open thread as shadow art fair hysteria takes the nation by the throat

I’ve got stuff I want to write about tonight, but I’m busy churning out new products for Saturday’s Shadow Art Fair. Here, in lieu of a new post, is some video shot by the guys at Concentrate a year ago this week, at the last Winter Shadow. The interview with me, incidentally, was shot just minutes before I lost all sense of equilibrium, fell toppling over, and had to be taken home… Hopefully this one goes better for me.

Just because I’m taking tonight off from the blog, though, doesn’t mean that you should. If you have a moment, leave a comment. I don’t care what the subject is. Just tell me something. It doesn’t even have to be interesting. I just like to know that people are out there.

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  1. Posted December 2, 2008 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of passing out, I almost passed out twice during our last show in Fort Wayne. I still don’t know why. It felt like an electrical problem with the microphone. Hopefully it’s not whatever you’ve got, mark. I’d rather not look into it.

    [slow dissolve into shameless plug]

    Ypsilanti yokels Black Jake & the Carnies are playing Mitten Fest at the Elbow Room December 28th! Celebrate our presumed triumphant return from Chicago (and family Holiday celebrations) with us and all your friends! Drink! Sing along! Throw balls at us! Buy our merch! Wait through our set politely to see the other bands! Smell like smoke for weeks! You can’t go wrong with self-promoting local phenoms Black Jake & the Carnies, Mitten Fest, Elbow Room, December 28th.

    We’ll also be at the Ark January 6th to celebrate our presumed triumphant return from the Elbow Room and New Years celebrations. Won’t be smokey.

    Black Jake

  2. Posted December 3, 2008 at 4:00 am | Permalink

    Here’s something for the consumer season. I love the Angry Little Asian Girl.

  3. Posted December 3, 2008 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    My list for Santa aka the US government bailout fund includes a fire-engine-red Tesla.

  4. Kat
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    I’m somewhat melancholy this morning. Don’t know what it is. Having trouble smiling at coworkers and pretending to care.

  5. Steve
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I was outraged when I read that Tesla wanted a $400 billion bailout. Then, when I saw it was ‘just’ $400 million, I shrugged my shoulders like it was nothing and said ‘ok’. It’s not even half a billion dollars, people. That’s pocket change.

  6. Meta
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    From Michael Moore:


    I drive an American car. It’s a Chrysler. That’s not an endorsement. It’s more like a cry for pity. And now for a decades-old story, retold ad infinitum by tens of millions of Americans, a third of whom have had to desert their country to simply find a damn way to get to work in something that won’t break down:

    My Chrysler is four years old. I bought it because of its smooth and comfortable ride. Daimler-Benz owned the company then and had the good grace to place the Chrysler chassis on a Mercedes axle and, man, was that a sweet ride!

    When it would start.

    More than a dozen times in these years, the car has simply died. Batteries have been replaced, but that wasn’t the problem. My dad drives the same model. His car has died many times, too. Just won’t start, for no reason at all.

    A few weeks ago, I took my Chrysler in to the Chrysler dealer here in northern Michigan — and the latest fixes cost me $1,400. The next day, the vehicle wouldn’t start. When I got it going, the brake warning light came on. And on and on.

    You might assume from this that I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about these miserably inept crapmobile makers down the road in Detroit city. But I do care. I care about the millions whose lives and livelihoods depend on these car companies. I care about the security and defense of this country because the world is running out of oil — and when it runs out, the calamity and collapse that will take place will make the current recession/depression look like a Tommy Tune musical.

    And I care about what happens with the Big 3 because they are more responsible than almost anyone for the destruction of our fragile atmosphere and the daily melting of our polar ice caps.

    Congress must save the industrial infrastructure that these companies control and the jobs they create. And it must save the world from the internal combustion engine. This great, vast manufacturing network can redeem itself by building mass transit and electric/hybrid cars, and the kind of transportation we need for the 21st century.

    And Congress must do all this by NOT giving GM, Ford and Chrysler the $34 billion they are asking for in “loans” (a few days ago they only wanted $25 billion; that’s how stupid they are — they don’t even know how much they really need to make this month’s payroll. If you or I tried to get a loan from the bank this way, not only would we be thrown out on our ear, the bank would place us on some sort of credit rating blacklist).

    Two weeks ago, the CEOs of the Big 3 were tarred and feathered before a Congressional committee who sneered at them in a way far different than when the heads of the financial industry showed up two months earlier. At that time, the politicians tripped over each other in their swoon for Wall Street and its Ponzi schemers who had concocted Byzantine ways to bet other people’s money on unregulated credit default swaps, known in the common vernacular as unicorns and fairies.

