Last summer I wrote about going to the 48 Hour Film Challenge awards, held in a loft overlooking the Packard-plant ruin, and how the arsonists trashing the place thoughtfully put on a fire for us. I think I also mentioned the truck sticking out the window:
Turns out the truck exit was an ongoing project. In September, someone finally got it all the way out. Was it captured on video? Do you even need to ask? The whole package, from the Wall Street Journal, ran last week.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, urban exploration — which is the highfaluting name for people who trespass in abandoned buildings without malice; the rest we just call thieves and vandals — lends a certain energy to the city, and draw more eyes to the beauty of what’s left behind and standing open to the elements. I’m consistently amazed by the things you can find here, from the guy who turned up Marvin Gaye’s checkbook and fur-storage bill in the old Motown office building to the darker, more heartbreaking archaeology undertaken by Jim Griffioen in the abandoned schools. There’s an immature part of me that looks at a crew of guys pushing a truck out a fourth-floor window and says, “There’s something you wouldn’t see in Fort Wayne, ain’a?”
But the adult thinks something else, and finds this the most interesting line in the story:
Its current owner, Romel Casab, did not return calls seeking comment.
The fact the Packard plant even has an owner astonished me; I thought the place had been lost to unpaid taxes eons ago. Casab is a well-known real-estate speculator, and I’m sure he’s hidden himself behind layers of corporate structure, for whenever the inevitable happens; someone is going to die in this building if they haven’t already, and given the legal precedents on attractive nuisances, I’d like to know how he’s insulated.
What am I talking about? No one came after Matty Moroun when the homeless guy got frozen into that warehouse hockey rink last year. The insulation is: No one really cares.
Anyway, I think the anonymous explorer/vandal in the story said it best: “If you decide you want to push a dump truck out of a window, this is the place to do it.”
So. How’s your week going? My sojourn at Wayne State went well. I’m always struck, when I visit, of the difference between it and other college campuses I’ve spent time on. It really is the United Nations of higher ed, so much more diverse in its student body than, say, the University of Michigan, which was hardly White State itself. As usual, there were plenty of girls in Islamic head scarves, dressed otherwise exactly the same as their fellow students, except for the long-sleeves-and-pants thing, which doesn’t look out of place in November. I don’t know if it’s intentional or what, but it underlines that you can cover up a lot of a woman’s body and still have a girl who can turn heads, a fact that probably drives their fathers insane.
Afterward, a Habana wrap at the Russell Street Deli — black beans, roasted corn, tomatoes, onions, peppers, lime vinaigrette, a sprinkling of that light, crumbly cheese. Never has vegetarianism tasted so good.
Which brings us to the bloggage:
Speaking of Jim at Sweet Juniper, you have never seen kids’ Halloween costumes as cute as his kids’, and they’re all handmade.
And now I must hie myself to yon gym. The trainer says he’s going to put us on the ergometers, i.e, rowing machines, i.e. TORTURE IN MECHANICAL FORM, for the remainder of the month. It would be so, so easy to skip. But I must not.
moe99 said on November 10, 2009 at 11:19 am
Re: Ronald Reagan from yesterday’s thread. I did not recall that Pakistan acquired their nukes under his watch:
brian stouder said on November 10, 2009 at 11:43 am
Moe, you go! While I liked Saint Ronald back in the day, now I see why many did not. History will have fun with him, I think; a sort of latter-day Calvin Coolidge (which he’d take as a compliment, I think!) who confidently drives right through all the twisty bits, blithely ignoring all the wreckage in his rear-view mirrors.
Anyway, speaking of pleasant college milieus, while Julie works to build and polish her sermon this evening (which sounds like a genuinely daunting task!), the young folks and I will go see Andrew Sullivan speak at IPFW, which should be interesting.
