Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

Home · Articles · By Robert Downes

Robert Downes

 
Top Articles from
No articles in this section
Monday, April 7, 2008

Carolina Cruise: John McClorey

Features Robert Downes While the rest of us were shivering through March, wondering when the winter would ever end, John McClorey of Boyne City was enjoying the trip of a lifetime, riding solo through the mountains and along the seashore of the Carolinas.
The owner of Bikefix Cycling Center in Boyne City, John left Asheville, North Carolina on March 11 and wrapped up his ride on March 29, meeting his wife, Meg, in Conway, South Carolina.
“I rode around 600 or 700 miles,” he estimates. “North Carolina is nice because they’ve established about seven bike routes around the state. The one I took was Bicycle Route 2, called the Mountain to the Sea. Then I followed the intercoastal road to South Carolina.”
 
Monday, March 31, 2008

CD Roundup

Music Robert Downes Musicians throughout Northern Michigan put a measure of heart & soul into their CDs, which tend to be locally recorded and sold from the bandstand at their shows. Here’s the latest from songwriters and singers around the region.

A Little Slice • Jenny Thomas

Perhaps the greatest challenge for any musician is to craft a song that will live on in the listener’s memory. How many times have you gone to a concert and come away unable to recall any memorable songs or what the singer had to say?
That’s not the case for singer/songwriter Jenny Thomas, who has a gift for writing acoustic songs that take root and blossom in the listener’s heart. She wins you over with vivid images, optimistic melodies and a percolating, upbeat tempo. As a singer, there’s a shot of honey in the timbre of her voice -- a gift which draws the listener in, making you feel like a close friend. Her live performances are also noteworthy for their inviting, even delivery and assured stage presence. As one fan says, “Everybody likes Jenny Thomas.”
Examples of her best work are on this six-song EP, particularly “Oh My Soul,” a bouncy melody that captures the spirit of Northern Michigan with a driving rhythm and zinger lines such as “Take me for a ride on the back of a whitetail deer.” Another standout is “Betsy Brown,” about a pillar of the community who seems to have it made, but is in fact fatally unhappy. Its shocker ending puts one in mind of classic ballads such as Simon and Garfunkel’s “Richard Corey” or Dylan’s “John Brown.”
A graphic designer from Traverse City, Thomas’s themes embrace a love of family and friends. On this CD, which is available at Horizon Books and Border’s, she gets an assist from Will Thomas on drums, Crispin Campbell on cello, and the recording talents of Patrick Niemisto. “A Little Slice” is a great representation of her live show -- increasingly, she is in demand as the opening act for folk stars passing through venues such as the InsideOut Gallery.
 
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 31, 2008

Odom‘s salvage celebration

Features Robert Downes In a world that is increasingly looking for ‘green’ solutions, the recyclers of Odom Reusable Building Materials provide a great role model.
In fact, since its establishment in Traverse City in 1998, Odom has salvaged and sold three million pounds of recycled building materials -- everything from windows, doors, light fixtures and plumbing to entire walls.
“Recycling gets in your blood and we’ve been very well received in this community,” says Bruce Odom, who launched the business 10 years ago after having success with a similar outfit on the West Coast.
Things have gone so well that Odom is planning a 10th anniversary celebration on Saturday, April 19 at the store in Grawn, south of Traverse City, along with its Fifth Annual Used Materials Building Tour.
 
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 3, 2008

Skinny Bitch

Books Robert Downes It was just an obscure diet book on the shelves a little over a year ago, but today, Skinny Bitch and its sister publication Skinny Bitch in the Kitch
are two of the fattest books on the bestseller charts.
Specifically, Skinny Bitch has spent the past 30 weeks at the top of the New York Times Paperback Advice Bestseller List, with Skinny Bitch in the Kitch weighing in at number four, along with nine weeks on the list.
Both books offer “vegan diet advice from the world of modeling.” Author Rory Freedman is a former agent for Ford Models and a “self-taught know-it-all,” while Kim Barnouin is a former model who holds an MS degree in holistic nutrition.
 
