I've inundated my friends and family for years with commentaries on everything from foreign currency transactions to the menu at Taco Bell. Some of my commentaries are funny or insightful. Some are me ranting about something I'm annoyed about. All of them come with "Frank's Blog Guarantee" - if you think I've wasted your time with a blog entry, you have the right to kick me in the shins as hard as you want.
First off, thank you to everyone who posted or emailed me to express your support after the accident I was in last week. I still have the bruises, some soreness and a persistent ringing in my ears. However, I am getting better.
I'm heading out to enjoy the New Year with some friends soon. However, I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to wish everyone a Happy New Year!
Here's to hoping that 2007 brings the world peace, love, prosperity and laughter!
I was at the Old Shillelagh in downtown Detroit recently for a friend's birthday party. I don't actually remember a whole lot about the party except that there were a lot of people there and some great Irish music. I don't even remember leaving the party.
The next thing that I do remember is feeling very sore as a man in surgical scrubs told me that I had been in an automobile accident and that I was at Oakwood Hospital.
I later learned from my brothers that on my way home from that party, my car was rear-ended by a drunk driver. According to the police accident report, this woman was traveling at a speed in excess of 100 miles per hour when she collided into me.
The aftermath of this is: My car is totaled, which leaves me without transportation for the time being;I have a lot of muscle soreness in my neck and shoulders, which the doctors tell me will clear up in a couple of days;I have a persistent ringing in my right ear, which should also clear up on on its own eventuall…
I'm glad that Tara Conner won't lose her title as Miss USA because of her drunken antics in New York last December.
It's not that I'm a huge Tara Conner fan or even a fan of the Miss USA pagent in general. I just think that if women were ever penalized for dancing on a table while drunk or kissing another woman, well - my life would get very boring, very quickly.
One of the great things about living in the 21st Century is the simple fact that cool things keep happening that one would never have expected 20 years ago. Sometimes those are very big things (like the International Space Station) and other times it's very simple things just blow me away, like an on-line music video that is customized according to your location as well as your local time and weather conditions.
The Unseen Video is a music video for You Make Me Feel by Mike Milosh that does just that. The web site automatically determines where you are visiting from, retreives current time and weather information about your hometown from the internet and then adjusts the music video from there.
Peter Boyle, the grouchy father on Everybody Loves Raymound and the tap-dancing monster in Young Frankenstein, has passed away after a battle with multiple myeloma and heart disease. He was 71 years old.
I loved his character on Everybody Loves Raymound. I don't think there's another actor who could have played it better and very few could have even matched his performance.
I was also impressed by the pure depth of his experience as an actor. His filmography on IMDb.com lists 93 different roles that he had played over the course of his career.
In fact, even at age 71, he was still working on different projects. At the time of his death, he was in pre-production for a romantic comedy called Chatham and in post-production for drama called Shadows of Atticus.
Merriam-Webster selected "truthiness" as the Word of the Year for 2006, having beat out other entries such as: google (as a verb; not as a company);decider;war;insurgent;terrorism;vendetta;sectarian;quagmire; and corruption.I can't help but feel that the selection of nominees for Word of the Year underlies a certain amount of cynicism within this country. The most positive selection on that list is "google" and that's simply because its connotation is a neutral one.
I was surfing on-line and found NASA's press kit for the current space shuttle mission (officially known as STS-116, which is the 117th mission for the space shuttle program). Included in this 135 page press kit is the to-do list (or as they prefer to call it "mission priorities") for the current flight.
I have my own to-do list for the day (pay a few bills, a half dozen or so phone calls to make). Their mission priorities, however, kick butt.
It's interesting that I have three college level physics courses under my belt as well as a semester of Air Force ROTC behind me and I only understand about half of what they are doing on this twelve day mission.
For the curious amoung us, here is their list. It consists almost entirely of things that are happening on-board the International Space Station. Perform inspection of space shuttle heat shields and downlink sensor data for evaluation on the ground;Document space shuttle tile during rendezvous with station using imagery …
Sarah Klein, the venerable culture editor of the Metro Times, announced in her column yesterday that she is leaving Detroit for the sunny climate of California - joining the ever increasing tide of Detroit expats. I dealt with Sarah a couple of times on a professional basis, most recently when I was promoting my documentary on the Book-Cadillac Hotel. I have always been impressed by the quality of her work.
