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Ope or Nope

Ope: Elvira’s House of Horrors Pinball

Real pinball heads know. If you show up at your local pinball place and they have Elvira… they’re legit. One of the most iconic tables of all time. 

Elvira’s House of Horrors Pinball game.

Nope: Lil Gretch

For some inexplicable reason, the governor’s youthful, tapped-in social media team has been posing a Barbie doll meant to resemble her. “Lil Gretch,” the character is called.

Maybe this is meant to show little girls that they too could become governor, but it’s undeniably cringe. The governor’s office is no place for toys.

Barbie doll dressed as Gretchen Whitmer in front of Michigan state capitol building.

Nope: Land Rover Defenders

This isn’t the status symbol owners think it is. It is a Michigander’s duty to reject Japanese-made cars. But somehow driving a British car is even worse. Endless repairs, for what? That strange microwave box people put on the rear window doesn’t even look that cool.

Grey land rover defender with “24” on front bumper.

Ope: Buick LeSabre

Full-sized, curvy-bodied V6 with leather seats and decades of legacy. Rides like a dream. Even has a French name. They sure don’t make them like this anymore—but great news, you can find them used for less than two grand!

Full-sized, curvy-bodied V6 with leather seats and decades of legacy. Rides like a dream. Even has a French name. They sure don’t make them like this anymore—but great news, you can find them used for less than two grand!

Ope: Michigan Mexican Food

Michigan has insanely good Mexican food—too many spots to list. When you see the tiny roadside building with just a neon sign and a single table inside, you know the birria tacos are going to change your life.

Outside of Tacos el Cunado taco stand in Grand Rapids with a crowd of people waiting.

Nope: Rest Stop Vending Machines

Skip the seed-oil-filled garbage snacks at your local highway rest stop. Take the next exit, and find the nearest hole-in-the-wall hot dog stand or taco place instead.

Vending machines filled with snacks and soda at a Michigan highway rest stop.

Ope: Creed

Creed. For years, Nickelback and Creed were safe targets for jokes. According to the internet humor of the 2010s, these late rock bands have no value beyond their memeability. That is until their halftime performance at the November 2001 Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game went extremely viral on Twitter. 

Although the video is dated, it became clear to Gen Z that this era of rock has its merits. The anti-Creed psyop was exposed, and Creed has been recognized for the excellent band they are.

Michigander Kirk Cousins agrees

The four members of the band Creed.

Nope: New Eminem

By the mid-2000s, Eminem lost his Detroit tweaker aggression and seemed to lose his artistic spark along with it. His 2017 BET Awards Trump freestyle was rock bottom. How did one of the most subversive acts of all time become indistinguishable from activist-rapper Macklemore. The establishment should rejoice that Eminem’s message was neutered, or else he would command a loyal army of fans that would make the system deeply uncomfortable.

Close up photo of Eminem rapping in concert.

Nope: Naloxone Vending Machines

Michigan highway rest stops have free Naloxone now?? Perfect for your trip up north!

Vending machine labeled “Free Naloxone”

Ope: Detroit-style Pizza

Keep your thin crust, we want those deep, crispy edges baked right in the pan. The real Detroit style classic.

Detroit style pizza in cardboard pizza box.

Nope: Carhartt Beanies

Ladies, stop ruining your cute fits with that neon beanie on top!

Woman in black carhartt beanie with dog taking mirror selfie.

Ope: Bell’s Oberon

The (un)official beer of Michigan Summer. An easy drinking wheat ale with just a bit of citrus.

Two glass Oberon bottles on a metal table outside with grill equipment.

Nope: Axe Throwing

Don’t forget your flannel shirt, hoppy IPA and beard oil! Paying to throw an axe when you could chop real wood like a man for free… how embarrassing. 

Indoor axe throwing area with signs saying “@detroitaxe”.

Ope: Laser Tag

Laser tag is a lost art. Millennials and older Zoomers remember beautiful Saturday afternoon birthday parties thrown at a blacklight, air conditioning-blasted extraterrestrial planet inside a strip mall. We are due a laser tag revival.

