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Friday, November 14, 2014

Celebrate Small Football Stadiums

This post marks my continued participation in the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop, originated on Viklit's blog (Scribblings of an Aspiring Author). Please join us every Friday in expressing gratitude for everything from tiny triumphs to giant sports facilities. G'head, click on the list below.
     Today I'm grateful that our high school football stadium has made it to the top ten in the MLive's Best Stadium search. I'm not a big football fan and I only visit the stadium when forced. Since my daughter marches in the band, I'm required to attend every home game, and occasionally I drop my son off on the field for soccer practice. Football is our sport, you see, and when I say football, I'm not talking about the American version. You might wonder why I care at all about the outcome of this vote. I guess I just feel that the fact we've gotten this far in this contest says something about my little town....something that I love.
     We aren't going to win. There is no way in Hell, MI that we're going to win (Yes, there actually is one. I might even retire there.) The stadium in the lead has 30 thousand votes or so, ten times more than us. The one ranked second is running neck-and-neck with the first one, with votes in the 30,000's. And still we keep voting. It's kind of inconceivable, seeing the odds are stacked so high against us. I vote every time I think about it, and since I'm at my computer all day long trying to make my goal of 50,000 words for National Novel Writing month (1/5 there! Whoo hoo!), it's working out okay. (You can vote every hour on the hour right here all the way until November 17). Other people must be doing the same, because--while a neighboring school district that also made the top ten is losing ground--we continue to toggle between seventh and sixth place, and have gotten as high as fifth.
      We won't give up. No matter how unlikely winning becomes. And that's a pretty good summary of the essence of the people here. When it comes to our kids, we won't quit. We'll keep plugging away, refusing to be discouraged by the gargantuan strides of others all around us. They might think they're on the right track, but only time will tell.
     Unfortunately, I don't think that slow and steady will win this race this time. But it makes for a pretty decent place to live. And a kick-ass philosophy (I'm talking a Kim-Kardashian-size ass too, Like the one plastered across Paper) to apply to larger issues, like real life. Or Nano. (Slow and steady just might win that one.)
     Besides, the stadium is super pretty--I mean, handsome. (Football stadiums probably don't consider it a compliment to be called pretty.) Already a backdrop for some fond family memories, it's sure to provide more of the same for my kids over their high school years. Sometimes, if I close my eyes, I'd swear I'm being sucked into an episode of Friday Night Lights. Then I forcibly redirect myself into The Music Man. That's more my cup of tea.
If you liked this post and have a second (that's literally all it takes), vote for Ortonville-Brandon--Blackhawk Stadium.
And join us on the hop, below!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Onion Cats

(All I can say by way of explanation is: It's Nanowrimo and I'm sorry, cat lovers.)   

Big Three Automaker Unveils Car Fueled by Cats

  In response to consumer demand for more fuel efficient car options, Dingler Automotive has revealed a new technology that enables engines to run on cats. This is a huge step toward the automaker’s ultimate goal of keeping foreign electric-car manufacturers overseas where they freaking belong.
      “If you can’t beat them, ban them,” said automotive CEO Robert Gangston. “I don’t like electric cars myself. I’m old-fashioned. Give me a good old gas-guzzler any day. But when our consumers made it clear they wanted options, I was happy to oblige.”
     The felines used for fuel fall within a wide range of breeds, including Siamese, Bermese, Persian and American Short-hair.
     “We tried to nab some of those ugly hairless cats to test the engines too,” said Lynn Ellerton, engineering lead on the project. “Unfortunately, it turns out hairless cats are rare, so we had to settle for tabbies. There are tons of tabbies running wild on the streets of Detroit.”
     Consumers can also stock up on superfluous cats at animal shelters or on the foreclosed properties of creepy cat people, as well as through retailers specializing in car accessories.
     Abducting neighbors’ cats for fuel is not recommended.

     “In this global market, people are even harder to satisfy,” said Gangston. “Addressing their tedious needs sometimes calls for drastic measures. Companies like Tesla feel they can come over here and provide a product just because some new-fangled market research has deemed it desirable to US citizens. Never mind that our engineers have worked their asses off to come up with two—count them, two—electric car models over the years. It’s never enough. From an automotive standpoint, the jump from gas to electricity to cats made perfect sense.”
     So as not to make a mountain out of a molehill, the controversial research was secretively performed in an abandoned warehouse smack in the middle of a blight-infested downtown neighborhood. Gangston confirmed that the engineering team had to forcibly remove twelve squatting crackheads in order to proceed.

    “They went above and beyond,” he said.
     The hard-won results promise to revolutionize fuel economy. Each cat equates to approximately 100 miles of driving (107 highway), saving the typical driver thousands of dollars per year in fuel. Auto emissions will likewise be improved, since the festering wounds from cat fights are contained in special fuel compartments that facilitate the cat-powered engines. Bodily fluids are then secreted out the tailpipe, where they will be washed down into the sewer system, which NHTSA is quick to point out doesn’t fall under the regulatory organization’s jurisdiction.
     “We don’t do sewers, thank God,” NHTSA said. “Just air emissions.”
      In a stroke of poetic brilliance, the automaker is letting the cat out of the bag just in time for cooler weather. Drawn to the heat of cooling engines, the felines have a tendency to mold their bodies to the metal undercarriages of cars in driveways and parking spaces. Many speculate that means the animals had it coming. In fact, They Have It Coming is the tagline of the ad campaign that will accompany the cat-engine launch.
     “I’ve got all these alerts on my facebook feed to check underneath my car to make sure I don’t run over any cats,” said Gangston. “Anything stupid enough to crawl up under there gets just what it deserves. This time next year you’ll be able to grab the cat, insert it in the appropriate compartment and be on your merry way! Unless it’s a skunk. Don’t try it with a skunk.”
    The automaker’s stock rose slightly with the unveiling. Shareholders and automotive employees are optimistic that their leaders are on the right track to continued recovery from the recession of 2008.
     “That’s what I call enterprise: popping pussies into cars,” said Ernest “Sweeney” Hobninger, a union steward at the Lovett Road assembly plant. “At the very least, it should do wonders to control the stray cat population.”
     Our publisher contacted the Humane Institute of America, but the organization was too dumb-struck at press time to issue a comment.
     When asked if there were any concerns about citations of noise pollution, what with all that yowling going on, Gangston chuckled.
I know, he looks a lot like Christian Grey.
    “I can’t believe we’ve done this entire interview with you thinking the cats are alive. The cats are dead, you silly goose. I mean, anything else would be considered inhumane. What kind of monsters do you think we are here in Detroit? No, wait. Don’t answer that.”
     The first model to make use of the new technology is the 257 cat-power Twitch SE. It will be spotlighted at the 2015 auto show in January.