If you asked me three or four years ago, I wouldn't have even hesitated in joining the mass exodus of young folks out of Michigan. After all of the folks that I've met through the FoBC and Detroit Synergy, however, I would be hard presed to do the same thing today. There's just too much cool stuff going on.
Regardless, I wish her the best of everything in the Golden State.
My latest literary masterpiece is now available in the December issue of HOUR Detroit magazine (page 86, to be precise). It is an article on the historic Book-Cadillac Hotel in downtown Detroit and why the place is so cool.
My article appears with a set of amazing photographs by Roy Ritchie. He took some very cool fashion shots that contrasted nicely with the Book-Cadillac in its current, raw and undeveloped state.
The issue officially doesn't appear on bookshelves until Friday, December 1. However, a few bookstores around town already have it out.
I will be at Shop Detroit 3 this Saturday. I'll be happy to autograph copies of the article for anyone. :-)
Oh, and speaking of the Book-Cadillac Hotel, my friend Liza Lagman-Sperl sent me a photograph that she took the other day. This is a billboard along I-75 in Detroit that advertises condominiums in the Book-Cadillac being for sale.
This is a very, very cool thing!
That sign is the result of a whole of effort by numerous people …
There was a dense fog throughout Detroit when I woke-up yesterday morning. It was the day after Thanks- giving so there really wasn't much work to do.
I, therefore, convened a special meeting of the entire board of directors for Prince Igor Productions, Incorporated. We decided to close the office for the day so I could spend the day taking pictures and having fun.
(There are days when it really is a blessing to work for yourself!)
Anyway, I started with the streets near my house. Photographing them in a foggy condition with different exposures and different setting on my camera. After a little while, I decided to move on to River Rouge Park. That was where I shot this cool close-up of a cannon along with a bunch of photos of the baseball diamonds and trees.
It's weird. The other day I was reading through the comics section of the Detroit Free Press and I saw myself. Not literally, mind you. Rather, I saw a comic strip that made me say aloud, "Oh, my God! That's totally me."
Yes, I am Jon Arbuckle and Garfield all rolled into one package. (Although, I'm not totally thrilled with Wikipedia calling Jon a "fictional character". He seems all too real to me.)
Anyway, if you excuse me - I have to go meet up with Pooky the Teddy Bear. We're going to play "Guess the Burp."
Then, not to be outdone, the German government announces that they are seeking criminal prosecution of him, and several other officials within the Bush Administration, for their involvement in torturing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
One of my friends, Jessica Jones, is constantly sending around jokes via email. The one that she sent me yesterday is my personal all-time favorite. Three rural ministers met for lunch and naturally talked shop. One complained about his church's squirrel infestation. "They bother the congregation coming in, they chatter in the attic, they even gnawed through the insulation and ruined our sound system. But what can I do? They are God's creatures."
The second minister had the same problem. "They moved around the rafters during services and distract the congregation. My congregation gathered them up, drove them far away, and released them deep in the woods, but they were back within weeks. But, you're right: they are God's creatures."
The third minister said, "My church has also been afflicted with squirrels, but we found the perfect solution." The other two listened attentively. "We baptized them and made them full members of the church…
I wanted to let everyone know that I'll be on Front Row Center with Celeste Headlee this coming Sunday to talk about my new movie The Sleepy Guy. I'm not sure when the segment with me and Mary Abraham will air, but the show itself runs from 11 a.m. until noon on WDET 101.9 FM.
There's only one thing better than seeing one of the hardest - rocking women in Detroit's music scene - and that's seeing her twice in one weekend.
I saw Mary Abraham of Mary Abraham and the Lincolns on Saturday night. They were playing for Battle of the Bare Naked Ladies at Memphis Smoke in Royal Oak. She totally rocked the house in an effort to be lucky one to open for the Bare Naked Ladies when they play in town next month.
Mary Abraham - who is this incredibly talented musician; super wonderful person and who contributed music to my short film Sleepy Guy - is in a battle of the bands this Saturday at 7 p.m. at Memphis Smoke in Royal Oak. The winner of this gets to open for the Bare Naked Ladies.
There was yet another suicide bombing in Iraq; one that targeted Iraqi civilians at a gas station. It almost wasn't news, because bombings like this happen all of them. One line in the story, however, struck me. Lines outside gas stations are routine in Iraq because of persistent fuel shortages.Iraq has one of the world's largest oil reserves. Little to none of their oil is coming onto the international market - yet they still don't have much fuel in their own country.
It's almost odd that the most revealing expose about the U.S. Congress this year came not from anyone in the mainstream media, but from Rolling Stone.
