible....

The same is true with wine glasses these days.  The sizing has gotten ridiculous.  Now you don't buy a glass, you buy a "pour."  And that's usually a third of a bottle.  And apparently, it's not a good thing.  The Washington Post tells us:

"Cocktail geeks have always known that small martini glasses are better."

I'm a cocktail geek and I didn't know that.  I like the oversized glasses because they look less... dainty.  But apparently the theory is that if the drink is too big, you won't finish it while it is still ice, ice cold.  Makes sense to me.  Have two small ones instead of one big one.  Or, four small ones instead of two big ones.  Or, six small ones instead of three big ones.  You get the idea.

At Starbucks I asked for a grande and they gave me a venti.

January 8, 2008 09:48 AM

For free!

It is a good day.

Commenting problem. Solved?

January 5, 2008 11:03 PM

Well they appear to be working again, for no reason other than I've been on an anti-spam commenting crusade.  I think cleaning them out was like a blogospheric angioplasty or something. Now every thing is flowing much more properly.

If you've ever scrolled through the archives, you've probably noticed a lot of spam in the comments.  I've gotten lazy about deleting these, because I know most people only read the main page.  Apparently, I've gotten too lazy.  And I think I figured out the source of the problem.  It was this post, which was about a minor kerfuffle I had with the Cincinnati Beacon in August.  They had taken me to task for (supposedly) not knowing the difference between cuckolding and swinging.  In my post, I apologized for my gross ignorance (well, kind of apologized.  As much as I would ever apologize anyway), and clarified that I do, in fact, know what a "hot wife" is.

Well, you can imagine the kind of comment spam this post attracted.  Apparently there are a lot of people trying to peddle their spam wares, and those wares have much to do with cuckolding, swinging, and hot wives.  In fact, since that post went up in August, it has attracted 13,670 comments, from people attempting to sell loyal NBSers all sorts of services, products, website entertainments, etc.  None of which were endorsed by me.  Nor did I get a cut of any proceeds from those of you who got pervy entertainment via links from my comments. 

I discovered this by simply going through old posts, and turning off the comments on old posts that seemed to attract a lot of spam.  Most of them would maybe have 30-100 spam comments, and I'd wipe those out, thinking that all of them, collectively, must have been slowing the system.  And then I got to the post with the 13,670 comments.  The system crashed twice, just while I was deleting them.  And it took forever to get rid of them all.  My commenting problems must have been caused by this minor Cincinnati Beacon kerfuffle.  Who would of thought?  A kerfuffle with Beacon... hardly something worthy of my time.

And as for the spamers, I'm pretty ignorant of how they target what they do.  I assume they have programs that pick out posts that suit whatever they've been hired to peddle, and then they target those posts with lots of spam comments (all of which contain hyperlinks to their products).

But what I don't understand is, why they think someone is going to be reading NBS and getting some anti-Hillary Clinton diatribe and then suddenly decide to link on some pervy hyperlink in the comments.  I get the point of the spam comments, but why the hell leave them here?  Are you all a bunch of pervs?  Is Senator Larry Craig an NBSer?  Are you all secretly interested in cuckolding, swinging and hot wives?  What is with you freaks?

FYI: Comments on this post will be turned of in three days.  If you have anything to say, say it now.

Can you imagine putting a sticker that says "Huckabee" on the back of your car?

January 4, 2008 08:57 AM

Me either.

So what's going on with Baby NBS?

January 2, 2008 12:02 AM

All is well, we hope. And we have no reason to believe it's not. Here's a semi-creepy thing that shows you exactly what is going on:

We do know it's going to be a girl, and we're busy getting ready for the big arrival. Hopefully she's cute. And not a Democrat. We've actually talked about this.

Me: What if she turns out to be a Democrat?

Mrs. NBS: She won't.

Me: But what if she is?

Mrs. NBS: She won't be a Democrat.

Me: You can't always control these things. What is she's a rebel?

Mrs. NBS: There's just no way.

Me: Well you just never know. It happens even in the best families.

Mrs. NBS: I know. There's always boarding school.

We also want her to be healthy. And, if you think this is a parody of an actual conversation, you'd be wrong.

Housing Prices: Blaming Republicans, the rich, etc, on the way down...

December 28, 2007 09:08 AM

...just like on the way up.  Mickey Kaus reminds us of the benefit to the housing "crisis":

Are you impressed with a drop in home values of 6.6% over a year? It doesn't seem like such a big correction, given the dramatic run-up in prices over the last decade or so. ... And don't declining prices make housing more... what's the word? ... affordable?** ... This evening NBC Nightly News billboarded a "housing CRISIS." (Link available here.) I thought a "housing crisis" was when people couldn't find housing, not when it got cheaper. (NBC's expert: "It's very, very difficult to find any silver lining." No it's not.) ...

He's absolutely right.  Chez NBS has been on the market since October 1, and hasn't sold yet.  But when it does sell, we'll be able to take advantage of a huge drop in prices on houses that are bigger, nicer, and in better neighborhoods than what we first thought we could afford.  It has been quite enjoyable to see houses that were once outside of our price range fall within it.   

