Archive for November, 2008

A2: Jeff Daniels

A post on the WildBoomerz blog gives a review of Saturday’s Jeff Daniels & Friends show at the Michigan Theater: “Thirty-three magnificent musicians and one baby sharing a stage – that was the final song after two and a half hours of uptempo, feel-good folk music intended to raise funds for one of the country’s few remaining historic theaters and to help a sold-out audience forget that, as Jeff Daniels said, ‘There’s a lot of bad crap going on in our world right now.’” [Source]

Ypsi: NY Yankees

On the Bronx Banter blog, Todd Drew writes about an encounter with a family from Ypsilanti who were visiting NYC and riding the subway: ”They might have been ignored if they hadn’t been wearing local colors. The father and son had Yankees hats, the mother had a Yankees scarf and the daughter was carrying a pink Yankees backpack. ‘Where are you from?’ someone asked. ‘Michigan,’ the father said. ‘We live in Ypsilanti. It’s near Ann Arbor and not too far from Detroit.’ ‘And you’re Yankees fans?’ someone else asked. ‘Yeah,’ the father said. ‘I guess you can call it the Derek Jeter effect. We started following him because he grew up in Kalamazoo and now we watch every game.’ [Source]

Fifth St. & W. Jefferson

“Go Peace! Peace to You. Peace” inscribed in the snow on the top of the wall of Bach School. Ending with a perfectly drawn peace symbol.

Main & Madison

City snowplow plowing and spreading salt.

From the Diag Down Liberty


Angeline Hazime saw even the performance artist (?) outside Hatcher Library as a prospective recruit for her Take the Walk campaign.

Outside Hatcher Library, a guy decked out completely in black and dark gray – from his patent leather dress shoes, to his overcoat, to his fedora, to a black knit face covering – stood silently, paging every once in a while through a USA Today newspaper. It was the day after Black Friday, and The Chronicle was beginning an afternoon walk from the UM Diag westward along the Liberty Street corridor.

Outdoor performance was the common thread of the walk. The theme started with that apparent performance art piece, continued to a standard bell-ringing number at a Salvation Army kettle, was punctuated by the “Michael Jackson guy” in the alley adjacent to the Michigan Theater, and finished with news of an appearance next Saturday at Downtown Home & Garden by Santa and Mrs. Claus. [Full Story]

EMU: Nickname

Greg Eno, an EMU alumnus, writes that the university seems to have been cursed for changing its nickname from the Hurons to the Eagles – something that happened over 17 years ago: “Nicknames are part of school pride. And EMU, I thought, had one of the more unique ones in the country. And the facts back that up. But there’s hope. A group called Huron Restoration continues to try to bring back the name, and claims to have the support of Chief Leaford Bearskin of the Wyandot Tribe of Oklahoma and former Grand Chief Max Gros-Louis of the Huron-Wendat Nation of Quebec. It’s not too late to get this right, after all. Hurons, unite!” [Source]

UM: Energy

The Free reports on UM’s efforts to cut the energy it uses for computers and other equipment. Google founder Larry Page is behind the university’s “green computing” push. [Source]

Column: We Must See the Homeless – And Help

When I present to school groups, I always pose the same question: What images come to mind when you hear the word homeless? Inevitably, the answers sound the same, whether I’m speaking to University of Michigan athletes or elementary age students huddled in a circle on the floor. They think of single adults, often male, outside, asking for food or money. They think of someone who is dirty, wearing layers and layers of clothes, maybe someone pushing a grocery cart.

The truth is, the homeless are diverse – and a great many are invisible and forgotten.

Each day, I work with homeless families, children and youth as an education advocate with the Education Project for Homeless Youth. You likely won’t see … [Full Story]

Washtenaw: Golf reviews the Washtenaw Country Club course: “The course is a Donald Ross design. It is relatively short (6,564 from the back). However, it is no push over since most of the holes are tight and the greens well bunkered. If you stray from the fairway you may or may not have a shot as most holes are tree lined. OB and lost balls are not common but punching out from behind a large tree is.” [Source]

Ashley & Liberty

Charlie Slick selling Christmas trees; says he’s playing Santa Claus at Downtown Home & Garden on Sat. Dec. 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; photo opps galore; Margaret Parker’s playing Mrs. Claus

Cups Are All They’re Stacked Up To Be

Adam Chaib in the ready-to-stack position.

