Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · It‘s the...
. . . .

It‘s the berries...

Robert Downes - July 5th, 2010
It’s the berries...
What do people do when times get tough? They hold big parties and try
to fuggedaboudit for awhile.
It’s a global impulse: in Rio de Janeiro, where millions live in dire
poverty, slum-dwellers who may not even have electricity or running
water spend the entire year working on parade costumes and floats for
their annual Carnival.
The same community spirit holds true for the National Cherry Festival,
which brings out hundreds of volunteers who contribute more than
35,000 hours of their time to host an
8-day party for more than 500,000 people. This is on top of 10,000
hours of professional staff time: Cherry Festival staffers Tim
Hinkley, Susan Wilcox Olson, Trevor Tkach, Karen Siekas, Stephanie
Neville, Chuck O’Connor, Mandy DePuy, Jennifer Parlette, Erika Olsen
and Emily LaFollette get the ball rolling on 150 events, based out of
a small suite of offices in downtown Traverse City.
This is the 84th outing for the Cherry Festival, which got its start
in 1926 as a harvest celebration for the cherry crop. It’s been a bit
of a bum season for the cherry crop this year, owing to a hard frost
which split the budding fruit this spring. On the other hand, the
remaining cherries came early this year, so we’ll have something of
the spirit of 1926 with our own local fruit to savor, instead of the
imported stuff.
Some people have groused in recent years that the Festival has grown
“too corporate” with sponsorships. But the good news is that 85% of
festival events are still free of charge, and that’s a fine thing in
this economy, especially for cash-strapped families who are looking to
catch a break at a time when even a bucket of movie popcorn runs $5 or
more.
Last week was filled with somber news: the gusher in the Gulf pounded
out another 700,000 barrels of oil and the stock market fell something
like 400 points. Republicans shot down an extension of unemployment
benefits, leaving an extra 200,000 people per week dangling without a
safety net, on top of 1 million whose benefits have already expired.
The Asian Carp splashed its way to within five miles of Lake Michigan.
Unemployment is reportedly up to 19% in Benzie County and other
pockets of Northern Michigan. And there was the usual creepy stuff in
the news about child molesters, break-ins, druggers, muggers and other
bummers.
In short, we could use a break from the status quo, and lo and
behold, here ‘tis. This week, hundreds of thousands of us will line
the bay to watch the fireworks and the Blue Angels; camp out on Front
Street for hours of parades; party with our friends at the Open Space
and its Bayside Music Stage; and enjoy the simple sensation of walking
to town with our kids, if only to avoid the traffic. People from all
over the country will be here, enjoying one of the Top 10 Festivals in
the United States. And the good news is that every small town in
Northern Michigan has its own version of the Cherry Festival as the
summer unfolds. As the saying goes, it’s the berries. See you
downtown.

 
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