Help Shape Michigan's Future -- Before June 30

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AdvanceMichigan is your personal chance to discuss and vote on local projects to shape Michigan's future. Urban farming? Affordable housing? After-school activities for urban kids? Tourism? Climate change? Healthier school meals? Be sure to put your ideas on this social media site by June 30, because the people at MSU Extension and Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station want to use them to help solve Michigan's many problems.

Music for the Road

The US 12 Heritage Trail sounds like a fun road trip. I also like their list of Best Road Trip Songs, including Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett and Truckin' by The Grateful Dead. Some weekend this summer, I'd like to check out a bunch of road-music CDs and head for the highway.

Anybody Lose a Cow: Ann Arbor Classifieds Then and Now

lost cow

The classified ads are a window into what's going on in a community. For instance, even though most of the ads on Ann Arbor Craig's List are about lost pets and used things for sale, a post like this gives us hints to the exciting night life that our town has to offer:

Two dimes and a nickle - found (A2)
Date: 2010-04-16, 1:27PM EDT

I found two dimes and a nickle on the sidewalk in front of the Arena last night. If you
lost two dimes and a nickle please contact me, I would be delighted to return
them to you. Please be prepared to identify said coins.

Well, things were no less different in Ann Arbor in the mid-nineteenth century. Do you know about The Signal of Liberty, Ann Arbor's historic abolitionist newspaper. We have the Signal on our website, and it's a great resource for learning about the history of anti-slavery in this area.

BUT, it also includes many classified ads that offer an intriguing look into what Ann Arborites were up to in the 1840's.

Here's one from the September 22, 1841 issue from Michael Puttel.
eliza
Let's hope that Michael and Eliza patched things up.

These two from July 7th and August 4th seem to be 1841's version of a lost pet ad.
lost cows
Lost mares
How does one lost a cow... or multiple horses? These two ads also contain the recurring offer for a free Signal subscription in return for Wood! Wood! Wood!

This ad, also from July 7th but recurring throughout the paper's run, is here simply to beg one question: What is a "smut machine"?
Threshing machine ad

Working Class Characters in Post-Industrial America

You won't want to miss this conversation with Bonnie Jo Campbell and Lolita Hernandez, 5-6:30pm May 15, at Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, Library Gallery #100, 913 S. University. Campbell was a 2009 National Book Award finalist for American Salvage, a collection of stories set in rural Michigan. Campbell and Hernandez will talk about inner lives of working-class characters in post-industrial America. Hernandez, who teaches creative writing in the U-M Residential College, is the author of Autopsy of an Engine and Other Stories from the Cadillac Plant, which won a 2005 PEN Beyond Margins Award, and two collections of poems. Their conversation is presented during the weekend of the Ann Arbor Book Festival by the Author’s Forum.
For more about this event and a preview of the festival click here.

Nimrod Nation, on DVD

Nimrod Nation is an 8-part documentary series that originally aired on Sundance. In the small rural town of Watersmeet, Michigan, the two most popular things on the minds and lips of the townies are basketball and hunting. The town is pretty much obsessed with the school basketball team called the Nimrods. George Peterson is the team coach, the high school principal, and the father of one of the players. The series is an intimate look at small town life, the residents, and high school basketball. I don’t know how I randomly found this DVD, but I’m glad I did, as it is original and heartfelt. Check out the DVD, or have a peek at clips from various episodes here.

Rory Freedman & John Salley at VegFest

Number-one New York Times bestselling author Rory Freedman of the popular in-your-face Skinny Bitch diet books and former Detroit Piston John Salley are keynote speakers at this year’s VegFest, an annual vegetarian tastefest presented by VegMichigan. VegFest will be at Ferndale High School on Sunday, April 18th, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. The event also features over twenty-five area restaurants serving samples of a variety of vegetarian foods, cooking and raw food demonstrations, and children’s activities. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students at the door.VegFestVegFest

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Author Event with Jerry Dennis

LivingGreat LakesLivingGreat Lakes

Jerry Dennis, the author of this year's selection for the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads, 'The Living Great Lakes: Searching For The Heart Of The Inland Seas', will make a special appearance at Washtenaw Community College on Thursday, January 28. Dennis, a resident of Traverse City, will discuss his 4-week journey through the Lakes as a crew-member on a tall-masted schooner. If you haven't yet read this fascinating book, we've got plenty of copies in stock. The focus of the 2010 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads program is Michigan and we have many more events planned through January and February around this theme. See them here.

Guided Hikes in the Ann Arbor Area

Calvin's father, in the timeless youth graphic novels, Calvin and Hobbes, often insists that outdoor activities with the family will help "build character" in his son, though Calvin himself clearly has other ideas. If you are looking for some similar character-building activities with the family this Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010, consider the Waterloo Recreation Area's investigative program, "The Mystery of the Missing Groundhog", and then head out to the trails on a search for some winter wildlife.

Looking for something closer to Ann Arbor? Check out Saturday's daytime hike, the Winter Woods Walk, through County Farm Park where a guide will lead you on and off the trails looking for plants and wildlife. Or try Leslie Science Center's nocturnal Winter Night Walk which caps off a crisp night trail hike with a lively campfire.

If you can't make these weekend events, check out the following Ann Arbor trail guides from the AADL: Riverwalks Ann Arbor and Footloose in Ann Arbor.

Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival

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Michael Moore said "In times like these, humor should ride to the rescue." Creator of films such as Roger & me, Sicko and Capitalism: A Love Story, Moore grew up in Michigan and still lives here. Along with Jeff Garlin of Curb Your Enthusiasm fame, the two are the co-founders of the Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival scheduled for Feb. 19th--21st.

Headliners are Roseanne Barr, filmmaker John Waters (Hairspray, Cecil B. DeMented) and Mike Birgiglia. Other acts will feature improvisational groups and premieres of comedy movies — including a short-films competition — plus a show for children.

Most of the events will take place at the State Theatre, a refurbished, 546-seat movie house that Moore helped save from the wrecking ball, and two other downtown showplaces: the City Opera House and the Old Town Playhouse.

For more information go to Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival.

Automotive Expert David E. Davis Visits AADL

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Join us on Saturday, January 16, in the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room as David E. Davis discusses the 2010 Auto Show And The Future Of Michigan’s Auto Industry as a part of the 2010 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Series on Michigan.

Davis is an automotive journalist and magazine publisher. His experience within the automotive industry includes work as a race car driver, factory worker, car salesman, writer, and publisher. He is the founder of Automobile Magazine and Time magazine called Davis the "dean of automotive journalists."

At the event Davis will discuss trends to look for at this year’s auto show, Michigan’s role in the future of the industry, and his own history and accomplishments within the field.

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