Chrysler is bringing back the Dodge Dart for 2013, a car it is rolling out at the North American International Auto Show.

The Dodge Dart is meant to appeal to the younger crowd as well as those in their 50s and 60s. It’s got a fancy, high-tech interior, sleek styling, blah, blah, blah.

Hey wait a minute. There’s something wrong with this picture.

Not ours exactly, but kinda like it.

Ah, that’s more like it.

A significant chunk of my world view was developed looking through the windows of an early 1970s Dodge Dart. In my formative years, me and my kin were carted about Alpena County in a shiny army green Dart. Its predecessor was a blue Dart with a white hardtop. My parents must have been passionate about Darts and their V-8 engines and roomy interiors. More likely, it’s all they could afford. Now I suppose this new fancy Dart is supposed to be exciting with all its aerodynamics and high-tech gadgets.

Kids, let me tell you about excitement!

Every day was an adventure in our Dart. The first challenge was, will it start? You see, back then, cars didn’t have none of that “fuel injection” stuff. You had to be blessed with exceptional gas pedal pumping skills. You had to learn the right combination of cranking the key while pumping the pedal. Too much, and you get flooded. Not enough, and you wear out the battery. I should tell you it helps immensely if you talk nice to your car, which is not a machine, after all, but a sensitive creature usually named Nellie. I always knew that when the car was temperamental, Mom could start it with her magic words, “C’mon, Nellie!” Worked every time!

In Mom’s mind, if that car was good enough to get us out of our snow-covered driveway, it was good enough to go anywhere. Like 3,000 miles to California! Our family’s idea of vacation was get in the car and drive wherever you felt like driving that day. So we saw America in our Dodge Dart.

My most everlasting memory was driving through the Mojave Desert. After leaving Long Beach, Calif., we decided to take a ride in the Dart through the desert. Why? Because it’s beautiful, of course. And waiting for Dad at the other end was beautiful Las Vegas. Funny, that was the calmest and most focused I’ve ever seen pop on a car ride.

As we entered the desert, we were warned that it was 300 miles with hardly any place to stop, that temperatures were near 120 degrees. Guess Mom was unfazed. This is, after all, the same woman who smeared bacon grease outside our Yellowstone campsite, hoping to attract cute bears. So off we went, with a half glass of water each. Fortunately, we had air conditioning. ARE YOU KIDDING? This was a Dart. Air conditioning meant stick your head out the window, whiny baby. About midway through the trip, we finally came upon  a tourist trap. I mean a restaurant! We were either dying of thirst by this point, or I had imagined we were dying of thirst. But they wanted to charge us for water! And Mom would have none of that. That’s just common sense. I mean, can you imagine paying money for water in a bottle? “Highway robbery!” yelled Dad. My sisters and I decided to explore the desert countryside near the restaurant. That was fun for a few seconds until we noticed the sign that said beware of rattlesnakes.

We scampered back into the car, more thirsty than ever. I was near death, I think. And that was just from the beatings inflicted upon me by my sisters. The Dart, fortunately, was small enough that Dad could easily reach back and smack us when we got mouthy. (That was acceptable back then. We usually deserved it, especially Heidi.) Later, someone decided to invent seat belts so you could strap your kids in the back seat and better control them. A positive side effect was the belts also made you safer.

My cries for water eventually were ignored, so I gave up. Besides, we were coming upon Joshua trees, which were just cool.

That rock formation in the background looks like Abe Lincoln.

You may have guessed I survived our 300 mile trip through the desert despite no water nor air conditioning, being chased by killer rattlesnakes, and mental and physical torture applied by my sisters. Dad’s favorite part of the desert was Circus Circus. Mom was so inspired by our bravado, I think she took us to the mountains the next day.

And our Dodge Dart was a true champion! Thanks, Nellie!


Little kids are punching and kicking each other tonight in Romeo. Adults rushed to the scene, and they started punching and kicking each other.

Hold on. I guess this is OK.

After all, it is D-Lux Karate. And Friday is fight night!

Adam is debriefing his charges about next Saturday’s D-Lux Challenge at Romeo High School.

It was, as usual, a fun night at Adam’s martial arts institute. I’ll have some more information about the tourney and the school later.

Everyone in the Macomb Daily newsroom had something to say about the mild winter thus far in southeast Michigan. We missed a snowstorm that hammered the west side of the state on New Year’s Day. Heading into the weekend, it looks like temperatures are climbing back into the 40s and 50s.

