Letters

Letters 11-17-2014

by Dr. Buono in the November 10 Northern Express. While I applaud your enthusiasm embracing a market solution for global climate change and believe that this is a vital piece of the overall approach, it is almost laughable and at least naive to believe that your Representative Mr.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Tourist tips for Madonna

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Tourist tips for Madonna
Dear Madonna,
Thanks for coming to Northern Michigan for the film festival this summer. Everyone in these parts is wondering if we‘ll have many visitors, what with the price of gas and all. But now that you‘re taking a break from your tour to premiere your film, I Am Because We Are, maybe more people will make the trip.
Many of your fans were lined up outside the State Theatre two days before the tickets went on sale, camping out on the sidewalk in the rain in order to see you present the film on August 2.
So the good news is that your film about the east African country of Malawi is sure to be a box office smash up this way. But you may want to wear some sunglasses and a disguise to keep from being overwhelmed. There‘s already some guy walking around town in a Madonna outfit, giving people whiplash from turning around to see if it‘s really you.
 
Monday, June 2, 2008

What‘s the alternative?

Random Thoughts Robert Downes A friend claims that people are now drilling holes in other folks’ gas tanks, siphoning gas from boats, and raiding the fuel tanks of vacant cottages to get at the precious liquid inside (slurp, slurp...).
It sounds like an urban legend, but State Police troopers in Manistee say it’s at least partly true (see Anne Stanton’s story on page 8).
Stealing gas or fuel oil seems like a great way to risk becoming your own funeral director, with the cremation thrown in for free.
 
Monday, May 26, 2008

A soldier‘s tale

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Not long ago, I met an old soldier who had made the crossing in the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944 -- that was 64 years ago. Still as spry as spring at the age of 84, he came over to say hello as I was walking my bike through a local farm market. I’m sorry to say I didn’t catch his name.
“I wish I could ride a bike,” he said. “You save all that money riding a bike. But my joints are all roughed up and I lost my hearing when a cannon went off next to my head at Omaha Beach. You know what you get from the government when you lose your hearing? Not much. And these hearing aids cost $6,000.”
 
Monday, May 19, 2008

Planting a seed

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Can ordinary citizens take charge of Northern Michigan’s destiny and help shape what our region will look like over the next 20 to 50 years?
That’s the dream of the folks behind the Grand Vision, a series of workshops which has been attracting visionary citizens from six counties over the past few months to share their ideas on the future of Northern Michigan.
Starting in Grand Traverse County, where 1,500 participants shared their ideas on land use and transportation alternatives, the Grand Vision has expanded to Kalkaska, Leelanau, Antrim, Benzie and Wexford counties, with 109 governmental participating.
 
Monday, May 12, 2008

Relearning how to eat

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Relearning How to Eat
There’s a touch of suspense in our visits to the grocery store these days. We creep cautiously over to the milk aisle, bracing for the price. If it’s under $3 a gallon, a small victory has been won, but the trend seems to be heading in the other direction, and someday I suppose that $3 milk will be just a misty memory.
So, put this in the “One More Thing to Worry About” file: the rising cost
of food.
Those of you who buy milk each week probably don’t need a bunch of fancy statistics to underline the fact that food is getting more expensive, but here goes:
Food prices went up by four percent last year on top of 2.4 percent the year before, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And prices could rise as much as 10 percent this year.
So, let’s be optimists and assume the worst: by 2009, food prices could be up as much as 16.4 percent of what you paid in 2005.
But some staples have gone even higher: in the past year alone, milk rose 13.3 percent, white bread went up 16.3 percent, and eggs were up 29.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A record 28 million Americans will be on food stamps this year.
 
Monday, May 5, 2008

A Meijer Moment

Random Thoughts Robert Downes While reaching for a bag of corn chips in the snack aisle recently, an unexpected thought flew into my head: Why the heck am I shopping at Meijer?
Although I’m a member of our local co-op and also support independent supermarkets in the area, there are times when the need for some hardware or whatever leads me down the miles of aisles at the big M.
But lately, you can’t help but wonder if Meijer is the sort of “good neighbor” that’s worth supporting.
It’s troubling to see, for instance, that Meijer has replaced many of its cashiers with digital scan terminals. If a large corporation isn’t bringing jobs to our community, why should we support it? I can’t imagine that many of the cashiers replaced by digital robots were exactly on Easy Street to begin with.
 
Monday, April 28, 2008

The Two Child Solution

Random Thoughts Robert Downes The Two Child Solution
Want to save the planet? Then forget about solutions like wind power and Earth-friendly fluorescent light bulbs. Forget recycling, “green“ building and carpooling. Forget buzzwords like “sustainable resources“ and all of your good intentions, because they do far too little, too late. There‘s only one obvious way to stop global warming and save ourselves.
We need fewer people on Planet Earth.
 
Monday, April 21, 2008

Protesting the protestors of the Beijing Olympics

Random Thoughts George Foster President Bush is right. It doesn’t make sense for him to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games being held in China later this year. He has pointed out that an opportunity would be lost to communicate with officials of our somewhat isolated rival.
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, in particular, is heavily criticizing the Bush Administration for refusing to make a protest statement at the Games. Barack Obama, too, has belatedly called for the President skip the opening ceremonies. The other major candidate, John McCain seems uncertain about what should be done and has stopped short of any support for a protest.
Primarily, Clinton wants Bush to protest because of the illegal invasion and occupation by China of the sovereign nation of Tibet. Sound familiar? Ironically, similar circumstances did not stop her and others of the Morality Police against China from supporting the U.S. government’s adventure into Iraq five years ago.
 
