YOU ARE going to spend tomorrow planting your bulbs, aren't you? I hope so. We're just starting the period in which to secrete your narcissus, tulips, crocus, and hyacinth in the ground--and yet, the Carpenter Road Meijer's has whisked away its bulb displays to an obscure region near the bikes--in order to put up Christmas stuff. That's silly. But at least the bulbs are marked way down, so you can go and scoop up your bulbs for next Spring for mere pennies. Get 'em before they're gone.
Just look at these wonderful bulbs that Fritz brought home. Would you believe there are over 450 here? Yessir, I'll be busy tomorrow, making a pretty pattern in the back-door bed and planting bulbs with abandon in the front rose-bed. Tomorrow is Bulb Day. Join me in preparing your garden to make your neighbors envious come spring. Bulbs!
0 comments 9:54 p.m. - 2007-10-13
Salute to Taco Salespeople
1 comments 11:44 a.m. - 2007-10-13
The Pleasant Frisson of Self-Righteousness
This incident did not cause sufficient distress for Edwina to check out into another motel, lest the incident recur. By all accounts they slept soundly. But it did motivate Ms. E. to immediately file suit. It's not about the money, said her lawyer.
Edwina said, "This is about morality and children, and children have a right to be kids even though everybody, in many ways, is trying to push our kids to grow up. They have a right to be kids at 8 and 9 years old." Absolutely. Children have a right to be kids. They shouldn't have to deal with unpleasant adult things. No way. NEVER!!! Oh, and, the family was in California because they were visiting the kids' dad--Edwina is divorced.
3 comments 10:50 a.m. - 2007-10-13
Bilious Fortune Cookies
Today is a disasterous day. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," and
Well, turns out these dire fortunes were unpopular. So Wonton Foods pulled 'em. Supposedly. But one recent diner in Austin got the "disasterous day" fortune at a dinner celebrating their engagement. Oh dear.
But guess what? You can order Custom Fortune Cookies from Wonton! Yes! You can write the most bilious or smoochy or acerbic fortunes you want. Ypsidixit is imagining some...
2 comments 8:18 a.m. - 2007-10-13
Ypsi Home Mysteriously Dirt Cheap
A couple nights ago, I watched a documentary on the new problem of deserted meth-lab homes being slid back onto the real estate market. Here's the problem: there's no standardized way to clean the toxins from such homes. Realtors sometimes do and sometimes don't reveal the home's history. One investigative reporter visited a "cleaned" home back on the market and, using a test kit, found that it was still heavily contaminated. He found the same thing at a "cleaned" apartment.
Which makes me wonder why is this 3-bedroom, 1,100-square foot Ypsi home with a detached 2-car garage on Emerick selling for what a bare city lot often goes for: $34,500. Huh? The house looks desolate, but it also looks to be in decent repair. A friend called it "grim" and pointed out that they probably photographed the "good side." Hmm. Looks pretty bleak to me. But inhabitable! Grim or no. Note the caveats they put on its page: "as is," "information believed accurate," "buyer's agent to verify." Up to you to find out what's wrong, in other words--and don't blame us if you don't.
So, insatiably curious, I'm gonna check out this mystery home on the way to my workplace tomorrow. Nosy, I know. But I'm dying to know why you can buy a 3-bedroom for a bare-lot price. I have to know.
As I was poking through the Remerica listings for Ypsi, one of my favorite pastimes--I like to monitor things in general--I also noted a weird trend. You could call this trend "Rent-A-McMansion." Yep, it's strange but true--there are scads of McMansions out there for rent. Why? Who's renting them--the builder or the owner? Look at them here, and here, and here. Blimey! I especially love this ugly McMansion, whose description starts off with, "Not the Same Floor Plan as the Neighbors!" suggesting it was inhabited by people who had carefully analyzed their neighbors' floor plans, and to whom this Mattered to the point to which it would the the first detail in their home listing. Lordy.
If you have answers on the Mystery Home or the mystery of the Rent-A-Mansion trend, I'd love to hear your comments.
15 comments 11:08 p.m. - 2007-10-12
Friday Brain Teaser Time
I found this a particularly difficult "spot-the-differences" puzzle and did NOT find all 11 differences! Can you, kind reader? :)
6 comments 9:09 a.m. - 2007-10-12
Fun = Fitness in Riverside Park
I think the DTCDC's idea of encouraging fitness is a good one. I think the best way to encourage fitness is to provide activities so fun that people enjoy doing them...and gain fitness benefits in the process. Here's my idea:
I propose that the DTCDC buy or lease the Esquire Interiors building next to Riverside Park (currently for sale). This is the new Parks Activities Center (PAC). My plan is to stock this building with incredibly fun and unusual all-season outdoor toys that many parents haven't already bought because the usage frequency is too low to justify the expense, or because they're just too big to store. Boy, did I have fun "shopping" for these. Here's what I'd buy for starters:
Fun Roller, $31.98
TOTAL: $758, plus 10% tax/shipping is $834. A modest sum to outfit an entire Fun Center.
Parks visitors may check out the items of their choice from the Events Coordinator in the PAC with a driver's license and refundable deposit. They return the item to the PAC after play, and try the next toy. I selected items for a wide age range and there are toys suitable for handicapped kids too, most notably the Giant Soccer Ball. This starter collection would be expanded based on user response via comment cards. That's my idea: create a gigantic toybox of wonderful fun right next to Riverside Park!
