Tuesday, May 31, 2011

CMU students starred at Cannes

AP file photo: From left, president of the jury Robert De Niro, jury members Uma Thurman and Jude Law at the 64th international film festival May 11 in Cannes, southern France.

The Central Michigan University students working at the American Pavillion at Cannes included: Front, left to right: Krysten Cole (Saginaw), Laura Rynbrand (Kentwood), Lauren Rimmell (Rochester), Lorie Tuma (CMU Faculty); second row: Jennifer Bettinger (Macomb) Dawn Marentay (Jackson), Tara Clark (Rockford), Allison Chludzinski (Livonia), Monica Barlage (Detroit); back row: Neil Lamoureaux (Dearborn Heights), Ann McQueen (Northville), Kaity Jerolamon (Clarkston), Maggie Oldenburg (Clare), John Powell (Watersmeet); missing:  Danielle Leist (Plymouth-Canton)

The success of this year's Festival De Cannes in France was due in part to 14 students from Central Michigan University.

The students, minoring in event management at the Mount Pleasant university worked at the American Pavillion, which serves as the communication and hospitality center for Americans in Cannes during the May 11-22 festival. 

"This is the first time traditionally they've had event management minors," said Tracy Burton, CMU marketing and outreach coordinator for the College of Education and Human Services. "The group is primarily juniors and seniors. They paid for the trip, but the faculty center for innovative teaching picked up the cost for all of the students to have iPads so they could tap into the social networking sources during their trip."

CMU faculty leader Lorie Tuma who traveled with the group to Cannes said the students worked behind the scenes during the entire festival enabling them to gain the kind of invaluable experience for their future careers. Students (seniors especially) were provided an extraordinary opportunity for networking since their duties at Cannes involved working alongside the staff of actor and director Robert De Niro. He served on the festival's jury panel for feature films along with fellow actors Uma Thurman and Jude Law. 

"I truly have gained a new sense of self and possibly have landed my dream internship with the Sundance International Film Festival," said Jennifer Bettinger, a CMU junior and the daughter of Starr and Daniel Hickey of Macomb Township.

Bettinger's duties at the American Pavillion included making sure that the VIP tables were stocked and that the panel guests wanted for nothing. "I worked with four other students. We all had the same jobs in the beginning, but by the second day... I sort of started organizing everything... By the last day my boss was telling people to come to me because I was the boss... It was pretty great."

The young Americans worked for De Niro's panel but they never saw the man himself.
Bettinger did, however, meet singer Jason Mraz and actors Kevin Sorbe, Faye Dunaway, Peter Fonda and Famke Janssen. 

Jennifer Bettinger, third from left, at the festival.
"A few of our students were excited because they ran into Ryan Gosling in the American Pavillion. They took tons of pictures with him and told everyone about it," said Bettinger. They found out later, when they ran into the real Ryan Gosling coming out of a McDonald's, that the other guy in their photos was a fake.

All of the students who went to Cannes earned the right to be there. In addition to the application process, all interested students were interviewed, and had to come up with their own funding for the trip. "I took out a loan to pay for it," said Bettinger. 

Out of the 60 students who applied, 30 were given an interview and 14 got to go. "Film festivals, is what I want to go into, so the fact that I got the experience was amazing," Bettinger said.

But Bettinger did not get to see any films at the festival - she was too busy building her career. 

"CMU changed my life with this opportunity," Bettinger said. "It will pay off and I will work exactly where I want to when its time."

We can teach from our experience, but we cannot teach experience -- Sasha Azevedo

Friday, May 27, 2011

Help make summer camp a splash for homeless kids

The Macomb Charitable Foundation has offered to provide lunch for the first and last day of the Macomb Intermediate School District's Summer Camp for Homeless Children, but it could use some help with the goody bags.

