Scenes from the Crit…

July 30, 2012

Action from the Milford Crit

If you missed this weekend’s Milford Crit; you missed a good time and some good bicycle racing. If you just didn’t know what a Criterium is all about, here are some scenes that I shot at the event.

The racing is fast and furious, especially on the last lap. The turns are especially exciting when the pack is bunched up. Enjoy this short YouTube video and plan on attending next year’s Milford Crit.

You can actually get fairly close to the action at a Crit and when the bikes go through that corner at speed it’s a little tlike that NASCAR shot where rhe cars are zooming by – you hear it and feel it.

Ignorance rears its ugly head in Milford…

July 30, 2012

Over the weekend ignorance made an ugly appearance in Milford. Some disgruntled person without the intelligence to figure out a positive way to channel what is apparently a large load of hate against one of the local candidates for office took out that hate on his campaign signs with a spray paint can. I sincerely hope they catch this miscreant and prosecute him/her to the fullest. Hopefully the perpetrator  will be required to pay for all of the damaged campaign signs.

There are ways that people of any intelligence at all can express their displeasure with a candidate. The most obvious way is to work to help another candidate elected. People of lower intelligence resort to things like heckling at campaign rallies or speeches; or perhaps just emailing a rant or two to the candidate. Really ignorant people resort to physical acts like the spray painting of campaign signs aor the theft of those signs.

So if you know who the low-life is who did this deed over the weekend, let the Milford Police know. Destruction of campaigns signs is against the law. Idiots like this will be spray painting graffiti or racial slurs on building next . They need professional help and a trip to the woodshed. Usually people who are this stupid are also dumb enough to like to brag about their vandalism, so keep an ear out for a braggaing fool and report him/her to the police.

Git to the Crit…

July 27, 2012

There are lots of things to do this weekend in the Milford area; however, only one is a must see spectator event – The Milford Crit. Milford is fortunate to be hosting its fourth Criterium on the streets downtown and through Central Park. Criteriums (Crits for short) are high speed bike races that are usually held on relatively short tracks in urban settings. Crits are very big in Europe and are gaining favor here, since they give the spectators more of a chance to see the riders and the race progressing than longer road courses. They also allow the spectators to walk the course and see the race from various different views. The Milford Crit course is .92 miles and laid out along the entire downtown area – to see the course map, click here.

Crits involve high speed s and the occasional big wreck at sharp corners as everyone in the pack tries to get the best position for the turn. The race usually involves a big pack of riders, with perhaps an occasional break-away boy one or a few riders. There is drafting involved and lots of strategy by the riders. Then there is the sprint to the finish, which is sort of like the last lap of a close NASCAR race.  All the while, the spectators are only a few feet away from the activity, so you get great views of all of the action.

The event will also have various cycling vendors setting up shop to sell cycling clothing and bicycle racing parts. There will be refreshment stations, too. The event will kick off with three fun races for kids in three age groups. The younger kids will race down Main St. The older kids ( 11 to 14 years old) will get to make a lap of the actual race course. All kids who race must wear a CPSC bicycle helmet and there will be a waiver to sign. Click here for more details on the kids race. There’s even a Healthy Lifestyles Expo on Main Street in the CarQuest Parking lot, presented by DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, with representatives from various health and fitness clubs, local bike shops, and even a Farmer’s Market.

The Milford Crit is special again this year because it is also the Michigan State Championship for Criterium riders. There are over $5,900 in prizes for the winners of various classes and races. The race is presented by the Huron Valley Athletic Club and is held under a permit from the US Cycling organization. So come on out to Milford on Sunday for some exciting bicycle racing. For all of the information about this must see event, click here to go to their Web site. Your mantra for this weekend should be “Let’s all git to the Crit.”

There’s something for everybody this weekend…

July 26, 2012

There are 11 events or opportunities to do something in the Milford/Highland area between now and Sunday night. If you’re an active, outdoors type there is the family Olympics in Highland and Stand Up Board races Saturday and canoe and kayak races in Kensington Park on Sunday, also Sunday there’re 5K runs and walks in Highland.

For sports spectators, there’ the Milford Crit bicycle races onthe streets of Milford on Sunday. For music lovers there’s the Concert in the Park tonight in Central Park and Friday Night Live at the Center St Pavilion. There are also programs with bugs and snakes for the kids out at Kensington. Find out the times and other information for all of these events at  There’s always something happening in the Huron Valley.

For something completely different…

July 25, 2012

I went to the Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting ceremony at the Blue Grill in Milford last Wednesday (Co-owner Marianne Mansour in the middle in the black top is holding the big scissors, with Chef Steve Maneve just behind her) and I’ve  been meaning to write about it ever since. I’m reminded of the old Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, in which they used the line “And now for something completely different…”

The Blue Grill is something completely different for Milford and perhaps for most places.  The restaurant is the achievement of a dream by owners Dimitri and Marianne Mansour. The food theme is definitely Mediterranean but the focus is on fresh and fast.  Everything is fresh and to the extent possible organic. Everything is build your own, too; with a progression as you order that starts with a choice of how you want to eat – in a pita wrap, a toasted pita wrap or rice bowl  – and progresses through choices of meats, toppings, dressings and sides. There are also great salads offered as sides or entrees.  By the time you work your way down the line to the register you have a delicious meal awaiting you. Of course there’re dessert choices, too, with the Mediterranean favorite baklava as you would expect, plus rice pudding and cinnamon pita chips.. A choice of bottled water or soft drinks finishes off the selection process. I’ve posted the menu so you can get a feel for the choices.