6 comments 10:37 p.m. - 2007-10-10
Bike Ypsi Fall Ride!
Tour the city on earth's most civilized transport, peruse the aesthetic delights of local leaves, enjoy good-natured joviality with others wheelmen and wheelwomen, and at the end, replace the ride's resulting calorie deficit with Ypsi's arguably tastiest ales. Could anything be pleasanter? No.
0 comments 8:49 a.m. - 2007-10-10
6 comments 8:01 a.m. - 2007-10-10
Musicians Going Label-Free
Trent Reznor follows Radiohead's example and ditches his record label, sending his music directly to fans. Is this the beginning of the end for record labels? Can you make a buck from it? Radiohead, I note, didn't do this till they made millions from record-label releases, also true for Trent R. Between YouTube and iTunes, it seems doubtful that the pesky RIAA is necessary any longer. But what about small bands starting out? One wonders if word-of-mouth is enough to make independent distribution lucrative. I think it can. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's tirelessly hammered-home dictum that "The World is Flat" applies here, as well as to global economics. Word of mouth can send a new cool thing rocketing from email inbox to email inbox in no time, sans distributor and downloadable for a small price that can add up quick. Makes Y. curious to see what the future holds.
0 comments 8:51 p.m. - 2007-10-09
"Beer for The Dead"
Migrant Health Promotions is hosting a "Beer for the Dead" fundraising party at the Corner Brewery November 3 from 2-6 p.m. $25 includes a beer tasting, food, and a raffle. There's also a chance to write a message to a loved one on a tissue paper flower and add it to a group ofrenda--an elaborate and beautiful altar honoring the dead with food, fruit, and flowers. A little bird says that if it doesn't sell out, they'll have room to do a craft with sugar skulls, too; we'll see. Proceeds benefit Migrant Health Promotion, which seeks to aid the health of immigrant workers.
2 comments 12:58 p.m. - 2007-10-09
Saint of the Day: St. Denis, Patron of Paris
AS AN ARTIST, how do you depict a halo if your subject is carrying his own severed head? That's the problem posed by the Saint of the Day, St. Denis:
"Handling the halo in this circumstance offers a unique challenge for the artist. Some put the halo where the head used to be; others have Saint Denis carrying the halo along with the head."
A third-century martyr decapitated by sword-wielding druids, St. Denis was sent from Italy to convert Gaul. He and his companions Rusticus and Eleutherius settled on the Ile de la Cite. Roman Paris was up on the Left Bank at the time. St. Denis became the first bishop of Paris.
St. Denis's many conversions ticked off the local pagan priests. He was killed in 250 A.D. on Montmartre--that's how it got its name--in front of a hilltop temple to Mars, in the northern burbs of Paris. But St. Denis didn't let a little decapitation stop him. He picked up his head and started walking, preaching all the way. The place where he finally died, five miles to the north, is now St. Denis's Basilica, where the kings of France are buried.
I don't think I have to believe in anything to learn from the saints. Besides, their stories are so good! The takeaway lesson from St. Denis is "Persistence." Beheaded? Keep right on goin', baby--one day you'll end up as one of the patron saints of France, your exquisite basilica will be France's "royal necropolis," and you'll be able to chuckle at frustrated artists for centuries to come.
5 comments 8:09 a.m. - 2007-10-09
Local Crabgrass Band Black Jake & the Carnies
IT GIVES Y. A FRISSON when local artists and musicians flatter me by stopping by here. I have a special admiration for people making something new out of thin air, to bring new ideas or beauty to the world. So imagine my pleasure when a member of the Depot Town area band Black Jake and the Carnies said today:
The Carnies are flattered to be included in the fantasy lineup [for the proposed music festival Appalachiapalooza]. I'm just beginning to try to pull together an event akin to what you suggested [ooh, I'd love to go!], I'll keep you posted [yay!].
Did you catch one of our shows? Just curious where we may have crossed paths. -Carnie
Regrettably, I did not. A friend spoke highly of a live show he'd seen, and I checked out their webpage and Myspace page. At the latter they have a wonderful video and rough cuts from their upcoming CD. The gruff, sawtoothy lead vocals riding over the infectious energy and joy of the group captivated me. One member's profile: "CALEB LEE JOHNSON -- bass vocals / train whistle / jug / limberjack / spoons / slappin' hisself."
At any rate, the mysterious Carnie kindly wrote back, saying:
Next shows in Ypsi:
Tap Room Annex, Ypsilanti
Elbow Room, Ypsilanti
Most of the band lives in Depot Town so we play in Ypsi all the time. (We list our shows at www.blackjakeandthecarnies.com/shows.html Don't worry, if you can't make either of these there'll be plenty more.
Sounds good. OK, I'm looking forward to the Nov. 16 show and am glad to learn about it; thanks to "Carnie." Don't miss the "scandalous verse" on their site.
5 comments 8:37 p.m. - 2007-10-08
0 comments 12:46 p.m. - 2007-10-08
2nd Annual "Stuff Your Stocking Night" Dec. 9, 2007
0 comments 12:40 p.m. - 2007-10-08
NPR Uncovers Harmful Health Advisory
"As NPR reported last summer, the Institute of Medicine recommends that these women eat no more than 12 ounces of fish and seafood per week. That's because of concerns about mercury contamination of fish and the effects it can have on fetal and infant brain development."
