Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It's Mostly Cloudy In Detroit

Seeing as kicker Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens just single-handedly defeated the Detroit Lions 18-16 with six field goals, closing with a ridiculous 61-yarder with 28 seconds left, the city of Detroit is not happy right now. The Lions' playoff hopes just took a big hit.

You are very likely making some crack about the city of Detroit itself right now. Pretty much everybody does, including the media. It seems like every time you do a story about Detroit, it's going to fall into one of two general categories:

A: How Detroit is a tough old bird and it's coming back really we mean it this time.
B: No it's not.

I suppose the reality is a little bit of both: while pockets of enterprise and small-scale success are present, as they are in most any city, especially of a city of Detroit's ever-shrinking size, those pockets aren't enough to even come close to fully counteracting the larger trend of ongoing decline. It would be preposterous to say the decline ends in some extreme such as Detroit becoming a ghost town. That would be silly. The bottom hits somewhere before that. The question is, where is that bottom.

But that having been noted, those little pockets are worth noting, and Aaron Lewis of SBS Australia, in the middle of following Story Category A below, has told of a couple such pockets, of which I'd like to highlight Detroit SOUP.

Detroit SOUP works kind of like a cross between Kickstarter and Shark Tank: once a month, an event is held where, for a $5 cover charge, you can come in, get a bowl of soup, some salad and some bread. You hang out with whatever other random people showed up that day, and in the process, you're presented with a series of four project proposals to improve the city in whatever fashion. Projects get four minutes to present and four questions from the attendees to field. After hearing them, they all chat and hang out and discuss, and then they vote. The project with the most votes gets all the cover-charge money.

Of course, I don't think they'd say no if the occasional out-of-towner clicked that Donate button on the website, to help cover the logistics costs of hosting the events.

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