What a difference a year makes. Here are headlines from last year.

“Macomb pelted with 9 inches of snow in areas
“105,000 blacked out after storm sweeps through Michigan expected to remain out for at least 2 more days
“Macomb County has spent 90 percent of winter road maintenance budget

No wonder this year’s tame winter has brought thumbs up from most.

Me, I’ll miss the man and his snow blower photos.

There, I knew I could find one.

I was gifted by my in-laws last winter with Godzilla the snow blower. I was so geeked, I wanted to remove the snow from my neighbors’ sidewalks and driveways. Unfortunately, they arose about four hours earlier and it was usually the other way around.

Well, my manly machine was fun while it lasted. I spent most of my time trying to repair it. In my case, that usually means I cause even more damage. When I finally got it started for one last go round, it caught fire, and instead of flinging the snow, mostly melted everything withing a 12-foot radius. I tried dousing it with snow, but i guess it was good-for-nothing snow! Me and flames have a long, inglorious history, and this time, I decided to be smart and not try to do too much harm. I put my tax dollars to work and called the fire department. By the time they got there — they were quick — the fire was out and anything valuable on the machine was now polluting the atmosphere. The neighbors enjoyed the show, and the firefighters got a chance to laugh at someone for a change.

This year, bucks were tight, so I bought a giant shovel instead of a new machine. This is one big shovel, mind you. In fact, I was hoping for at least a little snow so I could give it a try.

snow shovel

That's the one.

Seriously, as much as I grumble about snow, it makes me feel better when it’s cold and snowy in Michigan during the winter. And even if I’m no fan, I can’t help but feel bad for all the ice fishermen, snowboarders, skaters, etc. and all the businesses that rely on cold and snow. A winter like this can sink a lot of local business activity.

Already, the much-anticipated Nautical Mile Pond Hockey Winter Classic in St. Clair Shores tourney has been postponed. Sixty-one teams were hoping to  compete, but the inaugural event may not happen at all this year.

And I’ll bet most of you who have kids know how much they love snow. I know I sure didn’t complain about snowstorms when I was young.

Love it or hate it, winters are part of what make Michigan so great. We get the best of all four seasons here. And winters definitely make me appreciates summers that much more.

Let it snow, I say!

I’m shovel-ready.

Ah! What a nice summer break I had!
Yes, it’s true, I haven’t blogged in a long time.
I lost my groove when my responsibilities shifted, and I ran out of steam.
I guess “multitasking” has its limits.
In fact, I found this article by Ilya Pozin that said multitasking actually makes you dumber.

“Stop multi-tasking. No, seriously— stop. Switching from task to task quickly does not work. In fact, changing tasks more than 10 times in a day makes you dumber than being stoned. When you’re stoned, your IQ drops by five points. When you multitask, it drops by an average of 10 points, 15 for men, five for women (yes, men are three times as bad at multitasking than women).”

Like I need that! So I guess that means if I must do 15 things a night, do them one at a time?

I’ve debated whether to return to the blogosphere, but why not?
OK, so the title of this blog used to be the Christian Connection, and now it’s called the Macomb Connection.
Fear not, I still plan to cover all the great news about churches and events in the area. At the same time, I wanted a little broader scope to cover.
So for those who are angry that I neglected my duties for so long (all 8 of you) hopefully I can make amends.

Click on that logo to go to the EACH website.

Just wanted to connect you with a great article by Annette Kingsbury on what’s in store for EACH.

She talked to Ron Risher, executive director of EACH, and Doug Schmidt, senior pastor at Woodside Bible Church in Troy.

The story emphasizes both the cooperation among Detroit area churches, and the outreaches planned.

“A huge group of metro Detroit churches and Christian organizations is taking that message directly to the community this year. They will spend the 40 days after Easter working to heal hard-hit parts of metro Detroit in what organizers believe is an unprecedented attempt to resurrect a community in its time of great need,” Annette writes.

When all is said and done, EACH will mean one million hours of service to metro Detroit. I’m thinking that could make a huge difference. Hope you’ll hop on board.

There’s another important facet to EACH: The 2 Word Story. I heard some this weekend, and they were awe-inspiring.I hope to hear many more! Here’s a vid that tells more about the 2 Word Story.

