Showing posts from January, 2010

Friday's Favs

(Note: every Friday I'll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from June 18, 2009

Tower of Power

In a long history of silly tiffs between the city of Detroit and those beyond its borders, it was one of the silliest.

But considering who was occupying the mayor's seat in the city, it was no wonder that something seemingly so innocuous could turn into the proverbial mountain from mole hill.

The water tower above the Detroit Zoo became a big old bone of contention, circa mid-1980s, in the thick of Coleman Young's tenure as Hizzoner.

It was all much ado about nothing, Bob Berg told me years later. With a chuckle, to boot.

Berg was Mayor Young's spokesperson, both during and after Coleman's years in office.

Berg and I got to know each other while I was Programming Director for Barden Cablevision in Detroit. We became friends of sorts. When my father passed away in February 1996, Bob was one of the first to send condolences.

One day, chit-chatting on the phone, I mentioned the …

Stating His Case

So Barack Obama's been in office for one year and he's already promising us that he won't quit.

Not sure if that's a good thing or not---that he has to remind us of that, I mean.

Obama's State of the Union Address Wednesday night ended with an almost Richard Nixon-like line---but of course delivered with a lot more pizazz and confidence.

"I don't quit!"

Neither did Tricky Dick, until the goods were too much on him to overcome.

I'm not comparing Obama to Nixon---well, not really. But it just goes to show you the different reactions that can be drummed up by different speakers delivering pretty much the same message.

Obama was at his best Wednesday night---pointedly glaring at the Republicans as he used his bully pulpit to call them out and place them into a tidy box. He also winked at them and joked, so that no one could accuse him of being a sourpuss or petulant.

He even derided the Supreme Court, who was sitting perhaps 30 feet in front of him. I don…

Kerrigan, Again

A little over 16 years after being attacked in Detroit, Nancy Kerrigan just got clubbed again.

This time it's fatal; Kerrigan, the figure skater who was whacked on the leg at Cobo Arena in January 1994 in a bizarre plot cooked up by her rival's camp, has now lost her father.

Daniel Kerrigan, 70, was found dead in his Massachusetts home early Sunday morning, and his son and Nancy's brother, Mark, is under arrest.


Mark Kerrigan, 45, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment in Woburn District Court Monday where he was charged with assault and battery on a person over 60.

Police reports said officers received a 911 call to the Kerrigan home at 7 Cedar Avenue about 1:30 a.m. Sunday and found Kerrigan's father, Daniel, unconscious and not breathing on the kitchen floor.

Mark Kerrigan, an unemployed plumber and Army veteran, was found in the basement, where he had been living in his parents home since being released from a Billerica jail where he served …

Friday's Favs

(Note: every Friday I'll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from March 31, 2009

Good Humor Me

Tell me, do some things seem smaller than what you remember, or did they just seem bigger because YOU were small?

Probably a little bit of both. But you can strap me to a lie detector, make me swear on a stack of Bibles, and have me stand on the grave of my father. In all instances, I'll tell you that the Good Humor bar is smaller than it once was.

This isn't another example of a bug-eyed kid whose recollection, as an adult, has become skewed over time.

Grab me a rosary and stick it in my hands. Make me look my mother right in the peepers. Threaten to swipe my first (and only) born if I'm lying.

The Good Humor bar is shrinking.

This atrocity made itself present in our home last week. My lovely wife came home with two boxes of Good Humor bars -- Toasted Almond and Chocolate Eclair -- and it was enough to make me undress her with my stomach.

First, I must enlighten the babes among …


So Conan O'Brien is concerned about being party to the demise of "The Tonight Show." Admirable, but much ado about nothing.

Look how hard NBC tried to kill "Saturday Night Live" and THAT'S still standing.

Besides, if what Jack Paar did failed to hurt "Tonight," then nothing will.

O'Brien is the guy who's now the odd man out, with Jay Leno apparently returning to 11:35 p.m., shoving "Tonight"---the show Conan waited years to host---back to 12:05 a.m.

O'Brien is having none of it. He says that "Tonight" at 12:05 just isn't "Tonight." He's right, technically; it's "Tomorrow" if it starts past midnight. And NBC killed that off over 20 years ago (remember Tom Snyder?).

I give Conan props, though, for taking a stand. He was promised "Tonight" and everything, he presumed, that came with it---not the least of which was its starting time, right after the local news, as it's been for d…

An Awarding Experience

The world famous film director was in a jazz club, in New York, blowing into his clarinet. He did that from time to time---kind of a Bill Clinton type with the woodwind. Not professional but not a rank amateur, either.

