Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve at the Capitol Theater

The Capitol Theatre lobby. (Photo courtesy of sarahrazak)

Here's a re-post from New Year's Eve last year with some good comments:
Anyone recall a New Year's Eve party at the Capitol Theater in the mid-eighties, maybe 1984 or 1985? There was an icy snowfall that night and everyone streamed out into the street afterwards, sliding all over the place. The son of a prominent Flint politician at the time "accidentally" tackled some sort of beauty pageant winner — Miss Michigan? — in the slush outside the theater. She was wearing a white dress and some kind of white fur coat. She was not happy. It's all a little blurry. I think Mark Sanford and Bill Custack were in attendance. Someone help me out here. Am I imagining all this? I hope it actually happened because it's one of the few times in my life I actually had fun on New Year's Eve, excluding my younger years when I'd excitedly sip chilled Vernor's from a Champagne glass with my mom and the rest of the family.

Cooley's Dictum said...
As subsequently memorialized in a cartoon/graphic in East Village Magazine, December 31st, 1984 was the date of the big ice storm.
Jeff said...
That was Christmas of 1984. I wasn't at the party, but we were without power and iced in for three days in Grand Blanc.
Anonymous said...
Gene Conley hosted the parties and used his profits to buy a red porsche...Very good i recall, he had two parties, roughly 83 to 85 ish.....I know you could bring in your own keg, we did...there were also some good times at the capitol for the two ROMANTICS CONCERTS.....
geewhy said...
I remember the Romantics concerts. I'm pretty sure I attended both with Steve Herzog and Carole Hopkins. When I saw them the first time, I foolishly believed I was attending a punk show.
grumkin said...
I remember the New Year's Eve at the Capitol... I had always thought it was Kirt Suomela, Brian Dutil and Mike Wiley that hosted it, but Gene was friends with them too I believe... they had a Halloween party once too.

Those were the BEST parties... BYOB and everyone was there. To this day when I hear "How Soon is Now" I remember watching some Flint Public Library black and white movie that was playing that night of some guy getting hung and remembering his life.

I guess that was the Durant for our day... ;)
Sarah Swart said...
I feel sure I attended a Romantics show at the Capitol, but I don't remember it being as late as '84 (I left town in '82). I recall running into =Kevin= Dutil there. I thought I was the coolest chick in the room because I was wearing clothes I'd brought home from 'punk' England: a huge T-shirt, hem tied in a knot at my hip, with 'footless' tights. When Gillian and I lived in Pontiac, we used to run into the Romantics (or subsets of the group) when we went out dancing. And we saw them at least once after we moved to Boston. Boston =loves= What I Like About You, btw. I mean REALLY loves that song, it's used out here in far too many ads and promos.
Macy Swain said...
I'd love to see Cooley's EVM graphic from back then. Like Cooley, I'm an old geezer compared to most of you but I distinctly remember that icestorm of '84. I was 35 and living with my not-yet-lst husband in a walkup apt. on Avon Street (everybody who's anybody in Flint has lived on Avon Street sometime in his or her life) and Danny and I struggled out to a party at Prof. Paul Peterson's Tudor house on Blanchard that night. He was still married to Sue at the time. We all thought we were really something for making it to this comfy party in Flint's academic ghetto. I wasn't working at UMF yet and envied all the people at that party, who seemed much more prosperous and settled than I. Later, of course, I realized almost nobody was happy that night. It's interesting to think of all the other parties going on that same night in Flint.
Tom Wirt said...
Here are some memories of The Romantics at the Capitol:
grumkin said...
ps. I don't recall any incident with Miss America... but I do recall Scott H. sitting in front of the Capitol, screaming that he'd trade a little gold nugget for a 40 oz of bud. Then again, that may have been in the summer... my time back then is a bit fuzzy...
Susank said...
There was a Romantics show at the Capitol on December 26, 1981. That was before Talking in your sleep. I still think What I like about you is one of the best dance songs ever.
Gillian Swart said...
Very true, Macy ... I also lived on Avon St., in 3 separate yet distinct old houses. Ed and Casey own (or did, last time I saw them) one of the places, next to where the elder Custers (and Ed) lived when I was there. Casey lived in the other half with Penny McMullen (it was a duplex, but the side I lived on had 2 apartments).