"But the Post was reporting about a new recommendation telling pregnant women and new mothers to eat at least 12 ounces a week. The advice came from a nonprofit group calling itself Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies." Here's what NPR found out.
0 comments 8:56 a.m. - 2007-10-08
0 comments 10:50 p.m. - 2007-10-07
Actually, there is no Ypsi City Dump. The city's trash service is contracted out to a company called Waste Management, which has 13 dumps throughout Michigan. We pulled into the 269-acre Woodland Meadows in Wayne County 20 minutes east of Ypsi, a combination dump and golf course (WM owns the golf course). The golf clubhouse appeared, with golfers teeing off behind two spotless trash trucks on display. (At left, you can see a tiny 1962 vintage dump truck beside its looming modern version. Click photo for larger image). Y. was impressed by the multi-use nature of the dump acreage.
Inside the clubhouse, informative displays detailed the meticulous way WM manages trash, complete with off-site lab analysis of trash parcels, mindful layering of non-sharp, "fluffy" (residential, as opposed to industrial) trash down next to the protective ground liner in the dump, and the rejection of substandard trash.
After scarfing down a hot dog from a very nice buffet layout, we clambered into a bus for the site tour. Tom, our tour guide, revealed that things were slow today; the site would only receive about 100 trucks' worth of trash. He said on the typical weekday, 400 to 500 trucks came to the dump, and they've seen days of up to 700 trucks. The site can receive trash for about 16 more years, after which it might be turned into a park, as another nearby WM dumpsite was.
The truck inched up a road built from trash that girdled the trash mountain: "brickbats" and concrete rubble and industrial trash made up the road substrate, which Tom proudly mentioned as a thrifty way to build the road without using new materials. We looked out over the sand excavation area (at right) and the trees separating the dumpsite from the golf course.
The trash mountain was several hundred feet high, like a sprawling Aztec pyramid, and offered scenic views (at left). The deer liked it too, said Tom. Back before the methane was harvested (they currently ship the dump methane to the nearby Ford plant), they used to burn it off. Around the flaming pipes, the grass would remain green all winter. Deer would come around the pipes to lay down in the warm nimbus of heat and eat the grass, said Tom. "You can still see the deer, every morning around 7:05 to 7:15," he said. "We have wild turkeys here, too--one is named Bob." One person in our party suggested, sotto voce, creating a lucrative new organic brand of turkey: Landfill Turkey. Seagulls thickly and picturesquely dotted a nearby sand-hill.
We neared the busy center of the dump-mountain (below, right), where trucks were unloading their trash. A not-unpleasant smell like slightly fermented compost wafted in, and one kid commented on it. "That's the smell of money, honey" said Tom. "Take a deep breath--that's a new pair of Nikes, buddy." Tom seemed to enjoy his position as a dump insider, almost making me wish I were one, too. I imagined early-morning walks up onto the tranquil trash-mountain, seeing the sun rise, tossing old bread to the gulls.
Y. quietly took advantage of the large range of dump swag arrayed on tables in the golf clubhouse. Without wanting to seem tacky, I inconspicuously absorbed into my bag 1. one WM T-shirt which I'm currently proudly wearing, 2. one "good" metal WM pen, 3. one regular ballpoint pen, 4. two penlight WM keychains (one was given to me), 5. 2 different sticky-note WM pads, 6. a WM can insulator, 7. a WM "Think Green" refrigerator magnet, 8. a WM highlighter, 9. a WM metal model dump truck with rear-compartment lift action, 10. a marvelous info-miscellany guidebook with everything from types of knots to the Beaufort wind scale to life expectancy tables.
Y. left the dump with an image of winter-warm deer, a wish to roam the mountain in the early morning, a new awareness of the meticulous nature with which WM manages trash, and gratitude to our two gracious hosts who gave us the chance to see it all; thanks to them.
3 comments 2:22 p.m. - 2007-10-06
Michigan Supreme Court Prosecutes the Devil
IN OTHER COURT NEWS, the Michigan Supreme Court agreed to hear a case in which a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted by Satan:
"DETROIT -- The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to review a sex assault case involving allegations against a local pastor and the devil.
"The case surrounded Gennaro Piscopo, the 55-year-old pastor of Evangel Christian Church in Roseville.
"In 2003, Piscopo was convicted of sexually assaulting a female church member during a deliverance ceremony in which Piscopo said he expelled the devil from the woman's body." One wonders where it was.
It's reassuring to see that in the nation's most economically ravaged state, there's still plenty of expensive court time available for prosecuting the devil. Which begs the question: who's his lawyer? Story.
0 comments 9:25 p.m. - 2007-10-05
Local Blogger Wins Exotic Trip to Rarely-Seen Locale
TOMORROW'S THE BIG DAY! Even as Y. types, she is picking out just the right outfit to wear to tomorrow's merry jaunt to an exciting locale with a local Internet and newspaper celebrity and his kind and lovely companion. Fritz is coming, too. This caravan of 4 will eagerly explore and document the breathtaking scenery, exotic wildlife, intricate operations, and hopefully, gift shop of the Ypsi City Dump.
