Thursday, July 30, 2015

Eat this Election

Gentle reader, the August Primary is nigh. Ann Arbor's Democratic primary generally determines who will win the November election and thus who will sit on City Council. If you are a registered voter in Ann Arbor, I sincerely hope you plan on voting. If you are still making up your mind, fear not, the CivCity Initiative has produced a series of helpful videos where local dogs will explain who they are voting for and why. Click through to see videos for the races in Wards 1, 3, 4 and the Fighting Fifth.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Issues & Ale tonight at Bill's Beer Garden

Tonight from 6 to 7:30 Michigan Radio's Zoe Clark and Jack Lessenberry will be at Bill's Beer Garden discussing why our state government is so dysfunctional. Should be a great chance to learn a little and see some of your favorite Michigan Radio personalities. Admission is free.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hendrick’s Gin Hendrick’s Air Flying Cucumber Blimp Very Safe Time

This morning, I had the pleasure of riding 4,000 feet (that’s a total guess) above Ann Arbor in the Hendrick’s Air Flying Cucumber blimp—the 130-foot long floating ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin. The Hendrick’s folks are in Ann Arbor promoting their fine spirits (small-batch gin made from the finest juniper, elderflower, whatever yarrow is, and chamomile, then infused with rose and cucumber) and giving people like me and select members of the Illuminati rides above our fair city.

These junkets can be a little complicated because: a) I’m getting a rare opportunity to ride in a frickin’ blimp for free, but b) I guess I have to write some good things about Hendrick’s, or at least the awesome crew that pilots the airship from city to city, giving rubes like me and fat cats with connections sweaty-palmed rides into the ether.

Let’s talk about Hendrick’s first—the cool, crisp flavor of Scotland created by Mr. William Grant, his seven sons and two daughters. He was, according to the website, a sporadically working stonemason—part-time Illuminati, y’all. Ms. Lesley Gracie (my middle name and my mom’s first name—ILLUMINATI!) was concurrently exploring the curious world of botanicals and somewhere down the road those two airships collided and Hendrick’s Gin was born. I think.

I’ve never knowingly ingested Hendrick’s Gin. Ever. Sorry Mr. Grant. I did experience a gin-soaked 20th birthday in Montreal (legal drinking age 18), fueled by the blue bottle of Bombay Sapphire, some crappy Provigo tonic water and squirts of fake lime juice. With an ice storm howling outside and a citywide power outage, I wandered the halls of our three-unit apartment house, eventually knocking on the door of two cute coeds who I’d waved to once or twice on my way to probably class. They foolishly invited me in. They supplied the conversation and candlelight and I supplied the Canadian charm and the poorly made gin and tonics.

Bombay Sapphire: Mostly forget your 20th birthday.

Now, whenever I see Hendrick’s on the shelf, I’ll think of Caesar. He was my pilot over Ann Arbor, working the throttle and the pedals of our airship with a giant eye on the side (ILLUMINATI!). The Flying Cucumber reaches speeds up to 40mph, powered by twin Volkswagen engines and a shit-ton of helium. Caesar is one of about 30 licensed blimp pilots in the world, flying (according to his compatriot, Charlie) one of nine blimps in operation around the globe. I watched him work the throttle and pedals for our entire journey and it looks like serious stuff.

I was buckled into the cramped cabin next to Caesar, putting on a headset so I could hear ground control guide helicopters and Cessnas around our floating cucumber in the sky. The ride was smooth and surreal. It’s tough to orient at first, but once I picked out landmarks (Michigan Stadium, Mr. Spots, the former Brady Hoke mansion) it was easy to navigate.

The biggest challenge was not dropping my phone out the open window. It was quite a ride with quite a view and Caesar was more than accommodating, asking a number of times if I wanted to double back, hover, or check out anything in particular. I demured. Smirking at my enemies from 4,000 feet (see above) was quite enough, as was knowing that for one brief moment in my life, I was cooler than Chris Bathgate.

Thanks to the fine people at Hendrick’s Gin, Hendrick’s Air, the crew of EIGHT who help launch and land the blimp, and to the nice lady in air traffic control who kept barnstormers from smashing into my giant floating balloon.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Last day to register for August Primary

The August Primary is just a month away. That means today is your last day to update your voter registration if you have moved, or register to vote if you will be of age in time for the election. Remember, in Ann Arbor, the August Primary is generally the election that determines the winner of the November city council race. If you would like to update your registration, you can go to a Secretary of State branch office, or the Ann Arbor City Clerk's office.

On a related note, at tonight's #a2council meeting, they City Council will be discussing modifying the City Charter to shift the main City Council Election from August to November. This would likely involve the August primary being party-less or sending the top two vote getters, regardless of party to the November election.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Steven Colbert hosting Monroe Public Access

Well. This is kind of magical. Thanks for showing our state some love, Stephen.

On a side note, it looks like Monroe City Council meetings are conveniently uploaded to YouTube. CTN, the ball's in your court.

H/T: Monroe native, Partick Dunn