As a native Detroiter, I remember Detroit when it was referred to as the Paris of the Midwest. And over the years our beloved city has changed.
Recently I read a book called “Grand River and Joy” by Susan Messer. And of course my eyes lit up as I saw Grand River and Joy. Some of you will recall that a block south of Joy, on Beverly and Grand River, was the Grande Ballroom and I had a wee bit to do with that rock ‘n’ roll establishment.
Grand River and Joy is a story about the Jewish community that was prevalent in the area in the 1960’s and the movement into the community of our African American neighbors. There was some conflict but there are also moments of understanding and joy and human relationships that went on there.
Susan captures the trauma and the joys of the changing Grand River and Joy neighborhood. Think kosher corned beef sandwiches, think ribs and greens, think Dexter and Davison.
The defining scene comes when a Jewish merchant named Harry Levine and his employee Curtis confront Curtis’ son Alvin, who is a member of the Black Panthers, and was railing against the white honkies and wondered why his father worked for a man named Harry Levine. “Why are you friends with that white man?” asks Alvin. Curtis defines Mr. Levine by saying, “That’s no white man, that’s Mr. Levine.”
It’s a beautiful story, a moving story, and a story that will bring tears and quiet joy as you relive those turbulent days of the 1960’s at Grand River and Joy in Detroit. “Grand River and Joy” is published by The University of Michigan Press and is available in book stores now.
There is no center. That’s the problem. People often times wonder why our journalist, our lobbyists, our politicians are either on one side or another. Either they’re Democrats or Republicans. Republicans are on the conservative side. Democrats are on the liberal side.
But, there is no money in the center. You could try to write a fair story but then you’ll be condemned by the left and the right. Now if you write a story that is pro Obama, well the Democrats like you and you could probably get a job in their administration. If you write a story pro Bush, the Republicans will probably like you and you’ll get a job in the government as a lobbyist for Republicans. The whole thing is nuts!
When is the average American going to wake up? There is no money in the center that is why you don’t hear centrist views in this country. It is either propaganda by the liberal progressive Democrats or by the neo-con conservative Republicans. It is one side or the other.
The middle class, it is the middle of every argument. Sadly, it is hardly ever presented in our blogs, our newspapers, our television, or by our government.
Shame on us.
My best pal left me the other night. He was hinting that he was going to leave but I didn’t really think he’d go. To me he was a friend, a true friend. He was there when I needed him; he never made judgments of me, and gave me understanding and love in return. I miss my friend. I miss him more than anyone will ever know. I hope that he remembers me. I hope that he forgives me. I was less a friend to him than he was to me. Farewell Blackout. ......My house is silent. My heart is empty.
1997 - 2009
Today I received a letter from a sailor, one of my ex students, and it made me stop and think how lucky we all are to live in America. Read the letter and then look at the videos.
I came back for a short vacation in Dearborn on the 4th of July. There is a lot of fear and anxiety over the outbreak of war with North Korea and the intensification of fighting in Afghanistan, especially in the Navy and Marine Corps. Coming back to Dearborn, Michigan, USA helps me breathe. I saw American flags in front of every house, sticking out of every lawn. I saw a little arabic girl in a hijab holding hands with a blonde boy, walking down the street. For all the insanity going on in our economy and for all the craziness going on in the world, there's nothing better than coming back to Dearborn. It's a place like no other that reminds me no differences are insurmountable in the search for peace. For those that complain about our fair city, I hope you remember to appreciate it as well. We live in a place of beauty and kindness beyond our understanding. To have grown up in and return to such a modern eden, I feel truly blessed. …God bless America!
MCSA Brian Stone
I don’t believe that any American be he Democrat, Republican, or Independent wants any other American to go without health care. The problem is who is going to pay for it and what will it be like?
One argument that keeps reappearing, and I have heard it said about five different ways in the last few weeks depending on who’s saying what, is that there are 47 million Americans uninsured (the Democratic Party line). The problem is that the figure keeps changing depending on who’s saying what. As I was watching TV one night the figure was being bounced around from 40 million to 30 million to 15 million (The Republican Party spin). It finally got down to about 8 million children which were uninsured for whatever reason.
It seems no one can come to an agreement on how many people are without insurance in this country. You know the argument. The glass is half empty. The glass is half full. Pick your own number and run with it!
Of course you’ll remember the same people who are telling us how many people are uninsured in the United States are the same government employees who told us how many people were starving to death in Africa during the last famine. Yet these are the same bean counters that couldn’t agree on how many citizens, via census, lived in Detroit Michigan.
So anytime the government throws out a figure, any figure, I get a little suspicious. So run for the hills. Who knows what the truth is. But saying that I don’t know what health insurance is going to be like in this country but I sure as hell know that no one knows the correct figure of the uninsured.
My friend, Democratic Representative John Dingell, took a hit the other day at the townhall meeting in Romulus discussing Obama’s health care plans. And I’m sorry to say that John Dingell did not come off well in his confrontation with the father who had the son with cerebral palsy and whether or not his son would be covered under the Obama plan.John said yes he would be covered and that there would be an amendment to cover the boy’s condition, but when the father inquired as to where in the bill he could find this amendment John Dingell could not give him an answer.
We all know that it’s a BIG bill and that our politicians have taken to NOT reading all the bills that they pass for us. Nor will they accept the same bills for their own insurance. Shame, shame. Just for the record,I agree with President Obama that we need health care insurance reform.
