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Posts Tagged ‘Upper Peninsula’

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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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.

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.

Hunting for history

April 8, 2010 2 comments

I’m writing you today from about five hours away from my home base. I guess you could call it a vacation, but it’s a mini one at best.

One of the sheets of fossils at the Rockport Quarry. Photo by Kim Hoyum with her precious iPhone.

It’s my daughter’s spring break from school this week. We were pretty much just sitting around, but it was evident by the bored look on her face and slow shuffling around the house that she was slowly going insane from the lack of anything interesting. She’s not like me in the way that I can occupy myself for days on end with books, drawing, writing, games and movies. In truth, she has the attention span of most gnats.

I decided to treat her to this quick little trip out of town to boost her mood and make sure she has something slightly memorable to talk about when she goes back to face her classmates next week. So, Kim and I discussed it and we decided to take her on an adventure: Fossil hunting.

My daughter has wanted to be a paleontologist pretty much as far back as she could ever talk about having a future career. In these later years, archeology (thanks, Indiana Jones!) and other career paths have popped up now and again, but she always goes back to digging up old bones.

I wasn’t sure how she would feel about this trip, to be honest with you. I’ve missed severely over the past year or so when it comes to trying to peg something she likes. I guess that’s what happens when they grow up on you. Thankfully, she’s been thrilled.

We drove down to the Lower Peninsula and turned left. That pretty much took us to Rogers City and Alpena. In Rogers City, there are some piles of dirt behind the baseball fields that come from the local quarry. In there, you can find bits and pieces of fossilized coral and shells. We did pretty well, despite the spring weather having made it pretty muddy in the piles.

From there we headed to Alpena, where we checked into our hotel and then went and grabbed a bite to eat (JJ’s pizza is outstanding here) and then headed to a ditch that works as a storm drain. There were a few in there, though the water pouring through slowed us down a bit. Then, we headed to the Rockport Quarry, which is now defunct, and hit the mother lode.

My kiddo had a blast. To be honest, all three of us did. It was a good time, a lot of fun and we found a couple hundred fossils. In the quarry, for those interested, you could end up easily with thousands upon thousands of pieces. If you want to haul something super heavy back to your car (about a half mile hike) you could even take back a whole sheet of them. Most of it is shells and coral, but there are even some spots that are obvious water ripples showing what a shallow bed of water that area had once been.

Today we’re going to head over to the west side of the state and look along a few beaches to see if we can’t find some Petoskey Stones. For those who don’t know, they’re actually fossils, too.

When all is said and done, I think my daughter has a great little vacation to remember and talk about. In fact, so do Kim and I.

I think everyone can agree that this is a ton better than my original idea, which was to dress up in a donut suit and see if we couldn’t coax some bears out of hiding…

Marquette is getting, well, social!

April 6, 2010 3 comments

The banner for the new Marquette Social site.

Call it Facebook with a little local flair. Or Myspace with a little more of my space involved.

Marquette Social is a new addition to the World Wide Web (people still call it that, right?) and has already started to take off. Within the first 10 days, it already had more than 135 users and over 750 photographs uploaded. Now there are 195 (shooting for 200 before they are interviewed by the always, um, printed on paper Mining Journal this afternoon). One of those people is the popular and charismatic Charles Rice. Another is the award-winning sports writer, Kurt Mensching.

There are several nice things about Marquette Social. First of all, it allows for a focus on the local area and people. Secondly, I’m not being asked to play 450 different games that my various people on my friends network are asking me to play. Instead, it’s calm, it’s solid and it’s simple. The CSS of online life.

“Marquette has been a special part of many technological firsts: high-speed internet, a laptop-connected university community,” said Marquette Social founder Jason E. White in a prepared statement. “We have finally reached the comprehension and integration phase which allows us to come up to speed with the rest of the country (and Internet) in terms of actually ‘networking’.”

Like Myspace (or what I remember of it, at least), users can have music on their site and show photos and even have an RSS feed to their favorite blog or news site (ahem… feel free to use this one if you don’t have one already).

In addition, local businesses are jumping onboard, too, and putting up events and specials on their profiles.

So far, the only thing I don’t like about the site is the glaring gleam of green and gold. Yeah, I know it’s NMU colors and I am an alum of the good ol’ university. But it’s just… well, it’s a lot of green and gold.

Some of the highlights of the site, according to a press release issued by Marquette Social, include: Music by local artists; blog, chat and group features; ability to stream video via cell phone; Twitter and Facebook integration; and a hands-on administrator (unlike you, Tom!).

So swing on over and check it out. Hey, it’s got to be better than Facebook and I guarantee it’s better than Myspace (I’d rather cut off my leg with a dull spoon than use that site).

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My mama always said Stupak is what Stupak does…

March 31, 2010 3 comments

I just thought it was funny and clever, unlike so many political cartoons.

So the Boston Herald (you know, the one in Boston) wrote an article about how Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Michigan) has “met his match” when it comes to his seat being up for grabs this year.

His opponent is a political-nobody named Dan Benishek who was born and raised in Iron River (you know, that Iron River) and, according to the Herald, he’s a shoe-in to win. The reason? Stupak’s apparent flip-flop on his decision to support the Obamacare bill, reported the Herald.

“Six days after Benishek announced his candidacy, he was handed an unexpected gift by Stupak, the Democrat who vowed to fight publicly funded abortion in Obamacare,” wrote the reporter. “Stupak stepped to the podium that fateful Sunday afternoon in front of a live national TV audience and announced he would support Obamacare with nothing but a meaningless executive order as his cover.”

The move, said the Herald, propelled Benishek into the national spotlight and made him a “sensation.”

He even got 20,000 Facebook friends. As of the writing of this blog post, that same page has 22,331 fans. The Facebook page for this pickle has 1,580,471 fans at the time of this post. Just saying.

Anyway, the Herald goes on to say that Benishek then went on to raise $50,000 in donations over the following 48 hours (please, buy a nice suit with the money because the ones on your campaign page suck) and quotes the good doctor as saying “No way is he [Stupak] going to win. I’m going to beat him. Actually, he beat himself by doing that dramatic flip-flop. He could have been a hero.”

Now, to be straight-forward and brutally honest, I could not care less about who wins Michigan’s First District this coming election. Stupak, in my opinion, has done a bang-up job over the years. Benishek is nobody to me, but he’s running as a Republican, which I honestly think makes him a likely candidate for wasting people’s donations. Sure, he might be the nicest guy in the world, but I just don’t see folks around here punching the Republican button.
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