County Farm Park
YPSIDIXIT was at work most of this glorious day, but when Fritz kindly picked me up from work around 4, before a lovely dinner (of reubens, natch) at Cafe Luwak and before proofreading most of the evening, we went for a walk in County Farm Park.
We critically examined the new plasticky play structure and probed the community gardens. The furthest, most isolated community garden had been set up as an oasis. A table with umbrella held gloves and a pair of scissors, and a colored glass ball decorated the rows of tomatoes, zinnias, and peppers. Someone had turned their tiny plot into what Fritz called "a vacation retreat."
Out in the prairie area, we crunched over the stone chip path, drinking in the still-green lushness in the golding early-autumn light. I took off my glasses in order to change the vista into a blurry Impressionistic painting. We watched a hawk circle overhead, riding the currents of air. "That looks fun." But no more fun than the lightness of being engendered by strolling through green crickety beauty, skin warmed by the sun, stealing kisses amid goldenrod and purple St. Michaelmas daisies, hand in hand.
0 comments 11:58 p.m. - 2007-09-16
Ypsi GospelFest 2008
YPSIDIXIT thinks one way to add money to city coffers, the way that this year's Elvisfest netted $75K for the mysterious Depot Town Community Development Corporation, is to have a GospelFest.
Gospel is some of the best music on the planet. Its fire and soul has even atheists like me buying gospel CDs and wishing that atheism had even the shred of a musical tradition, much less one as vibrant, passionate, and fun.
My idea is to intersperse ensembles from local churches with guest performers, and rock it out from Riverside Park along with a giant community cookout. I personally would love to sit on a folding chair in the park with a plate piled with barbecue or burgers and listen to outstanding music. Ypsidixit would pay for that. I think it'd be fun. And now that Ann Arbor's Gospelfest has been shut down because they no longer allow amplification in West Park, it's a niche that could be exploited. Market it across the entire county. I think it'd draw attendees. The inclusion of local performers would cut down on costs as well as highlight local talent. Personally I think it's a win-win, and I hope to see it someday in Ypsi.
1 comments 11:09 p.m. - 2007-09-15
Notre Dame Game
0 comments 3:43 p.m. - 2007-09-15
I am trying to locate the groundskeeper at Harry Bennetts Desert Hot Springs Residence or Thom Dewald's email
A CALIFORNIA PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR WRITES:
"I am trying to locate the groundskeeper for my client, Dan Carver. He befriended Dan when he was younger and Dan was curious whether the groundskeeper was still alive. He doesn't remember his name and that is pretty much where I am at in this investigation. I traced Esther Rae and the family to Vegas and that is where the trail went cold. Dan would like to call him, send him a letter, or even visit him, if he is still alive. If he is deceased, I would like to know where he died and try to get proof for Dan to ease his mind about the money that he has spent so far on hiring a PI." [more in "comments]"
2 comments 10:54 a.m. - 2007-09-15
Recreation Commission Wants Your Park Ideas
KIND READERS, the city Recreation Commission wants to know how you use Ypsi parks. They've got an easy online survey which is fun to fill out. Let your voice be heard, and help them plan park stuff to best benefit all Ypsilantians. The last part asks you for any final ideas. I wrote,
"Take risks. Be willing to organize a festival some might find offbeat. Solicit local clubs (e.g., Wild Ones, Ann Arbor Garden Club) for volunteers to do things like monthly nature walks. Create a "Boating Day," when local boat owners are paired with boatless riders for a ride from the Gallup Park dam to Riverside Park--it's beautiful back there. Organize a "Species Survey" day, when a team of amateur-naturalist locals catalogues *every* species to be found in Riverside Park and then makes a website showing all the species and giving info on them and how they interconnect--we did this in our .25 acre township lot and found over 300 different plant and animal species." Which was fairly amazing, and which was highlighted by a spectacular fuzzy yellow caterpillar that was a juvenile of the American Dagger Moth, an animal new to us.
1 comments 11:50 p.m. - 2007-09-14
Cafe Luwak Unable to Stay Out Of Newspapers
MERE SECONDS AFTER WINNING the Detroit Channel 4 survey for Best Sandwich Shop (YAY!!), and 12 days after being mentioned in the Ann Arbor News' "10 Things to Love about Ypsilanti" article, Cafe Luwak is AGAIN in the papers! This time because some loser tried to steal money from the office. They picked him up because he was causing a disturbance across the street...two hours later. "I think I'll hang around the scene of my crime. Yeah!"
What will we read of next, we wonder? How will the redoubtable Jim K. continue to exceed everyone's expectations and usurp larger and larger portions of the daily newspaper? Will his mystical Kopi Luwak blend cause a blind man to see? Will the astrology group determine, via arcane calculations on Luwak napkins, that the cafe is ground zero for the dawning Age of Aquarius [actually not till 2600; get your facts straight --Ed.]? Will Forrest become, by popular demand, the youngest mayor in Ypsilanti history? (And the only one who's mastered heelies*). What wonders will tomorrow's paper bring? In the meantime, congratulations to Cafe Luwak for its triumphal win over ALL OF DETROIT and for its general wonderfulness and for its, um, burglary--well, not for that.
*an assumption; I have not queried Mr. Schreiber on this matter.