"The first lunch we're doing is the 21st of July and that is the first day they go swimming. So we would like to provide each child in attendance with a beach towel, flip flops, sunglasses or bubbles. The kind of stuff a child would need for a day at the pool," said Shelley Penzien of Macomb Township and president of the Macomb Charitable Foundation. "On the last day (July 28), we hope to be able to send the children home with a gas card or SMART bus pass, for their mom and dad."

Living in a hotel room with your mom, dad and three siblings is bad enough during the school year, but all summer? 

It's hot. 

It's humid. 

It's crowded. 

"It's heartbreaking to see," said Penzien. "You walk into the room and see these kids -- just sitting on the bed staring at the TV. Most of the hotels they live in are nowhere near a park, so it's not like they can go outside and play."

The MISD's summer camp for homeless children not only gets them outside but provides a bus that picks them up and drops them off. "This is a wonderful opportunity," said Penzien. "My children went to camp and they had fun and made lifelong friends."
Along with lunch and a cool tote filled with beach toys, MCF will be bringing along entertainment.

"I'm so excited for the kids," said Penzien. "Eisenhower High School's football team is going to sponsor one of the luncheons. It's a great opportunity not only as a learning situation for the older kids but a chance for these young campers to interact with some good role models. And have fun. We're going to the park."

Donated supplies, including new beach towels, flip-flops (child's medium), sunglasses, bubbles and other beach toys, along with gas cards and SMART bus passes can be dropped off at Cracklewood Golf and Country Club, 18215 24 Mile Road, Macomb. 
For information on Macomb Charitable Foundation, visit Macomb Charitable FoundationFor more information on services and camps provided by the MISD visit MISD Homeless Education Project

Looking for things to do during the Memorial Weekend? Check out our list of events and exhibits going on around the Detroit area:

Military cemetery tour
Veterans and their guests are invited to a special tour of Holly's Great Lakes National Cemetery, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 8. Transportation will be provided by a bus that is scheduled to leave Wm. Sullivan & Son Funeral Home, 8459 Hall Road (3 blocks east of Van Dyke) in Utica at 9:30 a.m. This is a great opportunity to visit Michigan's newest national cemetery for veterans and learn about free veteran burial services. Lunch will be provided. RSVP by June 1. Call (586) 731-2411 or visit Wm Sullivan & Son

Classic Hitchcock movie
The Redford Theatre and Motor City Theatre Organ Society will present the classic film, "Rebecca" starring Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier and George Sanders May 27, 28. In this gothic masterpiece by Alfred Hitchcock, the young second wife of a British landowner is haunted by the image of his glamorous first wife, Rebecca. Tickets: $4 Show times: Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 8 p.m. Visit The Redford Theatre

Autumn Mist by Ted Lang

of life and history
The Warren Tri-County Fine Art Association will present its annual "Prestige Exhibit," June 7-30 at the Warren Community Center, 5460 Arden. Among the work presented will be that of Ted Lang, a member of the fine arts association and its featured artist of the month. Lang's work in traditional and digital photography covers everything from philosophical subjects to nature and history. An opening reception of the exhibit with food and beverages will take place at 6:30 p.m., June 7. Guests are welcome.
Royal Steed by Ted Lang

Warren theater
Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" presented by Warren Civic Theatre, 6:30 p.m. through May 29, at City Square Park at Warren Civic Center, north of 12 Mile Road and Van Dyke. Tickets $5 each; (586) 268-8400 or Warren Civic Theatre Seats provided, but guests may bring blanket or lawn chairs.

Rummage sale
Fraser Historical Commission rummage and plant sale and flea market, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 5, at Baumgartner Museum, 18577 Masonic at Kelly Road; additional parking at Somerset Swim Club on Masonic. For information and to donate items, (586) 293-7477 or (586) 293-8252.

Macomb Daily file photo by Craig Gaffield
Vintage baseball
Rochester Grangers Vintage Base Ball Club plays 1 p.m. May 28, at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm, 1005 Van Hoosen Road, east of Rochester Road off Tienken Road, and June 4, July 10 and Aug. 28, at Halbach Field in Rochester. Admission free to games and Van Hoosen Dairy Barn. Visit Rochester Hills or call (248) 656-4663.

