Showing posts from April, 2010

Friday's Favs

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

from September 18, 2009

Movie Daze

We had a thing about movies on TV in Detroit. Mainly, that we didn't always like to tune in to watch the movie itself.

Often it was the sideshow, the stuff between clips of celluloid, that drew us to the TV, back in the day.

There was The Ghoul on Saturday nights, and the sheer quality of the flicks that The Ghoul foistered on his viewers made you want to look away, until there was a break and it was time for The Ghoul, Froggy, and Cheez Whiz.

There was Rita Bell and her "Prize Movie," on in the mornings. Rita was a sweet lady (my wife once met her, working in the same building, and said she was very nice) who'd play a movie and then solicit phone calls in between, with lucky callers winning stuff.

Then there was Bill Kennedy.

Ole Bill, the former B-movie actor with the gravelly voice, which was made even croakier thanks to the cigarettes he chain-smoked on the air.

Bill Ke…

Cuss it Gets Attention

Carl Levin might have a blue streak in him---something he's kept closeted until recently---but he still has a long way to go before he can touch the master.

According to

U.S. Sen. Levin (D-Michigan) was taking testimony of several Goldman Sachs executives alleged to have sold what they knew to be a toxic $1 billion collateralized debt obligation to unwitting investors. While grilling the bankers, Levin quoted from a 2007 e-mail from one former Goldman exec describing the transaction, known as "Timberwolf."

Here's where Levin cut loose.

"Look what your sales team was saying about Timberwolf," said Levin, the committee chair. "'Boy, that Timberwolf was one sh---y deal.' They sold that sh---y deal ... 'Boy, that timber was one sh---y deal.' How much of that sh---y deal did you sell to your clients? ... You didn't tell them you thought it was a sh---y deal ... You knew it was a sh---y deal ... How about the fact that y…

Michigan-Made (Back Then)

Where have all our Detroit-area retail brethren gone?

The other day, I got to thinking of unique-to-Detroit stores and shops, and also gas stations of days gone by.

I'm sure the following list of names will prompt a lot of "Oh yeah!!" moments.

Jacobson's. I believe this was a mainly women's apparel retailer, though they may have sold men's clothes, too. Sometimes shortened to "Jake's."

Winkelman's. As with Jacobson's, "Winky's" had a prominent location in Dearborn, on Michigan Avenue. Another mostly-female apparel shop.

Crowley's. I used to frequent the Crowley's in Universal Mall in Warren; speaking of Universal, that "mall" at 12 Mile and Dequindre has undergone quite a makeover. In fact, it's not so much a mall anymore as it is a plethora of retail outlets, still using the Universal name.

Joshua Doore, Robinson's, Wickes, Englander Triangle. Ahh, remember these furniture retailers? Joshua Doore had a …

Friday's Favs

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

from January 4, 2010

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 cl…

Revolving Credit

I love revolving doors.

There's no guilt, for one. You're not expected to hold open a revolving door for anyone. Also takes away the guesswork over whether the person behind you is close enough---or worthy enough---for whom to hold the door.

I was only an occasional, once-in-a-blue-moon user of revolving doors until February, when I started my new job located in the Guardian Building downtown. Now, I'm a multiple-times-per-day revolving door user.

It's also the only door that is even remotely fun---and dangerous.

The latter part of that sentence first: the day I was hired, I brought our teenage daughter with me when I drove downtown to pick up my parking card. I neglected to tell her that only one person should enter a revolving door at a time.


She tried to squeeze in with daddy, except that daddy was already halfway into the building, thanks to the Guardian's brisk-moving revolving door. That left daughter perilously squished between the door flap and the interi…

Friday's Favs

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

from November 18, 2009

Johnny Beefcake

Johnny Depp is the Sexiest Man Alive. Especially in my house, which includes me, a man. You want to know how you can be the only male and still finish in second place? Be married to a woman who'd pick up Depp's socks from the floor and consider it as good as foreplay.

But that's OK. There's no shame in finishing second to Johnny Depp, whether it's in terms of sexiness or in acting talent.

Depp got the People Magazine tag for the male version of va-va-voom this year, but I don't know what you win for such an honor. The winners of these things already have riches and adoring females. And their healthy good looks. Is there an award?

Depp can be the Sexiest Man Alive. But I have a feeling that he'd rather be the Best Actor Alive, which he damn well might be. The many faces of Johnny Depp have included gangster John Dillinger, an effeminate pirate, a homicidal b…

Enquiring Minds....

