Showing posts from April, 2009

Loan-Lee at the Top

The CEO traipsed down to Washington, positioned himself in front of the arrow-slingers, and spoke humbly but with determination about the future of his company.

He explained to the tough crowd in the room how beneficial it would be, for all of us, if his company were propped up, with a little financial help from the federal government.

Float us a loan, he told the sourpusses, and I promise you won't regret it.

It was the late-1970s. Detroit was in a recession, as was the entire country. But especially Detroit. It's always that way, it seems, when the country's economy goes sideways.

Lee Iacocca promised he would pay every single penny back, if the lawmakers in Washington would only give him a shot in the arm.

And what a shot it was: $1 billion in government-backed loans.

And ole Lee paid it back -- with $350 million interest, to boot. And early.

The bailout ended up not costing the feds a dime, after all.

Chrysler got the loan in 1979, and paid it back by 1983. Not long after that…

Fly-by? Bye-bye!

OK, so who's the bozo who authorized a low altitude flyover of New York?

One person has come forward as being the bozo. But the president, no less, has ordered an internal review to determine who really is the bozo.

Bozo, by the way, once outed, should have his (or her) big red nose and orange hair and big floppy shoes removed, forever.

Be sure to blast him (or her) in the eye with a squirting daisy and deliver a jolt from a joy buzzer while you're at it.

You've probably heard: military planes, including one sometimes used to transport President Obama, circled the Statue of Liberty and zoomed near the World Trade Center site on Monday.

Jittery New Yorkers -- and can you blame them? -- panicked as nearby office buildings were evacuated.

Why, you couldn't have picked a more foolish -- and worse, insensitive -- thing to do, unless you baked cookies in the shapes of Jewish concentration campers in an oven.

Obama, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, was "fu…

Motionly Disturbed

It's taking me longer to go to the bathroom nowadays, and I blame technology.

I'm not talking about going to the bathroom at home. That's always taken me a long time, mainly because I treat the rest room like a library. That is, if they ever allowed toilets on the floor of a library.

But that's a long time that I choose to take. It's a guy thing, but the bathroom is a safe haven, a reading room for men.

It's public restrooms that are starting to waste more and more of my time.

First, unlike the throne at home, which I'm in no hurry to leave, I can't wait to get my tush out of a public lav. The thought of what sort of scientific creepy-crawlies that are clinging to every wall and faucet and door handle in there doesn't lend itself to me wanting to spend anymore time there than is absolutely necessary.

But here's why it's taking so long nowadays: all the fancy-shmancy motion detectors.

Today's modern public restroom is discouraging you from touc…

Fryers Club

No, no--say it ain't so!!

Kentucky Fried Chicken, that bastion of, well, fried chicken, would now have us shove grilled chicken down our gullet?

The commercials have been airing for several days now. No doubt you've seen them. Maybe, like me, you've looked out to the west in the evening, to make sure the sun still sets in that direction.

Kentucky Grilled Chicken?

There's nothing real in the world anymore. Like Black Sabbath once wrote, "Black is really white; the moon is just the sun at night."

Check Tweety Bird's cage; make sure Sylvester didn't just have her for lunch. Did Wile E. Coyote catch up to the Road Runner? Did Charlie Brown make the kick without Lucy pulling the ball away?

Kentucky Grilled Chicken?

Look at the calendar for a month of Sundays. The house lost. The check really is in the mail. Dewey defeated Truman, after all.

Kentucky Grilled Chicken?

Might as well pop open the colonel's grave and check the casket for after effects of spinning.


Border Over-patrol

It's been one of the rites of social passage for us metro Detroiters for, well, damn near forever.

Span the Ambassador Bridge, or snake your way thru the tunnel, and head into Windsor, Ontario (that's Canada, you know) for a couple of pops, some dinner, and maybe pull a few one-arm bandits while you're at it.

In my younger, more frivolous days, my buddies and I "did Canada" because the legal drinking age was 19, a full two years younger than in Michigan.