'Rally for Jackson'
Scavenger hunt and pizza party benefit for a 4-year-old with a rare malignant brain tumor, noon May 28, at Stony Creek Metropark in Shelby Township; $15 per person plus $5 fee to enter park, free for younger than 5 years. For information, Jacksonscorner@yahoo.com.

Garage sale
Michigan Dog Owners Group garage sale, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through May 30, at 15842 Semrau, Eastpointe, off Gratiot between Nine Mile Road and Stephens. Email midog48021@yahoo.com.

Clinton Seniors
Activities at the Clinton Township Senior Adult Life Center, 40730 Romeo Plank Road, include educational program on eating healthy with diabetes, 9:30 a.m. June 3; glass craft project, 9:30 a.m.-noon June 13; and how to maintain a purpose in life after retirement, 9:30 a.m. June 14. To RSVP for any program, (586) 286-9333.

Concert Choir
Detroit Concert Choir season finale "Opera Faves! Broadway Raves!" 7:30 p.m. June 4 at First Presbyterian Church, 1669 W. Maple, Birmingham, and 4 p.m. June 5, at Grosse Pointe United Methodist Church, 211 Moross Road, Grosse Pointe Farms. Tickets $20, $18 ages 62 and older, $10 ages 8-21 years; call (313) 882-0118 or Detroit Concert Choir

Leader Dogs
"Night With the Stars" benefit for Leader Dogs for the blind, June 4, at Leader Dogs for the Blind, 1039 S. Rochester Road at Avon Road, Rochester Hills. Doors open 5:30 p.m., dinner 6 p.m., show at 7. Tickets $15; call (586) 226-9066 or (586) 465-6694.

Tree of Hope
Step Up for Hope Walk and Family Fun Day sponsored by Tree of Hope Foundation, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., June 4 at Halmich Park in Warren. Advance registration $15, day of $20, includes admission, T-shirt, pizza lunch. Proceeds go toward free support groups for women and families dealing with postpartum depression and mood disorders. Visit Tree of Hope Foundation

Ringwald Theatre
Who Wants Cake? production of dramedy "Love! Valour! Compassion!", 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays, and 2 p.m. Sundays through June 6, at The Ringwald Theatre, 22742 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. For reservations and ticket information, (248) 545-5545.

Avon Players
Avon Players present "Into the Woods," 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, through May 29 and June 3-4, at the playhouse, 1185 Washington Road, Rochester. For tickets, (248) 608-9077.

OPC fundraiser
Older Persons' Commission walk/5K run, registration 7:15 a.m. runners,8 a.m. run start; 8:30 a.m. walkers registration, 9 a.m. start, June 4. Participants gather at OPC upper parking lot, 650 Leticia, Rochester. Entry fee $5; benefit for Meals on Wheels. Details, www.opcseniorcenter.org or (248) 608-0251.

Art association
Mount Clemens Art Association meeting, 6:30 p.m. June 6, city library, 150 Cass Ave.; program on gathered centerpiece still life. Call (586) 469-8781.

Farmers Market
Mount Clemens Farmers Market 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 19, at 141 North River Road. Locally grown products, including flowers. Visit Mount Clemens Farmer's Market

Volunteers needed
* Macomb Literary Partners needs volunteers to help adults become better readers; applicants trained to tutor an adult 2 hours per week, with training sessions held on weekends or evenings. Call (586) 286-2750.
* Detroit Historical Guild seeking volunteers interested in participating in historical activities, including flea markets at Historic Fort Wayne, tea parties, excursions to historic sites, etc. Call (586) 777-5898.

Toastmasters' Club
Toastmasters Speak Easy Club of Shelby meets 10-11:30 a.m. second and fourth Saturdays monthly at Shelby Community Center, 51670 Van Dyke, north of 23 Mile Road. Call (586) 623-9987 or (586) 531-1289.

