Friday, December 23, 2005

Good News for the New Year

Three articles today in the Detroit News were a welcome change of pace from the mostly bad news that this state has generated over the past year.

1) I like that the newly appointed head of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. has the experience of watching a once dominant company/industry buckle and eventually collapse under pressure from competitive forces. The Michigan auto industry might not completely collapse, but I think that it's safe to say that it won't be what we know today. I hope that Epolito is right when he says that the "economic revival" is beginning. A good tax reform, 21st century jobs fund, and education reform.

2) It looks like Kwame Kilpatrick is really reaching out to area leaders to address a lot of the problems that plague Detroit. This isn't the first article I've read since the election that has praised Kilpatrick with bringing in outside help and mending fences. Let's hope that this collaborative appoarch of the Kilpatrick administration continues. It's also good to know that the election talks of Detroit falling into receivership sometime in December seem to have been exaggerated.

3) The more I read about Jennifer Granholm, the happier I am that she's our governor during this time. I think that she has a really good grasp on what needs to be done in Michigan to adapt to globalization and eventually prosper from it. I hope that people in Michigan understand that she's right when she says, "It wouldn't have mattered who was sitting in this chair. The voters of Michigan are not stupid. They know globalization and outsourcing of jobs is not something a governor is going to stop."

These three articles really helped put me more at ease with Michigan's leadership. And if everything still goes to shit the next two years, at least we still have Chauncy Billups, Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Tayshaun Prince, George Blaha, and Mason. Ball don't lie!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Campus Martius Park

Campus Martius Park was just ranked as the 4th best public square in the US and Canada. And it's only been open for a year! They also have this great article on the park. I would definitely agree that one of the "key successes" of Campus Martius, and why I enjoy just sitting down there and watching the activity, is the diversity of the visitors. People from the suburbs to people living on Detroit's streets, everyone just hangs out and enjoys the city. It'll only get more popular in the coming months with the Super Bowl and Winter Blast attracting people downtown and One Kennedy Square building opening in the spring.

Where college students live: How safe is it?

Definitely unsafe. My house on State Street had burning, unattended candles, couches next to a propane tank on the porch, and no fire extinguisher. When my winter coat caught on fire, we were lucky enough to fill up a pot of water quick enough to put out the growing flames. We were smart enough to be aware of these obvious hazards, but dumb enough to ignore and laugh at them. Stupidity.

Check out the graphic on the side of the article. I'm pretty sure we violated at least seven of the eleven tips they have on staying safe. My favorite was the tenth comment on space heaters. "Remove unattended space heaters. And keep things that burn at least three feet away." Holmes!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Detroit Bloggers

Bloggers in Metro Detroit! Where is Girl in the D? Check out the Snowsuit Effort that's featured in the's really cool.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Natural Capitalism

Cool article. And it turns out that business school students have a soul after all.

I wonder what it takes to get a platinum rating. I was really impressed with the DANA Building when I had a class there last semester, but now I want to check out a platinum rated building. Look at RMI's headquarters...they grow bananas in the Rockies!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Detroit Myths

If you take the time to discover its gems, Detroit is a city rife with history, flaws, quirks, grit and irresistible charm. And it’s far more interesting than the easy-to-find answers of other, more cookie-cutter, albeit more “livable,” cities and suburbs.

My thoughts exactly. I can't begin to explain how well this summarizes my recent experiences exploring Detroit. Model D again succeeds at providing interesting, educational, and positive articles about Detroit and its hidden gems.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Motown Winter Blast

I can't wait for the Super Bowl week in Detroit, and specifically this year's Motown Winter Blast. I loved seeing Detroit during the MLB All Star Game and the Jazz Festival because the events let me imagine what Detroit could be rather than dwell on what it is not. Since the Campus Martius Rink opened in November there's noticeably more people downtown which is always good to see, and the Winter Blast will pack the streets with people willing to travel downtown to enjoy the city. You can't help but get excited when you see families roaming the streets, ice skating, and shopping. I think I might go everyday to breathe it all in.

Once again, reading about the people behind the Blast's preparations, I'm impressed with their work and dedication. I know that running Detroit is hard to compare with organizing a relatively small, four day event, but why can't we have some of this talent and success run the city!?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Super Bowl XL

As the Super Bowl gets closer, more articles are appearing in the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News talking about the preparations. What's been done, what still has to be done, and what won't be finished. This article was in the Free Press today, talking about the committee reaching out to the media to cast Detroit in the most positive light. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like it'll work much, but I like to hear that they are at least being proactive in developing the media's positive perceptions.

