Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Love Soccer

Once upon a time, I used to think that soccer was the lamest excuse for a sport ever. Like a lot of Americans, I saw the enthusiasm for it around the world and failed to understand the appeal for it.

I began to see some redeeming qualities in what the rest of the world calls football when Keira Knightley starred in Bend It Like Beckham. (I just allow myself to forget that she was only 17 when she made that movie.)

And this afternoon, two new videos have shown up in my email in-box that give me a whole new appreciation for the game of soccer. (Although, I still can't bring myself to call it "football".)

This is how I believe soccer should be played:

And if soccer was anything like the video below, Major League Soccer might actually be profitable in the United States.

Like I said, I have a new appreciation for the game of soccer.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Casting for America's Next Top Model

Because of my vast connections within the entertainment business, I've learned that CW50 Detroit is looking for local women, ages 18-27, to represent Detroit on the 12th Cycle of America’s Next Top Model. The television station will hold an open casting call at South Beach Pizza Bar in Detroit on Tuesday, July 22 from 3 pm until 6 pm. South Beach Pizza Bar will open this month inside the historic Fisher Building.

Each woman attending the casting call must bring a completed application along with three photographs of herself:
  • Close up of face;
  • Full body in clothes; and
  • Full body in bathing suit.
Photos must all be in color, or maximum of one black and white photograph. Along with completed application and photographs, applicants should also provide legible copies of their U.S. passport or driver’s license as well as a social security card or birth certificate. Applicants will be videotaped by CW50 Detroit and will have a maximum of three minutes to explain why they should be contestants on America’s Next Top Model.

Applications and eligibility requirements can be found at


Ann Marie Weinert, the ever so awesome narrator who helped make my documentary on the Book-Cadillac Hotel all that it was, has a new video up on YouTube. It's an entry in the 100 Grand commercial contest.

I love the special appearance by Waffles the Wonder Cat.

The Sweet Sounds

This past Friday was a rather auspicious day.

For those of you who didn't know, I suffered a head trauma after an auto accident on Christmas Eve 2006 and lost some of my hearing in my left ear. I've spent the past year and a half cocking my head to one side to listen to people with my right ear and, of course, arguing with my insurance company to pay for a hearing aide.

They bounced my claim back and forth between three different adjusters and made me fill out several trees worth of paperwork. Some of that paperwork even had to be filled out three different times, once for each insurance adjuster who handled my claim.

Well, after more than a year and a half of this, I finally got my hearing aide on Friday afternoon.

It's amazing how the world sounds different with one. I noticed sounds that I never really noticed before. The sound of a door opening or of it closing behind me. The sound my key made when I unlocked my car door. The subtle click when I turn on my turn signal.

I never really noticed any of these things before.

And, of course, I could finally talk with someone without having a desire to pivot my head so they were talking into my right ear.

As I was driving back from my doctor's office on Friday afternoon, I had this sudden desire to go to a concert.

It was a little over an hour later, as I walking through a building that might be a good candidate for conversion into a sound stage, that I got a phone call offering me free VIP tickets to see Mitch Ryder and Mark Farner.

The concert itself is always free, but these were tickets to the Marriott Party Deck on the 3rd floor of the Renaissance Center.

I was up there that evening - admiring the great view, drinking free beer and chowing down on complimentary cornucopia of beef, chicken and shrimp - when one of the event staffers came up to me.

"We're doing a meeting and greet with Mitch Ryder and Mark Farner in a few minutes if you'd like to meet them," he explained.

Fifteen minutes later, my friend John and I were standing next to the Rock Patriot himself, Mark Farner - formerly of the Grand Funk Railroad.

When it came time to meet Mitch Ryder, he commented on how much he loved my hat.

Mitch and I called each other earlier in the day to coordinate.

And yes, John did insist on that wine glass being in both of the photos.

When the concert finally started, I could hear everything just fine from the 3rd floor of the Ren Cen. Although, I will admit to doing one rather dorky thing.

At different times during the show, I would turn so that the band would be to my right - and then pivot so that they were to my left.

And they sounded the same out of both ears!

Okay - I know that's dorky. I guess you just have to experience 19 months of hearing loss in order to appreciate it.

Anyway, it was an amazing show. I met a ton of people, got invited to a couple of parties that are put on my other music acts - because when you're in VIP, everyone assumes that you're someone who they definitely want at their next party.

It's amazing how the universe will grant one's wishes every now and then.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Space Is Getting Crowded

For the past several years, we as a nation have been spending a lot of money on a lot of things, the war in Iraq, rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina and so on. The one thing that we haven't been doing is exploring outer space with the same earnest that we once did.

NASA's budget, for example, has fallen 20% in real dollars from it's 1992 levels. It now only makes up 0.6% of the federal budget.

Of course, while the United States has been doing other things, the rest of the world has been going full steam ahead. This creates a situation where the U.S. is no longer the world's undisputed leader in space exploration and we may soon be playing second fiddle to the Chinese, Indians and others.

I'm all in favor of sharing outer space. There's clearly enough of it to go around. However, the idea that the U.S. is no longer at the cutting edge is irritating.

Really, really irritating.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Brilliant! has long been my go-to resource for information about movies and those who make them. However, the folks at had a brilliant idea.

What if your last girlfriend had an IMDb page?

The result is almost too funny for words. Check in out!

Oil price drops $1

The price for oil dropped a little more than $1 per barrel in trading yesterday. According to published news reports, the fears surrounding Iran's nuclear program are easing and - with it - concerns that the American or Israeli military will take action against one of the world's largest oil producers.

Thank God! I was starting to think that I'd have to take out a second mortgage the next time and have to gas up my car.