Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Detroit: Home of the coney dog and the slider.

Entering the Detroit area is like going into another country. We have our own way of talking, eating, and dealing with problems. If you do not familiarize yourself with this, you may find out how we deal with problems.

While driving around the Metro Detroit area you will not help but to notice at least forty Coney Islands. Coney Islands are very special to many people around Detroit. Granted, Detroiters are asked all the time by guests about what Coney Island is, and we are annoyed by it every time.

National Coney Island is a series of restaurants that are known for serving Coney Dogs. The other Coney Islands are not part of the chain, but still serve the same kind of food. A Coney Dog is a hotdog that is served with chilly, onions, and mustard. A Coney Special is a Coney Dog that is served with ground beef on top.

Coney Dogs are a major part of the culture of Detroit. Another staple of our culture is also served at all Coney Islands. That would be chilly-cheese fries. I do not think that I have to explain what this consists of.

White Castles have spread over the country. There is a difference between the White Castle burgers that are served here than elsewhere. The burgers at our White Castles are a lot greasier. We call them, "sliders," around here. Also, we do not say that we are going to, "White Castle." We say that we are going to, "White Castle's." Don't ask why we add an apostrophe s on the end of so many company names. It is just a cultural thing. Like "Meijers" and "Fords".

ht:Vincent Poupard

This week, I found a new place down the street from us that advertised their "coney dogs" and "castle sliders" - near Oakland Park Blvd. and University Dr. If the owners of this place aren't from Detroit, I'll be surprised.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Not today, not tomorrow, but maybe someday......

Between weak holiday sales and the pending arrival of new models, this an excellent time to haggle with your local electronics store over the price of a new TV. In a normal year, prices dip before the holidays and again before the Super Bowl. This year, with the recession clamping down on bank accounts, nobody's buying. With new models arriving soon, retailers just want to clear out their showroom space, meaning you can walk in and save a few hundred dollars on that dream set you've always wanted.

Maybe someday, that 73 inch TV will be $499.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fieldy: 2nd Korn member to be Born Again

Fieldy, the bassist for Korn, is now the second member of the band to become a Christ Follower. His book, Got the Life, came out this month - describing his conversion.

Fieldy is the reason that I took up playing the bass guitar. And I would be remiss if I didn't say that Korn was probably the most important band in my musical upbringing. Its weird that two of the five of them are now Christians. Now, if only Kid Rock could give up the strippers and find Jesus, I'd be set.

Here is an excerpt of an article about Fieldy's conversion:

When one his oldest friends, Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch, quit the band after finding religion, Fieldy scoffed.
He didn't listen when his father became terminally ill, and urged his boy one last time to give the Bible a shot.
But the night of the funeral, as his entourage kicked off its usual party, for once Fieldy didn't feel like throwing back beer after beer. Instead he found himself praying, asking for what he thought his father would have wanted: for Jesus to help him end the endless party.
The next morning, he flushed his pot down the toilet and says he never looked back, skipping rehab for religion in a single move.
"I didn't grow up with any of that, with prayer," he says of his first steps into Christianity. "I just opened my heart and said, 'I need help doing this.'"
He started to read the Bible. But, like many others, he also found his way to "The Purpose-Driven Life," the book that helped make Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, a national religious figure.
It was just a start. Though he had ideas to live a certain way, Fieldy – unlike his former bandmate Head – was seeking faith while still playing bass and otherwise performing with one of the biggest hard-rock acts in the world, Korn.
"When I made my change, I was thrown back into the pit of hell, on tour," he says. "There are dark things out there. And just because my band isn't partying" – Korn's core members all are sober now, he says – "doesn't mean it's not around you."
On tour, he says, he traded night for day. For the first time in years, he got up during the day on tour to sightsee in cities where he'd previously seen only the insides of arenas, hotels and strip clubs.
When temptations came near – and in that world temptation is a 24-hour business – Fieldy says he walked away.
The fridge outside his studio stocks Smartwater and Rockstar energy drinks, not wall-to-wall Coors Light as it once did.
On this day, Fieldy's 2-year-old son, Israel, plays upstairs, in the family room. Dena – who agreed to marry him even after he confessed all his sins against her – hangs out in the kitchen. Fieldy is just back from work; Korn is spending time in a Los Angeles studio, working on new songs, and Fieldy is able to stay at home. Every other weekend, Fieldy's daughters from an earlier marriage, Olivia, 10, and Sarina, 11, stay with him.
It's a common Orange County life – Dad at work, a blended family, financial comfort. But, Fieldy says, it takes him some extra work to stay right with God, and keep all this goodness around him. The Bible, he says, has replaced his bong as a way to start each day.
"It's like my morning workout. Start the day with something good, something uplifting.
"I'm in the book of Samuel right now, and it's so crazy!" Fieldy says, the rocker seeing a bit of heavy metal in the old epic tales. "People don't realize how dark and gory it is, but the whole story behind it is love. It's a trip how twisted up it is."
He hopes his own book, which he named after one of Korn's biggest hits, will reach people who might not otherwise be open to hearing about faith.
"I'd really like to reach people who look like myself," Fieldy says as he poses for a photographer with Israel in his heavily inked arms. "You never know, but the majority of the people (who read it), I hope they take the route I took.
"Maybe this can be that little bit of a seed I can plant out there."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Much has been made of the massive drop suffered by WATCHMEN in its second week of release. The film wasn't quite the success most thought it would be either. Whether it was Malin Akerman's plastic performance or that infamous eighties softcore sex scene, the film has left many fanboys--and studio execs alike--scratching their collective heads and asking "What went wrong?"

Well it seems the folks over at GraphJam have it all figured out. Apparently the moral truths and philosophical questions explored by Alan Moore in the graphic novel did not captivate audiences. It looks like everyone's too obsessed with the big blue dong.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Living High on the Hog

This chart tracks the relationship between household debt and gross domestic product. You'll see two years when Americans' debt becomes 100 percent of GDP -- 1929 and 2007. It's the chart that made Columbia professor David Beim say:

"The problem is us. The problem is not the banks, greedy though they may be, overpaid though they may be. The problem is us... We've been living very high on the hog. Our living standard has been rising dramatically in the last 25 years. And we have been borrowing much of the money to make that prosperity happen."
I heard this guy talking on NPR this weekend - it sounds pretty profound to me.

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