Saturday, September 27, 2008

Give me HEMP!

Why is Industrial Grade Hemp not allowed to be grown in the Continental United States?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The race is on!

So, DTE just submitted their application for a new Nuclear Power Plant next to Fermi. From my understanding, the application review process will take a couple years, and construction will take a few more. So let's call it, six years from now, is when our major energy company will have reached a point of no return from which their investment dollars will be locked up in Nuclear for the next thirty years.

Grim scenario. Not one in which we should be sitting idly by waiting for. Good for them though, they will have secured a power source with easily controllable rates and consistent, reliable output. This is what we demand isn't it? We wouldn't want to not be able to watch the John Stewart Show if the wind wasn't blowing would we?

The one big argument against wind energy is that it is sporadic and produces energy at off peak times, requiring large 'utility' scale storage facilities. This is unpractical at best. Most other arguments are aimed at protecting fossil fuels, so we won't go into those here. But the second big argument against wind energy is actually a convuluted mess involving entrenched politicians and 'utility' scale lobby efforts. Alot of that argument goes to the heart of the matter and that has to do with subsidies and tax credits. But, again, these arguments are on a 'utility' scale and really have no basis for our purposes. I'll explain those in a moment.

The question is, how do we get a point where we can produce enough electricity without having to build a large 'utility' scale nuclear power plant? And, how do we do it within the next six years? The answer is fairly obvious in that we need to take the 'utility' out of energy equation (this is why the second argument has no basis).

So what do we replace it with (once the horrifying screams die down in the background)? How do we deal with the jobs that the utility companies create? How do we deal with shareholders that are heavily invested in consistent power output at consistent rates?

Good questions. We have until the end of October to answer them. I can give you a hint though and i can also give you some food for fodder in a time when our federal government is assuming responsibility for our insurance, our mortgages and our ability to pay back debt. We need safe investment vehicles for our money that don't flucuate when a hurricane comes through. And since you and i are now proud owners of a portion of some these debts, we should be using it to leverage clean investments that will still be growing 100 years from now.

Smart grids could play a large part in breaking down the notion of a 'utility' scale to the personal scale fairly easily without having to compromise the utility companies current investments in the grid or their ability to employ people to maintain them. The issue of a secure investment would require collaboration from multiple organizations and across industries. Localized storage would make more sense for the utility companies in lieu of large, dangerous facilities. Now imagine some of those personal storage facilities could get us to the office.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nevermind the Bullocks...

Who ever said that we have time to contemplate the last 100 years of rapid industrialization? I'm not sure it matters. The current situation we exist within is not one of rapid industrialization, but increasingly limited resources.

Politicians can argue ad infinitum about the reality of the situation, so let me break it down to you in simple terms.

If we want to survive, we have to invest in unlimited growth.

Think about it. What exactly does that mean for Detroit?

It means that we have to come to terms with our geographic boundaries. Upon understanding those boundaries we can understand the necessary resources allotted to us to sustain a population.

Believe it or not, this state has everything it needs to sustain unlimited growth.

I think that is all i will say for now.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Reposting some best of Detroit picks....

'K-9 to five' still wants your dogs. For Day-care that is. I'm a hoping (and a wishin..) some field trips get scheduled, cheap fun. Better yet, after school (during school??) dog walking programs. Hmmmm, any schools near '9 to 5'?

Anyway, an easy way to get some parents involved without permission slip waivers allaround: they are having a doggie First Aid class on Oct. 12th. check their website: Canine to Five

Here's the posting as promised, I feel is should warn the unsuspecting 'clicker', well...that was the warning

Metro Times Best of Detroit 2008: The Supergay Slate

Best Detroit Riverfront Attraction : Bike Rentals (from our friends at Wheelhouse!)

