Friday, December 05, 2014

Beautiful people of Detroit

The folks at Travel and Leisure magazine released a poll recently, which claimed that Detroit was home to the least attractive people in the nation while Miami was home to the most attractive. I have absolutely nothing against Miami or its beautiful residents. However, I have to take issue with the notion that Detroiters are unattractive.

Kirsten Haglund - Photo by Matt Billings
Granted, my fat face may not be the most attractive around, but there lots of beautiful women in Detroit. I mean, really - there's a reason why I choose to live in this town and it's not the reasonably priced auto insurance, stellar city services, nor absence of crime. It's the people who keep me here.

For the benefit of anyone from Travel and Leisure who finds their way to my blog via one of the search engines, please allow me to cite a few examples that you presumably missed.

Kirsten Haglund was Miss America 2008 and she is from Detroit. She is also currently president of the Kirsten Haglund Foundation, which provides hope, network, and financial aid to those seeking treatment and freedom from eating disorders. She has also appeared on Hannity, Red-Eye, Fox and Friends Weekend, and The Real Story on Fox News Channel where she talks about women's health issues.

Not to be outdone, Rima Fakih was Miss USA 2010. She was the first Arab American who to hold that title.

Rima Fakih also lives a mere three miles away from Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood in the nearby community of Dearborn, Michigan.

Rima Fakih - U.S. Air Force photo
To put this tidbit into perspective, one has to go all the way to 1967 in order to find someone from the Miami area who won the Miss USA pageant, in spite of Travel and Leisure's claim that they are home to the most attractive people in the nation. In contrast, three different women, including Rima Fakih, have won the title since then.

No one from Miami, by the way, has ever been crowned Miss America in the 93 year history of that pageant. Five different women from the Detroit area, though, including Kirsten Haglund, have won that title.

Now, I know what everyone at Travel and Leisure must be thinking at this moment, "beauty pageants alone aren't effective way of measuring the attractiveness of a city's population."

They're right in such an argument, which is why I won't stop at beauty pageants. The women of Detroit, after all, have a lot more to offer than just that.

Alexa Spierling is a country singer/songwriter whose Mom grew up in the Warrendale neighborhood of Detroit. She has an amazing voice that has thrilled audiences from around the country.

She is also as attractive as can be. If anyone doubts me, the music video for her song "Walk Away" is available below. It gives one three minutes, 44 seconds of opportunity to realize how beautiful Alexa Spierling looks and sounds.

And she lives in the Detroit area.

Shall I continue?

Tania Marie Caringi - Photo by Scott Spellman,
Hair & make up by Elia Liz
Yes, I think I will continue.

After all, there are so many attractive people in Detroit it would seem like a shame not to mention a few more more them.

Tania Marie Caringi is a friend of mine who just happens to be a model and actress. She has worked throughout the United States and in Europe. As part of her modelling work, she is currently the face of LuLu Cosmetics.

She was also named the most beautiful woman in the world by MODE Lifestyle. Quite frankly, I have a certain amount of trouble disagreeing with them on this one.

And, yes, Tania Marie Caringi lives right here in Detroit with a lot of other beautiful people.

Of course, neither MODE Lifestyle nor I are the only ones to recognize how attractive Detroiters are. There are even those who have used this beauty in their commercials.

Actually, there are a lot of companies that have used Detroit in their commercials. Those commercials have ranged from the Super Bowl spots to regional ones.

One of my favorite ones was when the folks at Fiat teamed up with Jenny Bauer to create a commercial for the Fiat 500, which showcases the beauty of both Detroit and her residents. The result is nothing short of spectacular, in my opinion.

Oh, and speaking of Jenny Bauer, here is another video that is just her being an unattractive woman from Detroit. It was created by Jerome Duran of Mediatropics. It's probably not safe for work - but it is awesomely sexy.


And then there is another woman whose photograph has previously appeared on this blog back in 2012 to celebrate the founder of Detroit, Antoine Cadillac.

Elizabeth Grutza is another friend of mine. She is a model, actress, bartender, and all-around awesome person.

Elizabeth Grutza - Photo by David Yee
She also lives in Detroit where she seems determined to refute the claim that Detroiters are unattractive. (Seriously, her and her fiance Brian are two of the most beautiful people anyone could ever hope to meet.)

And here's the thing, Travel and Leisure readers, these are just a small sampling of attractive Detroiters; one that is based on images that I could get the rights to publish in under five minutes. If I spent a little bit more time, I could produce photographs and video of hundreds of thousands of beautiful Detroiters.

Of course, one could also make the argument that the folks at Travel and Leisure did me a huge favor by proclaiming Detroit to be home of the most unattractive people in the nation. Surveys like that, after all, do keep the number of people flocking to Detroit down a bit.

That, in turn, means that I'm able to keep more of the beautiful women of Detroit to myself.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

"Cody High" receives 5 Dove rating

The Dove Foundation, which advocates for families and for moving Hollywood in a more family-friendly direction, recently honored Cody High: A Life Remodeled Project with their 5 Dove designation. The show focuses on family near Cody High School, just north of the Warrendale neighborhood.