"How did you wangle that?" kind readers might enviously query. Well, (self-deprecating chuckle) just luck I guess (smug smile). If they DO have a gift shop, I'll be set for Christmas presents. If they don't, I'll be mighty tempted to offer to make one for them at Cafepress; what could be easier?
Of course, I'll have to think up some catchy slogans or mottos; something that would look good on T-shirts, trucker caps, or ashtrays. Hmm...
3 comments 8:32 a.m. - 2007-10-05
It's going to be 80 degrees both days this weekend; perfect for heading out to a park or lake. Of course, you'll want to fix up your car a bit first...but in which order? Click image for large, printable version.
2 comments 8:02 a.m. - 2007-10-05
SCIT Files Injunction Against City
Stop City Income Tax has filed an injunction against the city to amend or remove the language in its tax ballot proposal. The case will be heard October 12. Here is a link to the full texts (PDF) of the brief and of the motion.
0 comments 11:41 p.m. - 2007-10-04
Sidetrack Bad Bar Joke Contest
The Sidetrack is running a Bad Bar Joke contest. Think up the worst one you know and send it in. "If we think your entry is good enough to be considered 'bad', you will win some free stuff from the Sidetrack and your joke will be featured in the next [November] newsletter," says Ms. French. She encloses two Sidetrack staff favorites:
A man walks into a bar but is stopped by the bouncer for not wearing a tie. The man does not have a tie, but returns to his car, hoping to find one in the trunk,. Not surprisingly, the man does not have a tie in his trunk and all he can find is a pair of jumper cables. Figuring that they will have to do, he drapes them around his neck and walks back into the bar. He sarcastically asks the bouncer "will these do?". The bouncer looks him up and down and replies, "okay, but you better not start anything."
2 comments 12:33 p.m. - 2007-10-04
Thompson Bldg. New Tenants Sign Contracts
Kalamazoo-based Broughton Music Center has signed a 10-year lease for 25 % of the Thompson Building's ground floor, and a restaurant is close to signing a deal to take 3,000-5,000 of the remaining square footage on the ground floor. Two of the upper-floor residential lofts have been reserved, for $800-$1,200 per month. Story.
5 comments 8:16 a.m. - 2007-10-04
Minor League Baseball in "Water Street Stadium" Moves Closer to Realization
The group spearheading the plan to develop the failed Water Street development into a lucrative minor league baseball stadium is drawing up a site plan. Ypsi DTA member Kevin Hill heads the initiative to create a 6,000 to 7,500-seat stadium with an outdoor market and light commercial and residential development that includes loft apartments overlooking the field. The group is working with interested private investors and the Michigan Department of Transportation to create the site plan. Zowie.
Sounds as though the only thing they need to figure out is what to name the stadium.
23 comments 11:22 p.m. - 2007-10-03
Splendor in Shanghai: Special Olympics
The 2007 Special Olympics opens in Shanghai--the games' large symbolic torch is a Moebius strip--on fire--upon a burning pillar-fountain. Here is a photo gallery of other beautiful aspects of the opening ceremonies, including mega-fireworks, a boat on a human sea, and ginormous drums.
1 comments 12:58 p.m. - 2007-10-03
Two Bus-Related News Items
2. The Washtenaw County Transit Plan is holding a whole passel of opinion-solicitation meetings all over the county in October.
Schedules for both in "comments."
2 comments 12:39 p.m. - 2007-10-03
0 comments 10:14 a.m. - 2007-10-03
0 comments 7:49 a.m. - 2007-10-03
Rene Descartes walks into the Sidetrack. The bartender says, "Hey, Rene, how you doing? Can I get you an Oberon?" "I think not," replies Descartes. And then he disappears.
1 comments 12:37 a.m. - 2007-10-03
Ashes and Red Rover Tie the Knot
If nothing else, you have to salute the Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary, just southwest of Ypsi, for a clever PR stunt, and by far the best press release I received today, reproduced for your perusal in "comments."
6 comments 8:14 p.m. - 2007-10-02
Other notable events include the kickoff celebration for The B Side, a new Ypsi youth business entrepreneur group, and a slate of subversive movies at the Dreamland. And the 3 Income Tax meetings, the first of which is tomorrow.
Please send your event, of any kind (pet's birthday, garage sale), to me at ypsidixit (at) gmail.com & I'll post it right away. Thanks!
8 comments 1:06 p.m. - 2007-10-02
The 10 Best Ways To Get Your Own Entry in Encyclopaedia Britannica
(excerpted from A. J. Jacob's hilarious account of reading the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica, The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to become the Smartest Person in the World)
1. Get Beheaded. This is perhaps the surest path to getting written up. The Britannica loves nothing more than a person--preferably a noble one--who has had his or her neck chopped in two. One of my favorite games involves reading a biographical squib that begins with the words "French revolutionary" and then guessing how many years it takes before he finds himself under the guillotine.
2 comments 8:13 a.m. - 2007-10-02
Lawn Mowed? House Tidied? Google Streetview is in Ypsi!
1 comments 12:56 p.m. - 2007-10-01
0 comments 12:31 p.m. - 2007-10-01
3 comments 08:12 a.m. - 2007-10-01
Ethanol = Greenwashing
Today's most interesting tidbit from the Sunday NYT was that ethanol cannot be distributed through the nation's network of fuel pipelines because...it is corrosive.
