Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jon Stewart and Michigan: A Love Story

Jon Stewart gets dirty with Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsula on The Daily Show. Watch it here at the 1:48 mark.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Flint Photos: A Pilgrimage to Angelo's Coney Island

Flint Expatriate Michael Westerman, formerly of Forest Hill Avenue in Civic Park, hits one of the hotspots with his kids on a visit from Oakland, California. (Has anyone noticed that Flint Expatriates sometimes reads like an old fashioned rural newspaper?)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Meet Me at the Corner of Cottage Grove and Bluff Street

The recent Chevy in the Hole post reminded my mom of her old friend Pat Lindner, who used to live on Cottage Grove Avenue near Bluff Street and lived for a time with my mom in New York City in their younger, crazier days. Pat's mom was a nurse at Chevrolet Manufacturing and used to walk to work. If anyone has any memories, thoughts or recollections of those streets, please chime in. One thing I was wondering was if there were other options for crossing the river besides Stevenson Street before the big flood control project turned the river into a cement culvert near Chevy in the Hole. My mom seems to remember some steps leading down to the river from Bluff Street. Thanks in advance.

Surveying Flintoids

Now's your chance to help out a Flint Expatriate and further the academic study of the Vehicle City...

Hello. My name is Nancy Alamy and I am a fellow Flint expat. I am in the process of writing my Master's thesis at Georgetown University and am looking into political attitudes among current and former Flint residents. I am hoping that some of you reading this blog will be willing to help me out by taking a short 10-15 minute survey. By participating in this survey you will also have the option to be entered into a drawing for one of three $50 gift cards.

The survey is confidential and no identifying information (such as name, birth date, social security number etc.) will be asked. Responses will be reported to me in the aggregate, as percentages of a whole. There will be no way for me to identify who is answering, or link them to their specific answers.
Here are the parameters I am looking for in my participants:

1.) Over the age of 18.

2.) Either:Current Flint city or Township residents or those who grew up in Flint city or Township (having spent 10+ years there between birth-17 years old), but who now live out of the state of Michigan. (This probably means you!).

The survey must be completed by March 5th, 2012 to be included in the study.

Any further assistance getting the word out by passing along the link to friends, family, or coworkers from Flint who might be willing to participate would be greatly appreciated as well.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at

Thank you so much for your help!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

G.M.'s Record Profits

With only 7,000 G.M. employees left in the Flint area, this news doesn't have the same impact it would have once had, but it's still good to see a glimmer of hope for Michigan's economy.

Nick Bunkley of The New York Times reports:

General Motors reported the largest annual profit in its history on Thursday, even as losses in Europe dragged down fourth-quarter earnings.

G.M. said it earned a quarterly profit of $472 million, or 28 cents a share, down from $510 million, or 31 cents a share, a year ago. It was the eighth-consecutive quarterly profit for the carmaker, which cleansed much of its debt in bankruptcy years ago, but also the smallest during that stretch.

For all of 2011, G.M. earned $7.6 billion, nearly all of it from North America. That was 62 percent higher than the $4.7 billion it earned a year ago and more than G.M.’s previous record of $6.7 billion in 1997.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Flint Postcards: Flint from the Air

An aerial shot of Flint before I.M.A. disappeared and the bland brick buildings of UM-Flint arrived. It's tough to see, but note the photo credit on the postcard: Flint Police Dept.

Flint Postcards: Long Lake

Friday, February 10, 2012

Chevy in the Hole

So, um, why was it called Chevy in the Hole?

Is it simply because the factory complex was located in the valley formed by the Flint River?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Slim Chiply Lives: You Know You're From Flint if...

This happens to be the most popular post in the history of Flint Expatriates, originally published March 19, 2008. I got the list via email from a friend after it had been passed on by more than a dozen people. I later found out that Flint Expatriate Rich Frost, who has contributed mightily to this blog, originally penned #1-#40. He mailed the list to about fifteen friends and before long it was all over the internet. So it's about time that Rich got some credit. Be sure to check out Rich's rapidly expanding list, as well as numerous posts about Flint, on his What the Hell blog. And take a look at the comment section for this post, where there are dozens of additions to the list. 

Here's the original post:

