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February 24, 2000 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-24

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U

N'Thecign SaY 'GMEABWeRkeA'Fc. YOaUgaCANi'T PICuKay, UP THE PI E
DON'T SAY GIMME A BREK FYOU CAN'T PICK UP THE PIECES

I

The Michigan Daily -#eend; ftc tMa

Windy City auto show blown away by SU

I must say spring break could not
come at a better time.
After enduring the wicked bastard
children of Mother Nature - that's
January and February to you and me
- and that final hell week of paper
upon paper and midterm upon
midterm, most college students wear
an expression of complete and utter
fatigue usually reserved for war veter-
ans or Pizza Bob employees.
Of course, when they return from
their week-long period of below-the-
border debauchery, these same stu-
dents then sport the glassy-eyed coun-
tenance of one who has oft worshipped
at the base of the porcelain goddess.
And since I personally didn't want to
risk the possibility of waking up in a
Mexican jail with a pounding

headache and a fresh tattoo on some
undisclosed body part, I decided to
forgo the tropical revelry and instead
check out Alternative Spring Break
this year.
Unfortunately, I waited a little too
long before inquiring about this com-
mendable program, because when I
finally put in my application, there
were no more spots available for trips
like volunteering in Chicago nursing
homes or building houses with Habitat
for Humanity in rural Georgia. As it
turned out, the only options still open
to me certainly lived up to their "alter-
native" billing.
For example, the folks at ASB were
desperate for students to help out with
their "Mullet Care Outreach," a pro-
gram designed to help teach under-

privileged Southern men how to prop-
erly manage
their "short on
top, long in the
back" haircuts. -
When I patiently
explained I did
not drive a
Wrangler, didn't"
particularly care
for the taste ofi
Wild Turkey and ,
had never
owned an Alan Chris Kula
Jackson record-
ing, the ASB Unsung
organize rs AnnArbor
decided I would
probably be better suited for a different
agenda.

Given my passion for music, "Aging
Rocker Assistance" seemed like a
good bet. Its premise was the student's
desire to spend a week as a personal
aide to a soon-to-be decrepit rock
musician, the likes of which included
Rolling Stones drummer Charlie
Watts, every surviving member of the
Beach Boys and Joey from N'Sync
(you're pushing 30, pal, and everybody
knows it). But after I was told by the
ASB director that free-wheelin' Bob
Dylan's needs had advanced "far
beyond the scope of modern sci-
ence," I gave up on that idea.
Then there was a social research
project based in Toronto that sound-
ed kind of cool at first. It broke down
like this:
ASB: Okay, here's the story: We're
going to pick seven strangers and
have them live in a house where their
lives will be taped.
Me: Oh, so I imagine you want to
find out what happens when people
stop being polite and start getting
real?
ASB: Exactly, it'll be just like the
real world ... only in Toronto! What
do you think? r
Me: (pause) Yeah. that sounds real-
ly fucking lame.
After dismissing that vapid con-
cept for a second-rate cable TV
show, I allowed as how I was an
English major and perhaps I could
put my knowledge of the language to
good use by teaching it to newly-
arrived foreign immigrants. The ASB
director looked through her papers
and said most of the language tutors
had already been assigned, but if I
was willing, I could act as a dialect
coach to native Long Islanders. I
laughed, shook my head and said,
"Sorry, ma'am, but I'm no miracle-
worker."
Along the same lines, she said
university officials in Columbus,
Ohio were hosting a program for
ASB student tutors, but I declined due
to the fact that I don't work well with
animals.
One particularly odd trip involved

