Archive for July, 2007

Love From Philadelphia to Detroit

I am writing to you Detroit from Philadelphia – the city of brotherly love. This is my second time back – the last was two years ago – and I am so impressed with the people and their energies in building up the city that has a similar recent history to Detroit in regards to race riots and segregation. The history has been beautifully restored and it is the people here that really make the difference. Within a few hours of being in the city, a lady helped me out with my train fare because I didn’t realize they didn’t take credit cards. I was wandering around aimlessly and another lady was so kind to stop and help me out. It is the people that make a city great. Thank you Philadelphia for your hospitality.

worrying about crap like this could explain my high blood pressure

has anyone else seen the current commercial for the perpetual furniture sale that is Art Van? it starts by telling us, the viewers that they “know what we’re thinking” then elaborates to point out that when a female says she likes the furniture she really means that she loves it and must have it. they then go on to decipher the man’s view point which is a haphazard agreement but is really wondering how he’s going to afford it. i’m annoyed by it on a few different levels but primarily because it depicts women as simple “wanting machines” who point and demand without regard for the financial outcome. the male, on the other hand is seen as nothing more than the poor, style-less sap that plays no part in the decor of their house and seems to be good for nothing but figuring out ways to fund the ol’ ladie’s spending sprees. she seems just so delighted while he’s seen rubbing his head, but thanks to the Art Van generosity he won’t have to come up with the dough for six whole months! yep, by then he’s sure to be in a much higher tax bracket and paying off something like a simple house full of new furniture just before Christmas, when expendable income is at a high, will be a breeze. i don’t know about you guys but almost everything in the iHom (International House of Max) has been agreed upon by the both of us from the art on the walls to the pillow on the sofa. if something is purchased while on a solo mission we know it’s open to veto. i understand that i am in the minority but there has to be more couples that have equal say in home fashion, right? i also understand that i’m taking this way too seriously because it’s nothing more than a commercial for a locally based, mid-grade furniture store that has to be a bit more inventive when confronted with a large-ish gap between holidays and i’m reading it like it’s a frickin’ psychological expose’ in the New England Journal of Medicine. plus, the “really, really, really post 4th of July & pre, pre, pre Labor day Sale” just seems a bit wordy.

Let’s Get Our Move On! (Tomorrow, for free)

Tomorrow finds the People Mover turning 20 years young. To celebrate, the City of Detroit is offering free rides all day.

Yippee!

In truth, I’ve always found the People Mover to be a rather shabby, ill-founded thing–more trouble than it’s worth, really. Unlike the massive subways of New York, DC, or other major cities, the People Mover doesn’t move you very far. It doesn’t take you from the suburbs to the city. It doesn’t take you across town. It shuttles you to and from stations that often can be just as easily reached by walking. If it took you from Cobo to the New Center or Cultural Center, then it would be something.

But how could it be a serious mode of transportation in the Motor City? I’m sure the automotive power players have allowed it to be, regarding it these 20 years with nothing but nudges and winks to each other, encouraging its construction twenty years ago with tongues planted in cheeks. It would never cause any threat to their industry, at least in this city. To them, and to many others, it’s nothing but a coy little joke.

But I’m going for a ride tomorrow. A visit to The People Mover’s website, created by the Detroit Transportation Corporation, has given me an urge to visit The People Mover itself. The site offers pages dedicated to the art at each of the different stations, with interesting descriptions and vivid photos. I’d like to see these all in person. It should be a fine day for riding, stopping off for a nice drink every few stations perhaps.

I truly hope that reliable public transportation is a possibility for Detroit. Groups like Transportation Riders United, or TRU, are fighting for it, and with a new consciousness in America about the climate crisis at hand, maybe some change will occur.

Until then, The People Mover is still a bit of a joke compared to other transit systems in the US. But it’s not a bad little joke, after all. Might as well enjoy it.

