The inaugural Taste of Ypsilanti is tomorrow at EMU's convocation center. The event is from 1 to 3 p.m. and will feature a local restaurants including Ahmo’s, Tower Inn, Aubree’s, Red Rock BBQ, and Buffalo Wild Wings. Nothing says local food like B-Dubs. Right? Ok, snarking aside, you can buy tickets for $1 and then redeem them at the vendors booths for food.
Friday, February 28, 2014
|Sister Pie continues to push the boundaries of paczki technology. Case in point: a cranberry-lemon poppy seed pączek. You can pre-order assorted dozen paczki boxes from Sister Pie until 4 pm today.|
Gentle readers, it's almost Fat Tuesday and that can only mean one thing: time to gorge ourselves on paczki. Here are some places to get them:
If you're heading out to Detroit, you can always take the classic route and go to the New Martha Washington Bakery in Hamtramck. If you're looking to try some cutting edge paczki innovations, Sister Pie will be selling chocolate hazelnut rye and the above cranberry-lemon poppy seed paczki at 4750 Woodward starting at 6 am.
Closer to home, Copernicus European Delicatessen in South Main Market is a good place to go for some of the harder to find traditional flavors like rose hip and prune. Personally, I'm really excited about trying the paczki from Dom Backeries in Ypsilanti. I hear they are super good. If you're looking for an extensive resource on local paczki procurement, make sure you check out the ArborWiki paczki page.
Gentle readers, where are your favorite places to grab paczki? How many do you plan to consume on Paczki Day?
Photo courtesy of Sister Pie
Thursday, February 27, 2014
In October, Federal Judge Bernard Friedman declined to issue a summary judgement in the case of April DeBoer, et al. v Richard Snyder, et al. setting a trial date for this week. Arguments in the case are expected to last into next week. At that point, will we see an end to the our state's embarrassing same sex marriage ban? This week federal judges have overturned same sex marriage bans in Texas and Kentucky. This is hot on the heals of similar bans being overturned in Utah, Ohio, Virginia, and Oklahoma. Marriage equality is a bandwagon I'm happy to hop on.
If you're wondering what this whole transit millage is about, basically the AAATA is asking for 0.7 mills for 5 years to fund it's 5-year transit improvement plan. The 0.7 mil property tax would cost homeowners $70 per year per $100,000 of assessed property value ($200,000 market value). This money would be used to increase the frequency of some routes (including a late night #4 on Saturday) and develop new routes.
The anti-millage folks, Better Transit Now, don't quite have a website up yet. Nevertheless, I will take this opportunity put words in their mouth. My interpretation is that they oppose the millage because they believe:
1) Ann Arbor has been subsidizing the other municipalities that AAATA services.Again, this is just my attempt to summerize some arguments I have seen on the interwebs and likely do not reflect the views or all or even the majority of those who oppose the AAATA Millage.
2) The feel like the AAATA has wasted money on rail studies, etc. while ignoring its core transit mission
3) They say that after 40 years of funding the AAATA, its services in Ann Arbor are not up to the investment the community has made.
UPDATE: In an effort to get this post up quickly, I sort of trailed off at the end without wrapping the post up nicely. Also, reading what I wrote about the anti-millage folks now, it looks snarkier/meaner than I wanted it to be. I have changed the end of the last paragraph a little bit. My intent was to paraphrase and distill some arguments I had seen posted as comments on the .News and MarkMaynard.com because I wanted to present the opposing side of the debate as neutrally as I could, but that is not what I accomplished. I am interested in hosting a robust discussion about the May 6th Millage on DA. To that end, I am going to reach out to both the folks at More Buses and Better Transit Now and see if they would be willing to write a 500-1000 word "Letter to Damn Arbor" explaining their positions on the millage vote. In the mean time, you can read more about the AAATA Millage on the Chronicle and Local in Ann Arbor.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Gentle readers, are you getting as excited for the Ann Arbor Film Festival as I am? I went to a preview event for the festival last night and it looks really awesome. I'll have a through preview of my own in a few days, but I just wanted to say that the AAFF looks like it's going to be really sweet this year. I'm especially excited about the Penelope Spheeris retrospective.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
“There was a very tense climate brewing all semester, and I think the party was just the peak,” [Tyrell Collier, speaker of the Black Student Union] said. Mr. Collier added that his group, which spearheaded the popular social media campaign, had received inquiries from other black student groups around the country looking to use similar tactics.
