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March 25, 1999 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-25

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4B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine - Thursday, March 25, 1999



The Michigan

Dai Weekend, etc

Controversies over the Rock

puts city,
By Alana Steingoid
For the Daily
On the corner of Hill Street and
Washtenaw Avenue sits the Rock, one of
Ann Arbor's most famous and most fre-
quently used landmarks. Everyday, it is
covered and re-covered with a fresh coat
of paint, displaying Greek letters, graffiti,
social commentary and other various
messages. Though the Rock holds a long
tradition for University students, alumni
and other residents and visitors of Ann
Arbor, there are many who feel otherwise.
Recently, discussions about the status
of the Rock, and its location have been the
talk of the town. Officials at city hall, as
well as area residents, are frustrated with
the destruction of the Rock, its surround-
ing grounds and private property.
The Rock, like many others, was
originally gray. Geologists estimate it to
be between 20,000 to 30,000 years old.
It was moved by a glacier from the

'U' in a hard place

Georgian Bay, just north of Toronto, to
the Pontiac Trail, not far from Ann
Arbor. The grooves that can be seen on
the under part of the rock are a result of
its rock being dragged by the glacier.
In 1932, Eli Gallup, the superinten-
dent of parks for Ann Arbor discovered
the rock in a landfill. Along with the
financial support of the Daughters of
the American Revolution, he decided to
transport the 25 ton limestone boulder
to its present location, not only to pre-
serve geological history, but to honor
the bicentennial birthday of George
Local high school students at the
time scrapped together pieces of copper
and cast a plaque that was to be affixed
to the front of the rock. The plaque,
which was last seen in 1982, but is still
somewhere underneath the eight inches
of paint, reads "To George Washington
- This memorial is erected in celebra-

tion of the 200th anniversary of his
birth, 1932." It is shaped like a shield
with a sword running through it, and is
approximately three feet long. Beneath
the rock, Gallup buried a lead box con-
taining its history.
It was not until the 1950s that the
Rock was painted for the very first time
by students from Michigan State
University, who painted a green "S" on
it before the Michigan/Michigan State
football game.
But, in recent years, the tradition has
turned ugly.
In 1993, the Rock became a heated
issue in the Ann Arbor community and
was given national attention in newspa-
pers. Private homeowners had many
problems with the conduct of those
who painted the rock, as well as gripes
with the many sororities and fraternities
that are interspersed throughout the
neighborhood. Many worried that the
paints contained harmful toxic chemi-
cals, including lead, titanium, cadmium
and mercury, although tests found no
harmful ingredients.
Many suggestions on ways to solve
the problem were proposed, including
moving the Rock to a landfill - which
would cost an estimated $4,300 - or
breaking it up in pieces and selling
them as souvenirs.
On Aug. 17, 1993, the city's parks
department came up with a solution to
buy the small piece of land from private
owners and name it George Washington

Courtesy 0o MitsuO
A $45,000 Mitsubishi? One drive and you'll change your religion too. Two turbos are sometimes better than two Hail Marys.

When the sun goes down the Rock is often a favorite target for Greek pledge
classes, hard-core football fans, local residents and just about everyone else.

Je-Thursday and
Friday Night
Happy Hour
4PM IMir

park. A sign declaring the park's name
was erected, and a set of rules on the back.
These rules included: No drinking, loud
noise, littering, painting beyond the Rock,
dumping paint in sewers, vandalism to
private property or trespassing.
Additionally, the park would be closed
from midnight until six a.m. Violations of
these rules would result in a $520 fine, or
the removal of the Rock.
According to Gerry Clark, the city's
park planner, definite improvements were
made in 1994 and 1995, as the city
worked in cooperation with the
Interfratemity Council and Panhellenic
Association and dedicated more time and
manpower to keeping the park and the

