Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fire-berating pony at Maker Faire Detroit

This is what we are missing at Maker Faire Detroit.

Via Boing Boing

Iorio's Gelateria

Iorio's Gelateria just opened a store on William, across from Tower Plaza. I stopped by last night to try some gelato and talk to Mary, a recent U of M graduate who runs the gelateria. She and I had been put in contact by a mutual friend and, after exchanging a couple emails, Mary invited me to stop by to sample some gelato and talk about the company. Iorio's started as a catering business in 2004 when Mary asked her father why they couldn't get good Italian ice in Michigan. Since that time, they have expanded to a store in Lansing and their newest store here in Ann Arbor.

Iorio's has over 500 flavors of gelato, sorbetto, and granita. According to Mary, the company's top researchers are constantly working on the cutting edge of gelato research to develop new innovative flavors as well as perfect more traditional ones. Their gelato selection is diverse and they use locally sourced ingredients as much as possible. Iorio's also has a good selection of dairy-free options for those of you who are vegan or have dairy allergies. While I was there, I sampled the lime basil sorbetto, which was light and refreshing. I also tried some delicious, custardy "Zuppa Inglese" gelato. Mary treated me to a complementary small cup of cream puff gelato, which was a wonderful mixture of rich chocolate and vanilla with large chunks of cream puffs in it. Iorio's has other cool things too: some sort of Italian slushy and gelato stuffed cannoli-gelatoli. Before going to Iorio's, a small part of me just thought "gelato" was a pretentious way of saying "fancy ice cream." Now though, I'm convinced it's a much better medium to showcase strong flavors and unique flavor combinations than ice cream is.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ice party?

Saw this kid at 7-11 attempting to buy all the ice in the store. Could it be for some strange experiment, or is he just getting ready for the return of 90 degree weather tomorrow?

Ann Arbor Crime Map

The city has new interactive crime maps via I like that it lets you play around with the city's crime data. The cutesy icons are a little weird though. For example, in the image above the "ninja" represents a burglary and the Pac-man ghost represents a robbery.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The infamous Violin Monster busking on Main and Liberty. That mask must get hot.

Two men on a mission against Tios

After reading my nacho posts earlier this week, Sarah, a friend in my lab suggested I check out Epic Portions saying, "It's these guys who blog about eating out in Ann Arbor and how much they hate Tios." I took a look and Sarah was right, the guys on Epic Portions really hate Tios. Here's an excerpt from the blog:
Tios – A Rant (May 13, 2009)
Tios Receives a Good Review???? (August 5, 2009)
Dear Tios, You Suck (November 20, 2009)

Amazing. I was hoping I could continue to read about John and Jeremy's anti-Tios rants, but apparently they have quit posting on the subject; they declared victory after Tios failed to win "Best Mexican Food" on the Com this year. Fortunately, they will continue reviewing local food.

Late night at Mark's Carts

After a round of darts at 8 Ball last Saturday, some friends and I were in need of a late night snack. Fortunately, Mark's Carts were open. I had previously had some excellent vegan food at The Lunch Room and was excited to get a chance to check out the some of the other carts. My friends were amenable to my suggestion so we walked the half block from 8 Ball to Mark's Carts.

We got to the carts around 10:30 and found a half dozen or so people eating food from the two carts that were open. We ordered some delicious carnitas tacos at Darcy's Cart and some steamed pork belly buns from San Street. All in all, it was a pretty awesome end to the evening. Unfortunately, it looks like the carts may have only been open late last Saturday because of Art Fair. I'm hoping that it'll be economically viable for a few carts to have late night hours on the weekends.

The Mark's Carts Overview
Mark's Carts: The Lunch Room

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bike Porn: Bike lock edition

Here's an idea: if you are going to drop $999 on a bike, invest more than $5 in a bike lock. I'm proposing a principal where your investment in your bicycle should be proportional to your investment in securing that bike.

Elves in Ann Arbor

There are elves in Ann Arbor. Apparently they work at Frita Batidos. Via missed connections:
Elven woman who works at Frita Batidos - m4w - 29 (Ann Arbor)
Date: 2011-07-20, 5:37PM EDT

You put the spring in my summer.

From one shallow man to one beautiful woman, thank you for being you.

Dude, if you want to catch her attention, make sure you go back to Friat Batidos wearing your best mithril armor. You could also try baking her some lembas, elves love that shit.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ain't no party like a news van party

My Fox Detroit, ABC 7 Action News, and whatever NBC 4 is called are all out on the Diag right now.

