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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Idol Chatter

I’ve made no secret that I find talent shows like “American Idol,” “The Voice,” and now “X Factor” endlessly fascinating. Part of it is the delusional nature of many of the contestants. A larger part is the time-honored theme of regular people chasing their dreams. It’s the stuff books and movies are made of. I’m…
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I Don’t Care Anymore

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“People are lazy and times are strange, I’m locked in tight, I’m outta range, I used to care, but things have changed.” – Dylan This year, for the first time since 1994, I stopped playing fantasy football. Just quit cold. The thought of preparing for the draft and keeping up with the stats every week…
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The Secret Behind the Secret

When I was a kid, no older than seven, my dad was friendly with a guy named Earl Nightingale. What I remember about Mr. Nightingale, besides his interesting last name and the deepest voice I’d ever heard, is that he gave my dad a series of LPs (vinyl albums for you young ‘uns) entitled “The…
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Rise of the Prequel

I took my 10-year-old grandson to see “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” yesterday. He enjoyed it, although he had two problems with the title. “Why do all the new movies start with ‘Rise of’” he asked me? An astute question and one I had no answer for. He also took issue with two…
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