Memory is more indelible than ink -- Anita Loos

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The curtain falls but Oprah's still in the spotlight

AP Photo/Charlie Knoblock
In this Dec. 18, 1985 photo, TV talk-show host Oprah Winfrey relaxes in her studio office following a morning broadcast in Chicago, Ill. Winfrey came to Chicago in 1984 to WLS-TV's morning talk show, "A.M. Chicago." A month later the show was No. 1 in the market. A year later it was renamed "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Stevie Wonder, below, performs during a double-taping of "Suprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular." The Oprah WInfrey Show" is sending its run today, after 25 years.

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Woe is me, the procrastinator. For years, I promised my good friend Patricia that I would travel with her to Chicago and endure the long line for tickets so that she could check off another wish on her bucket list: see Oprah in person.
Sorry, Patti.
Today marks the last episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." 
I would like to blame someone or something for the missed opportunity, maybe a TV executive or the lack of time, but that would be remiss on my part. The show has been on the air since Sept. 8, 1986.
The first national episode was titled, "How to Marry the Man/Woman of Your Choice."
It was around that time that both Patti and I were still finishing school and launching our careers, she as a teacher, and I as a reporter. I can't say that the topic of marriage was of interest. But Oprah's basic persona, that genuine concern for people, enthusiasm for life, and go-girl, bullish demeanor that no doubt allowed her to break the barriers and achieve the goals she set, got our attention.
She became a role model, not only to aspiring young women working on their careers, but to others at the end of theirs, and homemakers, moms, dads, teens and children. After 25 seasons, 30,000 guests, a million studio audience members (minus 2), her legion of viewers extended to 150 countries. Is there any other TV show that earned 48 Emmys and the Kennedy Center Honors or any other female African American billionaire? 
That same go-girl enthusiasm that we admired, however, also made her the subject of criticism.
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
You could say that she used her daytime platform to get rich, but it is through her show and production company (with projects in film, TV and XM satellite radio), and glossy national magazine (with 2 million subscribers), that she's been able to employ thousands, raise $80 million for charity and build a school for needy girls in South Africa.
Sure, the influence that Oprah has is a little scary. I thought the O-list of favorites was way overboard, but when has it really been a bad thing? 
Just ask the turkey supplier from East Texas, what it meant to be named to the list. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, it totaled at least $1 million in sales.
As a writer and book lover, I also have to applaud her. I read Faulkner in college. She read Faulkner to the world, and through her book club, not only restored many classics to the bestseller list, but became a lifeline to unknown talent drowning in the slosh pile of unread manuscripts.
Today's taped finale will be show No. 4,561.
Her audiences have met the famous and non-famous guests who showed there's no shame in being homeless, the victim of rape, or trying to lose weight, again. And then there were the giveaway shows where she showered guests with expensive gifts, including cars and trips.
I understand why people do not like Oprah, but I have to agree with my friend.
How can you fault someone who is trying so hard to help people?
We have our bucket list.
She has the O-list.

I am where I am because of the bridges I have crossed. Sojourner Truth was a bridge. Harriet Tubman was a bridge. Ida B. Wells was a bridge. Madam C. J. Walker was a bridge. Fannie Lou Hamer was a bridge - Oprah Winfrey

Keep a grateful journal. Every night, list five things that you are grateful for. What it will begin to do is change your perspective of your day and your life - Oprah Winfrey

Monday, May 23, 2011

Yesterday was a grand time for kite flying

Macomb Daily file photos by Craig Gaffield.