Owner Dimitri Mansour brought many of the family receipts from his grandmother’s kitchen outside Athens, Greece; however, there are also foods that reflect the entire Mediterranean area from Egypt to Turkey. Chef Steve Maneve manages the day-to-day operation of the restaurant and can be seen behind the counter serving up the fresh offerings during peak times.

Many will just carry out their fresh made orders; however, there are several tables inside the restaurant and a few out on the sidewalk, plus an events room that can be used for groups or private parties.  The Blue Grill is open from 11 am until 8 pm every day. You can see and read more about the restaurant on its Facebook page. You may call them at 248-684-4545.

So, if you’re visiting Milford (or live in the area) and want to try something “completely different” for lunch or dinner, stop in at the Blue Grill for some fresh Mediterranean food.

ROI, SCHMAR-OI, it’s not about return

July 24, 2012

I saw a post (a Tweet as it were) on Twitter by a supposed Social Media Guru recently lamenting the lack of a way to definitively measure the ROI of efforts by companies to use Social Media to further their marketing goals.  My first reaction was – GOOD, I’m glad that there is no way to measure the ROI of becoming engaged in Social Media. In fact, I hope that the lack of an ROI discourages those who are trying to use it for commercial gain to give up and wander away, Tweeting to themselves as they go

Social Media was not invented for use by companies to push products, at least not initially and not directly. There was a pragmatic recognition that some form of revenue generation had to go on to support the ongoing development and operation of the site. Most started by setting aside some screen real estate for ads and a way to make a buck. Eventually most of the successful Social Media sites moved to add other revenue generating features to their sites – games and other opportunities to spend money with them or to push products.

There are few sites left that still pursue the innocent (the ad people would say naive) goal of just giving users a place to meet and exchange messages or pictures or whatever with each other. There’s no ROI in that and you know what – the users don’t care.  That’s not what it’s about for them.

One reason that there is no apparent ROI is that we’ve become a society with an amazing ability to tune out the junk that we don’t want to see hear or read. The Madison Avenue types have tried all sorts of tricks to force us to read their ads or click on their ads – there are sticky sites that capture your cursor and won’t let you leave. There are the sites that try to force you to sit through their ad video before they show you the video you are trying to see and there are many other tricks. I usually click all the way out or stop the browser, if I have to, to avoid these traps. It’s a huge waste of time.

So, there is no easy way to measure an ROI for social media. I’m OK with that. That’s not what it should be about. The “return” that social media users get from participating is measured in the relationships that they create or reinforce within the small circle of people that they are trying to reach. That’s enough return for them and for me.


Reach out, I’ll be there…

July 23, 2012

I started my day with this little gem from my favorite blog, Jack’s Winning  Words – “When you reach out, the chances are pretty good that someone will reach back.” (Cheryl Richardson)

Jack went on to site a memory from the old Lucile Ball show I Love Lucy were Lucy and Ethel sang the song Friendship to each other, with the line from the song, “ If you’re ever in a jam, here I am.”

As I thought about it, it occurred to me that men seem to have much more of a problem reaching out in times of need than women. I guess it’s a macho guy thing to “suck it up” and hold things in, rather than reaching out for help. Of cours,e some women keep things in too.

The image that flashed through my mind was from one of those TV commercials about depression – people sitting alone in a depressed state of mind.  There may be drugs to help with that, but I suspect that being able to reach out and having someone reach back to you would do as much good as many of those drugs.

I also thought about how often we may miss opportunities to reach back to others.  How often do we walk around someone who is obviously hurting to avoid getting sucked into their despair?  Do we sometimes avoid making eye contact with someone who is desperately seeking someone to talk to, because we have other things to do? I also wonder sometimes how many lonely old people sit staring out the window of their assisted living rooms wishing that someone would stop in for a chat.

I’ve also noticed, as I get older and a tiny bit wiser, that those who do respond; those who make the effort to reach back, seem to be as rewarded for the experience as those who were reaching out. There is a reward here on earth, as well as in heaven, I suspect, for caring enough to reach back to someone who needs help.

So keep an eye out today and every day for those whose glance in your direction is really a cry for help. For many it is hard to verbalize the request for help, but you can see it in body language and in the eyes. See if you can turn a tear into a twinkle in someone’s eyes today.

