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I am a sucker for the Pure Michigan commercials as evidenced here, here, and here. I’ve also enjoyed their previous Detroit-centric ads, Downtown Detroit and the Greater Detroit Area.

Love it!

What do you think?

There are also these gems about Detroit:

Story of Detroit

We Are Open


Reasons to Visit Detroit

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Take a look at the fall color in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula:

I admit it. I’m still a sucker for a beautiful stream of images alongside a wonderful voice-over from Tim Allen. Fall foiliage has been slow to change here in Michigan so I am getting a peak at what might be yet to come via the Pure Michigan ad, Deep Breath.

Michigan’s warm September has slowed down the onslaught of fall color we normally are experiencing at this time in the fall. I have a feeling that when the color finally changes, it’s going to change fast and the fall color show will not last long.

Good Hart is looking Good!


Here’s a few links related to Michigan’s fall colors:

Michigan’s 10 Best Fall Color Drives

Top Ten Things to do in Michigan in the Fall

Check out ArtPrize 2015 – it ends this weekend!

10 Vistas On A Northern Michigan Fall Color Tour

M-22 voted America’s Best Scenic Autumn Drive

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A contrast in Detroit women circa early 1900s

I was browsing through online photograph archives of old photographs from Detroit and came across these two contrasting images of women in Detroit from a relatively similar time period of the early 1900s.

Welding Lincoln Motor Co

These hard working ladies are shown in the welding department of the Lincoln Motor Company around 1914-1918. Obviously, this was during World War I and women were needed to work the factories in the absence of men.

Detroit Boat Club

Here we have a group of women enjoying a leisurely time on the veranda of the Detroit Boat Club between 1900 and 1910. Were any of these ladies thrust into service at the factories like those above? Or did a life of privilege exclude them from such duty?

I just wonder these things when looking at old photographs.

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2015 Michigan Notable Books

The library of Michigan’s 2015 list of 20 books that “bring attention to Michigan authors and topics” has been released.

Each year the MNB list features 20 books, published the previous calendar year, which are about or set in Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or are written by a Michigan author. Selections include nonfiction and fiction books that appeal to a variety of audiences and cover various topics and issues close to the hearts of Michigan residents.

I think this is the first list in recent years where I look it over and do not see a single book from 2014 that I have already read. There is quite a range in topics and I know that I’ll be reading at least a handful of these books. Take a look and see if any of the 20 books look like a good read to you.

The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War

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As the United States entered World War II, the military was in desperate need of tanks, jeeps, and, most important, airplanes. Germany had been amassing weaponry and airplanes for five years—the United States for only months. So President Roosevelt turned to the American auto industry, specifically the Ford Motor Company, where Edsel Ford made the outrageous claim that he would construct the largest airplane factory in the world, a plant that could build a “bomber an hour.” And so began one of the most fascinating and overlooked chapters in American history.

The Art of Memory: Historic Cemeteries of Grand Rapids, Michigan

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In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, the look and feel of cemeteries in the United States changed dramatically, from utilitarian burial grounds to the serene parklike spaces that we know today. The so-called park cemetery was innovative not only for its distinctive landscape architecture but also because its staff designed, ran, and maintained the cemetery, which led to a very consistent appearance.

Bernida: A Michigan Sailing Legend

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Originally built in 1921 to race in the ocean, a sailboat named Bernida captures the attention and heart of a Michigan sailor. He buys the boat and brings her to the Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit. In 1925 the sailor enters Bernida in the very first Port Huron to Mackinac Island Race.

Bird Box: A Novel

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Something is out there . . .

Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?

Bright Shards of Someplace Else

bright shards of someplace else
In the eleven kaleidoscopic stories that make up Bright Shards of Someplace Else, Monica McFawn traces the combustive, hilarious, and profound effects that occur when people misread the minds of others. The characters—an array of artists, scientists, songwriters, nannies, horse trainers, and poets—often try to pin down another’s point of view, only to find that their own worldview is far from fixed.