When I was a child, it was around this time of year that I remember flying a kite.
As soon as the rain stopped and the sun broke through the clouds, I would slip on a pair of boots, grab a slicker and head outside. If a new kite did not come via an Easter basket, I would coax my dad into taking a trip to the hardware store. It never took a lot of coaxing. While he was checking out the latest and greatest gardening tools and lawn equipment, I would saunter over to the rain barrel and see what was left in the way of kites.
Mr. Robinette took great pride in carrying everything a family in the city or on the farm might need around the house, but that meant he could only order items in small amounts. The classic diamond kites went fast. The frame is simply a cross-shaped structure attached at the middle, and a sail and tail to keep it flying.
Most of the kites were partially assembled and included a roll of string. I liked to add a few more swatches of fabric to the tail and whenever possible used my own string. The stuff that came with the kites always seemed to get tangled.
Once the kite was ready to go I would head to the soybean field behind our house and let her fly. Even now I think kite flying is an amazing hobby. There’s just something neat about holding a roll of string in your hands knowing each time you let it out that what is attached to the other end soars higher and higher.
I encourage everyone who loves the great outdoors to give it a whirl.
But be careful, especially those of you who live near any electric wires.
“We urge everyone to follow a few important safety rules when flying kites,” said Kip Sauer, executive manager of Consumers Energy services east. “When it comes to outdoor fun, look up to identify hazards and obstacles, stay away from overhead electric lines and stay safe.”
No matter how high they might appear — kites should never be flown near electric power lines. Should a kite get tangled on an overhead wire, do not try to get it. Let it go. Sauer said adults should also caution children to never climb a utility pole, a tree located near a power line or an antenna tower to retrieve a kite.
Heading back to the hardware or sporting goods store for a new kite is the safest course of action.
Hoping to deter trouble, Consumers Energy offers the following basic rules to help keep kite flyers safe:
Stay clear of all overhead wires, especially electric lines.
Whether you purchase a kite at the store or make it yourself, make sure it is constructed of wood, plastic or paper. Never use anything metallic such as aluminum foil, Mylar polyester film or Ben Franklin’s key, they conduct electricity.
You can use the string that comes with the kite or dry kite string but never wire.
Watching a kite soar through the air is distracting enough without having to worry about traffic or other activities going on around you. Keep your flights to open areas. Avoid streets and highways as well as television and radio antennas.
Send your comments or home and garden tips to Gina Joseph, The Macomb Daily, 100 Macomb Daily Drive, Mount Clemens, MI 48043, or email them to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com.

Rose-colored glasses are never made in bifocals. Nobody wants to read the small print in dreams -- Ann Landers

Friday, May 20, 2011

Vintage Super 8 app is the reel thing

For the longest time technological leaps on Earth were spinoffs from NASA intelligence. Today's satellites, artificial hearts and polished brass faucets, to name a few, are gadgets created through information gleaned by space exploration. Since Facebook and Twitter were launched, new technology seems to come faster than a speeding bullet.
The newest is the Vintage Super 8, a full-featured video recorder that emulates a vintage Super 8 camera for users of Apple mobile devices. 

This new app was created by the wizards and innovative digital alchemists at QMx Interactive and Bad Robot Interactive, a division of Bad Robot Productions, just in time for the release of Paramount Picture's new movie, "Super 8."
What this nifty little App-gadget does is allow users to create old-time movies on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. "Super 8" comes with seven photorealistic lenses featuring special effects such as infrared, chromatic and X-ray. Users can overlay additional filters effects such as light leaks and vignettes or even age the film with a random scratch-and-dirt filter. Those things that made your grandfather cuss are now options created for nostalgia sake. Even the way grandpa used to shake when he was shooting is a frame-shake option designed to give it that old-school feel of a Super 8 home movie.
Filmmakers can collect their shots, do their editing, and send the masterpiece off to be developed without lifting a finger or a dollar out of one's wallet. It's all done within the app. Once the movie is completed, users are transported to the Super 8 projector room where pulling down the screen and pressing “play” on the projector gets things rolling. Movies can be shared via email or through social media sites via the iOS's gallery.
Is that not incredible?
The best part is this new app is free at iTunes App Store
"I thought this was gonna be some dinky app to promote the new movie but it's actually a great app," wrote one user on the iTunes page. "Easy to use features with amazing vintage effects!!"
However, this is a limited time offer, no doubt during the run of "Super 8."