5 comments 10:07 p.m. - 2007-09-14
Friday Brain Teaser Time
Starting about 13,000 years ago, coinciding with the advent of humans' earliest migrations to North America, North America's immense variety of megafauna underwent an explosion of extinctions. Paleoecologist Paul Martin theorizes that humans killed off the glyptodonts, the giant ground sloths, short-faced bears, giant beavers, mastodons, camels, tapirs, and other large terrestrial animals--as good food sources that also offered the prestige of killing a large animal. "[A]t least 70 genera of large mammals throughout the New World all vanished in a geologic twinkling of about 1,000 years." Let's assume he is correct.
"Yet how is it possible [that Africa is still full of megafauna] if in less than a millenium human beings decimated America's supposedly richer Pleistocene megafauna? Surely Africa had even more people, and for a lot longer. If so, why does Africa still have its famous big-game menagerie? The flaked basalt, obsidian, and quartzite blades at Ologesailie show that for a million years hominids could cut even an elephant's of a rhino's thick hide. Why aren't Africa's big mammals extinct as well?"
5 comments 8:02 a.m. - 2007-09-14
Two Ways to Destroy Museums
1 comments 9:46 p.m. - 2007-09-13
City-Wide Income Tax Forum to Focus on EMU Impact
"Ypsilanti – The Eastern Votes Coalition will be hosting a panel discussion and public forum on Thursday, September 27th at 6:30 in the Roosevelt Auditorium on the campus of Eastern Michigan University (EMU). The topic of the event will be the upcoming City of Ypsilanti ballot proposal for a city-wide income tax and its impact on EMU students and employees."
“With all of this talk about the income tax issue, EMU students and employees seem to have been left out of the discussion on how it would affect them,” said Michael Haynes, coordinator of the Eastern Votes Coalition and EMU student. “This forum is the opportunity for us to understand the potential effects of an income tax and to be able to make an informed decision when we go to the polls in November."
Good point! Eastern HAS been left out of the discussion! Why did the pro-taxers neglect EMU? Parochial town-vs.-gowniness? Or just sloppy "planning" that neglected one of the biggest employers in town? If you ask me, I'd be indignant--and I'd do my best to form a juggernautish bloc of equally indignant EMU workers, professors, and students. (Remainder of press release below, in "comments.")
FRI. A.M. UPDATE: Hmm, that's interesting. I note that over on Mark Maynard's blog, he discusses 3 mayor-sponsored upcoming town hall meetings to discuss the city income tax. Presumably he received this info from the mayor. Ypsidixit was not included on this mayoral mailing--though I was included on the EMU mailing. Points to ponder....
20 comments 8:22 p.m. - 2007-09-13
Ypsilanti's Thirst for Venn Diagrams Slaked
(Singsong): "Who wants a Venn dia-gram, about sec-u-lar hu-man-ism?"
3 comments 12:46 p.m. - 2007-09-13
Voyageurs to Visit 18th Century Tavern in Ypsi
WIRY VOYAGEURS, burly trappers, and scruffy settlers may visit the Queen's Residence B&B at 220 S. Huron when it opens its new 18th-century groggery.
Starting this coming Sunday, buckskinned, bewhiskered patrons can down some vittles, cast a shrewd eye over the tradin' goods at Bowerbird Mongo [mebbe for that tough li'l spinster settler downstream --Ed.], and partake of a theatrical offering at the Riverside Theater [rather lofty fare for unshaven muskrat trappers --Ed.] We can expect these rugged individuals to return, as bimonthly groggery lunches will continue each Sunday and Wednesday.
3 comments 7:01 a.m. - 2007-09-13
Methamphetamine in Ypsi
The person in my peripheral vision on the #4 bus turned his face towards me. Suddenly I felt fear and horror though I didn't even see him except at the edge of my vision. But my brain saw something in his face that snapped me out of my book.
"Man, he looks like a tweaker [hardcore meth user]." I thought. How would I know? I'd researched methamphetamine in depth for an article. I'd spent nights poring through online articles and had seen the comparison photos of early and late-stage meth users. The early ones had human presence in their expressions. The later ones did not. No humanity left. Like this guy.
I studied this 40ish man inconspicuously, pretending to read. I noted his dirty, baggy sweatpants paired with a yellow and burgundy striped Brady Bunch-era velour shirt, with a grey ring around the collar. A nice appearance, or even just a neat one, was no concern to this man. I snuck peeks at his bloodshot eyes and thousand-yard stare. Another guy, apparently an acquaintance across the bus aisle, offered him a small handful of change. It was mostly pennies. His face lit up, as if this were the best thing all day. The guy gave him a little more change, also mostly pennies. The man intensely scrutinized the small heap of change in his hand, apparently counting it, as I was. About 60 cents.
The bus stopped at the water tower, and the guy got up to get off. I saw how thin he was. "Hey--you left your tire gauge," said the guy who'd given him change, pointing to the blue seat.
I blinked. Tire gauge?
Why would you need a tire gauge on a bus?
I stole a look at the tire gauge. The slidy-stem ruler had been removed. So it was hollow, like a--the man grabbed it and left the bus. I watched him drift down the sidewalk.
At home, I typed a few words into Google. Sure enough, tire gauges can be used as crack or meth pipes. Given that 58 percent of cops say meth is their biggest drug problem, and only 19 percent say cocaine, odds are the bus guy was using his for meth.
This guy has stayed with me all night. He was someone's cute toddler once. Maybe his elementary school teacher put his spaceship drawing on the bulletin board, with the best drawings. Maybe he made a bad choice once, one time--and was hooked. 95 percent of longterm meth users are hooked after one try. Like Philip K. Dick's Substance D, which was based on the amphetamines of his day--"You're either on it--or you haven't tried it."
