This website is accident-free, with 187 teeter totter rides and zero recordable injuries.

Links to Last 10 Talks

Bill Merrill

Chris Carey

Jim Ottaviani

Dante Chinni

Robb Johnston

Nick Prueher

Steve Bean

Devon Persing

Gareth Morgan

Brian Kerr

Complete link list
of all the Talks

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Huron River Watershed Council

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Follow online the steady stream of our Huron River and watershed events, and we think you'll eventually find yourself joining us for one!

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Old Town Tavern

In downtown Ann Arbor on the corner of Ashley and Liberty, Old Town Tavern features a casual, relaxed atmosphere, full menu specializing in homemade soups and sandwiches, Southwestern entrees, daily specials and the best burgers in Ann Arbor!

The Old Town is a great place to hear live music in Ann Arbor--every Sunday night from 8:00pm to 10:00pm. Sunday Music at the Old Town features diverse local talent.

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Roos Roast Coffee

John Roos roasts every batch of coffee by hand, and bags it up in a block-printed bag with his own hand-crafted designs. So inside and out, every bag is a work of art. If you want to buy coffee and get free bicycle delivery in Ann Arbor, John Roos is your man.

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Books by Chance

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February 2008 -- March 2008 Archive

permanent link 25 March 2008

(Ann Arbor Skatepark Meeting)

Out hauling books on my bicycle trailer last Saturday, I ran into Trevor Staples, who skated the totter on Thanksgiving Day last year. And he reminded me that there's an important public meeting about the Ann Arbor Skatepark coming up on Wednesday, 2 April, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm in the Abbot Elementary School multi-purpose room.

Part of the meeting's focus will be to dial-in a specific proposal for a location. The leading candidate location at this point appears to be the north-west corner of Veterans Park.

City staff will be there. If you're interested in the Skatepark, you'll probably want to be there, too. If you don't go, you won't have any idea if anybody performed as rad a move as Trevor did on the totter.

permanent link 24 March 2008

(Remembering the Future)

When the University of Michigan grants the title of Distinguished University Professor to a faculty member, one of the benefits to us all is the lecture this faculty member delivers to the community at large. Geoff Eley will be presenting his Distinguished University Professorship lecture at 4:00pm, Monday, 24 March 2008 at the Rackham Amphitheater:

Remembering the Future: What Use is the Past?

Professor Eley is the Karl Pohrt Distinguished University Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Michigan.

permanent link 21 March 2008


In our household, BBC is shorthand for Books by Chance, which is John Weise's way of serving locally-grown used books to a global market. We invoke this shorthand nearly every day, because I haul BBC's outward-bound books to the post office on my bicycle trailer, and I'll typically report to my wife something like, "BBC run is done!" Or she'll inquire, "How'd the BBC run go?"

However, in our household, BBC is--up to now--unattested in the sense it appears in queries like, "Did you listen to that podcast from BBC Radio Lincolnshire, yet?" That could change. The Knight-Wallace Fellows program brings leading journalists to Ann Arbor for an extended time, like Charlie Partridge of BBC Radio Lincolnshire. And just like WBEZ Chicago's Steve Edwards did previously, Charlie took a ride on the totter for Teeter Talk.

Interestingly, the topic that Charlie is exploring during his four-month stay in Ann Arbor is reflected to some degree in the business model of John Weise's BBC, namely: What does 'local' mean in today's online world?

As it happens, Charlie's Talk reveals that he has gotten himself up to speed on local Ann Arbor current events. He even had some encouragement for us, which I present here in multiple-choice complete-the-statement quiz format.

CP: I just say: Get ...

  1. ... chickens!
  2. ... trams!
  3. ... eclairs!
  4. ... pants!
  5. ... sidewalks!

To find out how Charlie actually completed the sentence, and why the word 'gotten' is in italics above, you'll have to read his Talk.

permanent link 20 March 2008

(Jefferson Market Redux)

Regular readers who are serious about good food will likely recognize from Mary Rasmussen's Talk that I'm not all that conversant on the topic, much less an authority. So for an assessment of what the food is like at Jefferson Market and Cakery when it reopens later this month, I would direct readers to Gastronomical Three, where it will likely be tracked and written about.

