Showing posts from July, 2009


Another taco place is opening up near me and suddenly it's 1979 again.

Taco Bell was a mostly unexplored food experience for me and my friends when word got out that they were constructing one on Merriman Road in Livonia, just north of Plymouth Road. We'd been, but always via car, somewhere else, and on precious few occasions.

But this new one would be only a nice, worth-it bike's ride away from our houses.

So it opens, and if we didn't go on the first day, it was pretty darn close to it.

My friends were amazed at how much Taco Bell I could consume.

Kind of like today, when my wife and daughter are amazed at how much Taco Bell I can consume. Still.

It's a great bang-for-the-buck, really. You gotta love any fast food place anymore that has items on its menu for under a dollar.

We wore out that new Taco Bell for a period of time, enamored with its newness and novelty status. And I typically ordered the most food. Back then, I could probably gorge myself for about three or f…

Beck, As In Wreck

Glenn Beck is an idiot.

I'm tempted to not stop there, and do the school days equivalent: write it 100 times on the blackboard, er, this post.

Hell, I'll write it 500 times. I doubt I'd get sick of it.

Glenn Beck is an idiot.

No, not even close to being tired of those words yet.

Beck, another who soils the broadcast air on Fox News, called President Obama a racist.

Beck's attack comes in the wake of the controversial arrest of Harvard University Scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is black, and Obama's reaction, which included taking the police to task. Read: the white police officer to task.

Obama then backed off his statement, in which he initially said that the police had "acted stupidly."

On this morning's episode of "Fox & Friends", Beck said the president---the President of the United States---has exposed himself as a person with "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture."


Beck's statement, thank God, wa…

Eager To Watch Beaver

Psst! Hey, you there!

I like to watch "Leave it to Beaver."

I'm outed. The beans have been spilled.

I hope you don't think I'm a creep or somethin'.

To be honest, I've never NOT liked The Beaver. He was someone I could relate to as a youngster, and now that I'm a grown-up, his world is somewhere to which I like to escape.

I prefer the older episodes, though. The ones where Jerry Mathers was small, no older than nine or ten years old. He was cuter then, and the storylines were more innocent.

We own a box set of one of the earlier seasons of "Beaver", and when you feel like the world is crawling up your rear end, it's nice to slide one of those discs into the DVD player and be taken away. It's like a Calgon bath that way.

It starts with the neighborhood the Cleavers lived in---one of the first sprawling sub-divisions built after the second World War. The two-story homes with the picket fences and the well-manicured lawns.

The Cleavers

The Cleav…


Dick Nixon was a liar.

That's not news, I know, but Tricky Dick lied to us long before he circled the wagons and covered up his involvement in the Watergate scandal in 1972-73.

No, Nixon lied to us when he stood before the media after losing in the 1962 California gubernatorial election.

"You won't have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore!" Nixon scolded the press after what he thought was unfair treatment during the '62 campaign in California.

It was a promise he didn't keep.

No, we had plenty more opportunities to kick Dick around, thanks to his rising like a Phoenix to win the 1968 presidential election, and again four years later.

Sarah Palin is making like Nixon.

Palin, the now former Alaskan governor, wagged her finger at the press as she vacated the state mansion.

"So how about in honor of the American soldier, you quit making up things. And don't underestimate the wisdom of the people. And one other thing for the media -- our new governor has a very…

Kwame the Tsunami

Add another lady to Kwame Kilpatrick's harem.

Sheryl Robinson Wood, the federal monitor for the Detroit Police Department’s consent decree with the Department of Justice, resigned Thursday because of “meetings of a personal nature” with former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Talk amongst yourselves.

U.S. District Judge Julian Cook issued an order today accepting her resignation.

The order said Wood had “engaged in conduct which was totally inconsistent with the terms and conditions of the two consent judgments in this litigation.”

So Kilpatrick has indirectly ruined yet another person's professional life, albeit with the complicity of said individual.

The reign of terror Kilpatrick has left in his wake is incredible.

Kilpatrick had it all, at one point. Then he wanted some more, and some more, and some booty, to boot.