I think it's directly behind their house on Crapo, if they still live there. #11, maybe?

And yes, we did see Romantics members rather frequently, for a while, in Detroit. That lead singer (Wally?) was really tiny. I think all the clothes they owned must have been made of leather ...
Anonymous said...
It was definitely 1984 turning to 1985. I distinctly remember it because I was a freshman and had to beg my parents to let me go. It was the best and I wasn't even drinking. Those parties brought the very best of the Flint together: High Schoolers and collegiates, nerds and cools, city and suburbanite. I am proud that it was the brainchild of my some of my Haskell bretheren. God bless 'em.

Kathy W.
Anonymous said...
You are not imagining things GY. Jimmy Rutherford was trying to give his date a hug and remain standing at the same time, and well... I still chuckle when I see a curb full of that soupy stuff that happens when snow, rain, salt and dirt combine.
Those parties were great! The fact that they were BYOB (or keg for that matter) explains alot.
As I remember, I also got to display my 12 beer expert driving skills that night. The ice storm froze, for what seemed like forever (maybe a week), my tire tracks as I searched for the driveway. The view from any second floor window was especially good.
jim holbel said...
My recollection is that the mid-80's Capitol NYE parties were held twice, maybe 3 times. The group was a loose confederacy, led by Kirt Soumela, and by leading, I mean that Kirt staked the cash for it. He had some Engineering school co-op gigs at Buick, and was the kinda guy willing to stake 800 bucks on a party, hoping to make it back in cover charges. Many of buds were involved, Mike Wylie and Brian Dutil were prime operatives, along with others like Gene Conley and various girlfriends at the time. It was definitely Mike Wylie's idea to go multi-media and get the films from the Flint Library and show them from the balcony - he is a production designer now, so this may have been the first step toward landfing a gig like 'pushing daisies'

I was in charge of sound, and the DJ duty was rotated among the hosts - I still recall my disasterous turn at the wheels of steel, killing Kirt's favorite song (icicle works i think), while he danced with his gorgeous GF suzanne black, with me cutting to the #2 in the middle of the song when he really was giving me the 'crank it' signal. The music came straight from the record collections of the hosts. I think the final year, Rob McKenzie's band the Iodine raincoats did the gig.

The first year the Capitol was more or less unused for anything in a long while, and the rent was cheap, maybe 400 or 500 for the night. We ran amuck exploring the building ( i recall exploring the remains of a drug store and some bowling alleys???) and working with Troy to lock up places where folks shouldn't go. I think we spent 200 bucks renting amps and cabinets, plus a couple of off-duty cops to work security. I think people took turns working the door and cover was $5 that first year. I think the door was over $2K, which just seemed hilarious, to throw a wicked party, in a giant room, with a monster stereo, all your favorite records, and everyone you know and more, and make a buck on it. Kirt kicked back to just about everyone, even though it was mostly sweat equity and he was the one taking the cash risk. A cool dude.

I must admit that in retrospect, this is a great thing about Flint, there was a great DIY ethos about the place. You knew we were a town that would be passed over by the outside world, so if you wanted fun, you made it. And having a run-down downtown, some cash, intitiative, and not giving a crap about lawyers and liability, made of a hell of a night.

I think year 2, the rent got pricy, we spent more on sound, security, etc. and it was marginally profitable. I still can't recall if there was a year 3 or not. I think folks started finishing college, etc. and it faded away.

I know there eventually was a much larger captol scene in the 89+ era, but with a different set of actors.

