Archive for Friday’s Favs


Friday’s Favs: The Best of “Enotes”

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(Note: every Friday I’ll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from December 2, 2009

Revving Up with a V-8

Wow—I really could have had a V8.

Rummaging in the fridge the other day, in the post-Thanksgiving version of nuclear winter, I happened to take a gander wayyy back on the third shelf down.

There they were: a few six-ounce cans of V8, “Extra Spicy” version.

I actually enjoy V8. A lot. Yet it’s not something I think about buying. I cruise right by it in the grocery store.

The company’s longtime tag line is spot on.

“I coulda had a V8!!”

Forget how good it tastes as part of a bastardized Bloody Mary; V8 is surprisingly refreshing (considering it’s made from…VEGETABLES!) and has one of the best after tastes you’ll ever find in a drink—especially one made from…VEGETABLES!

This isn’t tomato juice, by the way; let’s get that clear right off the bat. It looks like tomato juice, yes. And its primary flavor is clearly culled from tomatoes. But this isn’t just tomato juice. The drink’s name ought to tip you off: eight vegetables (at least) squeezed and mashed together into a sort of non-alcoholic hooch that’ll bowl you over with its tang and flavor.

Yeah, I sound like I’m hawking the stuff, but I don’t care. A swig of V8 is like smelling salts for your mouth—it wakes it up, and fast.

Yet I rarely buy it. I never ask for it at restaurants. Something so good, something I enjoy so much, yet I shove it back to the recesses of my brain. What gives?

I suppose that’s what the V8 folks (it’s put out by Campbell’s) have been battling over the decades. They have a terrific product that sticks to the customers’ consciousness like Teflon.

It simply is not the first drink of choice, despite how great it is.

I like cranberry juice, too, but that only seems to make its way into our fridge around the holidays—because it mixes really well with vodka, for one.

Might it be the cost? A good sized bottle of cranberry juice—if it’s Ocean Spray, anyway—can run you every bit of four dollars, at least. V8 isn’t cheap, either.

One caveat, though. Don’t drink V8 on ice. Instead, wait until it gets verrry cold, then pour a glass. Then drink it quickly. It’s a process, see. But trust me—I know what I’m talking about here. Follow the above instructions, and you’ll enjoy your V8 immensely.

If you remember to buy some, that is.

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Friday’s Favs: The Best of “Enotes”

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(Note: every Friday I’ll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from February 3, 2010

Ain’t it Funny

“60 Minutes” was chatting up The Great One—and I don’t mean Wayne Gretzky—and they had a simple yet probing question.

This was Jackie Gleason, of course—the original Great One, and the question came as he relaxed with the ubiquitous drink nearby.

“Why do you suppose,” the query began, “The Honeymooners is still so popular, after all these years?”

Gleason smirked beneath that pencil-thin mustache of his.

“Why? Because it’s FUNNY.”

Well said.

Gleason is another of those entertainers that no mother has been able to spawn since he was a part-owner of the television airwaves back in the 1950s. And he’s right; The Honeymooners has stood the test of time because it was, as Gleason said, funny. As hell.

And to think that most of the action took place on a sound stage so small that the camera barely had to pan left or right during any given episode.

Gleason and Audrey Meadows and Art Carney performed in a phone booth, pretty much, and they made raucous fun. To this day, I get a certain thrill when I see The Honeymooners pop up on the tube.

Gleason as beleaguered—and funny—Ralph Kramden
Legend has it that Gleason, when he did his self-named TV show in New York, would leave the studio during the credits—the show was done live—and walk across the street to a bar for a nightcap. The story goes that sometimes a patron at the bar might look up at the TV above the bar, see the credits rolling, and look to his right and see The Great One, well into his first Scotch.

Gleason might have been the only entertainer to own his own train.

Years after closing the door on his television career, Gleason settled in Miami. And he bought a train and traveled around the country—clearly not in a hurry to get wherever he was going.

“60 Minutes” wanted to know about the train, too. And again they asked a silly question, as it turned out.

“Was there a bar on the train?” they wanted to know.

Gleason was incredulous.

“Was there a BAR on the train? The whole TRAIN was a bar!”

Why bring up Gleason? We finally broke out a Christmas present the other night—an entire season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show on DVD—the fifth season, specifically.

Moore’s show still appeals now largely because of Jackie Gleason’s logic: Because it’s funny.

