Posts

Showing posts from 2010

Cold Case, Warmed?

Image
Video games, computers, and text messaging aren't helping, but the days when kids stopped spending time outside started dwindling long before those tech gadgets hit the market.
In fact, you can trace some of it back to a 13-month period that began in February 1976 and ended in March 1977.
Before then, before those 13 months when the Oakland County Child Killer preyed, there was an innocence about kids riding their bikes and playing outside. It was no skin off mom's nose to let her adolescent boys and girls spend hours away from home, sans cell phone or any sort of adult supervision.
That's what I did as a kid---I spent untold hours cruising the neighborhoods on my bicycle, looking for open baseball diamonds, or trying to horn in on games already in progress, my mitt strung over my handle bar.
Or maybe it was off to Cunningham's Drugstore, in search of baseball cards and bubble gum.
Whatever the mission, it meant leaving the house on a summer's morning and not returning …

Carded!

Image
How big do the retail and food service folks think my wallet is?

I don't mean in terms of space for cash to pay for their products---I mean in terms of space for the stacks of cards they keep giving me as a "reward" for being a return customer.

They're all over---on your key chain, in your wallet, jammed in a coat pocket---those cards that you must present to get scanned or kerchunked, to edge you closer to a free whatchya-ma-call- it.

Enough.

I have cards in my wallet, worn and with the printing almost rubbed off, some with holes punched in them, that now only serve as mementos of visits to Rio Wraps, etc. gone by.

I almost never remember for which businesses I have cards.

They always sound like a good idea at the time. First, they're free. Second, the arrangement has a nice little "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" aspect to it: keep buying our stuff, and eventually you'll get something for free.

Sounds good, right?

Trouble is, I never reach th…

Oh, Miley!

Image
Where will Miley Cyrus be five years from now?

You might think you don't care, but you should.

Where will Miley be, if she isn't annexing radio playlists, isn't an honorary owner of YouTube, or doesn't have her own TV show?

Where will she be if she hasn't yet launched a movie career, hasn't leased her name to a line of makeup, or hasn't come out with a book (or two)?

Where will Miley Cyrus be in five years if she hasn't found a nice young man, hasn't settled down a bit, or hasn't gotten involved with a charitable cause?

You might think you don't care.

But you should.

Cyrus is the just-turned-18 pop star who not that long ago was, simultaneously, cutesy Hannah Montana on television and spunky Miley Cyrus on stage, belting out songs that could barely be heard over the screams of the adolescent girls in the audience.

She was in her mid-teens, wholesome, and the daughter of a recording artist who should have been a beacon of guidance for her.

Now, Miley …

Not Another!

Image
What has Detroit done to anger the gods so?

What have we done that is causing us to lose so many icons, so quickly? It's like we're being smited.

This has been going on for a couple years now. Most of them were from the world of sports.

Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, killed in a tragic accident at his home, involving his truck.

Chuck Daly, the greatest of all the Pistons coaches, succumbing to cancer.

George Kell and Ernie Harwell, Tigers announcers and welcome in our homes anytime.

George "Sparky" Anderson, the curiously funny little manager.

Now we may be losing truly one of our own---Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul.

Reports are that Franklin, 68, has pancreatic cancer. After that, who knows---but these things have a way of ending badly.

When the news came that the always well-coiffed Daly and the beloved Harwell had cancer, we all went into pre-death mode, bracing ourselves. Both men probably lasted longer than we had hoped.

Sparky's demise was swift, a surprise …

Turn out the Lights

Image
Before Don Meredith's cowboy boots stepped into them, the broadcast booths in NFL cities were the equivalent of libraries. You were to be courteous, staid, and peer at the game over your eyeglasses.
Then along came former NFL quarterback Meredith, and before long, sometimes what went on inside the booth sounded a lot more fun than what was happening on the field.
Dandy Don is gone. He died Monday, at age 72 from complications brought on by a brain hemorrhage.
Turn out the lights, for the party is truly over now.
Dandy Don is what Howard Cosell called him when Meredith, Cosell and Frank Gifford teamed to form what is STILL the best "Monday Night Football" broadcast team in the franchise's 41-year history.
Meredith was just two years ago a player when he joined the team in 1970, the show's first season. He was the battered and bruised leader of the Dallas Cowboys, the first QB to lead the franchise to a championship game.
But Meredith's fun take on life and his count…

Nielsen Rated

Image
There were two Leslie Nielsens, as it turned out. Who knew?