This is a man for whom the world was his oyster. Kwame Kilpatrick could have been a wonderkind, a political power and success story to the nth degree. He was elected may…

Some Like It Hotter

I have found out something, partly by accident but largely by design.

Few things don't taste better with some hot sauce added.

Meet me and my cast iron stomach.

It started when I was a pre-teen. In the fridge one day I found some of those Vlasic pepper rings, though likely they were of the mild variety. But to a youngster, that's quite a different taste paradigm.

I loved them---their tanginess, the vinegary aftertaste. And I thought it was cool how they made my salivary glands spritz, even when I simply opened the jar and sniffed.

I guess my story is similar to how a heroin addict would tell of how he hopped on his train.

For the mild pepper rings gave way to the "hot" pepper rings, which gave way to Tabasco sauce.

But until I went away to college, I thought hot food was pretty much limited to my pickled peppers and the hot sauce at Taco Bell, plus the fiery menu at Mexican joints.

I had no idea what awaited me.

I soon found out that "hot food" was a big part of cui…

Barrow Full Of Smarm

Shame on Tom Barrow.

First, I thought we were rid of Barrow, who once upon a time tried to provide a sensible, smart alternative to Detroit Mayor Coleman Young and later, Dennis Archer.

But he's resurfaced, at age 60, and he again has his eye on the mayor's chair. He's expected to finish among the top two in the August 4 primary (yeah, Detroiters have to traipse to the polls yet again) along with incumbent Dave Bing, thus facing off against Bing, mano-a-mano, in the November general election.

There was a time when Barrow was refreshing and above the dirty pool that was being played in City Hall and its environs.

That, apparently, has changed.

Barrow took a swipe at Bing today through a press release, and in doing so placed himself down among the folks he used to be so head and shoulders above, back in the day.

Barrow's concern is that Bing's proposed budget cuts are not only painful, but smacks of a plot to "dismantle" (Barrow's word) city government in or…

A Hodak Moment

Did Michigan even have weather reports before Jerry Hodak came along?

What ever did we do? Look out the window?

How Neanderthal!

Hodak is still doing it, on channel 7. He's still telling us how to dress in that baritone voice of his, looking at us through those squinty eyes, in a manner so casual that it makes Perry Como look like Sid Vicious.

I don't watch local TV news anymore; haven't for years. Perhaps I will again someday, whenever I feel the need to tumble into an abyss of depression.

But sometimes you can't help it, like when big stories or tragedies happen, and the local news folks are suddenly on your TV screen, rudely interrupting what you were watching.

That happened recently, when I was getting briefed as the car-meets-Amtrak train story unfolded---the one that ended in the deaths of all those young people in Canton Township.

I was at our veterinarian's office, waiting to be seen (actually, our dog was the one to be seen), and the office television was tuned t…

That's The Way It Is...Now

It's tempting to say that there will never be another Walter Cronkite, and that very well may be true.

But maybe there IS another Cronkite out there---we'll just never know it.

Who's to say that there's not a Cronkite out there, somewhere in this vast, information-flooded cosmos?

Cronkite, the legendary newscaster who died last week at age 92, came into our living rooms at a time when the pie was cut into four slices, basically: ABC, CBS, NBC, and UHF.

It was easier to become part of our consciousness with those odds.

This isn't to take a thing away from Cronkite, because even with those odds, a whole bunch of Walter's competitors tried and failed to weave their way into this nation's fabric.

You had Chet Huntley and David Brinkley over at NBC, the flavor of the day at ABC, and Cronkite---not at all in that order, either.

Today, there's so much darn TV and so much freaking Internet (thanks for stopping by, by the way!) that the pie Cronkite was baked into is n…

A Sorry State of Affairs

If I bump into someone at the Target store, I offer an apology.

Which means I would probably fall over myself to do so if my actions triggered a chain of events that led to the carrier of 13,000 gallons of fuel to crash and explode, in turn knocking out an entire overpass, inconveniencing 160,000 drivers a day.

That is, after I thanked the good Lord for my still being alive.

But that's just me.

That's apparently not Saied Haidarian-Shari.

