Taking Back Boston

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I made a commitment immediately after I experienced the terrorist attacks in Boston last year that I would be back this year.  It was so important for me to take back Boston after running 4 marathons for Dana Farber.  In addition, it was the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge’s 25th anniversary and my 5th consecutive Boston Marathon.  Hell yes I was going back! For those of you who know me, I don’t run for me. I run because I can and I run for the greater cause of eradicating cancer.  Ok…maybe selfishly I run so I can have the occasional beer … Read More…

$100 by Tuesday and You Could Be a State Senator: Great Pay, Hours and Benefits!

Your new office?

  Do you hate those knocks on the door with people holding clipboards?  Have you thought of running for office but don’t want to be the next Avon lady? Well, you can skip those pesky 500 petitions needed to run for state office in Michigan.  The state’s website recommends getting 1,000 signatures–just to be on the safe side in case you’ve got some bogus citizens or someone’s going to challenge you on using a #3 pencil or a hanging chad. That’s right!  For the low, low price of only $100 and a notarized form by 4 PM Tuesday, April 22nd, … Read More…

Joe D’s Final Countdown: The Going to Work Pistons, a Retrospective

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Ten years after the Detroit Pistons won their second NBA Championship Title, all looked dull and dreary for the then teal and blue (and sometimes purple?) ‘Stones. They had talent. They had a new arena. They had Grant Hill and they had Jerry Stackhouse. But it wasn’t enough for them to compete for championships, or even playoff spots. The NBA was a bottleneck of a select few dynasties who seemingly controlled the league with free agent superstars. Two-time championship owner (and world’s biggest Pistons fan) Bill Davidson needed some sort of spark to bring another group of winning guys together. … Read More…

I Knew It Was a Bomb: The Boston Marathon a Year Later

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A year ago I was 1,000 feet from a terrorist attack.  I wrote this at 3AM that night and when I read it, I still get chills.  Join me in remembering the 3 killed and hundreds injured in this senseless crime.  Next Monday, I return to Boston to run again.   ————————————————————- I knew it was a bomb…. Riding the bus to Hopkinton we were all smiles, as it was the beginning of our celebration. 27,000 of us with our own stories and our own individual ways of getting there. Some were running their first Boston – the pinnacle of … Read More…

The Quarter Million Dollar Student Athlete

NCAA Kentucky Wisconsin Final Four Basketball

College is fun.   It’s a time of liberation and discovery.  It’s a time to develop self-awareness, accountability, empowerment.  What any of us wouldn’t give to go back to college? Watching March Madness always reminds me of that liberation, joy and jubilation.  It propels me back twenty plus years to a time when we were students and the Fab Five were rocking at Michigan. We jammed into Crisler Arena bouncing up and down, partying at our friends’ houses and storming South U at our victories or near victories.  What pride we had in watching our fellow students represent our great University … Read More…

Shocking NHTSA Commercial Captures Horrors of Texting and Driving

Head bobbing, car swerving, one hand on the wheel, the other on a cell phone. From neighborhoods to freeways, texting and driving has become all too common in the United States. Millions of brazen motorists text and drive every day, testing the laws of chance and putting every driver on the road in peril. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 3,000 Americans die from distracted driving every year. Thousands of others suffer serious and traumatic injuries. This is no surprise when you consider texting and driving makes a crash up to 23 times more likely. As this … Read More…

New Podcast: The Best Week in Sports–or at least most optimistic

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The Best (or at least most optimistic) Week in Sports Kale Davidoff, Matt Moss and Aaron Lebovic join the show a week after their teams took hits on the way to the Big Dance but still find the energy to examine: NCAA Weekend #2:  From 16 to 4 Wolverine and Spartan Nation reactions Unionization of College Athletes Baseball’s Opening Day vs. Mardi Gras Detroit Tigers changes and chances Masters without Tiger–worth watching? Be sure to check out Kale’s blog on Opening Day at this link.

Old Passions in New Hands: The Ausmus-Abrams Effect on the Tigers and Star Wars

This is like my heaven.