The tire gauge would not be used to measure an inflated bike tire for a ride around the neighborhood this evening, before other fun evening relaxations like reading a book or cooking or watching a DVD. I guessed that this guy would be doing none of these pleasures tonight. That they no longer held interest for him. Or ever would again. I felt sad to think so, and sad that there was absolutely nothing I could do. Except pray, so much as an atheist can, that his landing, when it comes, is not as hard as it could be.
4 comments 10:24 p.m. - 2007-09-12
Fraternity Reunion Dooms Michigan; University President Tells Septuagenarian Fraternity Alumni Never To Come Back To Ann Arbor Again
A SEPTUAGENARIAN U-M alum offers his dry, wry, witty, enchanting take on his experience at last Saturday's Oregon game, complete with a peek at the excerable late-1950s U-M football program before the golden Schembechler years. Excerpts:
"What we fraternal septuagenarians and near septuagenarians were seeing last Saturday in Ann Arbor was nothing we had not seen or heard before -- many times"
"I realized what a fantastic coaching job Lloyd Carr has done this year. In a total of just eight days, from Saturday, September 1st through Saturday, September 8th, he has moved the team from 5th to 105th in the national rankings. That is a move of 100 places in just eight days...So give Carr credit for a great coaching job that produced the biggest eight day movement in the history of college football."
"Michigan lost, Michigan got smashed, because we were there. We brought with us a post Crisler, pre Schembechler cloud of Benny Oosterbaanism and Bump Elliottism, a hanging miasma of bad coaching and bad teams, a hanging cloud that followed us into Michigan Stadium. We are responsible for the loss to Oregon because of our presence...One of our guys (I’ll call him Stan) apparently is a big hitter, or is expected to be a big hitter who will give Michigan ten or twenty mill. He consequently watched the game with the President of Michigan, Mary Sue Coleman, in her special box in the sky. He told her about the reunion, the way things had been in the ’50s and early ’60s...As the game went on, President Coleman’s view and demeanor darkened as she increasingly realized why this awful debacle was taking place on the field in front of her. When the game was over and she and Stan were leaving, she turned to him and said. “Stan, it was awfully nice to watch the game with you. But do me a favor. Keep your 10 mill and tonight, at the reunion banquet, tell your fraternity brothers never to come back to Ann Arbor again.”
0 comments 8:10 a.m. - 2007-09-12
Design for Life Winners: wow, cool stuff!
My favorite? It's one of the top nominees, the Croatian-designed Wing.
"When we turn windmill to the wind, a small generator suited in the central bowl turns the mechanical energy of the wind into electrical energy sufficient to satisfy elementary human needs (mobile phone, laptop, light, portable fridge...)…The original intention was that Wing should provide el. energy when there is no other source ( on the beach, in the mountains, when we are camping far away from civilization, on the boat…), but at the same time as a secondary source of electricity in our flats." Hmmmmmm.........
1 comments 1:02 p.m. - 2007-09-11
"The World Without Us" Interactive Webpage
4 comments 7:24 a.m. - 2007-09-11
Events to Look Forward To
September 18: Tour de Fresh! Join Growing Hope's Garden and Food System Tour: see community & school gardens, urban micro-farms, and other ways Ypsilantians are creating local food. Ends with a meal! (not McDonalds).
September 26: Spaghetti dinner at St. Lukes to raise money for the Ypsilanti Citizen's Police Academy, which sounds pretty interesting.
October 26: Downtown Candy-Grab! Hayrides! Clowns!
December 1: Civil War Holiday Ball In the new EMU Student Center, 8-11 p.m. Tickets $30 (by November 20), $35 at the door. Ypsidixit has been told that period underwear is mandatory this year and yes, they are checking.
0 comments 12:23 p.m. - 2007-09-10
Bergman Mourners Take Note
0 comments 8:22 a.m. - 2007-09-10
5 comments 7:31 p.m. - 2007-09-08
"A discussion of at-home funerals, green burials, and other kinds of
"Thursday, 9/20/07, 7:00 pm at the Haab Health Building, 111 N Huron St, Ypsilanti. (Enter from rear parking lot entrance.) Donation requested."
7 comments 10:15 p.m. - 2007-09-07
Friday Brain Teaser Time
"Tell you what," he said, pouring the last bit of the iced tea into my plate to make a thin layer. "You can use what's on the table to move the liquid in the plate into the glass. Only thing is, you can't touch the plate. Do that and I'll spring for your reuben."
I looked fearfully at the table. There was the plate with liquid, the empty iced tea glass, the lemon wedge from the iced tea, and my matchbook. I began to tremble...
4 comments 11:13 a.m. - 2007-09-07
Talladay Farms Corn Maze
The game is for people to temporarily escape circumscribed lives to toy with the prospect of getting lost. The real danger of getting lost is mitigated by maps they give out. The void is made safe. Seen from above, the circling people might resemble tiny laser pointer dots tracing the complicated outlines of shapes that contain no real substance, perhaps not unlike the realities that lead one to seek out the transient amusement of a corn maze.
You could get lost, of course. Long after the last flashlight leaves, you could slip in the wrong side of the field, in the dark, and sidle down a regular corn row. Soon you'd hit a mowed lane. You could follow it for a while in the moonlight till you were somewhere else. Somewhere in a field full of food in a hungry world. Then lie down in some unknown section of one of the maze's celestial shapes, and watch the stars.
1 comments 9:45 p.m. - 2007-09-06
20 Reasons Not to Move to Dubai
1 comments 8:47 a.m. - 2007-09-06
Clothesline Users Unite!