So far, all of the articles I've read say that people have been very impressed with the host committee and the committee's preparations. They seem to be a competent, talented group that's done a really good job to date. I wish they were in charge of the city rather than the Super Bowl. Detroit could use some competent, talented people in city hall.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sundance Film Festival

My brother told me about this article on the programming department of the Sundance Film Festival. His boss is John Cooper, the director of programming who's featured in the article, and Matt is one of the people that help screen the films that come in. Sounds like a cool job, huh?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Boys of Baraka

After reading about Boys of Baraka in the New York Times sometime in August, I went and saw it when the movie screened at the Detroit Documentary Film Festival. I guess it's playing in New York now, but keep an eye out for it in your city because it's well worth seeing. The girl who made it is from Detroit too!

Monday, November 21, 2005

American Dream Vanishes

Brian Emeott sent me this article in the New York Times. This decline has been playing out in Flint for all of my life, but it looks like every thing is finally coming to a head.

In many ways, it was not the government but Detroit and other major industries, at the prodding of their unions, that created the American-style social safety net, and helped foster the shared prosperity that is now fracturing.

This article really hit close to home for me. I've heard a lot of the same feelings expressed in the quotes from my dad. It's really sad to think of all of the families (including my own and most of my hometown friends' families) that these changes will affect and are already affecting.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Bob Lutz's Blog

Bob Lutz took a lot of initial heat before the Chevy HHR hit dealerships. Because it was one of the first cars that he was behind from the beginning of its development, he defended it aggressively. And, so far, he's been right as the HHR has done well according to most reports. Lutz's latest blog entry talks about the early successes of the HHR.

And he says "tricked out" which I found quite funny coming from this guy. Pimp my ride, Bob!

UM vs. OSU

I enjoyed this column in the Detroit News. I can't wait for the game.

Remember, this whole Michigan-Ohio battle started way back in 1835 when the states actually fought over Toledo, true story. Ohio won but took Toledo anyhow. In exchange, Michigan got the Upper Peninsula, Charles Woodson, Desmond Howard and four free passes to Cedar Point.

New Free Press Format

On Wednesday morning, the online edition of the the Detroit Free Press released a new format, making my morning noticeably more exciting and enjoyable (it's sad, I know). I've enjoyed getting used to it the past couple of days, and as I become more and more comfortable with it, I think I really like it. It's much better than the last version. It does, however, look just like a lot of the other online editions of Gannet newspapers. Compare it to the Indianapolis Star or the Tuscon Citizen.

I still think that the web edition of the New York Times is the best.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Black October

There were some really good articles in this Sunday's edition of the Detroit News/Free Press. I've read a lot of excellent columns in the aftermath of Kwame Kilpatrick's victory in the Detroit mayoral campaign, but Mitch Albom's column was particularly inspiring/frightening. Brian Emeott sent me this column on Sunday with the paragraph about St. Louis highlighted. Scary. No time for pointing fingers. No time for hostilities.

The Detroit News' summary (Also, take a close look at the first, small photo on the right. That's right, Flint's Angelo's Coney Island.) of events that took place in October reminded me why so many of my mornings are ruined after reading the Detroit papers. These are really volatile times, and it doesn't look like it's going to get better. The day that Delphi filed for bankruptcy and demanded wage cuts to $9-10/hour for its unionized workers, I bought Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat. The book is a current favorite now, but I think that my fear for Flint, Detroit, and Michigan has only grown. My fear though has yet to eclipse my optimism.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Sacramento Kings

I can't believe that an NBA team would play footage of "burned out cars, abandoned buildings and empty streets" as they introduced the Detroit Pistons. Classless, inappropriate, and wrong. I'm glad the Pistons ended up beating the pants off the Kings. As Luke Emeott pointed out, "this shit wouldn't have flown if CWebb was still there."

The Fab Five is running a series on the top six largest change agents in college basketball in the last 20 years. Luke Emeott sent me this article on how the Fab Five changed the game. Awesome. If you enjoy the article, check out Mitch Albom's book "Fab Five: Basketball, Trash Talk, The American Dream." This is a must read for anyone who grew up rooting for Michigan basketball.

