Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Do you know what the biggest news is here (specifically, in Detroit), right now?

(I wrote this for my Taiwan team, and then decided to send it out to others who may not be so familiar with Detroit, Michigan's biggest city, as well as other tid-bits).

The biggest news is. . . The SUPER BOWL!!!!! I'm not sure if you know that that is some football (American football, not soccer) game. It seems that it moves around, and it seems that this year, the Super Bowl (the football game over which some marriages end. . .) will be in Detroit. My parents told me that it's on the news every single night, and has been on the news for the last month. They can't wait until it's over, and it disappears from the news. . .

Today, it went all the way up to 3C (37F). My Dad was musing, yesterday, when the high temperature was around -4C (24F), that it was soooo warm. "Hard to believe that it's January because it's so warm. . ."

Famous things in Detroit: The MOTOR CITY!!!! Yes, folks, this is where it all began. This is where the first moving assembly line for cars, well, for anything, actually, was created. The Model T rolled off the line many years ago (in 1913), here, in Detroit! Henry Ford's contribution to history! Actually, he had another huge contribution to history: he realized that his workers could become potential customers of their own work, IF they earned enough money, so Ford paid them what was considered a lot of money in that era. From "http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/dt13as.html" it says "Ford was called 'a traitor to his class' by other industrialists and professionals, but he held firm in believing that well-paid workers would put up with dull work, be loyal, and buy his cars." This set the stage for high wages for this type of work, in the US. We will see if it lasts through the globalization process.

This is also where all the "Motown" (for "Motor City") songs came from. "Standing in the Shadow of Love" "Whenever you are near, I hear a Symphony" "Heard it through the Grapevine" and soooo many more. . . (REAL, singable, music. . .)
Detroit is also famous, well, infamous, for some other things, like:
  • the 1967 race riots - I remember the tanks rolling down the streets - and we weren't allowed onto the streets after some hour in the evening
  • Murder Capital of the world (i.e., we had the greatest number of murders here for a number of years while I was growing up - had to be proud of something - Yeah! We're number one in murders!) I remember having 800 or 801 one year. Just think, this was the city that had the most killings, not the only killings. We're pretty darned good at killing our own. We don't even need a war! I noticed that Detroit is down to about #5, now, with fewer than 400 murders per year (a small number unless you happen to be one of the lucky fewer than 400 people. . .) But, then, the population has shrunk to less than 1,000,000, when the all-time high was around 1,850,000 in 1950. Let's see, 400 a year. . . Nope even over a period of 50 years, that's "only" 20,000. . .never mind. . .
Detroit also totally surrounds 2 other cities: Hamtramck and Highland Park, which I think is a neat thing. . .(I lived in Highland Park in my early formative years.)

And then, there is Romeo, where my parents really live - 32 miles north of Detroit. We know that, because the big roads are set 1 mile apart, and named in "mile" roads north of Detroit. Some "mile" roads also have other names (like Big Beaver is 16 Mile Road). My parents live just south of 32 Mile Road.

Romeo is famous for peaches!!! It has a Peach Festival every year, and there is a Peach Queen selected. There are parades, art shows, home tours, garden tours, rides, and more. However, most of the peach orchards (and, later, apple orchards) are now gone, most becoming subdivisions. This is very sad as there used to be such a fantastic variety in peaches, here, and ohhhh so yummy! (I know, Cedric would disagree, since he likes those hard, lightly flavored, crunchy things called "peaches" that we have in Taiwan. . .)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to celebrating my parent's 49th wedding anniversary this Friday. I went to one of my Mom's medical meetings, tonight, and the other couple at the table had been married for 53 years, and told us that their four children had bought them a luxury cruise down the Panama Canal. Geez. Did I HAVE to sit at THAT table? Did they HAVE to tell my parents about that? The pressure mounts - what will my brother and I do for our parent's 50th?

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