Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In Defense Of The "Rustbelt"

People often make fun of the Great Lakes region. We are the "rustbelt", the old industrial heartland of America. There are abandoned steel mills and old refrigerator plants all around. We are the place that put America on wheels, and the place that has the highest unemployment in the nation. People routinely compare Detroit to Bruit or Iraq. Milwaukee is known for it's beer, and Cleveland...they set their river on fire a few years back, so we have that going for us.

The reality of the situation is that this is a great place to live, and will be even more so in the future. We have a great cost of living, amazing natural environment and resources, and really nice people. We will have even more of an advantage in the future with the Great Lakes. When Phoenix runs out of water, we will be here watering our lavish lawns and going swimming in the largest amount of fresh water in the world.

I ran across this article recently about companies moving or expanding here in the Great Lakes area. I think it points out some of our strong points. The link is here. Long term as oil/transportation costs continue to rise, the Upper Midwest will continue to look more attractive to advanced manufacturing with its plentiful water, low electricity costs and abundant and experianced labor pool. Check out the MEDC website for some more information on why moving a company here is not a weird choice. Just look at our friends Asterand, who moved to Detroit from England. Chances are if medical research needs a tissue sample it came from Detroit. Maybe all new drugs involving cultured tissue should come with a "Made in Detroit" sticker.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hmmmmm...Is It 6 Or 7 Houses I Own?

Yesterday, John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee was asked a pretty simple question in a forum sponsored by Politico. He was asked how many houses he owned. Now I can assure that many Americans could answer this before the guy was even finished asking it... it would be a simple 1. Many could also answer 0, but that is an entirely different blog. John McCain thought for a second and then said that he did not know how many homes he owned, and that he would have his staff get back to the reporter who asked the question.

Now I cannot think of a single thing that would put McCain more out of touch with the average American then not knowing how many homes he owns. Imagine the internal process(In thought bubble...Well there in the Virginia House then Florida and Colorado...oh yeah, the beach house in Malibu...wait am I forgetting somewhere..well I guess I don't know.) Rough. Life. Man. Well it turns out the man that has your best interest's at heart as a Middle-Class American has 7 homes worth about $13 million dollars. Looks like the latest layoff's at General Motors have not hurt him.

In related news, the Obama campaign, in probably the fastest turn around in presidential advertising history, had an ad up TODAY criticizing the comment. Presented below just because it is amazing they got it up so fast. Thoughts and comments please.

Monday, August 18, 2008

True Love Is Going To The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum

People say that true love takes many forms. I would tend to agree with them. It can be seen in a number of ways in any relationship. Often the example of a serious trial is used, or the showing true love comes out in the mundane and ordinary. I am of the opinion that true love is best expressed by what you are willing to do/give up for your spouse or significant other. This brings us to the Little House on the Prairie books and a little side trip tacked on to the end of our recent vacation.

Recently, my parents moved to Arkansas to be on a lake and so my mother, a sufferer of childhood diabetes, could be in a warmer climate. So our vacation this summer was to drive down and see them for a week. We were able to hang out and swim in the pool and also go out on the lake on their pontoon boat. Rest assured I will provide a blog with serious pictures very soon (Wife in a tube behind the boat IS pretty funny).

So when we were planning said vacation Wife suddenly turns to me and says with much exclamation.... Do you think our route takes us near Mansfield, MO? Now here I am, racking my head thinking of what could POSSIBLY be in Mansfield, MO. So of course Wife proceeds to tell me that Mansfield, MO was the town that Laura Ingalls Wilder spent her adult life, and where the Little House on the Prairie books were written. She then got that dull glazed over look from me that basically equates with....what does this have to do with OUR vacation.

One month later as I am standing in Mansfield - freakin - Missouri, and I am struck but what a supreme act of love I am giving my wife. For some reason, I had agreed to go to a little tiny town in the Ozark Mountains to check out a house and a museum to a writer of books I had never read, or really had any interest in. All because the woman I love had a STRONG desire to do so. I am not pointing this our to pat myself on the back, but rather to show as an example the things you are willing to do for the one you love. I am sure she would be willing to go to someplace just as obscure for me, and that is just about all you can ask for in a companion.

P.S. Check out the blog three years from now when I talk about how much I love my wife because I just went to Laura Ingalls Wilder's childhood home in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Why she could not have written them in say...Jackson, Mi is beyond me...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Out Where The Cell Signal Dies

My joy goes up by incalculable levels when my cell phone stops getting a signal. This would normally seem like a contradictory statement to someone who is plugged in to the modern world, but that is precisely why it is true. Sometimes, I want to be where no one can reach me. The modern world can be overwhelming. I think that I have way too many way of getting a hold of me. I constantly have to monitor at least 3 emails, 3 phone numbers and of course Facebook. Being uncontactable can be incredibly freeing.

Last weekend I was on the annual canoe trip with the guys in my family on the Pine River in Northern Michigan. This annual jaunt Up North serves the purpose of allowing some guy-like behavior and also getting away for a weekend with no chance of contact.
I was distressed to see some of my family actually using cell phones at the campground. This was always a place of no service, and as such, was a place of incredible freedom.

Being there was like you were suddenly cast back in time. If someone wanted to talk to me there, they would have to just be old fashioned and gosh...speak to me face to face. The good news is that my phone did not work up there anyways, apparently Nextel has not thought to put cell service there yet. Of course, even if it did, do you think I would tell anyone??