Depending through what prism you looked at him, Nielsen, who passed away the other day at age 84, was either a serious, steely-eyed man who played in B-movies and spoke with a hard-boiled style, or he was a rubbery-faced clown who became a caricature in his second life as the lead in the "Naked Gun" movies.

But after the "Naked Gun" series, which was spawned from his hilarious send-up of himself in the "Airplane!" movies---both franchises written, produced and directed by Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers---it was impossible to take Nielsen seriously. Not that he wanted us to, and not that taking him for a clown was a bad thing.

The original "Airplane!" came out in 1980, and one of the delicious things about it was the brilliant casting of players like Nielsen, Peter Graves, Robert Stack and George Kennedy---actors who were never associated with anything remotely funny. Yet here they we…

Leftover, But Not Left Out

Image
Is there a more wonderful, more thrilling time to raid a refrigerator than on Thanksgiving night?

Is nothing better than to feel that first tummy grumble, right around 11:00 p.m., and know that in the icebox lies mountains of food to silence those grumblings?

If you hosted Turkey Day, that is.

It's one reason---hell, the main reason---that my wife enjoys hosting Thanksgiving. You can't forage for leftovers if you've spent the day at relatives'.

But I won't throw her under the bus. I'm just as guilty of "leftover envy."

It's a lot of uncovering, unwrapping, reheating and replating, but what's better than chowing down on Thanksgiving, Part II as the witching hour approaches?

We only serve five on Thanksgiving, yet we annually purchase a 25-27 pound bird. Because hot turkey sandwiches the day after the holiday, positively rule.



Eat. Rinse. Repeat.



It's the usual fare as you'll find in most American homes---turkey; stuffing (my wife's famous I…

Bristol's Two Left Feat

Image
Bristol Palin is dancing her way toward the bottom of the pile but being electronically delivered into the hearts of Americans.

Bristol is one of the top three remaining contestants on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars", a show that is hemorrhaging credibility like red ink from the federal budget.

Bristol is the daughter of ultra conservative political wonk and Tea Party proponent Sarah Palin, who fancies herself as a presidential candidate in 2012.

Rumors abound that Sarah Palin has mobilized her Tea Partiers to flood ABC with phone calls and e-mails in the portion of the voting that calls for the general public to weigh in on which dancers should stay and which should go every week.

The result of this alleged campaign?

Bristol, who's a fine young woman but a mediocre dancer---especially when compared to the recent competitors who've been voted off the island---is one of the last three standing, despite poor marks from the show's judges and superior scores from her c…

Size DOES Matter

Image
When it comes to sizes of things, this country was practically founded on the premise of small, medium, and large.

We have small (Rhode Island), medium (Michigan) and large (Texas) states. We have small (villages), medium (towns), and large (cities) municipalities. We have small (ponds), medium (rivers/lakes), and large (oceans) bodies of water. We even have small (jockeys), medium (baseball players), and large (sumo wrestlers) human beings.

That perfectly efficient way of designating sizes bleeds into our clothes and our foodstuffs.

You just can't beat small, medium, and large. They're about as American as it gets.

So who do those coffee people think they are?

I'm cranky with the coffee folks, and not just because they charge $4.79 for a cup of fancy-shmancy joe.

The coffee people, with the delicious exception of Caribou Coffee, insist on ramming very un-American like sizes down our throats---literally.

Tall, grande, and venti is the coffee shop's small, medium, and large.

WH…

The Neophyte Nerd

Image
I hope Rick Snyder is a good governor.

I hope he can take the chicken feathers he in inheriting and turn them into chicken salad. It would be nice if he's also capable of turning water into wine and spinning straw into gold.

I hope Snyder, elected last week to be Michigan's new governor, won't be derailed and stonewalled by his lack of political experience, despite his party having strong majorities in the State House and Senate. I hope his belief that a state should be run like it's a business is more than just ideology and is actually full of substance.

I hope he can create jobs, weaning the state from its automotive mama and bringing it into the late-20th century, much less the 21st.