They’re all still with us—with the exception of Ted Knight—and that’s nice to know, too. Even Betty White, over 80 years old, is still doing it. She was marvelous in Sandra Bullock’s The Proposal last year.

From Mary Richards always calling her boss “Mr. Grant” to Knight’s brilliant portrayal of dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks anchorman Ted Baxter, to the razor-edged tongue of Murray Slaughter, The MTM Show is just as funny now as it was in the early-to-mid-1970s.

I don’t remember what episode in the series it was, but one of the funniest moments was when Mary was so angry at “Mr. Grant” that she said, “You don’t even deserve to be called ‘Mr. Grant.’ You’re….LOU!!”

I bet Jackie Gleason would drink to that. He did to everything else.

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Friday’s Favs: The Best of “Enotes”

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(Note: every Friday I’ll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from September 18, 2009

Movie Daze

We had a thing about movies on TV in Detroit. Mainly, that we didn’t always like to tune in to watch the movie itself.

Often it was the sideshow, the stuff between clips of celluloid, that drew us to the TV, back in the day.

There was The Ghoul on Saturday nights, and the sheer quality of the flicks that The Ghoul foistered on his viewers made you want to look away, until there was a break and it was time for The Ghoul, Froggy, and Cheez Whiz.

There was Rita Bell and her “Prize Movie,” on in the mornings. Rita was a sweet lady (my wife once met her, working in the same building, and said she was very nice) who’d play a movie and then solicit phone calls in between, with lucky callers winning stuff.

Then there was Bill Kennedy.

Ole Bill, the former B-movie actor with the gravelly voice, which was made even croakier thanks to the cigarettes he chain-smoked on the air.

Bill Kennedy, who bellowed into the camera and sat behind a desk in front of faux bookcases. Sometimes Bill would have a guest in the studio—often times an actor or film director—and they’d chit-chat, putting the movie of the day on hold.

Bill would take phone calls, and viewers loved to pick his brain, asking him to regale them with stories of his days on movie sets.

Some B-movie actors grow up to be president. Kennedy settled for merely being King of Detroit afternoon TV.

Bill Kennedy

“Bill Kennedy at the Movies” was the name of the show, and it was really a misnomer, because Bill liked to talk. And talking isn’t very mannerly behavior when you’re trying to watch a movie.

No, it was really “Bill Kennedy About the Movies.” Bill had the stories, and whether they were mostly true or not, it didn’t matter because Kennedy enraptured his audience, which was mostly female.

He’d call his female callers “dear” and “sweetie,” and try that nowadays.

The quality of movies Bill played was on a higher plane than what The Ghoul served up, but not by much. Again, when it came to Kennedy’s show, the star wasn’t the movie—it was the host.

Just like with The Ghoul and Rita Bell.

They did Bill’s show from both channel 50 in Detroit and channel 9 over in Windsor, depending on what part of history you’re talking about. Either way, Kennedy brightened the weekday afternoons for a gazillion homemakers and retired dears and sweeties.

Bill’s long gone, of course. Rita Bell isn’t with us anymore, either.

The Ghoul?

He’s still kicking, somewhere. Overday.

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Friday’s Favs: The Best of “Enotes”

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(Note: every Friday I’ll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from January 4, 2010

Domino’s Effect

Domino’s Pizza is finally coming clean.

They’ve admitted, finally, what most of us have known to be true for decades: they have an inferior product.

Domino’s is done trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes; they’re unveiling a new product—new sauce, crust, cheese, the works. TV ads are on the air now, with the dirty laundry there for all to see—and hear.

It’s like Big Boy’s saying their Slim Jim has been a fraud all these years. Or McDonald’s sheepishly acknowledging that the Big Mac isn’t all that.

Domino’s, though, has pretty much done one thing and one thing only for most of their 40-plus years of existence. And now they’re admitting that they couldn’t even do that right.

I haven’t had a Domino’s pie since the 1980s, I reckon. It was the pie of choice in my dorm at Eastern Michigan University, because the joint was close and they offered up some ridiculous deals, like a large pizza with one item for three dollars. Pittman Hall was crawling with Domino’s delivery men in those days, circa 1981-82.

