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Showing posts from September, 2013

Ciao Italy!

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The first thing I saw was a jug of wine on the kitchen table the size of the Detroit Zoo water tower in Royal Oak. And there was barely any wine left in it. That's when I knew it would be a fun night spent with family.

We're Italian---my wife more than I---and we spent a glorious Saturday evening last weekend visiting with aunts, uncles and cousins that we haven't seen in years. Probably not since the last family funeral; that's typically how it goes. It used to be that we saw each other at weddings and baby showers.

We approached the condo of our cousin and I saw the huge jug of wine on the table. More than a dozen heads, some bald and those that weren't, were mostly gray, bobbed in the front room at the dining table.

The food was going, the wine was going and the conversations were loud---mainly because half the folks could no longer hear.

Our family is getting older, and it's somehow up to people our age (my wife is 51 and I'm 50; our daughter is 20) and…

Coffee Drinkers, Disarm!

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Maybe Howard Schultz figures that the only thing worse than a person with a gun in his stores is a person with a gun who is heavily caffeinated.

Schultz is the founder and CEO of Starbucks, birthplace of the $5 cup of coffee. And he's making a polite request.

Please, no guns in Starbucks.

Whatever happened to "No shoes, no shirt, no service"? I long for those days.

Now we have CEOs of national chains asking their customers to check the firearms at the door. Or, preferably, much further away than that.

It could be that Schultz thinks that someone might finally be driven over the edge for paying $5 for a cup of coffee, and that person is best when he/she is unarmed.

But seriously, folks...

Schultz made what I thought was an impassioned yet reasonable plea to his customers via open letter to very kindly leave their legal, registered weapons out of his Starbucks stores, in states that have "open carry" laws.

"Few topics in America generate a more polarized and …

The Four (Hundred) Seasons

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It would be about this time of the year when there was great anticipation.

No, I'm not talking about the start of another school year. I'm talking about the start of a new television season.

It was an annual wave of excitement. All the new shows would debut in September, and the carryovers from past seasons would be back for another go round.

The networks---and by networks I mean ABC, CBS and NBC---got in on the act, producing prime time specials previewing their respective lineups.

The shows' stars would make appearances in these preview shows, dressed in character, speaking of what viewers were to expect.

This is circa the mid-to-late 1970s.

The absolute best, though, was the preview of all the new Saturday morning cartoons.

YAHTZEE!

That was a prime time special, too. As an adolescent who still enjoyed the animated shows, I marveled at all the new cartoons and what they intended to be and how they intended to entertain us.

The TV seasons back in those days were very seg…

Beantown Beatdown

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Everyday, it seems, we are reminded that just because one holds a position of respect and dignity, doesn't mean said person is respectful and dignified.

Take Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. Please.

In a New York TimesMagazine interview, the conversation turned to the city of Detroit. That's when Menino checked respect and dignity at the door before opening his mouth.

"I'd blow the place up and start all over," Menino said.

Now, Detroit has its problems, that's for sure---bankruptcy not withstanding. The city is hemorrhaging population, tax base and credibility. Its schools don't perform. There's a lot of waiting that goes on---to get a streetlight fixed, to get an ambulance, sometimes to even get a police officer to stop by while a crime is being committed.

But Menino not only used a poor choice of words, he did so with terrible irony.

Boston, as you know, was indeed bombed, at the Boston Marathon in April.

Someone really did try to blow Boston up.

It wasn…

Take THAT, Big C!

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This may be shocking to read, but it's not over the top to say that Valerie Harper was supposed to be six feet under now. Instead, she's going to be dancing up a storm.

Harper, beloved to this day for having played the sassy, tough Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda," was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year. Her doctors gave her three months to live.

Maybe she couldn't pay her bill, and the docs are giving her six more months.

With apologies to Henny Youngman, whose joke I just bastardized, have you noticed what's been going on with Harper?

The most recent news is that she's going to be one of the celebrity contestants on "Dancing With the Stars" this fall. Before that, Harper appeared on an "MTM Show" reunion on Nick at Nite, and filmed a movie role.

Not bad for someone who was supposed to be gone by now.

Cancer is a funny thing, and never before has the word "funny" been used mor…