Two days away.

Another September weekend in the bag. I’m growing to enjoy these things, these “weekends.” This was Friday night: A couple of brew-pops at a local dive bar marked for destruction. It’s in the way of the hockey arena, but until then, it remains your proverbial not-particularly-clean-or-well-lighted-place, and delightful. Graffiti in the outdoor smoking lounge:

comet

For the record, Dan Gilbert is not the Detroit-transformin’ tycoon responsible for the Comet’s death sentence, but Mike Ilitch. Disclaimer: I don’t believe he touches boys, except in the usual sense of the phrase, like how you might pat a dude on the shoulder. But people get upset when good dive bars go down.

Saturday was a local music festival in Windsor. I can never shake the weird feeling I have when I’m in Canada — everything is the same, but not. Windsor is closer to my own house than Bloomfield Hills is, but it’s just so not-U.S., especially in the sense that you don’t have to drive many miles to get some fine Asian food. We had pho at a Vietnamese place, with that wonderful pho broth that arrives at the table exhaling the scent of a place you’ve never been, but really want to visit one of these days. The music was…well, it was Canadian. Everyone sounded CBC-ready, but not a lot of stank on anything.

And now it is Sunday, the cool weather continues, and I just concluded a 45-minute twilight bike cruise. This is another thing I’m enjoying, this after-dark and pre-dawn cycling. The night time is the right time.

Some bloggage:

If I remember my catechism correctly, the actual corpse of a potential saint is considered key to their beatification process because of incorruptibility, or something. It all sounds terribly macabre, which is how this story about the delayed beatification of the late Bishop Fulton Sheen sounds so damn medieval:

By canon law, the body should be exhumed and authenticated before beatification, and relics — bone fragments and other physical remains — taken for the purpose of veneration.

An interesting look at a variety of Catholicism most Catholics wouldn’t even recognize.

Have a good week, all.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' | 37 Comments
 

Drenched.

So, two fronts collided somewhere over Michigan Wednesday, a low from the southwest and a high from the northwest, and the result was about what you’d expect this time of year — lots of crap falling from the sky. We also had crazy wind, and me? I had sandals on. It was a warm day, after all. I hope they’re not ruined by the water sluicing through them on the way to the bus stop. The puddles were unavoidable.

Well, that’s city life. It’s not like I didn’t have warning; some schools were dismissed early, after the apocalyptic forecasts spooked everyone. They weren’t new sandals or anything.

And that is today’s excitement.

Time for some Small Faces, I think:

This will be old news by the time you read it, but when you think about it, it was old news all along: Yep, the NFL brass had the whole Ray Rice video all along. What a bunch of lying liar sleazebags.

This is also old news, but it’s big news, and it’s mostly Detroit news. However, we have to acknowledge it, because it’s news: The city’s way out of bankruptcy became a lot clearer when the most recalcitrant of its creditors appears to have reached a settlement that doesn’t involve taking paintings from the wall at the art museum. And I link mainly for this priceless quote:

Outside court, Syncora lawyer Stephen Hackney reflected on a 14-month journey during which he fought to liquidate the city’s art collection, tried to block repairs to miles of broken streetlights and leveled a “blistering” personal attack on federal mediators that drew a rebuke from the judge.

“It is interesting and ironic that we are both part of Detroit’s future,” Hackney said. “It feels better to be loving rather than fighting.”

Lawyers. You gotta love ‘em.

Thanks so much for being so patient and good about keeping the chatter going through this month of Scant. I do appreciate it.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' | 87 Comments
 

Scant. Just scant.

The thing is, it’s funny because every word is true:

FORT WAYNE, IN—Promising to steer them away from the usual tourist traps and show them the sights of his hometown through the eyes of a native, local man Martin Greenbaum pledged Monday to treat his visiting friends to the real Fort Wayne experience, sources said.

And yeah, it’s the Onion. But the Onion is genius.