“We’re clearly not postracial,” said Tiya A. Miles, chairwoman of the department of Afro-American and African studies. “Sometimes I wonder if having a black president lets people feel like that gives them cover. It absolves people of being prejudiced.”
Monday, February 24, 2014
Sunday, February 23, 2014
I wonder if Buzzfeed has an Ann Arbor quota to fill. They posted a foodie list, and yes, Ann Arbor has a lot of really great food. However, I don't necessarily trust the writer if the list includes an Ahmos gyro or Ashley's pesto fries. What do you think they missed or were misguided about?
I think that it should've included small food companies that are growing in this area, like the Brinery or Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory. Or maybe the writer should've ventured from the downtown area to try Taco King or Arirang.
On another note, does anyone frequent Lotus Thai and notice a change in quality/service over the past month? I have heard rumors/complaints of a staff clean out.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Friday, February 21, 2014
There's another Ann Arbor SOUP coming up. From their website:
Our next event is February 23rd 6pm at LIVE 102 S. 1st St.At the event, you'll pay a $5 cover and get soup and a salad. Then you will be able to vote on which of the above community groups gets the pot. Last time the Food Recovery Network got $1096 to further their efforts to reduce food waste at U of M's cafeterias.
2014 Water Hill Music FestivalDo you guys remember Water Hill, back when it was warm?
Let’s make it official.
The 2014 Water Hill Music Festival is scheduled for Sunday, May 4th, from 2 to 6 p.m. Click on links to the left for information on attending, performing, and volunteering.
The deadline to sign up to perform is Sunday, April 13th, three weeks before the event. We encourage Water Hill musicians of every skill level to consider performing. Let the games begin!
One thing is certain, though - unlike Internet search engines which have response times measured in milliseconds, you'll have to wait days, maybe weeks, for a response. Here's some suggestions on how to track requests as they go out so that nothing gets lost in the shuffle.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Gentle readers, the ground is frozen and many storm drains are clogged with snow. Add the toasty temperatures and rain we're getting right now and it's a perfect storm for puddles. The question is, where is the biggest puddle in the city. I spotted this one on Church St. There are probably some larger ones out there. Snap a picture of the biggest puddle you see and send it in. If it's the biggest, you'll get a special prize.
Update: there is a huge puddle at the bottom of Miller, between First and Spring.
UPDATE II: Here's a picture from Packard in front of Jack's Hardware sent in by Alicia J.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Another layer of sorrow is that when we are gone, Dan Gilbert plans to turn this building and the entire Capitol Park area into a “new arts district,” so that the trophy wives of Bloomfield Hills computer industry moguls can make friggin clay cups on pottery wheels every other weekend.
The irony is unbearable; kick people like us out to make room for people "like us."
Our greatest fear is the complete sterilization of downtown Detroit; that this city should be so overrun by monied interests with so little sense of the true soul of this place, that every existing institution that reflects the singular character of Detroit will be replaced by some McRetail franchise, and our great city ends up looking like a damn airport cafeteria.Presumably Bedrock Real Estate, the building manager as of last fall, is bringing the building up to code. When 1217 reopens for tenants, it seems likely that the rent will be as reasonably priced and as reflective of the average city resident's income and needs as groceries in Midtown. In a city whose population is forty percent what it was at its peak, you'd think there would be plenty of room for developers alongside the people who already live here. You'd think there would be a more elegant way to integrate new residences into preexisting neighborhoods without displacing all of the preexisting neighbors. You'd think there would be a way to address building code infractions that doesn't involve issuing eviction notices one month before move-out date.
You would be wrong.
At least the seniors across the street got a full year before their Section 8 homes will start morphing into "market-rate apartments." ("Market-rate apartments" are the new "craft cocktails": you're probably paying too much, and they probably skimped on the good stuff. Except now, someone lost their home.)
On an unrelated note, let's talk about the guy on the left in the third photo in Brovold and Roberts' article. Look familiar? I would recognize that coat anywhere.
According to data from the Spreadsheets App, Michiganders are the sixth in terms of average length of time spent boning down per boink session. Sex in Michigan lasts, on average, 4:14. Now we're no New Mexico, which leads the pack at 7:01, but we're also not Alaska where sex tends to take about 1:21.
If your storm drain is buried and covered with snow and ice, that water will go into the street, forming huge puddles. Worse, it can land in your basement.
