Best of All

A late October sunset ignites the sky over Portage Lake.

Hidden troves of gold loft high from towering trunks.

The morning sun pierces through the forest canopy.

Best of all he loved the fall
The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods
The leaves on the trout stream
And above the hills the high blue windless sky

-Ernest Hemingway


Silver Shrine

A million dollar sparkle shot from the top of the new MGM Grand casino while we were downtown this morning. We captured the sight from a parking lot several blocks away on Abbott Street, and like a moth drawn to flame, we had to go check it out. Swanky, it is. MGM Grand outdid all expectations with this very upscale and classy resort where, in all honesty, the only feature that distinguishes it from a Monte Carlo or Bellagio is the bourgeoise Detroit crowd, most of whom probably think the Wolfgang Puck restaurant is named after a hockey player instead of the world renowned chef.

As a matter of habit (thanks to this blog), we hardly go anywhere these days without our camera. And sometimes it pays off- like this morning. The sky quickly turned ominous but an opening in the clouds along the eastern horizon produced a beam of sunshine that illuminated the casino like a medieval cathedral during some dreadful dark ages' plague. Maybe it was a message from above: blessed are those who enter and may the contents of their wallets fill our slot machines. We attempted to maneuver for a closer shot but in less time than it takes a 21 dealer to flip over a blackjack, the sunlight ebbed and the silver turned dull gray before we could gain a better angle. Our luck ran out before we made it to the front door.

Luck was also on short supply on Michigan Avenue, where a DDOT bus sat parked in the middle of traffic, flat tire off to the side. A handful of riders were still in the seats, gosh knows for how long, no doubt wondering when the heck they would be getting to their destination. Hopefully, the occupants made it home and DOT fixed the tire (or had the bus towed) before nightfall or there won't be much bus left come sunrise.

No mail in the box at this house, sandwiched between Michigan Avenue and the I-75/Rosa Parks service drive. What a sensible location for a mailbox too- right on the utility pole. Usually the electric company tears off these types of unauthorized attachments, but given how the power has likely been shut off for years, Detroit Edison probably wouldn't care if someone mounted a sixty foot billboard to the pole.

Go south another block on Michigan Avenue and you'll find this old stone storefront looming over the sidewalk. Come the next freeze-thaw weather pattern, this omnipresent threat to pedestrians is coming down. Despite the shine and sparkle of new casinos, the city remains in a perpetual state of entropy, cracked and rusting away as gravity slowly tugs at the brick and mortar of thousands of abandoned buildings.


Spider World

Unseasonable warm weather this weekend had us working on the house- scraping old paint, pulling down a TV antenna from the roof that was installed thirty years ago, puttying a huge hole in the siding made by little bastard yellowjackets, etc. While we were making a general mess of things, we came across this furry beast under the back porch eave. Barn spiders must like these warm October days too. Mrs. RR wanted it to get the broom- "It makes me itch just looking at it!" she shrilled. Heck no! Anything this badass-looking can hang from our gutters all it wants. Lookee close- she's nibbling on a juicy bug like it's a piece of bacon. How cool is that?!

After she finished lunch, she turned and posed for shot of her dorsal side (the above shot is her ventral view, if our memory from junior high earth science class holds correct). While she looks intimidating, barn spiders are non-venomous arachnids (not that we'd want to get bit by one) who build webs on porches near outdoor lightbulbs. Their sense of prey must be honed to where they know light attracts bugs, especially those yummy and delicious house flies.

Here's one of her young'ins, strolling down the screen door, hoping a scrap of bug will be left when he returns to the web.
You're welcome to stay as long as you like, but be forewarned: we will be firing up the power washer soon. Sorry lady, but come next weekend, 350 psi of water is headed your direction.

Up next: a canoe trip down the Huron. Promise. Fall colors should be awesome.

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