I have no idea why anyone would want to read this ridicullious c*&@ that I write because I am bored, but this blog is about stuff. You know Israel, cooking, family life, politics, entertainment...stuff. Whatever is on my mind! Enjoy!

Monday, April 24, 2006

LIfe in Detriot

I know I am really down on Detroit, but most of my public gripes are trivial. The reality of living here is much more bleak than I let on to. I don't think that people in other cities can fathom the economic impact that the current state of the American auto industry has on everyone here.

When an auto worker gets laid off, he stops going out to eat, he cut's back on groceries, he loses his health coverage, he doesn't buy clothing, he doesn't go to movies, he ignores his legal problems because he can't afford a lawyer, he fires his landscaper... you get the picture. Now multiply that by tens of thousands of blue and white collar workers from the auto companies and the parts suppliers, and you have a crisis situation.

Worst of all, when an auto worker gets laid off, chances are he won't be buying another American car in the next year or two. In the fat 90's Big Three employees buying new cars with their generous discounts accounted for a large number of American auto sales. Ultimately that ended up being a flaw in the system, but that's really not what this post is about.

I have heard so many stories of businesses having to close, doctors with empty spaces on their schedule for the first time in their careers, private schools closing down, you name it. Detroit has crashed, and crashed hard.

Today E forwarded me an article from the April 11th issue of the WSJ entitled "Down and Out in Bloomfield Hills." Bloomfield Hills is one of the wealthiest zip codes in the the country, and also happens to be the location of E's office. The article tells of the general troubles we are facing here in Oakland County, but also of the troubles of the "once-rich" and "less-rich."

While I don't feel bad for the lady who had to give up her $450 a week spa treatments for $200, less-frequent treatments, or for the people on the waiting list to get out of their country club obligations, I definately can relate to the buisness people who have had to close down, and I know too many people who could face the same fate in the near future.

What's the answer? Buy American would be the easy answer, but our auto companies will continue to have a hard time competing with the cheap labor and lack of government regulations in other countries. In my opinion there are two options,
1) Abandon Detroit all together (while tempting - it'll never happen); or
2) Bring other industries to the area (that's entirely up to the State Government).
Time shall tell what the fate of Detroit will be.




OK - so that wasn't such a brief intermission. Sorry about that.

Pesach was really nice. We spent the first days at a hotel in Niagara Falls (the Canadian side - ehy). The hotel was beautiful and the dinners were fantastic. The lunches were decent and the breakfasts were just eh. I guess that stands to reason since the caterer is a fleishig (meat) caterer from Toronto with fleishig resturant that serves no breakfast. Regardless we didn't starve.

We took several walks down to the falls on Yom Tov and Shabbos, and on Sunday we went to Clifton Hill. I found it extremely touristy (is that a word?) and kitschy, but the children loved it, of course. We couldn't do everything there, but we did go to the Ripley's Believe it Or Not Museum. While the clothing made out of human hair and the world's largest man's shoes were interesting, the best part for me was the two-way mirror/window. Early in the museum there is a mirror, and your are lured by a sign to make faces at it. Near the end of the museum you end up on the other side of the mirror, and get to see everyone else looking into it. Me and the boys stood there cracking up over that for the longest time!

We were also compelled by the boys to stop off at Block City (three days of, "On Sunday can we go to Block City? Please? Please? Please?") What a gyp!!!!! We had to pay $35 (at least it was Canadian $) just to get in. Once inside you go upstairs to this giant room and it's essentially a big train garden made out of Legos. Trust me the 10 foot replica of the falls - not so impressive. We were done looking at it after - oh I'd say - 2 minutes, but we made the kids hang around there for another 15 minutes just so we wouldn't feel like big fools for paying the entrance fee. Of course on the way out, there is a Lego store where they charge you three times the regular price for Lego sets. When we told B he couldn't buy any Legos there he got REALLY upset, and was cranky the whole way back to the hotel (hence the look on his face in the picture.)

Our hotel was connected to the Fallsviwew Casino by an enclosed walkway. We didn't get to do any gambling, but the casino has a viewing area for the horseshoe falls and an amazing mall. One of my favorite costume Jewelry stores, Vivah, from Toronto has a branch there. I was in heaven. If you are ever in the falls or in Toronto check them out. (the web site really doesn't do them justice.)

Unfortunately, I couldn't coax anyone to take the Maid of the Mist or a helecopter ride with me. Maybe next time.

We were in Detroit for the second days of Pesach, which wasn't terrible. I cooked really easy meals, and never ended up unpacking half of my pesach stuff. So all-in-all, it was an easy Yom Tov.

Now I am preparing for finals (it's studying procrastination which led to this post tonight), and then I am a free bird for the summer!!!

Goodnight all.