I was up very early Saturday morning (PSAT chauffeur duty) and after dropping off the testees, thought I’d take the long way to the Eastern Market. It’s important to do that every so often — step out of your groove, that is — if only to foil kidnappers. I drove down Mack Avenue, which goes from Grosse Pointe through the worst of the abandoned east side, and deep in the latter region I passed a building with the brick facade painted black, yellow caution tape stretched here and there, and this painted over all: HAUNTED HOUSE.
You have to laugh. Much of the surrounding neighborhood resembles a haunted forest, but what the hell, why not add a house? Of course no one was there at that hour, but later that day Alan and I were coming back from our evening o’ fun, and decided to drive past. Smoke was rising from the site; is it possible someone actually torched it? As we got closer it was revealed to be someone cooking barbecue on the sidewalk, presumably for the patrons.
While I applaud the entrepreneurial spirit, you couldn’t pay me enough to go through that thing.
Our evening’s entertainment was this, a pop-up Euro-style biergarten, now in its second year of popping up. The beer was great, the bratwurst even better, and we ran into some people we know. Not a bad evening for about $30.
Pop-up businesses keep your city on its toes, and well-fed with barbecue. And brats.
Then, today, raking leaves. Because that’s what you do here in KeepUpYourLawnville.
Oh, and there was a pie. Apple, with Northern Spies. Which means that no matter what else happened over the weekend, it was a success.
I know we’ve gone over the Lance Armstrong story to almost an enervating degree, but I had the time to absorb this NYT story, about how the case against him was built, and it left me, once again, sort of agog at the guy:
Antidoping officials on multiple continents had pursued Armstrong for years, in often quixotic efforts that died at the wall of silence his loyal teammates built around him as the sport’s global king. Armstrong kept the dark side of his athletic success quiet, investigators and cyclists said, by using guile and arm-twisting tactics that put fear in those who might cross him.
And from the USADA report released last week:
On July 23 in the 18th Stage at the 2004 Tour de France, (Filippo) Simeoni (who testified against Armstrong’s doctor) joined a breakaway. However, Armstrong rode him down and threatened if Simeoni did not return to the peloton Lance Armstrong would stay with the break and doom it to failure. As a consequence, Simeoni retreated to the peloton. There was no potential sport or cycling advantage for Armstrong’s maneuver. In fact, it was dangerous and impetuous, as Armstrong rode away from his supporting teammates to catch Simeoni, wasting valuable energy and unnecessarily incurring greater risk of a mishap while riding without assistance.
As Simeoni and Armstrong fell back to the peloton, Armstrong verbally berated Simeoni for testifying in the Ferrari case, saying, “You made a mistake when you testified against Ferrari and you made a mistake when you sued me. I have a lot of time and money and I can destroy you.” Armstrong was captured on video making a “zip the lips” gesture which underscored what Armstrong had just said to Simeoni about how Simeoni should not have testified against Dr. Ferrari.
This sounds like the behavior of a Mafia enforcer. And yet, I’m still hearing what a good, if flawed, man he was. I’m sure he did it all for the love of cancer patients.
Something for Jeff and Brian — a man who actually saw Abraham Lincoln shot at Ford’s Theater, appearing on “To Tell the Truth.”
His dream was to be an architect. He settled for carpentry. And earlier this year, he was the one who alerted the city that they might have a collapsing grocery store on their hands. A sweet story about an ordinary guy. It put me in mind of the assistant manager at a movie theater who, during the freakish F4 tornado in Van Wert, Ohio, a few years ago, had the presence of mind to scope out the building, correctly identify the strongest part (the bathroom), stop the movie, herd everybody into the bathroom with only moments to spare, and all survived. (In fact, he was the only one with an injury of any kind — a cut on his arm. A couple of cars ended up in the seats where everyone had been sitting. A hero who woke up that morning and probably thought, “Hmm, what a warm day for November.”
Finally, paranoia in Northern Michigan.
Happy week, all. Two weeks until the election.