The Detroit Tigers have been owned since 1983 by two men who made a lot of dough—pun probably intended—with a decidedly inferior pizza pie: Tom Monaghan (Domino’s) and Michael Ilitch (Little Caesars). I’ve crabbed about Mr. I’s pie in this space before.

I’m amazed that it took Domino’s this long, frankly, to reinvent themselves, what with the glut of pizza hawkers around town.

But this isn’t some New Coke marketing trick. Ann Arbor-based Domino’s is changing, and I don’t think there’ll be a hue and cry to change back.

It’s hard to put my finger on why I was never thrilled with Domino’s pizza. Plus, it’s been so long. But I do recall thinking that perhaps you’d be better off consuming the box in which it came.

This is serious business, to the tune of a $75 million ad campaign to say, basically, “We’re sorry!”

“A lot of people love us, but some people think we can get better,” says Domino’s Chief Marketing Officer Russell Weiner. “We listened to them, and we changed our pizza.”

Good for them, even if it’s some 20 years overdue. But I think Weiner has it backwards: some love Domino’s (though I’m dying to know who they are and if they’ve ever tasted another pizza before), but a lot think they can get better.

Domino’s admits now that they’ve been selling garbage, essentially, for decades. Now if we could only get our government to do the same thing.

Update: I have since tried the Domino’s near my office downtown (the Cadillac Square location), ordering online, and I must say the pizza has improved greatly.

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Friday’s Favs: The Best of “Enotes”

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(Note: every Friday I’ll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from November 18, 2009

Johnny Beefcake

Johnny Depp is the Sexiest Man Alive. Especially in my house, which includes me, a man. You want to know how you can be the only male and still finish in second place? Be married to a woman who’d pick up Depp’s socks from the floor and consider it as good as foreplay.

But that’s OK. There’s no shame in finishing second to Johnny Depp, whether it’s in terms of sexiness or in acting talent.

Depp got the People Magazine tag for the male version of va-va-voom this year, but I don’t know what you win for such an honor. The winners of these things already have riches and adoring females. And their healthy good looks. Is there an award?

Depp can be the Sexiest Man Alive. But I have a feeling that he’d rather be the Best Actor Alive, which he damn well might be. The many faces of Johnny Depp have included gangster John Dillinger, an effeminate pirate, a homicidal barber, a boy with scissors for hands, and some quirky young man named Benny.

Depp doesn’t play characters, he morphs into them. He could do God and have Moses look at the Almighty One cross-eyed afterward.

“You could work on some things,” old Moses might say.

One of the best acting jobs I ever saw was when Depp played the title role in “Donnie Brasco,” a gripping film and true story about an FBI guy who goes so deep undercover as a mobster that he just about loses himself and his family.

Depp shared many scenes with Al Pacino, no less, and it was the acting version of “Dueling Banjos” for two hours. It was one of those movies where you don’t sit down to watch it—you get strapped in.

Such is Depp’s range as an actor, and at a time when so many of them are afraid to branch out further than their arm reach. A cynic would say that those types are only in it for the money. A righteous cynic.

I’d kill to see Depp play the Joker in the next Batman flick. But it wouldn’t be fair to the late Heath Ledger, because Heath wouldn’t have the chance to see Depp’s performance and raise it.

Depp never looks the same in his movies, because he’s never playing the same guy. Hell, he’s not even playing the same era, the same country, the same village, the same story.

Johnny Depp’s roles are the snowflakes of acting. No two are the same.

While they’re at it, People might want to hand out the Nicest Man Alive designation, too. Depp would be a finalist for that one as well.

It’s been documented that Johnny Depp is a true gentleman in a business where there are so few of them anymore. You can seek his autograph without being sneered at, cursed, and shoved, for starters. Quite the contrary; you’re even likely to get a smile and some conversation. Or so say signature hounds in Hollywood who should know.

He seems to have a soft spot for kids.

During the filming of “Public Enemies,” in which Depp played Dillinger, a youngster who had wandered near the set became enamored of Depp—but more specifically, the fedora the actor was wearing in the movie.

The kid, who didn’t know any better, relayed his fondness of the hat to Depp himself. Depp, as is his wont, took interest in the kid and made some small talk.

Several weeks after filming, the kid got a package in the mail. It was the fedora, sent by Johnny Depp.

You can count on one hand how many of Depp’s ilk would have pulled that one off.

Our daughter adores Depp, too. She has nice taste in men.