Excerpt: Because ethanol is corrosive and soaks up water and impurities, it cannot be shipped through the country’s fuel pipeline network. So it must be transported by train, truck and barge, a more expensive transportation network that is suddenly finding it hard to keep up with the surge in ethanol production.
Huh? Turns out because of this corrosive effect, ethanol must be transported via special truck trailers or rail cars. Not regular pipelines. Which begs the question, if it's too corrosive for pipelines, what effect is it having in the pipelines of your car engine?
We already know that ethanol requires more energy to produce than it generates (Cornell/UC-Berkeley study here). The more cynical among us might view the ethanol push as no more than a greenwashed sop to the coal companies providing the energy for its distillation. It's not the answer to energy autonomy in this country.
Between you and me, Y. has a few stock holdings in Chinese solar power companies, and, Lord A-Mercy, they've been going through the roof over the summer. Spain recently passed a law mandating some solar power on each new or renovated building built (and one of the companies whose stock I hold got the contract, whoo-wee!) Ethanol is a convoluted, expensive, inefficient solution to energy autonomy in this country. Where's the Michigan-based solar power company that I'm dying to invest in? Where's the tapping of Michigan's manufacturing past and the revival of shuttered factories to turn towards making solar power units? I wrote just that sentiment to John Dingell...and am still waiting for an answer.
3 comments 12:32 a.m. - 2007-10-01
High noon. That was the designated time for the "Blogger Showdown" round of the giant Chutes and Ladders game set up today in Cross Street in downtown Depot Town (pictured: Forrest K. playing; click for larger images). Fritz and I said hi to local Internet celebrity Brian Robb and paid $2 each to enter. I picked Green as out Team Flag Color, natuurlijk. I broke out in a big grin to see Steve Pierce, regal in his red SCIT T-shirt, roll up on his Segway, crying, "Let's Rumble!" Fritz gave a mighty spin to the Spinner and this blood match was on.
Brian moved ahead several spaces. I moved onto the board with a modest 3. Steve got a 6 and elegantly glided onto the board, made of 100 pieces of blue and white plywood painted with Congdon's paint. He pirouetted gracefully to a stop, already the winner had we been judging by locomotive awesomeness. A tiny child, "Devon," moved relentlessly to the top, scoring a ladder, and we all applauded as she won the game. Old Man Gordon at the mike informed Steve, "You came in second place." "The story of my life," he said humorously, gliding off the board.
Fritz and I had a good time grabbing some coffee from Luwak and milling around. We watched the next round of Chutes and Ladders, plunked on some cushy hay bales, applauding the winners. An Ann Arbor News photographer popped up over a Depot Town roof across the street, shooting the board. The sky was deep blue and the sun was shining. I was happy to see my friends and be in the mix. It was fun.
Later we got some pie punkins and corn from the market. The corn-roasting lady was there with a large round grill holding half a dozen ears with grill-marked husks. We drifted back into Cross St., watched Brian emcee a game (at right), and listened to the great band the Candy Band (at left). This group of single moms from Detroit grew impatient with sugary children's songs and invneted a band that plays kiddie songs in a punk rock style. It was terrific. One singer thrust up her fists, singing, "Rock..." and then waved her flattened palms, "Paper..." and then made the peace sign, "Scissors...Rock...Pay-per...Scissors!" The anthemic song was infectious. They whipped out a punk version of "Skip to My Lou" and pounded out the Alphabet Song. Think Spinal Tap playing kiddie songs. It was excellent.
Kudos to Old Man Gordon for organizing a wonderful, fun game that all enjoyed. That really made the event. Fallapalooza was fun due to Old Man Gordon's efforts; thanks to him!
15 comments 2:24 p.m. - 2007-09-29
Friday Brain Teaser Time
5 comments 11:47 a.m. - 2007-09-28
SCIT Sues City of Ypsilanti
A KIND READER SENDS NEWS OF A LAWSUIT against the city:
STATE OF MICHIGAN
TRUDY SWANSON, Honorable individually and as Mayor Pro-Tem of the City of Ypsilanti;
Read the legal brief here (third item) or below in "comments."
Read the press release explaining the legal brief here (first item).
Read the ballot language in question here.
1 comments 9:01 p.m. - 2007-09-27
"Eastern Votes" Thursday Evening Panel Discussion Report
Ypsidixit had quietly scored a free pen on an info-table outside the auditorium, and was momentarily mesmerized to see that when you clicked the end-button, a little longitudinal window in the pen rotated a new campus agency and phone number into view. Click. LGBT Resource Center, 487-4149. Click. VISION, 487-1313. Click. Women's Resource Center, 487-4282. Luckily this novelty wore off, after several full circuits of the set of phone numbers, just in time for me to focus on the meeting (in "comments").
3 comments 12:54 p.m. - 2007-09-27
Ham Radio: Weirdly Popular All Over Ypsilanti
"Phooey--that died out years ago," someone might say. Au contraire! The 48198 zip code (pictured at left) contains 76 ham radio operators, or "hams," and 48197 has 118!--including many in Normal Park, and a lot just south of Ford Lake for some reason. You can type in a zip code and get a wonderful Google Map of your neighborhood stuck with pins showing the hams here (choose "ham locator" on the left).
