open thread mayhem

OK, I don’t have open threads too often, so now’s your chance. If you’ve been biting your tongue, just waiting for the right opportunity to either rant about Ron Paul being a white supremist, or sell us on Ron Paul dollars before they’re all snapped up by savy FBI agents (who know a good deal when they see one), now’s your opportunity. And it doesn’t have to be political either. If you have a recipe to share, now’s the time. Seriously, these opportunities don’t come along too often…. Have something to confess? Have a complaint about this site? Want to gossip about the neighbors? Are there foods you refuse to eat? Do you have a favorite public restroom? Why? Any movie recommendations? I hear that No Country for Old Men is supposed to be good. What about those David Copperfield rape charges, and Hillary Clinton’s (completely unrelated) energy plan? Seriously, anything goes. Take your shot.

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  1. Amanda
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    water chestnuts. hate the texture.

  2. mark
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    I should know better than to admit to my weaknesses here on the blog (I know my enemies read the site compulsively, just waiting for me to slip up like this) but, I can’t touch chalk. It freaks me out.

  3. mark
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    And thank you for sharing, Amanda. I know that was difficult.

  4. amused1
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    My secret chili recipe includes a dash of cocoa and a dash of cinnamon. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.

  5. mark
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Mine calls for equal parts chalk dust and sand.

    (Not really. I just said that to throw off my enemies.)

  6. Ken
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like an old-fashioned, multi-layered, debris
    sandwich, just like you used to make ’em.

  7. mark
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Damn, you’re an old-timer, Ken.

    I’m sure no one else knows what the hell you’re talking about.

    Has anyone else been reading this site for 4 or more years? I think it’s been at lest that long since I made a debris sandwich.

    My sense is that most people graduate at some point and move on. I’m happy, however, to have a few folks like you, Ken, who, for whatever reason, never want to leave the nest.

  8. amused1
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Hmm. I wonder where chalk dust and sand fall on the revised USDA food pyramid?

  9. Mark H.
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Well, mark, I adore the texture of chalk – holding either a tiny stub of the stuff, or a brand new unbroken stick of it – either is a thrill, a moment filled with communicative potential. Dry erase markers lack all emotive power whatsoever, and are not biodegradable.

  10. mark
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    And that is why you, my friend, are an academic, and I just a common blogger.

  11. stella
    Posted November 16, 2007 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Basil, eggplant, raw coconut, pumpkin seeds, camomile, okra, tripe, brains, beef liver.

    I’m sure there are too many who recall your nawty sammich as well as that annoying period where you, pretty much daily for nine months, tried to convince us you were going to fail miserably as a father.

  12. Erin
    Posted November 16, 2007 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    The texture of chalk completely grosses me out. My mouth dries out, and I get chills up my spine whenever I have to come into contact with it. I also hate sweeping dusty concrete floors with push brooms – same physical response.

    And my secret chili recipe has maple syrup in it.

  13. Fur-Lined Hijacking Sack
    Posted November 16, 2007 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Hey, can anyone recommend a good veterinarian here in Ypsi? I’ve lived here a year and a half and I’m sick of trucking the kitties to Westgate. Am quite fussy, though.

  14. Edwina
    Posted November 16, 2007 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I think I’m going to make love to a random married stranger this weekend and then blackmail him. I haven’t done that since college.

  15. Fred
    Posted November 16, 2007 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    There’s a guy I know who will put cats to sleep really, really cheap. I don’t think I’d trust him to do other work on them though.

  16. Steph
    Posted November 16, 2007 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Is my dad still hanging around here?

  17. Ol' E Cross
    Posted November 16, 2007 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Steph, Yes. But he’s started posting as “Edwina.”

  18. John on Forest
    Posted November 16, 2007 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never met a polar bear that I liked.

    Well ok I’ve never met a polar bear. Maybe I’d like a polar bear if I met one. That one grizzly I met years ago scared the hell out of me though.

  19. Ken
    Posted November 16, 2007 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Mark, I leave the nest, but like a good
    boomerang child I keep returning to live
    in the basement and raid your fridge.

    I just used your little search thingy and
    it looks like your last debris sandwich was
    in the spring of Aught Five, right here.

  20. Mark H.
    Posted November 16, 2007 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    I love seeing polar bears, and once at a zoo, i saw a polar bear using a giant piece of chalk, held in her mouth, to express profound emotions by marking up a huge rock. This held the fast zoo audience spellbound, until the chalk broke and the moment ended, and we all walked away slowly, transformed.

  21. Mark H.
    Posted November 16, 2007 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    it was a ‘vast’ zoo audience, not a particularly ‘fast’ one.

  22. John on Forest
    Posted November 16, 2007 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Next time you visit the polar bear exhibit at the zoo, take some dry erase markers with you.