There's a burgeoning "Right to Dry" movement that has overturned local ordinances forbidding clotheslines! Often subdivisions in particular forbid the all-natural outdoor drying of clothes due to a prissy worry that the sight of Ypsidixit's unmentionables will lower property values. Nonsense. If anything, it'll raise 'em sky-high. At any rate, you, my fellow Brethren and Sistren of the White Rope, take heart! Join the clothesline activist group Project Laundry List! And the next time your slovenly neighbor, the one who wouldn't know a clothespin from a roach clip, takes a look at your sparkling towels and drops some snark about "Little House on the Prairie" why, you tell him coolly that you and your army of fellow "liners" stand ready to take any interfering "hot airers" straight down to City Hall and on to the Supreme Court, by jiminy.
5 comments 9:02 p.m. - 2007-09-05
Historical Ghost Walks
5 comments 9:53 p.m. - 2007-09-04
Two Sensible Ypsi Voices in a Babble of Nonsense
Local midwife Amanda Topping will be speaking on midwifery and home birthing and local solar power guru Dave Strenski will be stalwartly giving his talk on solar power for about the millionth time, bless him. But! Surrounding these good talks is an ocean of ignorance consisting of presentations about animal healing with flower essences, babbling about chiropractic, and such utter nonsense as "energy medicine."
Notice please that the organizer is charging an outrageous $125 per vendor table (usually at such fairs the charge is $20-$40), and notice please how prominently that is displayed on the front page. She has 50-60 vendor tables. That's $6,250-$7,500. Plus $12 per workshop attendee! Where's that money going? Not a whisper. I seriously doubt it costs more than $500-$1,000 to rent the WCC space. Call me a cynic. Judge for yourself. Tell me if it sounds to you like a snake oil rush.
0 comments 8:40 p.m. - 2007-09-04
Funny Christian Parodies of Those Mac Ads
2 comments 12:54 p.m. - 2007-09-04
Ypsidixit is in favor of ManCaves as oases of masculinity in an over-feminized world. Fritz (pictured) spent this Sunday evening setting to rights his ManCave in the garage. It has a workbench, and shelves, and numerous nails in the wall on which to hang tools. Fritz seems uncommonly absorbed in creating his ManCave. It's been three hours since dinner, and he's still in there, puttering around.
Ypsidixit would not dream of encroaching on Fritz's ManCave. It's a sanctum sanctorum for today's modern male. KIND READERS! Do you have a ManCave? Do you think it's a necessity? Would you dream of trespassing on another's ManCave? Ypsidixit would love to know.
10 comments 10:17 p.m. - 2007-09-02
Food Stamp Challenge
WE'RE PARTICIPATING in the Sept. 4-10 Michigan Food Stamp Challenge, which asks people to live on $21 dollars a week (like food stamp participants), to raise awareness of the challenges faced by food stamp participants in light of proposed cuts to the food stamp program.
OK. Here's what we bought for the coming week, with prices:
2 lbs. chicken legs, Dos Hermanos: $2.49
Total: $24.95 thus far. We planned on not spending the total $42 so that there would be some cash for extra food expenditures. So right now, we have $17.05 for extras. So far, so good. Looking forward to the Food Stamp Challenge (thankfully, it's AFTER the bratwurst-o-thon my family and I are planning for Labor Day!
8 comments 7:05 p.m. - 2007-09-02
Saturn Enters Virgo, Beware!
5 comments 5:45 p.m. - 2007-09-01
Fun at Detroit's Eastern Market
A lone trumpeter in a parking lot sent out a brassy jazz ribbon to float out over the crowds toting wagons. We were dazzled by the pickup piled with corn ears backed up to one stall, the rows of autumn mums just starting to bloom, and the sour old bell pepper guy who looked at me sharply when I asked for five tubs of peppers. "Whaddaya gonna use 'em for?" "I'm going to dehydrate them in my food dehydrator," He grunted, frowning, considered this. Grudgingly, said, "If you want, you can have those 2 boxes for $10." I was thrilled to have passed this Sphinx's growled question, and whisked them away (cont'd below).
2 comments 1:53 p.m. - 2007-09-01
Friday Brain Teaser Time
10 comments 11:15 a.m. - 2007-08-31
Marriage a la Mode
For those who writhe, like Ypsidixit, at the thought of a church wedding and who are iconoclasts (read: smart) enough to EVEN resent a judge doing the deed, also like Ypsidixit, well, now there's a better way to get hitched. Weird yet legal in Washtenaw County and stamped with the noble imprimatur of no less a local personage than Larry Kestenbaum, Deeds Czar. Dad gum it if it ain't what we're gonna do, come October. Read on in "comments"!
19 comments 9:04 p.m. - 2007-08-30
Sidetrack Goes Green
Linda and Jessica French report, "Our first goal is to eliminate the use to Styrofoam products in the restaurant. Next, it is replacing all foods that have Trans-Fats. Also, we are changing all light bulbs to incorporate energy efficient technology. Our next goal is to utilize only post-consumer recycled, bleach-free, chlorine-free paper products. If you have any ideas about how to make The Sidetrack a more sustainable place, don't hesitate to let us know!" Send your Sidetrack rooftop wind turbine blueprints or just plain old kudos to Linda French here.
