So no one has won any of our gear by finding Jimmy Hoffa in our events photos yet. Sheesh, I knew it would be tough, but didn’t expect it to be impossible. The Feds can’t find him either, so maybe everything about him is elusive, even his photo. So read on and I’ll drop a clue a bit later to help you in your quest for a t-shirt or drinking device.
This past weekend we went to the Detroit River Days festival along the River Walk in Detroit. We go to this every year because it is not only a cool event, but a great opportunity to walk along the river, feel the breezes, watch the boats, and observe people representing every possible type of human concoction. The event is awesome, but it’s the people who really make it, from the folks who put it on and run it through the wide-eyed kids who splash in the fountains to cool off after the carnival rides. There was a lot of really good artwork this year, photos, paintings, and sculptures, with some of the painting bordering on being sculpture due to their spatial arrangement and a three-dimensional impression that they individually had; a nearly mysterious appearance of depth. We captured a lot of the art, most if not all of it, in our photos from the festival (see the kitty, above) (http://www.detroitmm.com/events/2013/06-detroit-river-days/) along with a lot of other interesting things and people.
In addition to River Days we’ve covered the Berkley Art Bash (http://www.detroitmm.com/events/2013/06-Berkley-Art-Bash/), the Royal Oak Clay, Glass, and Metal Show (http://www.detroitmm.com/events/2013/06-Royal-Oak-Clay-Glass-Metal-Show/), 50 Shades, The Musical! (http://www.detroitmm.com/reviews/2013/50-shades-the-musical/), and Cruisin’ Gratiot (http://www.detroitmm.com/events/2013/06-cruisin-gratiot/), all in the past 2.5 weeks and there’s more to come! This weekend we will be at the Downriver Cruise and the Waterford Log Cabin Days, hopefully we’ll see you there.
Oh, right, the Find Jimmy Hoffa contest; I recently promised a hint, didn’t I? Well, Hoffa was the head of the Teamster’s Union and they deal with transportation, their logo has a wheel in it. That’s at least two hints, now go find him and win some swag! Our previous blog post has the rules, so scroll down to it.
Detroit’s Metro Mashup contests have no monetary value and prizes awarded cannot be substituted for any other or for any cash value. The cash value of the prize is $0.01 U. S. One winner per contest only, winner to be determined by Detroit Metro Mashup to be the earliest email received meeting all the requisite criteria, including the correct photo, the sender’s email address, the subject “I found Jimmy Hoffa,” and the prize selected. If you are under 18 please have your parent or guardian submit your entry for you. Detroit Metro Mashup is not responsible for any errors or omissions either in the contest or your entry. Detroit Metro Mashup has no association with Jimmy Hoffa’s family, estate, or any businesses.
There is a circularity to much of what one sees in life. It’s one of those things that becomes more apparent as a person ages, as long as they are paying the slightest bit of attention. One of the circular things, seen in both nature in general and human behavior, is the feedback loop. For example, in nature if there is an abundance of greenery in an area and no predators, the population of bunny rabbits can just go up and up. There is almost always a controlling feedback in nature, however. In this case, if there are no predators then the bunnies will just eat and grow and reproduce until there are so many of them that there simply isn’t enough greenery to go around. Then the bunny population will drop, either gradually or precipitously, depending upon the characteristics of the greenery and other factors. This is a feedback loop exerted by the greenery on the rabbit population; first it was positive, due to excess greenery, then it went negative as the bunnies overwhelmed the growth of the greenery and died out.
There are also feedback loops in human behavior, usually influenced by the fact that everyone seems to love a winner and either loathe or laugh at a loser. Although it has been said that any press is good press, consistently bad press can’t help but harm one’s reputation and cause others to scorn you as a loser. Good press, repeated over and over, applies a patina to a reputation that will resist a lot of corrosion by actual bad behavior, whereas ongoing bad press can sully even the positive aspects of a situation. Since the riots in the 1960s, just how much good press has Detroit had, particularly outside the Metro area? I haven’t researched it (yes I’m feeling lazy today, long story), but having come to Detroit by way of Oklahoma and Las Vegas, I don’t recall having seen ANY truly positive articles in the press about the Big D. It’s all been about a “city in decline,” or the “post-industrial wasteland,” or “ruin-porn,” or Mad Max-type ruminations, or Detroit expatriates who come back for a while to go tsk-tsk in print about what had happened to their childhood remembrances of a fair city.