For additional historical context of the Jefferson Market and Cakery, G3 has already posted Part I of a nice interview with the previous owner of Jefferson Market, Jean Henry. Eventually all the relevant links to information about Jefferson Market will likely be assembled on the ArborWiki entry for the Jefferson Market.

permanent link 18 March 2008

(Sidewalks and Vehicles)

John Roos and I commandeered the public right of way in front of the Michigan Theater last Wednesday for an early morning totter ride.

Ann Arbor has some sort of ordinance, which has been freshly scrutinized recently, that prohibits the parking of vehicles on sidewalks. Even though the trailer I use to haul around Totter 2.0 is not a 'vehicle' on any definition that excludes devices that are towed exclusively by human-power, I did not want to risk the possibility that its axel plus two wheels qualified it as a 'vehicle' and made parking it on the sidewalk an affront to our fair city's laws.

So I parked the trailer in an on-street parking space and fed the meter.

bicycle trailer parking space Ann Arbor parking meter

Then I lugged Totter 2.0 across Liberty Street to our tottering venue, right under the marquee of the Michigan Theater.

Totter 2.0 could be argued Ann Arbor sidewalk vehicleto have an axel, but it has no wheels, and it certainly can't be towed by itself without the trailer, so I was almost positive that we would be tottering on the sidewalk in full compliance with relevant laws. And I figured if there was any trouble, I could play the Russ Collins card.

It turns out that there was no trouble. In fact there was the opposite of trouble. All manner of friendly folks stopped to chat with John and me--some of them alums of the totter. Others of them were people who knew John or me from some other part of our lives, and still others were folks who had no idea who we were, but were just plain friendly enough folk to stop and talk as we teetered and tottered.

Totter alums who appeared either in the flesh coffee bag as arton the sidewalk, or who received mention in the course of conversation included: Jimmy Raggett, Dustin Krcatovich, John Weise, Russ Collins, Will Stewart, Paul Schreiber, and Bill Clinton.

On Wednesday morning, then, John Roos, coffee roaster, joined an illustrious group of folks who've ridden the totter, plus helped introduce scores more to the concept of Teeter Talk ... and RoosRoast Coffee. This image of a linoleum-block printed bag of RoosRoast coffee illustrates how every bag of coffee is a work of art--roasted and printed by John Roos.

John's giving away free coffee at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, which runs from 25-30 March at the Michigan Theater. If you need some coffee before then, buy some directly from John or from a fine establishment that carries RoosRoast.

John's Talk ranges from basic advice on how to brew coffee in a French press, to an exchange of views on what's the best coffee in Portland, to Ypsilanti's Shadow Art Fair, to the magic of Cafe Ambrosia on Maynard Street, to busses, to what's great about not being a freelancer and being an employee instead, to proper lingo for the teeter totter. Here's fair warning: it's a wild and wonderful, caffeine-fueled ride.

permanent link 17 March 2008

(Leaving a marshmallow-soft digital footprint)

Mary Rasmussen is re-opening Jean Henry's Jefferson Market as the Jefferson Market and Cakery. The old Jefferson market was there long enough that it Ann Arbor Jefferson Marketdeveloped a loyal following, and caused many people to forget the convenience store that used to be there. The historical context of the Jefferson Market is partly preserved on the personal website of Jim Rees.

Last Tuesday, Mary was kind enough to allow the totter inside the New Jefferson Market and Cakery, taking some valuable time out from the work they're doing inside the market to get it ready for opening by the end of March 2008.

During our ride, I took advantage of the opportunity to put in my two cents on the kind of items I'd personally like to see offered when it re-opens.

From Mary's Talk, you'll see that she's read much of the online commentary that's available about the Jefferson Market, even commentary that's almost two years old. So she was prepared to deal with the marshmallow issue right there on the totter. Now, I remembered writing something about the availability of marshmallows at the Jefferson Market in a comment I left on one of our local blogs ... and here's what I found on ArborUpdate:

... I used to go to the old store maybe once a month to grab something I was missing: poptarts, cheetos, a six-pack of cheap beer, a can of baked beans. Soon after the new store opened, I headed over there to see if they had a bag of marshmallows because I was grilling out and noticed already had graham crackers and chocolate but no marshmallows. What I discovered was that at the time there were no marshmallows on offer. Over the last 6 years, I haven't found myself returning, so perhaps that's changed. It's not that it's a decision based on principle, I just never think to go there.

