Monday, February 28, 2011

Who's afraid of Twitter?

I am. Not because I'm a despotic dictator, but because I don't really understand it.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Look at this dog

Apparently Gilligan is awesome. He is not lost.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lame to be Square

There has been an infestation of purple jackets in A2. They stand on street corners, shivering in the cold. You may be wondering - doesn't the Salvation Army wear red jackets? Is purple now the color of Galen Tag Days?

But no. It's for Squares, the new restaurant across from the Post Office on Liberty and Fourth. It's unclear to me what kind of restaurant Squares actually is, having never been inside, but I like to imagine that all the plates, food, and even glasses are perfect squares (cubes?). I am slightly confused as to why they are paying - or at least I *hope* they're paying! - people to stand outside and try to hand out coupons. It seems a little desperate to me.

Has anyone been inside who can report on what actually happens at this place?

$h*! my dad says

As BCB mentioned, it's "spring" break at U of M. I'm on vacation for the weekend with my parents in Philadelphia, where my brother's college hockey team is playing in a tournament.

Not every moment can be spent at the rink, though: these trips prove to be great opportunities to observe my father in his slow-but-steady development into cantankerous old man. Which, frankly, is comic gold. Today's gem:

"It's good to have your windshield wipers on when it's not raining because other people will think you're crazy. And then they will leave you alone."

Food Violations: And the winners are...

India - Sights & Culture - Common garbage dump outside a temple

Alpha Koney Island! And... Sheesh! Sheesh? And... Vinology?

In this list that published yesterday of all the FDA Food Code violations in Ann Arbor restaurants, there are the expected, chain-restaurant offenders. But then there are swanky places like Vinology, which has six critical and eight non-critical offenses. A few of them actually sound like a deal, like keeping the cutting board sanitized and making sure unwrapped straws aren't stored directly underneath soap dispensers. Is their storage/kitchen area really small or something? How would that happen in the first place?

All I know is I hope all the sushi places in town get their acts together. A bunch of them are on there, and the first thing people think of when they hear "food violation" and "sushi" together is a romantic night with the toilet.

Photo credit to McKay Savage.

Funny fonts

What? Dogs must be leashed and they are not allowed? That seems confusing. The top sign has a funny Sci Fi font going on. Strange choice for a city sign. It does look kind of familiar. Oh! I know where I've seen it:

Friday, February 25, 2011

I hate cooking but I love reading about food

I plan on continuing the trend with this new memoir from Gabrielle Hamilton, who earned an M.F.A. in fiction writing from the university. The Times reviewed her book this week.

Spring break!

Mmmmm. Street food

Greetings gentle readers. It is with a heavy heart I tell you this: posting may be sparse over the next few days. Tragically, I have been called away to Guatemala. The Mayor has sent me on a secret mission to research street food techniques to bring back to Ann Arbor. It's a tough row, but someone has to hoe it.

This is not to say there won't be any posts in the next week. I've got some goodies scheduled. So hang in there. If you are lucky, I might even be able to post some of the intel I glean if time allows.

Photo via

Bike Porn: Rate my Velo

Happy Friday. Looking to kill some time? Check out Rate my Velo. The site lets your rate hot, user submitted bike pics.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Diamondback Saloon

Shots in test tubes, amazing

Perhaps you've seen it: the big yellow building off I-94 between Ann Arbor and DTW. Though the Diamondback Saloon is only a few miles outside of Ann Arbor, it feels like a different world.

Does this mean you can drink in West Park?

I'm not an expert on the law, but I'm pretty sure that if a sign is upside-down it means the opposite of what it says.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The game

I win!

Here is how the game works: Comment on an article. Don't say anything too snarky, or offensive. You are allowed to vote for yourself once. You can send links to the comments to your friends, but you cannot ask them to vote for you directly. If your comment gets voted into the popular comments section, you win.

Tips: comment early. Comment on articles that are likely to get lots of readers and comments. i.e. articles that list the top 5 chain restaurants that the author would like to see in Ann Arbor. Talk about low hanging fruit.

Good, giving and game

Our own Ben Connor Barrie had a query for Dan Savage of Savage Love:
I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Grange, a local restaurant, has a cocktail called "GGGinger." Is it possible for a cocktail to be GGG? And how does it feel to have inspired one?

Curious Cocktail Connection
Check out Dan's response in his advice column this week.

(This writer is experiencing a special level of jealousy, as she has been trying to get into that column for years.)

What's worse than graffiti?

Vandalism-graffiti. That's what.