Opening Day has always been much more than the start of a new baseball season. For the players and teams, it marks a new opportunity. For some, it is a chance to put physical or statistical shortcomings behind them. For others, it’s finding someway to harness past success and release it in time for a brand new campaign. And for many, it’s the first taste of playing in front of the tall buildings. From the fan perspective, Opening Day is a celebration of the past, and a time to party and look towards the possibilities of the future. Who will … Read More…

Bad Ads and Worse Puns for Rick Snyder: Inside the Koch Brothers’ War-Room

They can buy anything, anything, anything under the sun.

Always a fan of strange ads, I thought I’d deconstruct the possible creation of this beauty–a close second to Rick Snyder’s scuba-diving Super Bowl ad (link). Needless Disclaimer:  The following transcript could have been secretly recorded in a war-room–detailing the plan for the first wave of ads to re-elect Michigan’s Governor Snyder.  You never know… [Sound of door opening and bowing and scraping.] Koch 1:  “Okay boys, lay it on me.  Whaddaya got?” Slappy:  “Pardon sir?” Koch 2:  “In Michigan, son, in Michigan.” Slappy 1:  “Oh.  Well we own most of the senate and a lot of house members.” Slappy … Read More…

Once Cherished Detroit Journalist Turned Thoughtless Blogger – The Tipping Point of Mitch Albom’s Generational Supremacy

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I’ve had a gripe with Mitch Albom for a long time. Like many, I used to be a huge fan. Tuesday’s With Morrie made me cry and The Five People You Meet in Heaven made me wonder, gasp and smile. He used to be “our guy” on ESPN’s Around the Horn or Outside the Lines. And—as a New Jersey transplant—he was the champion of Detroit when others were kicking us while we were down. Then he lied about a little detail in a Free Press article… Will Albom’s woes taint journalism? It was a small detail, but it was lying … Read More…

New Podcast: The Hoops & Hype of March Madness

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Contributing writer, Kale Davidoff, joins Kevin Walsh and media professionals Aaron Lebovic and Matt Moss to analyze the opening weekend of March Madness. Topics include: – Why is this event so special? – What non-basketball part of the event do you like/dislike most? – Review of brackets busted and intact – Best/Worst of CBS coverage – What changes would you make to either the tournament itself or its programming?

You’re Pregnant, You’re Fired – Why Teachers Have Unions…For Now

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Dr. Ken Noble followed his Depression-era parents into the teaching profession in Royal Oak, Michigan four years before Governor Romney (R) signed a law permitting collective bargaining for public workers.  In 2010, Ken shared his perspective with teachers struggling with the need for a teachers union in a district that would eventually impose an historically severe retroactive pay-cut on its teachers. I have been out of the classroom and away from the negotiating table for so long I do not know how much my thoughts will help you, but since you asked . . .The evolution of teacher duties and … Read More…

Saturday Morning Marriage-Rush: Families Racing Against Their Government

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* Non-Surprising Update After 7 Hours since this original post:  “The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, after first signaling it would not intervene in Michigan’s gay marriage case until Tuesday, posted a new order late Saturday imposing a stay in the case until Wednesday.’ (link) The Oklahoma land-rush scene from Far and Away, best illustrates what’s happening this morning in many county clerk’s offices in Michigan.  Desperate families given a brief window of opportunity to give their children the same rights and opportunities as other American kids–fully expecting the window to be slammed shut at any moment. Free land–if … Read More…

March’s Moment to Shine – The Ever-Inspiring NCAA Tournament

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Here, watch this: I was at that game. It was nuts. I mean, listen to Ford Field after Durrell Summers powers that dunk through. Michigan State (or Michigan, for that matter) playing in the Final Four in their home state behind a home crowd may never happen again, and although the Spartans came up short against one of the most perfect North Carolina teams, the Spartans felt like champions that entire weekend. I’ve seen a lot of cool things in Detroit, but for a freshman Michigan State student like myself, seeing Park, Witherell, Madison and Brush streets and its pedestrians drenched … Read More…

Do you have a “beautiful question” you’d like to share with the world?

