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
Kind readers, how many times has a crispy, savory taco banished the last shred of existential gloom from your tired old soul? If you're like me, that would be billions of times. And who prepares these wonders for us? Why, Taco Benefactors, of course. Blending the expertise of Mexico's ancient culinary heritage with American efficiency as epitomized by onetime time and motion pioneer Frank Gilbreth, these wonders are best eaten in a car some wise old Auto Purveyor has kindly sold you as you're driving around looking at houses with a Estate Investment Advisor, yes sir, it don't get any better than that! Kudos to these......people!

1 comments 11:44 a.m. - 2007-10-13

The Pleasant Frisson of Self-Righteousness
YPSIDIXIT LOVES the little thrill of self-righteous smugness she feels when reading a newspaper story about hypocritical do-gooders. Here's one: Nashville resident Edwina McCombs sues Value Lodge for $85,000 and won, when her daughters, 7 and 8, turned on the TV upon arrival and saw a few seconds of porn.

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
BROOKLYN-BASED FORTUNE COOKIE MAKER WONTON FOODS has decided to inject some edgier fortunes into its cookies, like:

Today is a disasterous day. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," and
It's over your head now. Time to get professional help."

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

(Click for larger image). Today's Brain Teaser is a photo of the new Hot Air Balloon Festival in Riverside Park. OK, not really. But wouldn't that be fun? As the other balloons drift up over the city, one remaining behind could give tethered balloon rides, akin to the Civil War surveillance function of the first lighter-than-air balloons in this country, by spies on both Yank and Reb sides.

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

YPSIDIXIT would like to humbly contribute what I hope is a constructive idea for the kind consideration of the new Depot Town Community Development Corporation for the parks plan.

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
Gigantic Soccer Ball, $99.95
Blast Pad, $22.99
Zip Line (removeable handle unit, adult supervision only) $149.99
Skootch Hornet skateboard-bike,
Giant Helium Hoverdisc, $11.99
5 Rainbow Ribbons, $7.98 each
Surefire Compound Bow and Safety Arrows, $19.00
Giant Bubble Wand, $6.98 each
Fling Sock, discounted 3 for $7.95 each
Yardarang soft outdoor boomerang, $5.99
5 Snow Tubes, $10.98 each
Ultra Sky-O Giant Frisbee, $14.95 each
Pocket Parafoil Kite, $17.95
AND, the piece de resistance and a nod to Ypsi's automotive heritage, the Pink Lady Pedal Car, $115.95

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!
A KIND READER ASKS to let you know that the Ypsi Bike Coalition is planning a fall ride Oct. 21, 2:10-4:30 p.m., starting at the Rec Park Pavilion near the pool and senior center on Congress, and wending through the fall-colored city, to very sensibly end at the Corner Brewery. More info & contact info here.

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

CAMILLE PAGLIA has a new column today in Salon. It contains several reader questions, most of them on the embarrassingly puerile side [excuse me, Salon!--could you not dredge up slightly more stimulating people to take up Ms. Paglia's time?], but then there's this reader comment: "So-called multiculturalism is really a Western upper-middle-class liberal monoculturalism. It mostly amounts to urban hipsters and yuppies desiring many choices of restaurants." Hee hee. Hmm, that certainly has the old Ring of Truth. Read the rest [halfway down the page].

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
Friday, November 16, 9 p.m., with Kevin Meisel

Elbow Room, Ypsilanti
Saturday, Dec 8, 10 p.m., with Austin Lucas and the Pressmen.

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

MIDLAND police officer Chad Scheiber died during yesterday's Chicago Marathon--which was cancelled after 3 and 1/2 hours due to the heat and insufficient water. 315 runners were taken from the course by ambulance. It's the first time the race was curtailed due to heat.

See a video, with audio comments by runners here, and read runners' comments on a marathon forum here.

