Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · So long to Smoky...
. . . .

So long to Smoky Joe‘s Cafe

Robert Downes - June 21st, 2010
So long, Smoky Joe’s Cafe
I’ve been hanging out in smoky joints most of my life and have
probably inhaled enough second-hand cigarette smoke to fill a
zeppelin.
But for many years I didn’t mind. Back in my college days in Detroit a
few ultra-smoky hang-outs that come to mind included the old Aorta
Bar, Cobb’s Corner, TJ’s, Coral Gables, the 20 Grand, West Side Six,
Silverbird, AC Lindell, Trainer’s, the Wagon Wheel and a couple dozen
other places that have long since disappeared in the haze of memory
and Marlboros. Those were the days, my friends, we thought they’d
never end; but now most of those dives are long gone -- and probably a
lot of the people who smoked in them too.
I’ve got a similar list of ‘usual suspects’ here in Northern
Michigan that have provided many an entertaining (and smoky) evening
through the years. Beyond the good times and the wet stuff, all of
those places had two things in common. One, the light was always dim
enough so that every woman looked like a Victoria’s Secret model along
about midnight if you were a single man and had downed a few beers.
The other common denominator has been the smoke. When friends used to
complain about some Smoky Joe’s Cafe sort of place, I’d point out the
bright side: they didn’t have to lay out $5 or more for a pack of
cigarettes -- they could just breathe in the smog and get a nicotine
high while enjoying their dinner or the band.
Yet even though I prided myself as being tough enough to take it, as
the years went by that nasty second-hand smoke started to become more
of a turnoff. Beyond your reeking clothes was the sensation that even
your skin had a greasy patina of grime exhaled from someone’s lungs
that had to be scrubbed off once you got home. My wife and I stopped
going to a couple of our
favorite places because they got even smokier as the years went by; as
other restaurants and bars started going cold turkey, the
anti-smoking movement drove even more smokers into our favorite
haunts, pushing us out the door.
So it’s been interesting to revisit some of those places during the
past few weeks since Michigan’s smoking ban went into effect. You
find yourself experiencing a strange sensation: you can breathe.
We went to a particularly notorious club with a low-hanging ceiling
the other night and it was a breath of fresh air to finally be able to
enjoy the place without a dense cloud of someone’s lung-wheeze
settling around your shoulders. Same deal at a concert a few nights
later -- it felt almost healthy hanging out at a nightclub. Then we
went to a smoky old diner in our neighborhood for the first time in 15
years because you no longer have the impulse to gag over breakfast
there.
These days, you see crowds of people standing outside the bars
downtown now that the ‘smoking lounge’ has moved out on the sidewalk.
The bar owners I’ve talked to haven’t seen any big fall-off in
business, although one can imagine that the places that distinguished
themselves as the final holdout smoke pits may have a time of it
getting their old clientele back. Perhaps their business will even
boom as soon as it sinks in with non-smokers that it’s safe to go out
to dinner or a show at places that have kicked Smoky Joe’s habit.
Worth noting, in 1915 public health officials mounted an awareness
campaign to stamp out spitting in America in order to limit the spread
of tuberculosis. Hard to believe, but the time-honored practice of
spitting in a barroom or even on your kitchen floor was gradually
eliminated, and eventually it even got to be uncool to spit on the
sidewalk, if you can imagine. The anti-spitting movement played hell
on the spittoon industry, but that’s the price of progress.
So perhaps that’s the way that the time-honored practice of smoking
will go too, and it will eventually become as uncool to puff your
ciggies outside a bar or restaurant as it is to spit on the floor
inside. If nothing else, people will smell better.

Ain’t it a shame
The current issue of Rolling Stone is bemoaning the fact that this is
the worst summer in a decade for concert sales.
Limp Bizket, The Eagles, Christina Aguilera and the like have
cancelled shows for lack of ticket sales and, “artists catering to
every type of audience are dealing with empty seats.”
This is just a wild guess, but could it be because those of us who go
to these big concerts downstate are sick of getting hosed and we’re
not going to take it anymore?
These days it’s the norm for artists such as The Eagles, Madonna,
Roger Waters and the like to charge $75-$150 per ticket. Then there’s
the $6 or more “handling charge” for each ticket, the mailing fee, the
$12 parking fee, the $6 soft drink, $8 beer, etc.
And for the privilege of spending $300 or more to catch a concert with
your sweetheart, chances are you will have to stand up the entire show
because there are always a few lamebrains in the front row who won‘t
sit down and that causes a chain reaction that runs through the entire
stadium.

 
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