This website is accident-free, with 187 teeter totter rides and zero recordable injuries.

Links to Last 10 Talks

Bill Merrill

Chris Carey

Jim Ottaviani

Dante Chinni

Robb Johnston

Nick Prueher

Steve Bean

Devon Persing

Gareth Morgan

Brian Kerr

Complete link list
of all the Talks

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Huron River Watershed Council

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Follow online the steady stream of our Huron River and watershed events, and we think you'll eventually find yourself joining us for one!

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Old Town Tavern

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Roos Roast Coffee

John Roos roasts every batch of coffee by hand, and bags it up in a block-printed bag with his own hand-crafted designs. So inside and out, every bag is a work of art. If you want to buy coffee and get free bicycle delivery in Ann Arbor, John Roos is your man.

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Books by Chance

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December 2005 -- May 2006 Permanent Archive

permanent link 31 May 2006 (Solitude)
Natural landscapes. Bucolic, small town life. Quiet. That's not Ann Arbor. Or is it? For sure, that's Shell Lake, Wisconsin (pop. 1500), where Sam lives now, after some thirty years in Ann Arbor.

permanent link 30 May 2006 (Where am I?)
You don't have to ride your bicycle 30 miles to train for Teeter Talk. But if you'd like a nice alternative to Huron River Drive, Scio Church Road due west out of Ann Arbor isn't bad. Along this route, there's less motorized traffic west of Zeeb, but be prepared to be passed by vehicles traveling faster than 50 mph.

permanent link 24 May 2006 (Big Yellow Totterin' Taste)
I'd write out the recipe for my contribution to the spring block gathering, but I think it's best summarized photographically.

Tottering fuel (Serves a neighborhood):

Dont Tip the Waiter

permanent link 22 May 2006 (Tipping on the Totter)
If you're satisfied with the service, the standard gratuity is 20 percent. Strangely, last week's Thursday guest didn't leave a tip ...

Dont Tip the Waiter

permanent link 18 May 2006 (The Totter Gets Rocked) Rock Editors' Top 10 2002:

1.) Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
2.) Peter Gabriel - UP
3.) Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
4.) Elvis Costello - When I was Cruel
5.) Yesterday's Totteree
6.) Steve Earle - Jerusalem
7.) Beck - Sea Change
8.) Queens of the Stone Age - Songs for the Deaf
9.) Robert Plant - Dreamland
10.) The Soft Boys - Nextdoorland

permanent link 17 May 2006 (Website Redesign: HD goes vertical)
The website is sporting a new more vertical look. In conceiving the old layout, the primary design consideration was to achieve a layout that would keep the photo of the totteree visibly juxtaposed with the text of the talks. I felt that this would help to connect readers more closely to the actual event of tottering and to the stars of this not-exactly-a-blog: a big wooden board and the people sitting opposite from me on it.

I was willing to accept many negative consequences of that design principle. But when even web-savy readers were still not finding their way easily and automatically to the older Teeter Talks I took this as a symptom of poor design. Sacrificing the original main design principle has allowed the unification of all the navigation and explanatory information about Teeter Talk onto a single page and to erase the distinction between Recent Totterees and Archived Totterees. The new layout is also printer-friendlier. And I bumped the font size for the Talks by one pixel. There's now also plenty of screen real estate in that mostly blank left-hand column to undertake something creative.

permanent link 24 April 2006 (What leads people to Teeter Talk: A contest)
Recorded in the recent weblogs among search query terms that have led folks to this website are the following:

does david hasselhoff have dual nationality
wife of howie mandell
poems about getting your tonsils out
chihuahua is really sick and throws up pukes
how to disagree with a speeding ticket in michigan
inflatable 4 person teeter totter
interesting facts about english bulldog stuff
bud light two minutes past five o clock
suzuki building northside in ann arbor
kelly jean caldwell pictures

I feel bad for the folks who came looking for answers to these questions or information on these general topics. I especially feel bad for the people who came looking for Kelly Jean Caldwell pictures, because there aren't any. And now that I've included the exact phrase 'Kelly Jean Caldwell pictures' in the text of the site (twice), anyone looking for Kelly Jean Caldwell pictures (three times) will be that much more disappointed. That I feel a bit bad about.

Perhaps giving something away for free will assuage my guilt.

