The searing imagery of “Rush”



Kathy and I watched Ron Howard’s latest film, Rush last night. It’s a terrific film (and true story) that deserved many more awards and kudos than it received. Far better than stupidly decadent Wolf of Wall Street or the mind-numbing American Hustle, Rush was a full body rush of energy, faced-paced images, and searing imagery.

The steadfast courage and inner strength portrayed by Daniel Bruhl as Formula One champion Niki Lauda to overcome a horrifying fiery crash during the 1976 German Grand Prix will inspire viewers and makes this film far more memorable than most of the schlock that dominated Hollywood last year. Go see/rent this film, for it deserves multitudes of accolades. You will also develop a great appreciation for Niki Lauda.

“The Gentleman From Finland” gets derailed



I really wanted to enjoy this book. The image of riding the Trans-Siberian Express across the width of the Soviet Union is a fascinating concept. Given how much I enjoyed Robert Goldstein’s more recent book, Riding with Reindeer, I figured this one would be loads of literary fun. It starts out that way, but in the last quarter of the book, it loses steam quickly and he gets caught up in too many dream sequences. It was almost like the author was not sure how to conclude the book, so he derailed the project instead. Don’t get me wrong, there are some quite enjoyable parts to The Gentleman From Finland, but in the end it falls flat leaving the reader wanting a more complete and descriptive travelogue and less tangential side tracks into the abstract.

Endangered Kirtland’s Warbler Recovery: What Now?



Originally posted on The Outdoor Journal:

Kirtland's Warblers are at their all-time high in Michigan. Photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Kirtland’s Warblers are well above recovery goals in Michigan. Photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

By Howard Meyerson

Michigan’s endangered Kirtland’s Warbler appears to be well down the road to recovery. More than 2,000 singing males were reported in Michigan’s 2013 Kirtland’s Warbler census. That was the second consecutive year that the population was double the federal recovery goal of 1,000 singing males (breeding pairs)—a world away from 1967 when the bird was added to the federal Endangered Species List, or when its populations reached record lows in 1974 and 1987 and only 167 were found.

While the warbler’s rebound is reason for celebration, federal and state wildlife officials and Michigan’s conservation community remain concerned about its future. Successful recovery brings talk of removing it from the Endangered Species list, a decision that places the gray-blue and yellow warbler at a crossroad with respect to its future survival.

“This is…

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Mirroring the Beatles in tribute

Kathy and I had a chance to see Michigan’s top-ranked Beatles tribute band, Toppermost last night. They were excellent. Close you eyes and you’d swear you were listening to the original band, even the British accents while talking to the audience.


The first half of the show was performed in original Beatles regalia, while the second half was in Sergeant Pepper”s attire.


Kudo’s to Toppermost for a great show!


Ever Wished That Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Would Return to the Comics Page? Well, He Just Did.


I love “Calvin and Hobbes” and love this story!

Originally posted on Pearls Before Swine:

Bill Watterson is the Bigfoot of cartooning.

He is legendary. He is reclusive. And like Bigfoot, there is really only one photo of him in existence. 

Few in the cartooning world have ever spoken to him. Even fewer have ever met him.

In fact, legend has it that when Steven Spielberg called to see if he wanted to make a movie, Bill wouldn’t even take the call.

So it was with little hope of success that I set out to try and meet him last April.

I was traveling through Cleveland on a book tour, and I knew that he lived somewhere in the area. I also knew that he was working with Washington Post cartoonist Nick Galifianakis on a book about Cul de Sac cartoonist Richard Thompson’s art.

So I took a shot and wrote to Nick. And Nick in turn wrote to Watterson.

And the meeting…

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Utility infrastructure does not have to be ugly

This electrical substation in suburban Chicago (Elk Grove Village) is an excellent example of how, with a little effort, utility infrastructure can be designed to be aesthetically pleasing and blend well with its surroundings. Well done!



DC’s stunning Chinatown friendship gate

0601140956One of my favorite activities while traveling is to make an effort to see the Chinatown friendship gates in cities that I visit. Among those I have personally observed are the friendship gates in Boston, Chicago, Sacramento, and San Francisco. From a human scale, Boston’s is hard to beat and San Francisco’s is certainly iconic, but the gate in Washington, DC’s Chinatown (just east of the intersection of H & 7th Streets) is simply stunning for its overall beauty, size, and artistic intricacy.

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Walking out of the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro Station, the friendship gate immediately captures your attention and holds it tight. It is quite an impressive visual treat. Next time you happen to be visiting our Nation’s capital, hop on the Metro and stop to take a look at the city’s Chinatown friendship gate – it’s worth the trip! Cheers!

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Superhighway superhero

While traveling the Pennsylvania Turnpike on our way to Washington, DC last night we stopped at the Midway Service Plaza in Bedford. This recently updated plaza included a very interesting display on the history of the turnpike, Americas first superhighway. Numerous artifacts and collectibles were presented in the diorama.


Among them, was an intriguing display about a superhero I had never heard of or seen before – Turnpike Man!   Who knows what adventures Turnpike Man dealt with – filling potholes with a single shovel full; clearing/melting snow with a single breath; stopping runaway semis on steep mountain descents; holding back rock slides; or combatting his evil arch nemesis – the Toll Troll (I made that up).

So the next time you are traversing the Keystone State, keep an eye to the sky, for Turnpike Man may zip past on his way to performing superhero good deeds.

Betcha’ none of the guys from Big Bang Theory has a Turnpike Man!