I was very skeptical the new JM would survive even a year, based on the sophisticated analysis: everyone is like me; I want marshmallows; they don't have marshmallows; no one will go there. So I give them credit for differentiating themselves from a typical 7-11 style convenience store and making it work ...

--HD May 25, 09:44 AM #

However, on AAiO, a different Dave (of Suds and Soliloquies) left the following comment:

I lived two blocks from that place for a year and never went in. No marshmallows for me is a deal-breaker!
posted by Dave on May 25th, 2006 at 11:10 am

So just to be clear, that second comment was not mine. I'll be giving the new Jefferson Market and Cakery a fair shot when it opens in a few weeks, whether or not they have marshmallows. It has the added advantage this time around that I enjoy keeping track of what alums of the totter are doing. So I expect from time to time I'll be headed across big scary Liberty Street to visit the market, just to see what Mary is up to. If you just can't wait for the market to open, consider Mary's Talk kind of like an appetizer.

permanent link 15 March 2008

(Alpha Omega Newberry IV)

Memphis has been represented on the totter before by Memphis native, but now Ann Arbor resident, Frank Anderson. Last Monday, the totter was graced by current resident of Memphis, Alpha Omega Newberry IV.

I'm only exaggerating a little bit, when I say that he piled into a Kia minivan with my brother, my sister-in-law, and Reeses Cup Elvisnephew, and road-tripped with them to Ann Arbor, just to ride the teeter totter.

Among other things, that visit scored me an Elvis-edition Reese's Cup. Mmmmm, Reese's Cup. The only thing better than a Reese's Cup is a Jet-Puffed marshmallow. But marshmallows foreshadow the next Talk after Al's. So that can wait. For now, give Al's Talk a read.

permanent link 14 March 2008

(Totterizing Networking Tips)

Derek Mehraban recently partnered with Ross Johnson to form Ingenex Digital Marketing, and as a part of that enterprise, they've launched a blog about digital marketing called TheDigitalBus.

One of the early entries on that blog includes Derek's Top 5 Networking Tips along with Top 5 Tips from Edward Vielmetti among others.

I was struck by the overlap in a couple of Derek and Ed's tips. Derek's number 1. and Ed's number 5. are similar in theme. They have to do with the reality of the physical world. And I think they're both spot on. I'd tweak their wording only slightly:

Derek Merabahn:
1. Be Social. Social networking is first and foremost social. Get out there and network ride a teeter totter if you have to.

Ed Vielmetti:
5. A Pproximity of 12 feet is the killer application. A lot of your success depends on who you are near sitting astride a board with in physical, real, tangible space, ...

permanent link 7 March 2008

(Ypsilanti's Water Street)

What kind of guy would be willing to meet me on a cold Saturday morning in the middle of a giant parking lot blanketed with a foot of snow--just to go on a teeter totter ride? Richard Murphy is that kind of guy. So my hat's off to Murph, as he's generally known.

Of course, my hat was not literally off last Saturday. For the ride we were both wearing our hats, because it was cold and pretty exposed to the wind--because we were teetering in the middle of a giant parking lot blanketed with a foot of snow. And because Murph was wearing his hat, I could not comment on his recent haircut, so that's a topic of conversation missing from the Talk. And keeping with my unintentional habit of failing to ask obvious questions, we did not discuss whether the 'B' on his hat was a Boston Red Sox 'B', and if so, whether he's a fan, or just likes their hats.

So what do you talk about while riding a teeter totter in the middle of a giant parking lot blanketed with a foot of snow? For one thing, you talk about the place where you're teetering, which was in the middle of Ypsilanti's Water Street Redevelopment Project. The City of Ypsilanti currently has an RFP out for brokering a development deal for Water Street. Actually, we were pretty close to the edge of the Water Street property, not the middle, even though it felt like the middle, because we were in the middle of something, namely a giant parking lot blanketed with a foot of snow. But we weren't in the middle of the Water Street project, which covers 38 acres of land.

How big is 38 acres? There's all sorts of ways to imagine it. For example, you can think of it as 34 football fields (minus endzones). Or a little over half of Disneyland (which covers 70 acres). But the calculus I find easiest to visualize assumes 15 feet of length (for clearance on each end), and 3 feet of width (for the base) for each of 36,784 teeter totters.