Taking the backyard out of NIMBY

The VA Hospital on Fuller Road has a bus shuttle service that runs between the hospital and Huron Hills Church on Glazier Way, where the VA is leasing 200 parking spots for employees. Residents along Glazier Way are upset about the noise from the two buses, which run on a continuous loop from 6 am to 6 pm. Below you can see the route the buses take. Feel free to explore it.

View Larger Map

To me it looks like the area around the shuttle bus route is pretty sparsely populated aside from the condos in the north east corner of the Huron Parkway and Glazier Way intersection. It should be noted that this is where many of the complaints are originating. That being said, it's not like those condos or many other structures are really close to the shuttle bus route. There are several choice quotes from the Com's article about the row. I think this one from Glazier Way Association head Rick Ratliff takes the cake:
"Here we have two non-taxpaying entities conspiring on a revenue-generating project without even consulting the people in the neighborhood or, apparently, without considering the zoning requirements," he wrote in an email to Rapundalo this week. "If this is allowed to stand in one of the more affluent neighborhoods in Ann Arbor, then no neighborhood is safe."
Indeed. Won't someone think of the rich people? Maybe these buses are super noisy, but I doubt that these two shuttles running constantly for 12 hours a day adds a great deal to the total volume of traffic on Glazier. Some quick math:
Let's assume the buses make four round trips per hour. That's eight uses of the road times two buses, or 16 uses of the road per hour. That means the buses are going up and down Glazier 196 times per day. This is a generous estimate considering the complaining residents in the Com's article say buses go by every 10 minutes. 16 road uses per hour corresponds to a shuttle going by every 3.75 minutes.
According to the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study during a 24 hour period in 1997, there were between 1790 and 1950 vehicles counted east and west of Wolverhampton, the road roughly between Huron Parkway and Huron Hills Church. So the buses add slightly more than 10% to the road segment's 1997 traffic volume. There is no data for the road segment by Wolverhampton since 1997. Glazier was paved in 2000 and it is safe to assume traffic has increased in the last decade: in 2001 4550 vehicles were counted during a 24 hour period on Glazier, west of Huron Parkway; in 2004 4785 vehicles were counted west of Earhart. Depending on how you want to estimate, the VA's shuttle service is probably adding somewhere between 2% and 5% to the road's total traffic volume. I am not a traffic engineer, but that doesn't seem like a lot to me.

What really gets my goat is that the shuttle buses are temporary--just until the VA can build more on site parking. Yet the residents are trying to get a more "immediate" solution. Maybe the buses are loud. And maybe they could be made quieter. But I really don't see what the big deal is here. I realize NIMBY-ism is about people's what people consider their "turf," not their literal backyards. Still, complaining about buses using the road that your road connects to? Get serious folks.

More on Ann Arbor's nacho scene

How many blogs dedicated to nachos can Ann Arbor have? The answer is at least two. Rifferaff left a comment on yesterday's Nacho Frenzy article that pointed us towards another local nacho blog, A2 Nacho Tour. From what I can tell Nacho Tour documents the efforts of a gang of friends who go out and eat nachos in the Ann A-lanti area. Delicious.

Keep up the good work Rifferaff et al.

Monster Mash

Looks like the Violin Monster has himself a missed connection:
Wolf Man Violinist Art Fair Saturday - w4m - 22 (Ann Arbor Art Fair)
Date: 2011-07-25, 10:23AM EDT

You were playing a violin and wearing a wolf mask.
I shuffled up next to you to get a picture.

Your music was beautiful.

Maybe it'll work out for them and they can raise some pups together.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


PSA: No matter how much you want to, please don't take your bow and arrow golfing.

Nacho Frenzy

Yesterday I tumbld across a Nacho Frenzy. The blog, as far as I can tell, is dedicated to "scientific" appraisal of Ann Arbor's nacho scene, or lack thereof. So far there is only one post. In Ghosts of Nachos Past, the anonymous author rates the nachos from two Ann Arbor institutions, Dominick's and the Old Town:
I’ve probably ordered nachos at a good six or seven places in and around Ann Arbor in the last year or so. I want to be clear that I’m not reviewing restaurants, just nachos. I will revisit a number of this restaurants to give a more accurate review of their nacho plates when I get a chance, but there are two I just can’t bring myself to go back to and order again.

Really bad chips, very so-so toppings, bleh cheese. I’ve had their nachos twice (I forgot how shitty they were the first time) and regretted it both times. They have other excellent food and drinks, and are an Ann Arbor institution - just don’t get the nachos.

Old Town
These looked very promising when brought to me, but alas, the chips could not hold up for the few minutes it took me to get started on the pile. Good toppings etc, but the chips make the nachos, and their chips are just not good. Again, great place, awesome atmosphere, just don’t get the nachos.

