A proposition for Rob Reiner


[Please feel free to distribute as you see fit]

Posted in Ann Arbor, Art and Culture, Food, Pop Culture, Special Projects | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Burger King, a lot to swallow

0_21_bk_350Apparently, Burger King isn’t just making news in Ypsi today. According to FOX News, their new suck on our sandwich like it’s an enormous, throbbing cock campaign is raising eyebrows. A representative for the company has said, “Burger King Corp. values and respects all of its guests,” but some aren’t buying it. Using sex to sell greasy fat and salt patties, of course, isn’t anything new, but people seem to feel as though maybe Burger King should have stopped with their Whopper virgins campaign… At any rate, I just thought that it was funny that we forced the Ypsitucky Jamboree – a one day event – to change it’s name because it offended our delicate sensibilities, but we’re welcoming Ejaculating Cock Burger to Water Street with open arms… or should I say throats… forever.

[Thanks to Ypsiman for bringing this to my attention.]

Posted in Food, Local Business, Marketing, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Algenol Biofuels

We haven’t talked about advances in algae-derived biofuels in a while, so I thought that I’d pass along this story about a cooperative venture between Dow Chemical and Florida’s Algenol Biofuels from today’s New York Times. I haven’t done any due diligence yet, but, on the face of it, it sounds incredibly cool. Here’s a clip:

Dow Chemical and Algenol Biofuels, a start-up company, are set to announce Monday that they will build a demonstration plant that, if successful, would use algae to turn carbon dioxide into ethanol as a vehicle fuel or an ingredient in plastics.

Because algae does not require any farmland or much space, many energy companies are trying to use it to make commercial quantities of hydrocarbons for fuel and chemicals. But harvesting the hydrocarbons has proved difficult so far.

The ethanol would be sold as fuel, the companies said, but Dow’s long-term interest is in using it as an ingredient for plastics, replacing natural gas. The process also produces oxygen, which could be used to burn coal in a power plant cleanly, said Paul Woods, chief executive of Algenol, which is based in Bonita Springs, Fla. The exhaust from such a plant would be mostly carbon dioxide, which could be reused to make more algae…

The company has 40 bioreactors in Florida, and as part of the demonstration project plans 3,100 of them on a 24-acre site at Dow’s Freeport, Tex., site. Among the steps still being improved is the separation of the oxygen and water from the ethanol. The Georgia Institute of Technology will work on that process, as will Membrane Technology and Research, a company in Menlo Park, Calif. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, an Energy Department lab, will study carbon dioxide sources and their impact on the algae samples.

Algenol and its partners are planning a demonstration plant that could produce 100,000 gallons a year. The company and its partners were spending more than $50 million, said Mr. Woods, but not all of that was going into the pilot plant. The company had applied to the Energy Department for financing under the stimulus bill, but would build a pilot plant with or without a grant, he said…

It sounds like they’ve still got significant issues to work out, but I’m encouraged by the fact that Dow is involved… not necessarily because I love the company… but because it demonstrates that large corporations are finally acknowledging the fact that we’re running out of oil, and seriously investing in alternative solutions. That gives me hope.

Posted in Alternative Energy | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Totally Quotable Clementine: Biblical edition


I hesitate to post this, as I think it may lead to some unpleasant calls from relatives, but apparently Clementine doesn’t know what a crucifix is. I’ve told her about Jesus, and she knows that he was a revolutionary thinker who encouraged people to take care of the poor, practice forgiveness, love thy neighbor, and any number of other equally non-intuitive and admirable things. But I guess I still haven’t gotten around to telling her about how he was brutally nailed to a cross, and how people now, for some reason, take comfort in seeing perpendicularly intersecting pieces of wood. Call me unchristian if you want to, but I don’t see how it’s the most relevant part of the story. Anyway, I’ve chosen to keep that from her. For what it’s worth, I’ve also never shown her the second half of The Sound of Music, when the Nazis stop singing and start shooting. I figure there’s plenty of time for stories about decent people getting murdered for doing the right thing, tours of hog processing plants, mentions of relatives who’ve committed suicide, and the like.

So, why am I talking about this now?

Yesterday, after a play date with some friends, when we were cleaning up, we noticed that one of them had left behind what seemed to be a Sunday school craft project, a light blue crucifix with the word “PEACE” on it. Clementine brought it over to me, and we talked about returning it to the little girl who had left it. And, at some point in the conversation, either Linette or I asked Clementine what she thought that it was. I don’t know what kind of answer we were expecting, but we didn’t foresee her saying, “Is it a gun?”

It was a weird scene there in our living room, me sitting on the couch, my daughter leveling a sideways crucifix at my chest, like it was gun and pretending to pull the trigger… It’s one of those things I should file away for that screenplay I’ll eventually write.

Posted in Mark's Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

This is me a few minutes ago


It’s occurred to me in the past that it would be fun to just post pictures of myself writing every night, and not the actual posts themselves…. I think it would be hilariously funny, for instance, to have photos of me blogging, with captions like, “This is me writing about an important issue coming up before City Council,” and nothing else, but I don’t think anyone else would share my enthusiasm.

Posted in Mark's Life, Photographs | Tagged | 10 Comments


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