To see how things turned out with just one teeter totter at Water Street, in the middle of a giant parking lot blanketed with a foot of snow, read Murph's Talk.

permanent link 4 March 2008

(Summertime Fun)

Last Saturday morning I was cycling around Ypsilanti looking for Totter 2.0 in 'the most community garden normal park ypsilantiobvious place in Ypsi' and on my way back from there, stumbled across this sandwich board sign set up right in the median of a neighborhood street. A neighborhood street that is completely cleared of snow, even if the sign is not. I'm glad that the Normal Park Neighborhood Association is already thinking about organizing their community gardens for this year.

It reminded me that now would be a good time to act on my intention from last year to reserve a plot in a community garden a bit closer to home, namely with Project Grow, an organization I learned quite a bit about when I tottered with Royer Held.

I've got potatos and beans saved out as starters and seed from last year's harvest. But that effort was confined to the bed in front of the house. I'll likely repeat that exercise this year, if only to prove that I can grow the beans all the way to the peak of the roof.

But that bed is shaded after 4pm in the summer, so I'd like to add a Project Grow plot over at Greenview, where it's full-on sun from dawn to dusk.

permanent link 3 March 2008

(Water Tower Totter)

The last message from the folks who swiped Totter 2.0 resulted in its recovery:

hey hd, if you want your teeter totter back, you're gonna have to come to Ypsi! we put it in like the most obvious place in Ypsi to put it, so just pick it up!

I have to quarrel a bit with the description 'the most obvious place in Ypsi' to put ypsilanti water towerit. In any case, I cycled around in circles for quite a while last Saturday morning before my scheduled 9:00am ride trying to find the thing.

That ride is not yet documented, partly because I'm still a little exhausted after the Batman-style effort it took to retrieve Totter 2.0--just barely in time for the ride.

When I finally spotted the totter I took the photo I've included here. I'm glad that the grill of the Number 5 bus made it into the frame (look left). The AATA Bus Route 5 has its very own entry on ArborWiki, to which I've recently contributed a map. If you think that simple blue path really isn't quite adequate, then use the EDIT button at the top of the page.

Also worth pointing out, in the foreground, is the fact that the street is free of snow. Wet, to be sure, but totally free of snow. That actually figured into the conversation on the totter I had a few minutes after climbing down from the water tower.

permanent link 29 February 2008

(Toilet Totter)

Here's the latest from the folks who snagged Totter 2.0 (that's pronounced 'two point oh' not 'Number Two') off the front porch and are apparently hauling it around the world:

hey hd, how about a courtesy flush! we figured out how to disassemble your teeter totter! anyways, we stumbled across a place where they're doing a study with an experimental toilet, and we figured we'd take the base from your teeter totter, convert it into a really sturdy toilet paper holder, and see how people liked it! as you can see from the Use Survey comments, they didn't really much care for it! don't feel bad, though!

oh, almost forgot ... ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!

toilet paper stand toilet use survey

The orginal, larger image sent by the totter nappers offers enough detail to discern the actual comment. It's along the right-hand side.

There's a different comment in the upper left, which for regular readers might stir a memory of a previous Talk. That one is about coat hooks. I suppose I'm glad that coat hooks in bathrooms is a topic with some traction not just here in Ann Arbor.

permanent link 28 February 2008

(The Fed Takes Notice of Teeter Talk)

In trying to create a revenue stream to keep the economy of the totter healthy, I've always felt that the Federal Reserve had a crucial role to play. So I've sent Chairman Bernanke any number of emails exhorting him to take appropriate action. Yesterday, it paid off:

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress that the nation is in for a period of sluggish business growth and sent a fresh signal Wednesday that interest rates will again be lowered to steady the teetering economy.

permanent link 27 February 2008

(What's Up?)

I've learned my lesson. If there are any more of these, I'll be passing them along without adding my own commentary:

¿Qué pasa, hd!

we took your advice to get some of the locals to ride, is this what you had in mind? ha ha ha ha ha! Know what they are saying to each other? Hey, man, it smells like updawg around this pyramid! Updawg--what's updawg??? Not much, dawg, what's up, wid you. Hee hee hee hee hee. Get it? Cuz they're both dogs, see? Ha ha ha ha!

permanent link

permanent link 26 February 2008

(Tiananmen Totter)

Here's the latest electronic communication from the pranksters who filched Totter 2.0 off the front porch:

ni hao, hd!

we were going to get a better angle for the photo, but before we could get the totter right under Mao Zedong's head so that it would look like his head was floating on the end of the board, some guys from the PLA suggested we needed to be moving along. anyway Mao was never much of a guy for teeter totters. he was more of a chair man. ha ha ha ha ha!! get it? chair man! as in Chairman Mao! oh man, how do we keep coming up with this stuff!