SO yes Gordie it really happened, and Rut did have a little scene out front, I don't think it was miss MI, but sequins and slush were involved.
geewhy said...
I'm now remembering that I got the Miss Michigan idea from one of the onlookers outside the Capitol after Rut and the girl ended up in the slush. Someone said something along the lines of "Miss Michigan just wiped out."
grumkin said...
There definitely was a Halloween gig too because I distinctly recall Kevin K. dressing up as a doctor or dentist or something... no clue what I came as...

I remember we checked out the view from the roof too... so that must have been the Halloween one as well.

Those were definitely the best new year's eve parties. I think they probably stopped because of liability insurance since so many were drinking...
grumkin said...
The Halloween party was 1986, and that was the one where Rob M's band played. There was another New Year's Eve party that year too... that may have been the end after that... not sure.
Jeff Mason said...
I played drums with the Iodine Raincoats, but by the time of the Capitol gig, the bassist (Rob Rawson) and I were in a new band. We warmed up the Iodine Raincoats at the Capitol Theater. It was awesome. The first time in my life that I had a drum riser! What fond memories. Go Flint.
Anonymous said...
I have photographs from this event...
Robert said...
Kirt Suomela was definitely the main money man. There were many others involved that made the parties happen. We all set up, worked the doors, cleaned up, and I don't recall there being any arguments about money.

My band, the Iodine Raincoats did play the second party. I have a great story. Weeks prior to the party I asked a girl out and she said no. Alright, nothing new, but she saw me on stage at the Capitol theater party and came backstage and offered herself to me. I turned her down (What an ass I was.). I told her she had had her chance, and now I had moved on. It was either the coolest thing I've ever done, or the stupidest (I tend to think the latter).

I remember the funnest thing about those parties was exploring the facility, and worrying about the risk. After the party, a bag full of musical equipment was stolen in our loadout. Kirt made a thousand or so, and I lost the same. It was still fun. Email me at
Kris said...
Erik & I went with Denise & Jen in the 1959 caddie, John & Cammie rode with us (Hi Cam)... it was the best New Year ever. We all stayed over at Lisa's house that night.
We all brought out our boxed & imported vinyl.
In setting up the party, we got the stars in the dome ceiling to light up.

Monza GT Sparks the Imagination — AC Sparks the Action

Ten Long Years

In many ways, it's been more of the same for Flint over the past decade. But at the risk of appearing totally unobservant after being sequestered in the bubble of the San Francisco Bay Area for almost 20 years, it took an email from my friend Michael G. to realize just how momentous the past ten years has been for the country.
"WTF has been going on the last decade? I always thought it would be interesting if I was cast the lot of living in a revolutionary time — an amusing idea given that I was born in Iran in the middle of a revolution. I don't know what the last 10 years have been though because it doesn't 'feel' like a revolution."
But then Michael referenced a list by Marc Cooper of the USC Annenberg School that puts things in perspective. This wasn't just a horrible decade; it was revolutionary:
1. The unconventional election process of 2000
2. The attack on the
Twin Towers, September 11, 2001
3. The
invasion of Afghanistan, 2001
4. The
invasion of Iraq, 2003
5. The introduction of torture techniques as official American policy
6. The unprecedented expansion of executive power
Hurricane Katrina
8. The election of Barack Obama
9. The global financial crisis of 2008-2009
10. The media revolution
Writing in New York Magazine, Adam Sternbergh gets a little more specific on how things have changed during the aughts:

"To travel back in time to 1999, you have to start by shedding a few things, as though you’re going through airport security. No iPod. No smartphone. No YouTube. No Facebook. No Twitter. In 1999, the Internet was shiny-new and just out of the box, and we still believed that its greatest utility was to deliver dog food to our door and packs of gum and cigarettes to us by hand. We were just starting to figure out that the new search site Google, which had launched in 1998, might prove useful for something. We couldn’t yet peek 24/7 through our neighbor’s digital windows. We knew the word friend but not the word unfriend.