Wow, Nacho Frenzy cuts to the quick. As an avid nacho enthusiast, I can't wait to see where this blog goes. Nacho Frenzy just might be my favorite new blog at this exact moment in time. Looks like A2GastroBoy might have some fierce competition in Ann Arbor's anonymous food review scene.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Songs about home: Anne Arbour

Back when we were going to school in Kalamazoo, we came back to visit Ann Arbor on the weekends pretty frequently. Every time we made it a point to listen to one of our favorite tunes, Anne Arbour by the Get Up Kids (of recent reunion fame), as we drove in on I-94 East.

Eventually even my dad even picked up the habit, and to this day whenever I'm coming home to visit he has a copy or asks if I want to put it on in the car.

Tonight, some of my fellow Damn Arbor writers and my oldest friend are picking me up from DTW; you can bet I'll be listening to this song:

See you tonight, Ann Arbor.

P.S. I never figured out if this song is literally about Ann Arbor, MI, but what are some other great songs about our little city?

Does the Ravens Club fall short?

A2GastroBoy levels the above criticism in a recent post. After detailing what he finds positive about the Ravens Club, GastroBoy proceeds to deliver a scathing critique of its atmosphere, drinks, food, and service. From the article:
The second issue that I can only assume to be financially constrained, was seating. I’ll excuse the cloth pattern as a matter of taste and say that Raven’s did install some impressive booths or banquettes. Their chairs however cannot be excused to taste. They clearly tried to save money and use the pub chairs inherited with the lease. Wether or not you agree with that choice, the real crime presents itself when you realize they supplemented those chairs with bargain basement black lacquer chairs clearly purchased from a restaurant supply company, not a furniture design group.
Now know this, I’ve only eaten one thing at Raven, but the experience was beyond sophomoric. My “medium rare” burger was served well done, and broken into two pieces. If you think I’m being harsh remember my preface, this is Main Street, not Arborland.

Menu Opportunity: In spite of these challenges, Raven’s club has made a commitment to local food and established a few advocates within the Washtenaw foodplain. I encourage the team to leverage these ties and re-examine their menu. Even if Raven’s decides that they’d rather be a bar, there’s plenty of room to drive revenue (and profit!) from a more thoughtful menu. Reduce choices. Do a few things well. And stop using the word Nicoise in a prohibition joint.

Zing! When it comes to restaurants, I'm pretty easy to please so I have no major complaints with the Ravens Club. I've been there twice and had a few great cocktails and appetizers. I don't have anything to complain about regarding the main dishes, but at the same time, they haven't been jaw-dropping. On my most recent visit, last weekend my party had a really great server. Also, Ravens Club doesn't seem to be hurting for business--there is almost always a good crowd there. Perhaps that says something about the success of their strategy.

Gentle readers, have you been to Ravens Club? Do you agree with GastroBoy that it falls short?

There's Still Time to Taste Our Goods

One of my favorite food spots in A2, Taste Our Goods, is closing at the end of July. If you don't know it, it's an adorable little lunch counter in Sparrow Market, just by the doors out to Fifth. They've got great salads, sandwiches, and the best breakfast burrito I've ever had.

Cheap, fast, and delivered with a smile (and a fruit cup), it's been one of my favorite places to grab a bite before school, while studying, or to catch up with a friend, usually with one of my dearest A2 friends (who's now saving the world as a public defender in Colorado) who also lived in Kerrytown. I'm sad I won't be able to grab one last Roos before it closes, but that shouldn't stop you from making the trip. Hours are 8-3 Tuesday through Saturday.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Washtenaw Community Members Host Town Hall to Discuss Emergency Manager Law

The Washtenaw Community Action Team (WCAT) is hosting a town hall meeting to discuss the statewide initiative to repeal Public Act 4.

The event will take place at Metropolitan Memorial Full Gospel Baptist Church located at 431 Hawkins St., Monday, July 25th from 6:45-8:45.


Public Act 4 is a new state law that gives controversial powers to emergency managers appointed by the governor to municipalities placed in the receivership of the state.

The EM has broad authority to sell public assets, close schools, shred public contracts and agreements, and dissolve governments and remove elected officials.

A $1.7 billion tax cut for businesses has made a number of Washtenaw County municipalities and school districts at risk of receivership.

PA-4 gained national attention when MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show covered the appointment of Emergency Manager Joe Harris to Benton Harbor in mid-April.