Shovel out your drains! If you don't know where the drains are, the City of Ann Arbor has just published a handy map showing every single catch basin in town. View the map here, or download KML or shape files from the Ann Arbor Data Catalog to make your own custom neighborhood map.
You can signal your commitment year round towards this goal through the Huron River Watershed Council's Adopt a Storm Drain program, which aims to improve the quality of our streams by removing debris from the storm strains in your neighborhood and labeling them so others know they lead directly to your local waterway. Sign up today!
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I guess I'm a little late to the Back to Ypsilanti party. MarkMaynard posted about it back in 2007. I didn't know about the song until today when 7ravis posted it to r/ypsilanti. For those of you not in the know, Lee Osler's 1983 ode to Ypsilanti is the City's official song. It's clear why: no other song chronicles more details about the city. Click through for lyrics:
Some people that I know, and enjoy, are playing a show tomorrow at Woodruff's. Cure the winter doldrums with a mid-week psychedelic blues fix featuring Buffalo Coven Party, King Eddie, del brutto, and Lost Boys.
|Listen to the Two-Headed Buffalo|
|Photo from Gear Junkie|
Monday, February 17, 2014
Other cities with art funds going towards decorative ironwork include Vail, Colorado, which has even sold their manhole covers on eBay because they are so beautiful (and durable).
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Highlights: The defunding of the Percent for Art program proceeds apace, with a public hearing and three agenda items on the ticket. One proposal, put forth by Sabra Briere, would defund the Argo Cascades art project since no artist has been selected for the location. Council is also going to consider the purchase of the Edwards Brothers Malloy property on S State St.
As always the Ann Arbor Chronicle has a longer preview. The Ann Arbor News also previews the Edwards Brothers Malloy purchase.
Ryan Stanton has an interesting article on the showdown between local real estate tycoon, Ed Shaffran, and the city Fire Marshall's office over fire inspections of Shaffran's properties. My reading of the article is that Shaffran is upset at 1) an increased frequency in fire inspections, 2) the fees associated with the inspections and 3) that he has to meet 2009 fire codes even though he purchased and renovated his buildings in 1995. Here are some of my thoughts on those points.
1) remember last January when there were two apartment fires, one at 401 Division and one at 1310 Packard? It turned out that the most recent fire inspections of the buildings had turned up fire safety violations. Maybe an increased frequency of inspections isn't a bad idea.
2) The fees don't seem that bad. From the article:
...there's a $690 base fee for a building that's 20,001 to 50,000 square feet, and $1,290 for a building that's 100,000 to 250,000 square feet. If there are multiple tenants, there are additional fees that amount to $120 per tenant space, or $60 if a space is less than 400 square feet.That doesn't seem that bad. As for the accusation of "double dipping" by charging per tenant space fees, it seems to me, that fire inspectors likely have separate check lists for each tenant space so the fees seem to be based on the amount of work required to inspect each property.
3) Maybe I could get some help from the all the lawyers out there, but I believe there is a vested public safety interest in buildings not burning down. Hasn't our whole experiment with fire codes and fire inspections been tested in court? Is the city worried that it is on shaky legal ground with it's fire inspection regime? Can't they get a court order compelling Shaffran to let inspectors onto his properties?
Gentle readers, do you have any insight into this matter?
Friday, February 14, 2014
What's Pataphysics? I don't know, but here's what the University of Michigan Museum of Art has to say about it:
Presented by UMMA, the Avant-Garde Interest Group in the Rackham Graduate School, and the UM Department of English, this UMMA Dialogue features experimental poet Christian Bök (University of Calgary), art historian David Doris (UM), and music performance professor Stephen Rush (UM) in a series of presentations and performances inspired by Pataphysics — a philosophical precursor of Dada and Surrealism that reveals and dissolves the conceptual categories that constitute our understanding of reality by playfully placing everyday objects that we take for granted into odd, strange, and funny contexts.Sounds sexy and surreal.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Pauline Panther (Pauline Blvd, by the Stadium)Fascinating. Has anyone else seen this creature? I wonder what it could be. I wish there were a size description and more information about the tail. The term panther is problematic; it can refer to jaguars (Panthera onca), leopards (Panthera pardus) or possibly mountain lions (Cougar concolor). It may be tempting to conclude that the panther in question is a mountain lion, the only big cat to have a historic range that includes Michigan. Unfortunately experts have concluded that the two reports of North American Black Panthers (both from the 18th century) are the results of miss identification by non-experts. Upon reexamination these two accounts were probably ocelots (Leopardus pardalis), a medium sized cat with a melanistic phase native to the neotropics. It is unlikely the Pauline Panther is a melanistic ocelot because I doubt they would be too happy with the cold weather.