Monday, April 14, 2008

Proposed theme park a bad trip

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Remember Auto World?
Auto World was the theme park that opened in Flint in July, 1984. It was supposed to tell the glorious story of the automobile with exhibits like a giant car engine. It had all the goodies: animatronic robots, an amusement park... even a mannequin representing Jacob Smith, the founder of Flint. You walked into Smith’s humble cabin, pressed a button, and a film was projected onto the mannequin’s face, welcoming you to Auto World.
But this was one jalopy that soon ran out of gas. It proved to be about as popular as “Refrigerator World” or “Naugahyde Seat World.” Auto World went bankrupt within a year for lack of customers... possibly, they headed just up the way to “Chicken Dinner World” in Frankenmuth instead.
 
Monday, April 7, 2008

Too smart for our own good?

Random Thoughts Robert Downes There’s a new gadget on the market which promises to revolutionize the way we read books.
Or, to put it more simply, it promises to destroy books. Forever.
The Kindle, from Amazon.com, is a reading tablet the size of a paperback book which has a high-resolution display screen that’s easy enough on the eyes to be considered “electronic paper.”
Using wireless technology, owners of the Kindle can download books, newspapers and magazines over a “Whispernet” service on their cellphones. And publications are available for half the price -- or less -- compared to the printed versions.
 
Monday, March 31, 2008

John McCain‘s thoughts on war

Random Thoughts Robert Downes A year ago, John McCain was written off as a has-been with no hope of securing the Republican nomination for president. And just a few months ago, conventional wisdom had it that the presidency would surely go to a Democrat.
But now that candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are tearing each other to bits, John McCain has a better shot at becoming our next president than anyone might have imagined.
Except for those of us who‘ve read his excellent, heartrending memoir, Faith of My Fathers, that is. The book offers a spellbinding story of a man who never surrendered, even when the price was five-and-a-half years of torture, beatings and imprisonment in North Vietnam.
John McCain‘s war experience is worth examining in light of his support for the war in Iraq and his statement that America could end up occupying the country for 100 years.
My interest in reading McCain‘s book was sparked by a visit to the infamous “Hanoi Hilton“ prison in Vietnam in January. Hoa Lin Prison is an anonymous looking compound in downtown Hanoi which was used to imprison captured Americans during the war.
 
Monday, March 24, 2008

The Best Place To Live

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Rolling down M-55 between Cadillac and Manistee last week, an offbeat sign caught my eye: “Bear X-ings Next 7 Miles.” It included a picture of a mama bear and two cubs crossing the road.
How cool is that? There aren‘t many places in the country where you find wildlife coexisting with a boom in urban growth.
A big part of the fun of putting together our annual tribute to the “Best of Northern Michigan“ is driving around the region, collecting the photos and stories it takes to put one of our most popular issues together. It‘s a team effort that involves everyone at the Express, including the ad reps, office manager and delivery staff, as well as the writers. It‘s our biggest and best chance of the year to get out and circulate with those of you who make Northern Michigan such a superb place to live.
 
Monday, March 10, 2008

Opening Our Arms To Cuba

Random Thoughts George Foster After almost 50 years of rigid communist rule, change is finally, finally coming to Cuba.
An eruption of modernization is imminent in the isolated Caribbean island, but not because Fidel Castro finally made his resignation official. Handing over presidential power to brother Raul Castro only ensures that Fidel’s strong-armed rule will continue to suffocate the Cuban people if the Castro clan has its way.
 
Monday, March 3, 2008

2010

Random Thoughts Robert Downes “It‘s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.“ -- R.E.M.

Have you heard about the Mayan Prophecy? New Age types have been talking about it for months on the Internet and radio talk shows such as “Coast-to-Coast,” which explores paranormal topics.
Apparently, before their civilization collapsed in Central America 1,000 years ago, the Mayans predicted that the world would end in the year 2012.
This is the date which coincides with the “end” of the Mayan calendar -- and the end of the world as we know it.
 
Monday, February 25, 2008

The myth of modern sculpture

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Hey brother, have you got the time for “Time Myth”? No? Didn’t think so.
It was a foregone conclusion that the controversial metal sculpture would never find a home on the waterfront of Traverse City’s Open Space park.
People would rather see the sailboats and seagulls. So three cheers for the TC Commission for giving the thumbs-down on parking this 29-foot-tall sculpture in front of our view of the bay.
In case you’re behind the time on this issue, “Time Myth,” which doubles as a sundial, is a “blue light special” from the wreckage of the Kmart corporation. Years ago, Kmart’s brilliant executives purchased “Time Myth” for $800,000 from Southfield sculptor John Piet for their headquarters in Troy. Then, after they succeeded in wrecking the company and the employees’ retirement plan, the execs bailed out with their pockets full of gold, leaving their successors with an art collection of dubious value.
 
 
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