The appointment of emergency managers is anticipated in several Washtenaw County municipalities and school districts. On May 3rd, 2011, the City Council of Ypsilanti issued a formal resolution against

Michigan Forward and a number of statewide coalitions announced an effort to repeal the law on Saturday, June 18th. The Washtenaw County Community Action Team is leading the repeal effort in Washtenaw County.

The Town Hall will provide a forum to educate interested community members and organizations on the implications of the law for Washtenaw County communities, the effort to repeal PA-4, and the opportunity to begin discussing alternatives for Washtenaw County and Michigan communities.


Chris Savage (blogger/activist)
Brandon Jessup (CEO of Michigan Forward)
Ricky Jefferson (Ypsilanti Councilmen)

And more!
Visit Washtenaw Community Action Team (WCAT) website:

Washtenaw Community Action Team
Tad Wysor

Feist at Borders, 2007

The demise of Borders is proving to be great subject matter for bloggers and "professional journalists" alike. By the time I sort out my feelings about Borders (yes it was a chain, but it was OUR chain damn it!), this whole situation will no longer be newsworthy. Here is a video of Feist playing Mushaboom at the downtown Borders in 2007. Enjoy.

Feist - Mushaboom - live at Borders 2007 from Matty J on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Flippin' Awesome

Gentle Readers, the "illegal" fireworks selection around Exit 1 on US 23 is, for lack of a better phrase, Flippin' Awesome. 288 bottle rockets for $8? How can you say no to that?

Friday, July 22, 2011

We the people

While planning a little road trip to the southern border region (fireworks, camo, jerky, wine tasting), I noticed this picture mowed into the cornfield just north of west of the Dundee Michigan exit on 23. Hella patriotic, especially considering the medium.

What to do with the downtown Borders building?

A new blog and Facebook page poses this question. Though we, the unwashed masses, have little say in what ultimately happens it's an interesting idea. In an ideal world, what would you like to see happen to the Borders flagship store on Liberty and Maynard?

The end of Borders

Bike Porn: BMX on Central Campus

Sorry for the Red Bull product placement.

Red Bull's Terry Adams Visits Ann Arbor to BMX the Campus from Video Vision 360 on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Robot Art Fair

While you are out and about today attempting beat your friends at Art Fair Bingo, make sure you check out Robot Art Fair at Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair.

As an aside, robot art is probably my favorite type of art.

City Council elections update

For those of you following the City Council primary race (that should be all of you), yesterday saw the publication of two articles you should totally check out. First A2Politico has an interview with 2nd Ward candidate Tim Hull. Over on the Chronicle, there is a good article looking at the 5th Ward race in greater detail. Both of these articles are worth a read.

UPDATE: CTN has posted the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum videos!
Ward 2
Ward 3
Ward 5

Heat Wave

Seems appropriate for the weather. Stay frosty friends.

Best lemonade stand ever

Or perhaps it's a lemon ade stand. Regardless, it is pretty sweet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Breaking News: U of M chilled water plant failure

We are receiving reports of a failure in the chilled water plant that supplies several buildings on Central Campus with water for cooling. The Dana building and Shpiro Library are among buildings impacted by the failure. The Shpiro Library will be closing tonight from 6 pm through 10:00 am Saturday. There are unconfirmed sightings of scientists fleeing buildings on central campus, arms full of research. More on this story as it unfolds.

Art Fair bingo!

How come I didn't now about this earlier?

Image via Katy McGrady

Too Hot

When it gets this hot, sometimes all you can do is crank up the second wave ska and enjoy it.

Michigan's mysterious microbes

Ancient bacteria are lurking in sinkholes off Alpena. In these anoxic patches of Lake Huron cyanobacteria thrive and from thick mats. The conditions in the sinkholes are similar to earth 2.8 billion years ago, before oxygenic photosynthesis polluted the globe. Scientists (from NOAA and GVSU) have only been exploring the sinkholes for about 10 years. Some of the footage in the video looks amazingly alien. You can read more about the sinkholes and the research on Bopi Biddanda's Lab website.

Hat tip L^3

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

AuSable International Canoe Marathon


The AuSable River Canoe Marathon is coming up. Over on his blog, Great Lakes Guru, Tim Chilcote has an awesome article about the race:
Before I visited Grayling, I knew paddling to be a summer leisure activity, an excuse to drink beer and get a tan while floating down a river. Boy was I wrong. For competitors in the AuSable River Canoe Marathon, paddling is a year-round test of endurance. They race for the physical challenge, for the thrill of being on the water at night, and, in some cases, to punish themselves. Mark Koenig, a paddler from Woodstock, Illinois, explained in his 2008 racer bio: “It looked like it hurt a lot and I like pain.”