Interior of laser tag arena with fog and colored lights.

Nope: Espresso Martini

This order is a red flag for women. Even bigger red flag for men. Be a man and drink a Zombie.

Photo of espresso martini with coffee beans on foam.

Ope: The Zombie

This 1934 rum punch was formulated as an ultra strong drink for a time when the average American’s alcohol tolerance was far higher. So for modern consumers, this cocktail is an intense experience. Truly delicious. Perfect way to beat the summer heat in Grand Rapids.

Photo of Zombie cocktail with parasol and straw.

Ope: ORV Parks

Custom 4-wheel off-roaders, buggies, ATVs, dirt bikes, whatever these intrepid Michiganders can cook up. Wheeling them hard through the dirt around a curve, a jump here and there, up and down the hills. Gasoline in their veins, what a blast.

Off road vehicle traversing a trail in a large outdoor recreational vehicle park.

Nope: Abandoned Homes

Sad to say, the desolate sprawl in SE Michigan lies host to many a dilapidated house. Ruin-porn is so played out—find something new, you photographic leeches. Best not wander inside, you never know who’s sleeping in there.

Abandoned home with broken windows and “Do Not Enter” spray painted on boarded up front door.

Ope: Longboards

The suburban surfboard on wheels, carving pavement, wind in your hair. Bomb down the hill. it’s all the same. Not transportation, freedom. Freedom to cruise the world on your own terms. If anything, they teach you how to fall with grace.

Man riding a longboard on a street in a suburban neighborhood, house with an American flag in the background.

Ope: Adirondack Chairs

Relax, Michigander. Pull up a chair—an Adirondack chair, the perfect chair for chilling outdoors. Crack open a cold one and admire the view. The subtle recline, the sunken back seat, the bright colors usher you right into the spirit of a Michigan summer. Enjoy yourself and take it easy, this is how we win.

Two blue Adirondack chairs in the sun on a gray stone patio.

Nope: Whip-its

Whip-its cause brain damage, literally, that’s what produces their sensation. Don’t be tempted by the deals (two for $45!) at your local convenience store with bars on the windows. It’s not worth it, folks. (NOT speaking from experience or anything.)

Whip-It tank behind glass on counter at liquor store, next to liquor bottles, with sign reading “Whip-It Tanks 25 dollars each, two for 45 dollars.”

Ope: Dirt Roads

Go far enough in Michigan, and you’ll find yourself on a dirt road. Maybe on the map, maybe not. No pavement, just vibes. This is how you know you’re really out there, in that remaining wilderness we call home. Kick it into 4-wheel-drive and see where the road takes you.

Dirt road heading through the forest off to the horizon on a cloudy day.

Ope: Dune Buggies

Hitting the dunes in a buggy is some of the best fun you can have in Michigan. The open throttle, the tires kicking up sand as you race along the beach. Just be careful you don’t take it a little too hot over a dune—but hey, that’s what the roll cage is for.

Side view of red dune buggy racing across a sand dune towards Lake Michigan.

Nope: AirPods

It doesn’t take a peer-reviewed study on EMFs to determine that AirPods are not cool. The battery life is awful and no matter how normalized they are, they look stupid.

Be an adult and stop complaining about wires being uncomfortable.

Airpods sideways in open case on black background.

Ope: Pronto Pups

Compare them with the other regional cult-status corn dog, the Fletcher’s Corny Dog at the State Fair of Texas. What sets the Pronto Pup apart is its uniquely low batter-to-meat ratio. The Texas corny dog is wieldy and difficult to eat. The Pronto Pup is the embodiment of Midwestern engineering and pragmatism. A vastly more enjoyable dish.

Proto Pups corn dog stand, sign says “Cash Only”.

Nope: Wake Boat Laws

The Michigan nanny state wants to fine you for piloting your wake boat too close to the shore. They’ll get out their measuring tapes and wag their fingers in your face for simply enjoying yourself on the water. Here’s a thought; trust boaters to act responsibly, let Michiganders protect their own lakes, stop policing the boating equivalent of a microaggression in yet another craven revenue scheme.