There are tons of “You’re from Flint if…” lists floating around the internet, but this one seemed remarkably well-researched. Feel free to add to the list in the Comment section.
  1. You remember attending a “Battle of the Bands” at 60-Second Pizza on Clio Road.
  2. You remember that the jocks on WTAC were “The Good Guys” and WTRX was “The Home of the Jones Boys.”
  3. You can remember those Sunday afternoon free concerts at Wilson Park — where not only could you enjoy the music — but there was the smell of baking bread at the Taystee bakery not too far away from the park.
  4. You can remember when Channel 12 was the home for “Rae Dean and Friends” and “Mr.Magic” for the kids and “Michigan Polka Party” and “The Connie Dycus Show” for adults.
  5. You can remember seeing “Viva Las Vegas” at the Capital Theater, “A Hard Day’s Night” at the Palace Theater and “Deep Throat” at the Royal Theater.
  6. You can remember getting your first license at Safetyville .
  7. You can remember going to Kearsley Park to go swimming and for the 4th of July fireworks.
  8. Your first savings account was at Citizens Bank and you started that account with the booklet that Citizens Bank gave kids to save their dimes in.
  9. You can remember going to Cook’s Drug Store for a ten cent Chocolate Coke or Cherry Phosphate.
  10. You signed petitions against the antiballistic missile and the Vietnam War at Peace Watch on Kearsley Street.
  11. You can remember the cement Indian at the Trading Post on Franklin Street and Utah.
  12. You can remember the sign on the Miller Road Dairy on Corunna Road that read: “You can’t beat our milk, but you can whip our cream.”
  13. You can remember going to the Friday night movies at U of M and having to tolerate Michael Moore’s speeches before the flicks.
  14. You can remember “The Freedom Reader” (the alternative newspaper before Michael Moores Flint Voice).
  15. You remember that man who worked the cash register at Halo Burger on Harrison Street shouting out your change as “one hundred and one dollars” when it was only $1.01.
  16. You remember such places as “The Beaver Trap” and “Titty City,” but never knew anyone who went in those places.
  17. Everyone knew someone who said that Bob Seger owned that big house in Grand Blanc and that they saw him there.
  18. You can remember as a kid playing with the white light electric eye that opened the doors at the A&P store on Dort Hwy.
  19. You knew that if you couldn”t find what you were looking for at Yankee”s then you could find what you wanted at Arlen’s.
  20. You remember watching “Sesame Street” on Channel 12 because Flint didn’t have a public television station.
  21. You picked up the latest paperback, magazine or newspaper at Readmore on Saginaw Street.
  22. You remember getting your hair cut at the Barber College when it was near the tracks in downtown Flint. Or at Johnny’s Barber Shop on Lewis Street.
  23. One of the ways that you knew it was January was when the Shrine Circus came to IMA Auditorium (not the sports arena).
  24. The only bologna and hot dogs in your house had the Koegel label on them.
  25. You didn”t associate “The Colonel’s” with Kentucky Fried Chicken or “The Varsity” with any school.
  26. Your family didn”t eat Thanksgiving dinner until everyone got back from the Northern/Central game at Atwood Stadium.
  27. There was nothing that could compare to a King Arthur pasty.
  28. You can remember one or two items that you purchased at the Touch Boutique.
  29. The Juvenile home was known as “The Pasadena Playhouse”.
  30. The only place to go for ribs and sweet potato pie was Bob and Ethel’s Rib Crib.
  31. Weekend television on Channel 12 meant watching monster movies on “Creature Features” and scary movies with “Christopher Coffin.”
  32. Your generation’s “Krispy Kreme” went by the name of “Dawn Donuts.”
  33. You avoided driving during certain hours of the day because of “shop traffic.”
  34. If you lived on the Eastside, you went to Aunt Nina’s for a hamburger and a shake.
  35. You remember Wild Bill’s before it became L-L-T.
  36. Halo Burger is and was the only place where you could order a cream ale with your burger and fries.
  37. The best fish n’ chips in town were at Third Avenue Fish n’ Chips.
  38. The two most trusted sources for weather were either the Citizens Bank weather ball or Channel 12’s John McMurray.
  39. You can remember a Hire’s Root Beer Float (bottled by Buckler Beverage on Lapeer Road) or a ice cold bottle of M&S Red Pop or Orange Soda.
  40. You remember the Paramount Potato Chip Slim Chiply jingle. ("I'm Slim Chiply, the guy you see on the Paramount Potato Chips bright red pack. I'm the flavor deputy, protecting crispness in every pack. They're delicious, and so nutritious, yes sir'ee, they're pips, Paramount Potato chips.")
  41. You remember late night trips to Freddie’s Donuts.
  42. You remember Dan, Dan the Vegetable Man.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Collecting the Cars that Flint Would Love to Forget

A 1974 Honda Civic. (Photo courtesy of Subcompact Culture.)

Here's a car trend that's not likely to be embraced by your average Flintoid anytime soon. Richard S. Chang of The New York Times reports:
When Japanese cars and trucks began arriving in the United States in earnest during the 1970s, they were widely seen as disposable.

Reliable, maybe. Future classics? Not likely.

But in the past decade, those bargain-price models from the ’70s and ’80s have been revisited by a generation of enthusiasts who grew up riding in the back seats.

“For many like myself, it’s nostalgic,” said Jun Imai, a 36-year-old designer at the Hot Wheels division of Mattel, where he directed the styling for die-cast models of two 1970s-vintage Nissans released last year.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Flint Artifacts: I967 I.M.A. Safetyville License

At long last, the elusive I.M.A. Safetyville license, courtesy of my sister Martha.

Hard at Work in the Sill Building

My grandfather at his office in the Sill Building in downtown Flint, sometime in the late sixties or early seventies.

Halftime in America

A little heavy handed, perhaps, but I found this a lot more compelling than the actual game.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Don Cornelius, R.I.P.

Flint Videos: Returning to the Eastside

UPDATE: The house featured in this video, located at 1635 Oklahoma Avenue, burned last night. Another house gone on the East Side.