When Opponents Weren’t Enemies: Michigan’s Harry Kelly and G. Mennen Williams–Politically Opposed, Mutually Respectful

Harry Kelly, WWI

It was once Armistice Day–in recognition of the end of the Great War, begun 100 years ago with an assassination in Sarajevo and ending with the loss of millions of lives, the restructuring of the world’s balance of power and with heavy reparation requirements on the defeated paving a certain path to another world war 25 years later.   Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and George Marshall refused to let history repeat itself in 1945 and created a plan to rebuild former foes into allies—not the humiliated vanquished whose death we might celebrate.  The GI Bill would create the foundation of a … Read More…

New Podcast: Marketing Guru Discusses Google-Ads, App-Creation & Common Mistakes

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  Kevin Walsh interviews Sandy Barris, a longtime marketing expert. He is the author of 97 Marketing Secrets to Make More Money and the app, Sales Goal On Fire Pro.  More information at www.SandyBarris.com Sandy shares his lifelong journey and lessons, including: – Writing a book, not to sell but to use as a giant business card of credibility – How Google’s AdWords works, and which words cost the most) – Creating an App (or hiring the right people to do it for you) – Marketing a la carte (one-day turnaround for customers who just need booster-shots) – War stories (successes and failures) – … Read More…

Ken Burns-on-a-Shoestring: Creating Buzz to Launch Mini-Doc “Digging Detroit”

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“The Joe,” the battleship-gray windowless box on the Detroit River, is slated for 2017 demolition, making way for high-rise condos, a hotel and shopping as part of a pay-back to creditors owed $1 billion.  For a few months in-between wrecking-ball and ground-breaking, Detroiters will once again have an unobstructed view of the river at the corner of Fort and 3rd–as if looking back in time and seeing the Purple Gang hijack another bootlegger at the docks, before moving its haul up the street to the speakeasy beside the church. And that same little brick building on the left will probably still be standing when the condos are torn down in 60 years–perhaps … Read More…

Meet Your 2015 Detroit Tigers

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As a displaced Detroit Tiger fan in New England and more specifically right on the Mason Dixon line of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, I need the Tigers to desperately win a World Series championship. The Red Sox have won three championships in ten years and the Yankees won in 2009 and have won 27 of them. I’m starting to need Marty McFly’s time machine to get me back to even remembering 1984. There’s been much angst with fans about our new manager, Brad Ausmus, and how he managed the worst bullpen in baseball. And there’s been the same angst towards … Read More…

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

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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

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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

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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

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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”

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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

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“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!

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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

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 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

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“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…

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