5 comments 12:12 p.m. - 2007-08-30
AATA Slowly Going All-Hybrid
So what does "significant" mean? Well, let's look at some numbers:
20%: fuel savings projected for a new hybrid program in Everett, Washington
10 comments 8:12 a.m. - 2007-08-30
Hydroelectric Power at Peninsular Dam?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I remember naysayers on City Council poo-pooing this idea, in the past, as a waste of money and not big enough to be remunerative. Now the paper says the station "could yield about $150,000 of revenues a year." Perhaps. Though it'd likely be closer in size and scope to the Township station than the big AA stations--and, not to be a wet and non-green blanket, but that station only pulled off $64K in profit last year, after losing money for several years due to maintenance costs.
Also, what are the construction costs and where will the money come from? Can the city get a grant from DTE or the state, or a loan? Please tell me they're not thinking of selling bonds. Please.
But the less gloomy side of me says: "Whee! Solar panels on City Hall and electricity from the Huron River! Wahoo!"
6 comments 12:53 p.m. - 2007-08-29
2 Ypsi Jobs Available
EMU is looking for--and offering decent wages and benefits for--a new WEMU deejay. More info.
Growing Hope is looking for 4 1-year workers to help in its current project of working "to develop a property as a demonstration & training center for urban food production, gardens, and green building." Awesome. What a great organization. More info.
0 comments 9:04 a.m. - 2007-08-29
Small Ideas to Raise Money for City Coffers
The "Millionaire's Party" was far and away the most successful and lucrative aspect of Heritage Fest. Fritz and I were walking around the park late on Saturday night during the Fest, and the Party was going strong. The red and blue tent glowed like a stained glass window over the seething congregation of gamblers. I suggest making the "Millionaire's Party" a monthly event in Sept. and Oct. Put up the tents and Porta-Loos. Spread out the tables and beer. Rake in the cash. Continue to call it a "Millionaire's Party" to gloss over what it really is: gambling. Or just acknowledge it's gambling; after a certain point, one can't afford prissy "moralizing," and the city has long passed that point.
Hold a "Houses of Ill Repute" Home Tour. This is a tour of houses in Ypsilanti that have a colorful past, whether it be an alleged resident ghost, a murder, or other sordid bit of history. Traipse to each house and hear its story, told perhaps by our resident historian. Not politically correct. But fun, and enjoyably lurid and silly.
Tinyfest: a "Howl-O-Ween" October dogfest in Riverside Park. Dress your dog in a Halloween costume and compete for Best Costume, Most Similar to Owner, Scariest Dog, and other fun categories. Barbecue hot dogs for man and beast alike. Turn over modest dog contest entry fees to city coffers.
Ypsidixit sometimes wishes she were the official city Planner of Fun. I love thinking up and executing public events that people enjoy. I feel a lot of joie de vivre when I'm organizing the zillion details of stuff like that. I love seeing people enjoying an event and feeling that I'm contributing something. I'm available, in limited quantities due to a heavy workload, should a kind city official wish to tap my geyser of energy and enthusiasm.
9 comments 9:51 p.m. - 2007-08-28
0 comments 9:07 p.m. - 2007-08-28
EMU is my alma mater where I learned to love linguistics, and ramen noodles. This picture speaks to me about the integrity of the administration of an institution that is shelling out truckfuls of golden-parachute payments to disgraced EMU officials on one side while shamelessly jackin' up tuition 9.5 % on the other side. 9.5?! Almost 10 percent? It's not the EMU I went to.
0 comments 4:37 p.m. - 2007-08-28
Public Talk about Local Impact of Immigration Policy
0 comments 3:23 p.m. - 2007-08-28
The reaosn is that Zimerman has lost two pianos--top-notch Steinways-- to American Homeland Security agents who broke them up on suspicion that they were terrorist pianos.
Says the pianist: "I sort of bring this soul of what I want to do. It means also that I have to put two weeks between the last concert in Europe and the first concert in America.
"If you translate it into money, it costs me a tremendous amount of money every year. Of course, I don't translate it into money, because I really love New York. So I'm happy to have some days off here.
"But, that's the reality today – it's much more expensive than paying the piano transport over the Atlantic."
1 comments 11:55 a.m. - 2007-08-28
Ypsi Food Coop Offers Grocery Delivery
0 comments 9:02 p.m. - 2007-08-27
Dog Splash Sept. 10
3 comments 8:59 p.m. - 2007-08-27
Could you live on $3 worth of food each day?
"Yet even this small amount is under threat. Congress will vote on proposed cuts to Food Stamps this October. The time to act is now."
This is the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice's appeal to you to join the Michigan Food Stamp Challenge. You are allowed to spend $21 to buy a week's worth of food and beverages, and you cannot use any preexisting food, such as spices. You must buy spices or a can of coffee with the $21 if you want some. The project's goal is to raise awareness of potential October funding cuts to the food stamp program. 41 local families are participating, and Ypsidixit is too! So can you!
26 comments 4:52 p.m. - 2007-08-27
Woodruff's Grove Theme Park
Lordy. You couldn't pay Ypsidixit enough to sit through a five-hour meeting. Boil it down, already! At any rate, the two interesting parts to me were that 1. despite sitting through five droning hours, Mr. Maynard does not comment on any tidbit from the meeting proper--draw your own conclusions--and 2. the only thing he does comment on is a remark from an attendee that the Township might be setting up its own historic downtown. Well, it can't be disputed that Woodruff's Grove was indeed in (what later became) the Township...but I wonder if the Township would be eager to embrace this history if they acknowledged that Woodruff was a shiftless squatter, who never paid squat for his homestead. History never addresses the interesting stuff, like that.
