Friday, September 26, 2008

The show went on

Dusk had fallen on downtown Mt. Pleasant as the Oiler band launched into a standstill performance of its 2008 competitive show, "The Show Must Go On," at the corner of Broadway and Franklin streets.
They'd marched in the Mardi Gras parade (yes, Mt. Pleasant's Mardi Gras is in September, and it's on a Friday - do I have to explain that every year?) and they showed off their new uniforms.
The show went on.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The best line for a Sunday

From today's Maureen Dowd column in the New York Times:

"The people who want English to be the official language of the United States are uncomfortable with their leaders being fluent in it."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Being part of the future

The fat guy on the left explains the capabilities of the new media lab to CMU Board of Trustees Chairman Jeff Caponigro and CMU President Michael Rao. (CM Life)

Usually, I don't link to the "other" paper in town, even though I once worked for them and am proud of that fact. But this time, the college paper, Central Michigan Life, has the story.
Mr. Caponigro came to see his lab.
Jeff Caponigro is a department of journalism alumnus, chairman of the CMU board of trustees, and a wealthy man - obviously. He gave, out of his own pocket, most of the money to build CMU's fabulous new media lab.
He came to see it - and I got asked to be part of of demonstrating it.
I got to demonstrate the photography and graphics capabilities, while my colleague David London, on sabbatical in Cairo, chimed in from an Internet cafe, and my colleague Kent Miller showed off the capability of creating Web video.
It was all very impressive. I feel as if I'm part of the future.
And what a future it will be.
Think about this: The first graphical Internet browser, Mosaic, was released in November 1993, 15 years ago. Microsoft's Internet Explorer came along later; Netscape, Firefox, Safari and the rest came along later. Mosaic is no longer with us. But it's all happened in just 15 years - and look what's out there.

Compare this: The first automotive production line was developed by Ransom E. Olds - not Henry Ford - in 1901 to build Curved Dash Oldsmobiles. Ford and his Model T perfected it, and the world changed.
I would submit that the World Wide Web is about where the automotive industry was 15 years on, in 1916. The basics were there - gasoline-powered internal combustion engines, four rubber tires, a steering wheel, headlights, brakes, springs. All the rest has been fine-tuning and engineering.
The basics of the Web are here now - it's up to us to fine-tune them and use them the best way.
What Mr. Caponigro did was the equivalent of donating an automotive research lab to a major university - in 1916.
It's the beginning, including the Wow Factor.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jazz band in Detroit

It was the main reason we decided to go to Detroit in the first place. The Drummer is a member of the Mt. Pleasant High School Jazz Ensemble - although he plays trombone in the ensemble. When plans for a weekend in Newberry fell through, we looked at spending the weekend at Frankfort. That fell through, too.
Plan C: Go to the Big City. It turned out to be a lot of fun - and the music and the setting were spectacular.
The band did a 45-minute set at Campus Martius, public space at Woodward and Monroe. They only had to compete somewhat with the band warming up on the Main Stage a couple of hundred yards away
We weren't the only band parents there - and, as it turned out, we weren't the only band-parents-without-kids-in-the-jazz band there, either.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Waiting for Obama

They loved him. They simply loved him. Even though he spoke for only about 11 minutes and talked mainly about giving money to the Red Cross for relief from Hurricane Gustav, Detroit loved Barack Obama on Labor Day.

Obama didn't have anything to do with the original plan, which involved the jazz festival and a Tiger game. But when we heard that he might be appearing at Hart Plaza, we thought, hey, why not? Why not get in line?
The line was incredible. We got there more than two hours before the scheduled start of the speech - and the line was 15 blocks long at that point. But we stayed with it - surrounded by people of all ages, all colors.
There was no pushing and shoving, no drinking, little line-cutting - except for the 20-something in the BMW who probably felt a little threatened when he drove down a closed Shelby Street into the crowd He ended up backing out.

Hart Plaza, according to City of Detroit event planners, has a rough capacity of 50,000 people. The crowd spilled out of the plaza several blocks onto Jefferson and Woodward - I'd guess at least 70,000 people showed up. The roar from the crowd when Obama spoke was loud and long.

The rally was at the end of Detroit's big Labor Day parade - we saw marching plumbers and sheet metal workers and sprinkler workers and teachers and huge numbers of Auto Workers. But this wasn't just a labor thing. This has the sense of a Movement.