TT with HD T-shirt Matching Contest: For each of the search queries above, identify the Totteree(s) whose talk most plausibly yielded a positive match to the search terms. First reader to email the correct matches to me receives a Teeter Talk T-shirt (gray, size L or white, size XL). Email: homeless.dave[at]gmail[dot]com

TT with HD T-shirt Essay Contest: For the following search query string, which led someone to Teeter Talk, compose a 'reaction' of some kind:

what things could be done for kids to keep balanced on a teeter totter

There are no constraints on the form this reaction might take. Essay. Short story. Poem. Photograph. Drawing. Obscenity-littered rant. The only criterion is that it must be submit-able via email (homeless.dave[at]gmail[dot]com). Deadline for entry is May 30. I'll be the sole judge and arbiter of the 'best' submission. Exactly one T-shirt will be awarded for the Essay Contest. And naturally, the winning entry will be posted on Teeter Talk.

The contest T-Shirts are the same authentic Teeter Talk T-shirts awarded as swag to totterees upon completion of their ride. They're printed locally. The most recent batch was done by Ascott on North Main. A previous batch was done by Sunrise out on Jackson Road. Both kinds are great. Ascott is a bit closer to where I live.

permanent link 18 April 2006 (A Quiet Week on the Totter)
It was quiet on the totter this last week. I had to take some time to calculate taxes on the teeter totter. Things will be teetering again soon with three guests scheduled over the next four days. One of them has alluded to the possibility of estimating the useful life of a teeter totter for a depreciation schedule.

permanent link 17 April 2006 (Wishes Told on the Totter II)
Back on 9 February 2006, when I asked Dustin Krcatovich what his dream performance venue would be, he named a place called The Smell in Los Angeles. Check out the venue named for the 31 May 2006 show on his recently booked west coast tour. And Dustin's CD (Vive La Fantastique avec Actual Birds and Friends), which Dustin said he hoped would be ready in April ... is now available for purchase. Moral: Wishes told on the totter always come true.

permanent link 16 April 2006 (Wishes Told on the Totter I)
Back on 2 February 2006 Adam de Angeli expressed his hope that he would be able to move his store The Planet from S. University Ave. to N. Main Street into the same space as the Natural Canvas. And now The Planet has, in fact, altered its orbit to 613 N. Main St. Welcome to the west side of town! Moral: Wishes told on the totter always come true.

permanent link 10 April 2006 (Mistake)
Reader Phillip F. has kindly pointed out that the way I explained the origin of the name Gandy Dancer for out-of-town guest, Alicia Wise did not deserve full marks for accuracy. I had said, "A gandy dancer is, or was, something that works something like a teeter totter actually. One of those old railcars, one guy on one side and one on the other? And to make it go, they work this two-sided lever up and down, you've seen these things, right? ... That, I think, is a gandy dancer." The Wikipedia entry for gandy dancer says, in part, "Gandy dancer is a slang term for workers who maintained railroads in North America ... ... For each stroke, a worker would lift his gandy and force it into the ballast to create a fulcrum, then throw himself sideways ..." At least there were levers involved. I wonder what those railcars were called. It's teeter totter tax season, otherwise I'd try to track that down. ... Fortunately, about an hour of posting that last sentence, Reader Kathleen F. sent along a nice note reporting that those hand-powered railcars are called 'handcars'. I had been hoping for something a bit more colorful.

permanent link 17 March 2006 (Landscaping Upgrade)
When Alicia Wise visited, the teeter totter itself was dry. It had been tarped well against the rain that fell the night before. However, she sank nearly ankle-deep into the muck and the mire. So I've undertaken a landscaping upgrade in the form of cypress chips ... 6 cubic feet worth. You can get these cypress chips at lots of places. But I got mine at Downtown Home and Garden, where there's never a problem with parking the vehicle you need for lugging two giant bags of cypress chips ... because you can pull right into the drive-through. Here's the result:
cypress chips

permanent link 13 March 2006 (Lost Wager)
I've apparently lost a wager about the identity of the person or persons who created the spoof website of the Ann Arbor Public Schools (formerly found at I was betting that the website for the Citizens for Responsible Schools had been created by someone different than the creator of the spoof. So for FAA, who sometimes comments on and, there's a bag of M & M's set aside for you. I'll leave it to you to figure out the logistics of transfer. And you'll get an unopened bag, so that you can rest easy that I haven't licked them all before handing them over.
M and Ms