The township is also home to the spookiest graveyard in Washtenaw County, an invisible one down there just west off Whittaker Rd. that Ypsidixit does not recommend visiting. At any rate, despite whatever actions the Township may take to claim its own history, it's not antithetical to the history of the City and will never eclipse it. The Township does not even, to my knowledge, have a historical society. So there's little danger anytime soon of a Woodruff's Grove Theme Park. Though one does wonder what that would be like...
3 comments 8:33 a.m. - 2007-08-27
Feast Day of St. Monica
Notes the email thingie, "Today, with Internet searches, e-mail shopping and instant credit, we have little patience for things that take time. Likewise, we want instant answers to our prayers. Monica is a model of patience. Her long years of prayer, coupled with a strong, well-disciplined character, finally led to the conversion of her hot-tempered husband, her cantankerous mother-in-law and her brilliant but wayward son, Augustine." Whose entry in Wikipedia is considerably less sanitized than today's Saint-of-the-Day text, below, in "comments."
3 comments 8:03 a.m. - 2007-08-27
Summer Garden Bliss
Ypsidixit devoted over half of her backyard this year, with Fritz's invaluable help, to growing food. We enjoyed many a salad from our home grown lettuce earlier this summer. Then moved on to delicious collard greens cooked with pork. Now our bush pumpkins are turning orange, as the leaves turn yellow and wilt. It was an instructive year. We learned that our love of collards will result in more rows of them next year; that pumpkins are fun; that carrots are easy; that the sunny south side of the house is a high-octane tomato incubator that will churn out peck after peck of cherry tomatoes and larger heirloom varieties.
Ypsidixit is grateful for the good food she and Fritz ate this year. Fresh peas cooked lightly in water, served in butter, were a revelation. Collards seemed to slake the body's thirst for nutrients. Fingerling carrots were sweet. Ypsidixit would like to know, what did you grow in your garden this summer? Is it still producing? What were some new things you learned? What will you do differently next year?
8 comments 8:06 p.m. - 2007-08-26
Devil in the Vatican
Furthermore, did you know that this role was formerly called the "Devil's Advocate" (advocatus diaboli)? There was also a "God's Advocate," (Promotor Fidei) who argued in support of the beatification. The office of Advocatus Diaboli was created in 1587 by Pope Sixtus V (perhaps the founder of Fifth Third Bank) and abolished in 1983 by Pope John "Never met a saint I didn't beatify" Paul II.
1 comments 1:25 p.m. - 2007-08-24
Cafe Luwak News
Also, Cafe Luwak is in the running for "Best Sandwich Shop" in WDIV's "Best of Detroit" contest! There's a week left to add your vote and bring the title home to Ypsi! Vote here.
8 comments 9:15 a.m. - 2007-08-24
GMO and Non-GMO Shopping List
0 comments 8:38 a.m. - 2007-08-24
Open Mike Friday
0 comments 12:15 a.m. - 2007-08-24
EMU Creeping Back Online
Also, one poster on EMUTalk is thrilled by the new McKenny remodeling:
"I can’t get too excited about McKenny remodeling since it sounds like it has been remodeled into a series of suit holding pens I will be unlikely to see anytime soon. New cash registers in the dining centers? Yippee." (Indulgent chuckle): how times change. When Ypsidixit was a student, we were issued one horn-book to hang up next to the ol' camp-fire stew-pot. And we thought that horn-book was hot stuff. 'Course, it fell in the fire half the time, so it was usually kind of hot, not to mention charred. And crumbly. Which is why we were always so thrilled to get a nice new one each year*. Simple pleasures meant a lot back then.
Also, EMU is embarking on a new branding campaign. Gosh, I can't imagine why.
*Those were the days.
1 comments 1:13 p.m. - 2007-08-23
Mayor's Update on Paradise Manor
4 comments 8:02 a.m. - 2007-08-23
Minor League Baseball for Water Street Site
Minor league baseball has exploded in popularity and lucrativity in the last decade. Attendance was nearly 7 million visitors higher in 2005 than it was in 1995. In 2006, minor league baseball set an attendance record just under 40 million, which it will probably surpass this year based on figures so far. Minor league baseball would likely prove as popular and lucrative in Ypsi as it has elsewhere.
Minor league baseball provides a wholesome family entertainment for everyone in Ypsi. Ticket prices are low, hometown pride is high, and the games are easy to get to. The stadium would also create jobs. Minor league baseball would be a large stimulus to Michigan Ave. area restaurants, bars, and shops. People would enjoy eating at Haab's before catching the game, and doing a little shopping afterwards.
It seems complex to build a stadium and get a team. Not to worry. Here is a minor league baseball consulting firm who can guide Ypsilanti through every phase of the project, from selecting an architect to building the stadium, acquiring a team, and even consulting on merch and beverages.
Let's all pull together to follow the example of the lucrative and successful Lansing Lugnuts! Go, Ypsi Riveters! Go Riveters! Go, Ypsi!
11 comments 9:03 p.m. - 2007-08-22
1st Annual Ypsilanti Songwriting Festival
"The Ypsilanti District Library (YDL) invites all song lovers and songwriters—aspiring and seasoned— to join us as we celebrate the craft of songwriting the weekend of October 19, 20, and 21, 2007 at the Ypsilanti Songwriting Festival 2007 (YSF ’07)." More info in "comments".
6 comments 12:51 p.m. - 2007-08-22
Hours O' Fun!