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Today, March 14, is “Question Day 2014,” in honor of that master questioner Albert Einstein, who was born on this date, 135 years ago. Einstein is known for his curiosity and passion for questioning. He told us, “The important thing is not to stop questioning” and urged us to “Question everything” and “Never lose a holy curiosity.” I happen to be very interested in questioning myself. My book, A More Beautiful Question, is all about the surprising power of questioning to transform our lives and spark big breakthroughs. The book was published last week by Bloomsbury and now, of course, I’m … Read More…

For Those Who Don’t Speak Spy: The Case for “World is Not Enough”

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Chanukah 2000 was a pivotal moment in my life. One of those fulcrums in the space-time continuum. I remember it vividly. My family was in Memphis, Tennessee visiting my cousin. The trip marked my first time in Memphis, which would spark an interest and appreciation for the blues and Elvis Presley that would stretch well into later years; motivating more trips to the heart of the mid-South and grizzly versions of “Heartbreak Hotel” at karaoke bars across the nation. In addition to those very cultural pillars established that Chanukah, I received two gifts that would mold my childhood and shape … Read More…

New Podcast: The Oscar Post-Op Show Starring Kim Novak, John Travolta and at Least One Mispronounced Celebrity

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  Kevin Walsh is joined by Sheri Horwitz, Aaron Lebovic and Collin Ward as they dissect the  2014 Oscars, including… Our Panel’s Prediction-Accuracy (and those pesky costume awards), Cringeworthy Moments:  Kim Novak’s Vertigo, Travolta’s stumblings, etc., The Big Surprises:  Shutout for Hustle, What Should Be Cut:  Montages of Heroes, what? Ellen:  Too-low key and casual–or just right?

So I Didn’t See ‘Em All: Some Oscar Predictions Anyway

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Welcome our newest contributor, Steve Palizzi!  You can also hear our podcast with Oscar predictions… And for our dissection after the Oscars, Sheri rejoins us along with Aaron Lebovic and Collin Ward… I have a confession. I haven’t seen all the movie in all the categories.  I haven’t even seen all the movies nominated for Best Picture. Am I embarrassed? Not really. I figure I’m no different from most of the American public who are making predictions, and I’m certainly no different from most of the voting members. Heck, I won the Detroit Free Press Oscar Derby a number of … Read More…

Get Hooked Up On LinkedIn: Reaching New Career Heights with a Few Clicks

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Although it is easy to believe that you have peaked in your career or that your true potential is out of reach, networking on the internet opens up more doors than any one person can shut. It may appear to be overwhelming at first but there are effective ways to put your best digital foot forward without getting stressed out. And you may have more say in your future than your socioeconomic status would indicate. Joining social, job-seeking websites can even the playing field pretty quickly when it comes to prospective job seekers. Whether you are employed or otherwise, situational … Read More…

“Mr. Lincoln, All the Ladies Like Whiskers…” Long Beards, Nostalgia & Entrepreneurship

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Listen to our podcast with beard-entrepreneur, Doug Geiger, founder of the beard-care and philosophy website canyouhandlebar.com… It’s hard to find many statues honoring a fashion expert, but in Westfield, New York you’ll find one dedicated to an eleven year old adviser to the president. Abraham Lincoln, in addition to his many accomplishments as a statesman, orator and joke-teller was also a bit of a trendsetter.  Grace Bedell, an 11 year-old fan during his presidential run, wrote to him and famously recommended the candidate grow some facial hair, “All the ladies like whiskers.” And while women wouldn’t have the vote for … Read More…

Scary Chattanoogan Billboards: Swaying 86 People with Mystery Money & Veiled Threats

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The plan was simple.  Just convince under a hundred people that Detroit was once again the bogeyman, just like in Robocop. Yesterday in Tennessee, in a narrow vote swung by just 6%, the United Auto Workers’ efforts to unionize the Chattanooga Volkswagen workers fell short, 712-626.  The “yes” votes began to fade away in the final two weeks due to a barrage of billboards like the following… Ironically, as seen in the above typoed billboard, there was not only the threat of liberals and Obama, it also mentions the dirty “politicans” who abandon their oaths of office to all their … Read More…

