From Hopper’s Nighthawks

11 06 2012

Everyone knows Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, even if they don’t actually know the title or artist of the 1942 painting:

Nighthawks is either iconic or cliché, depending on how you look at it. On its own, it’s great. Unfortunately, it has inspired and endless stream of schlock, like this:

Not as bad as velvet paintings of Elvis, not as good as Dogs Playing Poker

Seriously, not sure who buys this stuff. Although I’m strangely taken with the anteater remix:

$#%!@ you, New York!

Anyway, I was driving down John R the other day and, while stuck at a stoplight, this scene just sort of fell into place. Fortunately I had my cell phone camera ready. I call it Nightcracks:

The guy in the middle really brings it all together

It’s either a celebration of the late-night, blue collar greasy spoon culture or a bleak examination of America’s obesity epidemic. You decide.


Freighterspotting at the Boatnerd HQ

30 05 2012

You probably didn’t know existed, let alone that it had a World Headquarters, but it is very much a real thing. Its real-world HQ is right on the St. Clair River in Port Huron – a prime location for freighter-watching (freighterspotting?).

It also happens to be a prime day trip opportunity for anyone in the Detroit Metro area. I decided to head up on my motorcycle May 14, the day before I surrendered to adulthood and started working the 9-to-5 (the main reason I haven’t been posting at all lately).

I had spent the previous night in East China Township, so I was well-positioned for a quick jaunt to Port Huron. The weather was great, and the ride was just long enough to clear up the last vestiges of my hangover. Perfect.

The HQ in all its glory

You’d think dedicated freighter-watching would appeal to a pretty small subset of the population. If it does, they all must be in Port Huron, because the Great Lakes Maritime Center was busy – and there weren’t any freighters due to pass by for over an hour. People were playing dominoes, knitting, and having business meetings/lunches; the GLMC, as it is known to insiders, must be a hotspot for Port Huron’s movers and shakers and bored senior citizens. Read the rest of this entry »

Dumb lawsuits: less healthy than Nutella

30 04 2012

You’re a manufacturer of a delicious cocoa-hazelnut spread enjoying a new-found popularity in the United States. You’ve complied with all American food labeling laws, including providing a complete list of ingredients and nutritional information. Despite this, you’re now $3 million poorer – all because a pair of particularly litigious mothers couldn’t be troubled to combine a thorough reading of the label with a healthy serving of common sense.

Such is the predicament facing Ferrero, the Italian maker of Nutella after losing a class action lawsuit. Despite television commercials declaring the tasty spread to be a part of “a tasty yet balanced breakfast,” the sugary, calorie-laden condiment  – which is probably no worse for kids than sugary, calorie-laden breakfast cereals – is not, in fact, as boringly healthy as plain granola. That kids actually enjoyed slathering it on toast should have been a tip-off.

Oh yeah, this looks like a substitute for oatmeal

But the class action lawsuit against Ferrero isn’t just another example of ludicrous litigation. It’s an example of the type of legal abuse that undermines any notion of personal responsibility – and drives business into the protective arms of big government. Read the rest of this entry »


4 04 2012

I’m as excited as anyone about the new James Bond film, Skyfall, which is set to be released this November 9. I’m less than hyped about 007’s rumored new drink of choice: Heineken.

See this face? Not pleased. Not one bit.

Though I realize not everyone is with me on this, I’m satisfied with Daniel Craig’s non-traditional portrayal of Bond. I generally like that the rebooted franchise is willing to shake things up a bit. But the martini is a icon, man. You don’t mess with an icon.

The report does come from the Daily Mail, so it’s best to take it with a grain of salt. Still, nothing is impossible in this age of product placement. And there’s no word on whether or not Heineken made an all-or-nothing offer; a few seconds of screen time is probably worth some serious coin. Read the rest of this entry »

Why can’t we have nice things?

25 02 2012

I never really got why American tourists abroad were always accused of passing up local fare in favor of McDonald’s. Sure, it could be nothing more than a stereotype. Then again, those snobby Europeans might be right–we’re far too attached to what we’re familiar with to try new and exciting things.

But maybe…just maybe…we can’t resist the temptation of the McBaguette.


This tasty bit of cultural bastardization is, in fact, a burger–

a burger made from France’s famed Charolais beef. McDonald’s said the burger will be topped with French-made Emmental cheese and mustard. It will replace the chain’s current special offer here: three limited-edition burgers featuring locally produced cheeses.

Wow. And we red-blooded Americans had to fight tooth and nail to bring back the McRib. It doesn’t stop at the McBaguette, either: Read the rest of this entry »

The pursuit of perfection as an obsession

29 01 2012

Every so often you come across an individual who can turn what others see as just a job into a true vocation–a person who approaches his trade with the attitude and skill of an artist. I have nothing but respect for these all-too-rare individuals, and I try to learn about them whenever I am able. Over the past few months, I’ve heard of two–and they share an interesting connection.

First, I stumbled upon the work of a certain Shin Yoshikawa. He runs a shop called “Studio Time Capsule” out in California. He also creates insanely intricate cutaway technical drawings of vintage cars. He recently built fabricated a replica Toyota 2000GT body. By hand. From aluminum. Shin’s English may not be great, but the same cannot be said about his craftsmanship.

No words.

A few weeks ago, my dad handed me an article about Hidetaka Takasaki. “Taka” specializes in the repair of old Japanese motorcycles (much like my 1980 Honda CB 750K). But he doesn’t advertise his services, and he doesn’t pride himself on his speed or efficiency–his reputation has spread on the strength of his artistry. Read the rest of this entry »

For your dining pleasure, the Whitefish Roll

16 09 2011

The Maine lobster roll has long been something of a mystery to me. They’re certainly tasty. But why take an ingredient like lobster, which has a rather sweet and delicate flavor, and then proceed to smother it in mayonnaise? Anything would taste good smothered in seasoned mayonnaise.

I’ve pioneered (so far as I know) an alternative with a uniquely Michigan twist: smoked whitefish. Making the whitefish roll is even easier than making the lobster roll linked above (it’s the recipe I used, with some minor variations), provided that you have access to smoked whitefish. It won’t work with fresh whitefish for the same reasons that I feel that lobster falls short of expectations: it’s too mild.

It would have made a lot more sense to post this before Labor Day, but the end of summer and the yearly move-in process put a kink in my plans. Plus, who wants to read two posts about whitefish in a row? Anyway, here goes:

Read the rest of this entry »