"We were excited about the new century, but also anxious. On April 20, 1999, Columbine happened, a small-town tragedy that became shorthand for everyone’s particular millennial fear: guns, bullies, godlessness, video games. Across the country, in Washington, Bill Clinton presided over the final days of what The Onion later called “our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity,” even as Zippergate or Monicagate—we never did settle on a name—dragged on toward its first anniversary. Like any 1-year-old, it was proving to be equal parts tiresome and transfixing. On March 3, 1999, 70 million Americans watched Monica Lewinsky interviewed by Barbara Walters, almost exactly the same number that watched the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. Twenty-six days later, on March 29, the Dow closed above 10,000 for the first time in history. On May 3, the Dow closed above 11,000 for the first time in history. In terms of markets, and money, everything was expanding and hopeful. We could see our bloated reflections in the golden skin of the dot-com bubble."
But Frank Rich at The New York Times may sum it up best. This was the decade we were all played for suckers:
"As we say farewell to a dreadful year and decade, this much we can agree upon: The person of the year is not Ben Bernanke, no matter how insistently Time magazine tries to hype him into its pantheon. The Fed chairman was just as big a schnook as every other magical thinker in Washington and on Wall Street who believed that housing prices would go up in perpetuity to support an economy leveraged past the hilt. Unlike most of the others, it was Bernanke’s job to be ahead of the curve. Yet as recently as June of last year he could be found minimizing the possibility of a substantial economic downturn. And now we’re supposed to applaud him for putting his finger in the dike after disaster struck? This is defining American leadership down.

"If there’s been a consistent narrative to this year and every other in this decade, it’s that most of us, Bernanke included, have been so easily bamboozled. The men who played us for suckers, whether at Citigroup or Fannie Mae, at the White House or Ted Haggard’s megachurch, are the real movers and shakers of this century’s history so far. That’s why the obvious person of the year is Tiger Woods. His sham beatific image, questioned by almost no one until it collapsed, is nothing if not the farcical reductio ad absurdum of the decade’s flimflams, from the cancerous (the subprime mortgage) to the inane (balloon boy)."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mark Calcavecchia: Flint's Least-Favorite Golfer of 2009

"Ever been to Flint, Michigan? I'm in no hurry to get there."

— PGA golfer Mark Calcavecchia on having to change his schedule ahead of the Buick Open due to weather delays at the RBC Canadian Open.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Buick Electra and the Man of Action

"Today's man of action demands that his car be more than just a showpiece."

Flint Postcards: Smith/Sill Building

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Shrinking Cities: Is the Grass Always Greener?

More proof that Flint is turning into a shrinking city proving ground:

"As Flint tries to survive and thrive as a smaller city, the thousands of abandoned homes and vacant lots scattered throughout its neighborhoods are more than a reminder of its past as a manufacturing boomtown," writes David Runk of the Associated Press.

"They're a costly headache to keep from getting wildly overgrown, with grass that can grow several feet high before being mowed.

"Grass experts, sociologists and community leaders have teamed up on a three-year project to cut some of that grass and try to test the idea that maintained lawns and parks help revitalize neighborhoods. Lessons learned in Flint, they hope, could be used around the country.

"'At one of the areas we're looking at, there's basically a park but no one is playing in it,' said Thom Nikolai, a Michigan State University turfgrass specialist who is leading the study. 'We want to come back in a year and see people throwing a Frisbee around.'"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Flint, The Onion, and the Americans with No Abilities Act

More than a decade ago the satirical newspaper The Onion published a fictitious and very entertaining story on the passage of the Americans with No Abilities Act (AWNAA) "that provides benefits and protection for more than 135 million talentless Americans."

It appears the story has been updated, given a Flint angle, and disseminated once again. It's making the inevitable rounds on the Internet. A few Americans — apparently the same ones who think Barack Obama is a fascist infiltrator born in Africa — actually believe it's true. Um, let's see, how can I make this clear? It's not true. (If only Flint's movers and shakers could find these gullible dupes and tell them about the amazing real estate and business opportunities available in Flint.)

