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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

A blog sibling

April 3, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve been derelict over here, mostly because I was working on an idea for a new blog, which, as inaccurate as it may be, I am going to call this blog’s younger sibling. That’s because it is made up of a whole category of things that Sam and I haven’t posted on here — namely, our personal travels.

If only I had a cool suitcase like this 🙂

Traveling is such a different kind of thing to write about. You’re out of your element, on a laptop somewhere, looking at things from an outsider’s perspective. For us, living up here in the rural North, it usually means driving many hours away. It didn’t seem like something that fit on the pages of this blog.  But we’re traveling more and more, and finding really neat things wherever we go, and I’d really like to share them!

So this weekend I put up the first posts on the new travel blog, which is hopefully-not-too-cliched in its name; There and Back Again.  I won’t take up too much more room here about it, but I’d love if you come over, read, maybe subscribe (hint, hint), share your own travel ideas and comments, and hopefully have some fun.

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Hallowed institutions

March 11, 2011 1 comment

Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland

When I was a kid, going to the library was an awe-inspiring event.

I grew up in a logging family, which means that we didn’t have much in the way of funds over the years, though the lack of a savings account was more than compensated for through the love of my parents and a work ethic that is just short of fanatical. So, when we were lucky enough to have time to make a swing to the library and get some books to use as entertainment, it was something to be excited about. I was always wide-eyed with wonder at the sheer number of spines and book titles that would greet me when I’d walk through the door. I’d pick out two or three and then check them out. The most amazing part was that we didn’t have to pay to use them–we just had to bring them back.

Unfortunately, in my lifetime, libraries of that sort may become a footnote in the pages of history. More and more small cities and towns are being forced to close their libraries due to funding issues. Here in the Upper Peninsula, some have already closed due to a lack of space to house them, while others have cut their hours and staffs so dramatically that you are hard pressed to be able to visit if you have an ever-changing schedule like I do. Read more…

Long time, no blog

February 25, 2011 1 comment

The other day Kim and I were finishing up some freelance work when she turned to me and mentioned this blog. The question, it seemed, was why we weren’t writing in it anymore.

“Ummmmmm… because we already work 70 hours weeks?” I responded, though without the confidence I would have needed to shut the door on the subject completely. Instead, it turned into a discussion, and the decision that there really isn’t enough going on that we shouldn’t be able to post on here once a week or so.

So, we’re back. Well, technically speaking, I’m back. Kim is showering right now and will be headed off to a 90-minute massage soon. Me? Well, I have to work, which is why it’s nice to take a few moments and do some writing that isn’t deadline driven or forced at a maddening pace.

Since the last time we posted, a lot has happened. We’ve picked up a lot of freelance work (hence our absence) and we manage a couple of sites for Issue Media Group, namely UP Second Wave and Northwest Michigan Second Wave (we manage Mid Michigan Second Wave, too, but we’re in the process of finding a new editor to keep tabs on that one). Needless to say, that takes up a bulk of our time. In addition, Kim freelances for the Marquette Monthly and I am freelancing sports for weekly papers in Northville and Novi.

We also moved into a new house, which is pretty cool. It costs far less than our old apartment and we will outright own it in less than four years. Pretty good choice, hey?

Outside of that, for the most part, it’s been the same ol’ life here in the Upper Peninsula. Of course, we’re not complaining about that.

Let me wrap up this quick post by saying that we apologize for not being around more, but want to make a concerted effort to change our ways. Look for new posts at least once a week and let us know if you have any comments or questions.

Ernie Harwell: A legend and friend who will be missed

The statue of Ernie Harwell that stands at Comerica Park in Detroit.

For, lo, the winter is past,

The rain is over and gone;

The flowers appear on the earth;

The time of the singing of birds is come,

And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

Song of Solomon 2:11-12, a quote from the bible Ernie Harwell would also begin the first spring training broadcast of each season with.

The only thing stopping my eyes from overflowing with tears right now is the fact that I’ve been expecting the news for quite some time now.

A friend of mine, and a human being adored by more people than I could possibly count, died tonight. You’ve likely heard of him. His name was Ernie Harwell.

I was fortunate enough to have Ernie as a friend, something that came about because a mutual friend of ours, Jack Lessenberry, introduced us. From that point on, we consistently exchanged communications and made a point of seeing one another. For me, having grown up listening to Ernie call the games for my beloved Detroit Tigers, it was a dream come true. For Ernie, well, I never asked but I hope it was something he enjoyed as well.

When I heard the news that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer last year, I called Ernie.

The conversation was short. I wished him well, offered to him the typical “if there’s anything I can do for you or Lulu, just let me know” and he told me to take care of myself.

“In my almost 92 years on this Earth, the good Lord has blessed me with a great journey,” Harwell said at a microphone behind home plate during a game in which the Tigers honored their long-time radio announcer. “The blessed part of that journey is that it’s going to end here in the great state of Michigan.” Read more…

Marquette-area theaters fail to Kick Ass…

April 18, 2010 3 comments

Don't bother clicking on any of the buttons on this picture... they don't work as it's just a screen capture. Oooooh! What a rascal, hey?

I munched on popcorn. I ate some Reese’s Pieces. I had some Diet Pepsi. And I was entertained the entire time I watched the just-released “Kick Ass.”