0 comments 12:46 p.m. - 2007-10-08

2nd Annual "Stuff Your Stocking Night" Dec. 9, 2007
Y. is delighted to join Old Man Gordon and Jim Karnopp in the 2nd Annual "Stuff Your Stocking NIght," on Sunday, Dec. 9, with all proceeds going to SOS. It was tremendously fun and rewarding for me to take part in last year, and I just loved seeing so many smiling faces of kind community members putting care and thought into making a stocking for a local child. Truly wonderful. We already have the stockings purchased and stashed away, and I'll start shopping soon for "donor" stockings. Hope to see you there!

0 comments 12:40 p.m. - 2007-10-08

NPR Uncovers Harmful Health Advisory
NPR notices and investigates a suspicious front-page Washington Post story about new, higher fish-consumption advisories for pregnant moms:

"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

Where Your Trash Goes
TO THE DUMP! Y. and Fritz were honored to be the guests of Brian Robb and the First Lady of the Third Ward for an eye-opening visit to the Ypsi City Dump today.

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

Friday Brain Teaser Time

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."

A Priest, a rabbi, a horse, a talking dog and a man with a pumpkin on his head walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, "what, is this a joke?."

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.

THEN, feast your eyes and ears on the SPECTACULAR opening ceremony on Youtube, part one, part two [ooo, dragon on ocean!], part three, and part four [woowee, fireworks!].

1 comments 12:58 p.m. - 2007-10-03

Two Bus-Related News Items
1. Megabus begins its $1 Ann Arbor-Detroit service today. Seats now available for Thanksgiving travel.

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

News Morsel: Ron Paul comes to the Diag Oct. 9, 7 p.m.

0 comments 10:14 a.m. - 2007-10-03

The Humorous Kittehs on Treadmills Video Collection
Feeling a bit draggy this gloomy morning? Here ya go. Don't be like this schlumpy kitteh.

0 comments 7:49 a.m. - 2007-10-03

Remember that cute individual you were just a tad too shy to approach last weekend at the bar? Here's a tidbit that should break the ice with a stimulating discussion of Cartesian philosophy--and I bet they'll buy you a round!

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
Ms. Ashes and Mr. Red Rover invite you to their wedding Oct. 13 at 3 p.m. at the Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary. They're planning a large affair, with approximately 500 friends in attendance--mostly lagomorphs. Like to bring a gift, you say? That's nice! They have a gift registry (scroll down). Budget-friendly items you may choose from include apple twigs (a favorite chewie), timothy hay, random bits of cardboard to fling around, a microscope, chest freezer, golf cart, and a pickup truck. RSVP to maid of honor Jenny at 834-3841.

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

October Notables
There's one event among the October events, posted at right, that I am especially excited about, which is the Michigan Classical Repertory Theater's production of a medieval-era morality play, "The Summoning of Everyman." With the MCRT's stellar acting and production values, this should be a fascinating chance to see an authentic medieval play. I think that's really cool.

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. Explore the Arctic. It helps if you can go on an ill-fated expedition, but pretty much any Arctic adventuring will do. If you travel anywhere north of Banff, you'll get a careful look from the Britannica editorial committee.

3. Write some poems. Surrealist and Russian formalist poets are especially welcome, but almost anyone who has ever written a quatrain or rhymed more than a dozen words seems to get in to the club. At times, it gets almost absurd as an early Paul Bowles poem. A two-page spread in the early Bs that is only slightly atypical features no less then three of 'em: Carl Bellman, Andres Bello, and Hilaire Belloc--a Swedish poet, a Chilean poet, and a good old Anglo-French poet.

4. Become a botanist. Scandinavian ones seem particularly popular. Also, the study of mosses and peat deposits shouldn't be underestimated.

5. Get yourself involved in commedia dell'arte. The Britannica's obsession with the Italian 18th-century comedies borders on the unhealthy. EB has great enthusiasm for commedia dell'arte actors, whether they happened to play the pretentious but cowardly soldier Capitano, the saucy maid Columbine, or the madcap acrobat Zanni.