The AuSable River Canoe Marathon is 120-miles, from Grayling to Oscoda, finishing where the river runs into the cold water of Lake Huron. The race takes between 14 and 19 hours to complete, during which, for periods, paddlers will stroke as many as 120 times per minute. In 2004 the temperature dropped to 32 degrees in the middle of the night—in the middle of summer, mind you. If the cold doesn’t get to you, exhaustion or delirium might. Officials routinely pull racers from the river when their bodies fail them. Still some are able to convince the officials to let them continue, at which point they’re strapped into life vests in case they lose consciousness and fall into the water.

If they reach the finish line in Oscoda, racers arrive shell-shocked, tailbones bleeding from friction, and bodies torn by a race that takes them from the verge of hypothermia to near heatstroke. Their muscles visibly twitch and spasm as they drag their waterlogged bodies from the finish line to the recovery area. Over long stretches of race, if they have any fluid left in their bodies, paddlers routinely piss on themsselves to avoid stopping and losing time, which has to be washed off in Oscoda. During the early stages, before cold and exhaustion drill into their bones, racers seem to enjoy the crowd’s cheers. By the time they reach the finish, they’re lucky if they recognize their own families.

Sounds like an awesome race. Read the rest of Tim's article, No Sleep ‘til Oscoda: Following the AuSable River Canoe Marathon here.

Photo courtesy of Tim Chilcote

Michigan Wine

I was in the wine section at Meijer the other weekend. Why not get a Michigan wine, I thought to myself. While checking out their section, I noticed something: the vast majority of the wines from our great state, or at least the ones Meijer carries are on the sweet side of things. This seemed a little fishy. I decided to contact local wine expert Davis Smith to get to the bottom of this whole mess. Davis' whole response is on his blog, In a Wine State of Mind. Here is an excerpt:
The first thing I should say is that some of the most complex and expensive wines in the world are sweet wines, and for some reason the American public has an aversion to sweet (even though we probably drink more soda and sugary juice than any other country). Secondly, Michigan is a very young state in terms of serious wine-making and this goes for marketing as well. My main beef with the MI wine industry is that a lot of the wine that should be considered seriously is above the $20 price point, which does not encourage someone whose never had a Michigan wine to go out and try it. Let’s be honest, if you’re from Georgia and have never seen Michigan wine in your market, are you gonna shell out $24 for a wine when you aren’t even sure you’ll get the quality for the price? That’s just the American mentality. I’ve had a good sampling of wine from my home state and have met some of the men and women behind it and can tell you that these are passionate people who want to bring you quality.

The End of Borders

The New York Times is reporting that Borders, the national bookstore chain headquartered in Ann Arbor, will liquidate its assets. Its remaining stores may close within the week.

I'm of many minds about this, as DA readers know. Borders put many independent bookstores out of business, including our own Shaman Drum. On the other hand, fewer bookstores doesn't exactly bode well.

Whatever one's opinion, it is a huge blow to A2, as remaining Borders employees will soon be out of a job. The last thing our state needs is more unemployment.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Heating up for Art Fair

A weeklong forecast for all of you in the area. Today's heat index is 106 degrees, it is not going to get any better the rest of the week.

24 Hours in A2

I managed to schedule a trip back to Michigan for a long weekend (thanks to the government's flexible time schedule option) and even made it down to my beloved A2 for a quick overnight trip. Having had some time to prepare, I did manage to hit almost all of the spots on my list:

- Walking with a milkshake through the Old West Side
- A trip to Taste Our Goods (though sadly without a chance for food) and a Mexican Coke from Sparrow
- A Dirty Sheed from Zingerman's
- Oberon (on tap!) from Old Town
- Brunch at Frita Batidos
- OJ from the Coop
- Dinner from Darcy's Cart
- And of course, multiple Comet Coffees

As you can see, I'm big on food consumption.

Art Fair or Art Fear

Well folks, it's Art Fair time again. That means throngs of vendors and tourists descending upon the city, "Art Fair Traffic," great sales, and of course townies complaining about how inconvenient and commercial Art Fair has become. As an Ann Arbor resident for nearly 30 years (HA!), I think Art Fair is pretty cool. Sure it's a minor inconvenience, but that is a small price to pay for living in a vibrant city.

Photo via: airosche5

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Are you a Ron Swanson or a Chris Traeger?

Sidetrack is known for its burgers. They are giving you the chance to win a year of free burgers. All you have to do is share your best burger recipe with them. Sounds exciting. So what's your philosophy on hamburgers? Are you a Ron Swanson or a Chris Traeger?

