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Showing posts from October, 2011

Fall Guy

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I would love fall---or autumn, if you prefer---much more if I was more tolerant of what comes behind it: Old Man Winter.

I adore a crisp fall morning, afternoon and evening. I get to enjoy them all because our Jack Russell Terrier demands exercise in the form of several walks per day, so I don't have much of a choice. But it's all good.

So I like the smell of someone burning something or another in the distance. I like the colors, of course. On Saturday afternoons, I like knowing that, all over the country, college football games are being played, whether that college has 1,000 students or 50,000.

But as I get older I find myself more and more resentful of the Old Man every year from December thru March.

I just don't have the patience anymore for the snow and the ice and the hazards they both bring---and I'm including dog walking in there, in addition to driving.

Don't tell me that you're safer walking on the sidewalks in winter time than you are sliding around on t…

A Tale of Two Moms

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I'm old enough to remember a simpler time---when being a "stage mom" was pretty much as bad as it got when it came to the mothers of child actors.

I remember Teri Shields, the mother of actress Brooke Shields, who was vilified for being too aggressive and bossy as her daughter rose through the ranks as an adolescent.

Teri Shields was taken to task because at that time and prior (the late-1970s to early-1980s), the parents were very much in the background. You ever hear salacious stories of the moms of Larry Matthews or Jerry Mathers or any of the kids on "The Brady Bunch"?

No, you didn't.

But then came Teri Shields, who was bombastic and sometimes, it seemed, in competition with her daughter for attention.

Well, turns out that the "stage mom" maybe isn't such a bad thing. At least the stage mom keeps tabs on her child(ren), albeit perhaps in a way that prompts eye-rolling.

Brooke Shields turned out just fine, thank you. Granted, I'm biased. I…

Take This Lamb and Shove It

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The Little Italian General, Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano, has offered up some lambs for sacrifice in the Turkia Mullin severance scandal, but this time he's finding that the county natives' appetite is a tad more voracious than what he's able to offer them.

Ficano suspended for 30 days, without pay, his top deputy, Azzam Elder, and lead attorney Marianne Talon. Ficano also fired former Human Resources Director Tim Taylor, who retired in April but who had been doing consulting work since.

In the past, that might have been enough to quell the rancor and get everybody back to their busy days. It might have been the equivalent of the cops yelling, "Nothing to see here!"

Not this time.

Severance-Gate is taking on a life of its own. The newspapers, usually very kind to the County Executive, are suddenly chewing on Ficano like a dog on a rawhide. Now even the residents are getting into the act.

On Monday, several dozen of them protested outside the Guardian Building dow…

Last Sitcom Standing?

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The hair is more gray, the paunch is more pronounced around the belly. The face is a tad more jagged.

But Tim Allen is back on TV, and again he's there to represent---Michigan, that is.

Allen, 58, is the star of the new ABC sitcom, Last Man Standing, where he plays a marketing exec whose nest is filled with women---his wife and daughters. The series premieres tonight.

The show takes place in the Denver area, but Allen's character is a University of Michigan grad.

It's been about 12 years since Allen, who grew up in Birmingham, was last seen on the small screen as do-it-yourself TV host Tim Taylor on Home Improvement.

Since then, movies beckoned (The Santa Clause films, most prominently) and Allen made a mint with just his voice in the Toy Story franchise.

He's also the narrator of the Pure Michigan ad campaign on TV and radio.

It's been over 20 years since Allen first made a name for himself in the entertainment industry, grunting and acting the cave man as he did stand u…

Genius! (Really)

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There are some words that just get overused to the point of losing much of their meaning.

Hero. Role model. Cute.

To name a few.

Oh, and "genius," which I am convinced most of the people who use it couldn't even properly define it for you.

But there are also times when those overused, borderline hackneyed words and phrases are quite apt and can, for that precise moment, be used like a square peg in a square hole.

We lost a genius yesterday.

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc. who passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer at age 56, was a genius. He was every bit of one as Edison and Einstein and Fermi.

What is genius, then?

Part of it is affecting people's everyday lives, for the better. Whether you embrace technology or not, you'll sound foolish if you try to argue that Jobs' computer chip-based creations didn't positively impact the vast majority of the people who used them.

Jobs started Apple in his garage, the story famously goes. That's in line …

The Little Italian General

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"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

How about, "Fool me over and over"?

Last year I worked for the Wayne County Commission as its press secretary/public information person. For those who don't know, the Commission is the legislative branch of county government---the Congress to the County Executive's President, if you will.

But at least Congress has some degree of a spine.

Many of you might have read of the controversial "severance" check that former Wayne County Director of Development Turkia Mullin received after she left that post to head Metro Airport. Mullin voluntarily left a $200,000 job to take the airport position, which pays $250 K. Not bad.

But upon her leaving, County Executive Bob Ficano handed Mullin a $200,000 check, just for leaving. Quite a parting gift.

The payout was allegedly in line with the terms of Mullin's contract. And, she and Ficano said, it wasn't any different than what her predecessor received …