In Flipper’s Footsteps by Brian d’Arcy James

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From time to time, I help my cousin Brian d’Arcy James keep his website updated, and this recent post he wrote struck me as a perfect nostalgia article for “My Media Diary,” and for all those who grew up with 1960s TV (or its reruns).  So am sharing it with this blog’s audience. —Laura W. C. Fields is famously credited with this warning to all:  “Never work with children or animals.” My Uncle Brian was more specific: “Never act with a fish.” Let me explain. My namesake and my uncle, Brian Kelly, was an actor. He was a big reason … Read More…

Watch a REAL Love Story this Valentine’s Day: “Cut me, Mick!”

They aren't perfect. But they're perfect for each other. #CheesyButTrue

There is some sort of holiday this Friday, I’m told. And in an attempt to get some views on my blog for writing something topical, I’m gonna weigh in on Hallmark’s most polarizing holiday. I could use this opportunity to whine about 23 years of lonely 14ths of February, but I don’t need to go all Anakin Skywalker on you, because that’s on me, not you. What I can do for you, though, is make a suggestion on what to watch, for, no doubt, you are likely fiddling around right now trying to figure out what you’re going to do … Read More…

Writer’s Block: Building Your Wall One Brick at a Time.

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Welcome to MyMediaDiary, new contributor Kevin Gabon, who tackles a topic very familiar to all of the rest of us writing for this blog!  The cornerstone is the brick that all other bricks want to be. They look up to it. They admire it. They look at it with jealousy and envy. “Why couldn’t I be that brick?” they ask. “I’m a way better brick than that one!” they say. But no wall is complete without every brick. They all play a big part in the structure and strength of the wall. They all have a role. You, too, can … Read More…

No Snow-Days at the Detroit Zoo: A Winter’s Afternoon with a Camera and a New Gadget

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Dig through your parents’ photo albums.  If you’re from the Detroit area (or ever visited someone there in your childhood) there’s probably one of these shots somewhere, for example, the bear-pit where you used to be able to toss marshmallows, in the days before ursine diabetes… My mom was there twenty-two years earlier… The same day they were posing in front of the zoo’s signature water tower where my Uncle Larry (standing) perfected his sneer/smile to be seen fifty years later as a “Grumpa.” And perhaps the most recognizable family photo-spot in the park… In fact, you can Google “Detroit … Read More…

Then Along Came a Snyder: Super Bowl Scuba-Governor & Four Great Lake Shipwrecks to Explore Before Drowning in $30 Million in Ads

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It’s not every Super Bowl you see a snorkeling governor rising dramatically from the depths of a swimming pool. Toss in the Phil Hartman-like cheesy narrator and you’ve got a $400,000 bid for amnesia. And while Super Bowl ads often have strange, engaging openings, they often aren’t know for their literary depth Even the press secretary of former Michigan GOP governor John Engler admitted he was a bit baffled: “Truscott initially was confused by the snorkeling scene too, but upon further reflection, he thought it worked as a metaphor.” (link) Most Super Bowl ads don’t require “further reflection.” There’s not … Read More…

Making People Feel Like Dummies: Swimming the Treacherous Waters of Sheldons

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I’ve had some pretty memorable conversations at the checkout counter at Radio Shack: “So you need a male-to-male connector…” (I was fourteen, buying some cables for my stereo–a bit startled by this apparent pickup line.) “Can I please have your address?” (Perhaps another line, but I was just paying cash.) And my favorite, when I was buying a 25-foot audio cable… “May I ask what you’ll be using this for?” The guy was implying that purchasing an audio cable to run video through a non-gold-plated triple-insulated cable may not only ruin the quality of my picture but perhaps offset the … Read More…

Public Education Going the Way of Netscape Navigator? Common Core, Bill Gates and BATs

If you've got enough cash, you can lay anywhere you want...