I hope he can broker deals that benefit the state's economy. I hope he keeps the tax incentives in place for the Hollywood folks.


Rick Snyder, Governor-elect


I hope he runs a tight ship and is fiercely protective of Michigan's workers and is sensitive to the social needs of those who …

Along Came John (Almost)

Image
Vice President John Engler?

It almost was, according to a recently published memoir from former President George W. Bush.

Bush, in "Decision Points," writes that the former Michigan governor was among nine finalists for the Veep nomination in 2000.

Engler, Bush says, was one of four current and former governors considered for the ticket, joining Oklahoma's Frank Keating, Pennsylvania's Tom Ridge, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

But among those four, the top two candidates were Engler and Keating.

"I knew I could work well with either one," Bush writes.

If that had happened---Engler as Bush's vice president---how would that have changed the political landscape in the Mitten State?


John Engler as U.S. Vice President? Not as far-fetched as you might think


The 2000 presidential campaign occurred right smack in the middle of Engler's third term as Michigan's governor (this was pre-term limits). Had Engler joined the ticket, he would have left for Washingto…

Springer's Baggage Claim

Image
Jerry Springer comes with a lot of baggage. Literally.

Springer, 66, is the host of Game Show Network's "Baggage," and there's no better host for such a program.

The man they call "The Grandfather of Trash TV" is finally hosting a show where there is no pretentiousness.

Unlike his "The Jerry Springer Show," which is celebrating 20 years on the air (believe it or not), "Baggage" doesn't purport to help people or to enlighten its audience. It's a shlocky dating show, pure and simple.

The format of "Baggage" is rather cute, actually.

Springer tries to match a young man or woman with three potential suitors, each of whom has three different sized suitcases beside them, representing the baggage they carry as a person.

The type of baggage is revealed gradually, with each suitcase getting bigger, matching the potential seriousness of the quirk it contains.

For example, the smallest suitcase may be opened and reveal a sign that says, …

Steak Out

Image
Venerable Carl's Chop House, near Grand River and the Lodge Freeway, is being torn down this week. My family and I enjoyed many meals there, and the restaurant's demolition strikes a sad chord. As a tribute to this legendary steak house, here's a piece I wrote about Carl's in this space on April 10, 2009.

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 …

Burning Sensation

Image
I smell them in the evening, as I walk our Jack Russell Terrier around the neighborhood, and few things stagger my olfactory nerves with such a wallop.

They're bonfires, and folks are having them all over the place anymore. And that's a good thing.

We sprung for a nice, stone-framed fire pit this spring, in anticipation of those cool evenings when you'd just as soon be outside next to crackling wood than inside watching TV.

There's something wonderfully intoxicating about gathering around a fire, in your own backyard, assembling some gooey s'mores or turning an impaled frankfurter over the flame. Or just sitting and staring at the orange, yellow and blue that emanates from the burning wood.

You can get awfully relaxed looking at a fire. The worries of the day magically leave you. And the smell, meshed with the cool autumn air, makes you feel like you're camping in the woods.

The fire experience reached its apex for us as a family in late August, when we vacationed n…

45 Caliber Records

Image
I hear them now on the radio and I can practically recall what they looked like in their physical form.
Record labels called Capitol, A&M, Columbia and Mercury.
They were my 45 records and I had a bunch of them.
I hear the songs now and I smile to myself. Suddenly I remember what they looked like, spinning on the turntable---with the yellow plastic thingie in the middle so the disc can play on the narrow spindle of your parents' stereo.
The list comes to mind now.
"Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas, who should be inducted into the One-Hit Wonder Hall of Fame.
"Fire" by the Ohio Players.
"Philadelphia Freedom" by Elton John.
Plus tons of tunes by the likes of The Monkees, Stevie Wonder, the Brothers Johnson, Barry White, and Neil Diamond.
Can't forget the novelty songs, such as "Shaving Cream" by Benny Bell, and "Earache My Eye" by Cheech and Chong.
I can just about see the labels in my mind---their color, the logos, even the font st…

So Long, Mr. C

Image
The exasperated spouse or parent has been a staple in American family sitcoms since they were recording the programs on kinescopes. That remained constant for decades; what would change was the source of the exasperation---another spouse, a child, a neighbor, etc.