Hopeless romantic

It's a shame that this wasn't posted on Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Taco Tuesday

Today is Tuesday, which means it's Taco Tuesday at Sabor Latino. In addition to being well known for having the best ice in town, Sabor Latino has some pretty tasty tacos. Sure, the tacos are a bit on the small side, but at $1 a pop with fresh cilantro and lime slices, you can't really go wrong.

Pursuit of undergrad-iness?

Apparently, both male and female JAPs in Ann Arbor like football, brunch at Angelo's and Northface jackets. Just like pretty much everyone else here. And, like almost all the other undergrads, they wear black leggings with Uggs.

Am I missing something here?

(A formal apology for this video has been issued to the University Greek community by the president of Alpha Epsilon Pi on behalf of his fraternity brothers, two of the video's creators.)

Invasive species: Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)

A. altissima can grow almost anywhere provided there is sufficient light. This seedling shows less than one season's growth. Note the large, pinnately compound leaves.

Ailanthus altissama pisses me off. This medium sized tree is native to China and is possibly the fastest growing tree in North America. Its common name, tree of heaven, comes from its ability to grow as many as 3 meters towards the heavens in a single growing season. It is a particularly nasty invasive species for a variety of reasons. Like many invasive species, A. altissima reproduces prolifically via both seeds and through its extensive shallow root network. It is also allelopathic, meaning it secretes chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants. The particular chemical is called ailanthone. It is present in all parts of the plant, including seeds and inhibits cell division in other plants. This can be devistating to the seedlings of native species because they have not had the chance to evolve resistance to A. altissima's chemical attacks.

A. altissama can be found all over Ann Arbor, but it is particularly prevalent in disturbed sites. There are also some cases where it appears as if it has been planted as an ornamental. For example there are several large A. altissima planted in a row between the parking lot on 4th and Catherine and \'aut\ bar. There is also a large female in the parking lot behind Kerrytown.


Please try not to die today.


As usual, Ann Arbor is sucking at being a city in Michigan. We had an OMG SURPRISE SNOW party, and it's like the Washtenaw Road Commission didn't even bring the wine.

Since moving to Ann Arbor, I've been amazed at how bad she is at clearing snow off the roads. The main roads are attended to, sure, but unless you live ON one of those main roads, you're pretty screwed. Just yesterday, I was able to have a people-watching feast; there were six different cars stuck at six different times on our block. I actually did leave home at some point (slow clap), so there could have been, and probably were, many more.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Zelda fairy door

The Legend of Zelda was released 25 years ago today.

Ann Arbor plowing status

The city's snow removal webpage is up and running. Unfortunately, many of the routes are not being cleared. Two routes are on hold due to abandoned cars. Two more are on hold due to a water main break (3309 Packard).

Perhaps the city should change its plowing status to "It's complicated."

Best Coffee in Ann Arbor: A Paean to My Second Home

Ann apparently does weekly "Best of" contests, and this week the focus is on local coffeeshops. Shockingly, my coffeeshop of choice is not in first place.

There are several indisputable facts about Comet Coffee (16 Nickels Arcade, by North University and State Street):

- The coffee is the best in A2.
- It is the cutest space (tiles!).
- The staff is lovable and hilarious.
- They give you the greatest number of options.
- There's no better place to get your coffee questions answered.

Sure, people complain that it's small (wait long enough and you'll get a seat), there's no plugs (this helps you get a seat faster, silly), and the line can be long (isn't that proof that this is the best place for coffee). But those complaints are for people who value other things more than coffee.

The choice is clear.

Selma Cafe video

Mobile Tour: Selma Cafe from Green Living Project on Vimeo.

Check out this great short video about Selma Cafe. You get to see Tomm and Trilby Becker from Sunseed Farm (our CSA) and their hoop house.

Domain changes

Thanks to some fancy internet wrangling over the weekend, Damn Arbor is now found on its very own domain. All the old URLs will link to the same articles on the domain. If you are one of the people who has been so kind as to link to us, feel free to update your links.


Alligators of Michigan

While doing research on invasive species in Michigan, I came across this map for Alligator mississippiensis, the American alligator. What? Reports of alligators in Michigan? This can only get worse with climate change.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Invasive species in Ann Arbor

Alliaria petiolata--garlic mustard. Highly invasive, allelopathic, makes a tasty pesto, produces cyanide upon digestion.