6. Win the Nobel Prize. Economics, physics, peace--the category's not important, as long as you've got the medal.

7. Get castrated (men only). If you're really committed, the word "eunuch" is a good thing to have on your resume. And don't despair; just because you have lost a pretty good source of testosterone, it doesn't mean you'll be powerless. On the contrary. Maybe it's a compensation thing, but many of these eunuchs over the years have had impressive clout. Like Bagoas, a Persian minister in the 4th century B.C., who led an army in conquering Egypt, looted the temples, made a fortune, killed the king, killed the king's sons, then tried to poison the new ruler he appointed, only to be forced to drink the poison himself. A good run while it lasted.

8. Design a font. Apparently, coming up with a new typeface is a more impressive feat than I had previously thought. The Britannica especially likes controversial typefaces that are initially dismissed haughtily, only to be revived later and recognized as brilliant, like Baskerville, designed by font hero John Baskerville.

9. Become a mistress to a monarch (ladies only). This seems a pleasant and painless way to get in. If I were a woman, I'd start working on that as soon as possible, since there are fewer and fewer monarchs every day.

10. Become a liturgical vestment. I know this is easier said than done, but since every garment ever worn by a religious figure gets a nice picture, I thought I'd throw it in, just in case.

2 comments 8:13 a.m. - 2007-10-02

Lawn Mowed? House Tidied? Google Streetview is in Ypsi!
EMU ENGLISH PROF STEVEN KRAUS spots a telltale car that makes him think Google Streetview is coming to Ypsi! If they should capture you at, say, an itchy-posterior moment that you don't wish to preserve online for all posteriority, you can ask them to blip it out. Here are some of the "inappropriate images" people have reported in Streetview--including a B&E in progress!

1 comments 12:56 p.m. - 2007-10-01

"HANDYMAN'S special."

0 comments 12:31 p.m. - 2007-10-01

Fallapalooza Poll
Fallapalooza was fun; many thanks to those who organized it! But if you were planning it, what other things would you throw in just for fun? Poll at right! Please feel free to write in a new idea if you like. Results published later this week.

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
Last night's puzzling over the tax and the bus system inspire today's puzzle to tax your brain about this bus picture. Question: In which direction is the bus moving? Look carefully. Click picture for larger image.

5 comments 11:47 a.m. - 2007-09-28

SCIT Sues City of Ypsilanti


STOP CITY INCOME TAX a/k/a SCIT, a registered Ballot Question Committee;No. 07 PZS.A.

TRUDY SWANSON, Honorable individually and as Mayor Pro-Tem of the City of Ypsilanti;
BRIAN ROBB, individually and as an elected member of the Ypsilanti City Council; and
PETE MURDOCK, individually and on behalf of SCIT,Plaintiffs,

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
About 35 audience members attended tonight's panel discussion in EMU's Roosevelt Auditorium on the city income tax. The panel consisted of emcee and EMU student Michael Haynes, Stop City Income Tax (SCIT) member Pete Murdock, EMU Residence Hall Association president Allison Sheppard, Graduate Student Senate president Christopher Bylone, Mayor Paul Schreiber, Student Body President Greg Jones, former Mayor Cheryl Farmer, and City Manager Ed Koryzno.

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
YPSIDIXIT IS ENTRANCED by the enticing blend of anachronism, techiness, communication, secret-clubbiness, autonomy, geekery, mystical codery, and gee-whizzery inherent in the enduring hobby of Ham Radio.

"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
THE EASTERN TIME ZONE, including Y., sits down to lunch. Meanwhile, someone's cooking some cabbage and meat for dinner in Dublin (5:22 p.m.), and an Algerian lady is making chorba frik for dinner (5:22 p.m.), a meat soup with cracked wheat and herbs. Someone in Athens is having a snack (7:22 p.m.) at a street pita-diner. A Muscovite (8:22 p.m.) is finishing off some shashlik while his insomniac countryman in Vladivostok (3:22 a.m.) roots around in the fridge. An early riser in Honolulu (6:22 a.m.) is sleepily thinking about breakfast. But wouldn't you like to know more about what all these people are eating? Take a look at this fascinating series of Time magazine photos of what constitutes one week's worth of food to families around the world--quite astonishing!