And speaking of Flint, the original Onion story featured a quote from one Mary Lou Gertz, "who lost her position as an unessential filing clerk at a Minneapolis tile wholesaler last month because of her lack of notable skills." In the latest version, Mary Lou has relocated to Flint and works for G.M.
"As a Non-abled person, I can't be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them," said Mary Lou Gertz, who lost her position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint, Michigan, due to her lack of any discernible job skills. "This new law should really help people like me." With the passage of this bill, Gertz and millions of other untalented citizens will finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Michigan Bars in Far Away Places

The Kezar Pub is the unofficial Michigan bar of San Francisco, thanks to the heroic efforts of Powers grad Mike Mahon, a guy who's just impossible not to like and is now back in Michigan. (Last time I was there with my friend Sparky from Flint my car got towed, which enabled Sparky to experience the infamous impound lot at the Hall of Justice — a place every San Franciscan gets acquainted with eventually.)

For those of you back East, New York Magazine has an item on expatriate sports bars in Manhattan. Craig Fehrman writes:
On fall Saturdays and during March Madness, this kind of jam-packed enthusiasm for distant competitions takes over many of Manhattan’s pubs and sports bars. Over time, fans have organically matched up with proprietors (who know a loyal customer base when they see one) to establish headquarters for displaced college sports enthusiasts.
Here are the two bars partial to U of M. Not sure if there are rival MSU bars or not. Or if, like the Kezar, people show up for any sporting event linked to Michigan. (Except maybe the Lions.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Joys of Punk and Deindustrialization

Flint's economy my have been in the death spiral in the eighties, but the punk scene in its various guises was exploding if you knew where to look. I've written before about Take No Prisoners, the all-encompassing Flint musical archive created by Aaron Stengel. But now he's adding amazing photos like these with the help of Joel Rash, Ty Shick, Blair Jones and the members of the Guilty Bystanders. Of course, Tom Wirt (Jar With Most) also helped out. Was there anything Tom wasn't taking a photo of in the eighties?

As you can see, deindustrialization and almost no curbs on underage drinking can be a lot of fun.

This is just a small sampling of shots Aaron has at Take No Prisoners. He's encouraging everyone to visit the site and comment on the photos. Just go here and click the "Photos" tab.

Spyker Still Wants Saab

Saab is still alive...barely.

Nelson D. Schwartz of The New York Times reports:
Spyker Cars, the tiny Dutch automaker that is seeking to buy Saab from General Motors, extended its offer Monday for the beleaguered Swedish company, keeping alive hopes that Saab will survive despite G.M.’s threat to shut it down.

G.M. rejected Spyker’s first offer for Saab on Friday, but Spyker returned Sunday with a new proposal that had been set to expire at 5 p.m. Monday. Two hours before the offer was set to expire, however, Spyker said it was still in effect.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Flinty Flintoids

A Flint Expatriate writes in about what it takes to be considered "flinty":
I grew up in Mt. Morris — not exactly Flint, but whatever. Anyways, I live in Washington, DC now and have for several years. Well, the whole point of my email is to alert you to this post at about the big snowstorm predicted to hit the District this weekend. Note the use of the word "flinty" in the first paragraph. Now, I know the use of the term here is intended to refer to an attitude that is stern or unyielding. But for those of us who have moved from a state where 10"-12" of snow is hardly newsworthy to a state where the mere mention of a dusting of snow causes sheer panic among its citizens and every store within a hundred mile radius to run out of toilet paper, batteries and water, the use of the term "flinty" does not go unnoticed.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Saab Saga Continues

Like Opel and Saturn before it, Saab is proving very difficult for G.M. to unload, and the Swedish icon may soon disappear.

Nelson D. Schwartz of The New York Times reports:
Unable to find a buyer for Saab after a year-long search, General Motors said Friday that it would begin shutting down operations at the Swedish carmaker.