Directed by J.J. Abrams from his original script and produced by Stephen Spielberg, Abrams and Bryan Burk, it's the story of a group of friends in a small Ohio town who witness a catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident. Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local deputy tries to uncover the truth, which is more horrible than anything the youngsters could have imagined.
The film starring Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Joel Courtney, Garbriel Basso, Noah Emmerich, Ron Eldard, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee and Zach Mills is due in theaters June 10.
If you need ideas for your own movie, I'm sure -- before you can say cool gadget -- someone will have posted a Super 8 iPhone example at Super 8

NOTE: Playing back your movies on the Super 8™ projector may reveal missing frames from the Super 8 Editing Room Film. Be the first to collect all the frames to unlock a new clip at S8editingroom.com Super 8 editing room

Check out some of the other fun things going on around the Detroit area:

CD Release party
Michigan’s own Bear Lake will celebrate the release of the band’s newest CD, “If You Were Me,” May 21, at the Magic Bag in Ferndale. The party (for ages 18-up) will include a performance by the group including Matt Hines (vocals), Eric Pederson (keys, percussion), Steve Stetson (drums), Jon Rice (lead guitar and vocals), Brian Kwasnik (keyboard and vox) and Keith May (bass and vox). Doors open at 8 p.m. The Magic Bag is located at 22920 Woodward Ave., Detroit. For tickets and information, visit The Magic Bag or Bear Lake

Awards dinner
New Baltimore Annual Award Dinner for citizen and business of the year,
6 p.m. May 26, at Cedar Glen Golf Course, 36860 25 Mile Road. Tickets, $20, include appetizers, dinner and cash bar. Call (586) 725-2151.

Bowling for Backpacks
Bowling for Backpacks, benefit for the non-profit organization Blessings in a Backpack, 2-5 p.m. May 22 at Classic Lanes, 2145 Avon Industrial Drive, Rochester. Registration starts 1:30 p.m. Advance registration $20, $25 day of event if lanes available; admission includes three hours of bowling, shoe rental, music and refreshments. For tickets: (248) 318-6334 or blessingsinabackpackmi.org/events.

Perennial exchange
Perennial exchange, 9 a.m.-noon, May 21, in Ray Township parking lot, 64255 Wolcott Road. Free; refreshments provided by Recreation Department. Exchanges only, no sales. Call (586) 749-5171.

Poker Run
Amvets Post 29 conducting poker run, registration 9:30-10:30 a.m. May 21, at the sponsoring J.O. Galloup Co., 1987 Concept Drive, Warren. Last bike in by 3 p.m. at Amvets Post 29 in Mount Clemens. Fee $20 per rider, $10 passenger. Call (586) 755-3110.

Taste Fest
St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital 10th Annual Taste Fest, 4:30-8 p.m. May 25, at American Polish Century Club, 33204 Maple Lane, Sterling Heights, corner of 14 Mile and Hoover roads. Fest includes food tastings from more than 25 restaurants, free health screenings, silent auction and raffle. Admission $25, or $20 ages 55 and older and 5-12 years; free younger than 5. Proceeds support hospital equipment purchases. Call (313) 343-7582.

Senior Players
Heart of the Hills Senior Players present "Brigadoon," 7 p.m. May 21, at Warren Community Center Theatre, 5460 Arden, Warren. Tickets $14 advance, $16 at the door. Call (586) 268-8400.

'Rally for Jackson'
Scavenger hunt and pizza party benefit for a 4-year-old with a rare malignant brain tumor, noon May 28 at Stony Creek Metropark, Shelby Township; $15 per person plus $5 fee to enter park, free for younger than 5 years. For information, Jacksonscorner@yahoo.com.

