A N N   A R B O R   I S   O V E R R A T E D . (a blog.)

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Ann Arbor News
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2003-03-30 - 9:57 p.m.

Despite an overreliance on scatological metaphors and some disturbing violent tendencies, this zinester gets it more or less right about A2:

But if rich over educated hippies are what you hate, take a little ride to one of the shittiest places in the world, Ann Arbor. It's impossible to decide who sucks more the frat boy jock assholes, or the greasy, hippy, stupid hat wearing punk retards who make up the so called underground scene...I don't care that the Stooges or the MC5 took shits there a million years ago, You'd have to go to San Francisco to find music worse than what comes from here. It's hard to describe the Ann Arbor sound, except to say the only truly happy Ann Arborites are the deaf ones.

Talk About Town has been offline for two weeks as of today. As James Taranto would say, We Get Results. Hmm, is this a plot to boost circulation by getting us to buy the News on Wednesdays and Sundays?

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2003-03-28 - 1:37 p.m.

A number of readers, including mccullen, slo-draw and Brian from Snarkism, have written in to inform us that CRISP (all caps, although it wasn't written that way on the student's questionnaire) is an obsolete, cumbersome telephone registration system run by an entity known as "the CRISP lady."

But another reader offers a very different interpretation: "Crisp? I'm sort of old, but we used to use that term in place of 'stoned'. And no, I wasn't some Ann Arbor pseudo-hippie. Just a normal 20-year-old student from the Detroit 'burbs."

Needlessly complicated bureaucracy or stoners? It's a classic A2 dilemma.

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2003-03-27 - 11:20 p.m.

Is anyone out there aware of a special, Ann Arbor-specific meaning for the word "crisp"? We were approached today by a schoolkid on the Diag who asked what "crisp" meant. At first, we thought it was some sort of free-association exercise, but it turned out that her assignment was to ask U of M students various trivia questions that "any Michigander would know." Not being in that category, we were not all that helpful, but we were able to define "A-squared" and answer the question about what event takes place on the last day of classes - please tell us that the Naked Mile is the only thing they could have meant and we're not going around corrupting innocent schoolchildren. ("Didn't you know about the end-of-year Tea and Crumpets followed by the Jane Austen reading?")

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2003-03-27 - 2:37 a.m.

This week's Weekend Magazine takes a stance that a lot of the squares out there might not agree with - they're in favor of Eminem. "Lynne Cheney hates him, Tipper Gore hates him, gays hate him, feminists hate him, Benzino hates him, Vanilla Ice hates him, even his own mother hates him," points out Joel Hoard. But just when you think he's about to skewer the controversial rapper, Hoard comes through with a searing bit of anti-establishment profanity. "Screw 'em," he snarls. Ha! Nothing like seeing the Daily take positions that the skittish mainstream media won't touch.

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2003-03-26 - 1:25 a.m.

Finally, the Daily editorial board wakes up to the gentrification of the central campus area, now that the long-unoccupied Olga's building at State and Washington is set to be replaced with luxury apartments: "The blocks of State Street between East William and East Washington used to represent the apex of student culture. Now, they price out anyone on a student budget." Of course, by lumping in Starbucks with the blight of "pricey establishments" on State, the Daily misses the point; Starbucks isn't particularly expensive. The lack of a single decent independent coffeehouse in Ann Arbor is more a symptom of than a contributor to gentrification.

Talk About Town hasn't appeared online in about a week - all the links to it are currently broken. Was it something we said?

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2003-03-23 - 10:16 p.m.

The Saturday Looks Good to Me CD release party was just about the only interesting music event in the last year we've heard about that didn't involve driving an hour to a semi-deserted concrete building in Detroit. No wonder, then, that it was filled to capacity about a half hour after it was due to start. Fashionable lateness is not a fault that can be ascribed to the eager music fans of A2.

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2003-03-21 - 3:58 p.m.

The Ann Arbor News has nothing but praise for the new, yuppified Cafe Zola. Ann Arbor readers might remember ordering a big cup of their terrific coffee at the counter and sitting down in the low-key-stylish room to study, read or sketch, taking liberal advantage of the free refills - before they sold out their student and artist clientele by going to an all-table-service format, effectively shutting down what passed as one of about two independent coffeehouses in A2. But to the News, this development couldn't be more welcome. "The crowd that soon sits down around us feels and sounds like a city crowd," writes the reviewer. "Small town, big city: It's Ann Arbor's virtue to combine the best of both." There's not much else we can say about that.

