Solar Power In Bizarro World

Look, just because this is being written from a parallel universe, you’d be wrong to think that everyone over here is so totally freaky that you couldn’t possibly carry on a conversation with any of us without a cheat sheet in your breast coat pocket. “There’s more that unites us than divides us.” Isn’t that what the bumper sticker makers say?  Well, I’ve always put my faith in their deep wisdom and I think you should do the same. I’ll give you a ‘for instance’ because over here, just like over there, a quality ‘for instance’ makes everything so much easier to understand.  For instance, don’t assume that we on our side of the wormhole don’t damn well love to see John Wayne punch a hippy in his shaggy face, so we can hear the hairy dude whimper “not cool man” as he collapses like a house of cards onto the Duke’s unswept… Read More…

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

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. His answer was appointing recently retired Detroit star guard Joe Dumars as President and General manager of the organization. Joe D would take the all-but-irrelevant Pistons and fix them up with some new jerseys, new players and a new formula; a formula that would result in another championship for Bill… Read More…

The Quarter Million Dollar Student Athlete

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 in the hunt for a title. The debate as to whether or not to pay college athletes has been ongoing for years.  At its core it’s a simple argument.  Student athletes bring so much revenue from the two big sports of basketball and football and they deserve to share in… Read More…

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

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

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 surprise? Who will disappoint? Is our team destined for play in October? Here in Detroit, I don’t think there’s been a more intriguing Opening Day than this year’s in 2014. Considering what Jim Leyland did here in his eight seasons of managing and considering what he didn’t accomplish, Brad Ausmus… Read More…

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

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 nonetheless. And since then—- A once staple column in the Detroit Free Press, Mitch Albom’s weekly Sunday pieces have tended to follow a stagnant, boring and Kale-infuriating formula in recent years. If he isn’t writing books about how scared of death he is, or he isn’t dropping an article touting… Read More…

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

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 in green and white was a sight I will hold deep in my memory forever. And to go to the game that they won helped, too. As with the football, I was never much into college basketball as a youngster, especially with the Goin’ to Work Pistons at my doorstep,… Read More…

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

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 much of my adolescence and adulthood. We don’t really do gifts anymore on Chanukah, and I appreciate that, because that’s not what the holiday is about, but as a kid, I would not complain, for Chanukah in 1998 I received two video games for my then-brand-new N64. The first was… Read More…

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

  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?

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

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 on Valentine’s Day with your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend or that cutie that sits next to you in your Arts and Humanities class or, that bottle of wine or that fifth of whiskey that you’ve been saving for a special night alone. Many of you will pick a festive movie to… Read More…

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

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 heads and our stomachs, for example. Tradition is tradition. My friend Michael once told me that his dad taught him two things growing up: (1) Hate Ohio State and (2) Hate Brent Musburger. And as funny as both notions are to our Midwestern ears, the reality of Brent Musburger’s love… Read More…

We Are Still Fans…Somehow

College football’s Nittany Lions won a thriller this past weekend, a tight game requiring multiple overtimes. I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, in a region teeming with Penn State grads and Nittany Lions fans, and I befriended a few of the rare ones who tolerated someone who went to Notre Dame. After the PSU game this Saturday, my Facebook page was abuzz with Penn State pride. One friend wrote simply “We are…,” to demonstrate her team-pride. Discounting the possibility her typewriter broke before she finished the phrase, and ignoring the fact the slogan just may be appropriated from another college team and a film with Matthew McConaughey, there may be some inadvertent significance to the fact the phrase read simply “We are…” The missing words, “Penn State,” once stood for college football dominance as well as decent academics and a diversified alumni, but to many, the words have come to… Read More…

Save The Dates!

On October 11, 19-something, I got a call from an old college buddy. October 11 is apparently National Coming Out Day, a significant day in the gay community when LGBT people come out to someone close to them who doesn’t know.  I was shocked–I had no idea.  We had talked about girls for hours over beers and “za.”  (transl. pizza).  To help process the information, I called another friend, who was apparently sitting next to his wife when the phone rang. Me: “Mike, does the date October 11 mean anything to you?” Mike: “October 11th? No, what’s special about that date…OUCH…yeah, it’s my wife’s birthday.”    Most of us have heard by now about Eugene Han and Kirstin Davis, a married couple who will not likely ever forget their wedding anniversary.  They were on a date in a movie theatre in Aurora Co on July 20th, 2012 when a crazed… Read More…

Motown’s Magic: Soul-Searching at 5th Grade Camp

I work a lot with people who are from out of town. When they ask me what’s special about Michigan and Detroit, the thing I bring up first is always Motown. A lot of people who don’t grow up in the area aren’t as conscious about Motown and its history as we are here in Southeast Michigan. The thing about Motown songs, though—just like, I’d say, songs by The Beatles—is that even if you aren’t a hardcore fan, you still “know” every song. So when I tell people that “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” “Baby, I Need Your Loving” and “Do You Love Me? (Now That I Can Dance)” all came from Detroit’s most successful pop culture think-tank, Motown Records, everyone is always impressed and intrigued about Detroit’s cultural history. And these songs and talents resonate with us so. Growing up, it seemed like 104.3 was always on in my car when… Read More…

Disney’s Bid for World Domination

   A world domination planning session? Walt Disney had an insidious plot astounding in its evil audacity. It was a plan for world domination so complete, it rivaled the greatest plans of Lex Luther, Ernst Blofeld or even Dr. Evil. Using an ever-expanding cast of animated characters, led by a giant, falsetto mouse, charged by a driving beat devised by a group aptly named They Might be Giants, Disney’s plan was to attack the American populace at its weakest point, its children. Capturing the hearts and souls of these impressionable children was the first and necessary step in ultimately seizing control of the minds, and more important, the wallets of people all over the world. Soon, like a cult derived from a science fiction novel, Disney’s reach spread into Florida, Los Angeles, and then Europe. A quick visit to one of its indoctrination centers referred to as “Epcot” will make it… Read More…

SCTV–The Funnier, Less Popular SNL.

At 8:00 pm, a drug deal goes down in a poorly-lit room. There’s a knock at the door. The cops? One of the dealers opens the door, and sees it’s just another anonymous guy trying to score some drugs, except he’s on a horse, with his head too tall for the door frame.  Yes, it’s a new season of…Undercover Mountie! And at 9:00, the next show, Dan Money, is about a police detective who has to bribe everyone to get information. When a Judge in one of Dan’s cases asks the foreman of the jury, “Has the jury reached the verdict,” and the foreman says, “Well, your honor, maybe we have…and maybe we haven’t,” Dan Money is ready to pull out his wallet and tell the Judge, “Your honor, if it pleases the court, I might be able to shed a little light on the subject.” At 10:00, a medical drama… Read More…