Sunday, June 14, 2020

Black Lives Matter

Photographer Jake May of highlights local artists and volunteers who painted a Black Lives Matter mural on a block of Martin Luther King Avenue near downtown Flint on June 14. See the series of photos here.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Come what may, this is where we'll remain, in this world with one moon

Just finished Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, which I guess is my official coronavirus novel. Started it when things were normal, chopped up into three volumes to lighten my commute on Caltrain. Finished it in the midst of shelter-in-place, its ending seeming all too prescient.
“I still don't know what sort of world this is, she thought. But whatever world we're in now, I'm sure this is where I will stay. Where we will stay. This world must have its own threats, its own dangers, must be filled with its own type of riddles and contradictions. We may have to travel down many dark paths, leading who knows where. But that's okay. It's not a problem. I'll just have to accept it. I'm not going anywhere. Come what may, this is where we'll remain, in this world with one moon.”

― Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Flint and Michigan's Bellwether 5th District

Not an endorsement, just an analysis of Flint's Congressional district as the Michigan primary unfolds:
"Finally, if it’s a bellwether district you’re after, look no further than the 5th District. Racially, this Flint- and Saginaw-based district looks like Michigan as a whole, although it is also one of the least wealthy and college-educated districts in the state. We’re forecasting Biden to get an average of 52 percent here and Sanders to get an average of 41 percent, which closely matches their expected statewide performance. Sanders winning here on election night could be the first sign that a statewide upset is brewing."
See 538's breakdown of the entire state here.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Flint, Meet Murakami

Sound familiar?

"The town was home to many kinds of people. In the eighteen years I lived there I learned a great deal. My emotional roots are there, and almost all my memories are connected to the place. Nevertheless, the spring I entered university, I heaved a deep sigh of relief when I left.

I still come back for spring and summer vacation, but basically all I do is drink beer."

— Haruki Murakami, "Hear the Wind Sing," 1979

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Flint Water Crisis: From Homes to Schools

Erica L. Green of The New York Times reports:
Five years after Michigan switched Flint’s water supply to the lead-saturated Flint River from Lake Huron, the city’s lead crisis has migrated from its homes to its schools, where neurological and behavioral problems — real or feared — among students are threatening to overwhelm the education system.The contamination of this long-struggling city’s water exposed nearly 30,000 schoolchildren to a neurotoxin known to have detrimental effects on children’s developing brains and nervous systems. Requests for special education or behavioral interventions began rising four years ago, when the water contamination became public, bolstering a class-action lawsuit that demanded more resources for Flint’s children.
Read the rest here.

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Rusty Nail

I've been waiting for this one. An exterior shot of the dearly departed Rusty Nail, courtesy of Jar With Most, in 1982.

1 1/2 oz whisky
1/2 oz Drambuie®
1 twist lemon peel

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Mark Perry, R.I.P.

Mark Richard Perry, 62, of Traverse City, passed away Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019 at Munson Medical Center.
Mark was born July 23, 1957 in Flint the son of Richard and Patricia (Rasak) Perry. On Sept. 19, 1998 at the St. Wenceslaus Church of Gills Pier, he married Kristen F. (Keefe) Perry, who survives.
Mark Perry was an explorer, contemplating the bigger picture. He was an avid lover of the earth, sky and miraculous universe of possibility. He shared his love through quiet tolerance, acceptance, compassion and wry humor.
He was a courageous journeyman, challenging conformity and adversity throughout a lifetime of originality. He lived many lives: chef, barman, gardener, musician and jazz lover, voracious and eclectic reader and spiritual seeker.
Growing up on Lake Fenton, Mark enjoyed water skiing and sailing at an early age and excelled at snow skiing, which inspired several years of living in the Rocky Mountains.
He was the man who always left his door open. The friend that stayed up all night ... and listened. The brother, mentor, rock and lighthouse in every storm. As a loving son, he enjoyed a rich connection with his parents, sharing his passions and life's joys.
Most importantly, as a husband, he was lover, protector, guardian and best friend.
All he met were captivated, easily striking up a conversation with a perfect stranger. Everyone he knew now feels a void where the light of generosity, curiosity, loyalty and safety once was.
Mark is survived by his loving wife of 20 years, Kristy; his father, Richard (Karen) Perry; his siblings, John (Diana) Perry, Timothy Perry, Nancy Perry and James (Ellen) Perry; his nieces and nephews, Patricia, Shannon, Taj, Sol, Tara, Matthew, Amara, Maizey, Sara and Nicholas.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Patricia; and two brothers, Thomas and Phillip Perry.
A celebration of Mark's life will be held at 1 p.m., with the family greeting friends at 11 a.m., on Sunday, Sept. 15, at Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay.
Memorials may be directed to the Perry family, PO Box 159, Suttons Bay, MI 49682.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Flint Photos: Paul's Pipe Shop

