Editor’s note: The monthly milestone column, which appears on the second day of each month – the anniversary of The Ann Arbor Chronicle’s Sept. 2, 2008 launch – is an opportunity for either the publisher or the editor of The Chronicle to touch base with readers on topics related to this publication. It’s also a time that we highlight, with gratitude, our local advertisers, and ask readers to consider subscribing voluntarily to The Chronicle to support our work.
Some eagle-eyed regular readers might have noticed that in the spot on the “masthead” where the current date used to sit are now four links: Civic News Ticker • Stopped. Watched. • Comments • Events. We’re also expecting the sad grey box at the top of the left sidebar to be retired sometime soon.
This does not signal that a major design change is in the offing. We have no plans, for example, to implement a choice of “skins” for the website, especially not one that would allow readers to view the publication as if it were printed on the scales of a dragon we slew.
That initial change – swapping out the masthead date with links we’d like to highlight – was prompted by some confusion that resulted from the appearance of a current date … on the same page as an article originally published three years ago.
It’s actually somewhat encouraging that The Chronicle has now been around long enough that this kind of confusion could result.
What I’d like to share with readers this month is a little vignette from the city council’s last meeting, which concluded near midnight – so I was draggin’ tail. And the vignette itself is a little dragon tale.
The last thought that registered in my head at the end of the council’s Jan. 23 session, which included more than 50 turns of public commentary, was this: Well, you know, dragons live in caves and breathe fire! It was a perfectly natural thought to entertain sitting there in the council chambers, filing the final briefs from the meeting for The Chronicle’s Civic News Ticker.
It was a thought prompted by Alan Haber’s public commentary at the end of the meeting. He’d addressed the council on the topic of a fundamental human right – to come in out of the cold and sit in the cave by the fire. The dragon connection was easy, because Thomas Partridge had preceded Haber at the public commentary podium and alluded to Ward 2 councilmember Jane Lumm, contending she had a “dragon lady” attitude.
And that served to reinforce the dragon-themed wishes that came from Ward 1 councilmember Sabra Briere over four hours earlier, near the start of the meeting – she’d wished everyone a happy Chinese New Year. It’s the year of the dragon, folks.
So in terms of the Chinese zodiac, this is my year. From the two years Chronicle publisher Mary Morgan and I spent living in China, I have a vague recollection that it’s a hugely positive thing to be born in a dragon year. Apparently it’s a pretty big deal, and Mary is awfully lucky to be married to someone who’s described by one authoritative source this way: “And due to their hunger for power, Dragons are not well suited to growing old. The prospect of losing power, the helpless feeling of youthful strength ebbing away is unbearable to them. Irritable and stubborn, the Dragon is a real big mouth and his words often outrun his thoughts.”
Words outrunning thoughts is a pretty apt description for this month’s milestone. So I’ll conclude by echoing Sabra Briere’s thoughts: Happy Chinese New Year!
About the writer: Dave Askins is editor and co-founder of The Ann Arbor Chronicle. The Chronicle could not survive to count each milestone without regular voluntary subscriptions to support our coverage of local government and civic affairs. Click this link for details: Subscribe to The Chronicle. And if you’re already supporting us, please encourage your friends, neighbors and colleagues to help support The Chronicle, too!