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
The Blue Angels just did a flyover of Michigan Stadium at 3:30--kickoff time. I enjoy seeing them, but must grumpily wonder who paid for such extravagance. Well, semi-extravagance; there were only 3 planes, and they flew over only 1 time, no colored smoke (the bargain package). Let's hope U-M wings its way to victory. Scoreboard.

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


"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
Taken from "The African Paradox" chapter of Alan Weisman's The World Without Us:

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
(For kind readers, two fascinating book excerpts concerning Hitler's museums and museums' fates in a world without people, in "comments").

1 comments 9:46 p.m. - 2007-09-13

City-Wide Income Tax Forum to Focus on EMU Impact
YPSIDIXIT RECEIVED a press release from the Eastern Votes Coalition, regarding the proposed income tax:

"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?"

(Deafening chorus of kind readers): "ME!! ME!!!! MEEEEE!!!!!!!)

OK, here you go. Print it out, trim it neatly with scissors or pinking shears, and take it with you to the bar next time you go. See a foxy chick or a hot guy? Just slide in next to them at the bar and kind of tap it thoughtfully on the surface as you wait for your order. Inevitably, they will ask, "What's that?" This is your "in." Intriguingly turn the tables by chuckling and saying, "What a coincidence. I was just going to ask you what YOU thought of this." Sparkling conversation will ensue--knock their socks [and maybe something else --Ed.] off by casually mentioning that you know a blogger who once got an email from Richard Dawkins! At any rate, thanks are due to kind reader C. who sent in this tidbit!

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!
2007 WINNERS of the worldwide design contest "Index: Design to Improve Life" include an $8 prosthetic foot, a snazzy all-electric car with a 200 mile range, and a crank/pedal/pull-cord-activated outdoor use laptop for kids in developing countries who often have school outdoors.

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
AN INTERACTIVE WEBPAGE based on Alan Weisman's new book about a peopleless Earth, "The World Without Us," offers a thought-provoking look at the aftermath of us, in the years ahead. YPsidixit was surprised to see that garden vegetables revert to unpalatable wild strains in a mere 20 years: a blink of the eye.

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
YPSI CINEASTES: the Dreamland Theater is starting a new FREE 8 p.m. film series in October! Lovers of fine cinema still in mourning over the recent death of Ingmar Bergman may slake their intellectual thirst, pursue knowledge of the human heart, and may reach, from the carousel of everyday existence, for the brass ring of Mystery--right downtown on Washington Street! Lineup:

October 8: Die You Zombie Bastards. A probing study of the nature of heroism. Stars Jamie Gillis.
October 15: Creepshow. Entomologists take note.
October 22: In the Mouth of Madness. Ontology gone wrong.
October 29: Slumber Party Massacre. Slumber party massacre.

0 comments 8:22 a.m. - 2007-09-10

Trouncing #2
OREGON 39, MICHIGAN 7. Oh, my. The second loss at home. Two more home games coming up, the traditional feud against Notre Dame next week and then the first conference game against (gulp) Penn State, which weighs in at #14 on the AP poll (Michigan is currently at meagre #39). Any predictions for the Notre Dame game? how about Penn State? Ypsidixit is trying to figure out why the team ranked first in NCAA history (.745 winning percentage) is stumbling so badly.

5 comments 7:31 p.m. - 2007-09-08

Do-It-Yourself Death
SUSTAINABLE YPSI is sponsoring a forum on how to beat the outrageous costs of modern-day funerals (anyone who's never read Jessica Mitford's book The American Way of Death is encouraged by Y. to immediately do so). It's a ripoff industry. No one likes to talk about it, but that's the fact of the matter. The average funeral cost these days is $10,000. That is flat-out ridiculous. Come to this seminar to learn how to have a tasteful passing that won't bankrupt your family.

"A discussion of at-home funerals, green burials, and other kinds of
sustainable practices in Michigan with Wendy Lyons, vice president of
Detroit's Funeral Consumers Information Society."

"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
YPSIDIXIT WAS SAVORING the last bits of her Cafe Luwak reuben the other day. Mmm. I drank my iced tea, and got up to grab a quick smoke outside. Imagine my surprise when, while reaching in a pocket for matches, I found I'd forgotten my wallet! Oh, no! "I've forgotten my wallet!" I blurted, panicky, to my server.

"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 TALLADAY FARMS CORN MAZE south of Ypsi was planned with Farm Works software and precision-mowed using a GPS device. This year's theme is "Space," and viewed from space, the maze shows the space shuttle, comets, stars, and what appears to be Skylab at top left. Cutting-edge technology makes a picture of new technology on a canvas of green created by man's oldest technology--sticking seeds in the earth.