And Mickey reminds us of who got all the blame when housing prices shot up so high in the first place:

During the runup in housing prices the air was filled with complaints from the left that the rich were bidding up the value of housing, which was becoming unaffordable for ordinary Americans whose wages were rising only slowly, etc.. Now that this process is unwinding, much of this affordability problem is presumably being corrected.

Right again.  Mrs. NBS and I are constantly astounded when we watch those HGTV "Flip that House" type of shows, and they profile some complete dump in California that lists for $650,000 while still in an unrenovated crack-house-infested-with-feral-cats condition.  How can anyone afford to live out there?  Especially the working class?  How can they possibly save up for a decent down payment?

Now that prices on the coasts are falling so dramatically, maybe people who are just starting out in life will be able to put more than 5% down, and thus won't lose all of their equity during a price slump?  And I do feel sorry for the people who are losing their homes, don't get me wrong.  But why didn't they know that if you can't put 20% down, you can't afford the house?  That's been the rule of thumb for decades. 

How'd that enormous flat screen get in my slum?

December 26, 2007 02:48 PM

Meet Sharon Jasper.  She lives in Section 8 housing in New Orleans.  She is not happy with her lot in life:

A HANO voucher covers her rent on a unit in an old Faubourg St. John home, but she said she faced several hundred dollars in deposit charges and now faces a steep utility bill.

"I'm tired of the slum landlords, and I'm tired of the slum houses," she said.

Pointing across the street to an encampment of homeless people at Duncan Plaza, Jasper said, "I might do better out here with one of these tents."

Get that?  She might do better in a homeless encampment. 

Now meet Sharon Jasper's tv:


Sharon says:  "I might be poor but I don't like to live poor.  I thank God for a place to live but it's pitiful what people give you."

Sharon, I give you 28% of my income every April 15.  The only thing that's pitiful is that I don't have a 60 inch flat screen tv, and you're a welfare queen and you do.  Where are my housing vouchers?  Where's my flat screen tv?  I don't like to live poor, either.  It's pitiful what people give you.  I'm still waiting for some stranger to come along and give me my flat screen tv.  Where the hell is my new flat screen tv?

HT: Nixguy. 

UPDATE: Oh my God, she's even worse than I thought.

The Enquirer says I can make money off this dang blog

Actually, they're just running an AP wire story, but it's interesting nonetheless:

NEW YORK – Zach Brooks pocketed $1,000 this month blogging about the cheap lunches he discovers around midtown Manhattan ($10 or less, preferably greasy, and if he’s lucky, served from a truck).

The site,, is just a year and a half old and gets only about 2,000 readers daily, but it’s already earning him enough each month for a weekend trip to the Caribbean – or in his case, more fat-filled culinary escapades in the city.

In the vast and varied world of blogging, Brooks is far from alone.

It’s no longer unusual for blogs with just a couple thousand daily readers to earn nearly as many dollars a month.

Well, that may be a little bit of an exaggeration, if you ask me.  You'll notice I haven't quit my day job.  Or maybe you all just aren't clicking enough on those google ads.  Click click click!  A reader told me this weekend that she bought one of those Hillary Clinton nutcrackers off my site.  Made me so proud.  It's a good thing to not only support NBS, but the entreprenurial genius behind the Hillary Clinton nutcracker!

I also like this point from the article:

Getting paid might even help validate what may otherwise seem like a silly or obscure obsession.

Amen to that!

If dogs don't get to go...

December 19, 2007 06:07 PM

... I don't want to either.  From the Enquirer:

With almost all the pomp and circumstance befitting an officer’s funeral, Alec, Monroe’s police dog was buried this afternoon at the Pines Pet Cemetery near Lebanon.

Alec, a 9-year-old black German Shepherd, died unexpectedly a week ago after suffering a seizure and a stroke after finishing his shift with Officer Gregg Myers....

Police officers and 19 dogs from at least 14 departments in Greater Cincinnati and Dayton looked on as poems about the bravery and loyalty of police dogs were read graveside where Alec’s dark-stained pine casket was draped with the American flag.

Another flag flew at half-staff in the special section for service dogs where Alec will be buried later today.

Stories were shared about some of Alec’s best qualities before Mason Police Honor Guard fired a 21-gun salute.

The Rev. Brad Olson, pastor of Monroe United Methodist Church, finished the service with a prayer that Alec would make it to heaven.

“We pray you will welcome him into your eternal kingdom,” he said.

Video, here.

If you want to know what lawyers really talk about these days...

December 7, 2007 10:29 AM

...and really, why wouldn't you?  It's all about the green, and how we don't make enough of it.  Because of the damn investment bankers!  From the American Lawyer:

Time was, lawyers were near the top of the heap. Investment bankers and other finance types have long eclipsed them, but the difference used to be one of degree. Then came private equity investors and hedge-funders, and lawyers nose-dived on the socioeconomic ladder. "Face it, we have no status," says an Am Law 100 partner of the pecking order at his sons' private school. "We go to these school functions, and this well-heeled group looks right through you. They won't give you the time of day. You're just one step ahead of the doorman."

