June 23, 2016



On Thursdays I like to do a "throwback." Today, I selected a post from a little over a year ago about my favorite city to visit. I write in this piece about the great things there are to do in the city and I have one line that I think is important — 
"Of course, secretly, I try to find a way to check out some of Elmore Leonard’s sites as well, but don’t tell anyone."
I certainly wish I had known of Leonard's greatness when he was still writing, but, alas. Yesterday, I struck gold at the Goodwill in Traverse City. I found five good condition hard cover Leonard books. SCORE!!! Now, they have some wear and tear and the tops of the pages have some markings but overall, the books are in good shape. A few of them are inscribed with writing to someone's dad, often at Christmas time. Of course, I don't know the history of the owner of the book. I suppose they could be cleaning out, or this "dad" may have passed on.

It's hard to say and you never know a book's history. When I first started buying books at Goodwill in the late '80s, I would keep my store–bought books separate from my Goodwill purchases; however, now they're all together. But not knowing the history of a book did used to bother me.

Bandits (1987)
Riding the Rap (1995)
Cuba Libra (1998)
Be Cool (1999)
Mr. Paradise (2004)

MARCH 21, 2015

There's Only One Place Like It …


Detroit. It’s one of my favorite places. I’ve like the city of Detroit since I was a youngster. Sure, it had a great deal to do with my love of the Detroit Tigers. In fact, when I used to go to Tigers games, it was the same as everyone else: drive in to Detroit, park, go to the game, and drive out as soon as possible.

Several years ago Lori and I discovered there was a hotel in the city where we could stay. We started staying at the Holiday Inn Express. Loud, rowdy, dismal. Not a great place to stay but it did the job. Then, we tried Priceline in Metro Detroit and ended up at the Renaissance Center. Then the Westin Book–Cadillac.

Now, every time we decide to visit Detroit, we stay downtown. At times, we have had to stay in Dearborn but usually we stay downtown. There is so much to do in the city, so many places to visit. We try to find new places to visit, but we always find ourselves going to certain places over and over. Slow’s is an incredible barbecue place in Corktown, which is where Tiger Stadium used to live. We also enjoy sampling beverages at the Atwater Block Brewery on Jos Campau in the shadows of the Renaissance Center. We enjoy a Chicago–style pizza at Pizza Papalis in Greektown. (We also enjoy Five Guys in Greektown, but that is not Detroit fare, but it’s good). Of course, secretly, I try to find a way to check out some of Elmore Leonard’s sites as well, but don’t tell anyone.

Sometimes we check out the ruins of Detroit like the Packard Plant or the Michigan Central Station or even the Grande Ballroom. I’ve visited the Vernors plant, the Faygo plant, and even the old Stroh’s building. One of the coolest things I visited with my good friend Chris Brown was the armory outside of the city that used to house Olympia Stadium, the home of the Red Wings. Never able to see a game there, I have to believe it was an experience. Mr. Brown and I also jumped off the People Mover and accidently became the first people ever to walk under one of the bridges near the Joe Louis Arena. Finding places like Nancy Whiskey make the Detroit experience all that much better.

Getting pictures by the Spirit of Detroit, Joe Louis’ fist, and in front of the Ren Cen are highlights that everyone needs to do when the visit Detroit. In January we stayed at the new Crowne Plaza, which just happens to be the former Ponchartrain. There are lists on the Internet about things you must do in Detroit, places you must eat, and where you can get the best beer.

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