I say "almost odd" because it should be odd. In reality, however, most of the news media has given up on actual reporting and prefers to simply parrot out a few lines from time to time from some press release.
Saturday started out with a rather momentous occasion in my life - I finally got to go inside the Book-Cadillac Hotel.
The place had been boarded up since 1984 and I wasn't allowed in when I was filming my documentary on the place. Going inside the place where Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. met for the first time; where Lou Gehrig collapsed; the place that the late-Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to as "a peril in a sea of turmoil" - it was simple and magical all at the same time.
The folks from Hour Detroit were doing a fashion shoot there. They brought me on board to write an article about the place and allowed me to join them inside.
I'm truly indebted to them for those moments that I got to spend there.
When I was done there, I went to "Studio Seen, Take One" - a party that my friend Lee Runchey hosted to celebrate the launch of her new public relations agency. It was an eclectic mix of art, fashion, music and martial arts. (Her clients are ar…
Former Congressman Gerry Studds died this morning at the age of 69. For any readers who don't recognize his name, he' s the man who was caught having a sexual relationship with a 17-year old congressional page in 1983. When Congress censured him for his conduct, he turned his back on them as they read the resolution.
This may sound really weird, but when I heard about his death - the first thought that came to my mind was, "I hope they bury him face down so can keep right on turning his back on the world."
Sometimes I read someone else's blog and find something so silly or off-base that I'm amazed that they are able to figure out how to establish an internet connection, let alone write a full-fledge blog.
And then there are moments when I read something that's so timely and on the mark that I simply wish I had written it first.
Simon Dumenco's recent post regarding "sentiment analysis" for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security definately fits into the later category.
I posted a little over a month ago about wedding cakes that are made out of Twinkies and how they looked so cool that I had a sudden desire to get married, just because of the cakes. (Yes - armchair psychologist, or full-fledged counselors, feel free to opine on that one).
Well, I've since seen another really cool wedding cake. This one is inspired by the Discworld books.
One of the unique things about running a political blog (or any kind of a web site, for that matter), is that your constantly bombarded by scam artist who send you phony bills – and if you pay those “bills”, you soon discover that someone else is now hosting your web site or controlling your domain registration.
Third parties will purchase or steal domain names and resell the Internet site to an interested party for a higher price. Through the U.S. Department of Commerce, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) regulates the domain registration infrastructure. ICANN has been criticized for not enforcing the illegal transferring of domain names to another registrar (a practice that’s commonly known as “slamming”).
The folks at MyDomainPain.com have launched their own effort about this – a grass roots campaign to demand Congressional action.
It has a simple mantra: stop trying to be perfect and start being remarkable. It's about knowing that a risky idea might fail, but a boring idea will definately fail.
It's the first book I've read in a long time where, when I finished, I wanted to buy a couple dozen copies of it and just start handing it out to everyone that I know. Tackling them and say, "Read this book!"
In fact, the last time I felt that way about any book, it was about my own novel.
Anyway, just take a peek inside this book. If you feel like you've wasted your time, you're welcome to kick me in the shins if you like.
Each time there was a new season of "Simple Life" coming out - a "scandalous" video of Paris Hilton would make its way onto the internet. And coincidentally enough, each time it was a Rupert Murdoch owned newspaper that broke the story.
(Murdoch, of course, also owns the Fox Television Network, which is the network that "Simple Life" showed on).
My grandfather used to say, "Once is chance, twice is a coincidence but three times is a conspiracy."
And yes, the whole thing with Paris' sex tapes happened three times for each of the three seasons that the show was on the air.
And now she gets arrested, right around the time that her new albumn comes out???
I got $100 that says it, as she was leaving this charity benefit, her publicist picked up the phone and phoned in an anonymous complaint about her driving erratically. At that point, the police had to pull Ms. Hilton over.
When I was putting together my documentary on the Book-Cadillac Hotel, one of the great challenges that I faced was tracking down a copy of one of the films that was filmed inside the B-C. State of the Union with Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and Angela Lansbury was a great film, but it was out of print when I was putting together my documentary.
For a couple of weeks, I literally did nothing but search for a copy of this film. Now my documentary is complete and Universal Studios decides to pull the film out of its vaults and release it on DVD.
I'd love to be able to say that my documentary, or at least me searching far and wide for a copy of the film, had something to do with their decision to release it on DVD.
But somehow I doubt.