G.M. had been in final sales negotiations with a Dutch maker of high-end sports cars, Spyker Cars, but issues arose during the due diligence process that made the sale impossible before G.M.’s Jan. 1 deadline, the company said in a statement.

“Despite the best efforts of all involved, it has become very clear that the due diligence required to complete this complex transaction could not be executed in a reasonable time,” the president of G.M. Europe, Nick Reilly, said.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Auto Czar Takes Hands-On Approach to Buick City

Melanie Trottman of The Wall Street Journal reports:
When worries about environmental cleanup costs stalled plans to redevelop an abandoned auto factory in Flint, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm called Edward Montgomery.

Mr. Montgomery, President Barack Obama's auto-communities recovery czar, cut through the bureaucracy at the Environmental Protection Agency, and brought officials from the EPA's Washington office to meet with Flint officials to get a deal done.

The solution: Carve out the part of the 700-acre site with the worst contamination, and clear the rest for potential sale to investors who have told the city they would create a multipurpose facility that would employ as many as 500 people in hard-hit Michigan. A process that could have taken years wound up taking just a few months.

Gunning for Economic Prosperity

Looking for something positive about the Michigan economy? Try the sales of guns and ammo.

Lori Dougovito of ABC 12 reports:
A big boost in gun and ammunition sales in the last year could amount to millions of dollars more for Michigan. Those items are taxed federally. That money is then redistributed to states.

Michigan is on track to collect more of this tax money than ever, maybe as much as $17 million, according to the DNR's budget officer.

That would be about $6 million more than last year.

"We've been here about 13 months now. Very busy," said Kirk Richardson.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One GM Truck You Might Not Want to Buy

G.M.'s chief Ed Whitacre (right) and some guy named Tiger Woods.

Bill Vlasic of The New York Times writes about new G.M. chief executive Ed Whitacre's recent visit to Flint:
Since taking over, Mr. Whitacre has wasted no time. He has promoted several young executives to senior positions, including naming Mark Reuss, a 46-year-old engineer, as head of North American operations.

Mr. Whitacre has also been meeting with employees at all levels of the company, including spending a day last week at G.M.’s pickup truck plant in Flint, Mich.

He went to Flint in a sweatshirt and jeans, and picked a spot on the assembly line. “I made them let me put a hood on a truck,” he said. “It looked like something I could handle.”

Flint Artifacts: Dutch Pennant

I've haven't seen many examples of Dutch stereotyping, but this probably qualifies.

Dan Kildee's New Gig

Ron Fonger of The Flint Journal reports:
The Ford Foundation said today it is committing more than $1 million to a new national land use group being headed by county Treasurer Daniel T. Kildee.

Kildee has told The Flint Journal he will leave his county job at the end of this year to lead the yet-to-be-named organization, which is also being funded by a Mott Foundation grant.

"The Ford Foundation has been investing in new approaches to metropolitan development for several years, both in Michigan and across the county," said George McCarthy, director of Metropolitan Opportunity at the Ford Foundation. "That experience shows us that city leaders are eager for fresh solutions to today's challenges, including foreclosures and abandonment, metropolitan sustainability and shifts in population.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Birthday John Sinclair

Yesterday was John Sinclair's birthday.

The Modern Historian reports:

Born in Flint, Michigan, in 1941, John Sinclair became a major figure in the late 1960s counter-culture movement. He wrote for the underground press, organized free festivals and managed the garage rock band MC5. In 1968 he co-founded the White Panther Party with Lawrence Plamondon and his partner Leni Arndt, in response to an interview in which the co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Huey P. Newton, asked what white people could do to support the Panther's cause.

Flint Postcards: River and Factories

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Flint's Mark Ingram Wins the Heisman Trophy

Ingram runs for 319 yards against Midland Dow in 2007. (Photo by Stuart Bauer/The Flint Journal)

Dan Nilsen of The Flint Journal reports:
Art and Barbara Johnson felt like crying, but they knew they had to hold it together.

