Innovators and Imitators

While waiting in vain for the next music messiah, I thought I’d reflect on some of the true originals who changed life as we know it, and the imitators who followed in their wake. I’m actually a little too young to have been an Elvis fan when he burst on the scene. I have no…
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Shut Up and Work

In honor of my 100th blog post, I’m turning the reins over to guest columnist and business partner Alex Raffi, whose message should become a mantra, an initiative and (to paraphrase Arlo Guthrie) a movement. Let’s start seeing these words on bumper stickers, T- shirts and the occasional tattoo.   Shut up and work. We…
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Finding the Time

From the “I’m Feeling Churlish Department” . . .   Back when I was consistently hawking my wares at book festivals and the like, some well-meaning soul would invariably saunter up   to my table and inform me that he or she intended to “write a book as soon as I find the time.” I’d look…
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Nothing Like a Good Rant

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In real life, most folks don’t talk in speeches. They talk in little sound bites, most of which are borderline incoherent. Don’t believe me? Open to any page of the Watergate transcripts next time you’re bored. But in the movies, every now and then, a character reels off a doozy of a speech that becomes…
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The Keys to Life (and Stuff)

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I’m not a big fan of motivational posters. For one thing, they are rarely motivating. For another, the messages tend to be dumb. I’m reminded of one I saw years ago depicting eagles soaring high over a mountaintop. The caption read, “They can because they think they can.” That’s not technically true. They can because…
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Elmore Leonard’s Top 10

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Birthday gift card burning a hole in my pocket, I wandered into Barnes & Noble yesterday in search of . . . who knows what. Half the appeal is having no idea what you’re interested in and waiting for something to jump off the shelves. As usual, I checked out the remainder and bargain displays…
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Final Look Back

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I haven’t held a real (as in corporate) job since 1987. That’s when a series of lunatic bosses drove me into self-employment. They did me a favor; while being an entrepreneur is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tackled (especially the last four years), it’s also one of the most satisfying. Working without a…
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Books vs. Movies

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Recently, I had a conversation with someone (I can’t remember who) about the movie “The Help.” Despite my better judgment, which isn’t all that good, I let my wife drag me to see it and I actually enjoyed it (except for the antagonist, who I found disturbingly cardboard and one-dimensional). The person in question (I…
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When Myth Becomes Reality

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My father, Morris Rouff, was the original inventor of Formula 409. He and his brothers owned a chemical plant in Detroit in the 1950s and serviced a number of accounts (mainly mortuaries and Chinese restaurants) that couldn’t cut through the grease and glop with any commercial product then on the market. (A nice visual, don’t…
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Recommended Halloween Reading

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When I was a kid, Halloween was for kids. The total extent of my parents’ involvement was helping me with my costume (as in going to the store and picking one out), and telling me what time I had to be home from trick or treating. Somehwere along the way, it became as much an…
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