TEN QUESTIONS: Tacos and T. Rex
This is part one of a special year-end edition of our weekly Ten Questions feature, this time profiling members of the newsroom staff who work at the Daily News.
1. Who are you? My name is Timothy Patrick McAllister. I was born in 1974. I have lived in Grand Rapids since 1993 and my job is Ionia County reporter for the Daily News.
2. Describe your job duties/responsibilities in 50 words or less: To completely and accurately document for posterity the activities and achievements of people and groups in the community.
3. What is your favorite part about your job? What’s the most challenging? My favorite part is that I’m allowed to visit interesting places and meet interesting people and I’m (usually) encouraged to ask questions. On the other hand, although I have worked as a journalist for more than 10 years, the most challenging thing for me remains phone calls. I still feel a little shudder in my stomach when I have to phone somebody, even a personal call to a friend or relative. I’ve always been that way, there is no known cure, you just have to get on with it.
4. What’s your favorite bar/restaurant in Ionia County or Montcalm County, and why? I purchase a little box of tacos from El Mariachi in Ionia about once a week. In my experience, the kitchen does excellent work and the service is prompt and friendly. For coffee I would say it depends what side of town I’m on. A couple weeks ago I just would have said Sozo’s in Ionia, but now that Coffee Fix has opened in Ionia there is a convenient coffee option on that side of town. I pretty much only buy tacos and coffee.
5. What’s a hidden gem in Ionia County or Montcalm County that most people might not know about? The adaptive playground at Freedom Acres School in Ionia that was specifically designed so children with mobility issues can join in outdoor play with their friends and family is a wonderful thing for that community.
6. What TV shows/movies/books have you enjoyed this past year, and why? I tend to watch outdated movies and TV shows, so it’s a bad idea to ask me for recommendations. For example, I am currently watching “Project U.F.O.,” which aired on NBC circa 1978. It was the last TV series made by Jack Webb, the fellow who was responsible for “Dragnet.” Apparently he went a little nutty towards the end of his life, but it’s pretty entertaining, if a bit slow, with some hilariously cheesy special effects. Never come to me for movie recommendations either, but a few recent favorites were “Times Square” from 1980, the story of two girls who run away from home and make a big punk rock stink; “Putney Swope” from 1969 about a Black man who gets filthy rich wreaking havoc in the advertising industry; “Spider Baby” from 1967 about a family of deformed, murderous freaks and “Female Trouble” from 1974, which is horrible and nasty but also one of the funniest movies ever made, and it has a groovy title track sung by Divine.
7. What music/podcasts/radio do you typically find yourself listening to while driving around on the job? Lately I’ve been obsessed with a band from the ‘70s called T. Rex. Living in Grand Rapids and working in Ionia County, I spend a tremendous amount of time driving around and I have been using that time to “study” (listen to all of their music over and over at top volume) artists with deep catalogs full of interesting work. I’ve recently overcome obsessions with Parliament/Funkadelic, the Butthole Surfers, Prince and the Talking Heads. Anyway, with T. Rex, my conclusion was they made two perfect, essential LPs: “Electric Warrior” and “The Slider.” There were several T. Rex albums that came out before those two, but they all sound like Donovan if he was hysterical and psychotic. The albums they made after the two perfect ones just sound like duller, more diluted versions of the same thing.
8. When not working, how do you spend your time? Reading, reading and then reading. I recently finished Stephen King’s latest novel “Fairy Tale,” which was silly but fun, and I’m currently into three others: “M Train” by Patti Smith, a Jack Kerouac biography called “Memory Babe” and a collection of short stories by J.G. Ballard called “Terminal Beach.”
9. What was the most interesting news or sports story/topic you covered/edited/read in the Daily News this past year, and why? I haven’t been around long enough to have many adventures (Tim started working for the Daily News in July), but I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Sue Ward at her antique store Keynote Antiques on Main Street in Ionia, discussing piano rolls and everything else with her.
10. What do you predict will be the biggest local news story of 2023? I think there will be some major industrial and commercial development in the Ionia area next year.
Tim McAllister can be contacted via email at email@example.com, by phone at (616) 560-9918 or on Twitter: @TimPMcAllister
Ten Questions is compiled by News Editor Elisabeth Waldon.