“If a Tweet Falls in the Forest…” Life without Applause-Signs, Laugh-Tracks & Likes

QuincyCone-498x600

It’s often not so much what happens in our lives—as what we figure ought to happen.  If no one likes this post, did it fail? I started noticing  camera-angles and how they manipulated the audience far too early in my life–especially for the poor bystanders who were stuck in a living room, basement or movie theater with me. The Cosby Show, for all of its garish sweaters and too-good-to-be-true charm of a doctor/lawyer upper-middle class family, was a breakthrough on many levels—it revitalized the sit-com and finally placed a TV African-American family out of the ghetto—if you bypass George Jefferson moving on up. … Read More…

Propaganda, Potholes and Pensions: Political Ads & Business Clichés During Election (Hunting) Season

If only the yellow text could show up on all campaign ads...

It wasn’t supposed to be this close of a race in Michigan. To get Rick Snyder re-elected governor may take more checks from United Citizens like the Koch brothers to create more subtle ads like the following… This cringe-worthy moment was a response to Mark Schauer’s surprising “too-close-to-call” campaign—perhaps riding on the bumpy road of last winter’s potholes and angry pensioners whose fixed incomes become less-fixed with Snyder’s new tax on their retirement. Even GOP legislators weren’t happy with this tax… Republican Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge, who introduced the repeal bill on March 20, said he did so in response to constituents in … Read More…

New Podcast: Flooding, Insurance & Ethics – Dialogue with Attorney Judy Herman

Podcast_Titles_JudyHerman

This interview follows Kevin’s August 15th, Acts of God? Creative Interpretations During Flooding: Unlike a Good Neighbor… Following the intense rain within a single four-hour period in August, 2014, thousands of metro Detroiters found their basements flooded with sewage and little to no assistance from their insurers “flood” coverage. Attorney, Judy Herman, discusses her 27 year career dealing with insurance companies and offers some advice for consumers and ethical guidelines both companies and customers would be wise to follow.

Defining the 2014 Detroit Tigers’ Regular Season

turndownforwhat

Perspective Somewhere amid Derek Jeter’s fourth or fifth finale on Sunday afternoon, John Farrell spent most of his time faking a smile, trying to be a part of all the pomp and circumstance as another baseball season came to a close. In many ways, the season for Farrell and his Red Sox ending months ago. No doubt the sting hurt more on Sunday, as mathematical elimination and inevitable closure became a physical reality as the sun finally set on Fenway Park, its home players and Beantown’s most faithful. I imagine John Farrell muttering about in his mind of what went wrong; surveying … Read More…

For Kids, Many Voices Become One at “Twenty Feet from Stardom” Benefit Screening & Concert

Lanyard_DAFT_20Feet

Few third graders have been heard to proudly announce to their classmates… “I hope to be fourth cellist in the New York Philharmonic.” “I’d like to be a situational middle-inning relief pitcher for the Yankees.” “I want to be an Indy pit crew member.” or… “My dream is to be an editor.” Not many editors get a standing ovation.   Even at the Oscars, its award is sandwiched between Best Costume Design and the latest Revlon commercial.  And you are more likely to be mistaken as that fourth cellist before someone says, “Aren’t you an editor–of documentaries?” Twenty Feet from Stardom honors the teammate, the … Read More…

New Podcast: Breaking Through as a Novelist – Judy Burke and “Blackrock”

MMD_Title_JudyBurke

First time novelist, longtime educator Judy Burke shares with Kevin her eight year journey transforming a fantasy into the international espionage thriller, Blackrock–and how it all started with an Irish lighthouse and next appears in bookstores in November. Topics include… Elmore Leonard and his influence The writing process and when life gets in its way Characters, even when they’re great, and how to kill them off Dialogue’s importance Publishing companies vs. self-publishing Knowing when to end the book Visit Judy’s website to get a sneak peek at: www.JudyBurke.com

And you may tell yourself/This is not my beautiful house!