Molson's Brador was, at one time, my most favorite alcoholic beverage of them all. But the version they sold in the states was a watered down, inferior product.

So to get "real" Brador, you had to traipse to Windsor and buy a case from one of their beer stores.

Literally, a beer store. It even said so on the sign. Still does.

"Beer Store". No joke.

You'd place your order, and within moments it would come out from the back, on a metal conveyor belt.

Nothing made this college student happier tha…

His John Hancock

If I was a retail worker in the late-18th century, and John Hancock came in to my establishment and signed a check, then it would replicate the feeling I had that night in the drugstore in Ann Arbor, circa 1983.

I used to work the liquor counter and help the pharmacists, part-time, at Perry Drugs when I wasn't attending classes and parties at Eastern Michigan University. Not necessarily in that order, by the way.

EMU is in Ypsilanti, just a beer can's throw away from Ann Arbor, which is where I worked. Ann Arbor isn't all that far from Plymouth, which will become relevant shortly, I promise.

So I'm hanging out, chatting with the "druggist" (remember when we called them that?), late one evening, maybe after 10:00.

A man strides to the liquor counter and wants to buy some, well, liquor. Natch.

I load him up, with some of our most expensive vodkas and whiskeys, and he wants to pay with a traveler's cheque. Fine.

With a traveler's cheque, the clerk simply needs…

Icky Dick

I long for the good old days.

When you could buy a pack of bubble gum cards for fifteen cents.

When The Three Stooges were on the tube at 4:00 in the afternoon.

When they pumped out Towne Club soda pop in those thin-as-wand bottles.

When Dick Cheney was holed up in an undisclosed location.

Ahh, those were the days.

Remember when we didn't know where Cheney was and didn't hear a peep out of him?

I can't believe that I once found that a fault.

Oh, to have those days return!

Cheney, the deposed vice president who is getting more TV face time lately than any, well, deposed vice president that I can remember, has moved past simply being annoying on my patience meter.

He's bordering on treason, if you ask me.

Cheney keeps going on TV--mainly on GOP-friendly outlets like Fox News where he's treated like royalty by the likes of Sean "Insanity" Hannity--and crabs about the new administration's foreign policy. Maybe he's there to defend torture. Sometimes he goes on i…


I've never lived in Detroit. But I've lived all around it.

Northern suburbs. Western suburbs. And now, just a few miles north of its famous 8 Mile Road border.

I've worked in Detroit. For several years.

Hell, it doesn't matter. I'm a Detroiter! I grew up here and have spent my whole life living within 30 miles of the city limits.

Which is why I care, very much, about who becomes the next mayor of the city.

Ken Cockrel Jr., the current, interim mayor, is a fine man. His dad, who might have been mayor had he not died so young, ought to be proud of his kid.

Kenny Jr., and his stable, free-from-scandal administration, is a breath of fresh air after the stench left over from Kwame Kilpatrick and his corrupt Cass Tech crew.

There really aren't too many people I'd endorse over Ken Cockrel Jr., who in a different time, under different circumstances, might have made one hell of a mayor.

But this isn't the time, and these aren't the circumstances.

It doesn't mean …

Oranges on the Juice

I'm not a very mechanical person. I admit that. Even simple tasks tend to challenge me. I can follow directions on a ready-to-assemble piece of furniture, or a grill--to about 95% accuracy. But there's always one tiny step I'll miss or misunderstand or read the diagram wrongly, and whammo--I've just added an hour to my work time.

Yet I always thought I understood where orange juice came from. Thought I had a handle on how it was made.

You squeeze juice from oranges, no?

It's cute how naive I am, isn't it?

The orange juice people are out of hand.

As far as I know, we grow basically one kind of orange in this country. The kind with a peel on the outside, the pulpy fruit on the inside, and, well, isn't that pretty much about it?

Oh, and some have navels, some don't.