Best Dog Park : Doggy Style co-presenter
Canine to Five's urban dog park

Best Local Radio Talk Show : Detroit Public Radio's
Detroit Today (because sometimes they let me talk on it)

Best Local News Blog : Detroitist (

Best Local Pop Culture Blog : Supergay Detroit! (

Best Florist : This is a toughie, there are two deserving gay-owned florists. My pick this year is
Blossoms because, while they are located in Birmingham, the owners just spent like $17 million renovating the Frank Lloyd Wright Turkel House in Detroit. Blumz owners also live in Detroit, and they have a location here, but this past year their money went into expanding the Ferndale location. It's really kind of a wash, so pick your fave.

Best Place to Buy Furniture :
Mezzanine (although Art Van always wins this category, so you may want to save your vote for ...)

Best Indie Home Furnishing Store : Mezzanine, or
Bureau of Urban Living. (both are deserving - and while Mezzanine is gay-owned Bureau is as gay friendly as you can be. Pick your fave!)

Best Gourmet Grocery Store : Zaccaro’s (because they really are quite lovely, if you are not buying produce, and I need them to stick around because they are so convenient)

Best Health Club : Downtown YMCA

Best Bike Shop : Wheelhouse

Best New Nightspot (Last 2 Years) :
Park Bar (last chance in this category!)

Best Gay Bar : Detroit Guerrilla Queer Bar (because it really is)

Best Beer Selection in a Bar : Park Bar

Best Place to get a Martini :
Centaur, home of the original gay straight guy, and great friends

Best Jukebox :
Honest? John’s Bar & No Grill

Best Jazz Club : Cliff Bell’s

Best Restaurant Under $15 per diner :
Bucharest Grill (inside the Park Bar)

Best Restaurant Under $50 per diner : my fave,
Atlas Global Bistro

Best Hangover Brunch : Honest? John’s Bar & No Grill

Best Barbeque Restaurant : Slows Bar BQ

Best Neighborhood Pizza :
Motor City Brewing Works or ...

Best Gourmet Pizza Place :
Supino Pizzeria (Dave Mancini’s great new place in Eastern Market - thanks Open City! Let's give the new guy a boost!)

Best Brewpub Restaurant : Motor City Brewing Works

Best Beer Selection in a restaurant : Slows Bar BQ

Best Bakery : Avalon International Breads (family owned and operated, if you know what I mean!)

Best Tea Room : No comment (do they mean what I think they mean??)

Best Indie Coffee Shop:
Rowland Café (in the Guardian Building)

If you have to ask how these postings are sustainable, I'll have to tell you someday. In the meantime...speaking about dogs,

I hear that our local Animal Control Shelter is still hard at work keeping the fires going. I wonder what the issue is? Could it be a simple matter of feeding large quantities of dogs? I know it has nothing to with some of our local populations ability to deal with dogs. We get Cesar 'the dog whisperer' on our cable here. Dogs love soccer. Maybe some of them are so mean because they are frustrated. Maybe some are too far gone to have a good temperment.

Some dogs are extremely high energy, demanding dogs. Not for everyone. Just don't have expensive furniture in the house, and make sure they can get along with the cat. That could take some serious 'whispering' though.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Power to the people...wind that is

So i guess my idea of energy independence is a little different from our corporate govern..i mean, federal government.

If you read the following link, you'll notice immediately that you are appealed upon, in an unassuming manner to 'get on their side'. They tell you what you want to hear. Big Government taxes unfairly. Fossil fuels get big subsidies, renewable gets little. O.K. so we knew that, we like where this is heading.

But skim on down to where it says that renewables can only make up 25% of our energy needs. They then, sneakily endeavor to put the burden on us, by telling us to shell out money if we want to see more renewable. O.K., i won't kill the messenger here. If i want renewables, i can help foot the bill.