Of course, that won't stop me from taking credit for it with anyone who might believe that I had something to do with it.
This is troubling. The younger (college-aged) generation is significantly more prone to anxiety and depression that their predecessors - and researchers don't know why, other than they've ruled out their parents.
There's so much cool stuff on the web these days that it's hard to find very coolest of them all. Luckily, Maria Sansone has come to the rescue with the 9 - her daily pick of the 9 coolest things on the web.
When I started looking at the Book-Cadillac Hotel as the potential subject for a documentary, one of the things that really peaked my interest in the project was how wide-spread the press coverage was about the hotel - folks from as far away as Seatle and Tallahassee were writing about this deal.
Anyway, now it turns out that the Germans have gotten into the act and are starting to cover the hotel's redevelopment in a positive fashion. The hyper-linked article is largely verbatium from a press releast that was issued several weeks ago. I think the important issue, however, is the simple fact that folks in Europe are interested in what's happening here.
With 84% of the precincts in Connecticut reporting, Ned Lamont is ahead of the incumbent U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman by 4 points.
Ding, dong - the witch is dead. The wicked witch (or U.S. Senator) is dead.
Lieberman will unquestionably run as an independent candidate to hold onto his seat. Which fine by me - it simply gives the good people of Connecticut one more chance to tell him that he's been an ass these past few years.
I was having lunch with a pair of friends last Friday when I rather disburbing thought ocurred to me.
I got to the restaurant a little before them and was passing the time by leafing through a recent issue of Dwell. I realized that I've reached that point in my life where a magazine about homes and home furnishings excites me almost as much as Playboy does.
I mean, it's a different kind of excitement, of course. But still...
Oh, and I've also realised that I get a similar thrill by walking through my local Home Depot that I do walking through my local titty bar. Of course, the really, really weird part - the part that I never thought I'd ever say is that I actually prefer hitting the titty bar because a trip there usually isn't as expensive as one to Home Depot.
Really, people. What does all of this say about me?
There are moments when I see some new technological gadget that just makes me so damn proud to live in this world. I've seen a lot of it this past week, in fact.
It started when I saw a report about the new Nike + iPod in the Free Press this past Monday. The very idea that my shoes and my iPod could somehow work together to make me a better person (or at least a person that is in better shape) is so damn cool.
After that comes news that GM, Ford and Mazda will finallyintergrate the iPod into their cars. (I mean, gee, the folks over at Volkswagenonly did this - what, 2 or 3 years ago?)
Earlier this week, People magazine reported that 'N Sync singer Lance Bass was gay. CNN was quick to refer to this as a "boy band bombshell" in their on-air news coverage.
I was flabbergasted when I heard that.
Not the part about Lance Bass being gay, mind you. It was more the fact that anyone considered this to be newsworthy that was so downright shocking. It's nothing more than an official confirmation of what we've known (or at least strongly suspected) for almost a decade.
All of this means that in another 6 years or so - CNN will start reporting that President George W. Bush misled the American public about Iraq weapons of mass-destruction.
Okay - having held a few open casting calls as a director and received a few dozen unsolicited resumes and headshots from various aspiring actors, I have to say that I'm really, really glad that nothing like this has ever happened to me.
A gun-toting actor, clad only in swimming trunks?
Just when you think that things can't get much more bizzare.
Okay - so I got mugged last week. I lost a camera and my cell phone.
I was at my local police station the other day; going through mug shots and looking for the two guys who assaulted me. While there, I was suprised to learn two things: A woman that I had a crush on way back in the 8th grade is now a cop (and married);A shocking number of suspects manage to have their mug shots taken while wearing a D.A.R.E. t-shirt.It's just weird. Truly, truly weird.
The 4th Fridays with Ford are always good. The 4th Friday Film Festival is always a great change to see some great indie films that are made right here in Detroit.
This month, however, the 4th Friday Film Festival is going to be even cooler because folks also get a change to win a walk-on role in an upcoming movie.
That's right, one lucky person who stops by the 4th Friday Film Festival table in Campus Martius this Friday will win a walk-on role in the upcoming film, Sleepy Guy.
Of course, even if you don't win the movie role, you still get to see some great locally made movies - ones that you simply can't see anywhere. Demonology – directed by Brooks Tomlinson and Chad Schaffer of Canton and starring Jonny Victor of Novi. Demonology is short comedy about why it’s a really bad to summon a demon in order to solve your money problems. It was a crowd favorite at both the Mitten Movie Project and the Planet Ant Film Festival.Kill the Scorpion – directed by Jay White of Detroit…
Microsoft likes to think of "Argo" as an iPod Killer - but looking at what was leaked, I have to say they must be dreaming. The screen size is nice and I'll assume that it has decent memory & processor.
