Whoops -- looks like Rick Coates‘ story on nude beaches in our Super Summer Guide had an all-too predictable result. When you visit Otter Creek Beach in Benzie County these days, you see park rangers roaming up and down the beach, presumably looking for outlaw weenie roasters.
I feel sorry for the rangers -- they‘re dressed in full uniforms that look terribly hot in a polyester sort of way, and it‘s got to be tough wading through the sand in your Florsheims in search of elusive nudies. Also, I‘ve seen some of the Otter Creek nudists, and it‘s not a very pretty sight. There ought to be extra compensation -- like combat pay -- for putting the rangers through a thankless task.
Is it concern over global warming or just the price of gas? Whatever the case, it seems like more commuters are riding bikes or mopeds to work this summer. One perk of riding is the pleasure of breezing down a bikepath past a half-mile of commuters stuck in their cars, waiting for three or four lights to turn.
On the other hand, when you pedal to work, you tend to notice that Northern Michigans air quality has declined to a miserable state over the years. Its not the pristine air us old-timers recall from years back. Vast clouds of pollution drift over Lake Michigan from Milwaukee and Chicago, baking in the sun in a chemical metamorphosis to create one of the highest levels of ozone pollution in the state.
No worries if you‘re driving though -- just kick up the AC to help make the earth even hotter and more polluted next summer.
Theres talk going around of erecting a statue of Michael Moore in Traverse City for pumping millions into the local economy through the TC Film Festival. With 70,000 film admissions, those folks spent $450,000 on tickets and souvenirs, and lord knows how much on hotels, restaurants and shopping.
Locally, business is bullish on the Film Fest and its well-heeled attendees in stark contrast to the Cherry Festival, during which some downtown merchants actually closed their doors.
Speaking of downtowns, does anyone remember that long-ago summer day in 1994 when dynamiters blew up the smokestacks at the old concrete plant on Little Traverse Bay to make way for the construction of Bay Harbor? Back then, some art gallery owners in Petoskey were worried that downtown Bay Harbor would ruin their sales. But judging by the crowds we observed in Petoskeys Gaslight Village and at this year‘s Art Walk, things have turned out pretty sweet for the P-Town art scene.
Whoa Crap Report: Someone in Empire sure misplaced their thinking cap this summer. On a 90 degree day at the end of July, the town beach was jam-packed with families and at least 1,000 small children. Problem was, the local authorities had removed the bath house and rest-room and there were only a couple of porta-potties on hand, filled to the rim with you-know-what. Congrats to those who braved those honey pots and managed not to throw up...
Local music festivals are attracting more attendees than ever from downstate. During Martin Sextons (fabulous) performance at the Dunegrass last week, his mention of Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids got a big cheer and the we rock sign from a bunch of kids in the crowd. Reason being, there are few music festivals in dreary old downstate, where the emphasis is on the consumer culture, but scads of folk and bluegrass festivals up this-a-way. Hey, we rock...
Speaking of the Film Fest, it was kind of strange being dressed for the jungles of tropical Borneo in the 90 degree heat last week and then finding yourself at the North Pole in the air-conditioned venues. Next year, Im bringing a raccoon fur coat and earmuffs to the shows.
Best concert: The Moody Blues
Best monster flick: “The Host“
Best beach weather: July
Best 50th birthday present for the
Mighty Mac: the Labor Day Walk
Best local baseball team: The Beach
Bums (who else?)
Best minor controversy: the state of
Northern Michigan‘s music scene