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family

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In this family history interwoven with recipes, Kathleen Flinn returns readers to the mix of food and memoir beloved by readers of her bestselling The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry. Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good explores the very beginnings of her love affair with food and its connection to home. It is the story of her midwestern childhood, its memorable home cooks, and the delicious recipes she grew up with. Flinn shares tales of her parents’ pizza parlor in San Francisco, where they sold Uncle Clarence’s popular oven-fried chicken, as well as recipes for the vats of chili made by her former army cook Grandpa Charles, fluffy Swedish pancakes from Grandma Inez, and cinnamon rolls for birthday breakfasts. Through these dishes, Flinn came to understand how meals can be memories, and how cooking can be a form of communication.

The Contract

The Contract
As a young boy, Derek Jeter dreams of being the shortstop for the New York Yankees. He even imagines himself in the World Series. So when Derek is chosen for the Little League Tigers, he hopes to play shortstop. But on the day of the assignments, Derek Starts at second base. Still, he tries his best while he wishes and dreams of that shortstop spot. And to help him stay focused on school, his parents make him a contract: keep up the grades or no baseball. Derek makes sure he always plays his best game—on and off the baseball field!

A Detroit Anthology

a detroit anthology
Detroit is a city of stories. In this, we are rich. We begin with abundance. But while much is written about our city these hard days, it is typically meant to explain Detroit to those who live elsewhere. Much of this writing is brilliant, but our anthology, this anthology, is different: it is a collection of Detroit stories for Detroiters. Through essays, photographs, poetry, and art, this anthology collects the stories we tell each other over late nights at the pub and long afternoons on the porch.

Eight Mile High

eight mile high
In these linked stories, the constants are the places—from Eight Mile High, the local high school, to Eight Miles High, the local bar; from The Clock, a restaurant that never closes, to Stan’s, a store that sells misfit clothes. Daniels’s characters wander Detroit, a world of concrete, where even a small strip of greenery becomes a hideout for mystery and mayhem. Even when they leave town—to Scout camp, or Washington, DC, or the mythical Up North, they take with them their hardscrabble working-class sensibilities and their determination to do what they must do to get by. With a survival instinct that includes a healthy dose of humor, Daniels’s characters navigate work and love, change and loss, the best they can.

The Fish and the Not Fish

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The world of the child is a world where things aren’t what they always seem to be. In The Fish and the Not Fish, Peter Markus brings us back inside that not-so-simple space and its slippery way of seeing and saying, a place that is primal and mythic in its re-making.

Making Callaloo in Detroit (Made in Michigan Writers Series)

making callaloo
The daughter of parents from Trinidad and Tobago and St. Vincent, Lolita Hernandez gained a unique perspective on growing up in Detroit. In Making Callaloo in Detroit she weaves her memories of food, language, music, and family into twelve stories of outsiders looking at a strange world, wondering how to fit in, and making it through in their own way.

Michigan Agricultural College Campus Life 1900-1925: A Postcard Tour

michigan agricultural college
Join author Stephen Terry on this early 1900’s postcard tour of the nation’s first land-grant college, now Michigan State University. With increasing enrollment and expanding curriculum, see how the campus was transformed through this major period of growth. Step back through time and read first-hand postcard accounts of the student as they participated in athletics, class rivalries, and wartime on campus.

The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man

midnight plan repo man
Ruddy McCann, former college football star, has experienced a seismic drop in popularity; he is now Kalkaska, Michigan’s full-time repo man and part-time bar bouncer. His best friend is his low-energy Basset hound Jake, with whom he shares a simple life of stealing cars.

Simple, that is, until Ruddy starts hearing a voice in his head.

Old Islam in Detroit: Rediscovering the Muslim American Past

old islam
Across North America, Islam is portrayed as a religion of immigrants, converts, and cultural outsiders. Yet Muslims have been part of American society for much longer than most people realize. This book documents the history of Islam in Detroit, a city that is home to several of the nation’s oldest, most diverse Muslim communities. In the early 1900s, there were thousands of Muslims in Detroit. Most came from Eastern Europe, the Ottoman Empire, and British India. In 1921, they built the nation’s first mosque in Highland Park.