  23. amused1
    Posted November 17, 2007 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I think liver lovers need a support group. I can’t begin to recall the number of groans and “yuck” noises I’ve heard when I mention how much I love liver.

  24. Posted November 17, 2007 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Amused1, I’m a member of a scallywag support group. You may want to check it out. It could be the only place where a liver lover like yourself might find solace.

    As a matter of fact, I’m sort of a liver lover myself…well, “sort of” ’cause I don’t love ALL of them. There’s just this one special little lady in my life. She’s really close to my heart (never more than a few centimeters away).

  25. dirtgrain
    Posted November 17, 2007 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    As a student teacher, I worked with a lady who put on yellow rubber dishwashing gloves any time she need to write on the chalk board. I wonder what her students thought of that.

    Does an aversion to chalk translate to an aversion to the white, vanilla dipping sticks that you use to dip into the candy powder of a Fun Dip pack? I love those. I love the smoothness of chalk, and I always want to taste it–but it doesn’t taste good.

    I can’t stand the cartilagey skershiness of mushrooms when I bite into them.

  26. amused1
    Posted November 17, 2007 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Robert, would you happen to have a nice chianti and some fava beans to go with that link? ;^)

  27. stella
    Posted November 17, 2007 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Amish chicken, and esp. Amish goose, liver = god food.
    Beef liver nixed due to an “incident”. Not of the Steve Jones (or was it Paul Cook?) type either. Do I qualify for the group?
    Mushrooms are god food as well.
    Chalk tastes interesting, but then I have a form of pica.
    Eel should have been on the bad list. We blame seeing “The Tin Drum” at the age of 10 for that one.

    Have you seen the polar bears when they’re turned green? Wierd and rather sad.

  28. John on Forest
    Posted November 17, 2007 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    I like oysters. Fried chicken livers are the best. And, rocky mountain oysters really do taste like a cross between fried chicken liver and oysters.

  29. amused1
    Posted November 18, 2007 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Looking at the above comments I guess the liver support group will need to develop a special program for beef liver lovers.

    A good friend of mine won’t even touch a mushroom. “Neither flora nor fauna? Not gonna touch em.” is her motto.

  30. John on Forest
    Posted November 18, 2007 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Beef liver, bacon, and fried onion. Yum! Sign me up for that support group.

    I’ve never tried mushrooms with liver and onions.

  31. amused1
    Posted November 18, 2007 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm, time to zip over to Kroger’s and get some liver and bacon.

    What do people think of cream style corn?

  32. stella
    Posted November 18, 2007 at 8:09 pm | Permalink


  33. amused1
    Posted November 20, 2007 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Nacht und traume…

    I woke up this morning with the memory of a dream I’d had during the night. A very rare thing for me. I dreamt of the church my family helped build back in the early 1800’s. From what I’ve read it’s one the oldest Catholic churches in the Great Lakes region.

    The story goes that my fore- fathers/mothers/sibs were caught in a horrific storm while traveling on the lakes. (Apparently they knew they were midwesterners before there was a midwest.) When the hull was breached the passengers and crew prayed to the “mother of God” for salvation. Miracle of miracles the ship got caught on a sand bar and all were saved. As a way of giving thanks they built and dedicated a church to the great lady.

    I grew up down the street from the church knowing nothing of this story. As far as I knew my only connection was as a student at the school and, of course, attending masses there. The bit of familial history connecting me to the founding of the church wasn’t discovered until years after I’d moved away.

    Why did I dream about this? I haven’t a clue. I’ve not thought about that church in years. And I do mean years. Still, it was interesting to revisit those childhood images of rough stone exteriors, creepy statues, and the beautiful graveyard.

  34. Mr X
    Posted November 20, 2007 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I had a dream last night about a sorority that needed a man for an initiation ceremony. I was at the right place at the right time and very pleasant things happened to me. To my knowledge, this has never actually happened to anyone in my family. We’re more likely to die in mining disasters.

  35. amused1
    Posted November 20, 2007 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    My dad’s side of the family is sturdy coal mining stock.

  36. John on Forest
    Posted November 20, 2007 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    34 days until Christmas

  37. Jill
    Posted November 20, 2007 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    I am *still* addicted to Crunch Berries. Oh, the shame.

  38. John on Forest
    Posted November 21, 2007 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Crunch berries and beef liver??

  39. Jill
    Posted November 21, 2007 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    No, no beef liver. Just the Captain.

  40. mark
    Posted November 22, 2007 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    You haven’t lived ’till you’ve had Chruch-crusted beef liver.

  41. John on Forest
    Posted December 27, 2007 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    On Regionalization and various local government taxes:

    I was looking at this today:

    Now let me take you all back about a year and half ago. We were out walking our dogs on a weekend and a loose dog in the neighborhood decided to pick a fight with our leashed dogs. Our golden retrievers actually won out over the huge rotweiler; but, that’s not the story here.