But here’s a cultural note for the northeast Indiana crowd hereabouts, that I stumbled upon last night: on March 15, 2010, Lincoln biographer and scholar Michael Burlingame his-own-self is coming to Fort Wayne, and speaking at the Allen County Public Library! I got to yap with him a little bit at the Lincoln Colloquium at Springfield this past October, and found him to be a lively and engaging fellow. (I went after him about his exceedingly rough treatment of Mary Lincoln, in his massive new Lincoln biography, and he gamely defended all points)
So mark your calendars! Beware the Ides of March – and don’t miss it! Presumeably it will be a free event at the library, but even if not, I’ll be there for sure
edit: and speaking of an “attractive nuisance”, there’s this, about Carrie Prejean:
given her video troubles, and that her book is titled “Still Standing”, I predict no end of jokes, for her…which come to think of it, might be their marketing ploy
Connie said on November 10, 2009 at 12:09 pm
Yes, Nancy, lovely Halloween costumes, but imagine the work that went into them! It reminds that one of my early posts here was to tell Nancy no one hand hems a Halloween witch costume, there is fabric glue and iron on hemming. Save the hand work for things where it counts.
Back in the early 90s I made matching clown suits for husband, kid, and dog, they won first place for best group of three or more at our local contest. Having an adult size clown outfit in the basement closet has been handy over the years, but it is recently disappeared when the lendee quit her job (with me) with no notice and absconded on her landlord. I do not expect to see it again. That makes me sad.
LAMary said on November 10, 2009 at 12:14 pm
Before I left the stay at home mom workforce, I made all the costumes. One year the kids were jellyfish. I would put my jellyfish costumes against Jim’s Griffin and Pegasus if I was interested in competing, but his costumes are so beautiful I wouldn’t do that. Another year the kids were a pterodactyl and praying mantis respectively. I’ve done fruit bats, zebras, beetles, and knights.
nancy said on November 10, 2009 at 12:16 pm
And as he points out, they’ll be playing in those costumes for as long as they’ll fit. I wouldn’t want to be the one in charge of vacuuming up all those feathers, however.
moe99 said on November 10, 2009 at 12:18 pm
Brian, have you seen the latest kerfuffle over John Keegan’s recently released book on the Civil War?
I was a big fan of Keegan’s until this. James McPherson’s writings brought me back to reading about the Civil War.
Jeff Borden said on November 10, 2009 at 12:23 pm
Is this a great country or what? Carrie Prejean goes from a beauty pageant contestant with store bought assets to a political figure simply by stating her bigotry. She’s given prime television time to expound on said prejudice and to paint herself as a victim while peddling her quickie book to the rubes.
Boy howdy. That is some wicked career arc.
mark said on November 10, 2009 at 12:30 pm
moe- if you forgot that Pakistan acquired their nukes under Reagan, that’s good. Because they didn’t.
Pakistan began (or at least publicly acknowledged) uranium enrichment activities in the early eighties, in response to India’s recently achieved nuclear capacity. That was a violation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and would have triggered a denial of US military and other aid. A democratically-controlled Congress voted a waiver to allow the aid, much of which was being funnelled to the resistance in Afghanistan, to continue. Reagan requested the waiver.
Pakistan first tested a bomb in 1998, under Clinton. They may have had the bomb a few years earlier.
Julie Robinson said on November 10, 2009 at 12:35 pm
Still building, Brian, no polishing yet. But it will be short and everyone will love it just for that. Our pastor usually goes 20-25 minutes. I’m aiming for 10 on the principle that no one pays attention after that.
I made a lot of extravagant costumes over the years too–the unicorn stands out in memory. So much work for a few minutes of wear, but also fun planning together with the kids. We also made many extravagant birthday cakes, like the working volcano model using canned whipped cream forced through tubing. We seemed to have more energy in those years.
LAMary said on November 10, 2009 at 12:51 pm
The fruit bat, knight and zebra costumes were used for play, loaned out and worn into the ground over the years. The jellyfish weren’t very mobile, but they did glow in the dark.
brian stouder said on November 10, 2009 at 12:54 pm
moe – interesting link! I hadn’t heard any of that about Keegan. I’ve only ever read one of his books, which didn’t excite me.
But I, like you, always enjoy McPherson’s writing. The last one of his I read was called Tried by War (I think) – about Lincoln as Commander in Chief. It’s quite good, but also the cover art utilizes my favorite photo of Lincoln – the one in which he’s standing at Antietam, facing his general (McClellan), as Mac looks slightly upward to him. The subtext in the photo (it seems to me) is just striking. The insolent general has his leg thrown forward in a somewhat saucey fashion, and Lincoln looks just slightly….bemused. Can you judge a book by its cover? Yes! – sometimes
Anyway, I got to meet McPherson a year ago in Galesburg, and he’s very New Jersey (in the best sense!); a very nice fellow to gab with, and, as you say – he knows his stuff!