The lost pastime of porch sitting

July 21, 2012

This article originally was written for my July-August Newsletter, which I print and send out to abourt 350 past customers and people whom I’ve met one way or another in my real estate career. Although lots of people like to read blogs on-line many of my Newsletter readers tell me they prefer to have a paper newsletter that they can put on the nightstand and read a little at a time.

We are fortunate to live in a house with porches. I have a big, wrap-around porch on the front of the house and a smaller “sun porch” on the back side. My historic home was built in 1885, but the porches were likely added later. There was a time when sitting out on your front porch and watching people go by was considered a nice pastime, especially on lazy summer afternoons.

We’ve sort of lost touch with that pastime as a society, it seems. Perhaps the pace of our lives has become such that we don’t feel that we have time for such an indulgence; but I suspect that air conditioning is mainly to blame. People move inside, close up the house and turn on the air when it gets too warm. I’ll admit that I do, too.  Porches sort of fell out of favor as a design feature sometime in the 60’s.

On those days in the Spring and Fall (and on occasion in the summer) when it’s not too hot, it’s still great to be able to go out to the front porch (which is screened-in to keep the bugs away) and just sit there and read or watch the world go by. I’ll admit also that I installed an overhead fan on my porch, so I can create a breeze when none exists.

Our porch is big enough to entertain on, with room for both of our children and all of the grandchildren when they come to visit. We have to drag a few chairs out for those occasions, but  everybody has a place to sit and the grandkids still have lots of room to play. There’s even an old fashion porch swing.

On the south side of the front porch we’ve put a nice little table where the grandkids can sit and color or maybe have a snack. In the corner by the front door is our little menagerie—two giraffes, a camel, a hippo and an elephant. The grandkids love those, too.

So, if you happen to be strolling by my house and see me out there, wave and say hi. I might even invite you up to “sit a spell”; maybe even have a beer; just don’t feed the animals.

There’s still time to volunteer for Milford Memories

July 19, 2012

My wife and I signed up as volunteers for the Milford Memories Festival yesterday. We’ll be doing duty on Sunday morning, August 12. There are still slots open for more volunteers on all three days – Aug 10 thru 12. An event like Milford Memories couldn’t be pulled off every year with a legion of volunteers. Just like a major golf tournament, such as the USGA Senior Open out in Orion, had hundreds of volunteers for crowd control and other tasks, the Milford Memories Festival  uses hundreds of volunteers over the three days for things ranging from street patrol to insure that restricted parking areas are honored, to emptying the many waste containers that are placed around the festival grounds to shuttling people around the grounds.

Last year my wife and I manned one of the Information Booths on behalf of the Milford Historical Society. We answered questions from festival goers and sold a few of the Historical Society books about Milford’s history. This year the Historical Society will have tents set up on the Museum lawn – one to sell those same books and other items that the Society offers and the other will house a display of the local Native American artifacts that one of our members, Bill Schimmel, had collected. Bill passed away this year while working on a book about Chief Tipsico, a local tribal chief for which Tipsico Lake was named. There will also be a Granny’s Garage Sale going on at the Museum during the festival. We hope to have the Museum open during the festival, if we can get enough volunteers to be docents for all three days.

There are still many volunteer slots to be filled, so stop by the Chamber of Commerce office and pick up a Volunteer form (or click here to download it) and choose what you’d like to do to help. As a volunteer you’ll get a spiffy T-shirt to wear (and keep) that identifies you as festival volunteer staff, but more importantly you’ll get the satisfaction of being an inside part of Milford’s premier annual event. It’s sort of our little microcosm of events like the Olympics or the Super Bowl. The festival attracts 10’s of thousands of visitors over the three days and you could be an important part of the impression that Milford makes on all of those visitors. Make a difference- Volunteer!

Not too fast, not too slow…just RIGHT!

July 18, 2012

“Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.” (Wyatt Earp) – from the blog Jack’s Winning Words. Go there to find out who said this first in the 4th Century BC.

If Wyatt Earp had been a Realtor those words would have served him well, too. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the “Time is of the essence” nature of real estate that we lose focus on the need for accuracy. There is another saying that applies from the traffic enforcement people – “Speed kills” – that may apply to real estate transactions, too.

There is certainly nothing wrong with making sure that things move along at an expeditious pace; however, all too often pushing things along too fast results in something being overlooked or not done properly. Sometimes the things that get messed up because of going too fast can be easily corrected, perhaps an Addendum that wasn’t signed or some other documentation issue. However, sometimes rushing to get a deal closed can result in overlooking something serious that you just didn’t have time to check out properly. Usually that’s something that you assumed someone else was responsible to check and they didn’t. (Making assumptions is a bigger potential problem than excess speed)

These days it’s not unusual to hear complaints about how slow the mortgage approval process has become, even on conventional mortgages; however, there’s a hidden benefit to that slowdown. It has afforded all of us more time to make sure that the rest of the process is done accurately. How many Realtors use that extra time to make sure that things are being done accurately is what separates the really good agents from the rest. It’s not how fast you can make mistakes; it is how few mistakes you make that matters.

So, call me about your real estate needs. I’ll handle things as fast as is accurately possible.