It was a Monday night, and since he blew the clarinet on Mondays, why should this one be any different?

Even if it was Oscar Monday, and even if the film director was up for an award that evening.

Woody Allen caused a stir when he blew off the Academy Awards in the late-1970s. His brethren found it odd that he couldn't rearrange his schedule for such an event.

Several years before, the actor Marlon Brando, protesting the treatment of Native Americans, boycotted the Oscars, even though he was up for Best Actor for "The Godfather." Sure enough, Marlon won, and in his stead was a young Indian girl, who delivered Brando's message of protest while the crowd murmured loudly.

Stars using awards ceremonies to either further agendas or make statements never did sit …

Friday's Favs

(Note: every Friday I'll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from August 17, 2009

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 twea…

Limited Options

Well, look at what term limits has wrought.

The governor's race in Michigan is more wide open than a 24-hour diner. In my almost 40 years of following politics in the state, I don't recall a race with as many question marks this late in the game.

And it's late, alright---less than eight months to the primary. That used to be a long time. In this day of the marathon campaign, eight months with this little done is as nerve wracking as it is to a bride planning a wedding---who has no hall, no church, and no dress picked out.

No one has any money to run, nor can raise the loot. Or they're short on experience. Likely, they're both.

You can thank term limits for all this.

The first domino to topple is the incumbent herself, Jenny Granholm, who's being forced out after her maximum two terms.

Her Lt. Governor, John Cherry, quit the race last week, citing the usual---no dough, and little hope of raising it.

John Freeman, a former State Rep. from Madison Heights and a health ca…

Jay Walking

Jay Leno is a great guy. He's one of the true good people in a business that is sorely lacking in them.

He's just not very funny.

Leno, whose 10:00 p.m. show on NBC just got the ziggy and will be moved back to its more familiar (and comfortable) 11:35 p.m. time slot, has run his course. At best, he was simply ill-suited for 10:00. At worst, his horrific ratings at the earlier slot is a portend of things to come, even when he moves back to 11:35.

It used to be that Leno ran neck-and-neck with Dave Letterman and was the Coke to Dave's Pepsi, or vice-versa. Now Jay is more like RC Cola. Maybe Diet RC Cola.

NBC had to pull the plug on Jay at 10:00. No, really---they had to. Or else they'd have affiliate reps from across the country storming 30 Rock with pitchforks and torches.

Jay Leno was a magician at 10:00 for the affiliates. He made their 11:00 news ratings go away.

There were some stations who fell from No. 1 to No. 3 in their market when it came to local news, all because …

Friday's Favs

(Note: every Friday I'll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from April 23, 2009

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…

The King at 75

We don't have to wonder too much about how Elvis Presley would look like at age 75, because he looked more like that than he did 42, which was his age at death.

The King would be 75 this Friday, if he hadn't accelerated his demise with a cornucopia of drugs and bad diet.

We get besieged twice a year by all things Elvis---right around now, and again in mid-August, denoting his death on the 16th in 1977.

But this is a biggie---the diamond anniversary of Presley's birth in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Presley, at his best, was maybe the sexiest man alive. You can debate until the wee hours his actual musical talent, but he was an entertainer, not necessarily a musician. And yes, there's a difference.

But there was no debating his sexual allure. Perhaps he never looked better than in 1968, when his nationally-televised "comeback" concert showed him as a 33-year-old, smirking, playful, good-humored man who engaged his live audience in a very intimate, "in the round" …

Domino's Effect

Domino's Pizza is finally coming clean.

They've admitted, finally, what most of us have known to be true for decades: they have an inferior product.

Domino's is done trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes; they're unveiling a new product---new sauce, crust, cheese, the works. TV ads are on the air now, with the dirty laundry there for all to see---and hear.

It's like Big Boy's saying their Slim Jim has been a fraud all these years. Or McDonald's sheepishly acknowledging that the Big Mac isn't all that.

Domino's, though, has pretty much done one thing and one thing only for most of their 40-plus years of existence. And now they're admitting that they couldn't even do that right.

I haven't had a Domino's pie since the 1980s, I reckon. It was the pie of choice in my dorm at Eastern Michigan University, because the joint was close and they offered up some ridiculous deals, like a large pizza with one item for three dollars. Pittman …