I don't remember for sure what the geography of Beijing is like, but I think this is Tiananmen Square ... which would make this a Tiananmen Totter. Tiananmen Square I'm not sure what the attraction is in taking Totter 2.0 to different places and photographing it just sitting there empty with nobody enjoying the pleasure it can bring when you actually ride it. Why not see if you can get some of the locals to actually ride the thing and take a picture of that?

But I'd hate to make suggestions that would prolong this excercise any longer than necessary. I've got some potential rides coming up soon that were originally intended to take place on Totter 2.0, and I'd like to have it back sooner rather than later ... on the assumption that this whole thing really does end with its safe return.

permanent link 25 February 2008

(Brennan, Bathgate, Brandon, Spring, and Naud)

It's always nice to hear what T. Casey Brennan is up to. And the most recent news I have from him is that he recently graced the stage with a rendition of his tune Social Worker at the Fortress of Solid Dudes. It's not for the faint of heart. Suffice to say that T. Casey doesn't express a lot of leftover love for social workers in that song.

It's hard not to know what Chris Bathgate is up to these days. The February Observer had a nice preview of his upcoming Ark performance this Tuesday, 26 February, starting at 8pm, doors at 7:30pm. And yesterday's Ann Arbor News ran a nice preview of that performance as well, quoting totter alum Brandon Zwagerman fairly extensively. Although Bathgate's performance is free, attendees are asked to bring a donation of non-perishable food for Food Gatherers. Food Gatherers director Eileen Spring will be glad you did, as will the people who wind up eating the food.

Finally, here's your chance to serve on a City commission, plus hang out with totteree Matt Naud. The Environmental Commission currently has two openings. If you're interested, contact Matt directly or your representative to Council.

permanent link 24 February 2008

(Temple Totter)

Late yesterday, the following message arrived in my email inbox with an attached photo, which I've included here as well.

hey hd

we got your totter ha ha ha ha!!!

don't have a worryfit! we'll give it back after we take it some places ha ha ha ha ha!!!

Okay, a 'worryfit' is the last thing I'm going to have, now that it seems like Totter permanent link2.0 has been nicked not by hard-core criminals, but by some pranksters. Pranksters who are apparently well-funded. Because while I'm not an expert, that looks like Greece to me, and I figure it must have cost a fortune to fly it over there.

So I'm assuming the photo depicts Totter 2.0 in front of some Greek Temple. Nope, sure doesn't look like Michigan, so I'm going with Greece. In fact, the pranksters themselves might be Greeks. Hmmmm. My neighbor up the hill was just in Greece for a 'conference'. Maybe that's the Greek connection ... he hired a bunch of Greeks while he was over there, to fly over here and snag the totter and take it back to their temple.

permanent link 21 February 2008

(Goodspeed: Loft Resident Appeared Content)

ArborUpdate is a local news and discussion blog now in the stewardship of a community of volunteer core contributors. In our community, ArborUpdate counts as good and not evil, and I stand by that assessment even in the face of the apparent theft of Totter 2.0 right off the front porch where I left it after the last ride--possibly due to a reckless post by someone who enjoys leaving I-know-something-you-don't-know comments on ArborUpdate.

Given the possibility that Totter 2.0's apparent theft arose out of a comment left on ArborUpdate, I feel like it's the universe tying a big bow around Teeter Talk by arranging for Rob Goodspeed, ArborUpdate's founder, but departed from Ann Arbor since 2004, to take the last ride on it for Teeter Talk.

I'll just say it straight-up: I'm jealous of Rob Goodspeed. He's got a better name than I do. He writes a better blog than I do. And when he was here in town last week he got to meet ... well, to find out who he met, why he was here, and what the headline on this introduction means, read Rob's Talk.

permanent link 19 February 2008

(Painting Mulholland on a Winter Day)

The image here is what I glimpsed as I scanned northwards, down the Mulholland hill last Thursday. Everything about the scene was consistent with the conclusion that permanent linkthe distant figure with outstretched arm was an artist working at an easel ... except the temperature, which was 25 F degrees.

