Category Archives: Michigan Street

Urban Living on 2 Wheels – The Motoped

I Could Get Used To This

The Beach Cruiser that wants to be an Urban Cruiser

The Beach Cruiser that wants to be an Urban Cruiser

Helmets are no longer mandatory in Michigan.  There are clearly two sides of this development – I hesitate to call it an Issue – because many people who have never ridden a motorized 2 wheeler should not really be making or influencing laws regulating the activity.  That is like a man saying he knows how to give birth.

Enter:  The Motoped.  It’s not a Moped.  It’s a motorized bicycle.  They are about 1 year old in production and come in kit form (currently) but I foresee a bigger market in areas where you don’t have to shovel snow more than 5 months annually.

This is not an advertisement.  I just happen to appreciate practicality.

I prefer calling the model pictured as a classic urban cruiser, myself.  The rear mono-shock and large tires will make those potholes in Grand Rapids a lot easier to “stomach.”

What do you think?  Send me a comment

The Hardest Part About Good Political Writing

I Want To Say Something “Fair” That Everyone Will Accept

Journalists listen to Brain Ellis at M-Live's "Meet and Greet" in Grand Rapids on July 24th.

Journalists listen to Brain Ellis at M-Live’s “Meet and Greet” in Grand Rapids on July 24th.

The Author (Me!) sits (in the right-middle of the picture) and tries to think like the Reader.  The Reader tries to think about why the Author wrote this in that particular way.  Straight away we are dealing with negative acceptance of the product without a word yet shared.

Which brings me to the True Point of this Blog today – How can you “setup” your loyal following of readers (your reader base) with a high quality offering while dedicating yourself to Eternal Truth, Justice and The American way and all that other related stuff from The Daily Planet and Jimmy Olsen……..??

You must say it like it is.  That may not be politically correct and it may not be immediately popular as I write this, but allow me a few more syllables, please…………

Who has been consistently transparent like no other government official before in recorded history?  Who gets called on the carpet for denying the renewal of a US postage stamp for the 5th time since 1998?  Wake Up!!  Voting NO is not denying that breast cancer research is not important – it is being conscious that the world out there has multiple problems and you need to prioritize! The accusations against Justin Amash made by Brian Ellis last evening at M-Live Media Studios were so ridiculous that you would have thought he was running for Kindergarten Monitor and not the United States Congress.

BUT – That is exactly what the “Movers” and the “Shakers” are doing (what some refer to as ‘The Business Elite’) and if you think that is an indication of mental softness or a weak conservative stance on the part of Incumbent Rep. Justin Amash you have another think coming………..You Are Possibly Blind!

Brian Ellis pitiful turnout

Brian Ellis pitiful turnout

Interesting Fact:  Look at all of the Tables where people are supposedly there to hear Brian Ellis speak about his qualifications.  Look very closely.  How many people have glasses or even cups full of any kind of beverage?  How many people have plates of food?  This is a “staged photo.”  You might as well watch a pot boil.

As a Writer I can’t say anything positive about Brian Ellis.  Lord knows I tried.  But you can’t jump from Romper Room school board experience to the Chambers of Congress without taking a few steps in between!  Brian Ellis is NOT your answer for Conservative representation in the 3rd District.  Brian Ellis is not credible.

Justin Amash for Congress #3 – He represents the Common American and he represents us in the 3rd District.  No Questions Asked.



The Healthcare Maze

The government mandates we select a form of health insurance.  They do not mandate we can opt out if desired.  Is this an attack or a breach of personal choice?

Back in the day it was the Employers responsibility to issue a health plan that covered the worker and allowed them to expand that to cover their families.  In nearly all cases this was a logical move.  Now – in the current economy when many become contractors and not employees (in the pure sense of the word) the line gets fuzzy.

Did you know?  Then you have university athletes who are vying for unionization and protection.  Guaranteed representation of a collective against a larger body.  Doesn’t that seem somehow backwards?  Inside-out?  Something.  The purse in this case belongs to the NCAA – a non-profit – and where’s the cash there is……… know.

Does anybody really live like this that you know?
This is the interior of the Transamerica Building in San Francisco.

Never mind that insurance companies used to own the seven largest buildings in the world.  It may be more than that, now.  How is it that we leave to keys to the bird cage with the cat?