    But the Detroit boys were from the Midwest, the Rust (yuk!) Belt, where they made real things that consumers needed and could touch and buy, and that continually recycled money into the economy (shocking!), produced unions that created the middle class, and fixed my teeth for free when I was ten.

    For all of that, the auto heads had to sit there in November and be ridiculed about how they traveled to D.C. Yes, they flew on their corporate jets, just like the bankers and Wall Street thieves did in October. But, hey, THAT was OK! They’re the Masters of the Universe! Nothing but the best chariots for Big Finance as they set about to loot our nation’s treasury.

    Of course, the auto magnates used be the Masters who ruled the world. They were the pulsating hub that all other industries — steel, oil, cement contractors — served. Fifty-five years ago, the president of GM sat on that same Capitol Hill and bluntly told Congress, what’s good for General Motors is good for the country. Because, you see, in their minds, GM WAS the country.

    What a long, sad fall from grace we witnessed on November 19th when the three blind mice had their knuckles slapped and then were sent back home to write an essay called, “Why You Should Give Me Billions of Dollars of Free Cash.” They were also asked if they would work for a dollar a year. Take that! What a big, brave Congress they are! Requesting indentured servitude from (still) three of the most powerful men in the world. This from a spineless body that won’t dare stand up to a disgraced president nor turn down a single funding request for a war that neither they nor the American public support. Amazing.

    Let me just state the obvious: Every single dollar Congress gives these three companies will be flushed right down the toilet. There is nothing the management teams of the Big 3 are going to do to convince people to go out during a recession and buy their big, gas-guzzling, inferior products. Just forget it. And, as sure as I am that the Ford family-owned Detroit Lions are not going to the Super Bowl — ever — I can guarantee you, after they burn through this $34 billion, they’ll be back for another $34 billion next summer.

    So what to do? Members of Congress, here’s what I propose:

    1. Transporting Americans is and should be one of the most important functions our government must address. And because we are facing a massive economic, energy and environmental crisis, the new president and Congress must do what Franklin Roosevelt did when he was faced with a crisis (and ordered the auto industry to stop building cars and instead build tanks and planes): The Big 3 are, from this point forward, to build only cars that are not primarily dependent on oil and, more importantly to build trains, buses, subways and light rail (a corresponding public works project across the country will build the rail lines and tracks). This will not only save jobs, but create millions of new ones.

    2. You could buy ALL the common shares of stock in General Motors for less than $3 billion. Why should we give GM $18 billion or $25 billion or anything? Take the money and buy the company! (You’re going to demand collateral anyway if you give them the “loan,” and because we know they will default on that loan, you’re going to own the company in the end as it is. So why wait? Just buy them out now.)

    3. None of us want government officials running a car company, but there are some very smart transportation geniuses who could be hired to do this. We need a Marshall Plan to switch us off oil-dependent vehicles and get us into the 21st century.

    This proposal is not radical or rocket science. It just takes one of the smartest people ever to run for the presidency to pull it off. What I’m proposing has worked before. The national rail system was in shambles in the ’70s. The government took it over. A decade later it was turning a profit, so the government returned it to private/public hands, and got a couple billion dollars put back in the treasury.

    This proposal will save our industrial infrastructure — and millions of jobs. More importantly, it will create millions more. It literally could pull us out of this recession.

    In contrast, yesterday General Motors presented its restructuring proposal to Congress. They promised, if Congress gave them $18 billion now, they would, in turn, eliminate around 20,000 jobs. You read that right. We give them billions so they can throw more Americans out of work. That’s been their Big Idea for the last 30 years — layoff thousands in order to protect profits. But no one ever stopped to ask this question: If you throw everyone out of work, who’s going to have the money to go out and buy a car?

    These idiots don’t deserve a dime. Fire all of them, and take over the industry for the good of the workers, the country and the planet.

    What’s good for General Motors IS good for the country. Once the country is calling the shots.

    Michael Moore

  7. Paw
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I have a sesame seed caught between my teeth. I’m tempted to pick it out, but I think I’ll wait until I get hungry.

  8. Steph
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Do you ever get the sense that something really bad is about to happen?

  9. Posted December 3, 2008 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    What is the best Chinese restaurant in Ypsi?