Me no like the sound of that!  Or this tale of woe:

And what about those poor schleps making a mere $600,000 or so-the average profit per partner of The Am Law 200? Should they head for the outer boroughs, the suburbs, or Cleveland?

No!  Not Cleveland

The situation is causing a lot of strife:

It's enough to make otherwise sensible lawyers resent their clients. "You have these young people making $5 million a year," sputters one 60-something partner. What's worse, he adds, "they are inexperienced and have to be led by lawyers."

Deep down (or is it right on the surface?), lawyers feel they are smarter than the average Wall Street Joe they service. "Some seem not to have that much education," sniffs one lawyer. "Why am I doing all the thinking when I'm making a quarter of what they make?"

Fortunately, we don't really have investment bankers in Cincinnati.  But we do have plenty of resentment.  The lawyers think all the doctors make too much money, and the doctors think the lawyers are making all the money prosecuting or defending their malpractice cases, when it's really the insurance companies raking in all the doctor's dough from their hefty premiums.  And everybody's jealous of the people with successful business start-ups.  As for the trust-funders (except for some notable exceptions), their funds are drying up, and the professionals want to suck what they can off of them, before they wise up and realize they can't live like they used to.

HT: Above the Law

Is it time for an increase in the office gift exchange amount?

It always goes like this: Someone says "What limit should we put on it?" and then someone else says "Twenty-five bucks."  And then we all have to run around trying to find a crappy $25 gift for the person whose name you pulled out of a hat.  Well, it's been $25 everywhere I've ever worked, since I joined the "real" workforce.  Ten years ago.

The problem is there is nothing anyone actually wants that only costs $25.  One year I had this metal framed candle thing that I was going to give my secretary, and then my sister told me it was a gift that said "Hey, I stopped for gas on the way in to work this morning, and realized, oh crap, I have to get you a gift."  That that metal framed candle thing had cost me $25 at TJ Maxx!

This year I have a new firm and a new secretary, and the bright office idea is that we are all supposed to list three things that cost $25 and put that on the piece of paper with our name on it that gets drawn out of the hat.  The theory is that way, we'll all get something we want.

But there's NOTHING I want that costs $25.

Househunting with the NBSes

November 29, 2007 04:12 PM

The listing agent says this one is "for the sophisticated taste."  And here's the master bedroom:

 Click Photo To Enlarge

Sort of screams "bin Laden wife," doesn't it?  Here's the bath:

Click Photo To Enlarge

Fortunately, the family room is much more practical:

Click Photo To Enlarge

Mmmmmm.  Cozy.  It's MLS 1095328.  Check it out, in all it's hideousness.  It's in Glendale, of all places.  Hardly the Glendale I know.  I bet the neighbors hate them.

So flattered to have been asked, so bewildered about what to say

Oh Crap.  I've been asked to participate in a literary roundtable and recommend a bunch of books for the Christmas season at a popular website read by a bunch of smart people.  I feel kind of like the airhead celebrities they profile in Vanity Fair and ask, "What's on your nightstand?"  And they come up with something like Elfriede Jelinek's Einar that their publicist googled and had them say when they filled out Vanity Fair's form and which we all know is total b.s.

Do I just come right one and say uhh... well... I haven't actually, you know, been reading a lot of what you might call "books" lately.  What with the new job and the baby and, um, you know...  all of that.  Also I kind of maybe only have a two minute attention span anymore because of blogs.  So.... I'm not really down with all the latest editions and, like, it's been a while since I've been in a bookstore except to get to the cafe at Joseph-Beth.  You know, so maybe my contribution wouldn't be exactly what you're looking for, which is what people like National Review and New Criterion contributors are reading these days, because that's the kind of people who are contributing to this thing. 

Do I just come right out and say that?  Or should I just recommend Elfriede Jelinek's Einar?  Suggestions, please!

Sharing is not the lesson of Thanksgiving. Capitalism is.

November 21, 2007 10:39 AM

When the Pilgrims first arrived, they tried the communal approach to farming: Everyone assists in the work, everyone shares in the harvest.

And, everyone nearly died:

Why?  [Because w]hen people can get the same return with a small amount of effort as with a large amount, most people will make little effort. Plymouth settlers faked illness rather than working the common property. Some even stole, despite their Puritan convictions. Total production was too meager to support the population, and famine resulted. Some ate rats, dogs, horses and cats. This went on for two years.

So they switched to a system of private ownership.  From Governor Bradford's diary:

The colonists, he said, "began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length after much debate of things, [I] (with the advice of the chiefest among them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves. ... And so assigned to every family a parcel of land."

And then they prospered.  The first Thanksgiving came after the ecomonic prosperity brought on by private ownership.  So make sure you include private property in your list of things you are thankful for this year.

Also: I wish my grandmother were alive to alive to share her views on the communistic nature of the Venerated Ancestors!  She hated the communists, but God, she loved those ancestors.

And there's one more book I won't be writin'

November 8, 2007 04:11 PM

Dang, Marc Levin (conservative commentator, attorney, man of all seasons) is out with a new book, Rescuing Sprite:

 Rescuing Sprite: A Dog Lover's Story of Joy and Anguish

I could have written this book.  Why didn't I?  Grrrr. 