Baby animals
Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm traditional "Spring on the Farm" program, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 21 at the museum, 1005 Van Hoosen Road. Admission $7 per person ages 2 and older, includes Barnyard Express Farm shows at 11 a.m., 1 and 2 p.m., beekeeping demonstrations, tours, fishing, craft demonstrations, animals. For information, (248) 656-4663 or Rochester Hills

Chamber music
Morgenstern Trio performs in season finale of Chamber Music Society of Detroit, 8 p.m. May 21 at Seligman Performing Arts Center on Detroit Country Day School campus, 22305 W. 13 Mile Road, Beverly Hills. For tickets, (248) 855-6070 or Chamber Music Society

Avon Players
Avon Players present "Into the Woods," 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, through May 29 and June 3-4, at the playhouse, 1185 Washington Road, Rochester. For tickets, (248) 608-9077.

Bootleg boat tour
Preservation Wayne and Detroit Historical Society presenting bootlegging-theme boat tour along the Detroit River, 5:30-8 p.m. May 21. Tickets, $55 member, $60 non-members, include dinner and guided tour. For reservations, (313) 577-7674.

Benefit dinners
*Spaghetti dinner fundraiser for Conductive Education Center of Metro Detroit, 12:30-5 p.m. May 22, at Mount Clemens Community Center, 300 N. Groesbeck. Admission at the door, $7 ages 12 and older, $5 seniors, $3 ages 4 to 11.
*Spaghetti dinner serving 5-8 p.m. May 21 with music 8-midnight, at St. Clair Shores Eagles Club No. 3619, at 23631 Greater Mack. Admission $10, music only $5; proceeds go toward surgery for Terry Rahn.

Farmers Market
Mount Clemens Farmers Market open 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 19, at 141 North River Road. Locally grown products, including flowers. Visit Mount Clemens Farmers Market
'Almost Maine'
Michigan Actors Studio presents "Almost Maine," 2 and 8 p.m. May 21, at the Studio, 648 Nine Mile Road, Ferndale. Tickets $15. Call (877) 636-3320.

Garage sale
Tree of Hope Foundation (for postpartum research and education) benefit garage sale, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through May 22, at 20861 10 Mile Road, between Harper and Little Mack, St. Clair Shores.

'Music Man'
Lutheran High School Northwest Drama Troupe presents "The Music Man," 2 and 7 p.m. May 21 at the school, 1000 Bagley Ave., Rochester Hills. For tickets, $8 and $10, half price for children 5 and younger, call (248) 852-6677.

Anasazi Myster by Paula Wild
Palette Club
Lakeside Palette Club meeting 64th Annual Spring Exhibit, through May 22 at Anton Art Center, 125 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens. Reception and awards 1-3 p.m. May 22. Visit Lakeside Palette Club

Go Comedy!
"Ferndale 2-4-8" production at Go Comedy, 261 Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays through May 26. Tickets $10 Thursdays, $15 Fridays. Call (248) 327-0575 or visit www.gocomedy.net.

Dinner theater
"I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," through May 22, at Andiamo Novi Theatre, 42705 Grand River. Dinner packages available. Call (248) 348-4448 or www.ticketmaster.com.

Volunteers needed
* Macomb Literary Partners needs volunteers to help adults become better readers; applicants trained to tutor an adult 2 hours per week, with training sessions held on weekends or evenings. Call (586) 286-2750.
* Detroit Historical Guild seeking volunteers interested in participating in historical activities, including flea markets at Historic Fort Wayne, tea parties, excursions to historic sites, etc. Call (586) 777-5898.

* Features editor Debbie Komar contributed to this listing.

You can't start worrying about what's going to happen. You get spastic enough worrying about what's happening now -- Lauren Bacall

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book Review: Kids will enjoy 'How Things Work in the Yard'

“How Things Work in the Yard” 
(Big Apple Books, $14.99)
By Lisa Campbell Ernst
Grades 1-3

This summer when your wide-eyed inquisitive child looks up from the garden and asks you why a caterpillar doesn't stay a caterpillar or how a firefly can make its behind light up -- you'll have a fun and enlightening explanation.

"How Things Work In The Yard," by Lisa Campbell Ernst, is a nonfiction book that serves like a field guide for children who might be interested in knowing how things work in their own little world -- namely their back yard. Parents are often drawn to nonfiction books that are filled with amazing facts and elaborate illustrations, but they are frequently more than what a child wants to know. 