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
The glitzy home of exotic manmade palm-tree-shaped islands, the glittering playground of the superrich, conceals some major drawbacks beneath its flashy surface. An interesting peek at a culture largely unfamiliar to Americans.

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
IMAGINE YPSIDIXIT'S SURPRISE when there was a tap-tap-tapping on the window as I cut up tomatoes for tonight's dehydrator session. It was a white pigeon, peering in, with something on its leg. Hmm. I opened the window and it hopped in, shaking off its leg-message. Wow! Let's see! Ah-hah. It was a missive from eminent local historian James Mann announcing that he'll be doing historical ghost walks in Depot Town October 26 & 27. The note exulted, "I've got three ghosts, two murders, and The Tunnels" (dire pipe organ chord). Three ghosts! Don't forget, there's a full moon on the 26th, adding to the general otherworldliness. Oooooh! Scary! Ypsidixit is already looking forward to the Historical Ghost Walks (shiver!)

5 comments 9:53 p.m. - 2007-09-04

Two Sensible Ypsi Voices in a Babble of Nonsense
TWO VERY WORTHWHILE YPSILANTIANS will be delivering their message amid a sea of quackery when the Natural Healing Expo rolls into town October 14 at WCC.

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
THESE FUNNY, ENGAGING tiny morality plays, made in imitation of the well-known cool guy-dorky dude Mac TV ads, offer wee parables about being a Christ follower versus being a Christian. However, the ethical messages here, which are really about being true to your beliefs, can and do apply even to atheists like me. Ypsidixit loves it when the ethical edification lesson of the day comes not in Cod Liver Oil but in Sugar Pops form! Enjoy!

2 comments 12:54 p.m. - 2007-09-04

YPSILANTI GENTLEMEN! Do you find it imperative to have a ManCave? I mean, a space, preferably with a workbench, where you can burp at leisure, putter, and do man things, undisturbed by the frillier sex? Maybe drink beer and look at certain magazines concealed under a tool chest?

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
2.89 lbs. ground beef, $11.36
12 oz. bacon, $2.59
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, $.99
1 bag curry powder, $.99
1 bag cayenne, $.99
1 box chicken bouillon, $.89
1 1-lb. box spaghetti, $.89
1 1-lb. bag split peas, $.89
1 2-lb. bag brown rice, $.99
1 1-lb. bag black beans, $.89
1 1-lb. bag lentils, $.89

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!
SATURN ENTERS VIRGO and this commentary makes things sound mighty dire. Saturn is the planet of limitations, but I prefer to view that as structure. The website predicts doom for those, like Ypsidixit, with lots of planets in the common signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sag, Pisces). I feel optimistic. I view the coming time as one of settled structure and achievable challenges. Thank you, kind readers, for indulging my astrological tangent (tangents, again!!)

5 comments 5:45 p.m. - 2007-09-01

Fun at Detroit's Eastern Market
Rifles and Gold Bought and Sold. Dan's Famous Ham Place. Low Tide Restaurant. Pawn shops, rent-to-own. Burned out, boarded up. 50s-era strip motels: Del Rio, Manor House, Paradise Inn. Hand-painted amateur building-side murals for muffler shops and St. Paul Thrift Shop. That's Michigan Ave., all the way down to Detroit's Eastern Market, where we spent a very fun morning.

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
THE YPSILANTI POLICE are tracking down one of the city's bicycle-riding thieves. Near Huron St., they come to a large muddy spot that the bike rode through. QUESTION: Can the police figure out in which direction the bike was traveling?

10 comments 11:15 a.m. - 2007-08-31

Marriage a la Mode
ATTENTION FELLOW LOVEBIRDS: forget the vulgar chocolate fountains. Forget the melodramatic dove release, the dopey unity candle (hint: why would you want something that's MELTING AWAY as a symbol of your marriage?!), the tasteful corsage for the hideous step-grandmother, who you KNOW will In-Sink-Er-A-Tor that $50 tidbit the minute she gets
home. Forget it all!

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
Sure, Ann Arbor's short-lived Sunflower Cafe offered compost burgers and whole-wheat Twinkies. But when not an earnest vegetarian restaurant but a downhome bar in a blue-collar town goes green, then Ypsidixit is tickled pink.

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
The AATA is replacing ALL of its buses, as one by one they get old, with shiny new hybrid buses offering "significant" fuel savings that offer the eventual (years from now) possibility of ameliorating the cost of bus service to the City of Ypsilanti.