I was actually thinking about Fort Wayne today, as it was Crazy Downtown Day in Detroit. The Tigers played at 4, followed by the Lions home opener/Monday Night Football right after. All through the stadium neighborhood, radio stations had set up remote broadcasts. There was food everywhere, bands — the whole shot. It made me happy, once again, to be here, all the Detroit jokes in the world be damned. I was meant to live in a big city. People like me don’t reach critical mass in tank towns. I stayed in the Fort 20 years and can’t say it wasn’t worth it — it absolutely was — but I’m glad I’m somewhere else now. Chapters, pages, etc.

So. Some of you guys know that I went to college with Peter King, the sportswriter. One of the best PK insults ever was in Deadspin today — “covers the league from the centermost pleat on Roger Goodell’s khakis” — but it sounds like he really stepped in it on this Ray Rice business.

Off to contemplate more Book. Happy Tuesday.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Detroit life | 54 Comments
 

Scanty pix.

Well, I cleared two big hurdles in Bookville this week, so I took myself a weekend. The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad played at Dally in the Alley, a end-of-summer fest at Wayne State. Fortunately, my friend and former student Dustin was there with his DSLR:

DVAS1

That’s the best shot. But of course I’m partial to my girl:

DVAS2

They really did well. I’m so proud.

It was a great Dally — perfect weather, lots of fun people, the smell of dank in the air after dark. Drank too much beer, of course, but check that golden-hour light, will ya?

dally

It was a great weekend. Hope yours was, too.

Posted at 12:30 am in Detroit life | 21 Comments
 

Scant entertainment.

I’m closing in on the end of a chapter, and have time to say hi — Hi! — and give you some more longreads for the weekend.

One of my favorite web writers — Roy Edroso at Alicublog — used to write for another webzine, the Alicubi Journal, back when we spoke of things like webzines. (Or even blogs.)

The archive remains online and the other day I looked up the articles archive and found one of my all-time faves of his, “The Ballad of the Reverb Motherfuckers,” a memoir of his time in, well, let him tell it:

In 1986, I was living in the East Village. Naturally I was in a number of bands.

But of course he was. Here’s part one, part two, part three and part four. You’ll notice part four ends with “to be continued.” It doesn’t. I emailed Roy and asked him where the conclusion was, and he said he never got around to it; this was a webzine, after all, not Esquire or Playboy. If you’re worried that Roy was never OK again, well, he’s fine and I had a drink with him just last fall on the sun-kissed banks of the Detroit River. Lives in D.C. with his lovely wife Kia.

Every part of this saga cracks me up. It’s like Coozledad, only longer than a blog comment:

Once we had decided to proceed, drummer or no, it only remained for us to get gigs. For an unknown band comprised, for all the world knew, of aging losers, our best chances were among the local, low-rent performance spaces where junior-grade sonic youth yowled and gibbered nightly. Our first booking was in the last slot on a Saturday night at Neither/Nor, a bookstore and illicit club on Sixth Street between Avenues C and D.

Neither/Nor was owned by a moneyed young aesthete (as were most of the alt-rock spaces east of Avenue A then), but effectively managed by an unflappable black hustler known only as Billy Sleaze. Billy never opened his eyes more than halfway, nor smiled more than enough to show grudging approval, and he practiced similar energy conservation techniques in his management of the acts that tumbled through the venue. He told the players where to put their amps and then languidly patrolled the perimeter, sometimes shaking his head at the shrill foolishness onstage. But he had expressed mild appreciation for the professionalism of the Deadbeats when we had played Neither/Nor in that guise, and he was almost friendly when we lugged our pathetic, cumbersome gear through the door.

“Here, man,” he said to John, “take my card.”

The card was homemade and bore a photo of an black penis entering a white, puckered anus.

“Guess he likes us,” I said.

Enjoy. I’m off for a weekend, and will see you here next week, again in scanty form, but with a weak signal prevailing.

Posted at 8:15 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 19 Comments
 

Scantastic.

A friend of mine is making a short film and asked for my help. It’s some sort of steampunk-Western thing, so I went down to the basement to dig up my neglected riding gear and see what still might work.

The good news: I found my old chaps, and dammit, THEY FUCKING FIT. Sorry for the obscenity there, but it’s just when you have a garment that is zipped around your thighs, and you haven’t worn them in a decade, you have anxiety just looking at them. To strap on the belt — hey, it’s going to the old hole, whaddaya know? — and then reach down and bring them around to the zipper, fingers a-tremble? And then to find they fit, easily? That’s a good feeling.