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2003-03-16 - 5:04 p.m.

Bitter townie sick of the gritty urban realism that is Ann Arbor actually has a couple good ideas. More dorms and more accountability for landlords are among them. A ban on porch couches is not.

But you have to crack up at the intentional-irony-free reference to the area around Central Campus as "inner-city."

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2003-03-16 - 12:50 a.m.

Sometimes, when driving into town, we have the song "The Big Country" by the Talking Heads running through our head. It wasn't apparent why until we made it to the chorus of David Byrne's unapologetically elitist look at Middle America:

I wouldn't live there if you paid me
I wouldn't live like that, no sirree
I wouldn't do the things that those people do
I wouldn't live there if you paid me to

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2003-03-14 - 1:18 a.m.

This week, the Daily profiles the top three coffeehouses in town. They include a sit-down restaurant featuring dishes such as "a puff pastry filled with portabello mushrooms and topped with a red wine cream sauce," and a local-chain deli. The only one that could accurately be termed a coffeehouse does actually close post-midnight (4 am!), but it's not enough to make up for the smoke-filled air.

As far as we know, there isn't a couch or a mural among them. Non-paper cups are also in short supply.

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2003-03-12 - 2:42 p.m.

To-Do List:

1. Catch the Scio Township Board of Trustees meeting at which raising water connection fees will be discussed.
2. Attend "Dueling Pianos" in Ypsilanti, where audience participation is "mandatory."
3. Try the sandwiches at any of about fifteen chain sandwich places along State and South U.

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2003-03-10 - 1:45 p.m.

A while ago, we linked to a Kansas small-town newspaper article about a high school girl for whom "cheering [was] her life," and praised The Ann Arbor News for not printing anything similar.

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2003-03-07 - 3:35 a.m.

Intrepid reader Merrie at mythoslogos admits that she reads this weblog "with a kind of religious fervor." Because she "hold[s] out the precarious hope that the anonymous and bitter big-city blogger will come to embrace our life and forever after wish to be in old Ann Arbor town."

Well that's...really quite sweet.

Less sweet but maybe more realistic is a comment in response to the entry: "There's no hope for this person."

Oh, you wanted to know about the "redesign." Well, the name of this weblog was, in fact, stupid. This doesn't represent in any way a softening of its stance on Tree Town, but rather a broadening of its purpose. We (hey, James Taranto does the first-person-plural thing in the Journal, and we've resisted it long enough) are gradually phasing it out to discourage drunken Ohio State sophomores from continuing to comprise the lion's share of this weblog's readership. Along with a new title, new links to local bloggers and maybe even an actual redesign are on their way.

And inexplicable, bile-packed attacks on The Ann Arbor News? Not going anywhere.

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2003-03-06 - 1:49 a.m.

Daily writer Joey Litman exposes Ann Arbor's "faux diversity" for what it is in this week's Weekend Magazine. Talking to custodial employees in the Union, he's surprised that none lives in Ann Arbor. Litman concludes that Ann Arbor's vaunted heterogeneity is a sham, at least when it comes to economic diversity.

He stumbles only near the end, when he argues that said economic diversity would be a good thing for students to experience, since they are often "kids who have lived comfortably for most of their lives." But students are just as much victims of Ann Arbor's overpriced housing and food as anyone else, especially non-parent-supported grad students. What Litman should have said was, real economic diversity would be a good thing for the yuppie landowners who congratulate themselves for living in such a quirky, open-minded town.

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2003-03-05 - 1:32 p.m.

Robins are "the story of the year in the bird world." The Carpenter Elementary School found a copy of More Ant and Bee: Another Alphabetical Story for Tiny Tots that could be worth $133, and are considering making the rare book a gift to the U of M.

Thanks, Talk About Town, for providing the makings of a great entry, were we feeling up to it.

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2003-03-03 - 3:15 p.m.

"Have you seen those 'i'd rather be in ann arbor' bumper stickers?" asked a friend recently. "I just saw one the other day." He saw it in Boston, where he lives.

An assignment of things from two groups to each other based on preference - people to cities, for instance - is considered unstable if there are two people who each prefer each other's city.

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