Tom Bosley was among the best at being exasperated, and Lord knows he had plenty of sources with which to deal.

Bosley, 83, passed away today at his home in Palm Springs, CA, his family said. Reports say he died of heart failure, and that he was also battling lung cancer. A recent staph infection didn't help, either.

Bosley was Howard Cunningham, father of Richie and Joanie and husband to Marion on the ABC hit "Happy Days," which ran from 1974-84.

There was no shortage to the annoyances Howard Cunningham had to put up with.

There were his kids, who although well-behaved for the most part, were also rather impressionable and prone to getting caught up in the schemes of their friends.

Ah, those friends---Ralph Malph, P…

Importance of Being Ernest

Image
The eyebrows have long ago gone gray but are still as bushy as the Serengeti. The nose is bulbous, the smile as gap-toothed as ever. The voice still sounds like it's coming out of a cement mixer.

Ernie Borgnine was never an attractive man, unless you're one of those who like creatures that are so ugly that they're cute, like a koala bear.

Yet here Borgnine is, 93 and still we see his mug on the big screen.

Borgnine is one of those actors who was always old. "McHale's Navy" debuted almost 50 years ago and Ernie looked old then.

It's been 55 years since Borgnine made his mark in the film "Marty," in which he played the title character, a warm-hearted butcher who was also a shameless mama's boy. The film was an adaptation of the great teleplay by Paddy Chayefsky and earned Borgnine the Academy Award for Best Actor---beating out the likes of Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Cagney and Spencer Tracy, no less.

From then, Borgnine made a living in film playing roug…

Land Ho!

Image
The 41-year-old explorer obsessed with finding a western route to Asia struck land 518 years ago today, believing that he'd accomplished his goal. He hadn't, but that's OK; he accomplished much more.

Christopher Columbus, the Italian from Genoa, was born to be a seaman. He started at a very young age and eventually became a maritime entrepreneur. It wasn't much longer before he was brimming with how delectable it would be to head west and end up in China, India, and the gold and spice islands of Asia.

Because of the Ottoman Empire's barricades of both land and sea, the route to Asia via Egypt and the Red Sea was closed off to Europeans. That left Columbus with only one direction to his white whale of destinations: west.

Columbus and others of his ilk had no idea that the Pacific Ocean even existed, so when he struck land with his fleet of three ships (Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria) on October 12, 1492---a little over two months after departing from Palos, Spain on August 3…

Slow Burn

Image
OK, let me get this straight.

A rural town in Tennessee charges a $75 annual fee, a.k.a a "fire subscription service," to homeowners. Those who pay the fee can get their fires put out by the local fire department. Those who don't, can't.

That by itself, on the surface, seems odd to me. But whatever---fees is the other "F-word" anymore.

Fees can be billed. They can also be late, but they can be collected after the fact.

Now here's what happened to a man in South Fulton, Tennessee.

As reported on AOL.com, Gene Cranick's double-wide mobile home caught fire, but when firefighters responded, they protected the home of his neighbor instead---because the neighbor had paid the $75 fee and Cranick hadn't.

"I just forgot to pay my $75," Cranick told ABC News. "I did it last year, the year before. ... It slipped my mind."

The cost?

Cranick lost his home, all his possessions---and his three dogs and a cat.

Unconscionable, right?

"I have no p…

Tony's Reward

Image
Bernard Schwartz was a Bronx kid spawned by Hungarian Jews, his mother a diagnosed schizophrenic. He didn't even learn to speak English right away---Hungarian was his first and only language until age six.
He was inspired by the actor Cary Grant, even enlisting in the U.S. Navy because he marveled at Grant in the film "Destination Tokyo."
Bernard Schwartz was further inspired by Grant to pursue acting, and went to Hollywood mainly for the girls and the money more than for the craft.
It was on the Left Coast, in 1948, when Schwartz borrowed a first name from the novel "Anthony Adverse" and a version of the surname Kurtz from his mother's family and became, just like that, Tony Curtis.
In his younger days in film, Curtis was a raven-haired ladies man with beveling eyes and a slight pout. The Bronx accent never left him.
Curtis played the ladies man on film and in real life. He was married six times, and infidelity played a role in the breakup of his first, to ac…

Down in Front!