Haidarian-Shari, the 27-year-old whose car spun out of control at I-75 and 9 Mile on Wednesday, causing a fuel tanker to crash, igniting a whale of a fireball, won't be uttering the words "I'm sorry."

He was approached by those pesky devils at WJBK-TV (channel 2) Thursday night, who asked him if he felt he should apologize.

"No," he said.


He explained why.

“I don’t think I made a mistake.”

I see.

In Haidarian-Shari's defense, he's already given a statement to police, who say that no one has been cited. Yet.

Breaking the News

The news anchor stared down at us with a serious-as-a-heart attack expression on her face and spoke in a low, somber tone.

"The video you're about to see is graphic, and some might find it disturbing."

Not so much a warning as an intonement by the news people for you not to turn the channel.

Anyhow, the "graphic" and "disturbing" video to which she was referring was never-before-seen footage (another great TV term to suck you in) of Michael Jackson's Pepsi Cola accident while filming a commercial for the soft drink in 1984. The one where his hair catches fire -- very briefly.

The footage was aired, and it hardly was befitting of the warning that accompanied it.

A pyrotechnic explosion brightens the screen, then we see Jackson, from behind, beginning to dance down a staircase. A wisp of flame appears on top of his head, which grows to a small bonfire just as crew members rush to him and put his hair out. The whole incident takes up maybe 8-10 seconds of…

Have You Visited The Ford Lately?

If you haven't gone to the Henry Ford Museum lately, then stop reading this and get in your car and get a move on.

Do not pass Go, do not collect $200 -- unless you need the cash for the gas tank.

The family and I made the trek last Friday, and I don't know what I enjoyed more -- the exhibits or seeing our 16-year-old daughter become enraptured with our history. Her cell phone camera got a workout.

It'd been about 18 years since I'd last been to the gem in Dearborn, and shame on me for going nearly two decades between visits. But that'll change; we bought a family membership while we were there, courtesy of a special $99 coupon we found online.

For 12 months, all future visits to the museum and neighboring Greenfield Village are now paid for, thanks to our newly-minted membership card.

It's a hell of a deal.

A mere two visits, and the membership fee has paid for itself, and then some.

But I'm not here to shill for membership. This isn't a PBS pledge drive, so …

A Friend Indeed?

Miko Brando considers himself a friend of the fallen pop icon, Michael Jackson.

Jackson, after all, was the godfather to Brando's child. Miko, the son of another icon, the actor Marlon Brando, and Jackson were indeed tight as thieves.

So no doubt that Miko Brando has convinced himself that he and Jackson were friends.

I just wonder how Michael would have done if he didn't have friends such as Miko Brando in his inner circle.

Like, maybe he'd still be alive right now.

I'm not blaming Brando for Jackson's death, which appears to be drug-related. I won't go quite that far. But I will blame Brando, and others close to Jackson, for being idle observers to a life gone out of control, when it comes to the drugs.

CNN has been trotting Miko Brando onto their shows a lot lately, in the wake of Jackson's death. He's done several shots on Larry King's show, for sure.

I don't know why CNN keeps putting Brando on the air, because he adds nothing to the discussion.


Insulting Our Intelligence

The headline was buried at the bottom of page 11A of my Detroit Free Press this morning, a rare A.M. when I'm lucky enough to get a real-life newspaper plopped onto my doorstep.

It was given newspaper real estate normally reserved for the ho-hum, oh-by-the-way types of stories.

CIA director says agency has misled Congress since 2001

Well, well, isn't that something?

Or maybe not.

CIA Director Leon Panetta told Congress last month, in letters revealed yesterday, that his agency has been naughty. Of course, it's a lot easier to spill beans when those beans were gathered prior to your watch.

Anyhow, Panetta told Congress that senior CIA officials have concealed "significant" actions and misled lawmakers repeatedly since 2001.

Now I know why this got the bum steer when it comes to prime location in the paper.

This, in more perfect times, ought to have been Earth-shattering news. This should have shocked and stunned and dismayed us.

But the Freep got it right; they accorded it…

Caught Dead

This is about a football player, but it's not a sports story.