I threw on a jacket and headed down the hill to pose the question, "Hey, mister, whatcha doing?" And no matter what the answer was, I knew the follow-up question was going to be, "So, you wanna go on a teeter totter ride?" And you know what? Greg Sobran did want to go on a teeter totter ride.

Greg, it turns out, paints in the 'plein air' tradition of the French Impressionists. Among other works, Greg's website now includes the painting of an Ann Arbor streetscape he was working on last Thursday.

On the totter, we talked about Greg's painting, of course. But Greg also described an encounter with Rand Schackleton, nephew of the famed Antarctic explorer, plus revealed an Ernest Hemingway connection that leaves only three degrees of separation between me and the author of Old Man and the Sea. Perhaps more importantly, from my point of view, Greg's Talk almost definitively settles the issue of which street is better: Mulholland or Murray.

permanent link 18 February 2008

(Rats and Beauty and the Beast)

Last Friday I joined totteree Kris Talley and a couple of other stalwart souls, Frank and Pete, from the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition for their monthly Ride Around Town (RAT), which bicycle with rat is a two-loop circuit through downtown Ann Arbor with the goal of demonstrating that cyclists can fit in nicely with other vehicular traffic in the downtown. Next month, the RAT is scheduled for 14 March 6pm. The route for RAT starts at Liberty Plaza Park.

On Saturday, I attended the Burns Park Players production of Beauty and the Beast at Tappan Middle School auditorium. This season marked the 25th anniversary of Burns Park Players performances. I had mentioned the production to Ed Vielmetti back when he rode the totter, because I figured that as a UM Glee Club alum, he might want to lend his vocal talents to the enterprise. Perhaps some future year, we'll be treated to Ed's vocal stylings. Onstage this year, totterees were represented by Tom Bourque, who is listed on the program as a featured dancer.

I've never heard or read anything but super-positive comments about Burns Park Player productions. But honestly, having never attended a production before, I pretty much figured that it's because people are just really nice when it comes to critically reviewing an enterprise which proceeds go directly to support arts education in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Wow. People aren't saying those good things just to be nice. Beauty and the Beast looked and sounded like a professional production that people would, and do, pay money to see.

Now, if I'm perfectly honest, Tom Bourque's performance deserved to be panned, because he came across as completely flat. Which is a good thing to say, you see, because he played the part of a spatula.

permanent link 12 February 2008

(From Funk to Leopold: Teeter Talk to Lease Leopold Location)

I felt like I'd pretty much realized my full videographic potential when the Ann Arbor Observer's February issue described my pedal power video as "fun in the same way that a filmstrip in science class is ..." But totterees Josh and Nyima Funk have even more to offer than a science filmstrip, as demonstrated by their latest YouTube effort 'promoting' John McCain, which was featured yesterday on the front page of DailyKos. Among others, the Funks teamed up with Andy Cobb and Marc Evan Jackson, colleagues from the 313 Comedy Improv troupe, to create that YouTube video.

I enjoyed seeing the 313 perform a couple of years ago at the old Improv Inferno on Main Street, an improv club owned by Dan Izzo. A raised rent eventually forced Dan to relocate the Inferno where it survived for a while operating inside Live at PJ's.

Raised rent is the same reason cited this past week by Todd Leopold for his decision to close Leopold Bros when their lease expires sometime this summer. He and his brother, Scott, will be focussing exclusively on their distilling business from their new home base in Colorado.

I'm happy to report that Teeter Talk will be taking over the lease for the old Leopold Bros building, and I'll be recycling the long tables with their equally long benches into ... well, it's pretty self-evident. Once the floor is covered in FieldTurf (the same surface deployed in the Big House) the building will realize its potential as an indoor park. As such, it will serve as one of four anchor parks for the Allen Creek Greenway--the other three being the parcels at First and William, 415 Washington, and 721 N. Main. This indoor park, dedicated to my favorite piece of playground equipment, and to Leopold's visceral connection to the Greenway, will be named The Leopold Memorial TodderWay.

