Archive by Author | Rob

Michigan Playing Ping-Pong with Public Health

It’s been roughy a decade since the effort to ban smoking in Michigan’s places of business has begun. Now, it seems that the state’s Senators and Representatives have finally been given the cash vision to see that banning smoking will not harm businesses and could actually be good for the economy in both he short and long term. In fact, both branches of government have already passed bills to ban smoking and Governor Granholm seems poised to sign a smoking ban into effect.

So…….what’s the hold up?

Apparently, the Senate and the House can’t seem to agree on some of the finer details of the bill. While the Senate passed a straight ban across the board, the House feels that a gentler, semi-ban would be more appropriate. Their version includes exempions for casinos, tobacco shops, casinos, cigar bars, casinos, bingo halls, casinos, horse tracks, and casinos. It’s fairly obvious that the states bingo halls have gained enough wealth and influence to lobby the House into stalemating this bill for as long as possible.

And so the match continues. The Senate passes one version and sends it over to the House. The House changes it, passes it and sends it back to the Senate. In the meantime, Michigan is at risk of losing her chance to show her progressive nature by becoming only the 35th state to pass a full/partial ban on smoking.

Thanks a lot checks and balances.


The invasion has begun!

It was a typical Tuesday night. A little on the slow side at the bar, but otherwise very normal. However, when I came home around 2:30, I found that some of the inanimate objects around my home had apparently taken on a life of their own! So, naturally, I broke out the camera. It was all fun and games until the fire hydrant started to attack…


On October 17, 1956 Donald Byrne and Robert James Fischer sat down for a game of chess. What they did not realize is that that battle of the minds that was to ensue was to be dubbed by many as “The Game of the Century.”

Byrne, 26, was one of the top American Chess Masters at that time. He would go on to represent American in three Olympiads, and would earn the status of International Master.

Little Bobby Fischer was 13.

The fact that a child was able to defeat one of the top players in the country would be astounding enough, if it wasn’t for the fashion in which he was victorious. This youngster had both the foresight and the tenacity to offer up his most powerful piece on the board for sacrifice, in order for the opportunity to engage in the whirlwind attack that was to follow.

Fischer would go on to win the U.S. Open the following year and would achieve Grandmaster Status at the age of 15½ – the youngest player to do so. In an era of Soviet World Dominance, spanning about a half century, Fischer won the World Championship in 1972 against Boris Spassky, thus creating another bastion with which to defend the American ego against the onslaught of the Soviet machine.

After that match, Fischer not only failed to defend his title, but he withdrew from society and didn’t play chess for another 20 years.

Fischer Died yesterday at age 64. He was one of the brightest, most controversial, and least understood people to have lived in our lifetime.


…Eleven, Twelve!


Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to present to you what I believe to be the feel good video clip of your lifetime (at least for the Sesame Street generation).

I vividly remember watching the various Pinball Number Countdown animations as a child. There was something profoundly satisfying about these shorts. I’m not sure if it was music (sang by the Pointer Sisters), the trippy psychedelic animation, or the fact that, with my basic feel  for kinetics,  I couldn’t figure out how the pinball stayed on that spiral down ramp.

Having not seen this in years, I obviously have a different perspective on it. I tend to pay more attention the music now – which, as it turns out, is quite good (you gotta love a jazz steel drum solo). Aside from the Pointer’s performance, it was arranged by Ed Bogas who as scored music for hundreds of shows including Charlie Brown, Garfield, and Betty Boop.

Ok. Without further ado, the Pinball Number Countdown:

Don’t Pay Your Taxes!


Smell that?

Yeah, it’s a fresh new year! The resolutions have been made, the fresh starts have begun, and the auld acquaintances have been forgot. (I should really look into the meaning of those lyrics one of these years…)

Not to mention we’ve got the war on terror, the caucusing, and the piggy-bank burglars to keep us distracted. (I’ll let someone else report on that last one.)

But I’m not here to talk about any of that.

Very shortly, we Americans should begin to get our W-2s in the mail. Now, I sincerely hope that each and every one of you has a big fat refund on the way, but if not, fret not. I have a solution for you.


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