Some are bigger than others, I grant you. Some are easier to peel than others. Some have a few more seeds inside them than others.

I get all that.

But beyond that, an orange is an orange, isn't it?


Say Uncle, Ed!

I used to adore Uncle Ed. Found comfort in him. Enjoyed spending time with him. He made me feel safe.

Then he went and got greedy, and now I've disowned him.

Uncle Ed's Oil Change was one of my hangouts, back in the day. We're talking the 1990s here. It was before the drive-thru oil change places started sprouting, like mushrooms.

I could cruise into Uncle Ed's, with its brown and yellow color scheme, sit in my car, and know that the dudes beneath my car were dutifully draining and changing me. I could read the paper, chill out, and be done within the 15 minute time frame that Uncle Ed promised on his signs.

I made it a practice to give the good folks there a thumbs up as I left. It was my little ritual. It wouldn't surprise me if I was the only one with such a ritual.

All I needed to do after I pulled into a stall was fill out a brief form on the Uncle Ed clipboard, which asked me what services I'd like to enjoy beyond oil changing.

Need some new wiper blades? Place…


Was any entertainer "cooler" than Dean Martin?

Was any person, for that matter?

Was watching the highly-underrated romantic comedy, Fools Rush In, with Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry, the other day and during a montage, Martin's Ain't That a Kick In the Head was the tune.

That was a song written for Dean Martin to sing.

Just like Everybody Loves Somebody and That's Amore.

Kick in the Head rattled around in my head for a few days.

How lucky can one guy be?
I kissed her and she kissed me
Like the fella once said
"Ain't that a kick in the head?"

The room was completely black
I hugged her and she hugged back
Like the sailor said, quote
"Ain't that a hole in the boat?'

My head keeps spinnin'
I go to sleep and keep grinnin'
If this is just the beginnin'
My life is going to be beeeeeautiful

You hear Martin sing it, and it sounds like he's smiling. Deano always sounded like he was smiling when he sang.

I YouTubed the song, just to hear it again and…

First 100 Daze

Barack Obama hasn't cured the economy. Hasn't ended any wars. Hasn't improved education all that much. The streets are still unsafe. Reality TV is still running rampant.

Throw the bum out!

We're getting close to the end of those crucial "first 100 days" of the Obama presidency.

I'm not sure when we began to be fascinated with the first three months and ten days of any presidency, but we sure are, it seems.

MSNBC has a graphic that screams OBAMA'S FIRST 100 DAYS on the top of the screen almost perpetually during one of their programs.

So what will we do with Barack Obama on Day 101? Send a progress report home to the White House? With the words "SEE ME" in red ink?

I suspect that 100 days were chosen as a sort of honeymoon period for new presidents, and those fortunate enough to be beginning their second term. Maybe someone somewhere deemed that once you get past April, all bets are off and the kid gloves are removed.

Maybe with other presidents, th…

Flying Time

Last year our daughter was born. Six months later she turned five. Three months after that, ten. Two weeks ago, thirteen.

And today, Sweet 16.

Don't tell me that it was sixteen years ago today, at 3:57 P.M., that our precious girl was born, some two months early, weighing in at a paltry 2 lbs., 14 oz. You'll never convince me that it's been that long.

It's cliche, but where has the time gone?

It's not just with this.

The Tigers, I realized a short while ago, won their 1984 World Series 25 years ago.


We watched the terrific movie Tootsie the other day, on DVD. I remember that film coming out like it was yesterday.

The DVD cover was on the coffee table. On it were the words, "25th Anniversary Edition."


I'm a date guy. I tend to remember when things happened, both month and year. This is true for events in history, and events that affect us personally at home.

Lately I've been extrapolating those dates backward, constantly amazed at how much time …

Motor City Jay

I think Jay Leno did a terrific thing by coming to Detroit, er Auburn Hills, and performing a couple of free concerts for the area's unemployed. You can count on one hand how many non-Detroiter performers would have done that, and you'd have some fingers left over.