Depp: I really can’t blame my wife, after all

There are movie stars, and there are actors. And there are masters of their craft. Rarely are all three the same person.

They are if you’re Johnny Depp, who only happens to be the finest actor of his generation. You heard me.

Name me one who’s better, if you don’t believe me. I dare ya.

Depp is only 46, and a quick check of his page at shows that he’s not slowing down. There’s another “Pirates of the Caribbean” flick in the works. Something called “The Tourist.” Another one that goes by “The Rum Diary,” which almost sounds like another Jack Sparrow vehicle but isn’t.

Oh, and he’s going to be the Mad Hatter in an “Alice in Wonderland” project that’s currently in post-production.

Thank goodness he’s not like Marlon Brando and Warren Beatty, marvelous talents who worked far too infrequently. Rather, Depp is making more like Michael Caine, who acts because that’s what he is, for good or for bad.

You wanna make the guy happy, People Magazine?

Here’s one: Johnny Depp, Best Damn Actor Alive.

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Friday’s Favs: The Best of “Enotes”

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from March 18, 2009

VJ Days

I’m 45, which means I’m old enough to remember when MTV played music videos. VH-1, too.

Means I know what a VJ is, and that Don Imus and Rosie O’Donnell were once colleagues at VH-1.

I haven’t watched MTV in years, maybe going on decades. VH-1 hasn’t exactly been part of my viewing list, either. There was a brief spike in my VH-1 viewership when the show “Pop-Up Video” debuted, because I thought that concept was as cool as hell. But aside from that, meh.

It didn’t used to be that way.

I was smitten with MTV in the early-1980s, shortly after it burst onto the scene. Radio on TV!

That’s basically what it was. Only you could SEE the on-air talent, instead of having to imagine what they looked like. Some of the names, I’m sure, might resonate with some of you. Nina Blackwood. Alan Hunter. Mark Goodman. JJ Jackson. Martha Quinn.

They were young-ish — late-20s, early-30s — and they were basically disc jockeys on TV. Hence the brand new moniker of VJ — video jockey.

It was remarkably simpler back then, MTV was.

Original MTV jocks (from left) Jackson; Blackwood; Goodman; Quinn; and Hunter

You’d flick it on, courtesy your local cable company, and the odds were good that one of two things would be on the screen: a music video, or a VJ — TALKING about music videos. Or maybe pumping an artist’s latest tour, with dates and venues.

You could keep MTV on, in the background, and check in on it whenever you heard a favorite song of the day. Maybe you were just a fan of Nina’s, and when you heard her husky voice you’d stop whatever you were doing and poke your head into the TV room to see what she had to say. Or to just look at her. Not that I would know anything about that.

It was magnificently simple, looking back on it. MTV — music videos with some VJs sprinkled in.

Then there was VH-1.

I was thinking about all of this thanks to the news of Don Imus’s cancer diagnosis, which he revealed publicly a few days ago.

I first knew of Imus when I saw his craggy mug on VH-1, working as a VJ in the late-1980s. VH-1 was set up a little differently than MTV in those days. The MTV jocks were in a casual setting, almost basement-ish. They were sitting down, for one. The VH-1 jocks stood, in front of a chroma key background while psychadelic colors and shapes floated behind them.

So there would be Imus, delivering mono-syllabic intros and chatting with the off-camera crew. He was stoic and sarcastic and I thought he was great. I had no idea that he was also a “shock jock” on New York radio. Then there’d be a shift change, and out would be Imus and in would be Rosie O’Donnell — this pixie-ish Irish girl wearing a beret. Where Imus was laid back and a man of few words, Rosie was chatty and hyper. And quite adorable.

Now Imus battles cancer, having revealed himself (to me, anyway) to be nothing more than a mean-spirited hack on the radio. And Rosie, long ago un-closeted, is a champion of causes and is another who has found Michigan to be moviemaker-friendly. In a story straight from a 1940s flick, Rosie discovered the star of the movie she filmed in Michigan sitting in a diner in downtown Detroit. No joke. She goes up to the kid — a teenager — and asks him if he wants to be in pictures. A star is born.

Hers was born in front of the VH-1 cameras, VJ’ing. It led to bigger and better things for her.

And Imus? In retrospect, he probably didn’t take the VH-1 gig too seriously. I’m sure it was far too vanilla for his taste.