In a discussion with a friend on whether ham radio is just an older version of blogs, it became clear that they are inverses of each other. The technical knowledge required to start a blog these days is very low, but high (including licensing and, in the old days, Morse mastery) with ham radio. The content quality on good blogs like Mark Maynard or Ypsi City Desk is high, but, to my understanding, fairly low on ham radio "how's the weather down there?"
As a longtime lurker on the local ham radio blog, I hear members talk about ham radio's valuable role in a potential emergency. True, but...it rings a bit hollow to me. There are five billion communications devices these days, and it's highly unlikely all would fail at once. I personally think hams are just in love with the technology, the slangy coded handles they get as licensed operators, the coolness of making something work, and the immortal, late-night-staticky romance of radio.
7 comments 12:36 p.m. - 2007-09-27
What the World Eats
1 comments 12:22 p.m. - 2007-09-26
Public Meeting on the New DTCDC Parks Program
YPSI DDA director Brian Vosburg gave a PowerPoint presentation tonight in Council chambers on the Depot Town Community Development Corporation's plans for managing Frog Island and Riverside Parks.
The boildown: The DTCDC will be the primary manager of the parks, and they have put in good work assembling a wide-ranging and talented roster of advisors and partners to offer expert advice and hands-on assistance in managing the parks.
Here's a presentation graph that depicts the role the DTCDC plays among the entities involved with the parks project:
2 comments 9:52 p.m. - 2007-09-25
7 comments 1:11 p.m. - 2007-09-25
Moral Instruction For All, Offered in Depot Town this Saturday
Squares on the traditional board (at left; click to enlarge) depict such vices as Avarice and such virtues as Generosity. Bad behavior results in a chute (slide) leading down to the Slough of Despond. Good behavior is rewarded with a metaphorical ladder leading closer to the tippy-top row of squares, the Celestial City where Virtue reigns, as may be seen on the Fallapalooza board with its righteous Jaycees, forward-looking Depot Town Forward, and estimable Gordon's Five and Dime.
Imagine the drama--the pageantry--this Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. as each player becomes an Everyman wending their way through the temptations and rewards of the playing board. People are whispering that two renowned local celebrities will appear in a special noon game, one of them possibly with a personal locomotion device, symbolizing Ethics and Clean Living. Y. can't wait for this medieval morality play to unfold.
3 comments 8:33 a.m. - 2007-09-25
"Greener Than Thou": Wedding Jewelry
HERE STARTS a "Greener Than Thou" occasional series of blog entries, with the snooty title poking fun at the insufferable smug self-satisfaction of people who lord their greenliness over others. Today's entry concerns sustainable wedding jewelry. We got ours through Brilliant Earth. They specialize in conflict-free diamonds and recycled gold wedding bands from post-consumer or industrial sources. I also checked out Green Carat, but was a tad disappointed in 1. their relatively limited selection and 2. their hype-y, semiliterate blurbs, like this one for the "Gatsby Redux" ring:
Named for Fitzgerald’s ‘Great Gatsby’, this bridal set is defined by more than just its luxuriously indulgent retro style. The fictional Gatsby’s unfortunate trials also endow our peace of mind, as the story causes us each to pause and say a silent ‘thanks’ for the grounded values our own partners bring to our relationship. What utter rubbish.
Anyways, those were really the only 2 choices I found, aside from the Breakfast at Tiffany's engraved Crackerjack ring option. That was out of the question since we'd have to buy too many packages of Crackerjack to find two, and probably wouldn't anyways, and I'd gain 30 pounds in the meantime since we couldn't waste the food, and then ultimately have to settle, instead of a wedding ring, for a Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Collector's Card, a Whiffenpoof, a Winky Badge, or what have you. By the time you hit 40 before marrying*, a Winky Badge will NOT cut it, so Brilliant Earth it was.
*before marrying wisely, that is.
0 comments 10:15 p.m. - 2007-09-24
Painting Your Kitchen
3 comments 12:15 p.m. - 2007-09-24
Note to Persons Interested In Parks Developments
Y. and F. are both looking forward to attending and learning more about the plan. Once I actually learn some facts, then I can yammer here on the blog with some...whaddaya call it...oh yes, knowledge, for a refreshing change.
2 comments 8:20 a.m. - 2007-09-24
4 comments 10:54 p.m. - 2007-09-23
DIY Death Documentary Movingly Life-Affirming
"Hi. I'm Jennifer Guerra, from NPR."
"Oooooooooo," went the crowd, reverently, as one. Laughter! "I guess this is an NPR crowd!"
Funeral Consumers Information Society representative Wendy Lyons gave a talk on home funerals, the normal method of funerals in the first half of the 19th century that is seeing a slow and determined resurgence. Key point: most people today don't realize that they have a right to lay out their beloved dead in their homes, for 1-4 days, before interring them themselves in a burial site on their own property. Sound gross? It turns out, thanks to a CBC documentary that had Y. in wonder and tears, that this is a beautiful, peaceful, life-affirming way for the family to honor and celebrate their member, design a ceremony unique to their family, and tenderly care for the dead in a way that helps people gently come to terms with their passing in a natural, unhurried, loving way, and honor them with an intimate ceremony filled with love, respect, and privacy.
More in "comments."
