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Monday, January 23, 2006

Ain't no party like a Detroit party

From Mitch Albom

Now it's Detroit. Nice. I know it's just a sentence, but a crown is just a crown, too. It's still the difference between looking at a king and being one.

So the guests of honor have been announced for a Motown party that has been scheduled for years. It will be original. It will be unpredictable. It will be the franchise that once gave us Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, Franco Harris against the franchise that once gave us, uh, Jim Zorn.

And in a nice twist of geographic fate, the most celebrated player likely will be a beefy running back who went to Mackenzie High School and spent part of his televised news conference answering questions about our hometown -- and his.

"What's great about Detroit?" he said. "It's a great city. It's a great city, and you all will see when you get there in two weeks."

Couldn't have said it better ourselves.


Blogger Bialynia said...

Actually, what IS great about Detroit? One thing (and don't say the Redwings!)?

1/23/2006 10:45:00 PM  

Blogger beatroot said...

I think he will probably say redwings.

1/24/2006 11:37:00 AM  

Blogger Gustav said...

These all go for the Detroit metro area, which is referred to by everyone who lives there as "Detroit".

What is great about Detroit?

-Detroit's miles of freeway on summer weekends full of classic cars.

-Great music and a great music history. From the Temptations to the White Stripes, from Bob Seger to the Supremes, from Alice Cooper to Stevie Wonder - I could name many, many more. All had their beginnings in Detroit. As a result, we also have some of the best musical traditions - and radio stations! - in the country.

-Some great museums. The Detroit Institute of Art (in the city of Detroit) is perhaps one of the most underappreciated museums in the world. It has a fantastic collection of Egyptian mummies, as well as an extensive collection of impressionists, including some of Monet's most famous. Some of Van Gogh's best are there too.

The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn is another gem. The very car Kennedy was killed in is there, as well as several exhibits showing the evolution of everything from the steam engine to the modern vacuum cleaner.

-Lakes, lakes, and more lakes. What watersport do you want to engage in today?

-It's reputation as the place where Canada and the US meet. Detroit is a modern-day border town, but is the polar opposite of El Paso or San Diego. Instead of crazed vigilantes sitting in lawnchairs with their rifles aimed at the foreigners coming over the Ambassador Bridge, traffic moves freely across the borders; it's nothing unusual for a someone on either side to cross 2 or three times in one day. Every Detroiter usually has several good Canadian friends, just by default, since so many are around. Of course, travelling to Windsor for your 19th birthday is a great tradition too. This geography also adds to Detroit's history. During prohibition, Detroit was the top spot for rum-running from country to country. Michigan was the first state to vote for the prohibition amendment, as well as the first to vote for its repeal.

-Great people. Of course, many cities can say that, but few have been through the prolonged decay that Detroit has. Detroit still hasn't recovered from the seizures that gripped it in the middle of the last century - the city itself is quite empty and in many places, bleak. Detroiters are perennially optimistic though, and proud of where they come from. New businesses are moving in, the theater district and Greektown are a blast. With two new stadiums and a boost from the gaming industry, the economy there is picking up. As I touched on when I mentioned music, Detroit has a very rich history. That also includes being the country's industrial heartland and providing automobiles for the country, and finally, the world. It's not a tradition we take lightly.

-Oh yeah, and the Red Wings rock.

Probably, you're not very impressed by this list. After all, Chicago and Warsaw also have their own benefits, and it could be argued, ones that make those cities "greater". So what is it then that really makes Detroit "great"? Well, I think that's the whole point. Detroit is about a certain atmosphere - a certain pride. As just about everyone knows, there's little concrete to brag about, but we love our town just the same.

It's great, just great, is just about all a Detroiter can say, because how do you provide tangible proof for the intangible? What evidence do you present? I've made an effort here, but in reality, Bettis said it best. The "greatness" of Detroit is something that has to be experienced first-hand. You realize it more than anything else when you meet the PEOPLE. - They are truly what makes Detroit great.