volunteering at an Italian restaurant in
the Bronx, which I found to be a rather
strange theme for an alternative spring
break. While describing the program,
the director kept winking and saying
things like "The restaurant is family
owned and operated," and "You might
have to take out the trash every now
and then." I actually thought about it,
but when she started talking about
"those rat bastard Feds, thinking
they're Elliot Ness" or something to
that effect, I had to respectfully and
graciously decline, gratzi.
Growing a little frustrated, I asked
the ASB director, "Don't you have
anything that involves flying an unau-
thorized jet plane into an unnamed
Middle Eastern nation to rescue my
military commander/father who's been
taken hostage? Perhaps with an older
black man in the Lou Gossett. Jr. mold
acting as my mentor?"
She said no.
"Well, how about searching for
pirate's treasure with a ragtag group of
children in order to save our neighbor-
hood from being turned into a country
club?"
No again.
"Counseling high school students
during their Saturday detention peri-
od? Helping to bring together a brain,
an athlete, a basket case. a princess and
a criminal into some sort of, if you
will, breakfast club?"
"Mr. Kula," she said, "now you're
just wasting my time with these highly
idealized scenarios. If all you're look-
ing for is a good story, why don't you
just sit down, use your imagination and
write one? Better vet, why don't you
take all these hypothetical spring break
plans running around your head and
put them into column form? Who
knows, it might be kind of funny -
but only kind of."
-Chris Ku/a can be reached at
ckula atunich.edu and would love to
say that he's going to New Orleans
with the girls of A/pha Phi next week -
but then, he d love to say a lot ofthings
that aren't necessarili true. Have a
good break, folks!

By Gautam Baksi
Daily Arts Wrtier
Under the towering skyline of
Chicago's lakeshore, over 1,000
new, four-wheeled vehicles sit qui-
etly in the McCormick Convention
Center waiting for their cold
engines to be brought to life. As
they wait patiently, nearly two mil-
lion people will
have the chance to
admire, touch o Over ha
even sit in theseII
vehicles before they
decide which one
they might like to un~e I/
bring home. For the
last century, the public g
Windy City has/
annually unveiled 2000 C
the latest concepts
and redesigned Auto Si
vehicles in a car /
show whose only either
rivals are the elite
extravaganzas in trucks
Tokyo, Detroit, Los
Angeles and vehicle
Frankfurt
If there's any-
thing to be learned from this week's
show, it's just how much sport-utili-
ty vehicles (SUV's) and hybrids
(part car, truck or SUV), with their
three-letter acronyms, cutting-edge
technology, aggressive ground
clearance and commanding view of
the road, are dominating the auto-
mobile market. At impressive dis-
plays at the recent North American
International Auto Show in Detroit
- and now at the Chicago Auto
Show - consumers are waiting in
Have a.
great break,
from the
gang at
Weekend,
Etc.!
But be sure
to check out
our Literary
Magazine
when you
get back.

long lines to catch
new breed of these
machines.

Lost in the background are the
muscle cars that once raced up and
down Woodward Avenue in down-
town Detroit, let alone the sports
cars of California with tuned
engines and exhausts, or the "Gran

Turismo" coupes
uif of all
t cars
ad to the
at the
'hicag'o
how were
WSU,
or hybrid
Mazda RX-7, they

from Europe-
vehicles that,
in spirit and
heart, repre-
sented a true
extension of
the body in
contact with
the road.
Where adults
and children
once roamed
the auto shows
eagerly exam-
ining the hard-
edged new
iterations of
s p o r t y
machines like
the Nissan
300ZX, Toyota
Supra or
now climb into

a glimpse of the
four-wheel drive

SUV's ads tend to present them as rugged outdoors purchases, like this 2001

the third cushy row of seats in the
new Ford Excursion or admire the
interactive Global Positioning
System in the latest Lexus SUV
Meanwhile, the Supra, 300Z and
RX-7 were all discontinued in
recent years due to waning interest
in the sports car market.
Over half of all concept cars
unveiled to the public at the
Chicago 2000 Auto Show were mar-
keted as a SUV, truck or hybrid

vehicle. Less than ten years ago,
such a statistic would have been
erroneously absurd. But in the last
five years alone, over 50 new SUV
vehicles have entered the auto mar-
ket. Some have simply been the
result of a repackaged (or "re-
badged," in automotive parlance)
predecessor such as the Lexus LX-
450, while others have been
designed completely from the
ground up (i.e. Jeep Grand
Cherokee). Either way, it seems
wherever one turns, SUV's are ubiq-
uitous.
A few of the large vehicles at this
See CHICAGO, Page 168

JUNVE i
JULY 1
Three six-v
A variety a.
Undergradt
Day, Eveni
classes ava

Double Prints 0,
SALE- Feb. 26th - Mar. 6th
B E.LW / "T*Or E
649.9 E! IV' 'rES YAVE-

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