Submissions are due July 29th.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Eventually, Wednesday's City Council Candidate Forum will be posted on CitiTV's website. Until that time though, you can always watch the special Art Fair edition of Dana Denha's FYI, or other quality CTN shows.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Emily Blunt. Alison Brie. Karaoke (that rhymes!).

Okay, so we all know that Alison Brie and Emily Blunt did some karaoke at Circus a while back (as did Jason Segel and John Krasinksi). But today, their little trip to the bar while filming Five Year Engagement got a little more, interest.

Jezebel, the Harvard of feminist blogs (if that's not funny, go watch Amy Poehler's address to Harvard's graduating class... you might still be think I'm un-funny after that, but whatevs), posted one of the video of Ms. Brie and Ms. Blunt belting it out. They also linked to the above video, which, though it is sideways, really shows the ladies' love for the adapted version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" much better.

Celebrities. They make ya famous!

In which Rep. Hoekstra compares health care reform to a turtle fence

In response to Wednesday's ground breaking turtle article, an anonymous commenter submitted a link to Rep. Hoekstra's (R-2nd District) infamous turtle fence speech:

Which then lead me to AutoTune the News' Turtle Fence song. Just to warn you, halfway through the video, they quit talking about turtles.

Amazing. Perhaps a federal works project to build turtle fences is just what this economy needs.

How to save a snapping turtle

Summer ReSkilling Festival

Want to learn how to make your own kombucha or harvest wild rice? Well if so, then tomorrow's Summer ReSkilling Festival is for you. Registration starts at 9:30 at Rudolph Steiner High School, 2230 Pontiac Trail Dr. You can check out the full schedule for the day's events here.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In which I am already nostalgic for law school

It's nice to see graduate students getting out into the community.

Library Lot proposal

Ann Arbor is still deciding what to do with the Library Lot. The conference center proposal didn't exactly pan out. Here is my proposal: we should build a ConferenceBike center. Like a center for ConferenceBikes. Think about it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to save a snapping turtle

Turtles are really good at a few things: living a long time and not being eaten by most animals once they reach a certain size. They are also really bad at some things, like crossing roads. More precisely, they are really bad at not being killed by cars.

You have to see things from the turtle's perspective. For most of the last 215 million years, their basic strategy of moving slowly forward and hiding in their shells when things get dodgy has worked quite well. But the emergence of cars during the late quaternary period has thrown a wrench into the works.

Let's consider some basic turtle population biology. Generally, turtle species suffer high mortality at an early age. Few eggs will survive to be reproductive adults. Once a turtle becomes an adult, though, it can live for a very long time. Maintaining a healthy population of turtles depends on the few eggs that survive to adulthood being able to reproduce for several decades. If we throw in a few premature turtle deaths due to automobile accidents, healthy turtle populations can start to decline. Things can get much worse in light of habitat loss and fragmentation.

What is a concerned citizen to do? Well, for starters, when you see a turtle struggling to cross a road, you can help it. Pop on those emergency lights, light up some road flares and help that little guy get across that road. If it's a snapper though, please use caution. This great little video shows a guy that looks a lot like Will Farrell showing how to handle a common snapping turtle:

This video comes to us from the makers of Turtle Derby. You can check out their Kickstarter trailer after the jump.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The sixth Spice Girl

The Hairpin spices up my life with its explanation of the Michigan state flag:
Sometimes state flags honor the forgotten sixth Spice Girl, Circum Spice.
(The blogs cannot get enough of our great state motto these days. It is the best thing federalism has ever done for us.)

(I could just be bitter. The Michigan Bar Exam begins two weeks from today.)

Oak Park Hates Veggies

You know what's ridiculous? Lawns. You know what's more ridiculous? Jailing someone for failing to comply with your city planner's interpretation of your lawn ordinance. WTF Oak Park? After sewer line replacement left her front yard torn up, Julie Bass decided to plant a vegetable garden rather than replace her grass. Unfortunately, Oak Park's city planner doesn't believe vegetables meet the city's requirement that front lawns be covered in "suitable" live plant material.