If you can figure any of this out please let me know by sending a comment.

It’s all about money and the ways to guarantee that the G-Man gets his when he wants it.

Good Luck making up your mind.  If you wait too long, they’ll make the choice for you…….

The People Around You During the NCAA’s

Those around you are not always who you think they are.  Sometimes they are “cloaked.”

Believe it or not – none of these teams made it to the Elite 8

That person over there is rooting for the same team you are.  Does that alone make them your “Friend?”

 A quick and easy example of a “set” of characters is a description of the thieves in the 2001 re-make of Ocean’s Eleven.  Carl Reiner’s character, Saul Bloom, is the Boesky1. That’s Ivan Boesky, a hot-shot wall-street trader who got caught committing securities fraud. He’s supposed to be a wealthy man to foot the bill who also has some inside information.  Let’s call him the athletic director.

The Jim Brown1 represents a confrontation between Bernie Mac’s character (Frank Catton, the inside man) and Matt Damon (Linus Caldwell) that is staged to distract. It is after a famous football (american) player who later went on to play leg-breaking thugs in a bunch movies. (Don’t mess with me or you’re in for it.)  Let’s call him the power forward.

The Miss Daisy1 refers to the SWAT van, their “getaway” vehicle. It comes from the movie,
Driving Miss Daisy.  There is a mascot.

The two Jethros1 are “hillbilly gear-head types” to take care of Miss Daisy. They are Casey Affleck and Scott Caan (Virgil and Turk Malloy)  The guards.

The Leon Spinks1 is the disruption of the boxing match, after Leon Spinks’ famous surprise upset victory over Mohammed Ali.  The strong center.

And the Ella Fitzgerald1 is the tape they make and play in a loop in order to get into the vault. This is based on a Memorex commercial from the 70’s in which a recording of Ella’s voice breaks a glass and the quesiton is asked, “Is it live or is it Memorex?”  This is a player off the bench that wins the game on the last second shot.

Now what has that got to do with college basketball?

Everybody (OK – not 100% but pretty high) has a team they want to see win in the current NCAA Men’s basketball Tournament.  They wear school colors and distribute insults and generally get down to serious rivalry mode.  Of those – 99.999% are not even basketball players.  Another 72% are not alumni nor did they attend the school they root for.  These people around you are simply like-minded in one respect – they are caught up in an event and like you – make a lot more out of it than it deserves.  It is simply an excuse to get together and enjoy oneself.    The bar owner thanks you.

Then we are all going back home and commence to argue politics with the spouse or housemate?  Is that any different?  Once again – the members of the “team” are people you don’t really know and you allow yourself to get all worked up over issues you differ on.  Better to remain silent………….etc.

What can I say?  How are we going to get a point across?

1Read more:

Saint Patrick OR Straight Pride Day

No Parades.  No Banners.  No Corporate Sponsors.

Happy with the way we are.  Also confident that it should not make one bit of difference to you whether or not I am straight, bi or gay.  The question is not listed on most applications for business, work, benefits or induction into the armed service.  Public restrooms have not changed – why does this have to be an issue in the first place?

Please tell us – why do the ‘Politically Correct’ want to turn St. Patrick’s Day into a debacle?  It won’t prove anything other than what most of us already knew.

The LOUDER you insist on saying what you are is showing us more of what you are not.

straight pride

LBGT – If you are so sure of yourselves in your identity you don’t have to be so annoying.

There are hungry people out there to feed.  Why are you ‘enlightened and socially conscious folk wasting good money on this nonsense?

Grand Rapids Midtown Planned Paczki Day Crawl Threatened by Snow Accumulation

This coming March 4th – Many sidewalks may fail to allow passage on Michigan Street, several others in Midtown Area


Hold onto those ideas about Fat Tuesday.  Or Fat Thursday if you are Polish.

The Paczki Day Crawl may not become a reality this year due to the extreme snow accumulations we have experienced in Grand Rapids so far this Winter.

M-Live Reports:  “The heavy January snowfall led to a crush of <City> complaints, with reports tripling from 293 in December to 941 in January.  Some of the properties had not been cleared at all this winter and were packed heavily with snow and ice.”,  Sidewalk Supervisor John Hayes said.