Despite the impending icepocalypse, spring will be springing soon. Ducks and geese have begun flying north. Soon plants will emerge from their winter stasis and send their leaves above ground. This also means it's prime time to start thinking about invasive species. On Damn Arbor, we have discussed some invasive animal species: mute swan and Asian carp. Over the next few weeks I will be writing a series of articles focusing on invasive plant species in the Ann Arbor area. I will cover the the major invasive species, how to identify them and the best ways to remove them. Why invasive plant species? Well, they say write what you know, and I know plants.

The ice storm cometh

Despite earlier reports, spring has not sprung. You can read more here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

True love on the Diag

Hope these star-crossed lovers managed to connect. Via Craigslist

Friday, February 18, 2011

Navigable Rivers

I recognize that I'm trespassing on Mr. Connor Barrie's territory (or perhaps, swimming up his stream? Actually, that sounds weird) by highlighting this droll river map in the style of the London Underground tube system - but on the other hand, we all own our natural resources. I think.

(credit to Mr. Dan Ping for pointing me to the image)

Iggy and the Stooges

Iggy and the Stooges will be playing the Michigan Theater on April 19th. Henry Rollins is opening and Iggy might even play with some local youth bands. Awesome. You can only buy tickets through Ticket Master, which is pretty lame. Additionally, While the Michigan Theater is a great venue, I don't know if it's the best venue for a Stooges show. I just can't imagine sitting down during Search and Destroy. Anyway, tickets go on sale at 10 am.

Photo by Michael Markos

What rhymes with Michigan?

Bitch again. From Michigan Budget Funnies on The Ann Arbor Chronicle.

Merce Cunningham's Michigan swan song

Pictured above is a piece of art from patricio villaroel's flickr collection, a tribute to the dancer and choreographer upon his death on July 26, 2009. The art is inspired by an iconic photograph taken of Merce Cunningham performing in Changeling in 1956.

This weekend, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company will perform its final shows in Michigan at the Power Center tonight and tomorrow at 8 PM, part of its legacy tour that will culminate on New Year's Eve in New York.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A play within a play

Check out the Michigan Department of Theatre's play about putting on a play with Australian convicts at Arthur Miller Theatre this weekend--7:30 tonight, 8 PM tomorrow and Saturday and 2 PM Sunday. Tickets cost $10 for students, $16 for non-students.
"It's theater about how important theater can be, in its rawest form," said Malcolm Tulip, an assistant professor in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance and the production's director.

I love Michigan video contest

Do you love Michigan? Do you love videos? Do you love voting? The Prima Civitas Foundation is hosting an I love Michigan video contest. You can vote on their top ten entries through March 4th.

Hat tip: Tim Chilcote

Bike Porn: stencil bike

Check out this hot white and gold fixie I saw in front of Ashley's yesterday. It had great custom stencil work which you can see in the picture below:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In front of Borders...

Seen in front of Borders on Liberty.

Does Dan Savage know about this?

Inquiring minds wonder, what exactly makes Grange's cocktail GGG?

Thoughts on collective bargaining

Mark Maynard has an interesting post looking at the impending assault on collective bargaining in the wake of victories by Tea Party-backed candidates. In Michigan, our own RySny has released somewhat dubious figures showing public sector employees are much more costly than private sector ones. It seems like a lot of state financial woes are being pinned on unions, their health care plans, and their pensions. As commenters on Mark's article point out, years of cutting taxes while maintaining services citizens depend on is more likely culpable. I've been part of two unions during my brief working life and have had generally positive experiences.

What are you doing the week of March 14th?

Hanging out with George Clooney. Clooney's movie, Ides of March, will be filming on U of M's Ann Arbor campus during the aforementioned week. Word on the street is they need approximately 1000 extras. If you are interested in working as an extra, drop an email to with "March Extra" in the subject line.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Over the weekend I spent some time with a couple of good friends from undergrad. One is about to graduate with his master's degree from State. While we were discussing where he might work post-graduation, my friend said that he would really like to stay in Michigan, but would likely have to go wherever he could find a job. Many of my friends have expressed similar views. A lot of the well-educated 20-somethings I know, especially those who are Michigan natives, have said essentially this: I would like to stay in Michigan to do my part to help rebuild the state, but in the end, I will have to go wherever I can find a job.

In his article on notable Ann Arbor blogs last December, Ed Vielmetti labeled us Michigoners. As much as it pains me to say it, Ed is probably right. Each Damn Arbor author has his or her own unique half-life. In the end, even those of us with slow decay rates (those of us enrolled in Ph.D programs) will in all likelihood end up with post docs in other states. There are opportunities for young, well-educated people in Michigan. But the opportunities in other states often seem to be much more bountiful.