Luke accurately pointed out that you'll have to plow through the part of the article that talks about the 1989 Illinois team. The author finally notes that it was the 1989 Michigan team that took out Illinois. Led by? Flint's own, Glen Rice.

"Jalen Rose, the new 6-8 point guard, who sported a shaved head and a fake diamond earring, had the habit of yelling 'Money!' whenever he fired a shot."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Detroit's Direction

I caught this quote in an article tracking the exit polls for the mayoral race. It says it all.

"I love my neighborhood. I'm really going to miss our house if we move," Laura Machlay said. "It feels like the city moves three steps forward, four sideways and two back. I don't understand, other cities face hard times and they come back. Other cities move forward and we're kind of not."

A Shot of Reality

Brian Emeott sent me this article in the Washington Post about Detroit's problems. I read it after I returned from a particularly sad Detroit visit this past Sunday. I was going to the DIA to see a movie that was playing as part of the Detroit Documentary Film Festival, but I took a different route than I normally do, driving through a residential area just north of the Midtown area. It was what I was expecting...abandoned homes, trash, caved in roofs. The outside wall of a building that stood along the road I was driving on had completely collapsed from the strong winds on Sunday. Concrete and bricks covered the street. It was sad to see people outside, kids riding their bikes, realizing that people have to live here.

After the movie, I went to the Hiedelberg Project which is an open environment art exhibit in Detroit. The artist took thrown away items he found in his neighborhood and used them to cover abandoned houses and cars, fences, trees, etc. on his street, just outside of downtown. The project is pretty cool, but it's really weird. The street is completely run down and it's strange to see all these colors and weird props across the street from a house with no windows or roof. Overall it just made me really sad, partly the aim of the project, I think.

Anyway, after reading the Washington Post article and visiting some of the run down neighborhoods on Sunday, my Monday morning was ruined. You read and hear about the neglect and sometimes you even see it, but it is easy to forget how bad everything is. The article, as Brian pointed out, "tells it like it is in many ways, and it's not a pretty picture to see Detroit without the lens of our undying optimism and hope." And it only takes a short drive outside of downtown to see the ugly reality. For every one step foward Detroit takes, there are hundreds of other steps it must take before real progress.

Worms go to College!

Brent Carr and I were part of a small group that started this pilot program last year. At the end of the semester we recruited Julie Cotton to maintain the garden and vermicomposting bin, taking over where we left off. This is great! Also check out the Free Press' guide to vermicomposting. Saving the world!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Hello Midwest

I read this article this morning and Tom Campion passed it along to me as well. If I could email the couple that moved from California to Metro Detroit I'd point them to the Essential Guide to Detroit that highlights eight Thai restaurants.

I also emailed this article to my brother and Luke Emeott, both of whom live in LA. Luke replied, "That article is pretty right on. I don't think I'll ever own a house in this state." I'm not sure if all native Californians could handle the cold, ominous, gray skies and piercing, souless winds of Febraury; but, Luke and Matt, this state anxiously waits for your return.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Microfinance Gift

This is awesome. "Business can be a force for good, and you can earn profit for doing good."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Christmas already?

On Tuesday morning I woke up to my alarm playing Christmas carols. I was still out of it when I turned off my alarm, and I don't think it really registered until later that night when I was setting my alarm when I heard that same station still playing Christmas carols. Then it dawned on me that it was November 1, and that the radio station must have decided to skip Thanksgiving, jumping into the holiday season almost two months in advance. I thought this was absurd. I thought the Christmas season started the day after Thanksgiving, not the first day of November.

Rosa Parks

On Wednesday I drove to Detroit to pay my respects to the woman who helped change our nation. I was anticipating a long line for the public viewing, but not quite as long as the 3 hours I had to wait.

I parked about three blocks away from the Charles H. Wright Museum where she was lying in honor. The line wrapped around about two or three city blocks, but it was moving steadily. As we turned the last corner before the museum entrance we were greeted with a Cedar Point style line, wrapping back and forth five times before the final few steps to the entrance. It added at least another hour to the wait (and was discouraging to see after a wait already two hours long), but again, we were always moving.

The whole experience outside had a very festival type feel to it. There were kids running around, climbing trees and fences, throwing rocks at each other, all in an attempt to stave off the restlessness that mounted as their parents dragged them through the line. The kid behind me didn't understand why he and his mom couldn't come back the next day when the line was shorter. A tent was set up handing out free coffee and hot cider. My favorite was the seven or eight hawkers wandering throughout the line selling $15 tshirts with pictures of Rosa Parks throughout her life. They appeared to be of the homemade, iron-on tshirt variety.