A Polish Doctor in the Nazi Camps: My Mother’s Memories of Imprisonment, Immigration, and a Life Remade

polish doctor
Jadwiga Lenartowicz Rylko, known as Jadzia (Yah′-jah), was a young Polish Catholic physician in Łódź at the start of World War II. Suspected of resistance activities, she was arrested in January 1944. For the next fifteen months, she endured three Nazi concentration camps and a forty-two-day death march, spending part of this time working as a prisoner-doctor to Jewish slave laborers. A Polish Doctor in the Nazi Camps follows Jadzia from her childhood and medical training, through her wartime experiences, to her struggles to create a new life in the postwar world.

Rivers of Sand: Fly Fishing Michigan And The Great Lakes Region

rivers of sand
Rivers of Sand is an exploration of the unique techniques needed to fish the waters of Michigan and the Great Lakes region, and a discussion of (and paean to) the region itself.

Songs Only You Know: A Memoir

songs only you know

By turns heartbreaking and mordantly funny, Songs Only You Know is a fierce, compassionate rendering of the chaos and misadventure of a young man’s life.

By Emily St. John Mandel Station Eleven: A novel

station eleven
An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Strange Love (Made in Michigan Writers Series)

LM_2015_MNB_Strange-Love_re_478733_7
The nine stories of Strange Love center on Annie Zito, a smart-but-not-always-wise divorced mother, and Marly, her strong yet vulnerable daughter, as they seek and stumble upon an odd cast of boys and men. All the stories are linked and alternate between mother and daughter; and while each tale stands alone, together they make up a larger whole. The first story begins when Annie is thirty-one years old and Marly is eight and they live in a tiny apartment overlooking a marsh near Lake Michigan, and the last story ends a decade and a half later with both women on the cusp of new adventures.

Strings Attached (Made in Michigan Writers Series)

LM_2015_MNB_Strings
In Strings Attached, poet Diane DeCillis takes inspiration from the story of the elephant calf with a thin rope tied to its leg. Even when it grows into a massive animal, the elephant thinks the same string still restrains it and never attempts to break free. This powerful, funny, and sometimes self-deprecating collection considers all the ways that strings bind us in relationships and explores their constant tightening and loosening. Although we may never sever the strings attached to our wounds, DeCillis shows that when given enough slack we can create the illusion of having been set free.

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Fall officially begins one week from today (on September 23rd), but the past few nights/mornings have felt very much like fall here in southwest Michigan. Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula have been experiencing cooler weather as well and the trees are beginning to show some color.

Down here, I’ve noticed a smattering of color changing in the Maple trees as well as along the fringes of swamp areas. Nothing major and few and far between.

Pure Michigan has some short video campaigns showing off interesting things for the fall season.

Interesting Eats and Drinks:

ArtPrize in Grand Rapids

Every year I say to myself that I need to get up to ArtPrize and this year I hope that things actually fall into place and I can make it happen. I hear and see all about it on social media and regret not making it so I am going to work hard to make it.

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I would like to showcase some of the recent work we have done with adding company logos to our gift baskets and gift boxes. A basic black-only adhesive label can be added to our gift baskets and gift boxes at no charge when ordering 20 or more. We can do color logos for a small per-basket charge.

Adding your logo to our gift baskets is a great way to showcase your brand whether you are sending out ‘thank-you’ gifts, welcoming new hires, or seeking out new customers. We’ll work with you to help make a great impression.

We can put your logo on our wooden gift baskets with a high quality adhesive label as seen below.

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We also offer your logo in color, for a small extra per-basket charge.

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If you would rather have something more permanent than the label method, we can get your logo on a branding iron (made right here in Michigan). The branding iron costs $200 at a minimum – it really depends on the size needed to produce your logo. Below, we have an example of how a wood-burned logo would look on our Michigan-shaped gift baskets.

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We also are able to put company logos on our gift boxes. Again, there is no charge for logos printed in black, but there is a small per-box fee for color.