    We’ve tried Golden Wall, Lucky Garden, Hidden Dragon, and Dynasty Buffet, and not been really satisfied with any of them. Great Lake is good, but sometimes we want something less authentic, more Americanized. We usually end up going to San Fu or Happy Wok in Ann Arbor or China King in Belleville, but I’d like to find something a little closer. Six years ago we liked Hidden Dragon (or whatever the Chinese restaurant at that location was called at that time), but lately not so much. Golden Wall was excellent once, inedible the next week.

    Where do you go for Chinese food in Ypsi? Suggestions?

  10. Curt Waugh
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Try China Chef across from Hua Xing, the Asian grocery on Washtenaw that used to be the auto dealership. It sits between Norton Flowers and Subway. This was our Christmas dinner for years — until we switched to Pita Pita just down the road. Both are open on Christmas Day.

    They have good Americanized Chinese food, but they tend to have larger, fresher vegetable cuts that most other places and they are fast, fast, fast.

  11. Ryan
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    A guy I work with showed me this song about Ypsilanti today. Probably old news, but it’s new to me. Basically, it’s the hottest jam of the century.

  12. Posted December 3, 2008 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    It’s time for the Pistons to start Stuckey. I know it’s hard not to start AI, Rip, or Prince, but one of those guys has to come off the bench. There’s no true point guard to start the game and having Prince be a makeshift point-forward just isn’t cutting it. Prince is capable, but he can’t push the ball down the floor to get AI or Rip in position to attack from the wings while the defense is on their heels or initiate a fast break. Game after game, the Pistons fall behind in the first quarter and then get right back in it when Stuckey is on the floor along with Maxy and Afflalo.

    The problem is that Curry as a first year coach has to balance those delicate egos of AI, Rip, and Prince. It’s hard to not start those guys, but the only alternative is to go with a three guard lineup of Stuckey, Rip, and AI, and have Prince start the game at the four. But then you give up a lot of size. The only other alternative is to have Prince come off the bench and be the featured scorer with the reserves, something he is comfortable doing. You could also have Will Bynum, probably the best secret weapon in the league, back up Stuckey and then you’d always have a true point guard on the floor at all times.

    The Pistons have been up and down this season, but I think the right pieces are there. Billups is having a monster season in Denver, and right now they’re my favorite team out west. But with the right lineups put on the floor, the Pistons still have a shot at making it back to the finals, especially now with Dice coming back next week.

    So here is what I would do for my starters and reserves:


    1) Stuckey
    2) AI
    3) Rip
    4) Brown
    5) Wallace


    1) Bynum
    2) Afflalo
    3) Prince
    4) McDyess
    5) Johnson

    Then you’d still have Maxiell and the World’s Most Awesome Player Ever Walter Hermann to throw in there for certain matchups and energy, with Brown only playing the first few minutes of the first and third quarters for defense and rebounding.

  13. kjc
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I agree Stuckey should start.

  14. Foodie
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Best Chinese is Great Lakes Seafood. They’ve got all the “normal” Americanized stuff, and you don’t have to order the chicken feet and squid if you don’t want to. Dim sum there is terrific.

    Best Middle Eastern is Pita Pita. Great place.

    Ypsi needs good Indian food desperately. Temptations is OK, but I’ve had some issues there. What we really need is a good Indian place on Michigan Avenue, and maybe an authentic Italian place. Then life would be good, gastronomically speaking.

  15. The Exterminator
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just been thinking lately about how much you don’t know what you don’t know, you know?

  16. SL
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    This story about a teacher having to sell add space on his tests is the most recent thing to piss me off.

  17. Brackache
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think seasonal affective disorder is a disorder. All of nature gets bummed out in the winter — trees, grass, bugs, birds, animals. Why should people be any different? Who says we’re supposed to be Anne of Green Gables happy all the damn time? Winter’s a bummer. It’s dark.

  18. Posted December 3, 2008 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Hey Mark, missed you on Friday. And I will miss this Saturday, but have a great successful fair!

  19. sister_rebekah
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Try the Pea Pod Inn on Ecorse, they’re my favorite Chinese in Ypsi. Americanized, but not quite so greasy and lots of veggies.

  20. Durk
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    I have Desert Affective Disorder — every time I’m in a desert for a prolonged period, I get really thirsty and worried that I might die. I think it’s cause I was made fun of in school.

  21. huckett
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Hey, did you all know that VG Kids has its t-shirts on sale for $5 apiece right now? Good god! I got the impression they want to be finished with storefront t-shirt sales once and for all, more’s the pity…

  22. Posted December 4, 2008 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Curt, Foodie, and sister_rebekah. We’ll probably try China Chef for Christmas, but I’ll definitely keep the Pea Pod Inn in mind.