Anyway, after a three hour wait, we finally made it into the museum. They handed everyone a small card with Rosa Parks' picture on the front and a brief biograhpy on the back. A gospel group was singing, drowning out what I imagine would have been a strangely quiet lobby, and potraits of Rosa Parks lined the ropes up to the coffin. No sooner than I realized that I was finally inside, we were shuffling past the open casket of Rosa Parks and quickly exiting the museum. The short time inside was worth it though, and I'm glad I decided to go.

I was a bit surprised and saddened that I was one of a small number of white people that I saw while waiting. I would say that 98% of those at the public viewing were black. Detroit is 85% black and it was a cold, weekday night, but I guess I expected a more diverse crowd to honor a national hero.

Brian Emeott told me to watch some of the speeches given at the funeral services on Wednesday. Some great comments and inspiring words. Check out Jennifer Granholm's excellent speech here.

Friday, October 28, 2005


I thought the short blurb about the Garden Bowl Bar in the Essential Guide to Detroit was really funny.

You're probably so sick and tired of the word "hipster" by now that you're ready to wring someone's neck. Well, put on the fingerprint-proof gloves and wring away because the Garden Bowl Bar has more hipsters than a Strokes/Franz Ferdinand double bill held in a thrift store on New York's Lower East Side. Hipster bartenders, hipster DJs, hipster bowlers, hipster hair-dos, hipster bands playing free shows. All your favorite MySpacers will be there!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Gap Years

This article about college graduates taking a year or two off after graduation certainly reflects what a lot of people I know have decided to do. Although I think grad school and certain gap year jobs can shield you from the quick lessons you learn from a more permanent, fulltime job, I definitely see a lot of value in a gap year. I wonder if this will continue to increase in popularity?

The Farmer's Diner

Yesterday, the Splendid Table on NPR profiled Tod Murphy, the creator of The Farmer's Diner, in Barre, Vermont. The company pays a profitable rate for fresh product to farmers within a 70 mile radius of the diner. The fresh product is then processed at the Farmer's Diner Commissary before it arrives at the restaurant in a form that restaurant workers are use to handling. The restaurant's prices are set to compete with a typical diner.

Although he said that they are currently only making a small profit, there are plans to open two more 150-seat restaurants in Vermont before the company starts to expand throughout the New England region. The company's goal is a nationwide network of restaurants, each one buying from local farmers, and the website lists potential social and economic gains of buying and eating locally grown food. Cool.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Pontiac Solstice

I hope that Bob Lutz's first three cars for GM (Chevy HHR, Hummer H3, and Pontiac Solstice), all of which have gotten great reviews, are signs of what's ahead for General Motors. I liked the review of the Solstice in the New York Times. Brian Emeott and I agreed that the end was the best part:

When you buy a Solstice you don't pick a color but an attitude. In Pontiac's paint scheme, red is called Aggressive, silver is Cool, gray is Sly and black is Mysterious. Then there is Envious. That is green, and it will be the color of your friends.

INSIDE TRACK: American beauty.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Michigan Deserves Better

This article ran on the Model D website last week. A lot of good things are happening in Midtown. Sue Mosey's comments really sum up my feelings for Detroit.

“There’s great people in this city, there’s great history, there’s great architecture … and metro Detroit deserves a major city. It doesn’t act that way. But it needs one. … There are a lot of good people around who aren’t naysayers — people working on a lot of great things. Even though it’s really challenging and will try your patience all the time, there are enough good things going on and good people to keep me feeling passionate about it.”

We deserve better.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Oh Darko

"I was supposed to take care of those tickets, and I thought I did, but actually I didn’t."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Silver Lining

Amid all of the depressing news articles coming out of Detroit about the Delphi bankruptcy, I've really enjoyed Tom Walsh's two most recent columns in the Detroit Free Press. I think he's right that this state can learn from Delphi's recovery.

I was also happy to see that Walsh's second column featured former University of Michigan president James Duderstadt drumming up concern for where Michigan is headed. Duderstadt came and spoke to one of my classes last term about what a university will look like in the future ( His lecture featured really innovative ideas, so I hope that he can help this state address problems that are rooted in ideas and cultures that have long been unwilling to change.

Young Professional

I have so much free time at work that I decided I'd start a blog.