6 comments 11:22 p.m. - 2007-09-20
Rubbing Elbows with NPR Star Jennifer Guerra
4 comments 10:26 p.m. - 2007-09-20
THAT'S my new name for my Ypsitucky Appalachian Music Festival.
That is all.
UPDATE: Lineup in "comments"! See what you think of my choices!
5 comments 11:12 a.m. - 2007-09-20
The River Rambler Frog Island Fishing Boardwalk
1 comments 10:00 a.m. - 2007-09-20
Solutions: Interesting Park Events
1. draw in visitors to support local businesses
1. YPSITUCKY APPALACHIAN MUSIC FESTIVAL: The people who came to Ypsilanti from Appalachia earlier this century are analogous to the people who came to America from abroad half a century earlier. They had gumption. They left house, family, relatives, and all familiarity to make a life here. People on my street have Appalachian accents. This is something to take pride in. It's time to own the term "Ypsitucky" and turn it into an emblem of pride: "Yes, our family is one of the ones that came here and helped build up Ypsi." The Ypsitucky Frog Island Appalachian Music Festival offers some of the best music in the world: old-time mountain music and bluegrass--much of it played by local musicians with roots in Appalachia. Celebrate Ypsilanti heritage of Appalachian culture at this festival! (Y. LOVES bluegrass and would JUMP UP TO GO to this festival!)
Ypsidixit has many more ideas. I love thinking about and planning events. I think these three events would be of interest to Ypsilantians, would add something to the community, and would be interesting and unique--something to draw in people from outside the city.
2 comments 8:40 p.m. - 2007-09-19
Pups in Pools
ADORABLE MOVIES starring Ypsi dogs at Dog Swim Day! (thanks to Mary D!)
0 comments 8:29 p.m. - 2007-09-19
Riverside Park and Frog Island Development Plan: Analysis of Target Markets
"Health Concerns (Local Residents) Many of the proposed programs from the Parks Plan focus on increasing fitness and nutritional awareness in the Ypsilanti area. One such program is a fitness course or circuit in the park*. Creating a venue for Walk-A-Thons will increase physical activity and decrease
One such program is a fitness course or circuit in the park
*I've never seen a fitness course (a trail with a dozen or so stations, each one promoting a different stretch or exercise) being used. There's one in County Farm Park that Fritz and I didn't see anyone use, though several joggers passed us. There's also a fitness course behind St. Joe's. It has been allowed to fall into ruin and has not been maintained, although it would have been a miniscule expenditure for St. Joe's to have maintained it. The implication is that St. Joe's didn't maintain it because no one was using it. I think a fitness course would also cause visual clutter in either park. If people want to do situps in Frog Island Park, they will. They don't need a nannyish sign cluttering up the landscape to tell them how.
Creating a venue for Walk-A-Thons will increase physical activity and decrease
**If it was a health official who made this recommendation, they should be fired. Regular exercise several times a week is the way to increase physical activity and lose weight. Two or three sporadic Walk-A-Thons over a summer do nothing towards this end. And how does one "create a venue" for walk-a-thons? In Gallup Park, they just do them.
Designing an annual health expo, through a partnership with St. Joseph's Health System, will educate residents and help them to lead healthier lives
I can't imagine anything more boring, not to mention patronizing. I'll never know why people in the health field think the average person is totally clueless about health. The nearby St. Joe's already offers a huge schedule of health-related events. Why duplicate?
6 comments 11:10 a.m. - 2007-09-19
Question the Parks Handoff
Having money is not the same as having qualifications. What qualifications does Gary McKeever have to manage parks? Is he a naturalist? Does he have a degree in urban planning? Or recreation management?
Is Mr. McKeever aware of such current issues relating to parks as native plant gardening, erosion management, and sustainable tourism?
What is his park management plan? Why has this plan not been made public? Why has the input of Ypsilantians not been solicited in the matter of management of the parks?
And why is Mr. McKeever so eager to "improve" the parks? What's wrong with either Riverside or Frog Island Parks? They are fine as they are, they are used by residents, and they are beautiful in their lack of ugly clutter.
Mayor Schreiber says the parks are "underutilized." Well, I go through Riverside Park almost every day, and Fritz and I jog down to Frog Island Park 2 times a week. I've never seen Mayor Schreiber in either park, measuring the amount of utilization. How has he reached this conclusion? If he thinks the parks are underutilized, perhaps he can help solve this perceived "problem" by using them more himself, and join the happy dog-walkers, stroller-pushers, joggers, soccer-players, fishermen, walkers, bikers, and bird-watchers enjoying the parks on a daily basis. The parks are being utilized just fine.
I think Ypsilantians should closely question this decision, before two beautiful parks totaling about 16 acres become vulnerable to any and all development whims from one tiny private group with unknown qualifications to manage parks--a group that YOU did not elect and one that YOU cannot impeach.
29 comments 9:11 a.m. - 2007-09-19
Noblesse Oblige: Reporting from amid the disposable diapers
AT TIMES, starry-eyed groupies ask Ypsidixit, "What's it like to have Ypsilanti's 451st most popular blog?" I usually chuckle self-effacingly and distract them by pointing out a particularly interesting cloud. But my fame, measured as it is by electron microscope, does have its perks. Example?
