DETROIT -- This city has not always been a gentle place, but a series of events over the past few, frigid days causes one to wonder how cold the collective heart has grown.
It starts with a phone call made by a man who said his friend found a dead body in the elevator shaft of an abandoned building on the city's west side.
"He's encased in ice, except his legs, which are sticking out like Popsicle sticks," the caller phoned to tell this reporter.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
It's one of the first test cases, but by no means will be the last.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
This review of it, however, makes me want to go back check it out.
I had the intention to pick out for your delectation whichever phrase or sentence made the least sense, but boy, it was a crowded field. This one must surely be up there:love with no need to pre-empt grievanceThat's as close to meaningless as you can get without replacing each letter by the one that follows it in the alphabet (which gets you: "mpwf xjui op offe up qsf-fnqu hsjfwbodf").
Day One: Obama tackles the economy and Iraq War.
I'll be very interested to see the reaction in the Land of Expectations when the headlines read:
Day 478: Obama tackles the economy and Iraq War.
It's ironic that as excited as the press is that Bush is gone and Obama is in, this kind of journalism isn't going to help the new President.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Evidently, out in Pennsylvania, along the Brandywine River, the animals are very tame and tolerant.
We were visiting the Brandywine River Museum and the art of the recently passed, Andrew Wyeth.
But really, the pig was one of the highlights.
P.S. For you Seinfeld fans, this is just great.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
As we enter a history-making few days, and I do mean that somewhat sincerely for all you rolling your eyes right now, I must apologize for being pretty lax in keeping Mr. O's fans up to date on his own history-making adventures of late.
You can see from the new slidesh-O to the left, he's just plain growin' up. As I posted it today, I took a look back at some of our past shows. Wow.
During the past couple post-less months, Mr. O's enjoyed the first Christmas he was really aware of and surprised us with a hearty "Ho, ho, ho." He traveled to visit grandparents on both sides. Got a nice shiner after a mishap with a dump truck and a doorway. And he developed a passion for both mac-n-cheese and Bluths Cluths, a.k.a. Blues Clues.
For me, though, one thing stands out the most, and it's a memory I just can't shake.
O and I had a conversation. A real one. Three questions. Three answers.
M: "Did you have a good day, O?"
M: "What did you do?"
O: "Dot, dots." (As he raised his marker-covered hands to show off his work.)
M: "What did you have for lunch?"
I can clearly remember my own mother's frustration at not being able to get much more than that out of me at the age of 15. Hopefully, O and I can get in a few more good talks before then.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
To make a tall tale short, Carrington fell on hard times. His mother's feet swelled with diabetes, and she moved into his home. Construction jobs dried up. The saucer prototype fell into disrepair and was evicted from its hangar.
Carrington grew forlorn and found solace in yoga, fried chicken and cold beer.
But now, Carrington believes his saucer may indeed take flight, what with Washington prepared to hand-out $1.5 trillion in stimulus and bailout money.
This is good stuff. (Watch the video at the top too)
I had heard of but didn't really know the work of Charlie LeDuff until reading the piece posted on LWMO a few days back. Now, I make a point of searching out his articles, and today, he doesn't disappoint.
I've been interested to watch in recent months the hope, for lack of a better term, people are putting into the presidency of Barack Obama.
I know. I know. The whole campaign was based on "hope." I get that. What has surprised me a little, however, are the ridiculously high expectations Obama's followers are placing on the shoulders of the new president. Although, I suppose it could be argued it's all his own fault. After all, he did promised to change everything.
For instance. I was at a meeting recently with a number of very highly educated folks, people who are experts in their field. At one point an individual commented on a certain national policy issue that has for decades stalled under the weight of cost, politics and practicality. With a very straight face, this person said, "Well, there's no reason Obama shouldn't have this on his first 100 day agenda. He'll get this done."
In no way do I begrudge anyone their hope. Hope is good, and times are indeed tough. I do hope President Obama is successful, just for my own selfish reasons of not wanting to see the government mess something up that messes with Mr. O's childhood and future.
Still, I'll be very interested to watch the reaction of those who have seemingly staked it all on Mr. Obama when the inevitable happens. When politics, reality or both come into play and all the great ideas end up on milk crates next to an urban freeway.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
We know it's bad there. We know, when it comes to the city's public schools, it's very bad there. But at the same time, it's been so bad there for so long that people are just numb to it.
That's why everyone should take 30 minutes and read this article.
It will leave you numb, but for different reasons I think.
Its recently resigned mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, he of the Kangol hats and five-button suits, now wears jailhouse orange as he's currently serving a four-month sentence as part of a plea agreement for perjuring himself regarding an extramarital affair with his chief of staff, which yielded soupy love-daddy text messages that would make Barry White yak in his grave. Those in Detroit who are neither recipients of sweetheart contracts nor Kilpatrick family members on the city payroll at inflated salaries think he got off easy. Because what led to the perjury was concealing an $8.4 million payout from city coffers to settle a whistleblower suit brought by cops who'd been fired for investigating, among other things, the murder of a stripper named Strawberry who, prior to her death, was allegedly beat up by Kilpatrick's wife when she caught her entertaining her husband.Of course, these are the episodes people read about. These are the kinds of hijinks that tend to make people numb, as opposed to sad.
But not this:
This is barely the half of it. Again, an article worth your time.
One of the most popular firemen in the ranks of the Detroit Fire Department, Walter Harris--a biker, minister, and mean firehouse cook--had died that night fighting an arson fire in a house that had burned before, but had yet to be knocked down by the city. Walt had gone upstairs looking for victims, since empty houses in Detroit are often occupied--by everyone from drug addicts to homeless families. The roof collapsed on him, ending a 19-year-career and leaving his six children fatherless (one of whom he adopted out of the ghetto as a teenager and who has become a firefighter himself).
Back in April, Charlie had done a story and video about the men of Squad 3/Engine 23, which included Walt. It was more of an angry cry than a piece. The details of what the firemen endured in this dysfunctional city were nearly unbelievable. Charlie relayed how the average Detroit fireman faces twice as many fires as his New York counterpart, but in much more adverse conditions. In a city of looters, these firefighters once went out on a call in the middle of dinner, only to find upon returning that their meal had been stolen, as had the truck of one of the men. In fact, after one deranged woman set fire to a house, she tried to drive away in their firetruck as they were putting out the blaze.
The city is so cash-strapped that firefighters have to purchase their own toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Their aging bunker gear is coated in carbon, "making them the equivalent of walking matchsticks." The firehouses' brass poles have been removed and sold off by the city.