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And this one includes the logo with a brief message – these are a great way for companies to send ‘thank you’ gifts to customers, vendors, or employees.

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We are also more than happy to include pens, mugs, or other “company branded” items you might wish to have us add to your gift baskets.

For more information on adding your company logo to our gift baskets or gift boxes, visit our Corporate Gift Basket page.

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Ah, that headline doesn’t really do this game justice. Copper Country is an incredible looking board game set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, well the Keewenaw Peninsula to be precise. The game is designed by two Yoopers, David Lankton and Scott Diehl.

The year is 1840 and America’s first mining boom is about to change Michigan’s Upper Peninsula forever. Take on the role of a mining company and compete for copper by casting miners and machines into the underground lottery.

As the industry grows, so do the communities surrounding your mines. But every attempt to wrest copper from the ground hangs the fortunes of your company, and the lives of your miners, in the balance.

Life, Work, Profit, Death: Copper Country.

The passion these two guys have in seeing this game become a reality is evident throughout the presentation and look of Copper Country. David’s dad, Larry Lankton, taught Copper Country history at Michigan Tech University in addition to researching and writing books on the subject. He passed that love of the area’s history to his son and he, in turn, is attempting to pass it along through his love of board games.

I’ve pored over the Kickstarter page, looked over the game components, and studied how the game plays out. I have to say, this is probably the best looking and well thought out board game project I have seen on Kickstarter. This game looks like it is ready to go – the guys just need funding to get it printed and shipped.

I collect and play a large number of board games and it’s funny, but just this week I was trying to dream up (while building a bunch of our great gift baskets) a board game set in Michigan. Then, I happened to stumble upon Copper Country last night.

What a coincidence, eh?

Copper Country knocks it out of the park with its theme, artwork, and gameplay. I can’t wait to add this to my collection and get it into our game night rotation.

And another review –

I can’t wait for this game! Check out their Kickstarter and see for yourself.

Want to see a runthrough of the game? Grab a Pasty, sit down, and watch!

I already have ideas for creating a gift basket based around this game. Yep, you could say I’m a little bit excited to see this get funded!

Say Ya to Copper Country, eh!

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Scenes From 2013 Detroit Tigers Home Opener

I have been waiting for today all through this long winter. On some of those numerous bitter cold days with the snow flying and the wind biting, the new season of Tigers baseball was the one thought that could lift my spirits. Baseball, just like spring, is a sure sign of the end of another long winter.

Sure, the days might not yet be warm enough to get by without wearing at least a sweatshirt and, yes, there might be a day where some snow may fly. However, baseball is back and just as sure as that, spring must be back as well.

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of the birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

Celebrate the new baseball season with our Detroit Tigers Gift Basket. It’s a great gift to give to the Tigers fan in your life.

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1953 Home Movie of Mackinac Island

This either took a long time to edit and splice together or the narrator did not finish until sometime around 1957 or later as he mentions the Mackinac Bridge (along with the fact that the trip took place in 1953) which was not completed until 1957.

Love this quote about Fort Mackinac on the island in reference to its past importance in the days of the fur trade compared to today –

No danger of having your scalp lifted, it’s just the contents of your wallet that they want.

I like how the narrator explains how he made certain shots and offers tips on how to film in poor lighting as well as asking permission to include people in his shots in order to “avoid any unpleasantness”.

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Top 10 Things I Love About The 313

Today is March 13th (3/13) and a lot of folks are celebrating Detroit in honor of 313 (Detroit’s area code for those not in the know). It’s a great excuse to show your love of The 313 and I wish to do the same.

I’m setting this post to publish at 3:13 on 3/13 :).

Here are 10 Things I Love About Detroit –

  1. Watching baseball at Comerica Park
  2. The People Mover – yes, I actually do use and enjoy it!
  3. Astoria Pastry Shop in Greektown – great cannolis!
  4. Eastern Market
  5. Campus Martius Park
  6. Greektown
  7. The wonderful Architecture
  8. The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village
  9. Belle Isle, Michigan’s newest State Park
  10. Detroit RiverWalk

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