But it's the least Jay can do after coming to Detroit in 1986 and putting Collision Course on celluloid.

That movie was so bad, I'd say we're even-Steven now. His free performances at The Palace pay off a longtime debt, albeit with interest.

Leno wasn't the big deal in '86 that he is now when he traipsed to Detroit along with co-stars Pat Morita and Chris Sarandon to make a Hollywood movie downtown.

In fact, Jay's damn lucky that Collision Course didn't do any damage to his career.

Our city almost became the backdrop for a comedian's crash-and-burn moment.

The plot was thus. Leno played a Detroit cop who got himself involved in a case of industrial espionage, a case so international that it…

Chop Shop

Carl's Chop House is no more. Never again will a steak thrill me so.

It's been closed for several months now, Carl's has. But the familiar sign is still there, visible as you head down the Lodge Freeway, near Grand River.

All you non-Detroiters, keep reading. Because no matter where you live, you need to know that once upon a time sat a steakhouse where I nearly ran into the kitchen and yanked the chef into the dining area.

Don't worry; it wasn't to throttle him. Instead, I wanted to reveal to the customers that there existed a man who knew how to cook a steak "well done" while, at the same time, preserving its juices and flavor.

I first dined at Carl's, in its old, unimpressive from the outside brick building, in 1990, while courting my future wife. I had heard about it, along with the other famed steakhouse in Detroit, the London Chop House, for years but never had the occasion to eat there.

So I took the future Mrs. Eno to Carl's, ordered me a steak…

Cat Thief

As if I needed another reason to dislike cats. Here comes Jack the Thief.

This world seems to be split, black or white, no grey, when it comes to certain things.

Coke or Pepsi?

Democrat or Republican?

Boxers or briefs?

Cats or dogs?

I never liked cats. Mainly because I don't trust them. Cats are the one animal on this planet that can, at the same time, make me paranoid, give me an inferiority complex, and cause me to sneeze and make my eyes water.

I'm allergic to cats, physically, and afraid of them emotionally.

I distrust any pet that gives off an air that they could survive just fine whether you were there or not. My dad didn't like cats either. I remember him telling me why, back in the day.

"They always look like they're up to something," my dad said. "They sneak around."

They do. And they're arrogant. They come and go out of the house as they please, sometimes disappearing for hours. Then they saunter back in, as if daring you to ask them where they&…

Gun-Providing Wackos

When R. Budd Dwyer wanted to blow his brains out in front of video cameras, he had to call a press conference to do it.

Nowadays, even senseless, horrific murders -- and suicides -- can be caught on tape, by happenstance.

The latest example of the latter occurred yesterday in Casselberry, Fla.

For reasons that may never be known, 44-year-old Marie Moore, holding a pistol, stood behind her 20-year-old son, Mitchell and squeezed the trigger, the gun aimed at his head. He was killed, instantly. Seconds later, Moore stuck the gun into her mouth and fired. She died later in a hospital.

Now, some more details: Moore and her son were at a shooting range. And the whole thing was captured on videotape. There was a poor man in the shooting stall next to mother and son when it went down. He was the first to see the gore. I wonder how long before he's getting psychiatric help.

There's a punch line here, too, and as with most punch lines, it defies logic.

Moore, relatives said, had a history of …

Perty Gerty

If I had to watch daily viewings of The Price is Right, you can be dadgum sure that after a week I'd be begging you to call Dr. Kevorkian on my behalf.

Well, Gertrude Baines is 115 and has watched TPIR every day for years. Even though that young whippersnapper, Bob Barker has retired.

Oh, and if you make Gertrude some bacon, make sure it's extra crispy. That's how she likes it.

Baines is a Georgia native and turned a century-plus-fifteen on Monday, in Los Angeles. I'll save you the math: she was born in 1894. Two centuries ago.

Her most serious injury or affliction? Just some arthritis. She told MSNBC that she never smoke or drank, and never "fooled around."