The Planned Parenthood I know

After seeing the "exposés" from Live Action in the news the past few weeks, and as the House prepares to vote on a bill that could eliminate Planned Parenthood federal funding, it was refreshing to read this account of a woman's experience with the organization, an experience that sounded a lot like my own. The first Planned Parenthood she ever went to was in Ann Arbor! worst comment of the day

Housing discrimination is difficult to prove. As a prospective renter, how can you tell if a property manager is just rude, or systematically discriminating against you? That's where the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan comes into play. When they hear reports of potential housing discrimination, they send "testers" to the property to check if there is evidence of systematic discrimination. Sounds like a pretty decent thing to do. Unfortunately, the article about the Center is full of comments like the one above. Apparently, investigating allegations of discrimination puts an undue burden on the potential perpetrators.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Criss Blitz Continues

As Damn Arbor's resident homosexual I am obligated to alert you to Out Magazine's interview with U-M alum/current Glee star Darren Criss. For those who want to fast-forward to the visuals, New York Magazine has a helpful teaser.

Mr. Criss isn't really my type - I don't really go for the "dandy caveman" look - but I'm sure some of our readers (*cough* Erika *cough*) will appreciate the piece.

Who has the best pizza in Ann Arbor? has a poll open asking people to vote on the best pizza in Ann Arbor. The list of 24 pizza joints is a little daunting. Now, don't get me wrong, I like pizza as much as the next guy. But when you have level every pizza from Little Caesars to Gratzi in the same pool, it's hard to think of what dimensions should be used to judge such diverse pizzas.

On a related note: is really dragging out the best of list thing. They have polls for a different category each week through the end of the year. Also, I don't see a best Ann Arbor blog poll. Maybe that's because there is no competition. Zing!

Girls to the front

Sara Marcus, musician and author of Girls to the Front, discusses her book and her involvement in third-wave feminism today at Lane Hall from 3:30 to 5 PM.

Michigan, be our Valentine?

On this day of celebrating all things love, we would like to take a moment to profess our most unwavering and unlikely devotion of all: the love we have for this glorious state. Sure, Michigan has a 12.9 percent unemployment rate; sure, the people here say things like "pellow" and "melk"; sure, there's no political will for public transportation connecting the eastern cities, and the state's largest city is being turned into a farm, and we'll probably be among the thousands of young, educated people Michigan hemorrhages every year.

But is there any love stronger or purer--and therefore more worthy of celebration--than the love you have for something that just won't love you back?

Ask any teenager: absolutely not.

And, despite all your faults (there are many), despite the fact that you hate us and want us to go away forever (this is one of them), we stand on your front lawn, Michigan, we hold our boom boxes high above our heads, and we play these love songs for you.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

All Hands Active

Concentrate has a good video about All Hands Active. They look like a pretty cool group of people making cool things.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tonight: Love Bang!

Ann Arbor's sweatiest, hipsteriest, most romantic mixtape dance party is on tonight! We'll see you at the Blind Pig, in red and pink.

Rail on Woodward

Transport Michigan has an interesting piece advocating center running light rail for Woodward Avenue. The article has some great history of the street:
Woodward got its start as an Indian footpath. But its major contribution to the development of transportation technology came in the twentieth century, when it served as a testing strip for the roadway infrastructure that would define the automobile era. Another rubber-tired vehicle - the bicycle - helped pave the way for Woodward's transformation into the quintessential American artery for cars. The world's very first mile of concrete highway was laid along Woodward in 1909, and opened by former League of American Wheelmen leader Edward Hines. The first three-color traffic light followed in 1919.

Photo via Ifmuth

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fluid Borders

The Wall Street Journal reports that Borders seems likely to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy early next week. Last month, I wrote about what this might mean for us in Ann Arbor, Borders' headquarters; my general thoughts are "This is not good."

RySny and "clean coal"

Is RySny showing his true colors? Michigan Radio just tweeted the above message. Clean coal is anything but clean, at least in terms of GHG emissions and the mining process. This is definitely a step in the wrong direction.

Davy Rothbart on Joy Behar Show

Ann Arborite Davy Rothbart looked a little uncomfortable on Wednesday's Joy Behar Show as he explained how males can fake orgasms. Gawker is a bit stingy with its videos, so I can't embed the clip. Perhaps that's for the best.

A little escapism

Check out my Daily preview of Basement Arts' The Wonderful World of Dissocia. The play runs at 7 and 11 PM tonight and at 7 PM tomorrow at the Walgreen Drama Center on North Campus. Admission is free.

