|For April 11, 2001 "It'd be a lot cooler if you did!" - Vol. I No. XXIV published every other Wednesday|
Downtown() Desperate for a way to keep auto dealerships in the downtown area, coupled with the burden of supplying Lincoln Town Cars to various city employees, the Birmingham City Council has decided to take over the remaining downtown car lots and turn them into an Urban Auto Mega Mall. The Mega Mall will incorporate the sites of Adamson Ford, Edwards Chevrolet, Steel City Olds, and various connecting properties. This will give the current dealerships a ready buyer for their downtown property and remove the last obstacle that has kept them from moving to the suburbs already. To help sweeten the deal, the Ford Motor Company and General Motors have agreed to a joint franchise arrangement that will give the City of Birmingham the ability to sell both Cadillacs and Lincolns from the same location. Birmingham Mayor Bernard Kincaid has worked closely with the council on this issue and is ecstatic about the results. "I can't wait to go browsing around our downtown Mega Mall. This is going to create an economic boom for the city." Councilor Aldrich Gunn is similarly excited about the venture. "I think my motto is going to be 'Straight Shootin Gunn'. No one will undersell me." In addition to the council operating the Mega Mall for the city, each councilor will have individual responsibility for a particular car model, and will be eligible for bonuses based on a unit sales and revenue formula. William Bell's district will include the Lincoln Navigator SUV which the Water Works has been eyeing as a possible transport vehicle to and from their Lay Lake villa. The Lincoln Town Car will be in Jimmy Blake's domain. This was done to ensure that Mayor Kincaid and Superintendent Brown would not dominate the market. According to Blake each will be allowed only one new Town Car every two years. In addition to Cadillacs and Lincolns, the Council hopes to eventually sell Mercurys and Suburus too.
Lakeview() The McDonald's restaurant on Clairmont Avenue has begun offering a special where diners can recieve two six piece Chicken McNuggets for only $2.22. This is a bargain compared to the regular menu price of $1.90 for only one six piece portion. Lakeview residents are thrilled by the opportunity to get twelve of the normally high priced McNuggets for such a low price. "I've never understood why their chicken products cost so much," said Mandy Klein a McDonald's regular. "It's like their willing to give away their burgers, but the chicken stuff is like gold." Klein is referring to the regular menu specials featuring several varieties of burgers, plus fries and a drink for only $2.49. There is no equivalent chicken based special on the regular menu. "Besides, it's that damn drink where they get you," another McDonald's parking lot interview revealed. Frank Sanders went on to explain McDonald's entire pricing structure. "If you want a lot of food, it's pretty expensive. Sure you can get those 'value meals' for a couple bucks, but you're paying a dollar for the damn drink. If you want two Quarter Pounders it's like five bucks unless they are on special. And then sometimes they make you buy a drink to get the damn 2 for $2.22 special anyway. I used to try and substitute a Shake for a few more cents, but that damn machine is never working!" Despite this one negative view, the McDonald's on Clairmont seems to be doing great business with it's McNuggets special. The attractive ad banner succeeds in catching the attention of everyone who passes by. And if they are hungry, why wouldn't they stop at Mickey D's?
UAB() Symphony goers were rewarded with a stellar performance one recent Saturday thanks to some constructive criticism from Birmingham News critic at large Nancy Raabe. The ambitious Masterworks program consisted of Stravinsky's tedious Rite of Spring, followed after a brief intermission by Orff's rowdy Carmina Burana. According to Raabe, who attended the Thursday night performance, the symphony really sucked on the Stravinsky, and the children's choir was not loud enough for the demands of the Orff. Music Director Richard Westerfield took Raabe's cues and really cleaned up the show for the Saturday audience. "I was horrified that Mrs. Raabe thought that we sucked. She said we had taken on too much for one night and that the whole performance suffered because of it. I think we were much better on Saturday, but without Mrs. Raabe's feedback, I can't be sure." This the tenth Masterworks program of the year provided a severe challenge to the symphony players already exhausted from a long season which also meant playing for Opera Birmingham including a performance of The Marriage of Figaro a short two weeks before. The Stravinsky shredded the string players bows before an extremely brief intermission brought them to kneel before Orff's intricately timed choral masterpiece. Raabe was apparently unimpressed by their efforts however, as she described the 'poor timing' and 'weak sound.' "For a moment the sound approached the level Stravinsky must have intended, but all was shattered by Westerfield's hurried direction and a string section that was simply not up to the task of producing the proper dissonance required to bring the piece from the level of a mere mortal experience to one of transcendence." "I'm so glad we got that review on Thursday," said Westerfield. "I wouldn't have been able to forgive myself for another performance as pitiful as Mrs. Raabe described." Westerfield has been praised for trying new things, and giving the Birmingham public a chance to become musically educated. But some programs are not perfect. Westerfield's advice is for people to read Raabe's review before deciding whether to go to the symphony or not. "She obviously knows what she is talking about," he said.