    We called the police to report the stray dog. Now, since I was using a cell phone, I was not connected to the Ypsilanti Police Dispatcher. I talked with a sheriff’s department dispatcher, who didn’t realize I was located inside the city limits and I was promised a call back from a deputy soon. When I got the call back, I was referred to the animal control deputy whom I immediately contacted. When I gave my address, I was promptly told that the sheriff’s department animal control officer does not respond inside Ypsilanti City limits because the Ypsilanti Police maintain and animal control officer. So (sorry, this is a long story) I call the Ypsilanti Police Department and was told the animal control officer does not work on weekends. I called back to the sheriff’s department to request the animal control deputy but was still denied service for the same reasons cited above.

    Soooooooooo, my question is this: We pay 4.5493 mills in Washtenaw County property taxes, regardless of whether we live in the City of Ypsilanti or any other community (city, village, or township). In other words, I pay exactly the same amount of money for sheriff’s department funding as someone living in superiour township (having a similar priced property as I have) would pay.

    Why shouldn’t I be able to get the exact same sheriff department service as anyone else outside the City of Ypsilant???

    OK, I’m not totally naive about the fact that some townships pay for extra road patrol services from the sheriff’s department. It could be the sheriff department animal control officer is a contracted position. But I don’t know how to find out that information, specifically.

  42. egpenet
    Posted December 27, 2007 at 5:22 pm | Permalink


    Best way to find out isto have your dogs bite a Sheriff’s Deputy and just see who answers the call … the County or the City. (You can’t do it on a weekend, though, obviously.)

  43. John on Forest
    Posted December 28, 2007 at 12:33 am | Permalink


    You present me with a catch 22; for, if I were to sick my (totally people loving) dogs on a sheriff’s deputy and by some rare twist of fate, one of them actually bit the deputy, I’d have to be outside the city limits because I don’t know how to find a deputy within the city limits. Obviously a city police animal control officer would not respond to a situation outside the city limits unless the mutual aid agreement between the city police and sheriff’s department includes “officer down by dog bite”.

    If I performed the suggested experiment within the city limits (on a weekday) by luring a deputy across the city limit line (no plans in my head yet about how to do this), obviously the city police animal control officer would respond. What would be the interesting question, would be whether the sheriff’s animal control officer would respond within the city limits.

  44. Posted December 28, 2007 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    John on Forest,

    No dog catching on weekends and evening.

    Yep, those are those quality of life things everyone keeps trumpeting as the benefit of living in the City and paying higher taxes. Truth is we get a lot of Sheriff services for the money we pay into the system. The Sheriff’s department frequently backs up YPD on services calls. We also get SWAT and Hostage help, water rescue and searches, dog tracking, support in drug raids, prostitution stings, major crime investigation and much more. If we had to pay for the services we got and then subtract out what we all pay to the County, we would likely owe the county even more money.

    Instead of paying for one full time city employee whose part time job is animal control five days a week, we could regionalize that service and contract with the County or surrounding communities for animal control service. It would likely be the same cost or cheaper than what we pay now and we would get service 7 days a week.

    In looking at the report you posted, did you see how much higher the taxes are in Ypsi than every where else in the county. From page thre (3) Ypsi property taxes are 29.5795 and Ann Arbor 16.7825. Just in the last 5 years, the City millage rate has gone up some 4 mills in Ypsilanti without a vote of the people. That is in addition to the Road Bond millage that we did vote on.

    And now the City is looking at implementing a special Water Street Bond millage of 4 or more mills to help pay off the Water Street debt. If the city is successful with that plan, it will means that Ypsilanti will have twice the tax rate of Ann Arbor. Ouch!

    Oh sure folks argue about reduced property values in Ypsilanti. But someone with a $200,000 house in Ann Arbor versus a $200,000 house in Ypsilanti would pay twice as much tax in Ypsilanti. Stunning.

    Yet the perception, real or imagined, is that schools are better in Ann Arbor. So lower taxes and better schools, plus higher resale values, and our neighbors to the west have a pretty big advantage over Ypsi when it comes to competing for new residents.

    Finally back to critter control. Another option that the City of Ypsi could look at is privatizing critter control. The City would contract or license dog catchers and then you could call the dog catcher and, sort of like a tow truck, you pay the costs directly.

    Finally, if the dog is considered a menace or danger to the public, the City of Ypsilanti does have ways to pick up those dog after hours and on weekends. Your mayor, City Council member or City manager can detail the steps but it can be done and the city has done it a number of times over the past two eyars.

    Oh one last note, many times a 911 calls from a cell phone will flip to County dispatch because most of the Cell phone towers are outside the city. Remember cell phone towers have to pay property taxes just like everyone else, so if they plant them outside the city, their property taxes are significantly lower. So that means your call will go to the county forst. To call the Ypsi dispatch center, call the non-emergency number 483-9510. It rings right to the 911 center for Ypsi.