Tribeca-apartment-ABOUT

Everyone has a “first place” story (except those of you who never moved out of your parents’ basement). My definition of a first place is that it’s where you were in charge of your fate and rent for the first time, rather than your school or your parents. I maintain that whether you loved or loathed your first place, you never forget it. There is a special tribe of “first place” survivors, and it’s those who were bold enough to venture to New York City—often with nothing more than hope in their pockets. Some had lived on their own in other cities; some … Read More…

Labor Day: Created in Six Days from Collective Guilt and a Stubborn Landlord

PullmanStrike

This weekend, we’re celebrating the end of summer–the bookend to Memorial Day and a great Monday to have off.  Labor Day was created to supposedly honor the American worker but was  passed in record time in 1887 by a Congress and president with a guilty-conscience. It began with a broken promise–probably one that shouldn’t have been made.  But it was made–and believed to be made for all the right reasons on one side and the more logical reason on the other side–the reason of profit. George Pullman, like any great American businessman, found his niche.  He grew up near the Erie Canal and witnessed the … Read More…

Three Hall of Fame Teachers & Their Influence on a Newbie

Three faculty already acknowledged as immortal, before their induction.

It wasn’t too hard to pick the first round of inductees in 1996 for my school’s Hall of Fame:  Glenn Frey of the Eagles; Judith Guest, the author of Ordinary People; US Congressman William Broomfield, to name a few.  But if you follow the school’s motto, “Enter here to learn, go forth to serve,” many inductees who selflessly serve are not necessarily your marquee names. And fortunately, our school realized that faculty, as well as alumni, deserved a spot on the wall for their service. My first day on the job as a 22 year-old English teacher, I was asked for a hall pass. … Read More…

Superhero Halftime: What “Guardians” Says About Our Galaxy

guardians-galaxy-movie-trailer-humor

We live in an absolutely ridiculous time for geeks. If you were to create an historic timeline of superhero films, you could try and pinpoint the turning point with X-Men or Spider-Man. Around the turn of the century, when those films were released, the blockbuster world slowly began to turn on its head. In the 90s, the basis for most action movies was one of the following: (1) CIA agent, (2) rogue cop, (3) two unlikely cop partners teaming up for an action-comedy. After Sam Raimi’s success with Spider-Man, everyone and their uncle had to get their hands on some hot superhero action. But … Read More…

Acts of God? Creative Interpretations During Flooding: Unlike a Good Neighbor…

I-696 and I-75 in Royal Oak, Michigan

For a follow-up discussion on insurance companies and ethics, listen to our 10/7/14 podcast with attorney Judy Herman. I remember the feeling of helplessness all too well.  And this Monday evening it happened again. Our son was three weeks old and we were camping in northern Michigan when we got the call from my brother-in-law, who just lived around the block from us. “We got a ton of rain, the streets are flooded.  I shined the flashlight down into your basement through the window and the light bounced right back up.” Not a good sign since the carpeting had just been … Read More…

Hamlet’s Hardy Fan-Base: Shakespeare Returns to Royal Oak, July 31-August 10th

Sign

Combine the magic and nostalgia of a drive-in with the most classic tale of murder, haunted castles and terrible puns, then throw in the potential rain-delay of a ballgame and you’re ready for Hamlet that opens the 14th season of the Water Works Theatre Company on July 31st in Royal Oak. The Globe Theatre didn’t have a roof.  The cheap seats were right up front where the “groundlings” sat for a penny and were able to bring their food—generally as ammunition—rain be-damned.  The producers, writers and actors knew the audience was an integral part of the performance—to their own peril sometimes.  Joseph Papp, … Read More…

Botched Executions And the Murderers Exposed

Unknown-2

“My planes, My guns. My money, My soldiers, My blood is on my hands…It’s all my fault.” I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts, X. “It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man.” William Munny (Unforgiven) As a frequent critic of the death penalty, I get one question regularly when I’m asked to explain my position, and it’s a question I wrestle with myself: what about the victim?  I read it again yesterday when I posted on Facebook my outrage at the “botched execution” (already a cliché) of Joseph Wood two days ago.  I pointed out that Wood took two hours to die, and that … Read More…

One More Story About Tom & Seeing Hayley Mills In-Person!

That_Darn_Cat_-_1965_Poster

It was in November of 1965.  I was 14 years old but a late bloomer and immature for my age.  I loved Disney movies and in particular anything with Hayley Mills.  I had seen her previous films as often as possible.  Then I heard that she was to attend the premier of “That Darn Cat” in Detroit at the now gone Ford Auditorium. I wanted to go more than anything I had ever wanted.  I saved money from my paper route to pay for the ticket.  Now I needed someone to go with me.  I was hopeful but my request was … Read More…

