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…

Emmy Schools Oscar: 5 More Tips to Make the Academy Awards Less Eternal

A film’s producer was asked about his DP—or “director of photography”—or “cinematographer” in case he’s nominated for anything. “He should be great,” he laughed. “But this is his first non-television gig. He might be too efficient!” Sunday’s Emmy Awards was a perfect example of the terrible crime of being too efficient. The Oscars are notoriously always late–– a tiresome joke that probably began with “Wings” in 1929. Last February I discussed kicking Oscar out of the bingo hall (link).  Not sure if anyone at ABC read it, but perhaps they noticed the show from the Fox producers of the Emmy Awards–Oscar’s “little brother on the little screen”–that now produces more quality filmmaking then any 10 hour epic created by Peter Jackson. The big winner was once again HBO.  “Olive Kitteridge,” “Veep” and “Game of Thrones” clobbered most of the competition.  ”Mad Men” did get its farewell nod as Jon Hamm took his much deserved recognition in his interesting goofy style–– so… Read More…

Grass-Clippings, Transistor Radios & Ernie Harwell – Summer Memories of Tiger Baseball

“On summer nights, before anyone had air-conditioning,” recollects my friend Tony Shaieb, “you could walk down the street and listen to Ernie Harwell call the entire ball game through the open windows.” Tony’s memories are quite a bit more romantic than the eerie bluish-glow from my neighborhood’s 60″ plasmas tuned to Fox Sports Detroit My wife and I were taking the dog for a walk last night and I had a similar flashback to the legendary Tigers broadcaster. A few of my more enthusiastic neighbors who foolishly believe in fertilizer found themselves already mowing the young grass—and what better time to run the Toro than 8:30 pm?  (When our kids were toddlers, our considerate neighbor Thad would wait another 90 minutes before he’d begin.) A breeze blew to me the perfume of lawn-harvest and gasoline fumes. Despite my allergies I was in heaven– I only needed a tall thick Pepsi bottle and my dad’s transistor to… Read More…

Dial a Prayer: Little Miracles on an Indie Set

In February 2014 I received a text from Jason Potash, producer of Storyboard Entertainment’s Dial a Prayer.   “How old is your house?”  I wrote back “1929.”  He was back home in Detroit with writer/director Maggie Kiley and they were scouting locations for their upcoming film to be shot in the area.  They stopped by 90 minutes later and while our old house didn’t make the cut, we ended up dropping in on nine other friends in Royal Oak that same night—two of their houses ended up in the film, one by pure chance. We were stepping out of my friend Micah’s brick home on Hawthorne when I pointed to a white bungalow across the street, figuring they’d be interested in an LA connection, “That’s where my former student Kasey Bell grew up; he works on Family Guy.”  Maggie and production designer Lauren Fitzsimmons glanced up and then at one another.  “Do you think we could look inside?” … Read More…

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

“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 the  Maverick theme song years before I finally saw one of the old episodes… Who is the tall, dark stranger there? Maverick is the name. Ridin’ the trail to who knows where, Luck is his companion, Gamblin’ is his game. Smooth as the handle on a gun. Maverick is the name. Wild as the wind in Oregon, Blowin’ up a… Read More…

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

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. Whatever the context, when someone says something like that, you have to soul-search, you have to contemplate who you really are. Are you brave?  Loyal?  If a friend is in need, are you there? Here’s another thing the same guy said, although not to me. He said it to an… Read More…

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

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 has been out there for years.  The question is, why aren’t we paying attention? The British hacking scandal, which led to the end of The News of the World, has one element which likely saps most of our interest: it’s a British story. It happened far away, to people who speak with… Read More…

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

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 of reality it remained strikingly imaginative and clever. The series featured a female lead, a deputy who was politely smarter than all the guys in the room, and, surprisingly, it became to an extent a show about how we define “manhood.” That is, with a capital M, complete with squinting, hiking up pants… Read More…

An Open Letter from God to the Pious Athlete

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 all understand that I love you all with an infinite love that you cannot comprehend. The span of the universe cannot contain it. Be aware that all of you are equals in my eyes.  Regardless whether you are rich or poor, whether you live a pious life or you steal, whether you come… 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…

In Flipper’s Footsteps by Brian d’Arcy James

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 why I do what I do today. He showed me that being an actor was not only possible, but also could be a viable profession. He gave me many tips and insights about the business I’m currently in, either explicitly or by example. However, the most memorable, if not best… Read More…

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

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 League, Friends of Detroit Film Theatre and Digital Arts – Film & Television (DAFT). Mr. Scanlon was only nine when DAFT first recognized his gifts of storytelling and animation.  Julie Hinds of the Detroit Free Press noted: DAFT board member John Prusak, an award-winning cinematographer, was one of Scanlon’s early… Read More…

Go Pick on Someone the Size of a House: “Bullying” in the NFL

Yet another victim has fallen into the hungry maw of bullies. Another Rebecca Sedwick? Another Phoebe Prince? Thankfully, this is a man who did not die by his own hand, but still martyred himself to make us aware of an insidious problem. Jonathan Martin, an offensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins, endured a hardscrabble life, with nothing to go on but the example of a struggling Harvard professor for a father and a mother scraping by as a corporate lawyer. He grew to be a whisp of a figure, a mere 6’5″, 312 pounds, living no doubt on Ramen noodles and a paltry $390,000 salary in 2012. He was constantly mocked at work–at one point forced to pay for the expensive meals of his teammates. Ironically, it was at the lunch table that he’d had enough. He sat down, and everyone at the table got up. That was it. Off… Read More…

A Story So Frightening Your Hair Will Turn White…Eventually.