So SHE's the one!

Maybe her long life can also be attributed to staying out of the political fray. Last November, Baines voted for Barack Obama -- some 48 years after casting her last vote in a presidential election, for John Kennedy.

Baines is the reigning Guiness book record holder for oldest living person…

Charlie's Mercurial Angel

Farrah Fawcett and Lynda Carter fought over me, and I bet they didn't even know it.

I was a typical red-blooded, American boy with raging hormones, and that's why Farrah and Lynda fought for my attention, along with the other boy stuff, i.e. the sports pictures and posters on my bedroom wall.

Count me among the bajillion of boys who had the famous Farrah poster adorning their wall. It's about to appear later in this post, so stay tuned. But chances are you've seen it, whether you're a boy or a girl: Farrah, in a swimsuit, playing with her famous curls, smiling brightly at the camera, her big white teeth able to light up the room even if your electricity went out.

Lynda Carter's poster was a little more toned down. She was wearing a man's dress shirt, knotted just above her midriff, sleeves rolled up. Her look was kinda "come hither", and her hands tugged gently on the belt loops of her pants. It was farmer's daughter-ish, whereas Farrah's was…

Monica CON-yers

I bet John Conyers wishes his wife was one of those women who kept her maiden name when she got married.

Conyers, a member of the U.S. House from Detroit, is one of the movers and shakers on Capitol Hill.

His wife, Monica Conyers, is a mover and shaker, too. The same way that an earthquake is.

Monica is the president of the Detroit City Council. If you happen to be reading this from outside our burg, then feel sorry for us. Just do it. Trust me.

Monica Conyers is quickly becoming the most polarizing political figure in these Detroit parts since Coleman A. Young was the motherf***ing mayor -- his self-description -- from 1973-93.

In fact, Conyers -- and from now on, "Conyers" refers to the wife, not the hubby -- might be more aggravating because not even Detroiters themselves like her very much.

Coleman Young was a lot of things. Not all of them very nice. But I have to hand this to him: he made the folks in the city fiercely proud to live there.

Hizzoner may have achieved this self…

The Accidental President

Two angry broads took shots at President Ford within three weeks of each other.

How's that for a lede to a blog entry?

Well, anyway, the angry broads missed. Maybe because Ford stumbled at just the right time.

Jerry Ford did that a lot -- stumbled, if those old enough can remember.

Jerry slipped coming down the stairs of a plane. He tripped over his own feet on a tarmac, holding an umbrella -- also near a plane. He'd play golf and that became hazardous to OTHER people's health -- if you were within hook or shank range. He tried skiing and you can imagine what happened -- another "oopsy daisy."

So it was no wonder that the slapstick comedian Chevy Chase began impersonating Jerry Ford in various Saturday Night Live sketches. Chase looked nothing like Ford, which even added to the hilarity. All that mattered was that he act like Ford, which fit Chevy's propensity for taking pratfalls like a glove.

But back to the angry broads.

Within a few weeks of each other in Septem…

Mad About Maddow

I love Rachel Maddow.

No, really, I love her. Not IN love with her, but I do love her.

It's not just because Maddow does a radio show and then hustles off to host the best political news analysis show on TV on MSNBC. It's not because she's refreshingly charming, witty, fun, and intelligent. And it's not a birthday present from me (she turns 36 today).

Well, OK, it IS because of all that -- except the b-day present part. But it's also because of this: Maddow is on MSNBC, and the radio, and on my mind right now -- because she worked her tush off to get there.

I knew Maddow was smart. Anyone who watches her program for longer than thirty seconds -- if THEY have any intelligence at all -- can figure that out. I just had no idea of the scope of her smartness.

A quick click over to her bio at Wikipedia brought to the fore the following:

1. a degree in public policy from Stanford
2. at graduation, offered the John Gardner Fellowship
3. recipient of a Rhodes scholarship
4. Doctor o…