Oak Park Woman Faces 93-Days in Jail For Planting Vegetable Garden:

It's interesting to note that in both clips, Kevin Rulkowski's argument seems to hinge on Webster's Dictionary's definition of "suitable" being "common." Perhaps the city planner is using an old copy of MWD, because defines "suitable" as:
a : adapted to a use or purpose - suitable for kitchen use
b : satisfying propriety : proper - suitable dress
c : able, qualified - a suitable candidate for the job
Regardless of the actual definition, I think it's pretty asinine for a city waste time and money in an effort to jail someone for growing food in their yard. Julie faces a pretrial hearing on the 26th. If convicted, she faces up to 93 days in jail. You can follow Julie's battle and find some great recipes for produce on her blog, Oak Park Hates Veggies. I'm really glad Ann Arbor doesn't have and/or enforce ordinances that are quite this backwards.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Michigan Football Recruiting at a Glance: The Plundering of Ohio State

In the wake of the the mighty sweatervest's resignation (see any photo of former OSU head coach Jim Tressel to understand his nickname), the normal hotbeds for current and potential OSU commits have been vulnerable. Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State have all taken advantage and this last one is a crucial blow to OSU and a significant W for us. Kyle Kalis, a top high school player in the loaded state of Ohio, who recently decommitted from OSU, has officially committed to Michigan. He is rated the No. 18 overall and No.4 offensive lineman (OL) in the country by rivals, one of the three major recruiting info sites along with espn and scout. Both scout and espn are high on his talent as well (No. 6 OL No. 21 overall on scout, No 20 OL and No. 138 overall to ESPN), and when all three sites consensus high rating of a player it translates well into highly productive college players. This is a big coup for Michigan. Kalis himself said there will be more to follow out of Ohio, which is great news for us down the road.

Frontier Ruckus this Saturday

Check out this sweet concert poster. Frontier Ruckus with special guest Appleseed Collective will be playing at the Blind Pig this Saturday. If the concert is half as good as this poster, it should be a show to remember. best comment of the day

Amidst some pretty vile and intolerant comments on the Com's article about Camp Take Notice yesterday comes this comment:

I'm not used to seeing comments like that on the Com.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dharma Initiative

Despite the fact that Lost is over, it seems that the Dharma Initiative is still alive and well in Ann Arbor.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Jenny, will you marry me?

Spotted this walking by the CCRB last night. Hope I'm not spoiling anyone's big surprise.

Darren Criss at Clown College

Check out pre-Glee Darren Criss and others clowning around on campus for Malcolm Tulip:

Council candidates getting their websites up

Democratic City Council candidates Tim Hull (Ward 2) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) have got their campaign websites up! What exciting times we live in.
I do like how Councilman Kunselman rolls off the tongue.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Egregiously early football primer: offense

Spring practice stirs up many questions and answers none of them definitively, but it is still fun to speculate on what spring observations indicate about the team going forward. In addition, those speculating on spring ball are generally hardcore enough to pick up minor changes in players and have sufficient football knowledge to back it up. I'll give you an overview of the current thoughts the michigan football blogosphere has about this upcoming season. Visit mgoblog for more info on team news.

Detroit Bike City

This short film about the bike scene in Detroit is pretty awesome.

Detroit Bike City from Alex Gallegos on Vimeo.

Hat tip Transport Michigan

What are you doing July 16th?

Shadow Art Fair is coming up: July 16th from noon to midnight at Corner Brewery in Ypsi. Check out this commercial for it by VOSKY:

Shadow Art Fair 2011 from Vinnie Massimino on Vimeo.

Holy crap! I didn't see that coming.

Hat tip Mark Maynard

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Classic Top of the Park

At the risk of dating myself, I would like to point out that I kind of miss the good old days when Top of the Park was actually on top of a parking structure. It would be cool if someone got a powerful projector and started screening movies on the side of the elevator shafts again.

Ann Arbor maps

Gentle readers, do any of you have a favorite map of Ann Arbor? Perhaps an easily printable one? I ask because my lab is hosting a visiting student from Spain. He arrived last night and I want to give him a chance to explore the city, but I feel like the importance of a decent map cannot be understated. The picture above is from the city's Bikeway System map, which doesn't seem half bad. If there are better maps out there though, that would be great to know about.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

All Hands Active

Somewhere Underground from Danger Charles on Vimeo.

This is a cool little documentary about All Hands Active. What a cool group. I'm glad they are here in Ann Arbor, making their crazy wearable computers.

Blogs and grog

Damn Arbor and Motown to Tree Town are hosting a meet up Ann Arbor bloggers. It will be at the Heidelberg on Friday July 15th at 6pm. If you are interested in coming, drop a comment on MT2TT's article so we can get a headcount. Hope to see you there.

Hat tip to Transport Michigan for the title of this post

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Last day to register to vote for city council primary

If you are interested in voting in August's democratic city council primary and are not registered to vote yet, today is your last chance. You can register in person by stopping by the City Clerk's office 301 E. Huron Street, 2nd Floor between 8am – 5pm.

If you seek an envious East Coaster...