But 25% percent?? 25%????? What this little figure does is gives free reign to continue with fossil fuel subsidies. Fine, whatever, that is their prerogative i suppose. If they want to put the burden on us, so be it. Detroit is now in a position to open the doors to renewable energy. There is already the makings of laws that will allow Michigan to produce wind power locally and require utility companies to abide by the rate structure that would allow for selling power back into the grid (i'm a little hazy on the details, but that's not the point here). For what it's worth, the State of Michigan wants 20% renewables by...some random date when it won't even matter anymore...but the foot is in the door, so to speak.

So let's open the door, shall we. Let us privatize and localize our energy production. If Duke Energy, DTE or whoever, want us to pay for it and lay the burden on us to determine wether or not it is worth their time (Greencurrents anyone?) then we should happily oblige.

Hey, I even found a model ordinance on one of my links.

I'm not saying it can't be fine tuned, but that's not the point either here. The point here is that when we start talking about 'energy independence' it does not even skim over the infantile thought of a fossil fuel. That is soooo the Bronze age.

Edit - I know that this is a one time scenario due to extreme wind conditions, but there is hope! pffft 25%.

The Good Stuff

Now these are the types of things that make me happy. I am, of course, reposting without permission.

Saturday, September 13, 2008, Ladels Children's Book Boutique Will Host Two Big Events:

Local Authors’ Bazaar
  • Ladels’ Storybook Writing Competition
  • Award’s Ceremony
    Sept. 7, 2008. Ladels Children’s Book Boutique, Detroit’s premier children’s shop, is hosting a Local Authors’ Bazaar, starting at 1:00 pm. Book signings and readings will be conducted by Sandra Epps, Imani Has the Most Exciting Dream; Cheryl Pope, 25 Ways to Make Your Child(ren) Feel Special; Nonnie Boggess, A Rainbow of Browns; Linda McLean, The Heidelberg Project; Sharon Chess, Grandma’s Ready (bi-lingual); and Robert Jackson, The Silly Side of Me. These are all Detroit area authors promoting positive messages for young people – through books. Though Ladels sells children’s books from all over the world, they have a particular affinity toward local authors, as many are self-published and in need of a special outlet for their books.

    Later that evening, Ladels will host an Award’s Ceremony and Reception, at 6:00 pm, to honor the winners and participants in its first Annual Storybook Writing Competition. Awards will be handed out in two different age categories. The young participants were asked to write and illustrate a picture book on any topic from 6 – 16 pages. All entrants will receive an award. The winners will have their book printed, their illustrations displayed at a local art gallery, receive a trophy, certificates from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Motown Museum, The Detroit Institute of Arts, The Detroit Science Center, Royal Popcorn, Mudgie’s, Ladels, and supplies from Utrecht and Chrysler, LLC. Judges for the competition were Poet -- jessica Care moore, author/artist/teacher – Linda McLean, educator – Sylvester Lane, librarian – Janet Batchelder, and community activists – Mahima Mahadevan, and Shane Bernardo. Food for the event will be provided by Mudgie’s.
    All are invited to spend the day at Ladels.
    Contact us with any questions or concerns.
    Proprietors: Lauren Walker Thomas and Debra Walker

    Friday, September 5, 2008

    Kill, Baby, the name of energy independence

    That seems to be the mantra of the Republican ticket coming from today's rally in Sterling Heights. First, click on the link to the right to get yourself situated. I call it 'Killing in the name of'.

    So, what are the Republicans killing now? From Sarah Palin adamantly stating a few days ago, that under John Mcain's presidency, that they will lay new pipeline; to John Mcain, declaring today, with no uncertainty, they will drill for more oil offshore.

    Normally, national topics like ANW[a]R would not be addressed in this blog, but when Michiganders start screaming 'Kill, Baby, Kill', even if it's in Alaska, i can't help but think, Hey, this is my planet they are screaming about killing, and this mob
    of sheep, bah-bahing to the Wolf in the Exxon suit, was a mere few miles from my doorstep today. If they are so hell bent on committing global suicide not only for themselves, but for their children as well, then maybe they should just do us a favor and cut to the quick.