Anyway, Mark tells National Review Online:

I wasn’t planning on writing Rescuing Sprite.  As much as we try to plan our lives, life is unpredictable.  I was thinking about writing a book that was more along the lines you mention — about philosophy and politics.  We had actually begun the process of talking to several interested publishers about that project, but then Sprite passed away.  It was a crushing blow to me, as I am sure other dog lovers can relate. I put in very long days.  My radio show finishes at 8 P.M. ET, after which I eat dinner with my dogs every night; I take long walks with them; I talk with them at length. T hey give me enormous pleasure and enjoyment.  They keep me company.  They give me far more than I could ever give them and, in return, they ask for nothing more than something to eat and drink, a warm place to sleep, and some loving attention.

It never occurred to me to adopt a dog from a shelter.  It was my wife’s and kids’ idea, and their persistence, that brought this wonderful dog, Sprite, into our family.

You know, I’d never been to a shelter before.  I’d never given them a first thought, let alone a second thought. But I have since come to know that there are literally millions of dogs (and cats and other animals) who are living in crates or cages in thousands of shelters across the country who are in desperate need of loving families.  They became lost from their families, or were turned in by their owners, or had been abused.  When you go to a shelter, it’s a difficult experience — at least it was for me.  The people there are truly remarkable.  They do something I could never do.  They care for an endless stream of needy animals, and their contributions to society are enormous.  But to see those dogs and cats in those crates, who have to wonder what happened to their world, and who are surrounded by strangers and strange sounds, is heartbreaking.  In most cases, just a few weeks earlier, they were in a loving home.

Anyway, back to your question. It never crossed my mind to write a book like this, until my Sprite passed away. Simon & Schuster and several other publishers wanted me to write a book for them — a political book. Well, this was the book I wanted to write. I had to write it. It was this or nothing.

"Well, this was the book I wanted to write. I had to write it. It was this or nothing."  And guess what?  He wrote it, and Simon & Schuster loved it. 

Read the whole interview, if not the book.  Especially you, Mrs. NBS.  It sounds like you'd love it.

And remember gentle readers, that link to Lab Rescue over there on the blogroll is there for a reason.  Go check it out sometime.

God, I promised I'd blog something today

November 7, 2007 06:59 PM

And now it's late, I'm still at work (love the new job but it is a LOT more work).  If I get out of here any time soon, maybe I'll be able to get home, relax (i.e. have an adult beverage) and get something tantalizingly witty up.

In the meantime, I am waiting for a colleague to finish red-lining an Answer to a very, very lengthy Complaint we are responding to.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.

Hey, how about some local politics?  Every single city council candidate that I voted for lost, except Chris Monzel.  It continues to amaze me that some people think conservative Republicans run this town when there is only one of nine on City Council.  Oh well.  We're leaving for the suburbs soon anyway.  I hear out there the streets are paved with gold, they don't have any taxes, and the schools are all fantastic.  We shall see.

Maybe I'll do one of those walk by the door to his office things.  Hold on a sec.

Nope, he's still typing away.  Did I mention he wanted to get started on his review, so he instisted on working on a draft of mine that I was still working on?  So now someone is going to have to reconcile the edits, and I'm betting it will be me.  The secretaries are long gone.   

Here's something else that will amuse the legal eagles out there... Guess what an opposing counsel said to me yesterday?  That Judge "X" is crazy, unpredicable and we should forum shop away from him.  His exact quote?  "You know the type.  Bush appointee.  Federalist Society.  Goes to Prayer Breakfasts.  All that crap.  We'll take a remand to state court if you will." 

Uh, no thanks on that offer, pal.  I'm thinking Judge X and I are going to get along just fine.

So yes, I'm going to blog about something tomorrow

November 6, 2007 11:43 PM

Definitely in the evening, if I don't have time during the day.  So what do you want to hear about?  It's readers choice.  Do you want:

Local Politics?

National Politics?

Something funny?

An update on the impending arrival of da baby?

An update on NBS executive assistant copy editor Henry?


Do you want to ask NBS a question, any question? 

It's your choice!  Take your pick.  Leave it in the comments or email me at

I know, I know. NBS has been quiet lately.

October 31, 2007 10:34 PM

Or, as one reader pointed out to me, "Ever since you announced you guys are having a baby, your blog has totally sucked."

Yes.  I know.  And when you combine the baby with the new job, and having the house on the market, it hasn't left much time for blogging.  For those of you who check in regularly, I am so sorry.  Please be patient.  I'll find my stride soon.

If more of you were clicking on those google ads, maybe I could quit my job and blog full time.*  Something to think about, you know.  I still harbor hopes of making millions off my google ads!

So..... please stay tuned during this time of transition.  And if you haven't figured out RSS feeds yet, maybe now is a good time to do so.  I still don't completely understand them, but I think the premise is that they let you know when something new has appeared on this site.  So you don't have to keep coming back to check.

Not that coming back is bad.  Especially if you click on one of those google ads.  Save me from billable hours by clicking my google ads!

*This is a joke, by the way.  I assume you all know that since everyone has google ads, hardly anyone is making money off of them.

Is there some confusion out there about what "original document" means?

