An “Impossible Dream” — Not Holding a Microphone Up to the Speaker

“You’ll be hit by these big waves that’ll sneak up on you.”  That was what Fr. Jack Trese told us about grief at my dad’s funeral in 1997.  But a week ago I got clobbered by one those waves in the form of  a showtune I couldn’t stand–driving south in the middle of Ohio. These days, my go-to stations on Sirius include “On Broadway,” “The Beatles Channel” and “The Seventies on 7,” especially on Saturdays they reply Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40” broadcasts from the same week from 1970-79.  I was very excited one weekend brought back my transistor radio tied to by handlebars as I listened to WDRQ delivering my newspapers at 5:30 AM. In addition to the Saturday Night Fever‘s stranglehold on the airwaves that spring (with Bee Gee younger brother Andy coming up fast) there’s the sampling of cheese of “Thunder Island” and Barry Manilow not being able to smile without… Read More…

Amazon, My Guilty Conscience and the Decline of Detroit Shopping

I was waiting for some photos to get developed at Meijer–a Michigan-based store where I had done my shopping since they opened in 1977, a short bike ride from my house. It was an enormous place–“Thrifty Acres” they called themselves. Even now, when I walk through the produce area, I remember where the record and 8-track department was. I can still see the “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease” cardboard mobiles hanging from the drop ceiling. My favorite memory is the foot-long plastic containers that encased the 8-tracks to discourage shallow-pocketed shoplifters. Meijer also carried darkroom chemicals in their own specialized photo store, inside one of the acres. It was a pretty cool place for a kid creating a darkroom under the basement stairs. I felt naturally drawn down the photo aisle, almost smelling those foul developers, fixers and stop bath solutions I used to mix up in the laundry tub…. Read More…