Eye sore of the week

By Lawrence Cosentino

Property: State Christmas Tree

Owner: State of Michigan

Assessed value: It was free, but will cost the state about $300 to light this season

Owner says: We hear it every year

Early last month, a 75-foot-tall, infundibuliform mass appeared in front of Michigan’s state Capitol. The alarmed populace was told that it was merely the state’s official Christmas tree, an extra large Concolor Fir from Jackson. But when the tree lights went on, people began to wonder. Thick bands of green and red lights tricked the eye into seeing a solid mass instead of a tree. At best, it looked like a Christmas tree stuffed in an ugly Christmas sweater. At worst, the tip of a nuclear missile. Was the state’s Republican-led Legislature about to launch the long-dreaded, devastating counterstrike to the liberal war on Christmas?

Nah — the glow-cone is a sign of the times. Once upon a woolen sock, people decked Christmas trees with flickering candles, creating a random, starry effect. When every village in Europe burned to the ground, electric lights became an acceptable substitute. They weren’t as beautiful, but if scattered delicately, they could still please the eye and let a tree look like a tree.

Now Americans mark Christmas by inflating puffy Santas and snow globes and rolling them onto muddy, snow-less front lawns. Don’t deck the halls — brand them! The glowing blob on the state’s front lawn fits right into that landscape.

“Eyesore of the Week” is our look at some of the seedier properties in Lansing. It rotates each week with Eye Candy of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail eye@lansingcitypulse.com or call Andy Balaskovitz at 999-5064.