Ypsidixit has been--I won't say begged--invited by a local politico to take a tour of a closely-guarded city site. This site is one to which all Ypsilantians contribute, yet few, if any, are allowed the rare privilege of seeing. In addition, Y. and her companion will enjoy a Lucullan banquet of the choicest and tenderest of hot dogs. If Ypsilanti were Vatican City, this trip would be a Papal Audience. As it is, it's a visit to the city dump.
I know, I know--I wish I could take you with me. But (searches for a way to say this diplomatically) I guess it's just a question of "connections." It's unfair. (Reflectively)...since when is life not? But I promise to take copious notes and report my experience to kind readers.
Ever alert to ways to fill cobwebbed city coffers with stacks of cash, I am already taking advantage of my good fortune by dreaming up an idea. I suggest that the city dump--er, Effluent Management Station, sorry--open a gift shop. Yes. A gift shop, in the tradition of the LA Coroner's Office gift shop. Imagine a gift shop T-shirt with printed "stains," bearing the inscription, "Ypsilanti Effluent Management Station." It would be a hit with local neo-emo-thrash-punk bands. They'd probably form a whole new band called "Ypsilanti Effluent Management Station." Then you could co-opt the cool and forget you're 40 years old and halfway towards the grave by wearing one of the T-shirts. Call it a halo effect.
I have ideas for more products, too, ranging from ashtrays to iron-on patches. But the boildown is that in trying times, inventive people must be given rein to create novel new revenue streams, such as my gift shop. I calmly await that rein. Meanwhile, I'll keep--I won't say envious--kind readers fully apprised about the looming October city dump visit.
2 comments 9:28 p.m. - 2007-09-18
Plastic Toys Learn to Crawl, Wiggle and Pop (Dec. 1947)
As detailed in Alan Weisman's book The World Without Us, from which I will quote until you're bored to tears, this period was the very beginning of the tsunami of plastic toys that eventually filled landfills, drifted into rafts in oceans, and broke down into tiny beadlike "nurdles" ingested by wildlife. This is when it all began. [click on image to enlarge].
0 comments 1:58 p.m. - 2007-09-18
Ypsi GospelFest 2008 is a GO!
Last month, Y. is told, a core group from the Depot Town Community Development Corporation sat down with city council member Lois Richardson and suggested the idea. She is said to have loved it, and promised to contact local churches. Meanwhile, Elvisfest personnel have agreed to consult with Gospelfest organizers to share what did and didn't work in the past, and it sounds to Y. as though Elvisfest folks are also willing to share such equipment as a stage, lighting, and sound equipment, which would enormously help a new city festival in its first year.
Hooray to the DTCDC for dreaming up this great idea! Ypsidixit is already eager to hear the next development in the oncoming Ypsi Gospelfest 2008! Praise the--uh, cleverness of local Ypsilantians.
0 comments 11:21 a.m. - 2007-09-18
Leonard Riccinto Memorial Concert
Carrying on his father's musical legacy (which includes performances at Carnegie Hall), Leonard Riccinto's son Adam conducts the Ypsilanti Symphony Band in a separate October 28 concert at WCC.
(whispers): EMU should probably take Mr. Riccinto's webpage down, or indicate that he is dead.
0 comments 8:37 a.m. - 2007-09-18
Shakey Jake Woods Dies
2 comments 8:18 a.m. - 2007-09-18
It's a circle, though, because alert kind readers may recall that about a year ago I had a first date with someone to...carve pumpkins. Kind of wacky. Ypsidixit was exasperated with the Yahoo Personals approach. I thought, "Suggest something you yourself would enjoy, and if he thinks that's weird, then you already know he's not the right one."
Well, needless to say we had a fabulous time. If pumpkins are Valentines, then how fitting that this year we grew our own. And that they are more than two. Though dinky (ignore that part of the symbolism). I mean adorable.
I plan to roast and then dry them in the food dehydrator as the booklet recommends. You make a sort of paste, and dry it like fruit leather. Nothing says love like pumpkin leather. It'll be nourishing and good in stews this winter, and I'll save the seeds for the next ride around the solar carousel.
3 comments 9:20 p.m. - 2007-09-17
8th Grade Science Quiz
What do you think about the meteorite question, and similar terminology questions? Is that just a fussy question that only tests rote memorization, or is rote memorization part of knowing a subject ("so stop making excuses!")?
6 comments 11:39 a.m. - 2007-09-17
My favorite part: the little slidy-car, painted in SFORZANDO REDS. (Ok, I've fulfilled the requirement to use that once today--you're still on the hook).
5 comments 10:40 a.m. - 2007-09-17
"Nine U.S. soldiers died the day Gen. David H. Petraeus addressed Congress about the Iraq war on - of all days - Sept. 11. Trumpeting success
"The general wore ribbons of imperial purples, sforzando reds, wild Irish greens, romantic blues, loud yellows and oranges, rich maroons, sentimental pinks, all the half-tones from ultraviolet to infrared, all the vibrations
"I pilfer verbatim here from H.L. Mencken's 1922 description of an officer's tunic with two rows of ribbons. Petraeus' were stacked nine-deep on the left breast, with a row on the right, some two dozen in all [more in "comments"!].
4 comments 10:37 a.m. - 2007-09-17
0 comments 10:37 a.m. - 2007-09-17