The mildewy smell in the suede will be the next obstacle. I’d also like to maybe wear them on a horse again, but one obstacle at a time.

The other thing I found was this, rattling around loose in a box, yet another treasure from letters from my dear bff Deb.

We are a cruel people, journalists. Then again, sometimes those we are cruel to deserve it. Damn.

If you’d like a short list of what’s wrong with this story besides the dam/damn bit, let me lay it out for you:

** Don’t write the source’s name and lengthy title before whatever it is they’re saying. Information, then “said Smith.”

** Quotes should illuminate the information, not carry it. Especially when the quote repeats the information in the previous paragraph. Especially when it’s that boring.

** Actual drilling, as opposed to, what? Pretend drilling, I guess.

Back to work.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' | 28 Comments
 

Scanty.

The start of September Scantiness (until final deadline is met) begins with a long read, lately rendered in journalese as “longread.” It’s a classic holiday-weekend package, thousands and thousands of words and a front-page presentation that jumps to two inside pages AND a video, all on… a man learning to swim.

But of course, it’s about much more than that: Conquering fear, how we try to heal ourselves, the challenges we take on when we’re old enough to know better. The sort of thing you read on a holiday weekend, but what the hell, you might enjoy it on Sept. 2.

More longreads and tasty morsels coming, as I find them. A fine day to all.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' | 13 Comments
 

Deadline crunch.

Well, it starts soon: The final push to get the book done. Which means very light posting until the end of September. Links here, a pic here, but you’ll have to carry most of the load.

Fortunately, I have one. A picture, that is:

thursdaymorning

This was the view as I hit the homestretch on Thursday’s bike ride. Sunrise is coming later and later, but as you can see, it’s still worth seeing. That teeny-tiny dot on the horizon? A freighter, downbound.

Bloggage: My little gal’s band gets more love all the time. I’m so proud of them.

Judge Posner: Everybody’s new hero. (Sorry, Alex: I just don’t have the time or gas to really say much more.)

Have a great Labor Day weekend, my friends. I’ll see you Tuesday.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' | 27 Comments
 

Disconnected.

IMG_1527.JPG

Hi, everyone. Wendy here. We had a big storm night before last and while we kept our power, we lost our internet. ALL DAY, for reals. I know, it was awful. It’s still not back, and Dog only know when it will be. So I’m tapping this out on the phone and this will be it, most likely.

No bloggage, but if you could wish mild-mannered Jeff a happy birthday, that would be a very man’s-best-friend thing to do.

Thanks. Happy Thursday, all.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' | 46 Comments
 

A little ragged around the edges.

The temperature kissed 90 degrees today. Took a yoga class that revealed my lack of natural balance but my amazing capacity for perspiration. Arose from savasana to find two texts and a voicemail alerting me of a problem. But because of my inner peace, I opened the sunroof, drove home and discovered the problem had been solved already. In one 45-minute Power Lunch class! That’s something.

Does your yoga teacher ever do visualization? It depends on the amount of woo-woo you’ve signed up for, but I had one a while back who simply wouldn’t. Shut up. About the golden corral we are supposed to visualize around our heart center, and all the glowingness within. Visualize your pure golden heart pushing out all the negativity, etc.

I thought, seriously, about what my heart would look like, and decided it simply has to be spotted with black mold here and there, because otherwise, what sort of life would I have led up to this point? You just have to tarnish the glow a little; otherwise you’re Siddhartha, or maybe Beyoncé.

So, bloggage:

I keep an eye on the Apple movie-trailers site, but so far haven’t seen anything from the Jessica Chastain menu for the coming fall, but I was fascinated by the photo in this story. If you want to know why film acting is difficult and they get the big bucks, imagine emoting with that thing in your face. It’s sort of like working up tears while you’re getting the air-puff test for glaucoma.

Wait, I already do that. Because of the air-puff.

Interesting: Cornel West and the insular, Obama-hating left.

Because every 9-year-old should know how to use an Uzi, don’t you agree?

Wednesday awaits.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' | 38 Comments