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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2002-07-29 - 6:54 p.m.

Best Ann-Arbor-related quote of the day goes to Hal Espen on the Media News letters page, in characterizing a talk given by Maxim editor Keith Blanchard:

I...found it really weird that Blanchard envisions his readers as an enormous, priapically swelling expanse of spectators in 100 giant Michigan Wolverine stadiums.

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2002-07-25 - 2:10 a.m.

You have to realize something about Ann Arborites. We don't get out much. When we see something a bit out of the ordinary - a dog, for example - we become excitable and hard to control.

From the Ann Arbor News' Talk About Town column:

On Wednesday the Bollars and Guttrichs took to the fairs, with Sonia carrying Corky, her fluffy, white, 8-year-old Maltese, in a pooch pouch that hung in front of her much like a baby carrier. The dog seemed perfectly content; the humans less so.

"They'd never seen the art fair before, but we're not seeing much of it," Terry Guttrich says. "We can't walk 35 steps without someone stopping us (to ask about the dog.) I've had people push off me to get to her. ... I don't know if we'll bring the dog again."

Don't mind us. We're just friendly, inquisitive folk.

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2002-07-23 - 2:04 p.m.

Ann Arbor Sucks saw a bumper sticker on a car on William St. today that actually said "Ann Arbor Sucks." At first, it seemed like this site might have some fans. But looking closer, it turned out that the sticker came from a site called ypsirocks.com, a site I've visited before while looking for the Elbow Room schedule, and that also contains information on the bands Christ Puncher, Fistfuck USA and Dykemaker (or possibly "Dykemaket" - the "Quake III Arena" font makes it hard to tell.)

But while Ypsi does undeniably rock if your other options are Ann Arbor and Saline, it's not clear whether Ann Arbor Sucks can get behind a website that contains lines like "This page is now irrelevent[sic]...Thanks to our oldest sponser[sic]."

Spellchecking band sites - how very Ann Arbor.

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2002-07-22 - 4:00 p.m.

Ann Arbor Sucks really wanted to do an Art Fair entry, but became disoriented upon stepping out into State Street from the Michigan Union. Mirrored cityscape wall hangings blinded. Public librarians with pamphlets beckoned menacingly - was I using the Ann Arbor library system to its full potential? Suddenly, the two-dollar bottles of water became like a mirage to a delirious traveler.

So it's back to The Ann Arbor News this week.

A "jeer," according to m-w.com, is a "taunt." It isn't a "sober and constructive criticism." But too often, that's what you get from the News' "Cheers and Jeers" column. Having singlehandedly discovered the serendipitous accident of these two opposite-meaning words rhyming, the News is content to rest on its laurels.

This week's entry takes small-town niceness to a new level. The column contains four cheers - and no jeers! Out here in Middle America, if you don't have something nice to say...

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2002-07-15 - 2:29 p.m.

Art Fair is just around the corner, and you can feel the anticipation. "For 4 days every July, the award-winning Ann Arbor Street Art Fair takes over the streets in the South University area of downtown Ann Arbor as the original and smallest of three concurrent art fairs that span a collective 26 blocks," the official site announces. "Award-winning" being the part they want you to focus on. "Takes over the streets" and "for 4 days" being the event's defining characteristics.

Being the enthusiastic city booster that I am, I was all set to camp out on South University for the opening, until a correspondent of mine told me that Art Fair may not be the seamless marriage of art and community to which I was eagerly looking forward.

ART FAIR SUCKS A BIG FAT ONE. I'm proud to say I've avoided it at all costs every single year I've lived here, and I actually laughed four years ago when there was a massive thunderstorm and people were diving underneath tables to get out of the hail, like that Guns n' Roses video.� It served those stupid, pretentious out-of-towners who sell milk-carton sculptures for $600 right.�

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2002-07-11 - 5:55 p.m.

This can-we-all-get-along plea that recently appeared on a music mailing list I'm on, prompted by a blistering attack on Kalamazoo, serves as a short-form guide to Michigan towns.

kalamazoo may be a shitty town, dont get me wrong, i dont know anyone who likes it that much, everyones trying to get out, it IS shitty.. but its not as shitty as you.. how can you talk shit about a town anyway "ooh lansing sucks." "eww detroit is gross" "arghh, ann arbor is so stuck up" that doesnt make sense at all. if only kalamazoo could cry, it would cry because of your words.