How Tom Changed My Life

Tom_TShirt

 Tom was the brother who made me laugh.  Life was sort of serious growing up and Tom could always be counted on to be funny in the face of difficulty.  I loved him and wish I could have been closer to him.  This is the story of how  Tom changed my life.  You might ask how is that possible considering the vast distances between us.  Well, it was Christmas time 1968 and my mom wanted to come to California and spend some time with Tom and Jan as they were preparing for the birth of their son Brian. Tom was … Read More…

“Who is the Tall Dark Stranger There?” James Garner, My First Man-Crush

Rockford

“I’m getting a little jealous of James Garner,” my wife informed me as I headed down the basement with my burned DVDs.  I was in the middle of  a bit of binge-watching a few months before Netflix appeared on our horizon.  It involved setting our DVR for a series of old Maverick episodes on the Starz Western channel. I’d finally figured out how to burn a bushel of the episodes to a DVD and was taking them downstairs to put by the dusty exercise equipment to induce me to get hooked on a show and lose pounds at the same time. I knew … Read More…

New Podcast: “The Fourth Wall” Award-Winning Young Filmmakers

Podcast_Titles_FourthWall_c

  How do you make a movie?  What does a producer do?  Are English accents tough? Kevin is joined by Adam and Daniel Cooper who wrote, directed and edited the short film “The Fourth Wall,” winner of the international festival for young filmmakers Urban 15’s Josiah Media Festival in San Antonio. Producer Jeremy Shecter and Jonathan D’Ambrosio join the Cooper Brothers to discuss the film, teamwork, making it in the film industry and surprises along the way. The film won the category for best narrative and is now in competition for the festival’s Best of Show award that will occur live … Read More…

My Friends Call Me Tex Cobb: a Personal Contemplation of Bravery and Loyalty

images

Someone who knows me as well as anyone in the world–someone I’ve known since the playground–once told me he didn’t think I was someone who “had his back.” In a difficult time, I was not a guy he would turn to for help. The context of his comments is forgotten. Maybe it was just a mean thing someone says during an argument to get the last word. Maybe he was recalling a specific incident when he said it, although I can’t imagine what.  The comments hit me like a jab to the temple.  I believe this guy would always have my back. … Read More…

Perhaps “Compromise” and “Politics” Can Coexist? Candidate Fishman Switches Sides and Hopes So

Lost in the Democrats, Congressman William Broomfield (R) of Michigan

At first, term limits made sense.  At first, letting the giant wooden horse into the gates of Troy made sense, too.  For many, the possibility of voting for a Democrat who was a Republican nine months ago makes less sense. “We’ve always had term limits; they’re called elections,” joked retiring US Republican Congressman, William S. Broomfield in 1996 to me when he was being inducted into the Royal Oak Dondero High School Hall of Fame.  Michigan had just voted to only allow its state elected officials a few terms under the design that it would eliminate “career politicians.” Instead we … Read More…

New Podcast: Not Your Father’s GOP – New Democrat Ryan Fishman, New Try for Michigan State Senate

Podcast_Titles_Fishman

What does it take to drive someone away from his own party?  Ronald Reagan, after all, left the Democrats in 1962 after being a successful union leader for years.   Ryan Fishman decided last September to run for his term-limited Michigan state senate district after a series of his op-ed articles convinced others to convince Ryan that he should leave the GOP and take a shot at a traditionally right-leaning district. Ryan and Kevin discuss: – Difficulties (or not, really) in switching parties – Reagan Republicans and Reagan Democrats – The bad business logic of Right to Work, removing unions and poor … Read More…

The Biggest Story Few of us Heard: British Phone-Tapping & American Media Apathy

Unknown-3

Ladies and gentlemen, have I got a story for you. Please, take your seats and listen closely. It’s a story about the fall of the mighty and about personal tragedy. It’s a story that involves one of the most powerful men in the world. It features princes and sexual dalliances. It’s a story that speaks to our paranoia and justifies it, like the Snowden revelations and the US government’s wire-tapping program. And most important, ladies and gentlemen, it has murder. It has desperate parents and missing children. A mighty corporation, 168 years in existence, crumbles at our feet. This story … Read More…

Yucking Up “The Walking Dead” to a Few More Emmys: Comic Tips from Three Great Dramas–“Justified,” “The Wire,” and “Breaking Bad”

Ben Webster as the a-hole with the great one-liners in "Deadheads."

