Rolling stock signage

Source: signsourcesolution.com

Source: signsourcesolution.com

Has anyone else in the planning and zoning realm noticed how certain retail and dining establishments are now strategically placing a fully decaled truck, car, or van in their parking lot to further advertise their business to those passing by? It appears to be the latest effort to circumvent local sign regulations. These vehicles wrapped in vinyl or covered in lettering are not (or rarely) used for anything but advertising purposes and mostly sit in the parking lot to draw more attention and customers.

Aside from the obvious regulatory issues pertaining to another sign being added to the premises, parking a vehicle covered in signage in the parking lot occupies at least one, if not more spaces that were intended (and approved) for employees or customers. In cases where a site barely meets the minimum number off-street spaces, this new tactic can result in their being a deficient number of available spaces, thus leading to additional enforcement or can result in potential impacts on neighboring businesses and/or streets from the spillover of customers.

If anyone has developed sign regulations addressing rolling stock signage, please feel free to share your experiences. Given the portability of these vehicle signs, enforcement can be a tricky issue and how to define/regulate their usage would need to be finely nuanced. Look forward to hearing any feedback.

Manchester United vs. Real Madrid in Ann Arbor

Source: espn.com

Source: espn.com

We had a grand old time Saturday afternoon with more than 109,300 of our closest friends watching the friendly match between Manchester United and Real Madrid in the Big House (Michigan Stadium) in Ann Arbor.

Source: freep.com

Source: freep.com

It was the largest crowd for a soccer match in United States history and the teams did not disappoint – a picture perfect bicycle kick shot on goal by Real Madrid, superb crosses and passes by Man U, dazzling footwork by Renaldo, and a halftime performance by The Fray. In the end, it was Man U who stole the show with a 3-1 victory, as their fans happily sang Glory, Glory Man United.

Source: freep.com

Source: freep.com

Cheers and thank you to both teams for bringing the beauty and excitement of Champions League soccer to Michigan!

Source: freep.com

Source: freep.com

 

 

 

Temples rock the Tonight Show

Source: xfm.co.uk

Source: xfm.co.uk

Temples absolutely kicked arse last night (July 30th) on the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon performing “Shelter Song” from their awesome debut album entitled Sun Structures. Here’s a weblink to the video of their performance. Enjoy!

 

 

 

If the movie “Wild” is half as good as the book…

Here’s the trailer for Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon. The movie is the screen adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s marvelous book of the same name. Easily the best book of 2013, Wild should be amazing on film, particularly under the direction of Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyer’s Club). Cannot wait!

Temples enshrine the psychedelic era…and more

Temples_-_Sun_Structures - wiki

“Sun Structures” – Source: en.wikipedia.org

I discovered Temples listening to Impact 89fm – Michigan State University’s student radio station when they played the richly 1960’esque “Shelter Song.” As the first track on their debut full-length album, Sun Structures, the song aptly introduces Temples and a whole new generation to the amazing guitar riffs and rhythms of great bands like The Byrds, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, early Led Zeppelin, the Moody Blues, and even in one song reminiscent of Heart. While this may sound like sincere flattery and a case of imitation, Sun Structures is also refreshing in its own right – for one it’s a hell of a lot better than most music being released today. It also exudes mesmerizing guitars.  Some may claim guitar rock is dying and/or dead – it sure isn’t when you listen to this album!

The great classic psychedelic rock sounds emanating from Sun Structures evoke memories of songs we Baby Boomers cut our teeth on and is far more enjoyable to listen to than the bass-thumping headaches of rap, the bubble gum schlock of modern pop, or the overtly corporatize and partisan blather of most modern country music.

For a band that formed just two years ago, Temples are a polished, poised, and immensely talented foursome from Kettering, England. So much so, that in 2014 they have already played SXSW, Coachella, and Glastonbury, with Lollapalooza next on their plate.

Sun Structures is my favorite new album to date in 2014 (Beck a close second). It contains 12 songs spread over 53 minutes – a welcome length compared to so many recorded sprint sessions. Of the dozen formidable tracks, my favorites include:

  • “Shelter Song”
  • “Keep in the Dark”
  • “Sun Structures”
  • “Mesmerise”
  • “A Question Isn’t Answered”
  • “Move with the Season” – a guitar riff eerily similar to “Love Alive” by Heart
  • “The Golden Throne”
  • “Sand Dance” – reminds me of Kashmir by Led Zeppelin
Who's Next - Source: en.wkipedia.org

“Who’s next” – Source: en.wkipedia.org

Lastly, I have got to say something about the album cover. Not only is it an uncanny reminder of Who’s next, but it is one of the coolest covers I have ever seen from an architectural and historical standpoint. According to the band’s interview on KEXP radio, Rushton’s Triangular Lodge, shown on the cover, is an historic structure built in 1593. Wow! – the building alone is worth a visit for architectural and historical junkies. Given its placement on this debut album, its place in British history has been secured for many centuries to come.

Beware of the weekend sign gremlins

Even notice how a plethora of yard signs suddenly pop-up like dandelions at street intersections on Friday evenings, only to disappear by Monday morning? Those are the result of gremlins putting up signs when they know full well that building or zoning enforcement offices are closed over weekends.

Source: everywheresignsusa.com

Source: everywheresignsusa.com

The same often holds true for portable signs, a-frame signs, banners, flags, streamers, and other sorts of gaudy advertising. Fortunately, when Monday morning rolls around these signs have slithered back into the dark recesses, only for the whole process to repeat itself the following Friday.

Unfortunately, while they are in place, these often illegal signs are quite unsightly and can be a danger to visibility at intersections if improper placed or over-sized.

Short of having enforcement officers working overtime on weekends, policing such activities isn’t an easy task. Perhaps a good civics lesson is one option, but it is doubtful that will have a major impact in the long haul. The legal process may have a far greater impact, if those injured in accidents as a result of visibility constraints from these illegal signs were to take the gremlins and/or the firms who advertise on the signs to court. Not the most efficient way to regulate bad behavior, when all it may lead to is the signs being moved away from street corners.

Any other ideas/suggestions on how to handle the weekend sign gremlins would be welcome.