This is a husband cheats on his wife thing, but with a twist. A gruesome, ugly twist.

Steve McNair is the football player, though he hasn't played in a couple of seasons. But once you've played pro sports, that's pretty much what you're known as, forever and ever.

So McNair's the football player, he's 36, and he's running around with a 20-year-old girl. Oh, and McNair's married with four small children.

McNair's wife knows nothing of the dalliance, or else, well, it wouldn't be an affair now, would it? Or, it would be a very bad affair. The "good" affairs never get detected.

Most wives find out about the other woman through indirect methods. By happenstance.

A crumpled up phone number in hubby's suit jacket. The light scent of a perfume, not the wife's. A naughty e-mail or two.

Here's how Mechelle McNair found out her husband was cheating on her: when the police tol…


The movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" would appear to be, at first blush, a totally fictionalized piece of work.

After all, it's about a man who is born old, and gets younger as his life goes on--physically and mentally.

And it was good enough to rake in a bunch of Academy Awards earlier this year. Ever since "Forrest Gump" came out, such fantasy films have been Oscar-worthy.

But I submit that "Button" isn't 100% fiction. Artistic license wasn't exhausted on the story, not completely.

Michael Jackson was as close to Button as anyone who ever existed in the so-called "real" world.

The more I thought about Jackson, who is being memorialized in Los Angeles as I write this, the more it occurred to me that he was like Button, and maybe not as weird as you think.

Before you tell me to lie down while you fetch a thermometer and hunt for my doctor's phone number, let me explain.

Jackson's lack of a normal childhood affected him mu…

Ghoulishly Stern

If you made a list of some of the most confounding, bizarre people to ever grace our radio and TV waves -- at least in the Detroit area -- then no doubt that list would include Howard Stern and...The Ghoul?

Those forces once collided, but more on that in a moment.

First, The Ghoul.

I won't spend a lot of time on the describing here, because I'm going to play a hunch and presume that most of the folks whose eyeballs are hitting this blog know who The Ghoul is/was.

But, just in case...

The Ghoul was a Saturday night icon on Detroit TV, circa the early-1970s and beyond (off and on). He showed lousy movies, but the movies were the interludes between his comedy bits, which included a stuffed frog and lots of Cheese Whiz.

The stuffed frog was Froggy, and even he became iconic, thanks to The Ghoul.

The Ghoul used terms like "over day" and "don't you know." He had something he called "The Ghoul's Vault of Golden Garbage," with garbage pronounced "ga…

I Miss My Paper, Boy!

Well, it's been a few months now and I can officially report it.

I read newspapers, not facsimiles thereof.

I'm a Detroit Free Press subscriber, which means, thanks to cost-cutting moves by the two dailies in town, that I get a real-life newspaper delivered to my home on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. After that I'm on my own.

Well, not entirely. I can "read" the newspaper online. It's an option I haven't exercised too often.

It's not news anymore, as the Monday thru Sunday delivery of the paper hasn't occurred in over three months now, but it's time to chime in. The "virtual" newspaper has left me, basically, reading the paper on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Only.

Oh, I've tried the online version. At first, I thought it was a pretty cool novelty. The "paper" does, indeed, look just like a real newspaper. Articles are pretty easily clicked on and viewed -- either with or without the photos and graphics.

As I perused th…

A Star is Worn

Is it possible to be positively enraptured by the music of someone who repels you?

Barbra Streisand is even a fellow Democrat, yet I want nothing to do with her -- aside from listening to her sing, that is.

I have no use for the diva, the prima donna, the snoot.

I can't abide them.

Streisand is a marvelous talent, obviously. Her voice is one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.

It's too bad that she's such a rotten person.

"Well, you've never even met her! You don't know her!'

A) Don't have to; and B) Don't care to.

Come on, there are some celebrities who you can peg a mile away. Streisand is one of those.

One way to get on my bad side -- and it doesn't matter if the offender even realizes or cares about landing on that side of me -- is to act superior to all others. To act as if one's feces carries no odor.

I remember Rosie O'Donnell, who's about as opposite from Streisand as you can be in the snob department, having S…