Shonda Ingram already had tears streaming down her face after her son, Mark Ingram Jr., was named the Heisman Trophy winner Saturday night in New York.

And when Mark himself struggled to get through his emotional acceptance speech, his grandparents came to the rescue.

“I was pulling on him (mentally) to get through it, to get through his tears,” Barbara Johnson said by phone from the Nokia Theater Times Square, minutes after Ingram won the closest vote in Heisman history.

Ingram, the Flint Southwestern Academy graduate and now a sophomore running back at Alabama, edged Stanford back Toby Gerhart by 28 points for college football’s most prestigious award.

When the announcement was made, Ingram hugged his mother and grandparents (“He knocked my earring off with that hug,” said Barbara), then went up on stage.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Flint Postcards: Burroughs Park

Back From Alaska: A Tour of Flint

Reginald Kaigler, a Flint Expatriate now living in Alaska, returns home for a tour of the Vehicle City.

Reader Comments on Flint Expatriates

After a little experimentation, I've added a new list with all the recent reader comments in the right-hand column. I've been trying this for a few weeks, but there were some glitches with the app. It's cleverly named "Recent Comments," and it's an easy way to follow reader feedback without returning to the original post.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Granderson Headed to the Yankees

Are the Tigers really going to let Curtis Granderson go to the Yankees? ESPN says they are.

Update: Yes, it's true.

Another Update: What do the Tigers get out of this deal with the Yankees and Diamondbacks? Tommy Rancel at Beyond the Box Score writes:
The Tigers are giving up the biggest piece in the deal in Granderson, and downgrade a bit in the interim, but gain four cheap and controllable pieces that should help for seasons to come. Detroit has made no secret about wanting to shed payroll, and clearing at least $25.75 million guaranteed to Granderson helps accomplish that goal. They also save on Edwin Jackson's impending ERA inflated arbitration raise. They receive Max Scherzer as the big prize in return. Not only can he fill Jackson's spot in the rotation immediately, but stands a decent chance of upgrading it for much less.

The Tigers could also immediately turn to soon-to-be 23-year-old Austin Jackson to fill Granderson's spot in the field. There will no doubt be a significant dip in production overall, but Jackson stands to be at least average in centerfield and brings speed to the lineup. As is the case with most young players, he strikes out a lot and hasn't mastered the art of walks, but for the league minimum he could provide a nice value in Granderson's absence.

The other two pieces, Schlereth and Coke, will help shore up a Tigers pen than stands to lose Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney to free agency. Both pitchers are lefties, and neither are regarded as a future relief ace, but both stand to be average at least and more importantly cheap and controllable.

Sing Along to "Chevy Volt and Me"

At long last, it's the Chevy Volt theme song.

Michigan and the Death Penalty

Death penalty statutes in the United States
(Click on map to enlarge)

Color key: No current death penalty statute Statute or method declared unconstitutional Not applied since 1976 Has performed execution since 1976

I was talking to a native Californian the other day about the death penalty — not sure how we landed on that topic – and he remarked "I'm sure Michigan has a lot of executions." I guess people just assume that states with a lot of crime have a lot of executions. Texas would be a good example. I'm not exactly an expert on this topic. I didn't even know if Michigan had the death penalty or not. So I was a little surprised to discover via Wikipedia that the state government has never executed anyone:
"Historically, several states have been without capital punishment - the earliest being Michigan, which has not carried out a single execution of its own since it entered the Union (one federal execution occurred in Michigan in 1938), and shortly after attaining statehood abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes, making it the first English-speaking government in the world to do so."

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Cars of San Francisco: Chevelle Malibu

During a break from watching Flint's Mark Ingram run Alabama into the college football title game on Saturday, I spotted this matte black Chevelle Malibu near 24th and Treat Streets in San Francisco. (Malibus were a version of Chevelles until 1978, when the Malibu became its own line.) I know some Chevelles were made in Flint, but I'm not sure if this was one of them. All photos by Michael G and his trusty iPhone.