Image
Usually I like a stand up guy. Who doesn't?

But I don't need one delivering my TV news, thank you very much.

I blame Wolf Blitzer.

Blitzer, on CNN, seems to have started this trend that's beginning to creep into other news programs---that is, the reporting of news stories standing up, the camera showing him head to toe.

I don't like it.

There's a reason why we call the TV news people talking heads, after all.

The only people I care to see standing up and walking around on the set are the weather folks, because they have big maps to show us and satellite images and they're more like class instructors to me---and those types are forever standing.

But the news anchors need to take a seat.

There's just something nerve wracking, to me, about having my top stories and breaking news delivered by someone standing. It's not natural.

Think about the conversations you have with people while one of you is standing. Such a confab is either very casual, or in an elevator, or …

Friday Night Lights

Image
I'm not a fan of football played under the lights, as a rule. And it has nothing to do with the Lions being shunned by "Monday Night Football" every year.
I know it's done for the almighty TV dollar, but night college football games especially rankle me---especially those played on days other than Saturday. College football games have been popping up all over the dial on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays. That's not college football---that's just competitive "ER".
But there is some night football that tickles my fancy.
As the parent of a marching band member, one of the duties is to attend the home football games on Friday nights. There are far more daunting tasks.
High school football in prime time is OK by me because that's tradition. Once the stadiums around the country began installing lights in earnest in the 1960s, it was only natural to keep the high school gridders to a predominantly Friday schedule, and leave Saturday for college and Sunday f…

One-Hit Blunder?

Image
The landscape of politics is like Michigan weather---wait five minutes and it just might change.

With that in mind, it would appear to be folly to try to ascertain what might happen in the presidential election of 2012---the upcoming mid-term elections notwithstanding.

President Obama will be halfway through his term this January, believe it or not. He might also be halfway through his ONLY term.

I want to believe in the Obama Administration; I voted for him, after all. My thought at the time of the 2008 election was that Obama was the right president at the right time---just like Reagan was probably right in 1980, Kennedy was right in 1960, and Eisenhower was probably right in the 1950s.

But you can only be the right president at the right time if you're re-elected. Otherwise, you're just another one-hit wonder.

Kennedy would likely have been re-elected in 1964; that's why I make an exception in his case.

Obama, for all his adeptness at the podium and his smarts---I truly belie…

Bad Acid Trip

Image
You look at the photo now, knowing what you know, and you can swear that Bethany Storro is smirking at you.

Before, you might have said her expression---upturned mouth peeking through a curtain of acid-corroded skin---was that of a relieved, grateful woman who was just happy to be alive.

The photo of which I speak is that of the 28-year-old Storro, who is, for the moment, the most famous hoaxster in Canada and the U.S.

She's the clearly disturbed girl from Vancouver who falsely reported that she'd been the victim of an apparently random attack in which acid was thrown in her face by a black woman.

Storro was snapped, sitting in her hospital bed, the effects of the acid evident on her forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin.

But not in her eyes, and not on her mouth.

That makes sense now, of course---because Bethany Storro splashed herself with acid. So why would she splash her eyes and mouth?

How ironic that she should have taken care not to damage her eyesight or accidentally swallow the c…

That Damn Yankee

Image
Somewhere, way upstairs, Forrest Pitcher will be smiling on October 9.

Mr. Pitcher was my grandfather and he passed away on April 30, 2005 at the age of 96. Just six months prior to his passing, he had to endure the heartache of his adored Yankee Air Museum in Willow Run being ravaged by fire.

The date was October 9, 2004, and the museum's hangar caught on fire, destroying eight aircraft and thousands of artifacts, along with tools. While most of the museum's collection survived, the fire essentially put an end to the tours and day-to-day operations.

That's where my grandfather comes in.

Forrest Pitcher, well into his 90s, conducted guided tours of the museum. I took my family on one such jaunt not long before the fire, and what a treat it was---not only to see the museum's unbelievable collection of air and military history, but to be guided by my grandfather and our daughter's great-grandfather.

On October 9, the Yankee Air Museum will re-open to the public---six year…

(Speed) Trapped in Livonia

Image
Don't the Livonia police have better things to do than enforce the law?

Yeah, I wrote that. But only because that's what people seem to be saying.