..... ..... ........... -

Touchdown Cafe

S a


,., * a" & "
1, 3

bordering sidewalk clean. But the Rock
continues to be painted and the neighbors
continue to complain.
Bobbi Heilveil, the house director of
Delta Phi Epsilon, the sorority closest
to the Rock and whose front pillars have
also been painted and vandalized, feels
that the Rock provides, "an innocent
form of expression," and she would
rather see students paint the rock as
opposed to engaging in other activities.
She also pointed out that while many
of the houses were originally privately
owned, the University has purchased
much of the property on Washtenaw
and other streets in close proximity. But
neighborhood residents have in fact
chosen to live there, in the "middle" of
campus. It is quite possible that many
students often forget that non-students
live in Ann Arbor, especially near cam-
pus, and there is still the threat of the
Rock being removed, not so much
because of the painting but because of
the noise and other negative effects.
But for now it will remain in its home
on Hill and Washtenaw. As some letters
on file in the park department read: The
Rock is a tradition, a landmark, and a
part of Ann Arbor.And a 1929 alum
wrote that she feels stability in the
Rock. Clark also worries about what
would show up instead, if the rock were
to be removed. As Heilveil said, "We
have our rock....what do other schools
1 E1
any falafel sandwich
1Umit 1 1
1 Per Person Per Order 1
307 S. Fifth Ave.
1 Phone #: 734-995-5060 I
I ~exp. 12-31-99

It's good to know there are cars like the
Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 still around.
Like the Lotus Esprit V8, these unrefined
beasts are as close as the modern sports-
coupe driver can get to recreating the feel-
ing that man first got when he jumped on
a horse, grabbed its mane, and wet his
pants because of the fast and immediate
The Mitsubishi subscribes to that phi-
losophy, feeling more like a seat attached
to an untamed engine than the pony at the
- circus that does everything the little old
man with the carrots says.
This is great for test driving and bang-
ing around the twisties and the few good
highways Michigan has to offer, but hor-
rific for everyday driving.
This is a $45,000 weekend warrior. You
wouldn't wear those
purple Vans every-
day, would you?
Would you?
The best thing
about the VR4 is
that all the includ-
ed stuff is normally
found piecemeal
on other cars. Have
you ever been able
to read off a laun-r
dry list like this: REILLY
all-wheel drive, BRENNAN
two turbochargers, .
two intercoolers,
four-wheel steering, and a six-speed
manual gearbox? I didn't think so.
Oh, and goodness me! I forgot about
the 320 horsepower and 315 ft-lb. of
torque that inevitably get transferred to
18-inch alloy wheels. People, this is
ridiculous. It's like your Christmas,
Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa presents all
wrapped up in one multi-denomina-
tional Asian car.
What's the importance of all that crap?
It basically means that the VR4 has more
balls than a McDonald's Kid's Place
Playground. And, you get to keep your
shoes on in the VR4.
There aren't any mechanical changes
to this year's VR4, but a few exterior
touch-ups help the new model turn more
heads than before. In fact, while driving
Monday I got one "Whoah!" and two

"Hell Yeah!"s. That's not bad for a small-
time kid from Birmingham with a big
chin and a bad haircut.
The new VR4 has a very distinct rear-
wing that is straight out of the Playstation
game "Gran Turismo" While obnoxious
and Cessna-like, Mitsubishi claims the
wing helps airflow-
Most people won't ever travel at speeds
high enough to appreciate this, nor will
most ever use the sixth speed on the gear-
box's transmission. But like that little
extra fifth pocket on a pair of jeans, it's
nice to know it's there. This new rear wing
is found only on VR4 models.
Also of note is a redesigned front end
that is a bit more snarky and features a
front air dam that seems to be an echo of
a Formula Ford racing car. There is also a
slightly re-done rear end and B-pillar
But this isn't the ultimate grand touring
car. It's got more than its share of prob-
lems over bumps at high speeds, signifi-
cantly when moving around a bumpy cor-
ner. The all-wheel drive system was
decent, nothing like a Subaru or Audi sys-
tem, but you'll thank yourself in the win-
ter, I suppose.
The VR4 is a lot more susceptible to
road blips, however. All 3000GTs come
equipped with sway bars on the front,
which is actually fairly common in most
cars. The VR4 also has a rear sway bar,
which is good for speed freaks, but again
hard on the bum for scooting around the
A bit of understeer was noted on M-14
when I hugged the exit ramp this week.
Not extreme, and certainly remedied with
play on the throttle, but a surprise
nonetheless. The double-wishbone design
has upper and lower control arms and was
a bit bouncy on the lips in the road on that
annoying section of the Geddes off-ramp.
But why am I so critical? Nobody as
wimpy as me will buy this car anyway.
This is for the technofreak, the speed-
hungry, forward-moving young profes-
sional with a penchant for the flashy.
More pertinent, it is for the 5-foot pro-
fessional. I'm an honest 5'11", and I had
nowhere near enough headroom. I even
cranked the seat back, let the lumbar sup-
port out and craned my neck a bit. My


Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4
/ Base Price: $44,600
/ Price as Tested: $45,070
/ Engine: 24-valve DOHC Twin-turbo,
intercooled V-6
/ Power: 320 hp @ 6000 rpm
/ Performance: 0-60 in 4.8 sec
/ Torque: 315 @ 2500 rpm
quaff was still tussled.
But that whine from the two tur-
bochargers is addictive. The sound isn't
annoying, but you do know when it kicks
in; 'it's like two sleeping eight-year old
children with bronchitis are stuffed under
the hood.
Surprisingly, the VR4 has great turbo
response, and there is always power at
hand. Even if there is a little turbo lag, the
3.0 liter six is usually good enough for
power at any speed, provided you shift
The 3000GT's biggest plus might be
that it comes in so many forms. They all
feature the 3.0 liter V6, but in different
variations. The base model still has a 12-
valve SOHC top end to the engine, mak-
ing 160 horsepower. Next is the 3000GT
SL, which has DOHC and puts out 218
horsepower and has 4-wheel anti-lock
brakes. The big dog is the VR4, which
only comes with the option of a CD
changer. Everything else - leather,
heart-palpitating acceleration and huge
rear wing - is included.
Have you ever felt your back, neck, and
head being pushed really hard into a car
seat? It's a good feeling that is definitely
more evident in the VR4; unfortunately
it's a $45,000 feeling.
If you are the type of person who will
drop $45,000 on a Mitsubishi, you proba-
bly have a different set of values than I do
anyway. I'd stick with a Chevrolet
Corvette, BMW M Coupe, or even a
Porsche Boxster. But then again, I have a
bad haircut.
- Like the pony, Reilly Brennan enjoys
carrots. He can be reached over email at


Top 10 Albums
(The nation's topselling abums
for the week)
1.. TLC, "Fan Mail"
2. C-Murder, "Bossalinie
3. Britney Spears, ".. B
More Time"
4. Eminem, "The Slim SI
5. Lauryn Hill, "The
Miseducation of Lauryn
6. Shania Twain, "Come
7. Cher, "Believe"
8. Dixie Chicks, "Wide C
9. The Offspring, "Amer
10. Everlast, "Whitey F
the Blues"
Source: E
Top 10 Books
(The week's best-selling hard-co
1. "The Testament," Joh
2. "Tara Road," Maeve E
3. "River's End," Nora R
4. "Single & Single," Jo
5. "Ashes to Ashes," Ta
6. "Hush Money," Rober
7. "Apollyon," Tim Latta
8. "A Sudden Change of
9. "Vector," Dr. Robin C<
10. "Southern Cross," P
TV: Th
What happmr
'Dawson's Creek": (R
:agree to disagree and
their existence using
waiting for Jen to refe
in integral part of eve
"9021O":x pensive h:
out Nat and the Peacl
renter. Dylan decides
enough, so he buys N
Donna and Kelly get i
that their friendship c
marry his new-found
saves the life of a bo
to a leprechaun.
'Friends": Monica, p
is, acquires an ihordir
"ER": (R) Dr. Patholo
begins her stint in th
"The Simpsons": (R)
are related? Dogs an
"X Files": (R) In the
Fat Man (not to be c
and Little Boy) retur
"Ally McBeal": (R) W
much deserved rest I
vides a "best of" clIp
have a "best of" clip
'"Buffy The Vampire 9
more than a three in
W ilow don't go Out,
Fellclty : Pre-mpte
Felicity zis flossing.,

Voted Best HaDpv Hour
MichigafDallvRFsadershlip PolL,1997
Well Drinks $1.50
Premium Pints $2
Domestic Pints $1.25
Chicken Wings 2 5
e S e s
1220 .. University

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