Issue 5

A U-M flag showing the maize Block M on a blue background flaps in the breeze against a brick house in Holland, MI.
The Block M brightens up the block in south Holland. Photo by Holland Weekly.

The Victors Of November

By Kathleen Schenck
November 15, 2018

What a joy it is to walk the neighborhoods of Holland this November, with front doors adorned with evergreen wreaths, and kids swinging book bags over their heads as their stocking hats fall to the ground.

And Michigan flags, maize and blue, draped in bay windows or fluttering high in the cool breeze. We are a Michigan town, and our premier state school does not disappoint.

Take University of Michigan’s football team: climbing the ranks all season long, avenging last year’s stinging defeat against Penn State by a take that! score of 7-42 in Ann Arbor earlier this month. And showcasing players as likeable as they are athletic. Sophomore receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, with 30 catches for 447 yards and 7 touchdowns in 10 games, never misses the chance to give an attitude of gratitude. He recently told The Detroit News, “It’s always fun to play this game that I love.”

But as we watch and wait and opine on what will happen in Columbus next week against that school down south, Michigan Basketball has quietly been flexing its collective muscle. Quietly, until last night.

The Wolverines met Villanova Wednesday evening for the first time since losing the national championship to the Wildcats last April, 62-79. Like a smart, organized pack hungry for revenge, the Wolverines got it. And then some. Michigan buried shots and buried Villanova 73-46.

You’ll find amongst headlines like “Wolverines Pummel Wildcats” from SBNation and “Michigan Rolls Villanova” from Sports Illustrated a headline about how Villanova was at a disadvantage: “Villanova Is Basically Starting From Scratch” reports FiveThirtyEight.

But Michigan is also in rebuilding mode, having lost three amazing players at the end of last season: fan-favorite Moe Wagner, announcer-favorite Mohammed-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (or as heard in Crisler Arena, Mohammed-Ali Abduuuuuurrrrrr-Rahkmaaaaaaaaannnn) and ol’ reliable, especially at the foul line, Duncan Robinson.

Regardless of who’s starting from scratch, The Associated Press felt Villanova deserved to be ranked 8th in the nation going into Wednesday’s game, with Michigan 18th. We’ll see how the rankings shake out by the end of the week.

Coach John Beilein has plenty of talent on the team, with newcomer forward Igna “Iggy” Brazdeikis and returning players Charles Matthews, Jon Teske, Zavier Simpson, Isaiah Livers, and Jordan Poole who, as a freshman, was responsible for the NCAA tourney’s sweetheart moment in last spring’s buzzer beater against Houston.

Beilein’s squad will be tested when it meets 7th ranked UNC on Wednesday, Nov. 28. Then comes conference play with the always formidable Purdue Boilermakers on Dec. 1.

Football is fun, but the snow is falling. It’s wintertime in Michigan, and it’s a great time to be a Hollander, a Michigander, and a fan of Wolverine basketball. Get your hoops on, and keep those flags flying high.


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A shirtless Rami Malek strikes a pose on stage as Freddie Mercury in the film Bohemian Rhapsody.
Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in the film Bohemian Rhapsody. Photo courtesy of IMDB.

Long Live Queen

By Kathleen Schenck
November 15, 2018

I once had a Parisian friend who after a little/lot of wine would throw her head back and passionately yell Freddie Mercury is not dead! He was, sadly, gone from this world by the end of November 1991. But his spirit cannot be dimmed, as evidenced in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody distributed by 20th Century Fox this month.

Rami Malek (of Mr. Robot fame) has received loud applause from critics for embodying the late singer Mercury. The film finds Freddie Mercury when he is still Farrokh Bulsara, employed at Heathrow and unloading baggage from a commercial jet while taunted with racial slurs from his coworker. We soon see Farrokh transform into a performer on stage, clumsy at first, but then wholly in charge of himself and the small pub crowd with what would become the band Queen.

But the same critics have otherwise given a thumbs down to the film as a whole. Seems the filmmakers played a bit too fast and loose with reality by watering down some of Mr. Mercury’s more tawdry moments and rearranging the timeline to suit the plot’s needs.

Had I wanted to see a pure documentary on Queen, I would have (BBC has a good one). I wanted to relive the magic and be entertained, and I was. The Holland audience I was a part of rollicked in the live performance scenes. I could count on feet tapping next to mine each time a Queen song came on loud and strong. I myself may have let out a “Wooo!” during a particularly satisfying scene where Malek’s Mercury mesmerizes the crowd at Live Aid with the hit, “Radio Ga Ga.”

And we all laughed at Mike Meyers, astutely cast as the clueless, bratty record exec, when he delivered the lines that would prove him oh so wrong in the not so distant future. Meyers’ character from Wayne’s World helped bring the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” to the top of the charts for a second time since its release. Juxtapose that iconic car scene with the first scene in which we see Meyers as the offputting record exec, and it is a clever wink to movie audiences, involving us in the fun just as Queen loved to involve audiences everywhere.

Particularly delicious was witnessing how songs like “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites the Dust” came into being. The band’s relationship with its audience can be summed up with one word: philía, the Greek term for neighborly, friendly love. The origins of “We Will Rock You” and how the band’s good intentions for the song became great in the eyes and ears of the audience speak to a generosity of heart and soul. The movie focuses on eros explicitly, what with the burgeoning sexual awakening experienced by Mercury. But a sincere desire to connect with one’s fellow human being is the true bass line throughout.

I left with a better understanding of how a band of misfits came to appeal to misfits everywhere, and of a man who struggled as artists and humans do— with life, love, and the pursuit of musicianship. And the music is glorious. It is a gift to hear songs such as “Keep Yourself Alive” and, yes, “Bohemian Rhapsody” loud and in stereo with others, and see such a likeness of the real band performing on the big screen.

