Showing posts from August, 2009

Jessica's Savage Update

It took over a decade for Jessica Savitch to make a name for herself in television journalism, and about sixty seconds to ruin it. Three weeks later, she was dead and never got a chance to redeem herself.

Time again to recall another gone too soon, as I thought of TV people from the past while watching all of the coverage of Ted Kennedy's death over the weekend.

Savitch was a Philadelphia girl who made good in local TV news in Philly. In fact, she was, for a time, a co-anchor in the City of Brotherly Love with Mort Crim , who would eventually co-own Detroit news, along with Bill Bonds.

Savitch was, as is the case of most females on the tube, an attractive blonde. But she combined brains with that cheesecake, and was much more of a cerebral on-air personality than a bubblehead.

Eventually, her career outgrew Philadelphia and Savitch ended up on NBC News. This was in the late-1970s. Her star power was such that she became anchor of the weekend version of the NBC Nightly News by the earl…


In this day of rising inflation, I suppose it only makes sense that companies no longer nickel-and-dime you to death. Some are quartering you to the grave.

Take fast food giants Burger King and McDonald's, for example.

Apparently we're all a bunch of dipping sauce packet abusers, for BK and Mickey D's are beginning to place us on rations.

Yes, despite the economy being in the toilet and other fast food players such as the submarine sandwich industry engaging in pricing wars, Burger King and McDonald's are having some fun at our expense.

Next time you order some Chicken McNuggets or Chicken Fries or anything that requires dipping sauce, look for a handwritten or half-typed, half-handwritten sign near the drive-thru window or the counter.

It'll tell you how many dipping sauce packets you get, free of charge, based on what you've ordered and the size, along with what it'll cost you to dare ask for more.

No joke.

Dipping sauce packets are tiny things, perhaps no more …

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Ted Kennedy doesn't have any brothers who are living, so who will give him his stirring eulogy?

Teddy---the Kennedy brother who was still standing, at age 36, when Bobby was gunned down in Los Angeles in 1968, seeking the presidency. The lone brother---after Joe died in WWII, after John was killed while president prior to Bobby's assassination.

Teddy Kennedy, who survived a plane crash that broke his back, and who survived a controversial car wreck in 1969 that not only killed a young woman but also his chances of ever becoming president himself.

Teddy Kennedy, the accidental (no pun intended) patriarch of the Kennedy family---the "Liberal Lion" of the U.S. Senate.

Teddy's gone now, succumbing at age 77 to brain cancer in a year that's been virulent when it comes to celebrity deaths.

Just last week, we lost Don Hewitt, creator and executive producer of "60 Minutes", and who produced and directed the famous Kennedy/Nixon televised presidential debate of 1…

Stir Crazy

You'll never be able to make fried rice like me, but that doesn't mean I can't help you in your ultimately futile effort.

Yeah, I get cocky about it, because no American whips up fried rice like I can.

And you've probably been tossing out those cartons of uneaten white rice from the Chinese take-out joints all these years, oblivious to their culinary potential.

Tsk, tsk.

I first started frying rice and creating various concoctions with it about 20 years ago, when I purchased my first Chinese cookbook, having been on an Asian food jag. It was around the time that I discovered Thai food and its glorious heat and spice. Till then, I thought the only spicy Asian stuff was the Szechuan and Mandarin cuisine of China. Silly me.

Homemade fried rice, when done properly, is good on so many levels.

Number one, you're using up every bit of your Chinese take-out leftovers, so you can feel satisfied about that.

Number two, it's a terrific way to get rid of some other leftovers that…

The Endless Cocktail Hour

Michael Jackson, I see now, never had a chance.

He was a walking vessel of prescription drugs so powerful and of such a wide variety, that I'm amazed that he lived as long as he did.

Pop star Jackson, who slipped into death in late June at age 50, officially died as a result of homicide, according to a source close to the Los Angeles County coroner.

The straw that broke the camel's back, according to reports, was the powerful anesthetic propofol, which was administered to Jackson in lethal doses.