October 17, 2007 01:26 PM

It means the original.  As in the one with the person's actual signature.  Not a copy.  Not a fax.  Not one scanned in and emailed to me as a PDF.  The original.

Oh and if you're the one executing it, sign it in blue ink.  Never black.  Do you really want people licking their fingers and trying to smear your signature to find out if they are holding the original or a copy?  Always use blue ink on business or legal correspondence.

Class dismissed. 

How much do I hate Delta's monopoly at CVG?

October 12, 2007 10:07 AM

I'm trying to book tickets to Maine for Thanksgiving, and Delta will let us fly out of Dayton for $122 less per ticket.  But to do that, we have to have a layover.  In Cincinnati.  Which we would be driving from to get to Dayton.  And how long do they want us to sit at CVG for our layover?  Five hours and 27 minutes.

Which will probably be even longer once all the flights get delayed. 

Suggested new slogan: "Delta.  We love to have you sit at CVG for five and half hours, and it shows."

UPDATE: Continental and Northwest have the exact same ticket price for the exact same dates.  It's almost like there's some sort of price fixing going on!

Wow, 4:30 and the whistle just blew at the law firm salt mines

October 9, 2007 03:31 PM

Yabadabadoo!!!  What, you didn't hear it?  I know they're early today.  By several hours.  But I heard it, and I'm outta here.  More utterly non-work related blogging tomorrow!

UPDATE: Departure delayed by bitchy remarks from senior female partner: "I. Hope. You enjoy [name of new firm]," said with dripping condecension.  "Goooood luuuuh-uuuck."  Totally designed to make me think I'm making a huge mistake.  Why not go with the full on "No one ever leaves a star!" Norma Desmond routine from Sunset Boulevard?  I mean really.  My response, with total faux chipperness "Thanks!  Opportunity knocks!!!"  Totally designed to make her think I think there are no opportunities here.  Which there aren't. 

Now I'm leaving after briefing the paralegals on said bitchy comments from said partner.  They weren't surprised! 

NBS Laugh of the Day

In an email from a senior partner:

"Anyway, lets see what we can do on some of these things before you leave."

Um, no.  I don't think so.  I'm wrapping up current projects and that is it.  No more.  Especially not after the past few days of closed doors, whispered conversations, and bitter, angry glances.

If any local NBSers want to take a three hour lunch with me during the next two weeks, email me!

Because having a baby and putting the house on the market just aren't enough changes...

October 5, 2007 10:27 AM

...this morning I quit my job.  After five years in my current job, I'm switching to a different law firm, where the pay is a lot better and hopefully some other things will be different.

Here's how the news is going over with my colleagues:

The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 kilometers (11 mi) above the hypocenter

At least they haven't escorted me out, though.  Yet.  I think they're still in shock.

Sorry if I deleted your comment...

September 30, 2007 10:53 PM

...I just accidentally deleted quite a few while trying to clean up the spam.  Have I mentioned lately how I get thousands of spam comments per day, and how much I hate Moveable Type (my blogging platform)?  No?  Well, consider it mentioned.  If you want to start a blog, do NOT use Moveable Type.

New York Times: "Episcopal Bishops Reject Anglican Church's Orders"

September 25, 2007 10:46 PM

I haven't written much about the Episcopal/Anglican crack-up in recent months, because most of my readers just aren't interested.  But they should be, because this has implications for all Protestant and Catholic denominations.  This is, really and truly, a big deal.  So listen up!

Shockingly,  New York Times has the big news of the day.  If you want context, it follows up on my earlier post about how the Episcopal Church in the US has been ordered into receivership by the rest of the Anglican Communion.  The Anglican Communion made certain demands of the Episcopal Church, and, well, per the NYT:

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 25 — Bishops of the Episcopal Church on Tuesday rejected demands by leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion to roll back the church’s liberal stance on homosexuality, increasing the possibility of fracture within the communion and the Episcopal Church itself.

After nearly a week of talks at their semiannual meeting in New Orleans, the House of Bishops adopted a resolution that defied a directive by the Anglican Communion’s regional leaders, or primates, to change several church policies regarding the place of gay men and lesbians in their church.

That's all you need to hear, really.  That the Episcopal Church defied a directive from the Anglican Communion to bring its theology back into the fold of mainstream Christianity.  I'm sure the fact that a prominent liberal Episcopal Bishop blatantly lied to the NYT reporter covering this meeting did not help matters much.  It seems the mainstream media is not always fooled, not when they are surrounded by bloggers pointing them to actual facts.  If you're at all interested in the power of the Internet, the way things have played out in the past few days have been extremely interesting.  Bloggers have changed politics, now they are changing how religious news is covered, in major, major ways.  When a Bishop lies to the media, it only takes a few thousand googling monkeys to prove him a liar.

But anyway, the Episcopal Church has refused to go along with what the rest of the Anglican Church has demanded.  So what's next?  Honestly, I don't know.  I just know that I am done with the Episcopal Church in its current form, and I am hopeful that an authentic Anglican presence will soon arrive on these shores.  The conservative Bishops are gathering at this moment in a Common Cause partnership meeting.  Whether they will be recognized as the legitimate Anglican presence in the U.S. remains to be seen.  One can only hope.

