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Showing posts from July, 2011

Catch Me if You Can

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As far as serial rapists/sexual assailants go, the perp in Ann Arbor is moving with amazingly swift virulence.

Within two weeks, there have been six attacks on women, all late at night and all within the city proper. All victims have been between their late teens and early-30s.

And just in time for a new slew of freshmen girls who are arriving on campus in advance of the 2011-12 school year.

As the father of an 18-year-old daughter, I'm not sure what my emotions would be like if I had to drop her off at U-M now, right when these attacks are taking place.

Because one thing is certain: the assaults won't end until the assailant is caught; serial anything doesn't just stop, miraculously. The perp is either caught or dies---or else the crimes will continue.

The only thing preventing more killings than the four children who were sexually assaulted and killed by the Oakland County Child Killer in the mid-1970s was likely the death of the bad guy. That's long been the theory of la…

Not Going Postal

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When I was a child and used to visit my grandparents who lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, one of the things I remember doing was sometimes hopping into the car and grandpa driving several miles into the little town near where they lived---to get the mail.

Every day they made that trip, unless it was winter time---then the mail could wait until the roads were passable.

For most of us, a check of the mail means nothing more than padding to the front door, opening it, and peeking into the box. Being fully clothed isn't even required.

Can you imagine getting into your car and driving 10-15 minutes each way---just to check the freaking mail?

I wonder what will happen to those small, out of the way post offices, in light of the news that the U.S. Postal Service is closing 3,700 offices in order to cut costs.

And they have to do a lot of cutting.

The Postal Service needs to close a $20 billion gap in revenue by 2015.

The 3,700 offices that will close are spread out over all 50 states a…

No Borders? My Nose Knows

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The first thing I notice is the smell.

It's not an odor, it's a scent---tickling the olfactory nerves with its blend of the newly minted, the newly printed. Then there's sometimes a hint of coffee wafting from somewhere in the back.

I love walking into a bookstore.

The used bookstore has its own scents, and that blend is appealing, too.

But today I talk about the new bookstore, where nothing has been pre-owned, and the books have only been read by the patrons sitting in overstuffed chairs or on hardbacks as they sip their lattes.

The big box bookstore is dying a slow, agonizing death. It reminds me of the gradual yet pervasive disappearance of the drive-in movie theaters, "back in the day"---which was less than 20 years ago.

The announcement that Borders is liquidating, severing over 10,000 jobs across the country and over 400 in Ann Arbor alone, is sad beyond the job loss, which this economy hardly needs.

This isn't just a chain closing; it's maybe the harbinge…

Drink Responsibly? HA!

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I enjoy a cold beer at the end of the day. In the evening, maybe a martini, or a scotch on the rocks.

That's the extent of my drinking, really.

A far cry from the fuzzy days of my college years, when we'd drink during happy hour, go home and take a nap, and then wake up at 10:00 at night, wondering what we were REALLY going to be doing that night.

I outgrew the alcohol thing by the time I was in my late-20s. That was 20 years ago.

Yet there are still those well into their 30s, or even my age, who still find the whole drink-till-you-drop thing, fun.

I guess I just don't get it.

Even when I was at my drinking best, circa 1982-88, I recognized how awful it could make me feel, whether that same night or the next day. I remember getting hammered at a bachelor party into the wee hours, then having to report to work the next morning to direct TV coverage of a parade.

Ugh.

So now, one beer, one drink, that's it. It's not about the buzz, it's about the flavor. The refreshing as…

First Lady, Indeed

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Betty Ford was one of the few First Ladies whose exploits and name recognition were greater than that of her husband's.

If you were going to compile a Top 5 List of All-Time Great First Ladies, you'd better put Mrs. Ford on it.

The caveat is that Betty Ford accomplished the lion's share of her fame after she left the White House. Then again, she was only a resident there for 29 months (August 1974-January 1977).

Betty Ford is being laid to rest today in Palm Desert, California, with several former First Ladies and Michelle Obama in attendance. Mrs. Ford died last week at age 93.

Outside of Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford was the most politically and socially active First Lady in modern times. It started with her raising of awareness of breast cancer, after she underwent a mastectomy in 1974.

She wasn't a favorite among the conservative Republicans, despite her being a member of the GOP herself---along with her husband, Jerry. Her more moderate and sometimes liberal stance on …

For Caylee

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Unfortunately, our criminal justice system doesn't allow for verdicts of "probably" or "who else?" or "are you kidding me?"

If so, little Caylee Anthony would have justice today. Her killer and any accomplice(s) would be destined to a life behind bars---until execution, as they do in Florida.

Instead, the jury in the most gripping, emotionally invested trial since that of O.J. Simpson rendered a decision that was a rejection of the prosecution's version of what happened.

This is because the prosecution, in the jury's eyes, failed to portray their version in that "beyond a reasonable doubt" way, which is a great threshold to have in place until it becomes inconvenient.

Perhaps we will never know what happened to Caylee, the precious little toddler who was discarded in a swamp like remnants of a picnic. But that won't protect her mother, the acquitted Casey, who now proceeds to live one of the most intriguing lives in recent memory.

Wha…

The Book of Daniel

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The child actor is one of the most volatile of creatures---when he or she stops being a child actor and has to be, simply, an actor----or a person.

The road to Hell is paved not only with good intentions, but also with the souls of cherubic youngsters who had the misfortune of gaining fame before puberty.

No need to drag their names through the mud once more---chances are you know of whom I speak.

But there may be hope that the newest generation of kid actors and entertainers has learned from their predecessors.

Daniel Radcliffe, the bespectacled lead in the "Harry Potter" franchise, told GQ UK that he leaned on alcohol while filming "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" in 2009.

But Radcliffe kicked the bottle, he says, last August.

"As much as I would love to be a person that goes to parties and has a couple of drinks and has a nice time, that doesn't work for me. I do that very unsuccessfully," Radcliffe told GQ UK. "I'd just rather sit a…