They'll probably tweak this a lot before it gets released. My suggestion to any Microsoft techie who finds this post - give us a larger, easier to operate control wheel.
Oh, and Apple's decisions to allow you to a) get it in black as well as white and b) get your iPod engraved were both inspired. If you're going to mimic the iPod, don't forget to include those two things as well.
I had a casting call for my next movie over the weekend. It was kind of odd to spend the day with Marc-Antoine Serou (a French filmmaker who is part of this project) and then head over to a Bastille Day party at Francis Grunow & Claire Nelson's home, where I stayed until well past 2 a.m. - just drinking and talking.
Anyway, the casting call itself was impressive. The quality of talent that came out of my casting call was seriously impressive. It basically ranged from "good" to "why the hell aren't you on Broadway?"
I had a lot more women try out for the parts than men - even though the ratio of male to female roles was about equal. I may have to juggle a couple of things around in the script in order to include as many of them as possible.
Principal photography is tentatively set for Friday, August 11 through Saturday, August 13. We have a deadline of Thurday, September 14 to have this complete so I can overnight it to the folks at the Sundance Instit…
According to an article in yesterday's Freep, 25 different neighborhoods in Detroit are slated to get a 20% reduction in their property taxes. Warrendale is not one of the lucky neighborhoods.
Quite frankly, I'm not concerned about the fact that someone else in Detroit is getting a tax cut while those of us in Warrendale are not.
However, what I do wonder is this: If a cash-strapped city like Detroit can find a way to give a 20% reduction in property taxes to some of their residents then why can't they also find enough money in the budget to ensure that there's always a cop available when I call 9-1-1?
I was chatting yesterday with my partner-in-crime from Detroit Synergy, Paula Turner. She said something that I thought was incredibly profound.
She said that dating in your 30s is a lot like shopping for luggage. Everyone in their 30s already has a certain amount of emotional "baggage". The whole dating process at this point is really about finding someone with a matching set.
I was going to log-on and write a pithy response to the news coverage over the "terror plot" to blow-up the Holland Bridge in New York City. But then the folks at Gawker.com beat me to the punch and posted it before I could.
Dang, it! Foiled again by those cursed New Yorkers.
Instead, I'll just point out how ironic it was that this "plot" was broken up the day after The New York Times reported that the Central Intelligence Agency has disbanded the unit that was charged with hunting down Osama bin-Laden. (If you haven't read the story already, click here).
Because folks with no weapons or means of carrying out a terror-plot are far more dangerous than the guy behind 9/11.
Knemonic Productions, LLC (http://www.knemonic.com) in association with Prince Igor Productions, Inc. (my production company - on-line @ http://www.igorfilms.com) and Roaring Kitten Studios, LLC are looking for actors to star in two short films being shot in and around Detroit during the month of August, 2006. "Eve", a drama, is about a Polish immigrant haunted by a relationship from his childhood. "Sleepy Guy", a comedy, is about a guy who has extreme difficulty waking up, but with a twist.
Auditions will be BY APPOINTMENT ONLY on Saturday, July 15 in Troy, MI. Directions and details will be given along with your scheduled audition appointment time. Both films are non-paying projects up front, but contingent compensation will be available. Also, food and beverages will be provided for actors and crew during principal photography.
We are interested in viewing resumes and headshots of actors of ALL shapes, sizes, and races. However, we do have specific needs for the f…
It's almost the 4th of July weekend. That means lots and lots of holiday trips to the beach and so on. Since I am a published author, it seemed only appropriate for me to mention a few books (other than my own) that I think would be great to take to the beach or on vaction with you.
With that in mind, here is Frank's Summer Reading List for 2006.
My first pick is The Foreign Correspondent by Alan Furst. This novel is set in the late 1930s is about a journalist who fights the Mussolini regime by working for an underground newspaper. When his editor is killed by the Italian secret police, he tries to keep the newspaper going while also trying to stay alive as the secret police turn their attention to him.
Alan Furst is, without a doubt, one of the best novelists writing today. If you haven't picked up any of his work before, this a great one to start with.
My second pick is Lost & Found by Carolyn Parkhurst. This modern tale focuses on a series of characters who are competin…