Showing posts from May, 2013

Back From the Brink

Robert Downey Jr.'s birth certificate reads that he was given life on April 4, 1965. That should come with an asterisk.

They say a cat has nine lives. But no feline has anything on RDJ, as he is known in this Internet world of abbreviations and acronyms.

Downey may be working on damn near that ninth life by now, but the good news is that he doesn't seem to be in need of any more leases.

Downey is on top of the world now, riding the crest of a wave portraying multi-billionaire Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. The third Iron Man movie was released this spring, to rave reviews. In between all the Iron Man movies was 2012's The Avengers, which was a meeting of the minds, brawn and good looks of Marvel Superheros Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Captain America, the Black Widow and Hawkeye.

Downey wowed them in The Avengers, too.

But what's fascinating about Downey isn't how he combines dashing good looks, borderline cockiness and a little boy's vulnerability in his Tony Stark ch…

Legs Benedict

First, if Benedict Cumberbatch existed in a different era, we wouldn't know him as Benedict Cumberbatch.

He'd be Peter Lawford, or Gary Cooper, or Cary Grant.

Any Hollywood producer or press agent worth his salt would never let Cumberbatch, yet another British invader who is captivating female Americans, keep his given name. At the very least, the movie folks would have Cumberbatch use his two middle names---Timothy Carlton---as they Frankensteined another star.

Timothy Carlton---now THAT'S a movie star's name, right?

But this is a different time. Actors don't use stage names so much anymore. Even if you're Benedict Cumberbatch, which actually sounds like a villain from a Dickens Christmas novel.

No matter what you call him---and his overwhelmingly female fans (notably my wife and daughter) have a boatload of cutesy nicknames for him---Cumberbatch will likely be known as something else before long: one of the world's greatest actors.

I've given Johnny De…


As a basketball player, David Bing arrived in Detroit at just the right time.

A skinny guard out of Syracuse, Bing was the Pistons' sloppy seconds of the 1966 NBA Draft. The Pistons heartily preferred Cazzie Russell, the dazzling forward from the University of Michigan, some 45 minutes from Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit.

But the Pistons lost a coin flip for the first overall pick, and Russell was snatched up by the New York Knicks. The Pistons then "settled" for Bing with the second overall choice.

"Don't worry," former Pistons player Earl Lloyd told team brass after the draft. "You just got the best player in the country."


Bing revived a moribund franchise with his smooth passing and dynamic moves to the basket. There was reason to come to Cobo and watch the Pistons. Crowds that had been in the 2-3,000 range inched up over 5,000 per night.

In his second season, Bing led the NBA in scoring average and the Pistons made the playoffs.

In 1970…

My Dinner with the Family

If there's anything I am proud of as a husband and a father, it's that we still manage to eat dinner together at the same table on most nights.

No TV trays (remember those?), no scurrying off into the front room or the bedroom. Just plunk your butts down at the dining room table and share in the food bounty.

It's a nice time.

The audience is captive, number one---and I am specifically referring to our 20-year-old daughter. Dinner time gives me at least a 15-minute window with which to work.

It's when I can get caught up on her college studies (though she is now done until Fall term), ask about her Internet life (she's addicted to Tumblr and YouTube), and various and sundry other topics.

It's rather old fashioned---my wife literally calls people to dinner. She doesn't use a metal rod and a triangle, like in the Old West, but the premise is the same.


Which, to me, are three of the loveliest strung-together words in the English langua…