Took a rather extended loop on the Tour De Hood today. It was the same day as the Tour De Troit – which we intersected on our end stretch near Indian Village. Went our own way, as the legal eagle and I didn’t want to follow 2,000 cyclists around a path we already know well.
Here’s a Google Map of Saturday’s Route of the Tour De Hood if you’d like to see the route. We did go through Hamtramck & Highland Park, so some of it wasn’t, technically, Detroit proper, though let’s not quibble, ok?
The Tour started on Harper, where I encountered my first Lash Parlor. (Not an S & M facility, even though it was across the street from Harper News, “An Adult Fantasy to Experience”.)
No excuses not to look your best, Ladies (dig the scissors in the “X”)
So far, nothing out of the ordinary, just typically exuberant Detroit retail design. Here’s the relatively subdued adult video emporium (I didn’t know these still existed) which offers titillation for a mere 25 cents.
Looking for a lottery tip sheet to go with your porn?
I am as much for keeping your car clean as the next guy, so I’m thinking that my anodyne sedan might need a trip to the following locale:
Salon + Mr. Heavy = iron fist in velvet glove
We passed an unfortunately defunct appliance repair facility. While the english-ness of its name (World Tomorrow) is a bit questionable, the application of a real washing machine to its signage deserves inclusion into the Detroit pantheon of retail peculiarity.
Follow the arrow to tomorrow
As should be obvious to any one who has followed my peregrinations, it wasn’t long before I passed by a strip club:
Time to celebrate National Hispanic Month
It’s September, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to prepare for Valentine’s Day. Flowers are always appropriate.
At least there’s no unnecessary apostrophe, but that dash! Oh, dear
There’s a fascinating (though unfortunately faded-by-weather) mural where Harper crosses Gratiot. (Which I now automatically pronounce Gra-toit – per the misspelled sign from last week.) Among the portraits you can spot Malcolm X, former Mayor Coleman Young, the People Mover (?), Nelson Mandela, a young Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King, and, I think, Toussaint L’Ouverture, leader of the Haitian Revolution in the late 18th Century. The mural’s title confounds me:
Amalgamation of Ubiquity? Fusion of Everywhere?
Shantinique Music is bucking the trend of highly-focussed retailers, like Michigan Saw & File, and has (successfully?) cobbled together the only Music/sportswear/footwear shop I’ve ever seen.
Music, and the outfit to go with it
A delightfully-named car wash, “Bubble Time”, was the next sight to behold, which wouldn’t normally merit inclusion here, but I was struck by the inequality of the time devoted to painting the bubbles, and the slapdash execution of the name itself.
Time to get down with your foamy self
Shortly thereafter, things soon descended (or arose, I guess) into one of the most memorable rides I’ve taken in Detroit, a surreal combination of misspellings, oddball graphics, stolen logos, religious “iconography”, and just plain weirdness that is probably unmatched by any other city in America.
Behold: The Harper/Mt. Elliot/Conant/Oakland/Wyoming/Tireman acid trip on two wheels.
There’s a lonely chimney, which reminded me of the photos of Atlanta following Sherman’s March to the Sea.
Former site of _________?
I know the English language has certain peculiarities which make spelling correctly kind of difficult – but the person in charge of this sign appears to have not even bothered trying to get it right.
Hot ‘n’ Kold, I guess
Given that our native tongue has (according to the O.E.D., which ought to know) over 170,000 words in current use, it’s surprising that the owners of this facility couldn’t drag up a better adjective to describe their wares:
Dig those “Roman” Ds
Consider yourself a sign painter. You have a project. Your assignment is to paint the name of a store and its goods on a rather large blank wall. Given the space you’re given on which to apply your art, wouldn’t you think about that door before you realized that you’d have to split “gro” and “ceries” to maintain your sort-of centered type format?
No more Frankie Yankovic? That’s Old Polka
Last week, I mused on the absence of a mountain on Mt. Elliot street, but I think I found a lump that could be the missing mountain after all. It’s a geological oddity, as it’s made primarily of crushed concrete, unlike the Alps or the Himalayas.
Behold Detroit’s highest mountain
The Highland Park High School Varsity football team was playing an away game against Country Day on Saturday. As predicted by some of the people we met, they stomped all over the Country Day Yellow Jackets, 36 to 3. But here’s the question: What on earth possessed the school board to name the team “The Polar Bears”?
