Wednesday, January 25, 2006

UPN and the WB to Merge

CBS (parent company of the UPN television network) and TimeWarner (parent company of the WB) have announced that they will merge their respective networks into one, single television network that is aimed at the youth market to be called "CB". Since Detroit currently has both a UPN and a WB affiliate, this move will presumably leave one of them without any content to air.

Personally, I really hope that whichever one of them is left "contentless" decides to fill the void with somekind of original programming. God knows TV needs somekind of originallity to it.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Term Limits for the West Wing

It's been on the air for seven great years and won a boat load of Emmys and Golden Globes; not to mention SAG and Writers' Guild Awards. It launched some amazing fan sites and kept Americans glued to their TV sets. It was one of the few prime time shows with the guts to broadcast live. More importantly, it made politics cool.

But all good things come to an end.

NBC has announced that The West Wing will come to an end after this season. It's a regretable fact of life that keeping a TV show on the air for more than five years is a daughting task; a challenge that the show has thrived on so far. The unfortunate passing of John Spencer last month did not make it any easier.

The show will be missed.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Exploring the Vinton Bldg

I went into the Vinton Building on Woodward in downtown Detroit (just north of One Detroit Center) with one of the guys who is working on rehabbing this historic abandoned building into residential lofts. The Vinton is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but has sat vacant for years now.

Once upong a time, I used to crawl through all sort of abandoned buildings. Now, however, that I'm on the ugly side of 30 - it just isn't as much fun to try find my way into a boarded up buiding. However, when someone offers me the chance to walk right in the front door with no need to crawl through an open window or anything like that - I can't pass it up.

Structurally, the Vinton is in great shape. There's one or two issues to deal with, but nothing major. Most of what they'll need to do will be because of its conversion from an office building to a residential property. It's currently a mess on the inside - but not that much more so than any other construction site I've ever been in.
Still, most of its historic features are in tact and will be preserved. The antique light fixtures. The brass mail box. Good stuff all.Even though there's some work that needs to be done, it's easy to see that the building still has a lot of potential left in it.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Toronto Labor Monument

Okay - one more post about my trip to Toronto and then I'll shut up about it. I promise.


One of the things that I saw in Toronto was a monument to Canadian workers who had died on the job over the past centure. There are 100 plaques on this wall. Each of them represents a Canadian worker who died; one of them represents all of the workers who died that year.

This plaque in particular struck me. First, cause I happened by the monument on the anniversay of this gentleman's death. Second, he died from asbestos - the same thing that killed my Dad. Finally, there's the fact that his given name was Frank - just like my Dad and I.

It strange how I can feel a connection to a complete stranger, who was lived in a foreign country and who died before I even got out of diapers.

R.I.P. Frank Sypher.

Misc. Toronto

There were a couple of things on my trip to Toronto that simply cracked me up. So much so that I felt compelled to photograph them and share them with the entire world - or at least that portion of the world that reads this blog.I love the name of this store. They tell me that there's more them around. God, I wish we had one in Detroit.

It would make much more sense for us to have one, seeing as how Detroit used to be a French territory. Toronto, however, was never a part of France.

I don't care what they actually sell. I just want to be able to point to a store in downtown Detroit that has a sign saying, "fcuk." I don't really ask for that much, do I?

I know. I know. Simple pleasures for simple minds.

I also got a kick out of this recycling container. It criticises global warming, encourages you to recycle and has an adorable polar bear on it.Ya can't ask for much more than that.

I also like it because, since it's a recycling container, there will be that much less of this coming to a Michigan landfill.

By the way, one other miscellanous note about my experience in Toronto.

While we were waiting for the festivities to kick off, Dave and I started talking to whoever happened to be standing near us. One of those folks was a group of three teenagers - 1 girl and 2 boys.

As we were talking, I noticed that the girl had ear rings shaped like hand cuffs. I made some comment about them and she soon divulged that her nickname in high school is "Miss Kinky."

For the record, if I ever have a 15-year old daughter and I find out that her nickname is "Miss Kinky", she will be promptly locked up in a convent. Say whatever you want about me, that's what's going to happen.

Neglected Toronto

My God, have I ever been neglectful of my blog! So, much has happened in the past couple of weeks that never got posted.

Oh, well. I won't go into every detail about my trip to Toronto. I had once thought about chronicling all of the highlights in a series of posts, but two weeks later there doesn't seem like much of a point in that much.

Anyway, my friend Dave Baschal and I went to Toronto for New Year's. It seemed much more interesting than anything that was going on in Detroit that day.

We were there for three days and had a blast. The bars and nightlife in Toronto are top-notch. I hate to say this, but they're better than Detroit and pretty much make you forget about Chicago. (It's clearer, the folks are more polite, there's less crime, transit is better and American money goes 15% farther, which pretty much makes up for the higher taxes).

They also have some really interest shopping. Plus, there's a lot of stuff in downtown Toronto that's connected via an underground network of passageways so you don't have to go outside to brave the cold Canadian weather. (Okay, the "cold Canadian weather" is a lot like the cold Michigan weather, but you get my point).

All in all, Toronto was a great time. I look forward to visiting there again sometime soon.

New Year's Eve itself was kind of interesting. Dave and I decided to head down to whatever they call the big public square by Toronto City Hall (I knew the name of the place a couple of weeks ago, but have since forgotten it).

There's nothing like spending New Year's Eve with 40, 000 of your closest friends. They had performances by some local bands. Fireworks, balloons and confetti welcomed in 2006. It was a fun evening.My favorite part, though, was the escape artist who locked himself into a steel vault and then had his two assistants set said vault on fire.

Scary Mike, these photos are for you. Enjoy, mi amigo!

Mmm.... Fire.

I probably would've gone for even bigger flames, myself. However, I heard that Canada has very strict laws against the use of napalm for recreational or entertainment use.

Michigan has the same problem. I'll have to find a way around that one.


Fear not, though. Mr. Canadian Escape Artist did indeed make it out of the steel vault safe and sound.

A very good show, in my humble opinion.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Good Morning, Sunshine

I was lying in bed the other morning - kind of debating whether or not I actually wanted to get out of bed, but knowing full well that I had to and soon - when I noticed a strange light poking its way through my bedroom shades.

It was rather bright and don't remember every seeing anything like this. I jumped out of bed to investigate it.

There was actually a giant ball of fire in the sky near me. It turns out that it was this that they call "the Sun." Supposedly, it's been there all the time - behind all of those gray clouds that have been hanging over Michigan for weeks.