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:

( )
( )
city ________development_________DTCDC________EMU
manager director )
( )
( )
recreation recreation
director commission
(4 subsidiary groups including
the Friends of the Freighthouse)

(meeting details in "Comments").

2 comments 9:52 p.m. - 2007-09-25

How ironic is it, given a local rabble-rouser's recent Ypsilanti Housing Commission story, that the YHC's website is....."under construction"?

7 comments 1:11 p.m. - 2007-09-25

Moral Instruction For All, Offered in Depot Town this Saturday
"CHUTES AND LADDERS" is a "game" in the same way that John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress is a "fun beach book." Rather, Chutes and Ladders, a thinly disguised version of Bunyan's edifying allegory--diluted to fit the modern-day attention span--is a stern lesson in morality.

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
HAVING JUST PAINTED HER KITCHEN this past sunny Saturday, Y. is now the world's expert on painting your kitchen and, magnanimously, will condescend to share her secrets. Step one: Rent some Louise Brooks videos from the Ypsilanti Library (more in "comments"!)

3 comments 12:15 p.m. - 2007-09-24

Note to Persons Interested In Parks Developments
FRIENDLY REMINDER: The meeting to discuss the Depot Town Community Development Corporation being given control of Riverside and Frog Island Parks is tomorrow (Tuesday) night, in City Council Chambers at 1 S. Huron at 7:00 on September 25th. It is open to the public. At regular City Council meetings (this one is not on the official CC schedule), you can sign up on a clipboard just outside the door to make a statement. Since this is not an "official" CC meeting, I'm not sure if members of the public will be allowed to do so--I should hope so.

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

DAY ON THE RIVER: We took the boat to Moss Island and cast off for a whole day on the river, leaving at noon and returning at dark. The first tinges of fall surrounded the grey herons, white heron, orioles, jumping bass, and slurping catfish all around us. It was a day of soul-watering serenity and wonder. Picture-story in "comments."

4 comments 10:54 p.m. - 2007-09-23

DIY Death Documentary Movingly Life-Affirming
An elegant 30ish lady in a stylish grey dress holding a tape recorder and mike entered the room where we'd gathered tonight for the "DIY Death" talk and film screening.

"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
Here's an email I sent to high-powered NPR kingmaker Jennifer Guerra after having the pleasure of being interviewed by her today after the "Do It Yourself Death" meeting (in "comments."

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
SMALLMOUTH BASS IN THE HURON RIVER like to hang out in...["comments"].

1 comments 10:00 a.m. - 2007-09-20

Solutions: Interesting Park Events
MY SOLUTIONS for creating interesting, unique Riverside Park and Frog Island Park events that will:

1. draw in visitors to support local businesses
2. build upon Ypsilanti's heritage and strong community spirit
3. be fun:

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!)

2. MICHIGAN HERITAGE TREE COLLECTION: Michigan has 85 species of trees. Designate a 10-foot strip around the entire edge of Riverside Park, on the river side and on the hill side, as a tree-planting zone. Citizens can sponsor one memorial tree for a fee. They may choose from the species list (their choice is crossed off the species list). They get a living memorial to a loved one that honors the name of a Ypsilantian. When all 85 trees are sponsored, Riverside Park will contain a complete collection of Michigan trees, each with a small informational plaque. This will be an invaluable resource for local schools and colleges studying botany and biology, and will help all Ypsilantians learn more about and appreciate the natural world.

