Resistance, Kalamazoo Style

Flushed with triumphalism, and following in the footsteps of minions throughout history, last week the Kalamazoo GOP put up a billboard just down the street from me celebrating the person of their Dear Leader and promoting his slogan.

It lasted less than a week before some good person made the necessary adjustments.

FYI Kalamazoo’s GOP party has also brought us Rep. Fred Upton, slimy heir to the Whirlpool appliance / outsourcing fortune, and one of the worst of the worst.

Lots of weekend news to keep discussing, so let’s open a thread.

Kalamazoo Hearts Beckley

Heading out east to the retirement party of one of my partner’s colleagues. (We will be in Davidson, NC – email me if you want coffee.) We had planned for months to overnight in Beckley, WV, which is in the flood zone. So, inspired partly by John’s fundraising, I decided to solicit donations and see if we could fill the minivan.

Kalamazoo came through nicely. The entire car is loaded with people food, pet food, bottled water, and baby stuff; also, lots and lots of blankets, towels, and bedding. And lots and lots and LOTS of cleaning supplies. (Thanks for the good advice, commenter J R in WV!) We’ve also got (hope no one is bugged by the commercial links; these people did good)…

200 packages of Heilman‘s gourmet nuts in bags poetically labeled, “Nuts for You from Kalamazoo” (BTW they ship.)

A bunch of Dr. Bronner’s hemp-based soap and Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts (nutritious and vegan!) from a nice woman who helped organize this year’s local Hemp History Week event. (Hemp is good, right Juicers?)

Fastsigns—there may be one near you!–donated the sweet magnetic car signs. (See below.)

Car Tetris!

My partner and I probably spent the equivalent of an eight-hour day contacting people, picking up stuff, and filling the car. (He’s a good filler; obviously has the Tetris gene.) You could argue that it would have been more efficient just to write a check, but connecting with people, both in Kzoo and Beckley, has been wonderful; and people really seemed to love and appreciate the opportunity to donate.

It’s an eight-hour trip to Beckley, and I’ll let you all know how things go.

(Now, where did I put my show tunes…)

The Kzoomobile with signage. Not pictured: a big topper also filled with donations!

Kelp, Shrooms, and Good TV

If I lived in Maine instead of Michigan I’d probably be raving about kelp as the food of the future:

The virtues of macro-algae are many, in Seaver’s eyes: They require no fertilizer, no pesticides, no fresh water, no arable land. Their nutritional profile is admirable, he says, providing healthy doses of iodine as well as potassium, calcium and other micro-nutrients, protein, soluble fiber, and Omega-3 fatty acids.

And seaweed’s benefits aren’t just for humans. It’s quick growth means quick carbon dioxide uptake, which can reduce ocean acidification. Seaweed can filter excess nitrogen and phosphorous from the water, too. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-funded project in Washington State’s Puget Sound is aiming to prove that farmed seaweed can create a “protective halo” around stressed sea habitats.

It’s not just a sustainable crop: Seaver says it’s restorative.

radical mycologyBut I do live in Michigan, so I’d like to draw your attention to Radical Mycology, which is one of my new favorite things. It’s an honest-to-gosh tome with nearly 650 pages of tiny print on all things mycological, and it really seems to me to be of the same ilk as The Whole Earth Catalog, a publication that helped birth and define an era.

Anyway, the author just announced a big book tour, so he’s probably coming to a town near you! (But not near me, alas–as previously discussed, the mushroom gods hate me.) I would check it out.

And what’s up for your Saturday? The Mr. has events associated with Kalamazoo College graduation this weekend, so I will be going to the Farmers Market solo this morning. It’s good to do that, once in a while, because he rushes, or I’m too slow, or something.

Later, I’ll be tabling for Vegan Kalamazoo at Kalamazoo PRIDE. I have really been looking forward to this! I love tabling–okay, not the setup and takedown, just the stuff in the middle–and I love PRIDE.

If you’re looking for something to watch this weekend, I recommend Occupied, or the brilliant Sense8 (by the brilliant Wachowskis and the brilliant J. Michael Straczynski) if you haven’t seen it.

Another Tragedy in Kzoo

the bikes

The bikes.

You move from the big city to a smallish town and think everything’s going to be cute and fun. But this has been a tough year for Kalamazoo. A few months back, we had the Uber guy who murdered six and seriously wounded two, including a 14-year-old girl. And just last night a pickup truck driver plowed into a group of bicyclists, killing five and seriously wounding four more. I know the road this happened on very well – it’s near a state park. Mostly straight and flat, with excellent visibility and just a few hills; and the crash happened in broad daylight. The police received several calls about erratic driving in the half hour before the crash, and the driver (whose name has not yet been released) is widely presumed to have been drunk and possibly distracted.

Groups around town are already making plans for five ghost bikes.

This might be a good time to mention the national campaign to replace the terminology of “car accident” with “car crash” or “car collision,” the idea being that the vast number of so-called accidents are preventable and the language of “accident” absolves the responsible party. Makes sense to me; what do you think?

Edit: I’ll also take this opportunity to plug Not So Fast: Parenting Your Teen Through the Dangers of Driving, a book by a father who lost his son in a single car crash. It’s a good book, full of useful information.

Kalamazoo Checking In

Hi Everyone, So while I was on Facebook last night arguing the finer points of William Morris textile designs the primary, it turned out there was a mass shooting in Kzoo. I just this moment learned about it from a local paper and my partner learned about it at almost exactly the same time when he got a note from a colleague in Boston. We’re both wtf and in shock. We didn’t hear sirens or anything.

Apparently it was totally random (hard to believe) and the seventh person to die was a 14-year-old girl. [EDIT: apparently she’s gravely injured but alive.] As of now, I don’t think I know anyone who was killed.

Not much else to say. This is horrible news, and I guess thanks to the NRA it’s also our new normal. Thanks to the people who asked after me and other Kzoo Juicers in Adam’s thread last night. I feel bad following up AL’s lovely, springy, flowery Sunday morning post with this.