But they played music videos, at least. Back then.

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Friday’s Favs: The Best of “Enotes”

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from September 28, 2009


They say you can’t go back home again. That, and you can’t go to the drive-in movies again. At least not with as much convenience.

They used to sprout all over the land—the drive-in movie theaters of America.

They died a slow death, the drive-ins did. Their big screens stood above the horizon like tombstones in a cemetery, unused and garish reminders of a day gone by. Then, even the tombstones got knocked down, leaving only weeds growing around the feet of the speaker stands.

There’s a wonderful photo that first appeared in LIFE Magazine, taken in the 1950s when “The Ten Commandments” was a new release motion picture. The photo was shot with a wide-angle lens and showed a typical drive-in movie theater of the day.

Charlton Heston’s Moses filled the huge screen, during the scene where he parts the Red Sea. In the foreground are all the cars—hundreds of them—parked, following the action.

The drive-in was THE place to be in the 1950s and ’60s.

It was a place to hang out—to be seen as well as to see movies. Kids would sneak buddies in via the trunk—back when tickets were sold individually. Then the theaters wised up and just charged per car.

Young, awkward Romeos and Juliets snuggled in the front seat—this was when lots of cars had bench seats—and had their first hand-holding and cuddling (or more) experience.

And let’s not forget the refreshment stands and their between-movie ads. For a fun-filled trip down memory lane, go to YouTube and type in the right search string and enjoy.

Our daughter’s favorite is the dancing hot dog that jumps into its bun. Trust me, it exists.

As a kid, our drive-in (back when everyone had their own neighborhood drive-in) was the Algiers, at the northeast corner of Wayne Road and Warren Road, in Westland. There’s a McDonald’s there now—as if.

I’d get into my jammies and bring a pillow and I was ready to go—sure to be out like a light when we got home. I have vague memories of my dad carrying me from the car to the house, like a kidnap victim who’s been chloroformed.

The photo that first appeared in LIFE Magazine (that’s Charlton Heston as Moses in “The Ten Commandments”)
But I’m proud to say that my wife and I (she grew up on drive-ins, too) passed down the tradition of watching movies from the car to our daughter. Most of the open-air theaters were long gone, of course, but there was always the Ford-Wyoming.

The F-W (it’s still there) has nine screens, spread out over two corners of Ford Road and Wyoming in Dearborn. And that’s where we’d head, when we wanted to scratch that itch.

Our little girl loved it. She’d be in jammies, too, and the movies were the usual Disney/animated stuff, or something like “The Incredible Hulk” or one of the “Batman” flicks.

In 2002, after having already made a verbal commitment to take the gang to the drive-in, I was caught in a dilemma.

It was the same night, turns out, as Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals—the Red Wings and Carolina Hurricanes.

No worries. Along came the earphones, the portable TV, and the AC/DC adapter. All with Mrs. Eno’s approval, of course.

The movie? I couldn’t tell you what it was. But the game went into triple overtime before Igor Larionov ended it. I must not have been alone, because when Igor scored, I could hear hoots and hollers from other vehicles. By this time, wife and daughter are out cold, so I had to do one of those “silent” cheers—when your mouth makes the requisite contortions of screaming, but no sound comes out.

It’s one of my more memorable drive-in experiences.

Aside from the F-W, you’re mostly out of luck if you’re looking for a drive-in theater nowadays. The Silverdome teased us with some drive-in action in its parking lot after the Lions moved out, but that fizzled out quickly.

There was just something about watching a movie in your car. Not sure what it was. Something about the gravel lot and the tinny metal speakers and the too-far-away refreshment stand.

Maybe we’ll pile back into the jalopy and set out for Ford and Wyoming again, one of these nights.

I could go for a kielbasa-sized dill pickle for three bucks.

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Friday’s Favs: The Best of “Enotes”

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(Note: every Friday I’ll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from May 7, 2009

He Hart My Mug

I wonder what Bill Hart did with my coffee mug.

All this talk of Detroit politics, in the glow of the special mayoral election held on Tuesday because of Kwame Kilpatrick’s ousting, got me to thinking of other disgraced high profile types the city has known.

I sat across from Police Chief William Hart in October, 1989, and the man seemed awfully stiff, I recall.

Hart was the first African-American police chief in Detroit, and I was getting ready to interview him on a local cable TV show I hosted called Innerview. Note the play on words. Boy, I was clever back in the day!