So people have been asking, how did the NBSes learn the big news? Well, turns out we posted in on YouTube!

So here's the big NBS news: This is where the elliptical machine was supposed to go.

September 19, 2007 07:45 PM

For those who don't know, that's a crib.  No, not the MTV kind.  The baby kind.  I decided to take a break from putting it together (a job that began three days ago) to blog about it. 

But what does the presence of the crib mean, NBSers?  Yes, you are all so smart!  We be habbin' a baby.  Don't worry, this isn't an all access pass.  I won't be taking you inside the delivery room.  In fact, I really don't want to be there myself.  But I'll go, because the damn liberal social mores of our time demand it.  I think I should sitting nervously in the waiting room with a box of cigars in my lap, like it is 1957.  But no, I'll be in there, just because society demands that I not look like an asshole.  I'm not going South of the Equator, though.  That's where I draw the line.  I also will not be cutting the cord, because I read in a baby book that when you do, "stuff" comes flying out of it.  I'm envisioning an unwieldy fireman's hose.  I'm not going there.   

We're past the first 12 weeks (i.e. the risky time) so it looks like this will actually be happening.  The big due date is March 18.  And we have a lot to do before then: finish the martini I have in my hand, finish putting the crib together, put the house on the market, find a buyer, find a new house, move, buy Mrs. NBS a new car that's not a two-door, and figure out child care and/or what Mrs. NBS is doing with her career.  Good thing I'm a firm believer in beginning with first things, because the only thing I'm ready for is that martini.  Holy Shit.  We be habbin' a baby.  Life comes at you fast.  Hope you all are prepared.  There will be some impending fatherhood posts around here, mixed in with the same melange of pop culture critiques and right wing political rants that you have come to expect from NBS.  The times may be changing, but they'll only be getting better.  We be habbin' a baby.

And as for the elliptical machine?  It never made it upstairs.  Right about the last time I blogged about it was just before we found out our news.  And it was kind of like, well now what do we do with that thing?  We don't have room for it, but we definitely still want it.  So it sat there, blocking the downstairs hallway for several weeks, until we slid it into the study to get it out of the way.  We'll set it up at the new house, where we'll have a lot more room.  Whether or not someone will want to use it to lose some weight after the baby arrives, I will not opine on.  For now, we need to "stage" Alco Hall for potential buyers, and we just don't have room for it.  By the way, unlike the elliptical machine, the crib prefers martinis, not scotch.  In fact, a martini should be on the list of "needed tools" that they set out in the horribly translated Chinese instructions.  Trust me, you can't put one of these together without one.  Is this a harbinger of things to come?  Hope you can register for gin and vermouth at BabiesRUs.  I'll need it.  We be habbin' a baby. 

Wherein I have a rare moment, and am actually proud to be an Episcopalian

September 18, 2007 03:13 PM

Because no Episcopalian would EVER have one of these.  They are Inspirational Catholic Jesus Sports Statues, and they are available for $22.95 from








 describes them as "a wonderful way to reinforce Jesus "as friend" in everyday activities."  But I don't think Jesus should be helping that little girl with her golf swing. 

Nor do I think he should be teaching these little boys to play football in flip-flops.













"What a friend we have in Jesus.  Tackle him!" 

Oh sure, my Church may be run by hippies and heretics, but at least we don't have Inspirational Jesus Sports Statues.  What happened to the idea that you built things like this to remind people about Jesus?

West end of Chartres

HT the Llama Butchers.

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.

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

August 22, 2007 03:06 PM

Buy my neighbors' house*

August 20, 2007 03:15 PM

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.

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

Deleting spam comments and listening to

August 13, 2007 08:54 PM

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!

Starting Thursday, we'll be "roaming through Michigan." It's going to be just like this!

July 29, 2007 02:13 PM

Elliptical Machine, Day 11

July 28, 2007 11:25 PM

No, it hasn't moved from the downstairs hall.  But, Henry has started chewing on it:


And, it likes scotch:


Why not leave it where it is?

Tony Snow on Cancer's Unexpected Blessings

July 26, 2007 01:46 PM

And writing like American leaders used to write, in Christianity Today:

Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations? Can we surrender our concern in things that don't matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things that do?

When our faith flags, he throws reminders in our way. Think of the prayer warriors in our midst. They change things, and those of us who have been on the receiving end of their petitions and intercessions know it.

It is hard to describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit. Somehow you just know: Others have chosen, when talking to the Author of all creation, to lift us up—to speak of us!

This is love of a very special order. But so is the ability to sit back and appreciate the wonder of every created thing. The mere thought of death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense. We may not know how our contest with sickness will end, but we have felt the ineluctable touch of God.

The whole thing is an excellent read.  It's like a nice mix of C.S. Lewis and Peggy Noonan. 

And, how come Tony's day job doesn't keep him from writing?  I can barely get in a handful of blog posts per day, and I'm not the White House Press Secretary.

Do not order one of these through the mail

July 17, 2007 08:23 PM

So for Mrs. NBS's birthday, romantic charmer that I am, I got her workout equipment.  This is actually a little bit for me too, since it will presumably mean I don't have to not go to the gym anymore.  Now I'll be able to not workout from the comfort of my own home.