Slumpy’s Demise

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Great day for a bike ride yesterday. One of my favorites is to cruise Brush Park. Bordered by John R. and Brush and running north to Mack, this nieghborhood once was the home of rich industrialists dating back to the late 1800’s. A lot of homes have been rehabed including Edmond Place on, where else, Edmond St

One home that has always fascinating me is the William Livingston House at 294 Elliot. In its day it was a gorgeous example of French Renaissanse architechture. Built by Albert Kahn in 1893, it was one of his first commisions at the age of 22 or 23. Nicknamed “old slumpy” because of the way the building is decaying, the property is fenced off to prevent injury. Several years ago the Red Cross wanted to expand and it was move it or lose it so preservationists moved to it’s present location. Problem was, the movers failed miserably and without a proper foundation it just began to droop and slowly collapse.

Actually, I believe the structure has a spirit of its own. Someone was filming a video of the site and while filming, the home began to fall apart. It is amazing when you think about the incredible odds of that happening at that very moment after standing for over one hundred years. Spooky, very spooky.

Jazz It Up At Bob-Lo

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Haven’t been to Bob-Lo Island in Amersburg in a while. Dirve or float there today for the first annual live jazz fest from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Our own Jesse Palter starts it off at 2 with Alexander Zonjic later and Chuck Mangione closing it out in the evening. Lawn chairs and coolers are allowed. $30 lawn. $40 VIP. Ticket price includes the ferry ride across the Livingston Channel.

Picketing on Woodward

This morning I was privy to a silent protest at the junction of Woodward and Canfield. Wayne State University is putting in a parking structure off of Forest and condominiums are being built beside the Whitney along Woodward. The signs read “Local Labor for Local Workers”, or something of the sort, held by 50-70 men. Aside from the fact that my usual parking spots were taken, the strike didn’t seem all that effective in eliciting any feelings whatsoever. Work was continuing and there was no pedestrian traffic from which to draw sympathy. In cities, we tend to become immune to unusual scenes and it is easy to block things out. I am very much about people demonstrating, but perhaps demonstrators should think of tactics other than the one’s people have been using for the last century. Wrap a dump-truck in hot pink plastic and ride up and down Woodward, then more people may stop to inquire as to what you are talking about.

a flex-fuel helicopter maybe?

recently while getting ready for work i tuned in a local news station to see how many police chases happened over night (there’s at least a couple a day, it seems) and they had one of the reporters showing the benefits of riding a bicycle to work rather than firing up that big ol’ pollution machine in your garage. i, being rather into the world of cycling am well aware of the benefits whether they be for the health of the rider or for the health of the planet was impressed that she was undertaking what she said was a bit of a lengthy ride for her to show how simple it could be. she then proceeded to pedal down the road with about a dozen other riders for support (and a chance to be on television i’ll bet) and the whole ride was filmed from high above her in a helicopter. the last time i drove my helicopter i remember it using WAY more fuel than my car. nice effort but she should have just told you about it rather than trying to lead by example. to top it off, a couple weeks later the same reporter was trying to get everyone to trade in your four wheeled gas guzzler for a two wheeled gas sipper (motorcycle) and was escorted from her house to the station by a hand full of fellow “bikers” and the watchful eye of a two car state police escort. that’s your tax dollars at work cleaning up the atmosphere, my friends. enjoy the irony.

Happy Belated Birthday Detroit

Detroit celebrated its 306th birthday this week – July 24th. The Detroit Historical Museum hosted its annual party to the city this past Saturday. Detroit, here is an e-card for you. You were here long before I was born and will be here long after I am gone. Thank you for your shelter and embrace. With best wishes in your 306th year. I love you dearly.

Metroblogging Detroit Turns Two

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Happy Birthday to us!

Metroblogging Detroit began two years ago this week. Photo by ngould on stock.xchng.

New maps of metro Detroit

I was happy to see that Map Detroit now offers maps of additional spots in metro Detroit, including Detroit’s New Center area, Royal Oak and Birmingham.

I like Map Detroit’s interface, but what I really like most about the site and the maps are the filters, which can be used to find everything from parking to shopping to entertainment venues.

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