So what does "significant" mean? Well, let's look at some numbers:

20%: fuel savings projected for a new hybrid program in Everett, Washington
27%: fuel savings achieved by King County, Washington's current hybrid buses
30%: fuel savings achieved by a freaky mag-lev hybrid bus prototype in Texas
45%: fuel savings achieved by NYC hybrid buses
29%: percent of AATA fleet that will be hybrids by spring 2008
3.9 MPG: typical milage of conventional bus
4.5 MPG: milage promised by some hybrid bus companies
3.7 MPG: Seattle hybrid bus milage
$3 million: yearly amount in maintenance costs Seattle is saving with its twice-as-reliable hybrid buses
$290,000: typical cost for a conventional bus
$580,000: typical cost for a hybrid bus

10 comments 8:12 a.m. - 2007-08-30

Hydroelectric Power at Peninsular Dam?
CITY OFFICIALS ponder the possibility of restarting the hydroelectric station at Peninsular Dam, says the Ann Arbor News, joining the ranks of Ann Arbor's two and the Township's one hydroelectric station. They've just done a little preliminary study.

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
Two very cool-sounding Ypsi jobs:

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
YPSIDIXIT would like to be part of the solution to a cash-strapped town. I've been thinking about the fact that this festival-loving town doesn't have many fall festivals, and that such festivals could help put some small measure of money into city coffers. Not much measured against the looming Water Street bond payments on the horizon. But more than nothing. Here are my humble ideas:

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

Mystery Birthday
LOOK IN APPLE ANNIE'S WINDOW in Depot Town to find out which eminent and widely beloved Ypsilantian's birthday it is, and if you like, join me in wishing this funny, learned, admirable individual a wonderful birthday. But ssshhhhh!--don't say his name! See if you can make other kind readers guess who it is.

0 comments 9:07 p.m. - 2007-08-28

Structural Integrity
YPSIDIXIT IS A LITTLE SAD to see this picture. Note that the two crumbling areas of stone on the beautiful 1914 Pease Auditorium are not repaired or shielded--instead, someone slapped up some tacky lawsuit-prophylactic "safety" tunnels--though a falling chunk of marble would likely smash right though.

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
The Washtenaw County Workers' Center is hosting the 3rd of a series of meetings at First Congregational Church, 7:30 August 28, to address the need for increased community dialogue on the local impact of immigration policy. Participants will develop a plan to foster constructive public discussion and advocacy. For more information, contact the Workers Center (Brian) at 616-430-1571, contact or talk to Danilo. (from FUMC website)

0 comments 3:23 p.m. - 2007-08-28

Terrorist Pianos
In October, Hungarian Chopin piano virtuoso Krystian Zimerman (pictured) will travel, piano in pocket, to Ann Arbor for a performance. Zimerman travels with piano innards. When he gets to the concert hall, he reassembles the piano innards into a waiting shell, performs, and then takes apart the piano again. The reason?

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
THE YPSI FOOD COOP is now offering home grocery delivery. Ypsidixit is happy to see this service available for seniors and those who can't drive or get around easily. Call 483-1520 to place your order; groceries are delivered next day for $12. Of course, if a few folks pool their lists and have it delivered to one home, it's a way to save money. The service is provided by the Ypsi-based Grocery Run, LLC--a bright local entrepreneur had a great idea here. They're also hiring.

0 comments 9:02 p.m. - 2007-08-27

Dog Splash Sept. 10
RUTHERFORD POOL is having a doggie swim day September 10, 6-8 p.m. It's their last open day before shutting down for the season. The water is not chlorinated and the level is lowered. There's a ramp so dogs can just stroll in as opposed to jumping. Donations collected at the gate for the Humane Society. "We had a really good time last year," says one participant.

3 comments 8:59 p.m. - 2007-08-27

Could you live on $3 worth of food each day?
"That’s all the average food stamp recipient gets. Three dollars a day, just $1 per meal.Can you imagine feeding your 14-year old growing son on that amount?"

"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
YPSIDIXIT IS INTERESTED to read, over on Mark Maynard's fine blog, that he attended a meeting of Mayor Schreiber's 20/20 task force that was five hours long.

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
TODAY'S Saint-of-the-Day, according to American's saint-of-the-day email thingie, is Saint Monica, the fourth-century mother of St. Augustine. Her steadfast if tongue-biting example of piety and patience eventually convinced her griping pagan husband and witchy mother-in-law, who lived with St. Monica's family, to both convert to Christianity.

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
Late summer is full of sunflowers, collard greens, fingerling carrots, late-sprouted beans, and tides of tomatoes.