    We do need a really good Indian restaurant. The other thing I wish Ypsi had is a Cuban restaurant.

  23. Kevin
    Posted December 4, 2008 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I predict witch burnings in America within 20 years.

    And, no, I’m not kidding.

  24. Derek Foreal
    Posted December 4, 2008 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Lucky Garden was ok at one time. Now they use mopwater in the food. Don’t believe me? Order some fried rice.

  25. Robert
    Posted December 4, 2008 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Kevin, what do you think Gitmo is? You didn’t actually think we were gonna call them “witches” this time around did you? The burning at the stake would be a little too obvious too. Besides, we have all this cool new technology and shit.

    The next wave of fascism to sweep across the globe won’t be wearing swastikas on their arms either. They’ll have a way cooler set of symbols which test better in today’s focus groups.

    People are generally dumb like animals. You can switch up the style of something and most won’t recognize that the substance is actually something we HAVE all seen before.

  26. Posted December 4, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Did I mention our Dec. 28th Mittenfest show at the Elbow Room will also feature the triumphant return of the original Flava Flav of Crabgrass, the Magnificent Musical McGyver Caleb Lee Johnson?!?

    Doors 5 p.m. $5. 18+

    6:00-6:30 Emily Bate

    6:50-7:20 Jim Roll

    7:40-8:10 Joseph Patrick Scott

    8:30-9:00 Halolos

    9:20-9:50 Drunken Barn Dance

    10:10-10:40 Black Jake & The Carnies

    11:00-11:30 Misty Lyn & The Big Beautiful

    11:50-12:20 Chris Bathgate

    12:40-1:10 Frontier Ruckus

    A benefit for 826michigan!

  27. Curt Waugh
    Posted December 4, 2008 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    “People are generally dumb like animals.”

    Bullshit, Robert. People are fucking brilliant. People invented everything you ever liked in your whole life. People are all the people you love and care about. People wrote all the great books and sang all the beautiful songs. People stand up for other people. People are the reason that people keep making more people. Little, precious, wonderful people. (I even heard that mark maynard is a people.)

    Yeah, I know you can make a list of bunches of people that you think are so damn ignorant. Yeah, I’m sure that every person who ever voted the way you don’t like is a fucking moron to you. You are clearly the arbiter of how everything should be done. Does it make you feel like a big person or something to lord yourself over the human species that way? Bit of a god complex maybe?

    Do you really need to make such ignorant statements just for dramatic effect? Surely, someone as luminously well-versed as you could find a better way. Ya think?

    — Curt, standing up for People since 1966

  28. Robert
    Posted December 6, 2008 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Curt, I said “GENERALLY”

    By the way, I think you are one of the smarter folks who frequents this dumb blog.

    For every one of your brilliant ones, there are at least a hundred who are dumb as rocks.

  29. Robert
    Posted December 6, 2008 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Oh, and Mark, I thought your performance piece “loss of equilibrium” last year was excellent. I have no idea what kind of piece you could perform this year to top that, but I’m looking forward to whatever it is.

  30. Andy
    Posted December 7, 2008 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Some See Energy Future in Old Mill Dams
    Could the Peninsular Paper mill come back to life? Has anyone heard of anything like this happening in Michigan?

  31. Posted December 8, 2008 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    We had China Chef Friday night. Very good soups (wonton and egg-drop), decent entrees (chicken w/ broccoli was good, orange chicken was so-so), poor egg rolls, terrible fried rice. Next up: Pea Pod Inn (maybe Christmas, maybe sooner).

  32. Posted December 9, 2008 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    …and another thing; I don’t think it’s accurate to say I have a “God complex”…

    …no, I’ve always kinda just thought of myself more as an “Eye in The Sky”

  33. mark
    Posted December 9, 2008 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Why do you hate America, Robert?

  34. mark
    Posted December 9, 2008 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    And I ate at Great Lakes Seafood this weekend. The fried squid legs was crazy good.

  35. Nick Gilder
    Posted December 9, 2008 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Sometimes I feel like the town gynocologist at a swingers party.

  36. mark
    Posted December 9, 2008 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    If you aren’t going to develop that idea for television, Nick, I’d like to. I think that HBO would be all over it. I’m picturing Paul Giamatti in the lead as a 70’s-era gynecologist who moves to a small town in Northern California.

  37. Nick Gilder
    Posted December 9, 2008 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for picking up what I was getting at, mark. I didn’t want to have to say it myself.

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