Big Screen â€˜Blingâ€™ Not Dearbornâ€™s Thing
In a city that places strict restrictions on everything from fence height, garage size and shed location, it is hard to understand how jumbo electronic billboards trumpeting drink specials, â€œmighty midgetsâ€? and â€œfoxy boxingâ€? could have slipped under Dearbornâ€™s radar.
Yet at one gateway to Dearborn, immediately off the newly paved westbound Michigan Avenue exit at Interstate 94, that is exactly what greets people as they enter the town that Henry built.
Atop the roof of this dance club â€“ a windowless, but tastefully designed, granite-walled building that rises from the corner of Michigan Avenue and Miller Road â€“ rests a jumbo size, full-color TV-like screen announcing to passersby that one can enjoy female entertainment and, of course, a $6.50 lunch special. Like the people who purchase Playboy magazine for the articles, Iâ€™m sure itâ€™s the culinary talents of the chef inside that led to the need for this blaring billboard.
While this type of sign would hardly draw a second glance in New Yorkâ€™s Times Square, it is woefully out of place in Dearborn. Whatâ€™s even more troubling, though, is that this particular â€œgentlemenâ€™sâ€? club is not the only business with a bright lighted sign.
Take a drive around Dearborn and youâ€™ll find these electronic billboards popping up like tulips in early spring. Perhaps our city leaders need to seriously consider appointing a Minister of Good Taste to put a stop to this growth.
So what started this mad planting of digital billboards? All signs point to the grand-daddy screen of them all outside Dearbornâ€™s Ford Community & Performing Arts Center. Plucked straight from the Las Vegas strip and planted front-and-center on Michigan Avenue is a full-color screen flashing pictures and ticket prices for upcoming performances.
Full-color electronic signs are now featured in front of some of the cityâ€™s largest and most attractive car dealerships, apparently just in case someone missed the lot full of shiny new vehicles bathed in high-voltage bright white lights. Dearbornâ€™s Fire Station No. 2 has a single-color screen, this one red, similar to the one in front of a popular Italian eatery. Car washes, places of worship and some Dearborn schools have them, too.
These billboards come in all shapes, sizes and colors. And they arenâ€™t cheap. A single color screen can cost between $10,000 and $20,000. Go for full-color and youâ€™ll pay more than $50,000. The appeal for these electronic devices is understandable. Rather than having to stand outside in inclement weather trying to post plastic letters to the more traditional marquee, one can simply sit at a computer and visually assault drivers with messages that jump, flash, spin and dance.
If itâ€™s not oil changes or car wash specials, the billboards are blaring lunch deals and news flashes on upcoming concerts, mindless gibberish to justify the big investment for these signs.
It is hard to understand how Dearborn officials could have allowed and, in some instances, helped create a business landscape that today more closely resembles a disjointed Picasso than the Norman Rockwell atmosphere the city fashions itself to be. It is as if our city is having an identity crisis. And that isnâ€™t a good thing.
Our city leaders need to step in and pull the plug on these billboards. If left unchecked, this trend threatens to turn Dearborn streets into high-definition versions of a carnival barker screaming at you as you drive by.
If you are defensive about the French, put it away for a few minutes and enjoy the humor.
"France has neither winter nor summer nor morals. Apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country. France has usually been governed by prostitutes."
"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me."
--General George S. Patton
"We can stand here like the French, or we can do something about it."
"As far as I'm concerned, war always means failure."
--Jacques Chirac, President of France
"As far as France is concerned, you're right."
"The only time France wants us to go to war is when the German Army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee."
"The last time the French asked for 'more proof ' it came marching into Paris under a German flag."
"Only thing worse than a Frenchman is a Frenchman who lives in Canada."
"What do you expect from a culture and a nation that exerted more of its national will fighting against DisneyWorld and Big Macs than the Nazis?"
"It is important to remember that the French have always been there when they needed us."
"Somebody was telling me about the French Army rifle that was being advertised on eBay the other day -- the description was, 'Never shot. Dropped once.'"
--Rep. Roy Blunt, MO
"Raise your right hand if you like the French, ... raise both hands if you are French."
"Do you know how many Frenchmen it takes to defend Paris? It's not known, it's never been tried."
--Rep. R. Blount, MO
"Do you know it only took Germany three days to conquer France in WWII? And that's because it was raining."
The AP and UPI reported that the French Government announced after the London bombings that it has raised its terror alert level from Run to Hide. The only two higher levels in France are Surrender and Collaborate. The
rise in the alert level was precipitated by a recent fire which destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively disabling their military.
French Ban Fireworks at Euro Disney
(AP), Paris, March 5, 2003
The French Government announced today that it is imposing a ban on the use of fireworks at Euro Disney. The decision comes the day after a nightly fireworks display at the park, located just 30 miles outside of Paris, caused the soldiers at a nearby French Army garrison to surrender to a
group of Czech tourists
Simple! Instead of the state taxing the citizens and then dolling out the dough to the various school systems, let the citizens/parents keep the school tax money, but then every month have them make out a hefty check to the schools that their children are attending. Just like a water and an electric bill.
Then watch out as parents get involved with their childrenâ€™s schools and even making sure that their kids are doing their homework.
Itâ€™s not a new idea; private schools do it all the time.
"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" - The Wizard of Oz -1939
As you were the "Wizard" behind the Grande Ballroom, I thought you and your readers would be interested in our grass roots group.
The "Friends of the Grande" group is looking for charter members.
October 2006 marks the 78th anniversary of the Grande Ballroom's opening and the 40th Anniversary of it's Rock n Roll Grand Re-opening.
The Grande Ballroom.com has organized the "Friends of the Grande" group to help in planning events that commemorate these dates. Plans are being drawn up for art, music and preservation efforts and events.
If you would like to join us for regular meetings, online and in person, you may enroll at WWW.THEGRANDEBALLROOM.COM via the F.O.G (Friends of the Grande) link.