All of this bad press has caused a seemingly never-ending negative feedback loop for Detroit. If you even considered locating your business here and began to research the city via the media, what would you do? If you had the means to leave the city and saw never-ending stories about the crime and violence and the poor schools…well, I won’t even ask what you would do, because that was what happened. So, if no one wants to move to the city, no one wants to raise a family there, no one wants to start or relocate a business there, and city businesses move to the suburbs, then the tax base begins to collapse and things just get worse. The media picks up on the worsening and perpetuates the negative feedback cycle over and over. Bad press → more flight and avoidance → reduced tax base → worsened city conditions → more bad press, rinse and repeat.
Detroit Metro Mashup has been, in our own small way, trying to stem the tide of bad publicity for what we think is a great city in a great metro region. Other local media and blogs have been doing the same, but our voices are a bit limited in scope relative to the national media. Did I say a bit limited? I meant more like drowned out. But finally, due to massive efforts by countless individuals, organizations, and companies, there is a fair amount of positive news squeaking its way out of the city limits amidst the claghorn (1) squawking of negativism and ridiculous talk of Detroit going bankrupt in a fairly wealthy state.
And, in keeping with our circular feedback discussion, there is finally some positive feedback from the media. Business Insider has just posted an article titled, “25 Reasons Why Detroit Is On The Verge Of An Epic Comeback.” They are postulating not just a comeback, but an EPIC comeback. The article’s link is at http://tinyurl.com/k6fbof5. To us at DMM this is great news, even if they don’t mention the dozens of other reasons that Detroit is making a comeback. We hope that this is the beginning of a long-lasting “positive” feed-back loop for Detroit and the metro area and that we will soon see more stories about people moving into Detroit, about services being restored and enhanced, and the tax base once again increasing. Help us in this effort and promote Detroit!
(1) ”a strange bamboo flute with a saxophone mouthpiece attached to it called a claghorn — a dreadful instrument that I invented" —Ian Anderson, interview with BBC Radio Scotland, 27 August 2001 (from Wikipedia).
Well, Memorial Day has come and gone and everyone is pretty much back to their summer routine until the next holiday that provides an extra day off. There are very few days off for festivities during the Michigan summer, however. Now that spring has finally exerted its dominance over the lingering frosts of Old Man Winter, the outdoor fun is in full swing. Gardens are being planted, lawns are being mowed, the rain is beating the heck out of all of it, and everyone wishes they had done a slightly better job of raking up the leaves last fall. Ok, perhaps that last one is my projection on the rest of you.
Outdoor festivals and events proceed apace. We just wrapped up Flower Day at Eastern Market, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum Grand Re-Opening media preview, the Grand Opening of the Gallery on the Boulevard in Pontiac, the Saint Mary’s Polish Country Fair, and the Waterford Township Memorial Day Parade; all during the past two weeks. Suddenly we’re looking towards Royal Oak’s Baconfest (this weekend), the Waterford Peacefest at the L.A. Café (also this weekend), evening garden parties at the Whitney in Detroit, and many others.
A quick reminder, tomorrow is the first Friday that the new Lafayette Market in downtown Pontiac is holding its “Friday Summer Concerts on the Patio.” Lunch BBQ & Music is from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM and Dinner BBQ & Music is from 4:00 PM to 7:30 PM, with a beer and wine service available during the dinner. The Lafayette’s flyer informs that there will be grilling outside on a charcoal bar-b-que using the Market’s “finest ingredients.” This sounds too good to pass up and Detroit Metro Mashup will be there for one or both of these on the first day. These Friday events will take place at the Market from May 31st through August 30th, so you have plenty of opportunity to get to Pontiac and check out this great addition to Oakland County.