Dan Spaniola, the son of the late Paul Spaniola, owner of Paul’s Pipe Shop, in downtown Flint. (Photo by roving reporter Bernard Rosenberg)

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Rosenberg Chronicles: Mama Rose by Bernard Rosenberg

Rose Barnett was my grandmother on my father’s side. Known to me as “Mama Rose,” she was always kind to me. As an adolescent, I knew that when I saw her at the cottage at Lake Fenton she would always have a supply of Hershey Bars to pull from the top drawer of her dining room sever. I also knew that when I visited her on Court Street there would always be a fresh box of Sander’s Chocolates for me to open. She had that sort of kindness, and it was a crisp as those dollar bills that she would give me during the Jewish Holidays. I can never remember her as anything except as being a kind grandmother to me.

I was the grandson who gave his time to provide for her when I was 16 and living in Flint.  I would arrive at the Kith Haven Nursing Home, help her dress, and walk her to the elevator. 
The elevator terrified her, and every time I would slide the folding barrier shut, push the button and then descend, she would call out for her husband, Ed. She never did that going up, but I could always count on it going down.

Then it was on to the front passenger seat of my father’s 1966 white Cadillac. Via Fenton Road, I would then drive and take her into her past. Though this was a time when she could hardly walk, she loved the trip seated in the comfort of the car. I would take her down Cussewago Beach on Lake Fenton to the cottage, and she would admire it. I would then drive all the way into Fenton, and we would stop at the A&W. Via curb service, she would have a hamburger deluxe and a root beer. She always smiled and went through countless paper napkins during those Cadillac lunches. We did this on occasional Sundays until I graduated from high school and left Flint to go to college. That’s two years I have never regretted.

As far as I know, I was the only grandson who did this. For some unknown reason, I was unique in my ability to handle her. Though she was feeble, her voice was strong. We didn’t talk much during those trips, but from the smile on her face I knew that my time with her brought back happy memories. And that was good.

Just as she remembered me with her candy, so did I remember her with her chosen confectionary. Next to those Hershey Bars in the cottage server were her packages of Sen-Sen, a petite anise-flavored breath mint that shook out of a package that you could hide in the palm of your hand. Each pack had a metal-foil cover opening the size of a pencil eraser. You could puncture it, and that allowed you to shake out a dark colored mint the size of a fluff of rice. I hated the flavor. She loved it. As our driving trips would end, I always had a package hidden in my palm to give her as we went up that elevator, and I suppose that’s why she never called for Ed on the return trip.

I have a sterling silver keepsake that Mama Rose carried with her from the days before she married Ed Rosenberg. It is a woman’s petite purse, large enough only to hold a small supply of name-cards and some change. It has a snap cover and unfolds. When you open it, there is a tiny mirror in it, along with two spring-loaded canisters to hold dimes and nickels. The outside cover is engraved with the initials of the woman known as Rose Barnett. The card storage area has one remaining card that is embroidered with her name. I can still read the important names and phone numbers written by Rose long ago.

I was with her the night before she died. As I watched her labor through her breathing, I knew she would soon join her husband. I also held her hand, and when I squeezed it, there was an ever-so-faint return.

Flint Artifacts: Health Guarded Child Button