Listen to our podcast with two leaders of the Badass Teacher’s Association, Marla Kilfoyle and Melissa Tomlinson… “If you could have three wishes, what would you wish for?” It was a typical tenth grade essay question.  I can still see the red ink circling my first wish on my returned paper; I had written “health.” “Good health or bad health?” “Well, duh?”  I remember my brilliant 16 year-old sarcasm so clearly.  “Who would wish for bad health?” And as my revenge on this injustice, I used the same technique grading papers for 25 years.  I lectured that it was a … Read More…

Hollywood with a Heart: “Brightest Star” Producer Gives Unforgettable Gift to High School Students

"Brightest Star" opens January 31, 2014 in select theaters and iTunes

Listen to our podcast with Jason… I was just giving him a call, being the nosy person that I can be… “How’s your movie coming along?” Former student and current producer, Jason Potash, was in New York prepping for the film Brightest Star which opens on January 31st. “Great!” he answered, ever positive. “How’s the family?” ever quick to shift the spotlight back to someone else. “Wish I could bring my class,” I joked. “It’d be a great field trip!” “Why not?” “Ha!” “No really. We’ve got a few college lecture hall scenes and we need extras.” Less than a … Read More…

Top 10 Extremely Guilty-Pleasure Songs from the 60s and 70s … AKA “Umm…Yes…It’s On My Playlist”

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I have a very patient wife and two tolerant children–particularly if I am allowed to pick the music. Prior to the patient folks at home, I had a very patient set of roommates in college.  The stone-age version of a playlist was a 200 lb “Peaches” crate of LPs that I would transport every year–in and out of our van, up and down three flights of stairs at the dorm, all so that people could flip through my records and say, “Oh, my.  You’ve got this” Probably holding up either an obscure soundtrack or noticing that my alphabetical listing had … Read More…

Industry Night at the Auto Show: The Top 5 Displays

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In sales and marketing, the best professionals need to know every inch of their product. In advertising, it is equally as important to know the ins and outs of every other product on the market. That’s why they finagle a $93 Industry Night at the Auto Show invitation for the Creative Department folks like me. A chance to peruse current and upcoming vehicles from every major manufacturer and parts retailers without having to deal with the suits and elbows that flood the floor when it opens to the public. Admittedly, one of my favorite parts of this event each year … Read More…

Dumbed-Down Abbey: Mysterious Character Reboots for Season 4

"You're just not as interesting since you've been released."

In great peril from my family and friends, I write the following on a beloved, quality show… To jump-the-shark is a term coined from the infamous Happy Days episode when the series started heading south. There aren’t many sharks, leather jackets or jukeboxes on the moors, but Downton Abbey could use an Inspiration Point. Granted, Season Four is only a couple episodes old (here in the States), but a passenger can still not like the way that iceberg looks looming in the distance. In sit-coms, characters are two dimensional more than three. You don’t expect Norm in Cheers  to suddenly … Read More…

Welcome to the Lions Den, Coach Caldwell: Challenges Facing the Future Ex-Coach

Jim Caldwell, choosing to leave behind a winning hat.

Today, the Lions announced their latest casualty–Jim Caldwell. And one happy man, Ken Whisenhunt, is now in the employment of a far less-talented team but a far more talented owner. “Congratulations, Ken, you’re not a Lion” Whisenhunt was the chosen one.  He was the reason we all were rooting for the Chargers to lose on Sunday to Peyton Manning.  But as luck (and Lions lore) would have it, Peyton did win a rare playoff game but Kenny chose the Titans over working for his former teammate and current Lions GM, Martin Mayhew. Very wise choice, KW.  No Lions coach has … Read More…

Iced Tea and Rejection: Life of an Advertising Copywriter

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We welcome Phil DeAngelis to MyMediaDiary.  This is his first post! Housed along many inner streets of major cities across the world, there’s a magical place where scatter-brains get paid to think and dink around all day. To pump nerf balls and adjust swivel-chairs from the ground up and then back again. A place where anyone can wear whatever they want. And there are no rules. Okay, so that place doesn’t exactly exist. But somewhere near the corner of “Almost” and “Not Quite” there lies the creative department of an advertising agency. For the record there are some rules, and … Read More…

Golden Globes & 2013 Film Trends: What Will Be the Next “Shawshank”?