Polar Bears in Highland Park? Reminds me of the first two seasons of Lost
A temporarily permanent “restaurant” beckoned on McNichols, and while the art work featured enticing renderings of various comestibles, the sign (with a surprisingly accurate use of an apostrophe) promised Nothin’ but Love” [sic]. I don’t know what the end quotation mark is for.
I want some fries with that love
Co-winner of this week’s Pro-Am competition, this professionally painted but amateurishly spelled appliance repair store:
Great at ffixing frigirators.
Tied for first with the proffessionals is a furniture repair shop, that promises all kinds of furniture repair.
Quality work; bad spelling
Here’s this week’s stump the misterarthur winner. I’m willing to go with blessed money plants (sure to generate wealth) and blessed thinking caps (we could all use one of those), but the blessed elephant thing totally confounds me. Do you have to bring your own elephant to be blessed? Is this a combo candle store/pet store that only sells elephants? Is it legal to own an elephant, blessed or not, within the Detroit City limits? Does this Mayor know about this possibly illegal trade in elephants?
I’ll take one thinking cap, please
We try to support Detroit Car makers as much as we can; but even if your car comes from elsewhere, we’re happy to repair it. That doesn’t mean we have to spell its origin correctly.
I promise to defend the constitution against all enemies, foriegn or domestic
I’m not sure if a Moabite Body is something I’d like to have. According to Wikipedia, the ancestor of the Moabites was Lot himself, via incest with his oldest daughter. Whether that contributes to physical perfection is not within my area of expertise.
There’s a town in Utah called Moab, maybe they’re Mormons
Next up, Detroit’s version of fusion cuisine. Not quite what you’d expect from a Spa experience in California, but what the hell, it might be tasty after all.
WTF? Irish Sushi?
This week’s TDH winner of the Amateur Retail Decor Award is a sort of one-man Home Depot.
Here’s a wide view. Note the care with which the sign painter avoided the shutter on the left hand side
It’s a medical building, too. See above the door
My favorite part is the full Detroit rendering of Doors, Lumber, and Window$ [sic], especially the random use of upper and lower case letters.
A fellow walking by said “That building’s all F’d up. Ain’t got no floor. Ain’t got no roof”. I take that to mean we’ll have to look for our new KiTCHEN CABINET elsewhere.
Detroit has been a Democratic Party stronghold for years and years, and, as a whole, has embraced our new President. That said, no one appears to have taken it as far as the proprietors of this service station, who’ve violated every copyright law in Amercica to proclaim their allegiance to Mr. Obama.
In case you don’t know which Obama they’re referring to, there’s a photo for your assistance
Even the pumps carry the full Obama Campaign graphics.
Does Hugo Chavez have anything to do with this?
David Mackenzie High School was erected in 1931 – hence the glorious Deco tile work. I don’t know when it was abandoned; it still has some unbroken windows. What a shame.
No child left inside
God, as I generally understand it, is all-seeing, and all-powerful – at least as defined by Judeo-Christians everywhere. You can imagine, then, that I was nonplussed by the re-definition of God’s will over here at Cliff’s Family. I think it’s a barber shop – the signage behind the white Ford Explorer says “regular haircuts”. No tyzillions here, I guess.
God Specialize in what?
This small restaurant on Tireman was new to me – I don’t remember it being listed in one of the hot Detroit nightspots directories. Irradiated food! It’s the next big thing!
Note: Whole Chicken Wings
The sign painter has either inadvertently left a space between “cat” and “fish”, or is, instead, promising something I’ve never seen on a menu before; your choice of cat or fish. I’ll take the Atomic Dog.
We ran across another spelling fail before we got home. I hate insurance deductibles (like everyone else). As for deductibales, I’ve never had to pay one. Special Shout Out to the estimable Ed Dilworth, who pointed out that Jay’s phone number has an extra digit.
It appears as though they demolished their dictionary, too.
The ride ended, not with a bang, but a hiss. A piece of glass, too big to be a shard and too small to be a chunk whacked my rear tire. Two patches later, the tube was still not holding air. My wife had to come and pick me up. Thus an ignominious end to a glorious and enlightening day. Such is life on the Tour De Hood.
Addendum: Forgot to include this impressively named and fantastically decorated hair salon:
“A woman’s hair is her glory”