If you don’t have tickets to Baconfest, I understand it is already sold out. Sorry. Perhaps there is a way to get tickets, but I don’t know what that way would be. We’re supposed to make it down there and provide some coverage so, hopefully, we’ll have some photos that will smell like bacon for your vicarious pleasure.
If you don’t have Baconfest tickets, the Waterford Peacefest is always fun, with artists and vendors on the grounds (and sometimes off the grounds) of the L.A. Café. You should try to get there, support the artists, and try one of their specialty coffee drinks and fabulous sandwiches.
Forget the rain, enjoy your weekend!
Once again the solutions to Detroit’s financial problems are approached with the vacuity of an Easter Islander cutting down the last trees on the island because he can’t think of any other way to solve resource issues. Attracting resources to the island has never occurred to him because he is merely a shell counter.
Actually, the situation is even worse. It is as though a representative from a distant archipelago descended upon Easter Island, took over in spite of how the people voted, and unilaterally decided to send what is left of the Easter Island trees to the kings and princes of his homeland. Let’s call his home island “Oligarchy.” Then, dropping a few shells in the wampum box, the representative from Oligarchy bids adieu to the Easter Islanders and heads home to reap the rewards of his largesse from those who could afford the rare trees. No one, of course, wants to come to Easter Island any longer because it has nothing to offer. You can’t eat shells and the people are famished. In and of themselves, the shells are worthless and the Oligarchians know it. The islanders can give the shells to the Oligarch merchants in exchange for some firewood, but soon the wampum box runs dry again and there is nothing left. Easter Island dies.
Detroit is Easter Island and the brain trust that is Kevin Orr is the representative of Oligarchy, with his ridiculous scheme to pay off the short-term debt of Detroit by selling the treasures from the Detroit Institute of Art, when what is actually needed is to repopulate Detroit and increase the tax base. These artworks are truly among Detroit’s last remaining treasures and these accountants of doom need to understand that shells in a wampum box aren’t going to cut it. We cannot sit idly by and let the monied elite buy these works of art in a fire sale, using money that is nearly worthless to them because they have so much of it that it no longer really matters. They just want everyone else’s nice things to show off to one another in an orgy of wealthy one-upmanship. These oligarchs don’t want to share or have to mix with the commoners during a visit the art museum. Why should they when they can basically just take the art in exchange for a few colorful shells? In case any readers have been asleep, many believe that such outcomes have been among the goals of a significant percentage of the wealthy oligarchs all along, a part of the schemes planned by ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) that they have been inserting into every state, with some of their greatest success right here in Michigan. They don’t want a commons that can be shared, they just want everything for themselves and their corporate interests, for all things to be privately held. Don’t misunderstand, we at Detroit Metro Mashup have nothing against corporations, we’d like to be a huge one, but we have sufficient brains to realize that there is a balance among all things in life and, when things become sufficiently unbalanced, chaos is insured. And chaos usually entails great hardship for the multitudes of regular people that eventually results in the elimination of the elite. We’d rather not go down that road, it’s been too well traveled for far too long.
There are massive numbers of us working every angle we know to improve the entire Metro area and attract young professionals to live, work, and repopulate downtown Detroit. People must have inspiration to do their best work, to be their most creative, and inspiration cannot be derived from works of art that are displayed only in the galleries of a few billionaires and millionaires. How do the geniuses who think selling the DIA art is a positive thing suppose that you attract great talent and great companies to a city that is bereft of culture? To a city that has sold its soul to generate a few shells that will be gone in an instant? Do they even care what happens ultimately to Detroit or is their concern all lip-service for a completely different agenda?
What we desperately need is to preserve, enhance, and rebuild Detroit’s treasures, not sell them off to the highest bidders. We need to attract talent, not repulse it. If this is the best that Emergency Manager Orr can come up with, he should move back to Washington, D.C., and let someone who actually loves Detroit and its history have the job; a job that shouldn’t even exist based upon the voting of the people of Michigan.