Julie, you’ve a LOT more courage than I’ll ever have! Just the thought of being the subject of discussion over all the various church-ladies’ Sunday dinners would be enough to oppress me
Jean S said on November 10, 2009 at 12:55 pm
Amazing costumes. And I understand what you mean about the energy, Julie. I’m hoping to recapture a little of that with a Christmas cookie decorating bash in a couple of weeks.
On the Reagan front, my husband the historian, who specialized in Cold War history at Rutgers, has a few blistering things to say about the man. The fact that he (ye olde husband) tends to be measured and infuriatingly objective tells me a lot.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 10, 2009 at 1:11 pm
Go for 12, Julie. Let ‘er rip.
Pakistan was actively going for nukes in 1978 and a year or two (at minimum) previously, as hilariously (?) documented in “Mushroom” by John Aristotle Phillips, who did his Princeton thesis with Freeman Dyson on basic atom bomb design, while running an on-campus pizza delivery business (get the title?), and immediately started getting calls from Pakistan.
Danny said on November 10, 2009 at 1:24 pm
Mark and Jeff, please discontinue your revisionists histories. You cite too many boring, incontrovertible facts. We’d rather just blame conservatives, sing Kum Bay Ya and get on with it.
Jeff Borden said on November 10, 2009 at 1:55 pm
You will never catch me singing Kumbaya, amigo, but the Ramones’ “I Want to be Sedated?” Dude, I am all over that.
BTW, what is the official/unofficial count of nations owning nukes? Wasn’t there a Pakistani physicist who was more or less giving away plans on how to make an A-bomb?
Years ago I read a book about Russian orgaized crime called “Red Mafia.” The author, who has since died, told the story of how a member of the Medellin cartel came very close to purchasing a Russian submarine for a mere $10 million. This was not a nuclear submarine, but one could’ve been had for the right price. The cartel planned to use the sub to distribute drugs. This was during the years after the fall of the USSR, when its military was going unpaid for months and months and naval officers were more than happy to entertain bids for a submarine. I’d imagine there would be no shortage of folks willing to sell a nuke no questions asked for the right price.
Danny said on November 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm
My brother got one of those full length Soviet soldier’s coats and military cap during the beginning of the era of Glasnost … in trade for a pair of blue jeans I think.
moe99 said on November 10, 2009 at 2:18 pm
“1988–President Reagan waives an aid cutoff for Pakistan due to an export control violation; in his formal certification, he confirmed that `material, equipment, or technology covered by that provision was to be used by Pakistan in the manufacture of a nuclear explosive device.’ “
LAMary said on November 10, 2009 at 2:25 pm
Stay healthy, Moe. I need you around here.
John said on November 10, 2009 at 2:46 pm
Jeff, I’m guessing you are referring to a Kilo. There are several countries who have bought them.
Danny said on November 10, 2009 at 2:54 pm
Moe, according to your link, Pakistan built their first reactor in the late 60’s acquired centrifuge capability in the late 70’s and tested their first devices in the late 90’s. Seems like we had Democrat administrations at all of those key times and an 40 year Democrat majority in both houses of congress during almost that whole period. I know that is inconvenient for the storyline, but there it is.
MichaelG said on November 10, 2009 at 2:57 pm
Given the information that’s surfaced over the years, anyone who sails or sailed on a Soviet nuculear sub will glow in the dark.
moe99 said on November 10, 2009 at 2:58 pm
Not inconvenient at all, Danny. Everyone has some responsibility for this state of affairs. Reagan does NOT get a free pass.
coozledad said on November 10, 2009 at 3:05 pm
Nixon was a Democrat? Or using similar grammatical construction should I say Nixon was Democrat? I thought Nixon was a Republic.
Why is it every time someone pisses on Zombie Reagan’s wingtips his acolytes start shitcanning the grammar?
crinoidgirl said on November 10, 2009 at 3:07 pm
Moe, what Mary said.
Danny said on November 10, 2009 at 3:22 pm
Nixon was not president from 1965 to 1968 (nor in the late 90’s). Why is it when someone pisses on the Earth Shoes of a Democrat his acolytes start shitcanning the space-time continuum?