I also think that John was surprised at the large number of people that turned out. He was still suffering under the talking points of the Democratic Party, implying that the people that show up to these meetings are mostly stooges of the insurance lobbyists. John you could not be more wrong! In fact Democrat Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, has called the protesters Nazis and had referred to them as out of touch mobs. Oh my, out of touch mobs? I think that our congressmen are the ones that are out of touch.
What our representatives don’t understand is that the general anger of the protesters goes way beyond health care and the huge deficit. It goes to the very basis of our Democracy.
People are angry and they are angry at congress. They are angry at the bureaucrats who seem to only think of promoting programs that will create more and more jobs for themselves and their unions. Congress has lost touch with the American people and that’s what people are angry about.
They are angry about the deficit and the arrogance of the Washington DC, inside the Beltway, elites with regards to the popular uprising popping up all over the United States.
This is not just Republicans and insurance lobbyists protesting, this is a group composed of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and just ordinary American citizens who are becoming more and more disenchanted with our American government.
This is sad because it doesn’t have to be this way, but somewhere along the line the John Dingells, the Nancy Pelosis, the Harry Reids, and President Obama have lost touch with the American People. Yes, they talk the talk but they don’t walk the walk. They seem to concern themselves only with organized groups be they big corporations, big unions or politically correct activists. The American people feel that they are under attack and they are going to stand up and let their voices be heard. Let freedom shout out.
Gardens are amazing. One of the important lessons that I learned in my life as a youth, was with Butch Hanneburg my best buddy. Every morning on our way to school we would be walking down the alley on Kentucky Street. Yes, Neighborhoods used to have alleys. They are great for playing kick the can. As we walked to school everyday, there were big fields near Wyoming Ave. on both sides, and in one small part of the fields an Old Italian man was always out in his “Garden of Eden”. He had taken a portion of the empty field and turned it into an incredible bountiful garden. He had corn, beets, potatoes, radishes, carrots, strawberries, and beans. Boy, you name it. He even had a few fruit trees that he had nurtured over the years.
Well, being two young kids when he wasn’t around, we would hop into his “Eden” and swipe some of his food. We would pull up a radish or carrot, or sometimes we could even swipe an apple. Forbidden fruit always tastes better.
One day he caught us and we thought uh oh, trouble, but he said “Boys I want to talk to you.” He had an accent, but his message was clear. “You don’t have to steal from my garden. Nature and God gives us lots of food to share. So whenever you want just feel free to take some. You can even take it home to your mother and family. That’s even better, sharing.” And with those kind words we were acquitted from the crime of garden swiping.
As time went on we got to know the old man. Never got to know his name, but we got to know him as a person. He would give us little pieces of wisdom that came from his garden and his maturity. I will always remember that he one time told Butch and I that a field was like an empty brain. We said “What do you mean? Like a field?” And he said “Have you noticed that in this big field there is only a small part that I have turned into a garden? What is growing on the majority of the field is just weeds. It’s useless. Now, if you take and cultivate a portion of that field and work hard everyday you can develop it into something valuable. You see the field boys? It is just like your brain. If you cultivate it, go to school, and work hard at it, it will turn into something valuable. But if you just leave it alone it is just an empty useless field.”
What a lesson. What a lesson.
When I was growing up the place underneath the main floor of every home was called a basement. That’s where the furnace, the washing machine, and maybe even a food pantry were located. The basement was also the place you would go to during a heat wave. That’s right we didn’t have air conditioning in those days, so we would head down to the basement to cool off.
Somewhere around the early 50’s basements took on another name and meaning. They started to be called recreation rooms. Now what happened is your father would get a hold of some asphalt floor tiling, glued it down on the cement floor, painted the walls, and maybe even installed a ping pong table and some old furniture. Nobody had a basement anymore. It was now called a “rec.” room.
Well, as time moved on even our rec. rooms changed. In the nineties the rec. room became the media room. Yup, there you will find a big TV screen. In fact, I even have one where you press a button and the screen comes out of the ceiling. All of a sudden the lights go dim and before long you are transported, memory wise, to the old Circle Theatre on Warren Ave. and Miller, or the Carmen Theatre on Schaffer Ave. and Ford Rd., or that tiny theatre on Schaffer and Michigan Ave. called the Midway Theatre. And if you were a “cake” in West Dearborn, the old Dearborn Theatre and Calvin Theatre on Michigan Ave. served the purpose.
Fast forward to 2009. You can now watch movies in your own home. You don’t have to go the theatre to see a movie today. You head right downstairs to the media room. That’s how great America has become. From a basement to a rec. room to a media room. Ahhhh, God bless America.
I don't own a cell phone and after watching this video, I don't want one. I think you will be very interested in this clip done by TV station in Indianapolis. You think you're safe when you are talking on your cell phone? Well watch this video and weep. Let me know what you think after you watch this video.
About a week ago I had received a call. A voice said, "I understand a very good friend of yours left you several weeks ago. Well there is a new pal up here just waiting for Alberta and you. Why don't you come up and see if the three of you can make a go of it?"
Well,for Alberta and I,it was a two hour drive up north and then, love at first sight. We would like to introduce all of you to our new pup, Blackout V.
God really does work in mysterious ways.