The show was biographical, and the cameras were all trained on the guest. We did it in an artsy-fartsy way, a format I copycatted from an old A&E show, the title of which escapes me.

The viewer saw nothing but the guest for 30 minutes, in an array of dissolves and various camera angles and points of focus: hand gestures, eyes, slow pans, etc. My face only flashed on the screen during the intro and outro.

The guest list was populated with local celebs, political figures, civic leaders, etc. We couldn’t pay anyone to show up, so anyone who appeared did it from the goodness of their heart.

Or, in the chief’s case, the goodness of his Hart.

We couldn’t pay, but the chief wanted compensation, apparently. More on that in a moment.

But the interview itself was a little rough, only because Hart seemed awfully tight, as if I was interrogating him rather than chatting with him. It wasn’t until toward the end of our half hour that he began to loosen up a bit. More on THAT in a moment, too.

After the interview, one of the chief’s minions sidled up to me.

“The chief wants to know if he can have that coffee mug,” the aide said to me, pointing to a mug bearing the logo of our public access sister station, which the chief had drank water from in the Green Room.

“Sure,” I shrugged. The aide and the chief were armed, after all. I was pretty sure we had more of those mugs.

That was the chief’s compensation, then–a TV-34 coffee mug.

So Bill Hart took the mug, thanked me for the chat, and bid me farewell.

The next morning, the news broke in all the papers and all over television.

Bill Hart was in trouble. Big trouble.

At issue was a police fund set aside for fighting the drug war in Detroit.

Hart was being accused of dipping his hand in the cookie jar and extracting funds, here and there.

To the tune of over $2 million.

The money Hart embezzled was used for blatantly personal use: to fix up a cottage in Canada. To wine and dine some female lovelies–not his wife. To take some trips. Maybe to have some “walking around cash.”


Mayor Coleman Young (right) announces the appointment of William Hart as Detroit’s police chief in 1976

So THAT’S why the chief was so stiff and uncomfortable!

Or so I convinced myself.

The interview with Hart had been scheduled a few weeks in advance, so I’m sure it was simple coincidence that it happened the day before the story broke of the investigation into his actions.

But he no doubt knew something might be up.

Hart was later indicted and eventually convicted. The final tally on the dough he stole from city coffers was around $2.6 million.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, in 1992. He was released in 1999.

Chief Hart died in 2003, at age 79. To his dying day, he maintained his innocence.

Even after his conviction, Mayor Coleman Young supported his disgraced chief.

“Bill Hart was a good cop,” Young said. “People ought to remember that.”

Bill Hart may have been a good cop, but he sure screwed up.

I wonder if he used our mug to rattle against the bars in his prison cell.

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Friday’s Favs: The Best of “Enotes”

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(Note: every Friday I’ll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from September 9, 2009

GPS = Getting Pretty Silly

Where is America going that we need so many directions?

GPS systems/devices are all the rage. Smart-as-whips gizmos that tell us when to turn left or right, how far it is to our destination, and even suggesting possible shortcuts.

It’s becoming a status symbol of the 21st century—whether or not you have one of these electronic navigators in your vehicle. I’ve seen grown men bursting at the seams about their GPS systems.

Where is everyone going, that they don’t know how to get there?

I don’t know about you, but I pretty much always know where everything is, when it comes to where I venture on a normal basis.

The Target. The mall. The grocery store. The ballpark, on occasion. My mother’s house. The movie theater.

McDonald’s. The local Thai joints. Suzy’s Party Store. CVS. The race track, on occasion.

Another mall. A friend’s house. The pharmacy for our dog’s meds. The 7-Eleven.

Yeah, I can make it to all these places—and more!!—without the computer riding shotgun.

So where is everyone going?

There’s also something called Mapquest or Google Maps or the like, if I’m going somewhere for the first time. A few mouse clicks, a little typing, then hit “PRINT” and I have my GPS on paper.

Those sites are based on something called maps, which used to be found in every car’s glove compartment.

Sometimes I don’t even need the Internet. Just give me some cross streets and I’m usually good to go.

“North of Big Beaver, west of Coolidge.”

Got it; see you there!

I know there are plenty of folks who drive as part of their job. And they drive A LOT. Understood. But seems to me that those are the people who should REALLY know their way around the tri-county area, like a cab driver.

