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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Sports

Grabbed by the balls

Explaining baseball’s cousin can be a sticky wicket

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


 

Editor’s Note: In honor of our Opening Day issue, we are happy to welcome a regular sports offering to our MT lineup.

 

Baseball’s just not Cricket … likely won’t mean much to the majority of you Yanks. “Of course it isn’t,” you’ll declare — and you’re right. However, this being Metro Times’ big “Opening Day” issue, and this inaugural sports column being the first in what is sure to be a long and successful series, and me being an awkward bastard, I figured now would naturally be a good time to talk about cricket. This, in fact, is due to the vague but inarguable similarities between the two codes. Plus, this is just how the MT rolls, you know.

As for the beginning of the lead, I admit it’s a bit of a cheap pun, a play on words. In England, the expression “it’s not cricket” is used to describe something which pushes the boundaries of fair play, referring to the fact that the culture surrounding the game of cricket demands nothing but the best of behavior from the players. One might say, “His wife cheated on him with the milkman? That’s just not cricket.”

On the surface, there are many similarities between cricket and baseball. For example, a player from one team stands at the mound and throws a ball at an opposing player, who then attempts to thwack the thing into the parking lot without it getting caught by a fielder. (Nomenclature alert: For baseball use “pitches,” for cricket use “bowls.”) If the guy with the bat makes contact, he runs and hopes to score. See? Much is the same.

Now, for the differences: Well, the guy bowling the ball is aiming for wickets (three sticks stuck in the ground with two small sticks balanced on top), placed behind the batsman, rather than the catcher’s mitt. The batsman stands with the tip of the cricket bat touching the ground in front of him. And the bowler throws the ball over-arm (imagine Pete Townshend’s windmill motion, but with a ball in his hand rather than a pick).

Of course, the similarities count for only part of the reason cricket will never catch on over here. The biggest reason is probably that you all have baseball, which is, again, kinda the same but much more fun?

Extending the analogy, the same principle can be applied to (American) football and rugby. I accept that cricket will never really catch fire in the United States and I’m actually OK with that. However, you must know you’re all missing out on something brilliant — yet near impossible — to define, and, as one who refuses to quit, allow me to try.

First of all, forget everything you think you know about sports — team sports, in particular. Most team games, be they soccer, hockey, football or what have you, are adrenalin-driven. We’re looking for highlight reel moments — a goal, touchdown or grand slam — at which point we can rise in one collective wave and cheer. It’s tribal and it’s beautiful. Cricket isn’t like that; cricket is a game of patience, like chess, played by teams of men on a field.

I concede the notion of patience will sound like hell to many of you, but you have to look at the bigger picture. One game of cricket can potentially go on for three days. This is called a “test series.” There are also one-day games, though they still usually last for the whole day. In other words, there’s a lot of sitting around. That’s why cricket is played in the summer.

Am I not selling this well?

Cricket is, after all, fundamentally English. It may not be as popular as soccer (the real football) over there, but it defines the culture a little better. The collective participation and consistency of play give the game its nobility, as opposed to a point-driven objective.

Historically, some cricket players have been known to avoid hitting the ball too hard as it was considered vulgar, although even within the world of cricket, those guys are an anomaly. In addition, every country that England dipped its unwanted feet into during the days of the empire seemed to take to the game, from India to Australia and the West Indies.

Cricket isn’t about watching a game from the edge of your seat and chanting obscene songs at the opposition. Instead, sit back with a crate of beer and bag of sandwiches by your side, and allow the game to gently wash over you —  take a nap halfway through if you want — it’s a sunny day, and the breeze is gently washing over you; oh, did my team just score a run or two? Very nice.

 

’Ello … what’s this?

There are enough immigrants here in Detroit that, if you look, you’ll likely find just about every organized sport played throughout the world’s four corners can be found locally too. And, blimey, cricket is no different because there exists a Detroit Cricket League [detroitcricketleague.org].

Rather surprisingly though, DCL officials and board members are incredibly hard to get in touch with — despite my best efforts. There’s no “contact page” on its website, thus no obvious way to set up an interview. However, the website does offer up some fascinating reading. The schedule starts in May and ends in October. Based on the photos contained on the site’s picture gallery, the vast majority of players, officials — and anybody else involved with the game here — is from some part of the Indian subcontinent. (I’ll chalk it up to the fact that there are simply more immigrants living in Southeast Michigan from that part of the world than from Great Britain, Australia or South Africa.)

There are cricket fields everywhere, from Auburn Hills to Ypsilanti, Novi, Troy and Livonia too. The videos on the website suggest there are few, if any, spectators at the games; the Detroit Cricket League has been set up purely for the enjoyment of those who wish to play. However it is organized, there seem to be plenty of people who want to play the game. (There are even awards ceremonies.)

So, as America rejoices in the springtime rite of passage known as Opening Day and the country’s collective attention again focuses on the crack of the bat, remember there are alternatives. If you get sick of the hype, and want to try something a little bit different but similar enough to feel familiar, soak in a game of cricket, either on the dedicated cable channel or at one of the DCL’s games. Who knows — the tock of willow on leather might tickle your fancy.

 

Brett Callwood  is a staff writer for Metro Times. Send comments to him at bcallwood@metrotimes.com

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