Certain lead-foots, that is.

Livonia was recently tagged as the city with the worst "speed traps" in the State of Michigan.

It's not exactly clear how this designation was arrived at, but with its announcement last week, there was some scuttlebutt, as you can imagine.

The lead-foots contend that this surely means that motorists are being ticketed with glee by overzealous Livonia police officers, who should be doing things like "going after the REAL criminals."

Livonia's police chief, of course, shrugs it off.

"That (designation) doesn't bother me a bit," said chief Robert Stevenson. "We don't have speed traps. We just enforce the law."

The designation was announced by the National Motorists Association. According to a story in the Free Press, the organization said they identified citie…

It's Simply "Mad"

Image
If the end of summer is getting you down---Labor Day weekend reminds us that fall is just around the corner---and you feel like you need a pick me up, I'm going to recommend a movie.

But check with your doctor first, to make sure that laughing convulsively won't do you any harm.

Then go out and rent "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."

Or anything with Peter Sellers in it, if your local DVD store doesn't carry IAMMMMW.

The reason you should grab a copy of IAMMMMW is simple, just like what Jackie Gleason told "60 Minutes" when asked why "The Honeymooners" is still popular.

"Because it's funny," The Great One said.

Many of you have probably seen "World," which I have, numerous times. You might be leaning back right now and saying, "Oh yeaaaaah.....that WAS funny!"

Only a laugh riot---one of the funniest movies ever made.

I bring it up because one of the cable networks showed "World" over the weekend, and I s…

Pit Bull****

Image
If you want a dog for protection, get a German Shepherd. Or a doberman. Or a rottweiler.

Owning a pit bull is like walking around with a cocked gun that has a hair trigger.

The aforementioned dogs in the opening sentence provide security without attacking out of the blue (for the most part). The pit bull clearly has some issues.

They come in waves, these pit bull attacks. And when a wave comes, it's of the tidal variety.

We're on the crest of one now. Pit bulls are running amok in Metro Detroit these days.

Yesterday, a four-month old baby's scalp was bloodied. The other day, a family's five-month old puppy was mauled to death and its teenaged owner was badly injured by a pit bull gone mad.

Those are just two of the recent pit bull incidents reported over the past several weeks.

It's not just the dog itself---the owners of these violent animals are culpable. For example, it's amazing how many pit bull owners don't keep their dogs chained, tied, or otherwise under c…

Could've Ben Better

Image
Ben Affleck has been disappointing.

I look at Affleck, who has a new film coming out soon---a movie that he directed, wrote, and stars in---and I can't help but think that he could have been so much more.

It's been 13 years, believe it or not, since the 38-year-old Affleck burst onto the scene in Good Will Hunting, a film he co-wrote and co-starred in with Matt Damon about a math wiz who needs guidance.

The movie introduced us to Affleck, a nice-looking, well-spoken young man who looked to be the next big box office male lead. Co-star Damon seemed a tad too nerdy looking to assume that mantle.

But something happened on the way to stardom for Affleck. He made a lot of so-so movies; some were downright awful.

He could have been so much more.

There were some decent flicks: Armageddon, Shakespeare in Love, Boiler Room. But they weren't blockbusters, and they weren't yesterday. We're talking about a decade ago.

Instead, there's been Changing Lanes, Gigli, Jersey Girl, Surv…

Havin' WHOSE Baby?

Image
Thirty-six years ago, the worst song of all time reached #1 on the Billboard charts.

That sounds like opinion, but it's almost morphed into fact.

The poll was conducted by CNN in 2006. The winner (loser?) was Paul Anka's ode to his expectant wife, "(You're) Having My Baby," which found itself on the top of the charts on this day in 1974.

Anka, whose songwriting prowess cannot be denied, penned a stinker when he wrote "YHMB," which was written in celebration of the impending birth of Anka and his wife's fifth child. Anka wrote the song while appearing at Lake Tahoe.

At the suggestion of United Artists recording executive Bob Skaff, Anka was asked to change the song from a solo effort to a duet with virtually unknown vocalist Odia Coates, who made the mistake of being present in the studio when the song was about to be recorded.

Anka took a lot of abuse from women's rights activists, who saw the lyrics and the spirit of the "YHMB" to be highl…