The loud crack of my stapler hitting the floor startled me out of my work and re-acquainted me with my surroundings.  I was in my office.  It was dark out. Halloween night, 2004, a Sunday night.  I had no kids and no holiday related plans.  I was there on a Sunday because I had a Motion to file in the Freeman case, and with trial a week away, I had a deadline to meet.  I had never been in the office that late before.  My day usually ended at 5:30 pm, and if I was on the phone when the 5:30 bell chimed, I hung up the phone abruptly and left.  I was not used to the stillness, the quiet.  I looked at my watch: 5:45.  The only sound was the buzzing of the hallway fluorescents, which also provided the only light besides my own office light.  All the other… Read More…

Five Minutes That Could Redefine How You Perceive Media

If you have seen a movie, watched television, or even spoken of the two, then you’ve probably heard of Kevin Spacey. Our main man is attributed to being the degree by which people are separated in the film world, the “Six Degrees of Kevin Spacey”. Indeed Kevin Spacey’s prolific career that began in 1986 spans television, film, and music. He has had unparalleled success in pretty much everything he has done. Spacey’s most recent notable work includes his new hit series “House of Cards” on Netflix. Speaking in Edinburgh, Kevin Spacey, describes the process he and his team went through trying to get “House of Cards” greenlit, and in the process, ever so eloquently explains how the current model of delivering media content to the consumer in the United States is not only broken, but will disappear in the near future. The fundamental success to the current, outdated model of… Read More…

The Method Is Madness

I write this (the first draft, anyway) at 11:45 am, Monday morning, August 5. There will be approximately 4 more working hours in the day. About 6,060 minutes stand between me and the end of the work day on Friday. Now 6,059.  Don’t get me wrong–I’m not a “clock-watcher,” someone who simply gets to work and runs out the clock until the end of the day.  I’m all about the work.  Still 6,059. To those people who are dedicated to their craft, who are willing to spend as many hours as necessary to chase some unattainable perfection, I salute you…to an extent. My legal practice helps keep my kids fed and their rooms filled with stuffed animals, it keeps my house out of foreclosure, it supports my wife’s efforts while affording the occasional birthday/anniversary/random present, and it keeps my dresser covered with novels and comic books.  My law practice helps… Read More…

Barney Fife, Steve Urkel and Lies A-La-Carte

Journalist Michael Hastings died in a one-car collision last Tuesday morning. He was by reputation an in-your-face, truth-to-power journalist who could only be described in three-word-hyphenates. He became famous after an article he wrote for Rolling Stone led to the resignation of the general in charge of the US Afghanistan operation, General Stanley McChrystal. Hastings spoke about the government’s “war on journalism,” about governmental attempts to cover up and manipulate the press, but his death may stand more for the death of accuracy in journalism. Although his focus was the government and the military—he was apparently working on a Petraeus story when he died—the “takeaway” from his career seems to be that the news is agenda-driven at the expense of accuracy. If there’s a war on journalism, it’s being waged by journalists. Opening statements began yesterday in the George Zimmerman trial. Here’s what we think we know in that case:… Read More…

“Fabberglasted” – Local Legend of Baseball and Fertilizer, Rod Allen

I blame Justin Timberlake. Without the Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction with Janet Jackson, there wouldn’t be such a long delay of live television broadcasts–and I could just turn down the set and have the radio playing. Anyone unfortunate enough to watch a Tiger game beside me knows that I’ve got a collection on my phone’s note-pad.  It’s a three year-old assembly that was created as a little therapy. The title of the list: “Rod-isms.” Rod Allen is a former Tiger who batted .333 for the club–for his 15 games.  At an ’84 reunion of the last World Series champions in the Motor City, I was very happy to look down on the field and see some of my favorites:  Gibson, Trammell, Whitaker, Parrish, Petry, Morris…”and Rod Allen.” I don’t do double-takes too often, but I did that day at the ballpark.  I had to check my “Bless You Boys” book,… Read More…

Never Seeing No one Nice Again.

 I was a kid in man clothes. I was out at an expensive restaurant with a girlfriend and her parents. The night was long, the conversation dull, and I felt like a frat pledge at a debutante’s ball. When we were done, just while I walked out the door, I took off my coat, balled in in my fists and hurled it into the grass…in front of my girlfriend and her parents. (I did say “kid in man clothes.”)  Her parents, in no uncertain (and not particularly polite) terms, explained to me that my maturity level was not impressing them. They were right. I was a child throwing a tantrum. Kids need to be told when they’re acting badly, and this was no way to spend my 42nd birthday. If I were famous, if I were absurdly rich, my acting up would surprise no one. The difference, though, would be… Read More…

The Power of a Well-Placed Smart-Ass: Roger Sterling, Lord Tyrion and the Dowager Countess of Grantham

“What’s the definition of a smart-ass?” began one of my dad’s favorite jokes.   “Someone who could sit on ice cream and tell what flavor it is.” In 1998, the internet was new in our school and I was doing a demo in class of how cool it was.  We had the projector on and I was discussing how easy it was to find information. “For example, if you wanted to check out the President’s website, you just had to www.whitehouse.com,” I dictated proudly to my student at the keyboard who typed it in. I could see from their expressions that they also weren’t expecting the porn site on the big screen behind me. “Back arrow!  Back arrow!” I screached, convinced that the principal, governor or Bill Clinton would walk in on me at that very moment. Without missing a beat, a student raised his hand, “Mr. Walsh, can I… Read More…