So we go shopping for an elliptical machine, and it's basically either buy something really expensive from that fancy place on Montgomery Road, or buy one made out of plastic and toothpicks from Dick's.  Nothing middle of the road.  So it was Costco to the rescue!  And, to make things even better, Costco has free shipping. 

Of course it arrived while I was at work, and the driver told Mrs. NBS that he couldn't bring it inside, because he's "not allowed to go inside."  He was just going to leave it on the porch, and I can tell you that if he had, that's where it would still be sitting.  Fortunately Mrs. NBS persuaded him to shove it inside the front door, which he did, blocking all access and egress.

This is what they sent us:


I don't know how much it weighs, but I can tell you it is unmovable.  We can slide it around on the floor, but I have no idea how to get it up the stairs to the NBS home gym (a.k.a. the corner of the bedroom currently occupied by a t.v. and my great-great-great grandmother's fainting couch).

So this evening, Mrs. NBS went off the l'hopital for work, and I spent an hour trying to get it upstairs.  I was thinking if I just got the corner of it on the bottom step, I could slide it around, get it all lined up, and eventually push it up the stairs.  Did not work.  The corner is too tight, and I could not even get one side of it lifted. 

So now I'm in a vicious circle: I can't get all buff and toned because the elliptical machine is still in the box, and I can't get it out of the box because I'm not all buffed and toned.

I think what I may do is take all of the pieces out of the box downstairs, and then carry them upstairs one part at a time.  But now I'm too tired, so I'm just going to take a picture of it and put it on my blog.

From the "Making NBS Seem Mainstream" Department

July 16, 2007 09:26 PM

Last week I introduced you all to someone who is even more conservative than I, this week, I give you someone more snobby.  Do check out the writings of one Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, and his blog, Reflections of a Young Fogey.  Mr. Heydel-Mankoo is an historian, honours consultant, protocol and etiquette consultant, and a royal and political commentator.  He is also the editor of Burke's Peerage & Gentry, and the grandson of Polish aristocrats Baron Adam Heydel and HSH Princess Karolina-Katarzyna Jablonowska. 

He also appears to be about 30, thus making him rather young to have devoted a career to monitoring other people's breeding.  I'm a Colonial Warrior, but I don't try to make a living off of it.  It would be fun to have him at a Warrior's event, though--mostly because he's significantly under the average age of 70, and also because he probably doesn't approve of Colonials Who Are Warriors.  A monarchist could really stir things up.  One gets the sense from reading his blog that he is definitely peeved we won the Revolutionary War.

Here's a sample:

Monarchists, traditionalists and historians gathered en masse yesterday evening in the dignified surroundings of London's Travellers Club library to honour the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660; thus marking the end of 11 years of hated, puritanical republican dictatorship. The Royal Stuart Society organises this splendid annual dinner on or around Oak Apple Day, May 29th, King Charles II's birthday and the date of his triumphal entry into London.

He then goes into a lengthy discussion of The Royal Stuart Society, and its aims:

The Society gladly recognises that those who form its membership are likely to have a varied range of particular interests. For some it will primarily be support for the institution of monarchy and the upholding of monarchical institutions against attack from their opponents. This support may favour, for instance, the legitimist stance based on hereditary principles and exemplified in the Jacobite movement and tradition after 1688. Adherents of this position will look with favour on the senior and direct hereditary heirs of the Royal House of Stuart although as our page on ‘Succession’ makes clear, none of those heirs has claimed any or all of the thrones of the British Isles since 1807. Other members of the Society will support or find acceptable the ‘parliamentary’ monarchy created by the Act of Settlement (1701) and now embodied in the reigning House of Windsor. For all there will be a consensus based on the desirability of having a monarchy rather than a republic. Closely linked with support for monarchy, members are likely to favour organised society in these islands being of a Christian, civilized and traditionalist nature. In a more general way they will favour co-operation with other credible monarchist bodies such as the International Monarchist League to support monarchical forms of government worldwide.

The Colonial Warriors have a rather different charter, but we do allow membership to descendants of those who fought for the Crown.  So we'd welcome members of The Royal Stuart Society to join our "hated, puritanical republican" brood.  Apparently, though, the feeling is not mutual.

But I do have something that Mr. Heydel-Mankoo and I surely do agree on.  True story: A few years ago, I was in the Henry VII Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey, near the stone that reads "The Burial Place of Oliver Cromwell 1658-1661."  And hand to God, this obese tourist woman who was standing next to me exclaimed:

"Awwwwwwwww.  He only lived to be three years old!"

If we hadn't been in a Church, I would have just unloaded on that woman.  I'm trying to take in the surroundings, and then there's this idiot.  If you are that stupid, you need to keep your mouth shut.  Those were the years that he was interred her, you fool.  Oliver Cromwell was not a baby.  He was a brutal dictator who got dug up, hanged, and decapitated after the Restoration of the Monarchy.  Not a baby.

Anyway, I'd like to think Mr. Heydel-Mankoo and I would share a common disdain for stupid people.  And both of us would probably would like this photo:

It's the Henry VII Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey, sans fat, ignorant tourists.