Granted it’s a zombie apocalypse; granted it’s exhausting peeking around every corner; granted Atlanta in the summer without air-conditioning is brutal.  But come on, let’s have a little levity. There’s a fine line between tragedy and comedy.  Shakespeare knew this as he preceded the haunted and soon to be hysterical Hamlet in the graveyard with a pun-contest with a local gravedigger.  Even Mercutio, after he was stabbed, found time to squeeze out a groaner:  “Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man.” And what works for the Bard, certainly bears true for three of my favorite dramas. Justified (FX) … Read More…

Lebron’s Legacy

LeBron

Not 1… Not 2… But 3. Three losses in the NBA Finals has pushed LeBron James into uncharted waters in his quest to join the all-time greats atop the NBA’s Mount Rushmore. This latest loss puts his current finals record at 2-3, but the losing record isn’t the biggest blow to LBJ right now..it’s the way the 3 losses have happened. LeBron can undoubtedly escape his losing record but there’s no escaping his disappearances in the losses. People are likely to omit his first loss with Cleveland and rightfully so, but ’11 & ’14 are two kinks in the king’s crown. … Read More…

There Be Dragons in Minnesota: A Late Review of the Series “Fargo”

unnamed-1

The season finale of Fargo aired last night, and what better time to review it than when it’s off network television? Of course, you may find it on Hulu, on Amazon Prime, or any of the other online venues.  And you should. For the past ten weeks, it was one of the two best shows on television with dragons.  OK, no dragons really.  No vampires…no ghost hunters and no real housewives of Bimidji, Mn. (where the show takes place). Every episode begins with the caption “This is a True Story,” which it is not. Yet despite all these outward trappings … Read More…

Delta Tweet Shows Perils of Real-Time Marketing

Delta

Another week, another social media snafu for an airline company. Two months after US Airways posted what will surely go down as the lewdest tweet from a business account of all time, it was Delta’s turn to take flight on the runway of incompetence. The moment came after Monday’s World Cup soccer match between the United States and Ghana. The US won the game, 2-1, behind a last minute goal by John Brooks, AKA The Greatest American Since Abraham Lincoln. In the opening minute of the game, Clint Dempsey stunned the world with the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history. … Read More…

Unintentional Vanity Plate: Revenge of the DMV Gods on a New Ass-Man

plates

I’ve always chuckled at people who order vanity plates, but secretly wanted one since I watched an episode of “Dallas” and saw JR pull up in in his Mercedes proclaiming to the world that “EWING 3″ had arrived. But like the cell phone and personalized M&Ms, vanity plates no longer require great wealth or vast oil-connections in the Texas legislature.  States realized the extra windfall and for $10 more, even without a genie, you too can be Larry Hagman. But I was always too cheap, too lazy to think far enough ahead or, I suspect to be the main reason, … Read More…

Our Sanity Just Out of Rifle Range

Unknown-2

Christina Taylor Green In the days after yet another school shooting, this time in Portland, let’s take a moment and reflect on how our attitude towards gun control and ownership has evolved in the past few years. The Sandy Hook tragedy took place on December 14, 2012, about a year and a half ago. Columbine was on April 20, 1999: 15 years ago. The Aurora movie theatre shootings, in which killed 12 people were shot and killed at the opening of the movie Dark Knight Rises, happened on July 20, 2012, almost two years ago. A friend of mine recently … Read More…

Fracking, Rat-Packing & Heart-Attacking: Opening Pandora’s Box of Ads

No really, they're going to put Surgeon General warnings on the labels!

It is better to give than receive–particularly homework.  But for one weekend my high school students didn’t mind, at first, being asked to watch the Super Bowl and its commercials. The quickly frowning class soon realized it would have to count the number of edits, how a narrator was used, the use of graphics, music, celebrities, etc.  But my favorite column read, “Intended Audience.”  I started the assignment back when the agencies realized they could had grab the same audience that didn’t get a sandwich during a timeout for the first Macintosh ad in 1984–and the Bud Bowl began. Generally, a football game will not … Read More…

An Open Letter from God to the Pious Athlete

tim-tebow-si-cover

My children, I realize you may find it odd I chose this means to communicate with you. Given the nature of my message, I thought mymediadiary.com, a site in which such issues are addressed, would be perfect.  I enjoy the site…I particularly like that geeky Star Trek guy, I forget his name.  Yay, verily I say unto yo, I chose this alternate media to communicate with you for a simple reason: while the sin I would like to address is serious, I admit, my usual methods of communicating my irritation–floods, pillars of salt, Christian rock–may be disproportionate punishment. Before I criticize, you should … Read More…