Jackson couldn't sleep. So he had his doctor, Conrad Murray, fill him with a volatile cocktail that included propofol and other sedatives.

The list of drugs connected with Jackson reads like a pharmaceutical journal. It makes Elvis Presley look like a popper of Flintstones vitamins.

Clonazepam, Lorazepam, Tamsulosin, Temazepam, Tizanidine, Trazodone and Valium.

Except for Valium, I have no idea what these drugs do, but there's a lot of them and many of them have the "pam" …

The Cloak of Internet Anonymity

I feel sorry for all the Joe Smiths in the world.

Or the Bob Johnsons.

Or any married female---and not for the reason you think.

For how can any of the above ever be found on the Internet? Or on social networking sites like Facebook?

We've all done it---looked up former classmates or co-workers or childhood friends on search engines like Google, to see if we find a match, and therefore have a chance to find out what in the world they're up to.

It's easier when the name you're searching is...well, like mine, for instance.

How many Greg Enos did YOU grow up with?

The names of the friends I've looked up haven't been 100% unique, but they're usually different enough that when I find matches, chances are that one of them is the person I'm seeking.

Which brings me back to poor Joe Smith.

What are the odds that ole Joe will ever be found by those curious as to his whereabouts?

Too many Joe Smiths, and who has the patience to try to whittle them down to a manageable numb…

For PETA's Sakes!

I guess PETA doesn't think it needs donations from the plus-size community.

Because it sure ain't gonna be gettin' any NOW.

PETA, which rhymes with the bread but actually stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has proven that they need to work on the ethical treatment of humans.

Billboards have gone up in Jacksonville, FL trumpeting the benefits of going vegetarian as a way to slim down.

So far, so good.

But the image PETA chose to use is that of an obese woman (the back of her, anyway) spilling out of a bikini, on a beach. The words that accompany the image are, "Save the Whales. Lose the blubber. Go vegetarian."

There are no whales on the billboard, even though "Whales", by far, is the biggest and most prominent word displayed.

Get it?

Ha ha---boy, that's so funny, my sides are splitting!


The billboard in question

How could PETA possibly think that making fun of overweight women---especially when the female gender is far more sensitive …

60 Minutes Of Fame

There've been some terrific, mano-a-mano battles and grudge matches over the years.

Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.

Leroy and Loretta Lockhorn. Kate and Jon Gosselin.

George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin.

Don Hewitt and Mike Wallace.

That last one has seen its last battle, sadly.

Hewitt, the creator and longtime executive producer of "60 Minutes", is gone. Passed away at age 86.

The year has been unkind. We've lost more than our usual share of celebrities and notables, it seems.

Hewitt created "60 Minutes" in 1968---a year filled with tension and turmoil---and continued as the show's executive producer until 2004, at age 81.

And it was he and one of the show's hosts, Mike Wallace, who had some infamous battles.

Usually they'd either occur in the edit room, where Hewitt and Wallace butted heads over which sound bites to use, or in the "war room"---a TV term for the brainstorming session venue, where ideas for stories w…

Rocks and Bonds

I miss Bill Bonds.

There---I said it. So sue me.

Bonds, the old channel 7 newscaster, was often more the news than the stuff he was reporting.

His was a time when we were fortunate to have several ne'er-do-wells on the air in Detroit, all at the same time.

There was Bonds, of course, and his ham-handed way of delivering news---that is, when they were able to sober him up enough to make it before the cameras for the 11:00, after Billy drank dinner following the 6:00.

There was "Acid" Al Ackerman, the sportscaster, whose wrath was felt by many an athlete and coach in this town. An interview with Ackerman was often prickly and always entertaining.

There was Sonny Eliot, the goofball weather man who made the news a "must see" at 11:21, so you could listen to pun after pun and watch as Sonny would pluck the Keweenaw Peninsula from the Michigan map he chalked up and tweak it. Or listen to him say things like, "It's going to be cloudy and windy tomorrow, or 'cl…

Music Man

I used to detest musicals---whether on Broadway or on film.