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 10, 2009 at 3:25 pm
“Just put me in a wheelchair, get me on a plane; hurry hurry before I go insane; I can’t control my fingers I can’t control my brain. . .”
coozledad said on November 10, 2009 at 3:29 pm
Because we possess extraordinary powers. Fear us.
Jeff Borden said on November 10, 2009 at 3:32 pm
The Ramones were the most underrated band in my lifetime. I never understood why they were not embraced by the album-oriented rock stations. They rocked the hell out of the music in ways AOR favorites like Supertramp, Foreigner and Journey could only dream about. . .
I guess there was no room for 2:30 songs in those days.
My nephew is now wearing a Ramones T-shirt I purchased eons ago at a show in Columbus. He gets what the band was all about.
Jeff Borden said on November 10, 2009 at 3:36 pm
Lots of interesting information coming out these days about Rev. Moon and the Washington Times, where turmoil is the order of the day in the executive offices. It’s estimated Moon has dropped more than $1.7 billion on the Times, which has a daily circulation smaller than the Syracuse, N.Y. daily. Apparently, the dear reverend is starting to cede control to his sons –funny how evangelism is a family business, no?– and they are not quite so thrilled about pouring lots of money down the drain.
Meanwhile, I am beginning to have my doubts about Rupert Murdoch as the uber-media genius. He is talking about blocking Google from any and all of his publications because he doesn’t like giving away content. Isn’t this kind of cutting off your nose to spite your face?
Danny said on November 10, 2009 at 3:45 pm
Meanwhile, I am beginning to have my doubts about Rupert Murdoch as the uber-media genius. He is talking about blocking Google from any and all of his publications because he doesn’t like giving away content. Isn’t this kind of cutting off your nose to spite your face?
Yes, Slashdot (slashdot.org) used the meta-tag, “goodluckwiththat,” for Murdoch’s proposal.
nancy said on November 10, 2009 at 3:49 pm
Whether or not Murdoch succeeds, I’d like to hear more from the slashdotting crowd about how one might support a staff like that of the Wall Street Journal otherwise. “Goodluckwiththat” is not an argument.
Jeff Borden said on November 10, 2009 at 3:49 pm
I honestly don’t understand the logic in NOT wanting traffic coming to your site. I find Murdoch’s politics appalling, but he’s always been an extraordinarily shrewd businessman with a knack for giving the public what it wants. I just don’t get this idea from a man who has rarely made a misstep in the media business.
Danny said on November 10, 2009 at 3:54 pm
Here is the link to the discussion. A comment that caught my eye on fee-based subscription:
If my local paper [theage.com.au] offered a good online subscription I would sign up. What I want to see is:
* No adverts
* Access to all archives
* Good searching (like with a google appliance)
* Revision history
* Access to raw source material
* Access to comment pages on all stories
In fact, pretty much what I can get from /. right now. All of that should be easy to implement. They just need to open their eyes and look around.
Danny said on November 10, 2009 at 3:57 pm
Jeff, part of his argument (which he does not clearly make) is that the summary text in the link sometimes gives a lot of the content.
EDIT: Some are guessing that this may be a partial ploy to get some of Google’s money too. There is the greedy billionaire angle to this.
nancy said on November 10, 2009 at 3:57 pm
Not a bad list. Certainly a different one. He had me up until “access to raw source material.” What, now I have to transcribe all my interviews and post them, too? Sorry, you don’t pay me enough.
Dexter said on November 10, 2009 at 4:11 pm
I always was fascinated by abandoned structures and settings with a past. Some of these I have told you folks about, so I’ll just sort of list them.
1) My brother and I used to play around in old cars that our neighbor collected way before old car auctions were common. I always told how we played in Dillinger’s car, only to have my uncle recently tell me it was a car Capone had used for a time that was our playpen for a while. Mom had a photo of us playing in it, but it long ago disappeared.
2) Some GI buddies and I climbed up into a window of a cannery on Cannery Row in New Monterey, California 39 years ago. We got this horrible tar all over us, only to see a completely empty building with just a few scraps of unidentifiable metal in corners. This was during my first reading of the Steinbeck classic, “Cannery Row”.
