Hey folks, remember this? I was walking the dog by where I saw that last year and decided to check out the situation, and what do you know, he's still at it!

And this time I can confirm that yes, indeed, those bottles are all filled with human piss. Please don't ask me how I confirmed it.

The homeless guy who lives in the little shelter in the trees by the fence (here is a photo of him in his home last summer) gets his fluids by taking discarded products from the bottling plant across the street and then he redeposits fluids in the very same bottles. One could say that he has his own microbottling plant in the shadow of the other one. See the bottles in the foreground that don't have fluid inside but what looks like paper? Don't worry, I don't think he's figured out how to poop into the mouth of a 16-oz water bottle (though I am intrigued by what's in those plastic bags). Those bottles are filled with bones picked clean and greasy napkins from a few dozen chicken dinners.

Hey, it's better waste management than our forebears knew in the dark ages.

It strikes me that this is art. It is a conceptual piece showing the urinary output of an individual over the course of an entire year. If you can ignore the fact that it's sun-baked, plastic-entombed piss, and just focus on all the strange colors, it's almost beautiful.

I think the guy is probably well aware that any homeless encampment, over time, must be abandoned because of the overwhelming stink of piss and excrement. This man is always very friendly to me, and always reading something. I don't buy into the whole patronizing idea that all homeless people are victims to be pitied in their suffering. All winter I brought the guys who live along this railroad line blankets and food, and they're not all schizophrenic drug addicts or drunks. They're resourceful and appreciative and interesting. And they're survivors. I think this guy kind of likes his home, and this is just his way of keeping it nice.

Just don't go and open any of the bottles. Trust me.

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She usually walks the whole way there, but eventually Gram gets fussy in the stroller and we transfer him to a sling, so we need her to balance out the weight of all our food hanging from the handles. Unfortunately, she hardly outweighs an eggplant in her shoes.

I'm going to start chronicling our weekly purchases at Eastern Market again (here's last summer) because I've actually gotten a lot of positive feedback from it. We've reached the point where we do all our shopping there, other than a trip to Trader Joes every two months and a bi-weekly trip to Honeybee in Corktown. We get milk and cheese and bread at Hirt, meat at Gratiot Central, beer and wine at Cost Plus. 40,000+ plus people come from all over the metro area on Saturday morning to buy extremely affordable fresh produce from wholesalers and local farmers (include Detroit community gardens). Walking to Eastern Market is definitely one of the best parts of living where we do.

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The worst part about spending a lot of time in sketchy places is having to deal with hookers. I always find myself lying to hookers, just because I don't want to be mean. So hookers, pay attention: when I shrug my shoulders and give you the "don't approach" jazz hands what I really am thinking is, "Oh my God you are way too old to be a hooker and this is so sad and you're probably somebody's mom so please go away." When I say, "No thank you," or "Not today," what I'm really thinking is that there's no way on God's green earth that I'm ever going to even imagine paying for sex with you or with anyone else. That's just gross. When I say, "I'm Dutch, I wouldn't pay Megan Fox a nickel for a blowjob," I'm just trying not to hurt your feelings, because in reality, you scare me. A lot. And when you make that creepy kissy face at a stoplight and I point to my kids in the back seat, with the "sorry" face and upturned hands through the window, I'm just trying not to be rude.

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Gram at Fourteen Months

Posted by jdg | 10:24 AM | ,

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Posted by jdg | 12:02 PM

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The Deep End

Posted by jdg | 10:29 AM | , , ,

This was the 1924 swimming pool in the community center that was a part of the projects I recently wrote about (it had served the Paradise Valley community before those projects were built). It closed in 2006. The tile work was gorgeous.

You could almost hear the echoes of so many generations of kids having fun in here.

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Burkhas on Joseph Campau

Posted by jdg | 12:52 PM

Hamtramck really is a wonderful place.

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On Saturday morning we got the kids all dressed up in the Easter clothes their mother made for them and then we immediately covered those Easter clothes in heavy coats so we could head over to Georgia Street for the big Easter egg hunt and pancake brunch being held at the garden (the one I wrote about here).

I saw the Eastern Bunny walking arm-in-arm with Mark Covington while being interviewed by the lovely Jennifer Guerra of Michigan Radio and I just had to run ahead of them to take this picture.

Gram was totally into the Easter bunny, but I couldn't get his sister anywhere within ten feet of the giant rabbit. "I think that's just somebody in a costume," she said, "But I don't know who it is."

We met a bunch of great people at the brunch that followed the egg hunt. Such a wonderful example of what's going on in Detroit to retain and even restore the sense of community.

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Dixie Highway

Posted by jdg | 10:55 AM | ,

Rainy day.

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This is the former mansion of one of the Book brothers, early Detroit developers who transformed downtown's Washington Blvd. It housed law offices until a few years ago. Now it has been scrapped and sits vacant. I've heard rumors that it's in foreclosure and can be had for as little as $90,000 (it has a river view and a big carriage house in back, too).

Note also that this is in a really, really nice neighborhood.

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Some curious barnyard creatures

Posted by jdg | 10:25 AM

There was some serious Big Red Barn action going on at the farm. We didn't even have any food or anything.

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Bovine architecture

Posted by jdg | 11:33 AM | , ,

One of the kids' favorite buildings in the city, for obvious reasons. Gram is at the age where every cow gets a "mooo" even giant torso-less heads planted on forlorn ice cream shops. I can't help but wonder about all the fine memories this place must hold for eastsiders. A lot of the city's wandering photographers have shot this, but I've never gotten out of the car to shoot it from the side, where I couldn't help but wonder why some graffiti artist hasn't given this cow some spots.

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Final Score

Posted by jdg | 11:23 AM | , ,

As thousands of tourists and sports fans streamed into downtown for the NCAA final four games last Saturday night, I walked through the crowds over to a nearby abandoned recreation center. I loved how the scrappers ripped right through the name of former Final Four standout Chris Webber (whose donation was used to modernize the aging facility not that long ago) in order to get to the wiring that fed the scoreboard above.

The coolest part of this art deco recreation building was the 1929 swimming pool with its elaborate tile work. The facility had served Detroit's black community ever since it was first erected in 1926 and it closed in August, 2006. The bulk of the scrapping took place last summer after the nearby housing projects emptied.

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After our now weekly trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts (kid #2 is now old enough to enjoy paintings so long as they contain some manner of beast), we stop off in an alley to see the naked guy. I had to take a picture of it just to make that sound less creepy.

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