3. PROGRESSIVE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION COOKOUT: Each of the 16 neighborhood association in Ypsi sets up one food station, spread out, in a friendly rivalry of deliciousness, from the northernmost part of Frog Island, by the community gardens, all the way to the southernmost parking lot in Riverside Park. After buying an all-you-can-eat bracelet, participants can enjoy a leisurely stroll through both parks to get 1 food sample from each food station, ranging from a bratwurst in a bun to a cup of fruit salad. Neighbors have the fun of greeting each other and can take their turn in a karaoke station in the middle of Riverside Park.

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
YPSIDIXIT is reading the RP&FIDP. On page 12, there is a "Target Market Segment Strategy" that lists seven of the planned changes to the parks. Let's analyze the first one here and the rest in "Comments":

"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
Michigan's obesity crisis**. Designing an annual health expo, through a partnership with St. Joseph's Health System, will educate residents and help
them to lead healthier lives***."

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
Michigan's obesity crisis

**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
BEFORE THE CITY BLITHELY hands over control of its parks to a private nonprofit, we need to ask some questions. LOUDLY.

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)

"Although metals for toys are more plentiful now, the war-born use of plastic substitutes is still enjoying a well-earned popularity with the toy makers--and the youngsters. Here are three new recruits to the growing ranks of plastic toys..."

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!
You're not gonna believe this one--plans are underway for a Gospelfest in Ypsilanti in 2008! Yes!

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
An October 21 choir concert honoring beloved former EMU choral director and former Measure for Measure director Leonard Riccinto features many of his favorite works, performed by Measure for Measure, EMU student choirs, and the EMU ALumni Chorus, which is now named the Len Riccinto Singers.

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
"AS FOR JAKE, his heart was pure, and he was 100% comfortable with himself."

Here is a good profile by the Michigan Daily, and at this site you can listen to clips from Shakey Jake's songs "Fat Bacon," "State Street Boogie," and "Outrunning the Wind."

2 comments 8:18 a.m. - 2007-09-18

Pumpkin Redux
A CIRCLE OF PUMPKINS: Well, actually a line, a wee army, that Fritz and I harvested from the garden today.

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
THINK YOU CAN BEAT Ypsidixit on an 8th Grade Science Quiz? Bet you can't.

Mingle2 Free Online Dating - 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

Mission Impossisquirrel
YPSIDIXIT wonders if she can persuade Mr. Fritz to pause, for a mo, in his energetic wave of useful and appreciated ongoing household repairs and improvements--to instead devote time, energy, money, and materials into making a Squirrel Obstacle Course for my--er, our winter entertainment.

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

Mencken Sighting
A wonderful Mencken quote that surfaced in Les Payne's Newsday article about Gen. Petraeus:

"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
for the president's "surge," Petraeus dazzled politicians with his chest ablaze with all the colors of the spectrum.

"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
from the impalpable to the unendurable.

"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

KIND READERS, ARCHIVED older entries may be found at right, just under the calendar of Ypsi events.

0 comments 10:37 a.m. - 2007-09-17
older entries


Bat For Lashes - Whats a Girl To Do

Slideshow & story: the world's most expensive restaurants

Most of us know losing better than we know winning. That is why as a comic strip, Peanuts was at bottom tragic...

The evolution of the phrase "Don't Tase, Me, Bro": (Tom the Dancing Bug cartoon)

Bill Maher: Show me a guy with a flag in his lapel, and I'll show you an.....

Enthusiasm from the executive suite is usually a good thing. Usually.

"Baby Wit creates radical infant and toddler clothing that show [sic] the world your baby has serious style. Baby Wit's savvy decal t-shirts and one pieces appeal to a broad range of alternative consumers--punk rockers, art buffs, political lefties--people who want something cutting-edge, hip, and hilarious for the radical kids in their lives."

"In a letter last month to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, 54 scientists, mostly chemists, warned that "pregnant women and the fetus, children, the elderly, farmworkers and other people living near application sites [of new pesticide methyl iodide] would be at serious risk."