3) The New Michigan Hotel, Michigan Avenue and Cermak Rd, Chicago. We actually stayed there in 1968 when I was on a baseball team. We ate in Sam Batt’s Restaurant on the ground floor and an old gent who remembered Capone well told us tales of lore, and how to see bullet holes in the wall by an old staircase…sure enough, bullet holes…and I toured Room 530 which was Capone’s main room, actually a suite. One of our teammates stayed in the room. Unreal. http://www.prairieghosts.com/lexington.html
4) The simple old wreck of a school where my grandfather went circa 1889. It stood in DeKalb County on Rd 34, near Rd 1, and we lived nearby. One wall was gone and the blackboard was still there, as well as some pieces of broken desks, so tiny…a rusted hulk of an old stove still was there, knocked over.
I know that if this old building had been restored something would have been lost…I remember the spiritual connection I had as I explored that ruin 52 years ago, my mind imagining the way it was, just as I connected to the past with my other explorations.
Jim said on November 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm
And a decent comics section!
coozledad said on November 10, 2009 at 5:47 pm
Dexter: I joined some folks attempting to climb into an abandoned water pumping station by the Tar River when I was in school. The only access was by a mat of vines that grew up the wall by a broken casement window. It was too far to get in easily, so I gave up. A couple of the crazier ones managed to get in.
There wasn’t much to see there, either, apparently. But the ones who were allergic to poison ivy bloated up pretty badly.
Sue said on November 10, 2009 at 6:54 pm
So at work today half of the staff had to attend sensitivity training. The other half has to go next week. It was the worst employee training session I have ever attended: simplistic and patronizing, full of buzzwords, acronyms, triangle and arrow charts, and of course step goals.
After work, I had to cleanse my brain with a different example of a sensitivity training class. Here it is, folks. Those of you who tend to be a little, um, sensitive may not want to watch it, as it is equal-opportunity offensive.
nancy said on November 10, 2009 at 7:00 pm
Sue, I went to a sensitivity training with a video that was exactly like the one in that clip. A guy lets the N-word fly in a racially mixed group, they stop the video and ask, “Now, would anyone like to speculate why Clayton was so upset? Anyone?”
coozledad said on November 10, 2009 at 7:31 pm
I may have told this story here before, but a few months after starting a job with a subsidiary of the New Jersey mob, they worked me into a slot for a showing of a sexual harassment video with a recently transferred, older male employee, and a recent graduate of one of the local “schools”. In the video, the woman is the one who is making persistent sexual advances, and harassing an underling. At the end of the video, shortly before the HR person returned to discuss the film with us, the recent grad said “Shee-ut. I’d a hit that stuff right there on the floor. That guy is a pussy!”
Later, as we walked out of the room, the older employee said “Little bastard’ll fit right in, here.”
mark said on November 10, 2009 at 7:48 pm
Thanks for that link, sue. Great stuff.
alex said on November 10, 2009 at 8:04 pm
Yikes, Nance, but that might explain why some of your former co-workers have such low opinions of liberals, to judge by what’s being published by your alma mater these days. In fact, some of the political aggression that appears in print and online there is the very sort of thing that would trigger most employers to shitcan the vile offenders. I’d say those sensitivity trainers are too hung up on epithets nobody dares to use anymore; they obviously haven’t developed effective strategies for addressing people who spend their entire working day quoting Glenn Beck to achieve the same level of noxiousness.
coozledad said on November 10, 2009 at 9:29 pm
Another one from the department of you can’t make this shit up:
Jolene said on November 10, 2009 at 11:03 pm
Cooz, I saw the story re the assault on the priest on another site, but your link brings the delicious link to Jasen’s Bruce’s “modeling” career. Tee hee.
beb said on November 10, 2009 at 11:21 pm
The discussion of Rupert Murdock’s plan to close Newscorp to Goggle’s indexing I read suggested that what Murdock is looking for is someone to offer up millions of dollars for the exclusive right to index his site, someone like, say Microsoft’s Bing, or maybe Yahoo.
I doubt that Murdock or any other news agency will ever get bloggers to pay tp link to their sites. When the New York Times went behind a firewall bloggers simply refused to link to their news stories. Most bloggers don;t have the money in the first place and don’t think links to news stories amount to theft.