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
YPSIDIXIT IS FASCINATED TO LEARN, while reading raptly but without surprise about Mother Teresa's newfound atheism, that during her beatification process, the Vatican gave a jingle to mild-mannered atheist Christopher Hitchens. They wanted him at the beatification, which apparently is like a court case, to argue against it! Hitchens characterized this as having been chosen to "represent the devil pro bono."

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
"I think my vendor in Indonesia is going to get a little leery about taking orders from us," notes Cafe Luwak Jim Karnopp in his latest newsletter. "Our last order was held up in Jakarta by a flood, and we had to postpone our cupping for another week. This order made it out of the country a day before an earthquake hit. Our coffee is on its way across the ocean now, and will be here in plenty of time for our summer cupping party. So mark your calendars for Sunday August 26th from 1:00 to 4:00 pm and come down and try the worlds most expensive coffee."

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
Gerber's or Enfamil baby products? Ovaltine or Nestle chocolate drink? Cascadian Farms or Healthy Choice frozen dinners? Gardenburger or Morningstar non-meat burgers? Ypsidixit was disconsolate to see that a venerable Dutch brand, Knorr's, is on the GMO side of the (printable) list, along with innumerable products from ConAgra under the "Healthy Choice" label. But happily, Muir Glen, my favorite tomato sauce brand (available at the Ypsi co-op) is on the non-GMO side.

0 comments 8:38 a.m. - 2007-08-24

Open Mike Friday
Any topic is fair game. Post on whatever you like. Fire away!

0 comments 12:15 a.m. - 2007-08-24

EMU Creeping Back Online
After two weeks (!) of EMU students getting such Facebook/gmail messages from friends on other campuses as "Dude--you're university's broken!" EMU's email system is reportedly slowly coming 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

(Click on letter to read enlarged version): THE MAYOR has kindly sent Ypsidixit a letter detailing the timeline for the demolition of the burned Paradise Manor building.

Encouraging news: demolition is on track, the electric meters are being removed and a diversion of the phone line is underway, and the demolition is scheduled to be completed on September 30, 2007.

4 comments 8:02 a.m. - 2007-08-23

Minor League Baseball for Water Street Site
YPSIDIXIT has been thinking over the Water Street situation a lot. It's clear to me that in this depressed housing market, a residential development is not advisable for at least the next five years. My suggestion is to build a small baseball stadium for the Ypsilanti Riveters minor league baseball team.

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
From the library's press release:

"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!
Where does a search for "Sex" end up in the arid cul-de-sac of "Gender"? What happens when you look for "Rock 'n Roll"? Where can you learn that " plesiosaurs were created on the fifth day of the Creation Week and lived concurrently with Man"? Finally, gentle readers, what is "The Trustworthy Encyclopedia"? No, it's not your dog-eared old Britannica, silly--it's the Conservapedia!

3 comments 8:43 a.m. - 2007-08-22

Self-Styled Feminist Naomi Wolf is an Idiot Pinhead
OK, that's an unreasoned, puerile headline. But its unreasoned puerility parallels the quality of Naomi Wolf's imbicilic article on the Huffington Post that calls for all of the presidential candidates to sign a goody-goody PTA note pledging not to abuse the Constitution. (more in "comments"!)

2 comments 8:52 p.m. - 2007-08-21

AN ABSOLUTELY ENDEARING video showing an all-ages group contra dancing at the Heritage Festival. Charming!

2 comments 3:20 p.m. - 2007-08-21

"The Beer Lady" at Ford Gallery August 20-Sept
(click image at left to enlarge) WHIMSICAL PHOTOCOLLAGES by Tom Voorhees are now on display at EMU's Ford Gallery (open till 7 tonight and tomorrow). Full of humor and the ever-present "Beer Lady," the works mash up religious iconography, images from famous paintings, and 1950s and 60s family photos. Excerpt from artist's statement:

"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!
ONE OF YPSIDIXIT'S FAVORITE TOPICS: household soap. In the first comprehensive study of antibacterial soap vs. regular old bar soap, U-M public health professor Allison Aiello found that antibacterials do not remove more bacteria from your hands than bar soap. In addition, antibacterial soaps are encouraging badder bugs: "...E-coli could survive in the concentrations that we use in our (consumer formulated) antibacterial soaps," Aiello said." Story.

2 comments 8:21 a.m. - 2007-08-21

AATA Crisis
ONE OF YPSIDIXIT'S SPIES reports on the reason why your bus may have been a bit late this morning:

"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
touch and run as they try to catch up."

