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 · Modern Rock · Top Banana
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Top Banana

Kristi Kates - November 8th, 2010
Top Banana: Nothing ‘conventional’ about this band
By Kristi Kates
Paul Shaffer’s band on the David Letterman show has often been referred to as “The World’s Most Dangerous Band.” But Saginaw/Bay City pop-rockers The Banana Convention, it seems, are in the running to be dubbed “The World’s Busiest Band.”
We asked percussionist/vocalist Monte Nothelfer what the band’s been up to lately. His answer would even make the uber-peppy Richard Simmons tired.
“Well, we’ve self-recorded several albums of original music,and have gone on the road many times, hitting up major cities across the country like Detroit, Denver, New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles,” Nothelfer says. “We’ve played the Warped Tour three years in a row, and opened for the band All Time Low at the Chicago House of Blues.
“We were also the runner-ups in the Rock Your Way To The Top Battle of the Bands competition that was held at Turtle Creek and Leelenau Sands casinos this past spring,” he continues. “As a part of the runner-up prize, we got to head to the Radius Recording Studio to work with producer Joey Callahan and record four songs. Within the next year, we will be releasing our fifth album and hopefully hitting the road to tour and promote that new album.”
Whew. Nap, anyone?

Nothelfer, along with bandmates Chris Howard (drums/vocals), Jake Voisine (guitar), Sean Drysdale (bass), and Shar Molina on lead vocals, explains that the band’s DIY attitude and focused, constantly-working approach evolved in part from the difficulty they initially had establishing their current lineup.
“The band was founded many years ago,” Nothelfer explains, “but we really started in 2004 with a very different lineup and sound than what we have now. Over the years, we began to take our music more seriously, and after what seemed like a revolving door of various band members, we ended up with our current lineup, which has been together for two years and is more solid than we’ve ever been.”
Currently unsigned, the band is chasing after that elusive record contract with simple hard work and performing as many shows as possible.
“As of right now, we are 100% do-it-yourself,” Nothelfer says. “We want to get signed to a label or find management that believes in what we’re doing enough to put us out on the road, so we can all quit our day jobs and just play our music full time.”

Although the band’s name might conjure up thoughts of Andy Warhol, old ‘70s Saturday morning TV puppet shows, or grocery gatherings (it was actually “stolen,” as Nothelfer puts it, from an episode of The Brady Bunch in which Greg Brady joins a band of the same name), the quintet’s sound is actually very pop - catchy tunes, often wacky lyrics, and a stage presence that balances their musicianship with showmanship.
“Our short ‘elevator pitch’ about the band is that we sound like if The B-52s were in a steel cage battle with No Doubt, and Weezer were the referee,” Nothelfer laughs. “While we are a fun and energetic band, we still maintain that slight edge. We’re not just all silly antics and games, though - we do cover a lot of ground musically, from pop to rock, funk to punk, and our songs cover all sorts of topics.” The band definitely has a 50/50 approach going to their setlist; for every serious song about life or relationships, there’s a more frivolous, viral tune about Han Solo or the “Cool Bus.”
“But in everything we do, ‘fun’ is the main ingredient, so no matter the topic, you’ll still have a good time listening,” Nothelfer says.

Nothelfer also mentions what a great time the band had taking advantage of their Battle of the Bands prize, working at Radius Recording Studio.
“Joey (Callahan) is a pro all the way,” Nothelfer enthuses, “and the Radius Recording Studio is the nicest place we’ve ever been lucky enough to record. We chose to record three of our original songs, as well as our cover version of the Gnarls Barkley song, ‘Crazy.’ We still hae a little more work to do on the recordings, and we won’t have a final product ready for a few more weeks, but based on even the very rough-cut versions of the songs we have right now, it’s going to sound great. We can’t wait to get it out there for everybody to hear.”
The Banana Convention already has a pretty good local following, so their upcoming show in Traverse City should be a fun one for the ambitious band. Nothelfer recommends “reinforcing your shoes” before you attend their set, as plenty of dancing is sure to be had.
“We have several new songs, originals and covers, that we’ll be playing,” he says, “but even if you don’t like every single song we play, you’re sure to get sucked in by the performance aspect of the whole thing. You’ll leave knowing you just saw one heck of a live show.”

The Banana Convention will be live in concert at the Level 3 Lounge in the Turtle Creek Casino (www.turtlecreekcasino.com) in Williamsburg on November 12 and 13. For more info on the band, visit www.thebananaconvention.com.
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