An antidote to ruin porn

If you are tired of people talking about the "ruins of Detroit" you should check out two recent photosets from the Michigan Exposures blog. The first is of the Fisher Building and includes the picture above. The second features pictures of another Albert Kahn building, Cadillac Place.

Not only does Michigan Exposures have great pictures, but they use their photographs as a starting point for great history lessons about the state. Take for example I-94:
Interstate 94 is designated as the first border to border Interstate when it was completed in the early 1960's. Sections of it were built as Freeways before the Interstate Freeway Act was signed into law in 1956, therefore a trip along I-94 is a chance to see the development of freeways. Some of the interchanges don't have long acceleration ramps (the one in Ann Arbor is guilty of this), some of the interchanges are the hideous cloverleaf pattern and some have been built up to modern standards.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Saving Detroit: If Not Micro-Businesses, Then What? Robots.

Our previous post on Detroit highlighted the need for the stimulation of small-businesses in order to revitalize Detroit - but what about the equally pressing need for cybernetic law enforcement.

Internet scuttlebutt (scuttlenet? Interbutt?) has recently had it that Detroit mayor Dave Bing torpedoed a plan to erect a statue of Detroit's most famous robot cop. But worry not, gentle readers, hope is not lost. You can contribute to a grassroots effort to build Detroit the monument to a 1980s fictional law enforcement cyborg it deserves.

Visit to donate. I desperately want this to happen.

Will micro-businesses save Detroit?

Dana Thompson, a clinical professor at the law school, has an article in the Detroit News today supporting Governor Snyder's proposed Office of Urban Initiatives. She also has some ideas about how this department should be utilized, namely to facilitate the growth of Detroit micro-businesses, which employ five or fewer workers.

Thompson suggests that Snyder's new office focus on the issues facing prospective urban business owners, particularly people of color. These issues include "lack of access to adequate equity and debt financing, to mentors and individuals with experience in managing businesses and to knowledge of growth sectors in the economy." She concludes:
To have a prosperous Michigan we must have a prosperous Detroit, and linking Snyder's proposed Office of Urban Initiatives with a program that develops urban micro-businesses provides hope for a prosperous future for all Michigan citizens.

More on human trafficking

After presenting a symposium on the same topic, the law school is in the Huffington Post this week for its work in human trafficking law. Specifically, professor Bridgette Carr, the director of the Human Trafficking Clinic, talks about the online database of human trafficking cases that Michigan students have been compiling and organizing for years (and continue to do so).
"I hope the database helps law enforcement, decision makers, and prosecutors realize this crime, while horrific, is not extremely unique or exotic," she writes. "We have known how to fight the elements of human trafficking for a long time. I want law enforcement to see the trafficking law as an extra tool to combat this crime, not the only one."

Good manners...and a sprawling literary tradition

Michigan pulls in four spots on Anna Clark's list of thirteen high-profile books whose Midwest influence is often overlooked. Her article in the Book Beast wonders: why do we have Southern Gothic novels, Westerns, New York stories, etc., but no talk of the literature coming from this "overlooked, but nonetheless mythic, landscape"?

First thing, Anna, it's the Midwest, not the mystical Land of Oz. Second, yeah! Yeah! Let's talk about how awesome and literary the Midwest is!

Here are the Michiganders she mentions:

MothUP Missed Connections

MothUP hosts another Storyslam tonight at 7 PM at the Work Gallery on State Street. The theme: missed connections, a la the Craigslist category.

All I can say about the last MothUP is that it wasn't surprising that two of the stories were about hitchhiking. Write (or I guess don't write) what you know. I fully supported the selection of the winner, whose story can be seen here:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ignite tonight

Ignite Ann Arbor is tonight at 7 PM in the Ross School of Business. It looks like there will be tons of great speakers dishing out 5 minute presentations on topics ranging from robots, to urban beekeeping, Asian carp, design as a martial art and the anatomy of a ____________. Registration is open through 3 pm today.

There Are Still Slaves in America

This past weekend, the Michigan Journal of International Law hosted a symposium on human trafficking. A lot of it was high-falutin' mumbo jumbo on a legal topic about which I don't really know anything. I was also all hopped up on DayQuil, so most of it was pretty incomprehensible to me. However, the opening segment, in which two women told their stories of being trafficked at a very young age, stung me.

Shockingly, there is a lot of human trafficking that goes on in the United States. Some of the other speakers decried Americans' apathy or ignorance as integral to the perpetuation these crimes. Sex trafficking, labor trafficking, both child and adult - all of this goes on throughout the U.S.