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, March 3, 2008

Simply Natural

Features Robert Downes You feel good just walking into the office of Candy Chamberlain, N.D. And no wonder, because the air is filled with the uplifting, feel-good scents of aromatherapy, one of her specialties as a practitioner of naturopathic medicine.
Naturopathy is a form of health care that is both old and new to Northern Michigan. Old, in the sense that its tradition of using only natural plants, minerals and noninvasive therapies to heal goes back thousands of years. New, in that there are few certified practitioners in the region, and the field is little-known to most residents.
But that scenario is changing as more Americans seek holistic answers to their health problems.
 
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.
 
Monday, February 18, 2008

Black Hole

Books Robert Downes If you’ve never read a graphic novel before, then “Black Hole” by Charles Burns is a wake-up call as to how disturbing and provocative these steroid-packed comic books can be.
Hailed as the masterwork of a comics superstar, “Black Hole” is a frightening trip into a nightmare of teenage anxieties, rendered with drawings that recall the darkness of both Rembrandt and Dracula.
The story involves a bizarre plague that infects a group of teenagers in the Seattle area during the 1970s -- a time when “it wasn’t exactly cool to be a hippie any more, but David Bowie was still just a little too weird.”
 
Monday, February 18, 2008

The search for affordable housing

Region Watch Robert Downes Can you afford to live in the town where you work? Or, are you forced to live far out of town where housing is more affordable?
That‘s one of the issues to be addressed at an upcoming conference on “Creating Housing Choices“ in northwest Michigan.
 
Monday, February 18, 2008

Room with a view

Features Robert Downes Do you have a beautiful home that’s brimming with style, color and creativity? Have you ever dreamed of having it featured in magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens, Cottage Living, Home Magazine or Midwest Living?
If so, photographer Jim Yochum is looking for you.
 
Monday, February 11, 2008

Why Mars & Venus collide

Books Robert Downes Is your relationship cosmically stressed out? Is a meteor shower of
hassles and time-pressure tearing up your world of love and commitment?
Is your rocket to romance stalled on the launching pad because you can’t
choose between Mars and Venus as a destination?
If so, you may wish to consult “Why Mars & Venus Collide,” the latest
self-help book for relationships by space explorer and love coach John
Gray.
 
Monday, February 11, 2008

A love letter

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Dear Northern Michigan Men,
Many of you will be in ladies‘ underwear this week.
Not literally, of course, but browsing the lingerie department in stores around the region for that ‘special something’ for Valentine’s Day.
I remember a packed Men’s Night at a lingerie shop a year ago. Grown men were elbowing each other out of the way, debating the pros & cons of silky bustiers, thongs, teddies and lacy bra & panty combinations. And frankly, they were having a blast.
The chatter in the store was along the lines of: “Do you think she’ll look better in the polka dot combo or red satin? What about something sheer and silky in chartreuse? Hmmm...”
For men, the fun of shopping for lingerie is imagining how our lady will look in the fur-trimmed negligee with the pom-pom ball tassels that we picked out all by ourselves. Or the thrill that will light up her eyes when she tries on that scratchy nylon saloon girl’s outfit that was popular on “Gunsmoke” 50 years ago.
Ahem. That’s why some of us have learned to ‘keep it simple, stupid’ when shopping for sweet nothings. Something sensual but semi-tasteful, and always keep the receipt in case that lace fantasy is too tight, too big, or not her color, and inspires more thoughts of the return counter than romance.
And back it up with a box of chocolates or a red rose, just in case.

Your Valentine Pal -- Bob
 
Monday, February 4, 2008

Bailing out America

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Are you kicking up your heels at the thought of your tax rebate this spring?
Yeah, sure.
But do you think the extra goodies in the mail are going to solve America’s economic problems? Probably not.
Congress has crafted an economic rescue package which will provide tax rebates of $600 for each taxpaying American, with $1,200 for married couples, plus $300 per child. That will mean a check in the mail to 117 million families.
 
 
Close
Close
Close