Joe Kobiela said on November 10, 2009 at 11:29 pm
We had sensitivity training when I worked at Dana.Found out I really did not need it. Went in and told the class. I hate all of you.
crazycatlady said on November 11, 2009 at 1:16 am
Years ago I made a Harry Potter Griffendor Wizard cape for my daughter. She wore it every year! Until she outgrew it. A good costume is a good investment!
Connie said on November 11, 2009 at 8:22 am
Today is staff inservice day and I will be attending “Customer Service in the Multiculturally Diverse Community.” Which in fact is a somewhat polite way of providing training to staff who truly need sensitivity training.
coozledad said on November 11, 2009 at 8:27 am
Jolene: One of the commenters at Roy’s, Leeds Man, calls this “incontinentalism”. It’s the idea that the more you crap your pants and run around giving headless chickens a bad name, the more patriotic you are. I’d say this strapping young fellow is a movement incontinentalist.
basset said on November 11, 2009 at 9:22 am
That truck appears to be an International… might have been built in the Fort, if not there it would have come from Springfield, Ohio.
moe99 said on November 11, 2009 at 11:24 am
these photos are really amazing.
brian stouder said on November 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm
moe – those Martian photos are indeed arresting. The 4th one looks more micro-biological than macro-planetary! I was going to comment on the newer thread, but I don’t want to foul up what has been an altogether sublime Veterans’ Day remembrance over there. If I had succumbed and posted over there, all I would have offered was a comment on Lincoln’s speech-writing and delivery skills*, and the fact that he NEVER delivered an important speech that wasn’t written out beforehand, and which he would read s-l-o-w-l-y….but that would be in answer to dunderhead critics of President Obama who object to his teleprompters, and today ain’t the day for that.
Anyway – thanks for sharing the link.
*and I agree with Jolene – that when President Obama stops and starts and stops again; you can just see the writer at work. President Lincoln would launch into a funny story or anecdote, if he needed a little more time to think – or if he didn’t want to give a more specific answer or reply….and, for what it’s worth, Lincoln’s critics HATED his jokey habits as much (or more!) than President Obama’s critics hate his extemporaneous style
brian stouder said on November 11, 2009 at 5:36 pm
and just for the record, the Andrew Sullivan lecture last night was, to use a somewhat loaded word, interesting. The stated purpose and subject of the lecture was “Friendship” – through the ages. About half way through the talk, in which he dropped in Aristotle (and a few other Greeks) and Shakespeare, he mentioned Jesus Christ; and from that point to the end of the lecture, he remained on JC, making the point that fundementalist Christians are fundementally wrong in their pronouncements about family. As the realization dawned on people that we had arrived at Dr Sullivan’s real subject, more than several people around the hall got up and walked out. As for Grant and I – in for a penny, in for a pound; we stayed to the end, and we learned in the Q&A that indeed the death of his best friend – and the oddly wrong-headed reaction from some particular sorts of religious people is what prompted him to develop this lecture in the first place. So, all things considered, Julie is that much further ahead!
Ricardo said on November 11, 2009 at 11:23 pm
My last two full years in Detroit included cleaning up abandoned property for HUD. Back then there were 17,000 properties in the metro area, mostly in Wayne Co, and mostly in Detroit.
Every scam in the book happened to these properties from crooked contractors that were supposed to rehab them to crooked demo contractors that folded the building into the basement and then bulldozed over the mess with dirt to make it look like everything was removed. (We did honest work cutting weeds and picking up trash) Houses were set on fire, neighbor houses burned, and property values went to worthless because of the houses. This covered 1972 to 1974.
Now, it seems incredible to me that the same mess still exists as though 35 years never passed. No one can figure out how to clean up the mess other than the arsonists. ‘Instant urban renewal’ they called it then, hardly one of the Great Society programs. Is there no one who can figure this out? Does anyone care?
My personal solution to the lack of appreciation of Detroit’s fine old buildings, which they would rather let go to ruin rather than preserve, was to move to some place where people care. My Motor City solution is to turn Detroit land into many rancheros, land grants where cattle and horses have room to run and orchards and crops can grow, if the soil is not too polluted. El Del Rey, Los East Dearborn, El Grande Rivera.