“You take that for granted that you can trudge through that (snow-covered sidewalk), but a person with physical challenges, children, we certainly don’t want those folks in the road,” First Ward City Commissioner Walt Gutowski said. “We want them to be able to walk on the sidewalks.”

Those “extra calories” you get from a heavily laden fried and cream filled doughnut may not be enough to allow you to walk successfully through the crawl.  We’ll keep you posted.

Comments?  Suggestions?  Please comment on this report below.

Dave Barry Deserves A Raise – Or at Least a Bowl of Kale

Generally you would not have any trouble whatsoever finding somebody that appreciates the humorous writings of the well-known syndicated Pulitzer prize winning Dave Barry.

Dave Barry dave-barry-website
Whether it’s smashing toilets or pumpkins you’ll find Dave there……………..
Actually, Dave Barry retired in 2005 from the daily grind (like myself – only with money) but he still writes an occasional column for the Miami Herald (A Knight Newspaper – my first employer) and somehow has not skipped a beat as it comes to making a ridiculous point out of the ridiculous.  Dave needs to get a raise in my opinion.  He is going to become my mentor whether he likes it or not.

Dave discusses “trends” that highlighted the year 2013 in a recent column:

“Were there any new trends in 2013? Yes, but they were not good. Kale, for example. Suddenly this year restaurants started putting kale into everything, even though it is an unappetizing form of plant life that until recently was used primarily for insulation. Even goats will not eat it. Goats, when presented with kale, are like, “No thanks, we’ll just chew on used seat cushions.””
Now that was not so snarky, was it?
Why can’t we write or talk or eschew the wondrous laments about our political opponents like that – with an obvious flair for the comedy but still grasping onto the tartar like a piece of dental floss – and not become so aggressive as to produce acid reflux and eventual ulcerations of the eyeballs??  Huh?
But I regress.  This subject wanders into the arena of the EGO and we all know what that means if we don’t agree 110% – somebody is going to get pissed off.

We Can Agree to Disagree Without Losing Any More Hair Jokes

A man was getting a haircut prior to a trip to Rome. He mentioned the trip to the barber who responded, “Rome? Why would anyone want to go there?”

“It’s crowded & dirty and full of Italians. You’re crazy to go to Rome.”

So, how are you getting there?”

“We’re taking TWA,” was the reply. “We got a great rate!”

“TWA?” exclaimed the barber. “That’s a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly, and they’re always late.  So, where are you staying in Rome?”

“We’ll be at the downtown International Marriott.”

“That dump! That’s the worst hotel in the city. The rooms are small, the service is surly and they’re overpriced. So, whatcha doing when you get there?”

“We’re going to go to see the Vatican and we hope to see the Pope.”

“That’s rich,” laughed the barber. “You and a million other people trying to see him. He’ll look the size of an ant. Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You’re going to need it.”

A month later, the man again came in for his regular haircut. The barber asked him about his trip to Rome.

“It was wonderful,” explained the man, “not only were we on time in one of TWA’s brand new planes, but it was overbooked and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a beautiful 28 year old stewardess who waited on me hand and foot.

And the hotel-it was great! They’d just finished a $25 million remodeling job and now it’s the finest hotel in the city. They, too, were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us the presidential suite at no extra charge!”

“Well,” muttered the barber, “I know you didn’t get to see the pope.”

“Actually, we were quite lucky, for as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder and explained that the pope likes to personally meet some of the visitors, and if I’d be so kind as to step into his private room and wait the pope would personally greet me. Sure enough, five minutes later the pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down as he spoke a few words to me.”

“Really?” asked the Barber. “What’d he say?”

He said, “Where’d you get the lousy haircut?

See? You can be cute and funny and not hurt anybody’s feelings.

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee Hints Seinfeld Reunion

George Costanza appears on Sony Web Show

Jason Alexander and Jerry seinfeld

Jason Alexander and Jerry Seinfeld visited Tom’s Restaurant in NYC to make a SB promo.  <Courtesy: Twitter>

During the Super Bowl: Jerry Seinfeld and his former co-star Jason Alexander (George Costanza) were featured in a vignette bickering in their old coffee shop in New York. Turns out it was a promotion for a six-minute episode of Crackle’s hit Comedians in Cars featuring Jerry and George taking a drive, in character.


The whole promo was just that – a promo.  The stunt was as much about promoting a stunt as the stunt itself.  Enjoy!