3 comments 8:43 a.m. - 2007-08-22
Self-Styled Feminist Naomi Wolf is an Idiot Pinhead
2 comments 8:52 p.m. - 2007-08-21
2 comments 3:20 p.m. - 2007-08-21
"The Beer Lady" at Ford Gallery August 20-Sept
"More than a decade ago, while scouring garage sales one summer I came across a crate of 2 1--4 " transparencies. Deep among them was a picture of a woman out among the pines and sword ferns abundant in the pacific northwest. She had a cigarette in one hand a beer in the other and a facial expression that...well, you be the judge. At once I knew that this was it. Here was my muse. She captured my imagination." More photos to enjoy in "comments."
4 comments 12:30 p.m. - 2007-08-21
Ditch Your Antibacterial Soap, Says U-M!
2 comments 8:21 a.m. - 2007-08-21
"A bus broke down this morning, blocking the only exit to the place they keep the busses at night and trapping about half the fleet. (The AATA does not have a tow truck for busses.) So we saw busses doing
No tow truck for buses? Really? How do you move a broken-down one? Aside from getting all the passengers out to push...
3 comments 7:50 a.m. - 2007-08-21
Retractable Towel Love Tips #1 & #2
This retractable hip-towel creates a jaunty fashion statement. In stylish black, it accents any clothing item. As we shall see, it's useful, too.
Retractable Towel Love Tip #1: sidle up to that hottie at the bar, lift up his beer, and—with your towel—wipe up the little ring of moisture. Replace the beer. Then nonchalantly let your towel snap back—WHAP!-- to its storage-nodule on your belt. Smile mysteriously. This works every time.
Retractable Towel Love Tip #2: At the bar, gently take your target’s hand. Say, “Sweaty palms are a sign of virility, you know,” and pat the palm of his hand with your Towel while looking deeply and meaningfully into his eye, or eyes. This bowls them over every time. Why, he’ll be in the palm of YOUR hand in NO TIME!
1 comments 4:52 p.m. - 2007-08-20
Finally, Relief for Ypsilanti's "Restless Leg Syndrome" Sufferers
Don't bother 1. changing your diet to a sensible one 2. getting regular sleep 3. not worrying about it!--now there's a drug that cures this crippling condition. The drug, Requip, does make you a compulsive gambler and, um, friskier than usual. How do we gravy-gammers know this? Why, it's on the package insert! Plus hallucinations. Oh, and the web site says "this is not a complete list of side effects."
I think I'll take the occasionally twitchy leg, thank you so much.
*according to the RLS Foundation, most of whose funding comes from drug companies.
3 comments 8:54 a.m. - 2007-08-20
Portion of Ypsilanti Income Tax Rationale Covered by Diverted Federal Funds
"An income tax would provide increased revenue that could:
1. "Add police officers for enhanced patrolling, ordinance enforcement, and festival supervision.
That's odd. The recent federal monies dedicated to low-income purposes were instead diverted to Rutherford Pool, the Senior Center, and Parkridge Community Center.
Since those expenses are now presumably covered, and if we assume that each of the 3 items above accounted for roughly 33% of the income tax revenues, then only 66% of the projected expenses remains, yet there's no amendment in the amount of income tax demanded by pro-income tax folks. That's curious. If a big portion of the rationale for the income tax is now covered by the diverted federal funds, why haven't the income tax folks amended their demands?
123 comments 10:27 p.m. - 2007-08-19
"Ypsi~dixit: SCIT received a last minute invitation to join another group in the parade, and we proudly marched, wearing our shirts, holding our signs, and riding our Segways. We were delighted to receive cheers and applause all throughout the parade route. It was great fun, and I'm glad that, in the end, festival organizers chose not to interfere with our opportunity to march with another group."
0 comments 12:01 p.m. - 2007-08-18
4 comments 9:21 a.m. - 2007-08-18
Heritage Festival Blues
Fritz and I went to the Fest this evening after work and took a slow counter-clockwise journey around the park. There were three moments of authenticity during the evening. One was when we sat on hay bales to listen to an out-of-town old-timey songstress in the Ultima Thule of the park's southeastern end where the historical types are banished. I loved the music, tapped my foot, and swayed back and forth a little bit to the ancient song "The Old Black Duck": (more in"comments").
3 comments 12:44 a.m. - 2007-08-18
Stop City Income Tax Group Banned from Heritage Fest Parade
"Yep it is true, we got a call late Wednesday night at 10pm telling us the Stop the City Income Tax (SCIT) is not welcome to march in the Heritage Festival parade."
This is ACLU suit material if you ask me. Just as it would be if a pro-income-tax group were banned. The point is, the group was kicked out for political reasons. This is Un-American--(Boston Tea Party, anyone?) and an embarrassment to the City. Who made this decision?
178 comments 8:17 a.m. - 2007-08-17
See You Later...
1 comments 7:48 a.m. - 2007-08-16
Memories of Old Ypsilanti
2 comments 7:52 a.m. - 2007-08-16
Rebirth of the Michigan Central
This is the railroad for which the Ypsilanti depot (above) and Detroit's exquisite Michigan Central Station was built, from which the very last Amtrak train departed in 1988.
How about some MCRR stories? OK, fix yourself some coffee, get comfy, and here we go:
"The Michigan Central also ran a freight called the "Ann Arbor turn-around". Its conductor was named Riley and he had only one arm. The train did the switching at Ann Arbor, at Ypsilanti, and at the Geddes gravel pits between the Dixboro Road and Superior Road crossings. Those pits were a big operation. The sand and gravel were sent to Detroit every day for use in construction projects. The "turn around" went into the pit area daily to switch cars in the proper order so the through freight could pick them up for Detroit. These pits are no longer used now, but in the 1920's they meant a lot of dollars to the MCRR." More stories and photos!