I hope your Easter weekend was inspiring. Mine was. I’m excited about the EACH campaign, I’m excited about metropolitan Detroit churches working together. One thing I didn’t have to worry about was my safety and the safety of my family. Whether or not you think America is a Christian nation, bear in mind that we have freedom to worship as we please. You may be ridiculed or scorned by some peers or some family members, but you are not under the same persecution as Christians in many other parts of the world. Christians in Sudan or China pay a heavy price — often their lives — for sticking to their beliefs. This weekend in Iraq, on Easter Sunday, bombers struck outside a church in Baghdad. Nobody was killed, but four Iraqi police officers and three bystanders were injured. I’d like to think that after all this war, there would be a semblance of freedom for Iraq’s Christians. Sadly, it seems the situation shows only signs of deteriorating. Fortunately, attacks in Baghdad were few this Easter Sunday.

About 700 Christians attended Easter services at Baghdad’s St. Joseph’s Chaldean church where security forces closed off the roads leading to it, laid razor wires and searched all worshippers before entering the church.
“Our life in Iraq is full of fear,” Father Hanna Saad Sirop told worshippers. “But we have to live in faith and trust … we have to trust almighty God,” Hanna added.

So when you count your blessings, make sure one of them is that the place you worship is not surrounded by razor wire.

Kensington is making a big move this weekend. Two of its campuses, Rochester and Lake Orion, are merging and will meet as one at Lake Orion’s home, Lake Orion High School.

Carol Hopkins has the story.

Don’t mistake this for downsizing. Call it streamlining instead. Rochester has been meeting at Rochester Adams High School. In the short term, Rochester’s 1,800 visitors and Lake Orion’s 1,200 will have to share some space. After Easter, services will expand to three each Sunday: 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon. I love that noon service! That sleeping-in excuse just doesn’t fly.

Click on the pic to watch video. Becky Lee, Campus Director for Kensington Orion church inside the Lake Orion high school auditorium. Kensington church is merging both their Rochester Adams and Lake ORion congregations into one at Lake Orion starting this weekend. The Oakland Press/TIM THOMPSON

Somewhere on the horizon, sites are set on a big building becoming the permanent home to the Rochester-Lake Orion congregation.

“Plans are under way to acquire a building of our own in north Oakland County,” says church spokesman Karl Nilsson in the article. “If all goes well, we will move from Lake Orion High into an existing 72,000-square-foot warehouse located about one mile north of the Palace on M-24.”

BTW, if you haven’t made Good Friday or Easter plans yet, Kensington’s churches have some awesome services planned for the weekend.

Get your tickets now. They’re free, but going fast.

Last weekend’s Easter egg hunts across the area were a hit, even amid a downpour. If you missed them, don’t fret. Here’s two more (at least) this Saturday.

The first is at Heritage Church in Sterling Heights.

Did you catch the part about INDOORS?

And then there’s the Egg Drop at Lakepointe Church, which BTW has a cool new website. An Egg Drop, you ask?

The bunny can fly a chopper?

Kensington’s Clinton Township campus helped the bunny scatter tens of thousands of eggs last Saturday. The rain had no prayer!

egg hunt

Alanna Clark, 3, and her brother Ashton, 18 months, gather eggs during the event for 1- to 3-year-olds Saturday at the football field at Mount Clemens High School.

The 4- to 6-year-old group hopped to it. (Photos by Craig Gaffield, The Macomb Daily)

OK, so Easter is about much more than bunnies and egg hunts and those awesome Reese’s eggs! When my girls were young, we used plastic eggs to tell the Easter story. I stumbled across this vid that explains how.

There are many ways and places to celebrate Good Friday. Churches in New Baltimore this Friday are holding the traditional Passion Play in a not-so-traditional venue. The story of Christ’s crucifixion will be portrayed outside in New Baltimore. It begins at 10 a.m. Friday on the steps of St. Marys and ends at the waterfront at Burke Park. It’s an effort that joins members from various churches in New Baltimore, New Haven and Chesterfield Township.

Click on that logo to go to the EACH website.

The Everyone A Chance to Hear campaign puts some feet to its message Saturday. Thousands are expected to gather in the heart of Detroit starting at 8 a.m. for a prayer walk. The walk begins at Comerica Park, and travels down Woodward faster than a cruise to, fittingly, the Spirit of Detroit. That’s 1.6 miles. Go here for details. Part of the morning will include worship music from four churches. One group will be Selected of God.Yup, the choir from the Super Bowl Chrysler ads.

selected of god

Selected of God

That’s got to inspire you!
I’d love to hear your comments on EACH. Go to the top of this article and click that “Leave a Comment” link.