Monday, January 30, 2012

Bees Live In This Hill

Some photos from a random Monday afternoon in Durham, North Carolina. The first two photos are of the George Watts Hill Pavilion For The Arts below. It was built in 2004 by Liberty Arts Inc., which was interested in creating a sculpture studio and bronze casting facility to facilitate the commissioning and production of artwork and develop educational programs for artists and community. This concept came to fruition with the completion of the pavilion in 2004. Read more about it here.

Lucky Strike

The American Tobacco Co. was founded in 1890 by J. B. Duke through a merger between a number of U.S. tobacco manufacturers. The company was one of the original 12 members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1896 and dominated the industry by acquiring the Lucky Strike brand and more than 200 other rival firms. Relics of Lucky Strike, the famous client of a fictitious Madison Avenue advertising agency in the hit AMC show "Mad Men," remain today in the American Tobacco Historic District in Durham, North Carolina, though none of the facilities are in use at this point. The American Tobacco campus is located beside the Durham Bulls Triple-A baseball park. The campus features an on-site YMCA, public green space, biking trails, five restaurants and prominent businesses like the nationally recognized public broadcasting station WUNC Radio.


I went to a great restaurant called Toast today in Durham and ordered a delicious panini with tuscan kale and sweet and hot pickled peppers. Two thumbs up.

Mukhi and Paxton

Mukhi and her male friend Paxton are the canine roommates of my friend Thea and her roommate Stacie in Durham, North Carolina. Mukhi is not quite 2 1/2 and Paxton turns 2 in May. "I call Mukhi my furry family member," says Stacie. "I call Paxton my dog," says Thea. Both were rescued from a local shelter where lots of awesome dogs are hoping for loving homes.

The Ascent Of Stan

This is Stan the dog. He's a 5-month-old boxer/hound mix and he's awesome. More on him later, though. In the meantime, listen to this Ben Folds song called "The Ascent Of Stan."

Friday, January 27, 2012

Order It From Zaragon

It's amazing how much the nearly finished Zaragon West apartment high-rise looks like the artist renderings from when it was drawn up two years ago. I've watched this project take shape up over the course of many months, both up close and personal and from afar, including here as seen from my downtown Ann Arbor office vantage point. The 14-story project, formerly known as Zaragon Place 2, will bring nearly 200 new beds to the downtown with ground-floor retail space. Read my story from when it was approved.

Campaigner In Chief

Despite assurances his visit to Ann Arbor wasn't a political event, but rather official White House business, Barack Obama surely played the role of campaigner in chief today. This was the scene at the Al Glick Field House. Read the story.

"Michigan is all about making stuff," Obama said. "If there's anybody in America who can teach us about how to bring back manufacturing, it is the great state of Michigan."

Obama was welcomed by a receptive crowd of cell phone-waving University Michigan students.

The field house where the speech took place.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan talks to a television crew. "Tuition is skyrocketing much faster than the rate of inflation," Duncan said, adding that many middle-class Americans believe college is becoming out of reach for them.

State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, talks with Washtenaw County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum. Asked before the event how political he thought Obama might get in his speech, Irwin jokingly replied: "Six out of 10."

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje offered his thoughts before the start of Obama's speech: "I'm hoping he's going to say some stirring things and announce some programs that are going to help people get an education they can afford."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

January Rain

Rain, if that is your name
Let me offer an apology for how much we complain
We curse and wish you'd go away
Say come again another day
But you bring us life, you make us sustain
You don't just dampen our parades

The colors dance, with lights in trance
The garden grows, the river flows
The seasons change, and still your name
Rain, rain, rain