At the Traverwood branch of the Ann Arbor District Library on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the room at the back of the building was awash with the colors of blue, purple, red, orange and green cups. On entering the room, the ock-ock-ock of cups getting stacked into pyramids then rapidly collapsed by small hands became audible. There were 20 or so kids from kindergarten through eighth grade at the event – enough to fill the room without making it feel cramped – which culminated in a competition with prizes awarded in the form of gift cards to Target. [Full Story]

Sending Mail to Santa

Mailbox for letters to Santa, on Ashley Street in front of Red Shoes.

A mailbox for letters to Santa, on South Ashley Street in front of Red Shoes.

The Chronicle has been known to send a letter or two to Santa, back in the day. But our recollection is that they were whisked up the chimney or something – actually, that memory is pretty fuzzy.

Ann Arbor kids have a more direct alternative: A mailbox on South Ashley specifically for letters to Santa.

The mailbox is red, naturally, with Christmasy images painted on all sides. A note near the letter slot makes its purpose clear: “North Pole Only!”

According to Maura Thomson … [Full Story]

Fifth btw Liberty & Jefferson

Lonnie the honey man reports getting two post-Thanksgiving turkey carcasses from friends. Thinks he’ll make some kind of soup, maybe with beans & meatballs.

A2: Food

On Chowhound, a diner weighs in on the new Blue Tractor BBQ in Ann Arbor: “Everything on the menu sounded good, appetizers like the ‘Fried Basket of Goodness’: fried dill pickles, green tomatoes and okra. That’s what I wanted but BF was paying and ordered the housemade potato chips with a blue cheese fondue dipping sauce. Not bad, chips were hot and fresh and lightly seasoned, the fondue was just OK.” [Source]

UM: Research

The UPI reports on a UM study looking at the lifespan of people who care for a disabled spouse. The findings show that people who provide caretaking for at least 14 hours a week live longer. Says lead researcher Stephanie Brown: “The current results show that it is time to disentangle the presumed stress of providing help from the stress of witnessing a loved one suffer.” [Source]

Saying Good-bye to Steve & Barry’s


Charlise Brown holds a going-out-of-business sign on Friday at the southeast corner of Main and Liberty. The Steve & Barry's store is at 301 S. State.

Holding a sign that was about twice her height, Charlise Brown stood at the corner of Main and Liberty on Friday, bundled up in a hat, earmuffs, scarf and other winter gear.

“Yeah, it’s pretty cold,” she said, pulling down the scarf that warmed the lower part of her face. She and three others will be positioned around town through Sunday, paid to advertise the going-out-of-business sale at Steve & Barry’s clothing store at 301 S. State St. [Full Story]

A2: Shopping

The blogger on writes about shopping on Black Friday in Ann Arbor: “Since I was like 15, I’ve annually shopped on Black Friday with my aunt, cousins, mom, etc. Each year – until this – I’ve had to wait in line at almost EVERY store for at least 10 minutes. My longest wait this year was at Circuit City – 5 minutes. The wait at Best Buy at 10:45 EST was less than 1 minute. Crazy.” [Source]

Jefferson btw Fourth & Fifth

Sign on Jefferson Market announcing that Tuesday, Dec. 2 is “Fry Day” – fresh french fries available between 11:30 and 4:30

4th Ave. & Liberty

Double sign held by well-bundled worker: “Steve & Barry’s Going Out of Business Sale”

DDA Tackles Transportation

At its annual retreat held at the end of October, the DDA board agreed on a work plan for the coming year that included a new committee focused on transportation. That subset of the board met for the first time on Wednesday, Nov. 26 – the day before Thanksgiving.

The chair of the committee, John Mouat, had hoped to focus on sketching out a general strategy for how the committee would approach its work on this fairly broad topic – one that ranges from the ways that various transportation systems in southeast Michigan interconnect to the clearing of snow from a particular stretch of sidewalk. But that plan had to be balanced with the need to discuss two specific resolutions coming before the whole board at its next meeting on Dec. 3. [Full Story]

Meeting Watch: County Board (26 Nov 08)

At an administrative briefing attended by five of the 11 Washtenaw County commissioners on Wednesday, the contentious police services contract came up again, as did the issue of protocol for swearing in two new commissioners earlier than usual.