"Cody High: A Life Remodeled Project is a remarkable movie about remarkable people," the group explained in a prepared statement. "The people of Detroit - construction workers, coaches, politicians, people from churches, people from all backgrounds - become involved to improve Cody Rouge in 2014. People help remodel a home for young wheelchair- bound Ebony and her mother, they clean up the neighborhood and paint and remove debris. One hundred blocks of city blight are transformed due to their efforts. To see Ebony’s response and her grateful spirit is alone worth watching this fine documentary."

Their statement went on to add, "This is a feel-good film of the best kind, because it is a documentary based on real life! Principal Johnathon Matthews of Cody High School speaks about the previous lack of involvement but how that profoundly changes. The graduation rate was below 40 percent, but it begins to climb due to the involvement of coaches and concerned parents and citizens of Detroit. Sports becomes more meaningful as the Hope football field is created for the local team. Hope is kindled in this wonderful film. This movie has earned five Doves, our best rating. It is an inspiring and true story about a group of incredible, dedicated people."

If you haven't had a chance to see Cody High, then you don't want to miss the last screening of 2014 held at the Boll Family YMCA Theater this Saturday. The event information is as follows: 1401 Broadway St, Detroit, MI 48226 on Saturday, December 6th 2014 at 5:00 pm.

Vacancy on the Detroit City Council

City Council meeting - Photo by Frank Nemecek
There is a vacancy on the Detroit City Council due to Saunteel Jenkins's recent resignation; one which any resident is allowed to apply to fill. Yesterday afternoon, I submitted my application to fill that vacancy.

For years now, I've screamed into the proverbial wind - both on this blog and elsewhere - about ways that things could be done better in this town. I know it's a long shot that I'll be selected to fill that slot. However, I feel like if I don't throw my hat into the ring, I'll spend years wondering what would have happened if I had done so.

The Detroit City Council will schedule a series of interviews with applicants in January. The Council as a whole will then decide who will fill Jenkins's seat until the next election. I will keep everyone updated as this develops.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Girls can code the National Christmas Tree

National Christmas Tree - Photo by Tim Evanson
The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, announced yesterday its partnership with Google in support of the 92nd annual National Christmas Tree Lighting. Thanks to Google's Made with Code initiative, girls from the Warrendale neighborhood and across the country will experience the beauty of code by lighting up holiday trees in President's Park, one of America's 401 national parks and home to the White House.

"Millions of girls will have the chance to explore science, technology, engineering, and math in connection with one of America's national parks and as part of a historic American holiday tradition," said Dan Wenk, president of the National Park Foundation. "We are grateful for Google's partnership and shared commitment to connecting youth to our nation's treasured places."

Google's Made with Code is a movement launched in June 2014 to inspire millions of girls to learn to code, and to help them see coding as a means to pursue their dream careers.  Beginning on December 2, girls can head to to code a design for one of the 56 state and territory trees. Girls can select the shape, size, and color of the lights, and animate different patterns using introductory programming language and their designs will appear live on the trees.

"Made with Code is a fun and easy way for millions of girls to try introductory code and see Computer Science as a foundation for their futures. We're thrilled that this holiday season families across the country will be able to try their hands at a fun programming project," stated Google's Susan Molinari, vice president of public policy and government affairs.

"While national parks are famous for breathtaking scenery and American history, there's a lot more to their care than meets the eye," National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis added. "More than ever, the National Park Service relies on scientists, engineers and good data to take the best care of these special places. We want to spark an early love for science and math and match it with a passion for nature and history – the National Park Foundation and Google are helping us do just that."

Presented by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the National Christmas Tree Lighting will be held Thursday, December 4, 2014, at 5 p.m. Girls can code their own state and territory trees throughout the month of December, and visitors can see and code the designs live in Washington, D.C.

For event information and talent announcements, please visit and follow the National Christmas Tree on Twitter at @TheNationalTree. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #NCTL2014.

Help for City of Detroit retirees

As a part of the Detroit Bankruptcy solution, the State of Michigan, the Retirement Systems of the City of Detroit, the Michigan Association of CPAs and the Accounting Aid Society have come together to provide pensioners with supplemental aid. Applications for this program are now being accepted.

The Income Stabilization Benefit Program was created as part of the Detroit bankruptcy resolution. The State of Michigan’s Treasury Department is conducting the application process. Retirees who qualify would receive a supplemental pension benefit to prevent pensioners from falling below the poverty line as a result of the bankruptcy pension cuts.  The Retirement Systems for the City of Detroit, using information provided in the application, will calculate the amount of the benefit, which would vary for each person but could restore most of the benefit cut required by the City’s Plan of Adjustment for those that qualify.

Eligibility for the benefits will be determined by age, income and household size. Applicants must be aged 60 years or older (or under 18 years of age) on the effective date of the Plan of Adjustment, occurring in December of 2014.

Applications will be mailed to retirees, and also will be available for download at the Retirement Systems of the City of Detroit website at

Two information sessions regarding the Plan of Adjustment and the Income Stabilization Benefit Program will occur on the same day – Wednesday, December 17. The first will take place from 2 – 4 p.m. at Fellowship Chapel (7707 W. Outer Dr.) in Detroit. The second will be held from 6 – 8 p.m. at Renaissance Unity Church (11200 E. 11 Mile) in Warren.

Dedicated staff will be on hand to help retirees who may qualify fill out applications to the Income Stabilization Benefit program, and to answer questions related to the Plan of Adjustment.