Detroit, Itacare', and Kilimanjaro


You know those sections of the New York Times that come after the news section and aren't the crossword? Escapes, Home & Garden, Travel, Fashion, and so forth? Well, I've found something in one of them that I can actually afford. From their list of The 53 places to go in 2008:

1. Laos
2. Lisbon
3. Tunisia
4. Mauritius
. . .
40. Detroit

Yes, Detroit.

Not that the description is 100% positive, and a little focused on the casinos. (Come on, the Tigers?)

Easily impressed



From 1995-1999, the IWW had their general headquarters in Ypsilanti. (After 4 years in San Francisco and 85 in Chicago.)

That space is now The Rocket. I wonder if any of Paul's suppliers carry IWW-themed items. (Question: Would "the singingest union America ever had" object to their slogans being pasted on retro kitsch and sold to hipsters?)

I blame Barbara Kingsolver.

I think I have to officially stop pretending to be a vegetarian.

Additionally, Cara is threatening to revoke my unsupervised internet privileges.

Yes, boys and girls, I just impulse bought a meat grinder off of Craigslist.

(Actually, a pair of meat grinders...)

Shopping your way green?


Yesterday, my sister sent me a link to The Daily Green's $250,000 home/car/life "eco-makeover" drawing. "Grand Prize Winner will win $250,000 which can be used to purchase products and services to help make your life and home more eco-friendly."

So, let me get this straight. You want me to consume more - a lot more - in order to be "green", which typically requires pursuing happiness more efficiently, or, in other words, consuming less. Gotta love America!

The perils of living where you work

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Probably every planner has at some point used the phrase "live where you work". It has a few contexts - one is a general recommendation that commuting by car has negative social consequences, and that therefore people ought to live in the community they work in. Another is more equity-minded - that communities should guarantee enough affordable housing supply that the people who are working in the community can have the choice to live there; this is particularly used in reference to public servants in gentrifying communities, such as teachers, policemen, etc, but also for the people who serve you coffee and pump your gas. Finally, it's a exhortation to planners themselves that living in the community one plans for is the best way to comprehend that community, as well as building the community's trust in you because you've essentially put yourself in harms way for any mistakes you might make.

I've always subscribed to the "planners ought to live in the communities they work for" theory, but it has its downsides. Not least of all is that you can't really turn off - wherever you go, people will be asking you about planning, so it's hard to get a mental or emotional day off without leaving town. Thus far, though, I've always found that the people who corner me at the food co-op or Bombadill's are people who are asking questions in a friendly vein. They're interested in what's going on around town, they know I might know, and they know me well enough to be comfortable asking. I don't mind that at all. There are plenty of people around town who probably have reason to be sore at me for my work related capacity, some of whom I run into, but they typically avoid eye or other contact.

So getting cornered and harangued yesterday at the Shadow Art Fair was somewhat new to me. Here I am, my recently purchased beer in one hand and recently purchased art in the other, coat over my arm, searching for Linette to summon to the Severed Unicorn Head Superstore table, when I get flagged down.

"Say, you're one of those planners, aren't you?" says the guy, "Richard something?"

"I am. I'm sorry, I don't remember your name?" (he gives his name; I recognize him, but not in regards to anything work-related I can remember anything about)

"Have a seat. I'd like to know, what's next for Ypsi? What are you up to?"

"Well, actually, I'm trying to find somebody, so..."

"Fine. In two words or less, what are you all doing? I mean, you kicked out 555, you tried to steal the Freighthouse, and locked it up when you couldn't have it - what are you going to ruin next?"

Um. Right. So I admit, I did in fact miss a beat at this point while trying to decide between fight or flight.

Arborwiki Industrial History Project

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I apologize for the silence in this venue. My idle interneting time has been otherwise occupied lately with digesting various sources from the Bentley and elsewhere into Arborwiki pages on (mostly Ypsilanti) past local industries.

Check out the Arborwiki Industrial History Project for a fledgling entry point, or pages like Ferrier Machine Works (now the Ypsi food co-op), Louis Z. Foerster (prominent German-Canadian Ypsilanti brewer), or Federal Screw Works (vacant and likely doomed plant in Chelsea) as example pages.

Eight percent.


Mr. J. Bruce Fields wins at least 8% of my love for finding me a YouTube copy of the SquareOne segment of that name.

"When I lose my eyes"

I've spent about the last year and a half being frustrated that I couldn't figure out the name of this Fred Thomas song that I'd heard at a couple of shows, let alone figure out which or even whether it was on any recording.

So, imagine my pleasure when I found this, easily one of my favorite of Fred's songs, on the new Saturday Looks Good to Me album, which I got today in preparation for their Sunday homecoming concert. Granted, I learned it as the

Staff of life Sunday


I've been feeling a little bummed lately when thinking of skills / hobbies I haven't practiced in a while. I think I've now caught up on homebrewing. Yesterday, I bottled a brown ale; today, brewed the third variation on the honey wheat that I served at our wedding. Meanwhile, Cara decided that today was a good time to exercise her grain-and-yeast skills as well, and has whole wheat bread and rolls on the rise.

Relatedly, I'm mid-read of Standage's A History of the World in Six Glasses (beer, wine, spirits, tea, coffee, cola), which I recommend to anyone who enjoys other fine works of single-food anthropology. (e.g. Kurlansky's Cod and Salt.) The first section discusses beer as the first significant non-water drink in civilization, invent/discovered concurrently with bread and equally important in encouraging/supporting agricultural society. (Today's lesson: beer is both safer and more nutritious than water, so drink up!)

1500 pages of OCR goodness

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*swoon*. (warning: local geekery.)

I've been pleased in the past that UMich's library has a scanned, publicly-accessible version of Charles Chapman's History of Washtenaw County, Michigan : together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships...and biographies of representative citizens. This is a 1,500 page book published in 1881 covering the area's history to that date - a pretty impressive length, when you consider that the white man's history of Washtenaw County, aside from a Jesuit or two, only extended as far back as 1823,