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2002-07-10 - 10:25 p.m.

This weblog has been a little lax about updating lately. The problem is not that Ann Arbor is beginning to suck less, but that it's continuing to suck in ways that have already been written about here. So on to a way in which Ann Arbor could suck even more.

About a month ago, The Ann Arbor News published an opinion proposing closing off Main Street to create an outdoor mall. Ann Arbor Sucks moved stealthily away from this idea and avoided making any sudden moves, hoping that it would die a quiet death. Unfortunately, it has made a reappearance in the News' letters page. Writes Ann Arbor resident Erich Jensen, "my wife and I ate at Gratzi's indoors because dining on great food polluted by cars is no longer desirable." Pause to wonder when it was in fact desirable, and you'll miss this alarming closer: "Where do we join the movement to enhance Main Street by its summer closing?"

Stop to think which great cities close off their streets to create open-air malls, crossing off those which are rarely frequented by non-tourists, and you'll find a slim list indeed. Boston has Faneuil Hall, which is arguably an open-air mall of sorts, but it fails the second test. It also has Haymarket, but that area's smell of rotting fish would make it just as unsuitable as Main Street for outdoor dining. Chicago has none that I can think of.

If there is any edge, any life to Main Street at all, it lies in the traffic lights and intersections, not the Michigan souvenir shops and outdoor restaurants where parents of freshmen stop during orientation week. Closing the street would erase the last scintilla of city-ness that this place possesses.

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2002-07-03 - 5:26 p.m.

A correspondent of mine tells me, "I don't say A-squared, and neither does anyone who grew up here." So I apologize to all those I've tarred by implying that they use this insipid nickname. In my defense, I can say only that I would have assumed that "A-squared," like "Frisco" or "the Big Easy," was one of those city diminutives that immediately mark the user as a non-native, except that it would imply that those outside of Ann Arbor have reason to refer to it.

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2002-07-01 - 2:05 p.m.

With the Daily coming out so infrequently during the summer, this weblog is finding it difficult to maintain a brisk media-bashing pace. Fortunately, columnist Luke Smith comes through with his latest, "It's gettin' hot in here and the kids are dead," about the Michigan woman who recently left her children in a locked car, where they died from the heat. It's hard to think of a good opinion-page angle on this sad story, and Smith didn't. Instead, he regales us with kid-barbecuing humor in a misguided attempt at outrage that leads up to his main point - that we should pursue a eugenics-based solution to this problem in the form of a test for prospective parents. Or, as he puts it, "Basically, if you don't pass the test, you aren't fit to have a child and subsequently your right to breed is revoked in the form of a government afforded sterilization."

Having not offended everyone yet, he describes the woman, who was having her hair done at the time, as "feeling younger than her 25 years inevitably show," deftly covering the dead-baby-humor-enjoying-pro-eugenics-past-high-school-women demographic.

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2002-06-27 - 3:25 p.m.

From the most recent "Biz Buzz" column in the Electric Current:

We had an intern once from the East Coast who, in a conversation with another editor, insisted indignantly that Ann Arbor is nothing like a big city. It was an interesting exchange to witness between a Bostonian who couldn't get past the small-town aspects of the city, and a former suburbanite who stopped for a cappuccino everyday on her walk to work through the downtown business district.

Yes, those small-town aspects of the city. Sometimes they can be hard to get past. The whole thing about it being a town, and small, for example, can be a near-insurmountable obstacle for the veteran city-dweller.

The column goes on to point out that Ann Arbor has bubble tea now (that's the tea with tapioca balls). Mmmm, tapioca balls. I tried one as soon as the place opened, which was about a year after bubble tea came to Boston and, I am told, a couple years after it came to San Francisco. (And, to be fair, probably five years before it comes to South Bend or Iowa City.)

Still, I don't know what they put in those cappuccinos in the business district, but I'm up for trying one if they make you think you're living in a big city.

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