I'm not too ashamed to admit that I was among the people who were surprised to hear of the prevalence of modern slavery in the United States. So when the two young women from West Africa began to talk about their experiences as the victims of labor trafficking, I was prepared to be utterly horrified.

The splendor of cities

David Brooks has a piece in the Times discussing what makes cities great. A few quotes stand out to me and I wonder how they might relate to Ann Arbor.
"... cities thrive because they host quality conversations, not because they have new buildings and convention centers."
"... even cold cities like Chicago can thrive if they attract college grads. As the number of college graduates in a metropolitan area increases by 10 percent, individuals’ earnings increase by 7.7. This applies even to the high school grads in the city because their productivity rises, too."
"When you clump together different sorts of skilled people and force them to rub against one another, they create friction and instability, which leads to tension and creativity..."

OOPS! That last one makes me think about undergrad. I would say that fostering conversation is a much more difficult task for cities to tackle than developments. But, fortunately Ann Arbor doesn't seem to be want for community conversations. In terms of keeping college graduates, I think we do a better job than the rest of Michigan, but I think there is room for improvement.

Hat tip to Vivienne Armentrout for bringing the Times article to my attention.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Snow v. Wade

Today a letter linking the lack of snowmen in Ann Arbor to the landmark right to privacy Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade was posted to

The writer marshals the following line of reasoning in support of this proposition: "[P]erhaps one of the reasons [why there are no snowmen] is because so many of the potential "snowmen makers" have been aborted! Over 50 million in United States alone since Roe vs Wade 38 years ago in 1973! What will it take to get the snowmen back?"

I suspect that the author is trolling, but I can't be sure. And that frightens me.

The Closing of Open Mic Night

Apparently it's food day at Damn Arbor. I have a post at my other blog, for the Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review, about the end of open mic night at Jolly Pumpkin.

I was a little coy there about whether or not ASCAP can shut down an open mic night for original music, but let me be clearer here in that statement - it makes no sense at all under my (admittedly non-expert) understanding of copyright law.

We already have that one guy's burgers...

The new Five Guys on State Street has been bustling with customers ever since it opened a few weeks ago. Because I love burgers so much, and because I have fond memories of eating at the Five Guys in Detroit's Greektown, it was only a matter of time before I tried it out myself.

Super Bowl ads, a little late

I'm sure everyone's seen this by now, but I still don't know how I feel about it. Happy that we're seeing a more hopeful depiction of Detroit in the media? A little confused about why that image is still hitched to Eminem, because what good has he ever brought to the city? Ambivalent about the city being hawked by one of the most failing of all the auto companies? It's all very overwhelming. What say you, readers?

Complicated emotions notwithstanding, there was one Super Bowl ad that inspired just one unadulterated emotion:

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Nixon In China" @ Goodrich Quality 16

"Nixon in China" will be telecast live from the MET 1 p.m. this Saturday at Goodrich Quality 16. Tickets $13.50 for students, $23 for adults, and $21 for seniors.

"Nixon in China" is about Nixon's 1972 trip to China -- an otherwise underwhelming event whose significance only intensifies with each decade. Premiering in 1987 to a tepid reception from the public and professional audience, this first opera of the young John Adams is now regarded as a genre-changing work (see NYT coverage here and here).

The composition is light, loud, and swift. You'll recognize, I think, the influence of Phillip Glass, although a Glass with discipline and a more distinctive melodic variation. Adams' composition is no doubt an American classic -- hence, not to be missed.

Love in the organic aisle

I like your energy? Is that what the kids are saying these days?

Ann Arbor shrinking

Washtenaw County bucked the state trend and gained over 20,000 residents in the last decade. Ann Arbor, though, lost 1,500 residents.


How could the city with the lowest unemployment rate in the state lose people? David Cahill has the answer:

That's right folks: Ann Arbor is losing residents (while surrounding townships are gaining people) because we are building too many large residential developments. Quoi?

United States of Beer

Another reason I'm glad I don't live in Idaho.

Map from

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Democracy fails again: SnowtoriousMIgeddon B.I.G.

The voting ended yesterday and, as in most elections, we learned almost nothing. Here are the results of our poll to name the snowstorm:

At least that wingnut Snowpocalypse was put in its place. Congratulations to SnowMIgeddon and Snowtorious B.I.G. No doubt they will fight it out in the courts.

And what do we call the four inches of flurries yesterday? Snowbscure S.M.A.L.L.?