The lease agreement stipulates an option to buy, at which point it's my intention to purchase the property and then gift the LMT to the City of Ann Arbor as a public park, thus setting the stage for the City to award a liquor license to the LMT. Because teetering in the TodderWay should not be restricted to teetotaller types, and if there's any activity worth subsidizing with tax dollars, then it's teeter tottering. Why else do you think 'tax' begins with 'T'?

permanent link 11 February 2008

(A Visit from Minnesota)

Teeter Talk appears to be gaining some regional traction, if Brian Ruppert's journey all the way from St. Paul, Minnesota, just to ride the teeter totter is any indication. Apologies to non-technically-inclined readers, but when there's an architect/engineer on the teeter totter like Brian, I feel like it's appropriate to permanent linkseek advice on any technical matters I might be wrassling with.

The image included here reflects what I undertook after getting Brian's best judgement about how to engineer a fastener to the end of a piece of aluminum tubing. I had already epoxied a piece of threaded rod inside the aluminum tubing. I was worried that the force of a nut, when screwed onto the threaded rod, would pull the threaded rod out of the tubing. So Brian suggested drilling a hole through the center of the rod and the tubing and then running a metal pin through it. Redundant design is what he called it. So that's what I did.

There's plenty in Brian's Talk besides aluminum tubing and threaded rod--like airports, design software, parenting in the digital age, MBA programs, CTN workshops. Just remember that whatever you read in his Talk, the real reason he was here in Ann Arbor last Thursday was to ride the teeter totter.

permanent link 8 February 2008

(Totteree Update)

From time to time I am reminded of past totter rides, and Totteree Updates are a way to encourage readers to re-visit some of the old Talks during the pauses between fresh Talks. Over the last couple of months, these pauses have become gradually longer. This is not by design. Based on the first two winter seasons of tottering, I don't think it's fair to blame it on the weather during this third season. I'm as active in my recruiting as I've ever been. Readers have been as helpful with suggestions for totterees as they've ever been. Could be just the natural up-and-down rhythm of the enterprise. I'm sure things will sort themselves out. In the meantime, readers are encouraged to rummage through some of these old Talks.

Geoff Eley is helping to organize Writing in Public: A Celebration of Karl Pohrt. Karl Pohrt recently revealed that he is weighing the idea of transforming the Shaman Drum into a non-profit entity.

Mark Lincoln Braun's (Mr. B's) plan to load a piano onto a custom-built tricycle and pedal it across Michigan came up in a conversation I had recently along Eberwhite Street. A guy named Jeff (Geoff?) ran out to talk after having seen me hauling a load of my own on my bicycle trailer. That load was for Books by Chance, an online books by consignment enterprise, operated by John Weise and his wife, Stephanie. Books by Chance was actually mentioned on the totter first by Lou Rosenfeld who had liquidated many of his books using Books by Chance as a part of his preparations to move from Ann Arbor to Brooklyn.

A couple of clipboard-wielding canvassers knocked on the door a couple of nights ago representing Clean Water Action. One thing I like about the CWA canvassing strategy is that they aren't super hard-core about pressing for monetary donations right there on the spot. Instead they invite you to write a letter to your state representative that very evening, put it in a stamped addressed envelope, and tape it to your door, which they'll pick up later that very same evening. I always enjoy an opportunity for a letter-writing exercise, especially when the letter is going to someone who's ridden the totter, State Representative Rebekah Warren. It's a little ironic to be sending a letter to someone who lives about two blocks away, as Rebekah does, along with her husband Conan Smith.

The recent Ann Arbor News story about waiters at the Gandy Dancer being assessed a transaction fee for any tips given via credit card reminded me of two past totterees, but for different reasons: Dennis Rymarz and Alicia Wise.

Jimmy Raggett is organizing the loveless alleycat bicycle race starting from the northwest corner of the UM Diag Saturday, 16 February. Check-in is at 5:00pm, race starting at 6:00pm. Even if riding in a somewhat unsanctioned bicycle race on city streets is not your idea of fun, it'll be worth your while to watch the start. And as you're piloting your car along the streets on Saturday evening, if you encounter folks who seem to be pedaling with a little extra purpose, be accommodating to them. They're livening up this city, which is a good thing.

permanent link 2 February 2008

(Groundhog Day)

I regret that this Groundhog Day cartoon eschews the word 'teeter totter' in favor of 'see-saw'. Happy Groundhog Day.

A larger version of the cartoon is also available.

groundhog day cartoon

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