County leases

At its Dec. 3 board meeting, commissioners will be asked to approve a 3-year lease at 2051 S. State St. for the county’s Community Support and Treatment Services (CSTS), at a cost of about $34,000 for the first year and increasing to nearly $38,000 by year three. The space would be used by the Community Crisis Response Team of the county’s Community Mental Health staff. This agenda item prompted commissioner Rolland Sizemore to ask, “Why are we leasing?”

What followed was a discussion … [Full Story]

A2: Buses

The AATA announces on its website the introduction of a new route  Route 17  (Amtrak-Depot Street), which will run  between the Blake Transit Center and Ann Arbor’s Amtrak Station. [Source]

A2: Business

The Toledo Blade, in an article about Black Friday and the holiday shopping season, interviews David Fry of Ann Arbor-based Fry Inc., which develops websites for retailers like Crate & Barrel and Godiva Chocolates. Fry says retailers aren’t likely to make radical changes in their marketing: “The holidays are too important to retailers’ year-long revenues. They tend to fall back on what is safe and reliable, even more so when it is a bad holiday like it is now.” [Source]

A2: Food

Jen of A2EatWrite describes what happens when her local poultry CSA (community supported agriculture) delivers an unexpectedly large (24-pound) turkey: “So… we did what anyone would do. (Cough, cough) or at least in my house. We cut the sucker in half. So I’m now roasting it inside-side-down. And I’m guessing it will cook pretty quick. My FIL, the retired neurosurgeon, supervised the hacking slicing of the turkey in half. BTW… if you ever have to do this, your fabulous herb shears, that you keep pristine, are the perfect weapon tool.” [Source]

Ypsi Twp.: Libertarian

On the Sheer Vision blog, Bill Hall gives a roundup of Michigan Libertarian candidates who won in the Nov. 4 election: “Two candidates (Tom Bagwell and Larry Johnson) were elected Ypsilanti Township Park Commissioners in uncontested races (except by write-in challengers).” [Source]

A2: Newsstands

Cost of Thanksgiving edition of the A2News is $1.50, up from regular weekday cost of 50 cents.

Chronicle Thankful to Be Vermin-Free

Chantelle checks a beard for signs of lice.

Chantel Greene of The Lice Brigade checks a beard for signs of lice.

Even when you’re sure you don’t have head lice, an inspection for signs of infestation can cause a few butterflies to take flight in your belly. Especially when the owner of The Lice Brigade, Sarah Casello-Rees, tells you at the start that you can have head lice and not even know it.

The intense itching and scratching some people experience is an allergic reaction to the saliva of the louse. So if you’re not allergic, you could have the little critters crawling all over your head and not realize it. Even if they find signs of lice, The Lice Brigade doesn’t just diagnose – they’ll get rid of your lice and their nits (egg sacks) manually, without pediculicides (i.e., chemicals). That’s right, a “nit picker” is an actual job. [Full Story]

A2: Trash

The Michigan Daily reports that student renters and landlords are irked by how the city handles trash violations: ”Keith Williams, a representative from Metro City Properties, said the trash code has been ‘absolutely a problem’ for his company because it holds property owners responsible for tenants’ activities. ‘It’s very hard to get the individual residents to accept responsibilities,’ he said. ‘I’m forced to act as a collection agent for the city.’” [Source]

A2: Food

Alex Witchel of the NY Times writes about mac & cheese, and describes being served an adaptation of macaroni and three peppercorn goat cheese from Zingerman’s Roadhouse (the adaptation is from Clark Wolf’s new book, “American Cheeses: The Best Regional, Artisan and Farmhouse Cheeses; Who Makes Them and Where to Find Them”): ”At the Waverly, we had tried Mr. DeLucie’s own mac and cheese, which was fine, but his adaptation of Zingerman’s was superb. He used Humboldt Fog, a high-end goat from Northern California, but instead of using black, white and green peppercorns, he used only black, and added green Tabasco. It was savory without being acrid, and creamy without being heavy – he also halved the flour. I could not … [Full Story]