Meet Paulina Bandy. The girl who passed the bar exam on the 14th try.

Thanks to the hilarious David Lat over at Above the Law, Paulina Bandy has been brought to my attention.  The timing is perfect too, because I've been down in the dumps about my law practice.   They don't show it on the tv shows, but it can be... well... extremely boring.  But there's nothing like the less fortunate to make one feel better about one's self:

ORANGE – Paulina Bandy couldn't fail the state bar exam again.

Not after she failed 13 times before.

Not after she had spent tens of thousands to attend law school. Not after she put her husband Jon Gomez through the ringer for so many years. Not after the debt she piled up forced her family to move into a 365-square-foot home.

Not after she spent the last eight years of her life studying to pass one stinking test.

Her 14th try came on a day in February. She did breathing exercises and self-hypnosis.

During this time, she sold off her wedding gifts at garage sales, spent thousands of dollars on exam fees and prep courses, and was told by her father-in-law that she was "a pretend lawyer" who had ruined his son's life. 

But after the 14th attempt, the call came.  She passed: 

Paulina Brady bar exam well endowed Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg







Thank you, Paulina Bandy.  You are one crazy, self-destructive woman an inspiration.

The NBS Summer Spot...

July 13, 2007 09:10 AM

... is profiled in today's New York Times:

The Sailing Ship Manitou on Grand Traverse Bay.

The article begins:

DRIVING along the fingerlike peninsulas of Grand Traverse Bay, it’s easy to see why this part of Michigan calls itself the cherry capital. In spring, dense orchards explode in creamy blossoms, their pink hues like Impressionist smudges against the brilliant blue of Lake Michigan; come July’s harvest time, the branches are thick with ruby fruit.

But sprouting from the rolling green hillsides between the orchards is evidence of yet another fruitful enterprise — the neat rows of vineyards, which are fast turning this area into a destination for oenophiles and casual wine tasters alike.

The article leans heavily on the region's booming wine business--which I heartily support, even though it seems so foreign to those of us who have been going for years.

To ease into your exploration, sidestep Traverse City at first and head due north on Old Mission, a 22-mile strip that’s narrow enough in stretches to let you drive up its spine while taking in bay views in both directions. It’s home to six wineries, soon to be seven, including the Chateau Grand Traverse and Chateau Chantal, both of which have guest houses with rooms overlooking the vineyards. All offer daily tastings of their rieslings and pinot noirs and, naturally, some version or other of a cloying cherry port.

They even talk about one of my favorite spots:

The peninsula exudes a breezy country vibe, felt on quiet residential streets and in the stuck-in-time Old Mission General Store — opened in a wigwam in 1839 as the first trading post between Detroit and Mackinac Island. It’s run now by Jim Richards, a former actor from Detroit who inherited a family cherry orchard and purchased the store nine years ago.

“I thought it would be a noble cause to preserve this store,” said Mr. Richards, his days onstage and in soap operas still evident in his booming voice and jaunty derby (it’s a store rule that all the male workers wear period hats, a homage to those in the first photo of the store, in 1863, which is framed and hanging on the wall). There are plenty of other leftovers — creaky wood floors and big wooden barrels of peanuts, an antique Victrola and a heavy, ancient telephone whose receiver Mr. Richards picks up when it ding-a-lings — plus modern additions like store-made cherry salsa, steaming cups of chai and fat Italian sandwiches.

And they run a picture of the Old Mission lighthouse:

Ahhhhhh.  Just a few more weeks.

Aw shucks. Me?

July 11, 2007 01:33 PM

You scored as Draco Malfoy, Spoilt and proud, you place high value on the purity of wizard blood and look set to follow in your father's somewhat shady footsteps.

Draco Malfoy


Albus Dumbledore


Hermione Granger


Ron Weasley


Harry Potter


Remus Lupin


Sirius Black


Ginny Weasley


Severus Snape


Lord Voldemort


Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with

The apotheosis of the modern American yuppie

July 7, 2007 11:40 PM

Mrs. NBS and I now have this insured with Lloyds of London:


No, not kidding. 

In our defense, we are extremely worried about hip displasia.

[Apotheosis defined, here.]

The NRA has a wine club

June 19, 2007 03:32 PM

Finally, a group for people like me.

To mail or not to mail?

June 15, 2007 10:01 AM

I just re-opened the envelope containing the check for the chiropractor's bill.  On the enclosure, I had written:

If you guys want people to pay your bills without complaining, you have got to get a better billing system.  If you're not embarrassed by how unprofessional this looks, you should be.  Neither this nor the last bill I recieved shows clearly what the charge for services was, what was adjusted by insurance payments, and why the balance is what it is.

No, I hadn't watered that down with any meaningless "Dear Dr. so-and-so" tripe, or any "I feel much better!" crap.  Because it is true, that invoice was ridiculously confusing.  But should I actually send what I've written as is, or should I just send it to Passive Aggressive Notes?  [Yes, there is a blog devoted solely to the glorification of passive aggressive notes.]

I try not to be obnoxious, but how will people know what they are doing wrong if they're not told?