Yet the cars being made today come equipped with dashboards that look like an array of airplane instruments—not the least of which are these GPS things.

I don’t even like it when a person barks out directions to me while I’m driving. Makes me nervous. I can’t imagine a face-less, computer-generated voice doing it.

I just don’t know where everyone is going. It’s like America is heading everywhere for the very first time.

Now, if they come out with a GPS system that can tell me whether I should use the drive-thru lane or go inside, come talk to me.

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Friday’s Favs: The Best of “Enotes”

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(Note: every Friday I’ll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from April 2, 2009

The Accidental President

Two angry broads took shots at President Ford within three weeks of each other.

How’s that for a lede to a blog entry?

Well, anyway, the angry broads missed. Maybe because Ford stumbled at just the right time.

Jerry Ford did that a lot — stumbled, if those old enough can remember.

Jerry slipped coming down the stairs of a plane. He tripped over his own feet on a tarmac, holding an umbrella — also near a plane. He’d play golf and that became hazardous to OTHER people’s health — if you were within hook or shank range. He tried skiing and you can imagine what happened — another “oopsy daisy.”

So it was no wonder that the slapstick comedian Chevy Chase began impersonating Jerry Ford in various Saturday Night Live sketches. Chase looked nothing like Ford, which even added to the hilarity. All that mattered was that he act like Ford, which fit Chevy’s propensity for taking pratfalls like a glove.

But back to the angry broads.

Within a few weeks of each other in September 1975, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme and Sara Jane Moore (why do assassins and serial killers always have three names?) pulled pistols from their handbags or wherever, took aim at President Ford, and fired.

Or tried to fire, in Fromme’s case.

It was in Sacramento, Calif., and Fromme, then 27, purportedly wanted to plead with Ford about the fate of the California redwood trees. Instead, she came armed with a Colt .45 automatic pistol. But the firing chamber was empty. She was immediately restrained by Secret Service agents. She later told authorities that she purposely removed the gun’s cartridge prior to showing up to see Ford. Ohhhh-kay.

Seventeen days later, also in California (San Francisco), it was Moore’s turn. Standing just 40 feet away from Ford as he emerged from a hotel, Moore pulled the trigger on her .38 revolver. But a bystander, a man named Oliver Sipple, saw Moore’s gun-toting hand a fraction of a second in time and shoved at it, causing Moore’s shot to go way off course, ricocheting off the hotel’s entrance.

Two angry broads, two guns. Within seventeen days of each other. Both in California. All that anger directed at him, and Jerry Ford didn’t even go looking for the job to begin with!

Jerry Ford, in typical repose

Ford was the Accidental President. And not just in terms of his clumsiness.

He was in the House of Representatives, a Republican from Michigan, minding his own business when President Nixon tabbed him to replace the disgraced Spiro Agnew, who resigned his vice presidency. Ford was reluctant, but said fine.

A little more than a year later, Nixon himself quit and just like that, Ford became president, without so much as winning one state caucus.

Fitting and proper, I suppose, that the clumsy Ford would stumble upon the presidency.

Fromme was one of Charlie Manson’s girls. Why she deliberately sabotaged herself and showed up with a gun that wasn’t going to fire is beyond me. Of course, she was a Manson girl, so that should explain it. While in jail, Fromme attacked another prisoner with the claw of a hammer. She’s still behind bars at age 60, though she can be released on parole this August.

Moore was a political radical and a one-time FBI informant. She was released from prison on parole on December 31, 2007 at the age of 77. She served 32 years.

Sara Jane Moore: the second murderous broad angry at Ford in Sept. ’75

Here’s what she said at her sentencing hearing in 1975 about taking a potshot at Ford: “Am I sorry I tried? Yes and no. Yes, because it accomplished little except to throw away the rest of my life. And, no, I’m not sorry I tried, because at the time it seemed a correct expression of my anger.”

Ladies, you gotta be pretty mad at a guy to not be sorry that you tried to kill him, don’t ya?

Poor Jerry Ford. Only twice in American history has a woman tried to kill the president. And both of them tried to kill our man from Michigan, Jerry Ford. The Accidental President, who would have found it fine and dandy to stay in the U.S. House.

Of course, U-M men always did find the going rough in California. Just ask all the football teams.

Categories : Enotes, Friday's Favs
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