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

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 installed three months earlier. We bought the Royal Oak house in 1993, a year into our marriage and waited a couple years before we decided to finish the basement.  The inspector said he didn’t see any signs of water-issues but we wanted to be sure.  Two years of thunderstorms later,… Read More…

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

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, in 1954, was the first to “out”  Shakespeare once again, yanking him from his dark theatres, anthologies, and thousands of stuffy classrooms. Over the past fourteen years, for two weeks in August in Royal Oak, Water Works Theatre Company has presented William Shakespeare to a growing fan-base of new-age groundlings—most toting folding chairs, rain-ponchos and a… Read More…

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

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 a tall order.  For whatever reason Mom was not interested.  But Tom said he would do it.   I was thrilled.  For weeks I fantasized about meeting Hayley Mills.  Of course that was never going to happen but I was a 14 year old with an imagination.   I had my… Read More…

How Tom Changed My Life

 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 stationed in Point Arena Air Force Station in Point Arena California, which is a small town north of San Francisco about 100 miles. Jan’s due date was December 25th 1968 and the physicians decided that because of a heart condition that they would attempt to induce labor before the baby… 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…

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…

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

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, too self-conscious.  I didn’t have the nerve of one Dr. Kosmo Kramer… But the DMV gods have a sense of humor and decided to take their vengeance upon one silly mortal foolish enough to post a picture to Facebook while making a joke about Limbo. Saturday mornings aren’t the best… Read More…

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

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 at a rest stop to find one of those trees that you’ll spend the rest of your life just walking by. I grabbed Aidan and stuck him up in the branches and you’d think he’d just been taken to Disney World. One of my favorite Mark Twain nuggets is: “Why… Read More…

Taking Back Boston

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 or Oreo and not feel so bad about it. Every year the day before the marathon, DFMC has a pasta dinner for its runners, families and friends.  This year was an especially emotional event due to the 25th anniversary and the bombings in Boston.  Darby Stott who ran in the… Read More…

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

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 have your own wall. It can be your own grammar wall. All you need is the cornerstone. All you need is the writer’s block. If you’re in the market for a writer’s block, you’ll need to know where to look. The first instinct may be Amazon, Ebay, Walmart, etc. A… Read More…

5 Love Songs That Send the Wrong Message

Love. We are obsessed with it. Many of us bask in its glory; worship its treasures and truths. Others are shaped and molded by its destructive affect and merciless circumstance. Then there is the rest of us: those that are almost certainly meant to spend life trying to figure out if love is as real as Bigfoot, honest politicians or a Detroit Lions Superbowl win, and not some made up, human hoax to sell greeting cards and movie tickets. One thing is certain, though. We love to sing about love. If it’s not about partying or politics, at times, it appears that every song ever written is about the wonder of or dismay for love. The Beatles, for example, used the word “love” 613 times in their songs. From Tin Pan Alley to Daft Punk, musicians have been trying to figure out the best ways to formulate their feelings. Some do… Read More…