The National Enquirer and the Pulitzer Prize.

I may as well have just said sardines and chocolate ice cream.

Not so fast, Jack.

The Pulitzers were announced today. They are print journalism's highest honors. The usual suspects were listed among the winners: The New York Times, the Washington Post, et al.

But the Enquirer gave it a shot, and they were serious.

The Enquirer, that screaming tabloid dangling from grocery store and drugstore racks all over the country with its come hither headlines, had a pretty good year---good enough to warrant some Pulitzer consideration.

The basket that the Enquirer was putting all of its eggs into was its tenacious work on the John Edwards sex scandal, a story that was shunned by "mainstream media" at times, all while the Enquirer never took its eye off the prize---no pun intended.

Why, the Enquirer even turned some heads among the journalistic eggheads.

"Had the Enquirer not exercised a very tenacious reporting on this---which we respect i…

Friday's Favs

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

from October 5, 2009

Gettin' Corny

Howard Johnson's is dead and they took their corn toastees with them.

Pox on them, anyway!

HoJo's, with their distinctive orange roofs, used to be strewn all over these United States---part inn, part restaurant. And, eventually, part grocer supplier.

Howard Johnson's came to be known for their ice cream and something else that we'll delve into in a moment. The ice cream was so good, so popular, that it first became available near the cash register, in a serve yourself freezer, before being packaged and distributed to supermarket chains.

One corner of the box---I believe it was the upper left---bore the HoJo logo: orange roof with the name "Howard Johnson's" underneath. It was almost as iconic in the ice cream world as The Good Humor brand's little white truck.

But then ice cream wasn't enough, and HoJo's came out with some other items for your, …

Goodbye, Charlie!

"It was the easiest and best job any actor could have," John Forsythe once said.

No kidding.

Forsythe, who died last week at age 92, was talking about being the voice of the never-seen Charlie, in TV's "Charlie's Angels."

"Hello, Angels!", Forsythe would greet his stable of female detectives in his distinctively smooth, cool-as-a-cucumber fashion through a tiny speaker.

Those two words, plus the Forsythe-narrated opening to the show, put an indelible mark on the legacy of "Charlie's Angels," which launched Farrah Fawcett into the stratosphere.

Forsythe was also seen in addition to being heard on "Dynasty," playing the role of oil magnate Blake Carrington in the 1980s, for which he won a couple of Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor.

You can have all that, plus a myriad of other Forsythe roles, but I'll match it with a solitary one of his.

John Forsythe: 1918-2010

Rent "...and Justice for All," starring Al Pacino, and p…

Sometimes It Feels Like a Nut...

Forty-two years and a day ago, James Earl Ray, full of hatred, peered through his rifle scope, found his quarry standing on the balcony of a Memphis motel, squeezed the trigger, and within a split second turned Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from a Civil Rights icon into a tragic martyr.

The Lone Nut Theory---the notion that a man bent on violence can, solitarily, snuff out the life of even the greatest of men, as long as he has the proper weapon, a hiding spot, and the opportunity.

Ask 100 Americans who killed Dr. King on April 4, 1968, and all but a small handful (if that) will tell you that it was Ray who gunned down the Civil Rights leader that day.

Ask those same 100 who killed President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, and you'll have a figurative riot on your hands.

The Lone Nut Theory doesn't seem to wash when it comes to the assassination of Kennedy, no matter how much evidence is presented that Lee Harvey Oswald, and Oswald alone, killed the president.

The conspiracy th…

Not-so-Royal Flush

Evolution of some of our taken-for-granted products often goes unappreciated, until you look at that product's origins.

Look at Alexander Graham Bell's first telephone, and look at the gadget we have today. It's hard to believe both of them came from the same egg, so to speak.

Visualize if you will Henry Ford's Model T, and compare that to the death mobiles we drive today.

Now take the lid off your toilet tank (you heard me). Look inside.

Why do I have the feeling that today's tank is no different than the very first one ever concocted?

How did evolution bypass the American home toilet?

You ever REALLY look inside a toilet tank? I know it's not the most pleasant of things, but sometimes they do act up. And when you pull off the 500-pound marble top, the task of which is similar to exhuming a body, you'll see a contraption that looks like a prototype---from 1877.

There's a chain in there. And a big, black, bulbous bobbing thing. There's a piece of metal tha…