Monday, April 27, 2009

Hail to the GM Chief Pontiac

As a Detroit native, it saddens me to see the demise of the Pontiac brand from the landscape. It means there will only be memories of such names as Bonneville, Grand Prix, Grand Am and of course, the Firebird and GTO. My third car in Texas was a Pontiac.
It will be buried along with that other long-standing GM brand, Oldsmobile, which WAS my Daddy's car at one time and had given us the Rocket 88, the Ninety-Nine, the Cutlass (a memorable vehicle in our lives).
It is also the name of the stadium in Lansing where the Class A Lansing Lugnuts play - Oldsmobile Park. The entire stadium is ringed by pictures and old advertising creations featuring a defunct auto brand.
But no more Oldsmobile, no more Pontiac, no more American Motors, no more Eagle, no more Avantis, no more ... lots of names from the past.
SO as a tribute to the late, great Pontiac (a fine car and a fine heritage) here are the best in pop culture featuring Pontiacs.
Song: G.T.O. by Ronny and the Daytonas - as classic a 1960s car song as EVER, ever recorded.
"You gotta turn her on, wind it up, blow it out, GTO!"
Movie: "Pontiac Moon" in 1994 with Ted Danson but the BEST known Pontiac was the 1977 Firebird driven by Burt Reynolds in "Smokey and the Bandit" (and S&B II).
A moment of silence please for the Pontiac.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

When you ASS-U-ME

I am simultaneously amused and tired of the right-wing, holier-than-thou bloggers in the world blaming liberals/left-leaning thinkers and anyone who disagrees with their narrow-minded POVs for all the ills upon himn, society and the country (which he believes is the only stick that stires the world's drink).
They assumes they know with such certainty what people think, say and do without the benefit of the facts. And I can simply go back to that age-old explanation about the word, ASS-U-ME.
BUT ...
if I believe that the workers are MORE responsible for the work accomplished than the executives; that airline workers sacrificed more than the executives to rescure certain companies and deserve to have some of those sacrifices returned before an exec receives one penny of bonus;
if I believe we should melt some of the polar ice cap surrounding relationships with countries like Cuba and China when it benefits US financially and economically; and that tourism is one way to enrich and demonstrate the benefits of our way of life to outsiders;
if I believe that people who want to spread "the American Dream: to foreign lands (whether they want it or not) but won't extend the same opportunity to as many people who live here , as possible ... then color me a proud liberal. I will resemble that remark.
But don't pretend to know what I'm thinking on any particular issue without asking me. Search for my e-mail address and ask me directly; I'm not scared to answer anyone.
As for tea parties? They're for little girls; real guys do protest barbecues!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

God rest "The Bird"

I was in Detroit in 1976 (actually living in Ann Arbor) until June when I came by Trailways to Texas. My last game that season was on a Friday night in June against the California Angels, part of a crowd in excess of 44,000 (cap. 56,000 in the old Tiger Stadium) - there to see this young phenomenon - Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, who died last Monday at the tender age of 54 on his farm - the result of an accident.
All of us was thoroughly entertained, dazzled and inspired by the young man from Massachusetts. On that night, and ANY night he pitched at home, the city was a collection of ONLY Tiger fans - watching as "The Bird" gestured to the plate, talked to the ball, pranced and jumped and did what can only be called a precursor to the fist pump for his own enjoyment.
Detroit won 6-4; Fidrych came out of the dugout from a crowd-demanded curtain call as if he were totally shocked that he would sought for public adulation. He just couldn't believe it.
Neither could we and Tiger fans just LOVED it.
He then started the All-Star game, won 19 games that year and was the toast of a city that only nine years before was engulfed in the flames of racial division. But the next season, he hurt his arm (years later discovered to have been a torn rotater cuff when there was no surgical remedy), and just as quick as he ascended, he was gone.
In later years, Fidrych expressed absolutely NO regret about his professional career. He just wanted to play baseball and got the chance. He never sought fame - then and in later years. Humble from the start, he seems like some sort of freak compared to the press-happy, me-first players too often populating the game.
And NO player in the years since 1976 has captivated the American public he did. I doubt anyone will in the future.
Some Tigers when they die will be missed; Mark "The Bird" Fidrych - a Tiger for less than three seasons - will be mourned.
God rest his wonderful soul.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

ER trivia: Oscar winners and nominees who appeared

I am still mourning the loss of "ER" as my Thursday staple for television. After 15 years, it will be difficult to adjust to something else - "Southland" simply doesn't do it for me. "ER" was simply ... the best - up there with "NYPD Blue" and "Hill Street Blues" for changing TV dramas.
So a little trivia: Who appeared on the show that either WON Academy Awards OR ... were nominated for Oscars?
Answer as follows:
Winners: Sally Field, Red Buttons, Fores Whitaker, Lou Gossett Jr., Susan Sarandon, Louise Fletcher and Ernest Borgnine (who, at 90, is the oldest LIVING Oscar winner ... I think and who was quietly magnificent in the final episode. He wasn't just "McHale's Navy;" he was/is a fine, fine actor). Of course, George Clooney started on "ER" and won and Oscar for "Syriana."
Nominees: Don Cheadle, Eileen Brennan, Piper Laurie, Mary McDonnell, William H. Macy, James Woods, Mare Winningham, Mickey Rooney, Djimon Hounsou, Angela Bassett, Julie Delpy, Emile Hirsch, James Cromwell, Alan Alda, Hal Holbrook.
What attracted these outstanding actors to the show? Outstanding, insightful material. Thursdays and television will NOT be the same.