    Hey, we could also save money and improve service (cell callers wouldn’t get bounced around which in an emergency could cost someone valuable time if they are having a heart attack) if we went to a unified call center for all emergency services in the County.

    Gotta run,


    – Steve

  45. John on Forest
    Posted December 28, 2007 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I wasn’t bashing the City of Ypsilanti. I was bashing Washtenaw County. In fact, having an animal control officer in the city probably does result in better service within the city on weekdays. I still don’t understand what kind of arrangement exists with the county that the county would not respond inside the city limits. This is not a City of Ypsilanti downfall, it’s a County Government downfall. Why isn’t the county we live in providing services to all it’s residents?

    Regarding SWAT and drug enforcement and all those other services you quoted, Steve, they are not exclusive services to the City. They are services performed throughout the county. Do you think the City of Ypsilanti disproportionately draws upon those services? That would be the only explanation for why we would supposedly own more than we’ve paid for them. ??

    I agree with you about regionalizing animal control services. Other services too, I’m sure. But in this particular case, all we have to do is eliminate the City of Ypsilanti Animal Control Officer and insist that the Sheriff service our part of the county equally with what they’ve already got.

    The Ann Arbor School District has a budget of $104M versus a $17M budget in the Ypsilanti School District. You can’t just look at millage rates, you also have to look at taxable value. And by the way the millages for schools are very similar.

    I’ll bet I pay less property tax to the City of Ypsilanti for my 2300 sq ft home than I would for a 2300 sq ft home in Ann Arbor. I don’t give a darn about millage rates. When I moved to Ypsilanti, I bought here because the cost of living in Ann Arbor was higher/prohibitive. My mortgage in Ann Arbor would have been more, and the taxes I would have paid would have been comparable.

    The City of Ann Arbor collects $78M in property taxes. Ypsilanti collects $12M. No wonder Ann Arbor can afford to buy park lands and Ypsilanti will likely have to sell some of it’s park lands.

    Wow, I’m impressed you can recall the dispatch number. I would have had to look it up and I haven’t had the foresight, yet, to program it into my cell phone.

  46. still late
    Posted December 29, 2007 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    re: its the city gov’t fault that cell towers ring 911 to county numbers:

    A tower and base station controller has a range of about 10 square miles.

    Ypsi is 4.5 sq miles.

    I blame current city gov’t that in the 1800’s, and again in the USA Revolution of the 1960’s, that we did not arm oursevles and expand the City Boundaries As Is Our God Given Right.

    How did Our Land get into Their County?!

  47. mark
    Posted December 29, 2007 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I blame the tools of surveyers. They are the work of the Devil.

  48. John on Forest
    Posted December 29, 2007 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    It’s the cell phone towers that are to blame. Despite the fact that a cell phone location can be triangulated within about 30 feet, we’ve still ended up with city boundaries that are arbitrarily drawn every time I call 911 from my cell phone.

    Google Earth has nothing over Sprint PCS.

  49. Robert
    Posted July 14, 2008 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was funny that the break-in at Obama’s campaign office in Detroit has been played down so hard.

    The AP reported it like this:

    “DETROIT – A temporary office in Detroit being used by the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has been burglarized.

    Michigan campaign spokesman Brent Colburn says personal electronics, including some mobile phones and a laptop, were taken early Saturday. But Colburn says they didn’t contain campaign information.

    Colburn says it’s believed the burglary was random, since an adjacent office also was burglarized.

    An estimated value of the items taken wasn’t immediately available.”

    LOL, so the break-in is already solved. It was random, just like the other break-in that occured at the Obama campaign office in Allentown, PA (

    Oh yeah, and the other one that occured at the Obama campaign office in Davenport IA (

  50. egpenet
    Posted July 14, 2008 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    When I lived in a little town in Minnesota, the town cop, Bill, was an ex-State Patrolman, who was fired for shooting stray animals with his service pistol.

    As far as I can recall, we never had a stray in St. Joseph, Minnesota, as long as Bill was the cop. No charge. No Critter Control team … just CONTROL. He picked up all the dead critters along the road, too.

    Anyone for stew at Bill’s tonight? Hmmm?

  51. mark
    Posted July 15, 2008 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    Damn, Robert.

    If I didn’t know you better, I’d swear that you had a touch of the paranoia.

  52. Posted July 16, 2008 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Just a touch, Mark.

    I noticed that nobody mentioned the unscheduled landing the Obama campaign plane had to make after taking off from MDW last week. (link above)

    Obama’s plane also clipped another plane while taxing at MDW back in January.

    McCain’s campaign doesn’t seem to be experiencing any of these random break-ins and bad luck with aircraft.

    Democrats must hate random chance. It’s always picking on them.

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