I found myself unable to wrap my arms around the idea of people having a conversation and then breaking out in song.

They used to make my skin crawl, those musicals.

So naturally, I wish they would bring them back.

It's an about-face I'm doing, and I admit it. I also didn't used to care for westerns, either, but I find myself missing a good one nowadays. The big, blue sky, the horses, the barroom brawls, the gunfights, the camping outside under the stars.

I pine for that stuff now.

I think it's part of my longing for yesteryear with its distinctly reduced amount of everyday strife.

I watched "Guys and Dolls" last night, in case you're wondering where this is coming from.

It's a DVD I've had for months, because I asked for it, to be honest.

I got on a jag where I wanted to watch "Guys" and "West Side Story" and others of that ilk.

Plus, "Guys and Dolls" has Frank Sinatr…

Schools of Fools

It was a line uttered decades ago, about America's national pastime.

"Baseball must be a great game to be able to survive the fools that run it."

The bemoaner was exasperated at the business of baseball, and so the above gem tumbled from his lips.

I'd like to re-work that quote, if I could---being exasperated myself.

"Detroit must be a great city to survive the fools that run it."

Another week, another instance of crookedness being revealed about the Motor City and those entrusted to serve it.

This time the stench is coming from the hallways of the city's school district.

They're starting to arraign folks now, as the doo-doo is hitting the fan re: embezzling going on at the DPS.

Tens of thousands of dollars were pilfered, according to charges brought against five ex-DPS staffers. Three were arraigned today.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said that the embezzlement was so brazen, and done with such little care to hide it, that she can't believe charge…

A Dog-gone/Dog-back Tale

If you've ever wondered what goes through a dog's mind while it's being walked---besides, "Where's the nearest fire hydrant or tree?"---the following story might lend a clue.

If the dog is Jarvis, a six-year-old Jack Russell Terrier in the UK, he obviously was memorizing his path.

Seems Jarvis got lost recently while in a park with his owner. He got distracted by a rabbit and gave chase.

After about an hour of looking for Jarvis to no avail, owner Vivienne Oxley gave up hope.

She had no choice but to go home, Jarvis-less.

But this was no ordinary jaunt to the park. In order to get there from Oxley's home near Plymouth Sound, one has to board a ferry and traverse the Sound.

The need to hop a boat no doubt made Oxley feel even more despondent and pessimistic about ever seeing little Jarvis again.

But Jarvis, as indicated, pays good attention.

Some time after growing bored with trying to catch rabbits, Jarvis found himself in a quandary.

No owner, no way home.

Time to…

Elvis Week, Part II

Brace yourself for an onslaught of girls, bikinis, racing cars, songs coming from nowhere, and some pretty bad acting.

You're about to be swept away to Hawaii, Las Vegas, down South, out East, and up and down the Pacific coast of California.

You'll see a king as a mechanic, a salesman, a tourist, and a plethora of other identities.

It's Elvis Died This Week, week. The movie channels will be aplomb with Elvis movies through Sunday, at least.

Last week I ruminated about the death of Marilyn Monroe, which happened on August 5, 1962.

Elvis Presley left this Earth on August 16, 1977, and he was another who died at home, with something to do with drugs.

His death got America all shook up.

They found MM in her bed, and Elvis in his bathroom. Both dead as door nails.

Over-ingesting of drugs was the cause of death in both instances, although MM's demise has a small cloud of conspiracy hanging over it.

No such drama with Presley, who surely died from his own hand. The only question was w…

Squeaky Clean

Squeaky's wheel is going to get some grease.

Lynette Fromme---you might know her as "Squeaky"---will walk out of prison this week, a free woman.

Squeaky was one of the two women who tried to make Gerry Ford a dead president back in 1975, both within several weeks of each other, and both in California. Sara Jane Moore, who was released in January 2008, was the other scorned woman who tried to unleash her hellish fury on President Ford.