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Listen to our second podcast, a further discussion of the 2013 Movie Year-in-Review with contributing writer, Kale Davidoff.  Readers also submitted questions for this section.  Click here for more of our podcasts. I know I’ll remember Christian Bale’s terrible hairpiece years longer than Sandra Bullock dodging space debris. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey will remind us, once again, why everyone secretly likes the Golden Globes better. The stars are all having fun. They’re at tables with drinks–there’s not nearly the pressure that falls on Oscar night. It’s more like the PSATs. And when a movie or show wins, everyone gets … Read More…

Attack of the Teenage Snow-Day Zombies: Resuscitating the Watching Dead

My son, after three days of "Game of Thrones"

We heard its slow steps trudging up from the cellar—one foot was obviously dragging.  I swear we could hear the drool splashing on the floorboards.  It snarled.  It hated the daylight—even cloud-covered sunshine deflected off the snow.  We stood in its way and we were going to pay for it… “I was in the middle of an episode!” it roared. You may have seen the snow-day zombies in your own home.  They’re easy to spot.  They still look a bit like those pictures on the wall —but they’re meaner and generally have distinct characteristics. Bloodshot eyes Dirty, standing-in-weird-places hair Hunger … Read More…

How the Sights and Sounds of the Rose Bowl Define Our Memories in Some Type of Way

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The Rose Bowl. Growing up in the Midwest, it’s the event that became our first memory of each New Year. For sports fans, it continues to be that special tradition that proves to us that no matter how much we may change as a person from New Year to New Year, there are some things that just need to stay the same. Sure, we watch the Rose Bowl a little differently than we did when we were kids. Instead of hot chocolate fighting off Jack Frost in our tippy toes, copious cups of coffee fight off the champagne in our … Read More…

Converting Home Videos – From Basement to YouTube: The Cheapest Invaluable Gift You’ll Ever Give

Old faithful 8mm (and duct tape)

Two questions guaranteed to get you the polite Umm..okay… instead of the actual Hell No!… Would you like to see the videos from our two-week trip? Want to hear about a dream I had last night? Unless you’re bed-ridden or Sigmund Freud, you could well be stuck for at least an hour getting far too much information on what should have been a five minute conversation under the category, “You really should have been there.” But with the magic of a $35 do-dad, YouTube and Facebook, I’ve managed to release my captives. In all of our basements and attics, there … Read More…

Support the Next Spielberg: The Michigan Student Film Festival and Joining DAFT

1992, Dan Scanlon with DAFT instructor, Vic Spicer.

Support the Michigan Student Film Festival by December 31st to be eligible for a 2013 deduction by clicking here. Not a bad vibe.  A room full of students who had just been honored at the 45th Michigan Student Film Festival talking with a past winner, soon to be premiering Pixar’s latest hit, Monsters University. In May, Dan Scanlon, of Clawson High School, flew in from Hollywood  carrying with him a special showing of Monsters University–nearly a month before its release.  Pixar allows its directors to select a charity for a special screening benefit and Dan selected three non-profits:  the Assistance … Read More…

Walt, Jim and George: The Wonder of Storytelling

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I just saw “Saving Mr. Banks”. To my surprise, it was nothing like “Saving Private Ryan”. Regardless, it was a good flick. Without spoiling much, Walt Disney ends up convincing writer P.L. Travers to hand over the rights to her beloved “Mary Poppins”. Throughout the film, Ms. Travers struggles in letting her characters go to be turned into a typical, jolly, Disney musical filled with laughter, joy, cheer, redemption—all of the things that Ms. Travers knows all too well rarely find their way into the truths of the world. There is a line in the film, where Ms. Travers is … Read More…