Ernst's book reminds me of something a teacher might create for a first- or third-grade field trip to the local farm or nursery. Her colorful illustrations, which liken to construction paper cutouts, provide a whimsical view of her topics while diagrams point out interesting and important facts that children might want to know first.
Everything from rocks and robins to dirt, dandelions, bubbles and the garden hose are featured in the pages of this small but durable little field guide. What's presented here will surely please a questioning child. And is that not the purpose of such a book -- to spark interest? Once a child is hungry for more, there are plenty of nonfiction books to satisfy his or her appetite even further.


The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day -- Albert Einstein

Monday, May 16, 2011

Things to think about when choosing new furniture

Many homeowners getting money back from the state and federal government will use a portion of their tax return to pay for new home furnishings. 

Having the money to shop is a wonderful thing. The problem with large purchases such as a new sofa and loveseat or dining room table is, knowing what to buy. 

Mike Howarth, president and owner of Englishman's Fine Furnishings, which is a national company that specializes in customized furniture, said it can be a challenge choosing a piece that boasts a combination of comfort and personal style while recognizing the home's varied elements of aesthetic form. "But is attainable with some insider knowledge," Howarth said.

Having designed English and European-style reproduction furniture for many years, Howarth is able to offer the following tips:
How do you decorate a room to maximize form and function?
Begin by deciding how the room will be used by you and your family. Is your new dining room table to be used for formal dinners or casual dining? Will it be primarily used by adults or children? If it needs to be family-friendly Howarth recommends a solid wood table as these are resistant to permanent scratches. If you like antiques -- but cannot justify spending a lot of money on a piece that could be ruined by chocolate milk or finger paint -- consider a reproduction. Howarth offers a line with all the beauty and mystique of antiques, along with the benefits of new furniture.  The Mission Hills collection, offered by Art Van furniture, is another fine example of modern furniture, inspired by older designs.
With these options in mind, what constitutes a well-furnished room?
"Begin with style and design," said Howarth. "Then follow with size and placement. Rooms should have space for traffic paths with unblocked openings."
Use heavier pieces for big rooms, but before you start hauling in the big stuff, create a template of the piece with tape to visualize it on the floor.
How do you tell the difference between an antique and reproduction?
Find an expert with a trained eye to look it over. The thickness of veneers can be a sign, as well as drawer joints, screws and the finish. A lot of people who want modern but like the charm of an old piece will have the item designed with realistic markings to give it the authentic appearance of age. The arts and craft-style pieces designed by Michigan native Dan Yates' for the H.O.M.E.S. collection at Art Van has that been-around-but-still-beautiful look to it.
Should furniture match interior colors?
"This can be very much a personal choice but there are a few things to consider," Howarth said. "Warm color palettes for walls, flooring and fabrics can dictate the use of warm tones for wood finishes. Likewise a room's foundational cool tones are best paired with finishes in similar colors."
Options that provide unique appearances might include mahogany, walnut, cherry, oak, alder and maple wood.
If it's a transitional look you're after, Howarth suggests mixing it up a bit such as a mid-cherry, wood dining table, with a lighter yew wood banding. Another great look is a mahogany table with painted white or black chairs.
Does fine furniture hold its value?
Yes. "(But) value is characterized by handcrafted manufacturing that entails subtle or ornate detailing and careful attention at every stage," said Howarth. "We believe the reproductions we design today can become tomorrow's antiques."

 Bring on those gardening questions?
In the next couple of weeks I will be compiling a list of questions to be answered by a master gardener. Need help with your vegetable garden? Not sure if it's too late/early to plant your fruit trees? Send your gardening or even landscape questions to: Spring Gardening Q&A, C/O Gina Joseph, The Macomb Daily, 100 Macomb Daily Drive, Mount Clemens, MI 48043, or email them to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com.

When you get into a tight place, and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a moment longer, never give up then -- for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn -- Harriet Beecher Stowe