Me: Just another driver on Pauline Blvd.
You: The gigantic black cat-like creature that ran in front of my Prius and disappeared into the bushes.
Seriously, has anyone else on Pauline Blvd seen the enormous black feline-type animal? Or does anyone in that area own a really, really big cat? My friend saw it a week before I did, and I called him a liar and an exaggerator. I see now that I was wrong.
Don't have any complaints about the panther, just curious what species it actually is. We can live in peace, panther. We can live in peace.
There are of melanisic (e.g. black) jaguars and leopards. Upon initial consideration, these two seem like unlikely candidates for the Pauline Panther. Leopards are native to Asia and Africa. Jaguars range from the Southwest US through Southern Argentina. Unlikely to be the Pauline Panther, right? WRONG! In his groundbreaking 2011 Canadian Field-Naturalist article, Evidence Confirms the Presence of Cougars (Puma concolor) in Ontario, Canada, Trent University biologist, Rick Rosatte presents the following image:
That's right, a mothereffing melanistic jaguar in Guelph, Ontario. If it can happen in Canada. It can happen here folks. Apparently large cats have a habit of escaping from poorly regulated private zoos. So, it is plausible that the Pauline Panther may be a melanistic jaguar. But it is unlikely. Jaguars are big; the smallest females are still about 36 kg (80 lbs.) and 1.2 m (4 ft) long without the tail. Additionally, the jaguar, like the ocelot, probably wouldn't like the snow.
There are other possibilities too, especially if the creature in question was not that large or not that feline. It could be a gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) or a very dark colored coyote (Canis latrans). Finally, there are the most mundane possibilities: a black Labrador retriever, a very larger Maine Coon, and finally giant raccoon.
Gentle readers, have you seen the Pauline Panther? What do you think it could be?
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
i won't be kissing any babies for this campaign. their fingers remind me of little tiny carrots. yum! #annarbor— Rabbit Urbanist (@RabbitUrbanist) January 1, 2014
Meet the newest candidate to enter Ann Arbor's Mayoral Race: Rabbit Urbanist. The local rabbit's campaign follows on Twenty Pound Carp's unsuccessful bid to represent Ward 4 in the November 2013 City Council Election. Some people in town fear a rabbit may not legally be allowed to run in the race.
At the time of press there has been no word from, @AnnArborCrows, @UMSquirrel, @DexterBear, or the @NorthCampusCougar regarding possible campaigns in 2014. If you would like to run for elected office in Ann Arbor, you have until April 22nd to file as a partisan candidate.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
“@juuuu21: Going to the ugli today !!!!!!!!!!! DREAM BIG” The UGLI is for work, Julia. Dream in your dorm.— Shapiro Undergrad (@UMichUGLI) February 9, 2014
Just to clarify: our #BYOB campaign stands for "Bring Your Own Book". Stop bringing other stuff— Shapiro Undergrad (@UMichUGLI) February 10, 2014
Monday, February 10, 2014
There’s No Place Like HomeAs someone who has spent most of his life in the greater Ypsi-Arbor Area, I feel like you could just replace Mississippi with Huron and that quote could be about me. It really is a wonderful piece from America's Nostalgia Laureate.
When a man lives in one place for most of his life, he doesn’t need GPS. He is guided by memories of boyhood bike rides, the ever present Mississippi, and the undeniable power of rhubarb.
Gentle reader, are you running out of snow? Apparently, the City has been taking people's snow and just piling it up in the west parking lot at Veterans Memorial Park. If you are looking for a place to make a tremendous snow fort though, this could be the spot.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Friday, February 7, 2014
I am responding to your request under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act received December 23, 2013 for records associated with the closing of Fire Station 4, test reports showing the presence or absence of mold, mildew, asbestos, or other noxious or toxic substances, contracts, agreements and plans for the abatement of mold, mildew, asbestos, and other noxious or toxic substances, including but not limited to steam cleaning, carpet repair, and asbestos abatement, correspondence to and from the City Administrator, the City Safety Manager, the Safety Services Administrator and the Fire Chief regarding conditions at Fire Station 4, correspondence to and from members of the Ann Arbor City Council and the Mayor regarding Fire Station 4 and copies of press releases, web pages, or correspondence produced by the Communications office regarding Fire Station 4.
|Photos by Lindsay Blackwell|
The Ann Arbor Aviary is the perfect example of what’s great about Ann Arbor. You wouldn’t expect to find a gym specializing in the “aerial arts”— which include aerial silks, trapeze and lyra—in a city of this size, but there it is, next door to a storage facility out past the airport. For the record, they also offer other classes like belly dancing, and burlesque performance, and at one time, something called a “Twerkshop” for anyone needing professional instruction in that area.