Garage Sale Ethics: Lessons Learned Over 40 Years

GarageSaleEthics

It’s like a slow-motion drive-by shooting, only less friendly.  They are the dealers—the arch-enemy of the true garage-saler. You’re sitting on your lawn-chair beside three coffee makers, two toaster ovens and half an illegal lawn jart set. Your garage sale just opened at 9 AM. You know it’s 9 AM because the dealers have been knocking on your door for a solid hour. “Do you mind if I take a quick look?” “I’ve got to take my son to daycare, but I’d love to see what you’ve got.” “Come on, you’re up anyway! Open up!” For the rest of that … Read More…

Pomp and Circumstantial Evidence: What’s in a Smile at Graduation Time?

Tree

I hadn’t seen this smile from my son in a long time… As you might expect, we don’t dress this formally around the yard most days. It was prom night last Thursday and Aidan and his date Katie had just finished twelfth grade two days earlier. And, aside from the $200+ to rent the tux, we also got this pretty rare expression thrown in with the shiny shoes. In fact, perhaps the last time we’d seen that smile was right before Aidan started his career as a student… We were heading down to Indianapolis to visit some friends and stopped … Read More…

35 Years of Lions Draft-Butchery (including 10 Missed Super Bowl QBs): A Masochistic NFL Draft-Day Guide

Decisions decisions...

The last time the Lions won a title I was  just a few months past my negative-seventh birthday.  Sure, it would be unfair to point out that there has been only one playoff win for our sad NFL franchise since 1957–against the 1991 Dallas Cowboys who had an injured Troy Aikmann. So instead, I’m going to celebrate on the best day of a Lions fan’s year–NFL Draft Day.  But to be fair, I’m not going to analyze their ineptitude identifying talent since the Eisenhower years–again, that would be cruel.  I’m just going to start when I began following this incredibly … Read More…

MLB Strikes Big with Snapchat. What’s on Deck?

Snapchat-flashy-features

Can Snapchat make baseball more relevant to Millennials? Major League Baseball’s marketing team sure hopes so. The league, stuck in a rut of plummeting ratings and ever-increasing apathy among younger audiences, is counting on the trendy social application to stop the bleeding. Or at least slow it down. The league announced in February that it would incorporate Snapchat into its social strategy, and so far it’s delivered on that promise. MLB and some of its teams have embraced the platform as a new way to engage fans and humanize its players. While MLB isn’t new to the social space – the league has … Read More…

New Podcast: Making it in Detroit’s Bar Band Scene – Driving Friday

DrivingFriday_border

New Podcast below! Meet Driving Friday, a new band trying to break into the historically strong Detroit garage band/bar scene. After 30 years playing in bands, guitarist and veteran Detroit rocker Garvin Cooper recently formed his first band.  He and keyboardist Tim Schoenherr discuss: The impact/importance of Social Media The Detroit band market The impact of the smoking ban in Michigan Capital outlay in forming a band The impact of 80s music today What it’s like on the stage  

Hollywood’s Spring Training – Saturday’s 46th Michigan Student Film Festival (Great Seats Still Available–and They’re Free!)

2013 Michigan Student Film Festival winners

Two events, besides roller coasters,  when people don’t mind long lines:  movies and sporting events.  People will drive 24 hours through the night to get a glimpse… Spring training.  Your team’s undefeated… There’s sunshine, plenty of seats available, a great overall vibe… And it’s the only time you can get close enough to some celebrities–some even before they’re famous. But you can save yourself the long drive down I-75, the sunblock and even the price of admission–and do a lot to encourage some future filmmakers as well. In the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), there are many … Read More…

Where’s the Roar? Golf without Tiger

Tiger-Woods-Back-Injury-Masters_t640

Bubba Watson stands over his par putt on the 18th green, he gives it a firm tap and knocks it in, sealing his second major victory. The crowd roars in excitement, but something is missing. Even before Bubba Watson stepped to 18th tee, it was a foregone conclusion that the coveted green jacket would be placed on his back for a second time in three years. However, it is not his back that the golf world needs to restore the trademark roar that echos through the trees at Augusta National. That back was noticably absent at Augusta, as it goes through … Read More…

Taking Back Boston

10170786_504979546291488_6343787363780144940_n

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

joed

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

532780_573089919391298_1098829795_n

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…

  • Subscribe to MyMediaDiary and receive notifications of new posts by email. Thanks!