Ian Crouch had a cute little ditty about state mottos in the New Yorker Book Bench over the weekend. He refers to Fifty and Fifty, a project featuring creative imaginings of the sometimes bizarre mottos the states have adopted. Texas', for instance, is simply "Friendship." (Don't overexert yourselves, guys.) Fifty and Fifty puts a funny spin on the concept, depicting a cowboy and an American Indian pointing, respectively, a gun and an arrow at each other. Dotted lines trace the trajectory of the weapons, forming a heart in the center where they would meet: Friendship.

Crouch, however, gets a little reckless with his commentary:
And some are just silly, like that of Michigan, which even in 1835 must have had a robust chamber of commerce: "Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice," or, "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you."
One can only assume that his dismissive attitude is fueled by the deep resentment that comes from looking about yourself in Maine and seeing, well, Maine.

Parasitology 101

Spore from Danger Charles on Vimeo.

Spore is a short film shot in Ann Arbor. It is inspired by the fungal genus Cordyceps, whose members are endoparasites. Watch the video and you should get a pretty good understanding of the life cycle.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Fireworks, Burns Park, July 4th, 2009:

Yay. Hope y'all are having a nice holiday.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What is LLTM?

I've spotted these QR code posters around town and also several stencils of LLTM in block letters. What does it all mean? Low Land Tiger Meet? Linear Logistic Test Model? Long Lead Time Material? Laughing Loudly to Myself? Lithia Loop Trail Marathon? Living Light Tabernacle Ministries? I think it means I need to get a smartphone.

UPDATE: According to @trevorstaples, the QR code above takes you to the Pangea Piercing blog. @juliewbee speculates LLTM stands for Long Live the Mastafish. Mystery solved. Good work team!

____ Locally

Reader Noah Hall submitted this picture. You can probably guess what it says. Incase you can't, clicking on the picture will take you to an unedited version. I guess this is a new take on keeping it local.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bitch-igan Beer

Flying Dog Brewery's Raging Bitch Belgian Style IPA was banned by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission in 2009, a decision the commission reversed earlier this week. "They Can't Keep 'The Bitch' out of Michigan," announced.

Excuse me, but "The Bitch" has been here the whole time. And I'll be trying their silly Maryland beer when they pry the orange-bedecked glass of Oberon out of my cold-but-refreshed, dead hand.

Dinosaurs invading Ann Arbor

Saw this little Stegosaurus on the utility box on Liberty at First. Has anyone seen other dinosaurs around town?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Strange Fruit

Strange Fruit from Jon Bonesteel on Vimeo.

In case you missed Strange Fruit at Top of the Park. It all looks a little... strange. Sorry that was terrible, but I couldn't resist.

Appeals Court strikes down Michigan's affirmative action ban

Can you find the Action News van?

The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has just struck down Michigan's ban on affirmative action. In a 2-to-1 ruling, the judges said the ban imposed by Proposal 2 "unconstitutionally alters Michigan’s political structure by impermissibly burdening racial minorities.”

On a side note, the WXYZ 7's reporter on the Diag is having trouble finding a "person on the street" who is anti-affirmative action to interview. If you are anti-affirmative action and would like to be interviewed for the evening news, now is your chance to shine.

More on the ruling from the Times.

Fireworks rundown

Wondering where to go to see fireworks this weekend? While Ann Arbor doesn't have a show anymore, there are numerous municipalities in the area that do. Last year several of us had a great time watching the display at Whitmore Lake. If you are looking to find a local show, iSPY Magazine has a great rundown to the shows in the area. You can also search on Just keep in mind that there are shows on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th this year.

Gentle readers, do you have a preferred venue for fireworks?

Go Blue Yourself

It's been almost six weeks since my departure from MI/A2 for the summer, but the state keeps cropping up in my DC summer life - and not just because there's a crop of people from U of M here for the summer, or permanently. Whenever I mention that I go to U of M, coworkers find ways to comment. "Good school," one said. "Oh, you went there?" I asked, feigning ignorance.

The funniest, though, was when one person said "Go blue!" in response. Later, I asked her if she had gone to U of M. "Oh, no," she replied. "I just know a lot of people who did." Given that U of M graduates number in the 100,000s.... we all do, and apparently a lot of them come to the District.

U of M goes smoke-free today

Since 12:01 AM today the University of Michigan has been smoke-free. A massive intrusion into personal freedom? Protection from the tyranny of secondhand smoke? A ploy to reduce health care costs for the U by getting employees who smoke to quit? All of the above? Time will tell.

Skateboarding in Ann Arbor

Someone get these kids a skatepark!

Ann arbor from brennan iddings on Vimeo.