The difference? Moore actually got a shot off, while Squeaky just kind of flashed her gun; she had tampered with the weapon prior to showing up, ensuring that it couldn't fire.

No, I don't know why.

Squeaky was a Manson Girl, and that's not nearly as quaint as it sounds.

This is because "Manson" was Charlie Manson, and other than being evil personified, he was an OK guy, I guess.

In 1967, Fromme went to Venice Beach, Calif., suffering from depression. Manson, who had been recently released from federal prison, saw Squeaky and…

Un-Grand Openings

I can't open anything and I blame James Lewis.

His birthday is tomorrow, I found out, and I'd like to send him a little present---the contents of which I can't print in a family blog.

You can't open anything, either---this I know and can declare confidently. Everything from a CD or DVD package to the inner bag of a cereal box to a bottle of pills---all of them are tightly packaged to the point of cruelty.

Ahh, the pills.

That's what started this whole thing.

The next time you curse at something that you can't open---and that should be anytime within the next four minutes---I'm telling you that you now have a person toward whom to direct your frustration and anger.

He's the aforementioned Lewis.

Lewis is the likely perpetrator (though authorities don't have quite enough evidence to charge him formally) of the 1982 Tylenol poisonings.

Within a two-week period in fall, 1982, seven people in the Chicago area died after ingesting Extra Strength Tylenol capsules …

Norma Jeane's Goodbye

Forty-seven years ago today, America got a lot less sexy.

Marilyn Monroe died on August 5, 1962.

Some say she was murdered. Not sure about that; seems folks like to cry "foul play" whenever a celebrity dies under mysterious circumstances.

Gee, I wonder if there are any current examples, happening right now, to support that accusation?

So it was that on this date, the sex symbol actress and model Monroe was found dead in her bed, the victim of an apparent drug overdose.

The fact that Marilyn died from drugs isn't under dispute. It's how she ingested them that's the issue, for some people.

The Kennedys have been looked at cross-eyed by some conspiracy mongerers.

President John and Attorney General Bobby both had their intimate moments with Marilyn, it's been widely reported. In fact, phone records verify that MM spoke with RFK the evening of her death.

So why kill Marilyn Monroe?

Well, dead men---and women---tell no tales, and it's been speculated that Monroe might …

Fixing The Unbroken

Today we bring you a report from the What Were They Thinking? department.

The Sci Fi Channel is now the SyFy Channel.

Umm, why?

Here's Dave Howe, the channel's president---who from now on will be known as one of the dumbest people on the planet. A move this boneheaded needs to be described in the words of the moron who signed off on it.

"We needed a unique and distinct brand name that we can own for the future, that works in the multiplatform, on-demand world," Howe told, adding that "Sci Fi" isn't a brand name, it's "a genre name."

Well, "Chiller" is a genre, too, and that's a network name. So is "comedy", and Comedy Central seems to work just fine. I'm full of 'em.

"Syfy," Howe said, "gives us a unique brand name."

Oh, it's unique, Dave---uniquely brainless.

The Sci Fi Channel, as all networks do from time to time, has evolved. It's true that their programming doesn't only i…

A Gym Brat

I apologize to Mr. Flynn. It's been a long time coming.

I was a ringleader of sorts, who made Mr. Flynn's life more difficult than it needed to be. But I just wanted to win so badly.

Mr. Flynn was my gym teacher in grade school---we called it "elementary school" then, and the folks before us called it "grammar school"---and again, I'm sorry, sir.

I was the Billy Martin and Earl Weaver of my day, traits not endearing to an 11-year-old boy. And Mr. Flynn was the unflappable but exasperated umpire.

Never was my competitive spirit higher than as an adolescent. Baseball, touch football, Monopoly, Uncle Wiggly, you name it---I wanted to win. Very badly.

My own mother ejected me from a game of table hockey, though she likely doesn't remember it, nor would choose to believe that about her only kid.

But it's true. She and I were playing---I'm around nine or ten years old---and she scores a goal on me and I lifted the game off its hind legs and let it drop …