Unfortunately, I did all of that in Escanaba. For those of you who don’t know, that’s just over an hour away from where I live. No, I don’t live in the sticks (well, not compared to the sticks around these parts). I don’t have a lack of theaters in my neighborhood. In fact, between Marquette and near-by Ishpeming, I have three theaters.

Instead, I have a group of theaters that have taken it upon themselves to protect me from behavior and subject matter that, apparently, is going to have an adverse effect on my life.

Carmichael Cinemas, and whoever owns Ishpeming’s Country Cinema V, decided that they are not, and will not, be showing the movie “Kick Ass” around these parts. The reason? It wasn’t declared when I called and asked today about the lack of the show’s listing locally.

“We’re not showing it,” says the woman on the other end of the line.

“Ever?” I ask.

“I don’t think so,” she responds.

Ummmmm… OK?

So I figured instantly that there was a homosexual theme or moment to the movie. That’s Carmichael’s usual MO when it comes to their decision to not show a movie. I was right, though it was subtle and more funny than anything else. I won’t go into detail because unlike some websites out there, I don’t want to ruin it for you.

I will say this: “Kick Ass” is a kick-ass movie. It’s funny, it’s intelligent and it’s full of great moments. It’s not going to win an Oscar, unless, of course, they make a category for entertaining movies… and they’re not likely to do that with so many boring movies to vote for.

I recommend anyone who enjoys comics or superhero movies to definitely go to this show. It’s also fitting for action fans, underdog fans, comedy fans and… well, everyone. Don’t, however, bring impressionable kids. It’s violent. There are boobies. And masturbation. Oh, and a dad shoots his daughter square in the chest. But it’s a rocking moment.

I digress, however, and will get back on track regarding my rant.

It’s unfortunate that Carmichael (which owns two theaters locally) and Ishpeming’s moving-picture palace have neglected to bring this movie to Marquette-area movie-goers. I’m an adult and I should be able to decide if I want to see a movie with homosexual tendencies in it. Really, I see it all the time on television, and it’s no big deal (Note to freaks: don’t worry, everyone know it’s a crime against nature and God hates it, so don’t bother sending me emails or commenting with either bulls*** idea in mind as I don’t want to waste any brain cells on your bigotry).

I hope these theaters will overcome their homophobia and allow adults to be adults and (gasp!) make adult decisions. That way people like me (us homogay supporters, you know) don’t have to drive to Esky to see a damn good and greatly entertaining flick. I just don’t have an interest in watching “Avatar” again… sorry.

But I promise (PROMISE!) the homophobic decision makers who shunned “Kick Ass” that just because it’s a topic mentioned or played out in a movie that I’m not likely to turn and kiss my friend Shane on the lips because I watched it on the big screen (sorry, Shane… you’re sexy, but I’m more of a bear-on-bear guy).

Give it a shot. Not only will you sell tickets (gasp!) and concessions (gasp!), but you’ll entertain (gasp!) people (gasp!) and be showing a quality (gasp!) movie (gasp!) when you do.

A dear friend heads toward the red rings at the end of the tunnel

April 14, 2010 3 comments

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

It finally happened. I’m not happy about it, I’m not mad about it and there was nothing I could do about it. The Red Rings of Death appeared on my Xbox 360 last night.

We were watching Netflix and the screen froze. Annoying, yes, but easily fixed with a reset. We start it up, get Netflix rolling and the screen freezes. At this point, I figure it’s got to be Netflix.

Wrong.

A second reset equaled the RROD. A third did, too.

My Xbox was manufactured in June 2007. It has been a loyal companion of mine, sporting a 120-gig hard drive and all the bells and whistles, since then. It has traveled the country with me, taking my first flight with me and hanging out in hotels with me. It was even there that night in Texas… never mind. Read more…

An unexpected, and sad, day in politics

April 9, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s not often that when news comes across my desk regarding the world of politics that I am surprised or even interested. This article in the political blogs of the New York Times, however, has me arching my eyebrow.

It appears that Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Michigan) will be stepping down from his post when his term is over at the end of this year, conceding the seat to whoever it is that manages to get enough votes out of the inexperienced and unimpressive candidates who are running as his opponents.

Rep. Bart Stupak is expected to announce today his retirement, effective at the end of this term.

Stupak is being asked to reconsider, no doubt right up until the time he officially announces it later today.

I honestly think this is a shame and, in my opinion, a shame on the American people as a whole who have stepped forward and called for his head. Anyone in Stupak’s district who had intended to not vote for him based on the ObamaCare situation (which I, personally, am not a fan of) is in need of a history lesson. This man has done more for our area than any of us could have hoped for. One mistake isn’t enough to crucify someone. A look back at the timeline of humanity will indicate that.

I hope Stupak made this decision based on being with his wife and his family instead of working countless hours for thankless people. He deserves retirement, but that doesn’t make his choice any less saddening, especially in light of the potential reasons for his decision.

It can only be hoped that he doesn’t leave hearing the echoes of idiots yelling “Baby killer!” at him instead of applauding the steps he always took for his constituents and the country.

In the end, nothing I can say here on this blog would change the mind of someone like Stupak, but I think time will prove that whoever replaces him will be sitting down in a chair that their britches just can’t fill. We’re closing a chapter on great Upper Peninsula politics and those who cannot recognize it as that should have their political eyes checked.