But it's something you have to experience for yourself. Detroit may be the butt of the rest of the counry's jokes (another reason Detroiters are so [defiantly] proud), but those who have visited tend to leave with a smile on their faces.

1/24/2006 01:50:00 PM  

Blogger Bialynia said...

Let me just mention frm personal expieriance that if you go Windsor three times in one day for no good reason, you're asking for a full-body cavity search.

You forgot to mention the remaining small Polish enclave in the city!

1/24/2006 08:41:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

I've been across the border several times (including 3 times in one day) and have never been searched. Just lucky I guess.

Technically, Hamtramck is its own city. They had a funny incident last year with some raucus-causin' Muslims. Seems some of the traditional Polish Catholics there don't mind churchbells to ring your hangover awake at 6 am on a Sunday morning, but a 5 am call to prayer for Muslims is just too much. Mercifully, The majority of Hamtramck residents possess common sense.

By the way, here's how Little Green Footballs reported the story. "an exemption from noise ordinances "? Sheesh.

Though, to be fair, the report is a republished article from the Detroit News, which is considered a "conservative" paper. With phrases like: "waves of outrage from Christian groups" and "special rights" - I can see where they get that moniker.

1/24/2006 09:30:00 PM  

Blogger Bialynia said...

I never knew that Hamtramck was a city inside a city, pretty cool. I'm curious how Detroit will be portrayed leading up to the Super Bowl.

1/24/2006 09:58:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Yes, Hamtramck is our Lesotho.

I'm curious to see how Detroit is portrayed after the Super Bowl. Though outside Ford Field on an early February night is no place for hooligans to start some shit. Too cold.

1/24/2006 10:38:00 PM  

Blogger beatroot said...

Windsor is where the bloody Queen lives, you colonials!!!

1/25/2006 09:39:00 PM  

Blogger Redneck Texan said...

Superbowl.....whats that?

In the immortal words of Meatloaf, Two out of three ain't bad.

What do you expect when you get in a shootout in Texas.

Let me see, who is Number one in the Western Conference now.....why, that would be the Dallas Stars. I guess the cream does rise to the top.

1/29/2006 01:40:00 AM  

Blogger Gustav said...

A hockey all star game - in Texas?

Will anybody come? The biggest hometown star they could find to promote the thing is also a former Wing!

As far as the shootout goes, it sounded really exciting - and on national TV too, which is good for the sport.

But I'm apoplectic with fury at the result. You guys sure are happy that you finally managed to beat us, though. Poor Turco. And anyways, shootouts are for cowboys, not hockey. What is this, soccer? I get enough shootouts over here.

And what's that about being first in the conference? Check again. By my count we've still got a point on ya. But that could all change tonight. Both teams are playing.

All I got to say is: Playoffs baby. Playoffs.

1/30/2006 01:12:00 PM  

Blogger Redneck Texan said...

Yeah, I forgot, they had to give y'all a point for losing. ;-)

I sure wish we were in a division with Columbus, Chicago, and St. Loses. We would already have the President's cup clinched.

1/30/2006 09:15:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Rather than perennial powerhouses like LA, Anaheim, San Jose and Phoenix? Sure, LA is decent this year, but that's an anomaly - as it is that St. Lou is having a bad year.

The only thing that makes that division tough is the slush all you southwestern teams have to skate on in that heat. At least in Columbus they have ice.

1/30/2006 10:12:00 PM  

Blogger likwidshoe said...

What else makes Detroit great? It was the birthplace of techno and for a great many years held some of the best vibe underground rave parties in North America.

I found this post by Googling, "Ain't no party like a Detroit party" (because a Detroit party don't stop). Where I first heard that saying? In some dirty warehouse at 6 in the morning the night of April 1st, 2000.

5/05/2006 06:49:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Excellent point Likwidshoe. Techno is another integral part of the city's vibrant music history - and fewer people know about it than should. Detroit holds one of the world's best Techno festivals each year as well.

8/05/2006 03:20:00 PM  

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