Public Open House on Downtown Parking


Stand up (or sit down) and be heard on the future of public parking in downtown Ann Arbor. The public open house will be held Thursday, March 29, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m., 2nd floor, City Hall. City officials are working to develop a long-term parking and access strategy and your ideas and recommendations will greatly enhance the process.

Multi-tasking Can Be Dangerous

Recently I watched a young driver smash her van at about 30 mph into the back of a truck on South Main Street – while chatting happily on her cell phone. So I’m glad to see the New York Times article “Slow Down, Brave Multitasker, and Don’t Read This in Traffic.” The article quotes David Meyer at U-M saying: “Multitasking is going to slow you down, increasing the chances of mistakes. Disruptions and interruptions are a bad deal from the standpoint of our ability to process information.” Today I see there is a correction to the article: “A front-page article yesterday about the limits of multitasking misspelled the surname of a cognitive scientist at the University of Michigan, who said that "'Multitasking is going to slow you down, increasing the chances of mistakes.'" It is David E. Meyer, not Mayer.” I hope that when this name was misspelled, it wasn't because someone was multi-tasking.

Bring on the Bags


Trowels ready, rakes set, gardeners go. City of Ann Arbor weekly curbside collection of residential yardwaste resumes, Monday April 2nd. Need some compost and mulch for your spring planting? The City's Municipal Compost Center is expanding hours to include Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon during gardening season.

The Gypsy Poet

Zoli, the most recent novel by Colum Mccann, is loosely based on the life of Polish Gypsy poet, "Papusza". Zoli is a Gypsy from Slovakia who is also a talented singer and poet. Raised by her grandfather after her parents are drowned by the Hlinka Guard, Zoli is discovered by a publisher who wants to use her as a symbol of the new Czechoslovakia, post 1945, a socialist state where Gypsies will be given permanent homes even if this goes against everything their culture stands for. The Gypsies view Zoli as a traitor and she is banished from their community. Zoli becomes a true wanderer, escaping Eastern Europe on foot and barely surviving. This is a beautifully written, compassionate portrait of a rich culture in danger of losing its identity.

Under the Radar: New DVDs

Running FenceRunning Fence

While you're waiting for that latest blockbuster to come in, try one of the following four titles we recently purchased: 5 Films About Christo & Jean-Claude, a 3-disc set that includes Christo's Valley Curtain, about the construction of a 500-foot-high orange veil stretched across Rifle Gap, Colo.; and Running Fence, (photo, top), about his 24-mile long fence of white fabric stretched across the hills of Sonoma and Marin Counties in California; Tony Palmer's Film About the Salzburg Festival, a 4-star tribute to this international festival and a must-see for music lovers; Secret of the Wild Child, a NOVA production about "Genie," a teenage girl whose parents kept her imprisoned in near-total isolation from infancy; and currently on order is Kozintsev's 1971 Russian production of King Lear, one of the truly great Soviet-era films that will "stand as one of the unshakable edifices of Shakespearean imagination...." (New Yorker)

Polar Bear in March

polar bearpolar bear

Have you heard of the recent news about the youngest Germany star--Knut?

As the first polar bear cub born at the Berlin Zoo in 30 years, Knut has made his first puiblic debut this past Friday. This even called "Knut Day" attracted hundreds, maybe thousands, of people from all over the world!

See, isn't he irresistibly cute?
So... want to know more about polar bear or read some polar bear stories?
We've got some books on polar bears!

The Doctor Is In...

What do plastic men, Charles Dickens, and the End of the World, have in common? They are the three episodes you'll find on Doctor Who Series One, Disk One, from 2005. Christopher Eccleston plays the Doctor and Billie Piper, his "plus one". The shows were very entertaining. I especially liked the story with Charles Dickens.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #56

This almost slipped by me…

Ice by Vladimir Sorokin came out quietly without much media fanfare.

In this, his first English-language debut, postmodernist (and often controversial) Sorokin gives us a frighteningly engaging page-turner. Critics are calling it “ a gritty dispatch from the front lines of the contemporary world, a gnostic fairy tale, a hard-boiled parable, a New Age parody, a bitingly funny fantasy in the great Russian tradition…”

Blond, blue-eyed contemporary Muscovites are being kidnapped, driven to remote areas and bashed in the chest with hammers made of ice. It appears the victims are being "cracked" by their assailants, who want to free their hearts to "speak”.
Suspense builds with the incrementally telling of the story from the perspectives of three "heart-speakers” and Khram, their spiritual leader who was herself "hammered" by a German S.S. officer in a slave labor camp during WWII.

Ice ”…succeeds brilliantly as both a thriller and a cautionary tale about totalitarianism, bigotry, elitism, and fundamentalism". (Library Journal).

Click here for a NYRB review of Ice, and a biography on Sorokin.

History Bits - Saving People 1945

If your child is old enough to experience world history, and they are ready for Schindler's List, they could be interested in more on the subject. Paper Clips is the true story of a school project in rural Tennesee that was designed to build and understand the concept of 6 million, and crime against humanity. The Children of Chabannes is the story of a village in central France that protected over 400 Jewish children who were sent away from Nazi occupied homes in search of safety. Sugihara is the story of the Japanese consul to Lithuania who defied Tokyo and wrote hundreds of transit visas for Jews to flee through Russia to Japan and other countries.

A long journey home

On March 23, 1806, Lewis and Clark began their journey back from the Pacific coast to the East to report on their expedition. The winter had been brutally cold and wet. They had traveled about 4,000 miles from St. Louis and had been gone almost two years.

Lewis and Clark thought they could avoid the trip back over land by getting on a merchant ship but there were none to be found. And so, without much food or supplies, they began the trek back. In six months, they arrived in St. Louis.

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