Bohemian Rhapsody is not to be missed if you’ve ever nodded your head or tapped your foot along to any of the numerous hits this band gave us. And you will gain a new appreciation for the artist’s process along the way.

Freddy Mercury’s spirit is not dead, and will live a long and operatic life. Vive la Queen!


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A line of sycamore trees on a slightly snowy day.
Photo by Holland Weekly.

Holland Weekly’s Name That Place

By Kathleen Schenck
Nov. 15, 2018

It’s a little harder to get out and about with the falling mercury. So Holland Weekly has developed a game for you to play outside. Can you guess where these photos were taken? Each place is located in the city of Holland. Start with the sycamores above and work your way down. Send your answers to hollandweekly@gmail.com.

2.

Two spray painted lines, one yellow, one blue, along a snowy sidewalk.
Photo by Holland Weekly.

3.

A wet wooden and iron park bench, slightly out of focus.
Photo by Lydia Leinbach.

4.

A blue door with a wreath of dried sunflowers and the address 18 above.
Photo by Holland Weekly.

5.

A bare tree against a blue sky with a walkway along blue water. Smoke rising in distance.
Photo by Holland Weekly.

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A bright blue handmade pottery bowl with smooth deep orange soup and a dollop of white sour cream in the middle.
Photo by Holland Weekly.

Holland Weekly’s Recipe Of The Week: Sweet Potato Soup

By Kathleen Schenck
Nov. 15, 2018

It’s high time for soup, what with the wet snow falling outside. This recipe is cheap and easy and delicious. It also happens to be healthy.

Prep: 10 minutes, if even.

Cook: 30 minutes.

Yield: 6 bowls.

Ingredients

2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed with skins on and sliced

1 shallot, peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Dash nutmeg

Dash cayenne (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Water to cover

Directions

Place the butter in a medium hot dutch oven or soup pot on stove. Sauté the shallot till fragrant. Add the potatoes and sauté till they just get an edge to them (they will still be mostly raw). Add salt, pepper, sugar, thyme, nutmeg, and cayenne if using. Stir.

Fill dutch oven with water to cover the ingredients. Cook on high with lid on. Once the mixture begins to boil, remove lid and let boil for 5 minutes, then cut heat and let steep for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes of steeping, bring the soup back up to a boil. Let cook until a knife can easily be inserted into a potato. Turn off heat. Add teaspoon of vinegar and stir.

Reserve some of the soup liquid in a mug off to the side. Take your immersion blender or traditional blender and blend the soup till smooth, adding water from the mug to the consistency you desire.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.

No joke this is yummy, yummier with homemade bread, yummiest with grilled cheese made with homemade bread. Mmmm.


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Madam puppy dog astrologer, Sylvia. Photo by Michael Tuccini.
Madam Sylvia. Photo by Michael Tuccini.

Sylvia Reads The Stars

Nov. 15 – Nov. 22, 2018

Scorpio Oct 23 – Nov 22

It’s cold but still your season, dear Scorp. You’ve mastered the art of out with the old, in with the new. Now it’s time to use that regenerative strength to fine tune the “new.” What is it really meant to be? And how will it help others, which we know is your ultimate goal.

Sagittarius Nov 22 – Dec 23

You’ve had a minor setback, ol’ centaur, and I’m sorry about it. Since it’s too cold for lemonade, why don’t you take life’s lemons and make lemon meringue pie? Then share with that saucy neighbor you’ve been wanting to meet. Nothing says I brought pie like I brought pie.

Capricorn Dec 23 – Jan 20

It’s such a stereotypical thing for a horoscope to say Be ready for change. But I have to say, the firmer you embrace a coming transition in your life, the better it will affect you and those around you. Open up your arms, Capricorn. Let the weird times roll.

Aquarius Jan 20 – Feb 18

Enough with the board games already, Aquarius. Winter came early to West Michigan. It’s time to up your game and take some real chances at what you love most: advocacy and action.

Pisces Feb 18 – Mar 20

Shiny little fish, how are you? Have you eaten? Have you taken care of yourself? Good. Because now it’s time to spread that kindness to the animal kingdom. Can you adopt a pet for a week/ever?

Aries Mar 20 – Apr 20

You are truly one of a kind, and the world would be a poorer place without you. Strut your stuff, Ram. Get out there and be as You as you can be. It’s a win-win for friends and strangers alike if you do.

Taurus Apr 20 – May 21

Taurus, does the heat really need to be that high? Sigh.

Gemini May 21 – Jun 21

Reminisce wildly, Gemini. Remember the good ol’ days. Listen to dusty records. Make your favorite food from when you were 5. Watch March of the Penguins and thank the fairies for your warm bed, complete with stuffed animals you salvaged from your parents’ basement.

Cancer Jun 21 – Jul 23

You’ve got something up your sleeve, Cancer. This coming week is the perfect time to divulge.

Leo Jul 23 – Aug 23

Go ahead and take some creative liberties with your life story, Lion. Write it the way you would see it through the eyes of a loving martian. Then live this version in the coming weeks.

Virgo Aug 23 – Sep 23

You’re feeling the tug of the shoulder devil and shoulder angel more than usual this week, Virgo. I am not going to say you should give in to one or the other, but don’t let the internal struggle drive you batty, either. When in doubt, cocoa.

Libra Sep 23 – Oct 23

Perfect timing for Thanksgiving! You see yourself with bigger eyes, and therefore you see others in an extended dance mix, too. By this I mean you find it easier to be yourself these days, and this self is much more expansive than you have ever seen. Enjoy.


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