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
LADIES! Are you tired of living alone? Is finding “just the right guy” proving impossible? Looking for a way to set yourself apart the next long, lonely Saturday night at the bar? Look no further.

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
Did You know that 1 in 10 Ypsilantians suffers from "Restless Leg Syndrome"?* It's tragic but true. (Also called Jimmy Legs, Jumpy Legs, Jiggly Legs, Jimmy Jams, Gravy Gams**, Heebeejeebees, spare legs, "the kicks", kicky-outy legs, stretchy legs, or sewing machine foot). But not to worry.

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.
**my favorite

3 comments 8:54 a.m. - 2007-08-20

Portion of Ypsilanti Income Tax Rationale Covered by Diverted Federal Funds
In Mayor Schreiber's May 20, 2007 memo to the city, he said:

"An income tax would provide increased revenue that could:

1. "Add police officers for enhanced patrolling, ordinance enforcement, and festival supervision.

2. "Pay the full AATA bus contract to ensure Ypsilanti bus service in the future.

3. "Fund recreation utilities and a recreation coordinator for the Rutherford Pool, Senior Citizens’ Center,
and Parkridge Community Center."

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?
Just where will the extra 33% of monies go, exactly?

123 comments 10:27 p.m. - 2007-08-19

SCIT Marches in Parade!
Reprinting a comment from a kind reader:

"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."


(click on photo for larger image)

0 comments 12:01 p.m. - 2007-08-18

In the Papers
NEWSPAPER STORIES about the ban of anti-tax parade marchers in the Freep and the AA News. Gosh, word got out fast.

4 comments 9:21 a.m. - 2007-08-18

Heritage Festival Blues
This empty shower unit, set against and obscuring the Huron River, epitomizes the hollow nature of Heritage Fest compared to the rich, murky, living river of local history that the glitz and plastic and carny food stalls eclipse.

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
That's right. You heard me. Cut to the SCIT member quote:

"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."

"Apparently, after seeing the parade list and learning that SCIT had been approved to march in the parade, pressure was applied from the Ypsilanti Ruling Elite to get us removed from the parade. Despite the fact that the City Non-Discrimination Ordinance says you can't discriminate based on political beliefs, that is exactly what the Support Higher Income Taxes campaign did was squash political free speech and the right to educate the voters."

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...
WHAT'S THAT LOG in Lake Lenore off Bemis Road? And why does it have...teeth?

1 comments 7:48 a.m. - 2007-08-16

Memories of Old Ypsilanti
"I lived on River and Maple as a kid. I was able to shake Bert Lahr's (the cowardly lion) hand at depot. He came to Ypsi to take part in a Greek theater that the town was trying to launch. On the north side of the freight house was a swamp between Frog Island and the tracks. On the north side of depot was what we called a forest. The Thompson building was some sort of woodshop then. Kids would go there and the man would give us rides on the elevator. He would also give scraps of wood to us to use as swords. I spent many a day playing Robin Hood in the forest and swamp with friends. I guess this sounds pretty dangerous now but I don’t think our parents knew and the engineer would blow the whistle and wave as they went by."

--Flatwoods Dad

2 comments 7:52 a.m. - 2007-08-16

Rebirth of the Michigan Central
Railroad fans: would you believe the storied Michigan Central Railroad has been reborn? It's true! Norfolk Southern, which owned the "trackage," as it's called, sold 384 miles of track between Ypsilanti and Kalamazoo, between Jackson and Lansing, and between Grand Rapids and Elkardt, Indiana. This will be the Michigan Central's freight-service beat.

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...?
YHS begins its football season August 25. They won't have a new mascot by then. How will they be introduced on the field? "Home of the Ypsilanti..."

(cricket sound)

23 comments 1:44 p.m. - 2007-08-14

Conventional, Organic, or GMO?--> Look at the PLU
Well, I'll be double-dipped. Did you know you can decode PLUs (product look-up codes) to learn whether your banana is organic, conventional, or genetically modified? I sure didn't.

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
HAVE YOU SEEN Paradise Manor lately?

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.

For shame.

35 comments 1:15 a.m. - 2007-08-12

Cornhole Toss Highlights Depot Town's Fallapalooza
Depot Town's Sept. 29 Fallapalooza promises to be exciting this year. Heading the myriad list of attractions is the "Cornhole Toss." Ypsidixit hopes this will be performed behind closed doors. Think of the children!

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
"Riding bicycles on a sidewalk in downtown Ypsilanti and Depot Town could result in a $120 fine under a new initiative that makes Ypsilanti the only city in Washtenaw County to actively ban bike riding in business districts.

"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"
-Nelson Mandela

Kind readers,

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
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