permanent link 22 February 2006 (Lost and Found)
It's been a quiet week for tottering. Next week looks a bit busier. The best news of the week was that I found my hat. This hat has been with me for a couple of decades now. But I had come to terms with its loss, as demonstrated by the purchase of a replacement. The new hat, which I bought at MooseJaw Mountaineering on Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor, wasn't really me. But I needed something to keep my noggin warm while teeter tottering. So I bought it anyway. But I didn't even look like myself. I was at the Blind Pig benefit for 826Michigan to watch Actual Birds and the High Spirits, and a friend of mine looked for me there but didn't see me. I blame the new hat. When I found the old one, nestled inside the fold of my futon, I was really happy. Anybody need a hat? Here's shots of the new and the old.
Beanie Rag Wool Hat

permanent link 15 February 2006 (Wardrobe Hooks Persist)
While tottering with Larry Kestenbaum the topic of vandalism arose. And Larry recounted a discussion on his blog about the recent Hill Auditorium renovation (completed for a re-opening of Hill Auditorium in 2004) that eventually led to the restoration of coat hooks to the bathroom stalls, after the hooks had originally been omitted. I wondered how the wardrobe hooks had fared thus far. Larry wasn't sure. On a subsequent field trip to Hill Auditorium (an organ recital for a doctoral dissertation), I did not undertake an exhaustive inspection of all coat hooks in all bathrooms. However, in the men's restroom on the lower level, all wardrobe hooks are still intact. This one, for example, is still gleaming:

Hill Auditorium Bathroom Stall

permanent link 9 February 2006 (Where Joey Bunks)
The question was posed to Susan Pollay while on the totter: where does Calthorpe's Joey Scanga stay when he's in town? She wasn't sure, but following up with Joey by email yielded:

From: Joe Scanga
To: Dave
Date: Feb 9, 2006 2:25 PM
Subject: Re: invitation from Ann Arbor citizen ...

I stay at The Inn at the Michigan League, on Campus.

permanent link 19 January 2006 (How Good is Bronze?)
While riding the teeter totter with Brandt Coultas I conjectured that every community that applied to the League of American Cyclists received some kind of designation, which would have dulled the luster on Ann Arbor's Bronze designation, which is the fourth best out of four categories. I had sent the following inquiry to LAC before mounting the totter with Brandt:

From: HomelessDave
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2006 5:51:18 PM
Subject: Bicycle Friendly Community inquiry


I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and we received a Bronze designation.

I know you guys don't want to name the names of communities who applied and didn't get ANY designation, but can you tell me the percentage breakdown? What percent of communities that apply get some kind of designation, bronze or above?

I just want to know how smug we should feel here in Ann Arbor!



A couple of days later, the following reply arrived:

From:Bill Nesper
Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2006 6:03 PM
Subject: RE: Bicycle Friendly Community inquiry


Thanks for the email. You live in a pretty great place so you should feel proud. 38 percent of the communities that have applied have received an award, but don't forget that we usually discourage communities that are not ready from applying. That is built into the application process. If a community has a long way to go we mention that and give them some objectives to meet before applying again.

I hope that this is helpful.

Best regards,

Bill Nesper
Program Manager
League of American Bicyclists

So that makes the Bronze designation more significant than I supposed.

permanent link 29 December 2005 (Mistake)
While tottering with Conan Smith I questioned whether 8th Street was technically included in the Old West Side, raising the possibility that the western boundary was 7th Street. In fact, the boundary is Crest, putting 8th Street clearly inside the OWS.

permanent link 28 December 2005 (Winter Teeter Totter Haiku)
A teeter tottering session a couple of days earlier resulted in a failed attempt by Conan Smith and me to compose a haiku about teeter tottering in the snow. Off the totter, I produced the following:

Feath'ry fleece of snow
A teeter totter's up end
Covered by the down

TT Log Archives

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2008September, October, November, December
2008July, August
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2005-2006December, January, February, March, April, May

NB: All totterees are already listed in the left hand column (in chronological order). What is available in the TT Log Archives are just the log entries.

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