Once a month they offer an aerial sampler class for beginners where you get to try the silks, trapeze and the lyra. It’s a fun way to spend a Friday evening for anyone who isn’t put off by having to sign a death and injury waiver.
My favorite portion of the class was the silks, mostly because you’re only a couple feet off the ground, plus we started out on them, so my biceps had not yet become fatigued to the point of failure. It’s also the portion of the class where it is easiest to fake elegance.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
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In Ann Arbor, people fear recent downtown development targets a narrow demographic of wealthy undergrads. In Evanston, IL the Southeast Evanston Association has announced opposition to plans to build an extended stay hotel downtown over fears that it will attract the wrong kind of academics--transient academics--as guests. Do you think they mean visiting faculty and adjunct professors? I have known some pretty rowdy post-docs in my day. The comments are pretty priceless comments on the article. Several speculate that the "wrong kind of academics" are really frequentist statisticians, you know Northwestern is full of Bayesians.
This is real life. The Wafel Shop turns one year old tomorrow, and to celebrate, they're giving out free waffles (okay they call them wafels, but I feel like a big poser writing that). WHAT.
Fine print, or the print clearly on the Facebook event page in the same size font, says that they buy the waffle and then you buy the toppings, or you can opt to instead just get $5 off any menu item. They have vegan and gluten-free options too, so you don't have to feel like a jerk bringing it up in a group where someone might die an embarrassing death if they ate one.
H/t to Evelyn Hollenshead and thanks to Stacy Spensley for the bomb photo (which I should specify is not of Wafel Shop waffles, but you get the idea).
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
I'm gonna be going and am most excited to see the short about the older ladies and their basketball team, although I think it may give me a sad knowing that there are grandmas that could beat me at basketball (not being self-deprecating here - I'm 5' 3" and can barely palm a tennis ball).
See also: Lunafest coming to Ann Arbor, which has the trailer.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Who stole all the salt? We're getting reports that the region is experiencing a salt shortage. Anyone know where a guy can score some good old fashioned CaCl? I've got a box of Morton Kosher Salt, but you'll have to pry that from my cold, dead hands.
UPDATE: 2014-02-04 @ 16:42 EST
These places purportedly have salt:
Downtown Home and Garden: Received a pallet of 100 25# bags of sweet, sweet CaCl @ 15:21 EST
ACE on Washtenaw is reported to have road salt
The big box stores on Carpenter are reportedly dry, but sources say Lows is getting some tomorrow.
In that vein, @a2chronicle called Stadium Hardware at approximately 16:00 EST and reports the following "Stadium now says try calling Wednesday; they are BEGGING their supplier; I told him: BEG HARDER; he said he would." So Stadium Hardware may have salt tomorrow.
As of last night, the Meijer on Jackson Road only had 15 bags left in stock.
The City of Ann Arbor has a free salt/sand pile in front of the building at 721 N Mail. There is a 5 gallon limit and there is mostly just sand left:
We'll keep you posted on this story as it develops.
Monday, February 3, 2014
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Ann Arbor Backyard Beekeepers (A2B2) is offering two new fee-based courses in 2014 at Matthaei Botanical Gardens for beginning and intermediate beekeepers. The courses are held both indoors and in the apiary. Participants will learn about equipment, bee biology, pests, honey extraction, and fall and winter preparation. The free monthly drop-in A2B2 Tuesday evening classes are still being offered.The Beginning Bee School course takes the new beekeeper through year one, and covers equipment, bee biology, basic management, and the many situations that beekeepers face throughout the year. Advanced Bee School assumes that you have existing hives and goes into more details about hive management and pest and disease control.
Participants are expected to bring their own veils/protective clothing! There are teaching hives at Matthaei which are part of the instruction. Contact Meghan Milbrath, firstname.lastname@example.org , for more detail.