9 comments 12:40 p.m. - 2007-08-15
Home of the...?
23 comments 1:44 p.m. - 2007-08-14
Conventional, Organic, or GMO?--> Look at the PLU
So much for the attempts of the GMO industry to avoid labeling. It is labeled, just not in a way I knew: (more in "comments"):
3 comments 8:27 a.m. - 2007-08-14
Federal Monies Dedicated to Low-Income Housing Diverted to Swimming Pool
Remember the terrible fire, back in March? Well, go treat yourself to a dinner at Taqueria La Loma. The trip will take you right past Paradise Manor, where the north building is...repaired? Good as new, given that it's been five months now? Improved?
No. The building is charred and horribly ugly, with black burned walls stretching up to where the roof used to be. Hideous. Right on the corridor into downtown Ypsilanti. Were Ypsidixit a businessperson, coming in off 94, I'd take one look at the Mad Max scenario and turn around.
So. Ypsi got some Fed money dedicated, says the newspaper story, to "housing and projects in low-income neighborhoods, as required by the federal government." What does the mayor decide to spend it on?
A swimming pool. Oh, but, "[the mayor] said the decision was made to funnel that money to upgrades to the recreation facilities, which are used by the city's low-income families as well as the entire city."
Indeed. Single moms with two or three jobs are notorious for hanging out all day at the pool.
Paradise Manor's decay is the shame of Ypsilanti. Moreso a shame to the person nominally running the place, a veteran of the Housing Commission who you'd think would know what strings to pull to get Paradise Manor back to acceptable shape. Instead, he is letting our neighbors live in a severely blighted, burned-out horror.
35 comments 1:15 a.m. - 2007-08-12
Cornhole Toss Highlights Depot Town's Fallapalooza
There will also be a 40 by 80 foot participatory Chutes and Ladders game. Ypsidixit approves. This will toughen the character of Ypsilanti children, as they climb, with trembling lower lips, up teetery 80-foot extension ladders. In my day, Chutes and Ladders was called Planks and Logs, and if you couldn't manhandle your way barehanded up one a them logs, or if you cried when getting splinters in your heinie when sliding down a plank, well, there was no supper for a week. That was just the way it was. Kids today have it soft.
The DTA is donating proceeds to SOS--after taking a $500 cut, according to the press release: "A $500 donation will also be made to the DTA to help keep the marketing of our neighborhood moving forward." Sweet. Not that I recall seeing an ad for the DTA in any local paper for the 7 years I've lived in Ypsi. But never mind!
At any rate, it's a day packed with cornholin' fun, Sept. 29. See you there!
3 comments 9:24 p.m. - 2007-08-11
Bike Ban Endangers Ypsi Kids
"The Ypsilanti Police Department this week began enforcing the ordinance that prohibits riding bicycles on business district sidewalks; residents are asked to walk their bicycles on sidewalks.
"Police Chief Matt Harshberger said the department wants to crack down on an increase in illegal activities by people riding bicycles in the downtown and Depot Town. Business owners and residents have reported burglaries where robbers are using bicycles to get away, he said.
"Enforcing the ordinance would allow us to talk to these individuals (using bikes downtown) and find out who they are," Harshberger said.
(from today's AA News story).
Cafe Luwak's Jim Karnopp was interviewed tonight by WXYZ, Detroit's Channel 7, for this story. So was his son, Forrest, the "Mayor of Depot Town." Both expressed trepidation about Forrest biking in the street in Depot Town due to its bars. There's nothing wrong with the bars in Depot Town--but it's not an environment for a young child to be biking around in the street come evening, having been banished from the sidewalk.
Another person interviewed by Channel 7 was a mom with her child in a bike trailer. She said she wouldn't dream of going into the street with her child-trailer, and that it wouldn't be safe.
Ypsidixit can see many sides to this story. To the losers who use bikes as getaway vehicles after robbing one of the merchants struggling to survive in Ypsi, I say, get a job and a life. You are an embarrassment. You deserve jail time to ponder a better way to live.
To the Critical Mass biker types who would use this new ban to demonstrate obnoxiously in the street with big masses of bikes clogging Michigan Ave., I say, you do much to hurt the image of bikers. Grow up.
To myself, I say, ride on the sidewalk and don't worry about it. Somehow I think I won't get fingered as a robber. But how will others be so fingered? Perhaps through profiling? Is that right or fair?
To the police who are enforcing this ban, I say, I fully support your good efforts to crack down on robbers, but you are opening yourself up to a gigantic liability the first time a kid in the street on Michigan Ave., told to ride there due to the ban, gets hit and injured or killed.
Good luck dodging that lawsuit.
5 comments 11:55 p.m. - 2007-08-10
"There is Nothing Like Returning to a Place that Remains Unchanged to Find the Ways that You Yourself Have Altered"
Thank you for your patience during my absence. Thank you for your kind thoughts, nice emails, and felicitous wishes.
My excuse? (gulp)
Ypsidixit humbly confesses she was mortally wounded. By an arrow. One fletched with little pink feathers. With an arrowhead that didn't hurt at all, really, and is now, to my greatest of good fortune, impossible to remove.
Kind readers were indulgent of my temporary absence, and I am grateful.
18 comments 11:26 p.m. - 2007-08-10