    We already know that Michigan is the backdoor for Canadian shale oil. That's the devil i can trust. The devil i don't know, is the one i thought i might try and listen too and get a feel for. A war hero, and a good smile, he seemed like a person i would want to like. But today's little demonstration has given me due cause to align on the other side of the fence.

    Not that anyone cares about my political views. Let's just say, i was even willing to give Palin a chance, if it meant there was the possibility of a Playboy spread. But that woman puts Hillary's pursuit of power into a warm light. The dark, cold abyss emanates from those two, Mcain/Palin. At least Hillary had something to prove. This woman only has something to gain.

    So what does a Michigan future look like from it's citizens screaming for blood thousands miles away? What does that signify for our irreplaceable natural resources that we swim in and camp in and breathe in, right out our front doors?

    If Republicans want jobs and cheap energy, i don't see the problem with giving it to them. I only ask that we not be zombies. I simply ask that every Republican, Democrat, Independent or impartial observer, to ask themselves first, 'is this what i want? or is this what they tell me i want?'. We cannot simply take what they give us. We have nothing to gain from four more years. We have gained nothing in the past eight. We only have everything to lose.

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008


    Don't ask me why, i have worms on my brain. I'm thinking of landscaping my yard with vermiculture walls. I get enough sticks and leaves to ring to wind around the drip zone of the trees. The worm boxes would drip their good stuff back into the tree.

    ...water, water everywhere.

    Last time i checked, we play host to 1/5 of the worlds fresh water. Wow! That's pretty significant, wouldn't you say? 20% of the entire world's naturally occurring fresh water, right out our doorstep. As someone that lives and plans in an area with so much bountiful water, i can't help but keep tabs on the current state of things. And the current state of things is that we have failed miserably to protect one of this worlds greatest resources.

    Click on the link on the right hand navigation

    Dare is say, we should first think about Smart Growth? Would it be terrible of me to think that a moratorium should be placed on any new housing, commercial or industrial developments, subsidized by our tax dollars and outside of existing metropolitan boundaries, that would either feed into the storm system or otherwise leach contaminants through septic fields? I don't think it that awful to consider. Considering that our major cities account for close to 80% of our states population. Considering that our cities have witnessed a mass exodus to sub-urban areas. We've effectively and continue to pave over some of this countries most fertile farmland. Regardless of the use of the land, i feel it is completely irresponsible of us to continue to develop more land when we haven't even figured out how to properly use the land we have currently available to us. Take Detroit for example, some estimates show that upwards fo 60% of the geographic area of the city is sitting vacant. Over 2000 brownfield sites exist in Wayne County alone. You say you wouldn't want to live on or near a contaminated site, but what about the migration of contaminants into our watershed? How can we conscientiously develop new land when we have a hundred years worth of toxic waste to deal with? Where is our sense of responsibility?

    I simply can't concieve of a developer or an REIT contemplating purchasing land in Michigan that isn't a brownfield. Any thought of it sends my moral compass spinning uncontrollably wild. Any greenfield that they would think about developing comes with it a burden that you or i would shudder at to think of. But our state glibly subsidizes it for them with them mere mention of bringing jobs into the region. Great! Jobs for two years versus a hundred years of tax payer dollars trying to come to grips with overburdened storm systems. increased commuting and pollution from cars, larger strains on our electrical grid, loss of property value for those actually living in viable communties competing for market rate housing with those too ignorant to know any better, loss of habitat to fundamental ecological systems that actually have the know-how in filtering out our polluting habits, increased supply chains for fast food and bix box stores...the downward spiral continues...and for what? A few short lived jobs that last only as long as it takes for the young and industrious entrepreneurs to realize that they can't compete with government subsidies and have to move into urban environments.

    So let's plan properly here! Let's skip the whole downward spiral into oblivion and take stock of what we need to do to make our Great Lakes healthy. In doing so, we can attract the investment we want, nay, the investment we need. Smart Growth is a step in the right direction. It can't stop there though.