Man on wakeboard surfing the wake behind a boat on a lake on a sunny day.

Ope: Tart Cherries

Michigan tart cherries symbolize the tie of Michiganders to the land, and its ability for regeneration. They’re a potent anti-inflammatory, with just enough natural melatonin to help you sleep. They grow in the ground, they’re picked by farmers, and you’ll never see an obnoxious ad for them on TV like some big pharma pill. Go to the market, bring a basket, and buy some local fruit from a Michigan farmer you can look in the face. 

 

Pile of dried tart cherries held in a woman’s hands.

Nope: Weed Stores

Weed superstores. I don’t want to hear your high school debate team talking points about “tax revenue” or “personal liberty.” There shouldn’t be this many weed stores in Michigan. They make our state so much uglier and trashier—this is an observable fact.

Ope: Security Monitors at Bars

Many Detroit bars have prominently displayed CCTV screens for patrons to keep an eye on their cars. Not as immediately entertaining as ESPN, but it can be hard to look away. Imagine if things got weird and you got to watch a bar fight or drug bust from the comfort of your barstool. Better television than anything cable can provide.

Security monitor live feed of parking lot inside a Detroit dive bar with Budweiser, Stroh’s, and Modelo beer signs next to it. Sign for Detroit Farm and Garden below and Soriana soccer jersey on wall below monitor.

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Elvira’s House of Horrors Pinball

Elvira’s House of Horrors Pinball game.

Real pinball heads know. If you show up at your local pinball place and they have Elvira… they’re legit. One of the most iconic tables of all time. 

Lil Gretch

Barbie doll dressed as Gretchen Whitmer in front of Michigan state capitol building.

For some inexplicable reason, the governor’s youthful, tapped-in social media team has been posing a Barbie doll meant to resemble her. “Lil Gretch,” the character is called. Maybe this is meant to show little girls that they too could become governor, but it’s undeniably cringe. The governor’s office is no place for toys.

Land Rover Defenders

Grey land rover defender with “24” on front bumper.

This isn’t the status symbol owners think it is. It is a Michigander’s duty to reject Japanese-made cars. But somehow driving a British car is even worse. Endless repairs, for what? That strange microwave box people put on the rear window doesn’t even look that cool.

Buick LeSabre

Full-sized, curvy-bodied V6 with leather seats and decades of legacy. Rides like a dream. Even has a French name. They sure don’t make them like this anymore—but great news, you can find them used for less than two grand!

Full-sized, curvy-bodied V6 with leather seats and decades of legacy. Rides like a dream. Even has a French name. They sure don’t make them like this anymore—but great news, you can find them used for less than two grand!

Michigan Mexican Food

Outside of Tacos el Cunado taco stand in Grand Rapids with a crowd of people waiting.

Michigan has insanely good Mexican food—too many spots to list. When you see the tiny roadside building with just a neon sign and a single table inside, you know the birria tacos are going to change your life.

Rest Stop Vending Machines

Vending machines filled with snacks and soda at a Michigan highway rest stop.

Skip the seed-oil-filled garbage snacks at your local highway rest stop. Take the next exit, and find the nearest hole-in-the-wall hot dog stand or taco place instead.

Creed

The four members of the band Creed.

Creed. For years, Nickelback and Creed were safe targets for jokes. According to the internet humor of the 2010s, these late rock bands have no value beyond their memeability. That is until their halftime performance at the November 2001 Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game went extremely viral on Twitter.  Although the video is dated, it […]

New Eminem

Close up photo of Eminem rapping in concert.

By the mid-2000s, Eminem lost his Detroit tweaker aggression and seemed to lose his artistic spark along with it. His 2017 BET Awards Trump freestyle was rock bottom. How did one of the most subversive acts of all time become indistinguishable from activist-rapper Macklemore. The establishment should rejoice that Eminem’s message was neutered, or else […]