Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Books · The Great American Hamburger
. . . .

The Great American Hamburger

Rick Coates - June 9th, 2008
The Great American
Where would summer be without it?
“Hamburger America”
By George Motz
The Running Press

Sure, that old saying bills “apple pie” as American, but nothing says American like a juicy hamburger. Just ask filmmaker and author George Motz. Last month his book, “Hamburger America: A State-By-State Guide To 100 Great Burger Joints,” was released by The Running Press.
Now, usually movies are inspired by a great book, but “Hamburger America” was inspired by the documentary film Motz began in 2001. He had this idea of traveling the country, seeking out the best burger joints. The film focuses on what Motz describes as “eight historically significant hamburger counters in America.”
Released in 2005, the film won three Emmys, 12 Broadcast Design Awards, a Telly Award and a James Beard nomination for its contributions in recognizing America’s most iconic food. The documentary has even become required viewing for students at Princeton University who take the food course.

To identify these eight hamburger counters, Motz visited 1,000 hamburger joints over five years. After the success of the film, he was encouraged to write the book.
“The real reason for writing this guide was to bring to the table the vast importance of the all-American burger joint and shine a light on this nation’s favorite food,” said Motz. “Looking into the not-so-distance future I see the McDonald’s hamburger as a reference point for many as to what a hamburger should look and taste like. This is not a good thing.”
Now, Motz doesn’t lay claim to his list as being the “100 Best” -- it’s simply a guide to “100 Great” hamburger joints. “Hamburger America” overall does a great job painting for the reader the cross section of the diverse American burger and the roadside stands, nostalgic diners, mom ‘n’ pop establishments and college town eateries that make them.
“Hamburger” is easy to navigate and doubles as a great coffee table book and travel guide. The burger joints are featured by state, so the reader may flip through the book when traveling to a particular state, to find out Motz recommendations.
Each joint is profiled in a manner that captures the personality and atmosphere of the place in addition to its specialty burger. Motz gets behind the scenes and goes into great detail on the different techniques these diners use to make tasty burgers. For example, at Miller’s Bar in Dearborn, Michigan, Motz lets the reader know that the burger is ground fresh daily beginning at 4 a.m. and that “1,200 burgers are cooked daily on a griddle next to the bar that is no bigger than three feet.”

“Hamburger” is loaded with colorful photos. The book has a nice combination of burger photos along with both inside and outside shots of the eateries. Each profiled hamburger joint has the address, phone number, hours and website clearly identified.
At the heart of what makes this book such a great read is that Motz has captured the character and characters of each hamburger joint. The best hamburger places all go beyond having great burgers; they have interesting people who own the eateries, and prepare and serve the burgers.
Here is how Motz captures the personality of Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger in Ann Arbor:
“A visit to Blimpy Burger can be a daunting but rewarding experience. Theatrically, the cooks behind the counter engage in a sort of Soup Nazi berating of the customers who do not follow the cafeteria-style rules for ordering.
‘Just answer the questions I am asking you,’ grill cook Brian told a group of newcomers the first time I visited. In reality, the rules are there to help you, not scare you.”
Motz also does a great job in giving the history of each diner. He includes comical tales of his travels, including his travel companion: his vegetarian wife. Most the of the burgers Motz has in his book are all under $5.
“Bigger and more expensive are not always better,” said Motz. “I tried to select burgers and places that capture the spirit of the American hamburger. I chose places that the reader would want to go and try.”
The book comes with a DVD of Motz award winning documentary, along with a fold-out “hamburger map.”
On average Motz ate five burgers
a day. He suggests that readers not try and do the same. He took breaks and stayed at “hotels that had exercise equipment.” Despite being a number one consumer of burgers, Motz has maintained his slender waistline. He attributes it to “moderation” (if five burgers a day is moderation, what amount is considered gorging?).
Certainly “Hamburger America” will become as much about who is not in the book as who is in. Everybody who loves burgers will have their case and argument for their favorite places. For me, Don’s Drive In, Bubba’s, Mode’s and The Chef’s Inn in Traverse City are all worthy of consideration.
The book does inspire the reader to want to gas up the car and head down the road in search of America’s best burgers. Though with gas prices now costing more per gallon than most burgers, that search might best be made closer to home.
For additional details on the“Hamburger America” book and documentary, check out hamburgeramerica.com.

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