Monthly Archives: March 2009

Discardia is the new discardage; or, um, BBQ

While waiting for the page to load, please enjoy this brief televised interlude, previously recorded for your enjoyment; 0:24 in if you are impatient.

Thanks to Peter Honeyman for the heads up.

For the summer discardia, look for plans for the first ever OMG WTF BBQ.


discardia for spring 2009

Discardia is a four times a year holiday that celebrates letting go, getting rid of, and removing unneeded things from your life.  It's one of my favorite modern holidays, one of those repeated reminders that there are sometimes things that you have gathered into your life that need to be scattered around instead.

Priority one is a book purge; I'll be filling up a few bags with books to get out of the house.

Priority two is an internet purge, looking at the online services that absorb time (and money some times) and seeing which ones I can do without.  This means that every single email that comes into the inbox for the next few days gets the query "how do I get rid of this".

Priority three is a kitchen purge, looking at the emergency cupboard for the food that will never be eaten by us and should be donated, and looking for spare utensils and containers that could go.

Properly done, this is a year round effort, the sort of effort that has a box in your house that is the designated spot to send things off to the Reuse Center or some other organized recycling process.  With two kids around the house the natural tendency is towards unmitigated clutter, but there's some way to counteract that.

What’s at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market, March 21, 2009

Molly is publishing market lists; here's last week's.  I don't yet have a vendor list that goes with it.

March 21, 2009! 

  • Apples
  • Baked goods
  • Beef
  • Beet greens
  • Beets
  • Bison
  • Biscotti
  • Cider
  • Cupcakes
  • Delicious chocolate cookies
  • Cultivated mushrooms
  • Coffee (including hand-pulled espresso!)
  • Dulce du leche
  • Eggs
  • Honey
  • Jams & jellies
  • Kale
  • Lamb
  • Maple Syrup
  • Onions
  • Popcorn
  • Potatoes
  • Delicate salad greens
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Tamales
  • Winter squash

+ a delightful selection of crafts, plants, and flowers!

Dutch baby apple pancake; and a March 2009 maple report from the UP

Here is the Penzey's Apple Pancake recipe…a morph from the Dutch Baby.

1/4 cup butter                                                  
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 medium baking apples, peeled and thinly sliced  (I used Braeburn apples)
3 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp ceylon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400.  divide butter between two 9" pie plates and
put them in the oven to melt the butter.  Rotate to be sure that butter
covers bottom and  sides of pans.  Use a 4 cup measuring cup as a
mixing bowl (makes it easy to divide the batter).  Beat eggs, flour,
milk and salt on medium speed for 1 minute.  Divide the apple slices
between the pans and pour 1/2 of the egg mixture over each pan.  Mix
the cinnamin and sugar and sprinkle over the batter.  Bake until puffed
and folden brown  20-25 minutes.  Serve right away, while still puffy,
with warm syrup. 
Serves 4-6   Prep time 10 minutes, baking time  20-25 minutes.

and the report from up north from March 18, 2009:

Over the weekend we put 28 taps in our maple sugar trees.   We
collected 8 gallons the first day but the next two nights were not
below freezing.  We have only 17 gallons so far.  It was cold last
night so the sap should run today.  Snowshoes are very necessary as the
snow is "punky".  Even with snowshoes we
sometimes break through the crust and one leg goes down 1 foot…makes
for slow going.  Hopefully we have a good wide track packed now. 

records request: ann arbor downtown development authority parking data

update: broken links fixed to interview, thanks John Balogh for the heads up

as sent by postal mail and email

March 14, 2009


Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority

150 South Fifth Avenue

Suite 301

Ann Arbor, MI 48104




Dear Records Request Officer:


Pursuant to the state open records act, I request
access to and copies of the continuously updated information about the
current availability of parking structure occupancy and free spaces, as
currently provided to the general public on the web page

For your reference, this system is described in this interview

conducted by Mr. David Askins of the Ann Arbor Chronicle, in which a representative of a contractor for the DDA says:

"SS: Oh, okay! Yeah, no, I haven't had a lot of time to pay
attention to our statistics yet, but I will at the end of this month.
It just rolled out April 1st. Our area associations, I imagine, are
going to want to embed this–and we encourage them to–in their own
webpages. For instance, Main Street Area Association, and State Street
Area Association. There are a lot of them, these associations and other
organizations, who could really benefit from it, especially if you're
going to have an event, you're telling your attendees to come downtown.

Despite these assurances, our current requests are met with this error message:


You don't have permission to access /parking__transportation/available_parking_spots/

on this server.

Apache/2.2.4 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.4 OpenSSL/0.9.7a DAV/2 mod_jk/1.2.20 PHP/5.2.1 Server at Port 80



I am willing to pay up to a maximum of $20 in fees associated with the fulfillment of this request.

As the release of this data is in the public interest – indeed, is
within the primary goal and charter of the DDA – I ask that these fees
be waived.


If my request is denied in whole or part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act.


Thank you for your assistance.





Edward Vielmetti

Organizations that don’t exist yet, but should

National Association of Professional Lunch Organizers.   For people who organize civic, professional, and industry meetings at lunchtime.  Publishes a national directory of meeting times and locations organized by day of the week, and a guide to the tax laws on entertainment expenses with a handy records filing system for the lunch professional.   Their for-profit software development spinoff, NAPLOsoft, produces mobile phone applications with customized daily alerts for travelers for professional lunch opportunities wherever they are.  Local organizing meetings of NAPLO are always held at breakfast time (because you don't want to interfere with work).


Ann Arbor Downtown Software Development Authority.  This organization captures tax increment financing from increases in the value of intellectual property in downtown Ann Arbor, and uses those funds to provide project financing for programs that assist in the development of human capital and information infrastructure.  The DsDA also operates an innovative system of "municipal data garages" which offer  computing and storage resources paid for by user fees as well as a network access point to the Alameda-Weehauken Burrito Tunnel.

photo: MAE East, IT History blog, Paul Ceruzzi

Lunch non-summary for a2b3 for March 12, 2009: 34 people there, a status update on the parking project, lots of good discussion.

The story of mad-stone (W. R. Sanner, Fort Worth, TX, 1886)

pulled from text at an online newspaper clippings archive

ALEX A. WALL, Editor and Proprietor
Vernon, Alabama
Friday, December 24, 1886

[Fort Worth (Texas), December 4th – Cor. New York Mail and Express]
Miss May Bartlett was bitten yesterday by a dog which, from all
indications, is mad. A mad-stone owned by W. R. Sanner, of this city,
has been applied and adhered several times, drawing out the poison.
This stone has something of a history. In 1848 Captain Wilson, of
Alabama, killed a white deer in Talladega County, and search was made
in the stomach for a stone. One was found a little larger than a
goose-egg, with a flat surface on one side It resembled a petrified
sponge. The stone up to this time has been used in upward of one
thousand cases. Captain Wilson gave the stone to Mr. Cowan, who lives
near Handley, in this county. Mr. Cowan, as a token of great
friendship, gave the stone to W. R. Sanner, who would part with it for
no amount. The philosophy of the operation of the stone and the reason
it is found in the stomach of the white deer is given by the Indians
as follows: "The white deer is more susceptible to vegetable poisons
taken into the stomach when eaten with grass. To preserve the life of
the animal, nature has placed in the stomach this porous stone, which
at once absorbs the poison, neutralizes it, and saves the deer's life.
The stone applied to a bit into which poison has been injected at once
draws it out, and when its pores are filled drops off; being soaked in
milk the stone is made pure again and ready for another application."