Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday's Forgotten Books, June 24, 2016

Due to some early morning workmen here, Todd Mason will collect the links. Next Friday, I will be  in Stratford Ontario giving Phil his annual Shakespeare fix so he will again man the station.

However let me draw your attention to a book from 2012 that I have given to several newborns for their future enjoyment.  Here's a better synopsis than I could provide.
Step Gently Out, by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Nature’s miracles are often small and hard to capture, but in a syncopated harmony of text and image, Frost and Lieder manage to depict tiny moments as seen through a bug’s-eye-view of the world. The quiet poem begins with an invitation to “Step gently out” and, from there, to observe a blade of grass. This may seem a dull activity, but it turns out to be full of wonder: a cricket leaps and sings; a spider spins a silken web; a firefly flashes through the evening air. The soothing, meditative language bursts with beautiful imagery that begs to be read aloud—“The / creatures / shine with / stardust. / Then they’re / splashed / with / morning / dew”—and the photographs, taken at close range, magnify wings in flight and dewdrops on webs. Praying mantises and moths may not be known for their loveliness, but in the collaborators’ capable hands, they are beautiful. Moving from day to night, the poem makes for a soothing bedtime lullaby that includes a reminder to children about the book’s small creatures: “In song and dance / and stillness, / they share the world / with you.” Preschool-Grade 1. --Ann Kelley

Although the prose is amazing, the photos are even more so. Done in Rick Lieder's backyard. His newest one is on fireflies. Simply gorgeous. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thurday Night Music

Anna Kendrick is amazing but James Corden is insanely talented. Have seen him in plays, TV shows, his own show, on Broadway. He is always the highlight.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Thanks Mystery Scene!

Reading Pace

I am ashamed of myself. In the late eighties, just before I returned to work, I kept a diary of what I read. Here is one stretch

10/2-Final Harbor, David Martin; 10/ 3 The Object of My Affection, Stephen Maccauley; 10/5 Families and Survivors, Alice Adams; 10/9 A Family Gathering, Alan Broughton; 10/12 Indian Country, Philip Caputo

You get the idea. I read a lot more books than I do now. Now I read one or two a week. At best.

Yes, I write now but I think the real culprit is this-the Internet. I know I have talked about this before. Has the pace of your reading been affected by the Internet.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Two divorced women and their three children join forces. Lots of good conversations about feminism, including the one in this trailer. Jane Curtin and Susan St. James had good chemistry. Better than most romantic pairings.It was on TV for five years from 1984-89 and dealt with the topics of that day: single mothers, feminism. When the kids grew up, the story lost its main thrust: balancing single-motherhood and a career. Although the woman had male companions, it was always about the two of them.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Thanks to Bill Crider for Letting Me Blather On about Writing the Second Novel

right here.

My Town Detroit-20 Minute Neighborhoods

 From the Detroit Free Press, Robin Boyle

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan recently introduced the idea of rebuilding Detroit around the concept of the 20-minute neighborhood, where folks can walk or bike to everything they need outside of work.
Great idea, but could it work in Detroit?
For those who have never heard of it, a 20-minute neighborhood is an active, safe, walkable, convenient, predominantly residential neighborhood.  A place where people can get most of their day-to-day goods and services — shopping with good food, access to transit, parks and schools — within a 20-minute walk. According to the Portland Plan of 2009, 20-minute neighborhoods have three basic characteristics: a walkable environment, destinations that support a range of basic living needs and residential density. Or as they say in real estate: “rooftops.”
This concept is certainly not new. Before the turn of the 20th Century, before the automobile, the “walkable neighborhood” was the norm.  And even in the 1920s the idea of the “neighborhood unit,” where most services would be available within about a quarter of a mile, was the basic building block of the U.S. suburb. But how things change.
By WWII, and the emergence of widespread car ownership, the city was being stretched by lower and lower density development. By the 1950’s the auto-dependent suburbs were on over-drive and the very thought of walkability was far from the minds of the developers or the home buyers. The two or even three-car garage was far more important than the sidewalk, or the neighborhood store. Need a quart of milk or a pound of sugar? No problem. Jump into the car, scoot down the cul-de-sac and drive three miles to the A&P or Kroger.
But for many that suburban idyll is changing and the new home buyers, the millennials, want to find a tighter, more dense, more interconnected and certainly more walkable place to put down their roots. And the mayor sees that sort of place, that authentic urban neighborhood, as a model for Detroit’s recovery.
Can this work? Perhaps. Where there’s existing residential density, close to some shops, a local park and perhaps an elementary school then the Portland conditions will hold. So the mayor’s initial target neighborhoods: L6 (Livernois and McNichols), Southwest Detroit and West Village on the east side might work.  But the key to extending the concept is density. Are  there enough households, with sufficient disposable income, to sustain the shops, the local services? Are  there enough children to keep the school open and thriving?
Herein lies the rub. The 20-minute neighborhood needs a residential density of somewhere between 15 and 20 households per acre to support local retail. Outside of the downtown/Midtown corridor and a select number of more dense, occupied neighborhoods, most of Detroit has a lower residential density.
So is the idea dead on arrival? I’d argue not so, but Detroit’s neighborhood renewal needs to be packaged and sold in a different way. Twenty-minute walking access to shops and transit will likely take a while so the benefits of upgrading existing vacant homes, of filling empty lots and building some medium-density housing needs to be sold on other, noncommercial, benefits of density. The benefits of walkability and improved health and well-being should be highlighted. Sustainability, recreating a sense of place and building a safe, welcoming community for the young and old alike can all be promoted as authentic advantages of bringing density back to Detroit.
When the rooftops come back, shops and service are not far behind.
Robin Boyle is a professor of urban planning at Wayne State University. 

Does your nearest city offer this option? Is there any planning going on for the desire of younger people to live this way. Detroit is a sprawling city with large areas vacated for various reasons. Downtown has not been a place where people chose to live until very recently. What is your nearest city like? 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday Night Music: Dream Lover

Happy Father's Day, Dad

Nobody liked to have their picture taken more than my Dad. He would have loved selfies.
And Happy Father's Day to all of you Dads and your Dads!