Attn: Jeff Daniels

Caving to overwhelming pressure from an untold number* of bizarrely polite Deathe readers– I hesitate to say “fans”– I’ve sent a copy of Bedderhoff Dead to actor Jeff Daniels. Because, to be honest,  I have to feel sorry for poor Jeff.

Jeff Daniels is a Michigander, living near Chelsea, where he owns the Purple Rose Theatre. (His spelling, not mine!) He’s known for such renowned movies as Radio Days, Gettysburg, The Purple Rose of Cairo (for which he named his “theatre”), and of course that super megahit, Dumb and Dumber, to say nothing of the Michigan favorite Escanaba in Da Moonlight. Continue reading

Meet Fillmore (and friend)

This is Fillmore. He’s an elephant ear philodendron. He literally showed up at my door some time around 1974 or so. I was living in a small third floor apartment in Mason when I heard a knock on the door. I opened it to find a homeless plant saying gimme shelter, or something like that. I took him in. Turned out he’d been delivered by my friend Marty as a housewarming gift.

So here we are, two moves from apartment to house to house, three ever-larger pots, and nearly 45 years later. Continue reading

Moderate Speed (for Alice) Run to Deathe

I have in my possession dashcam video from MSP Trooper A.L. Dubose making a quick run to Deathe. Off duty, probably speeding as usual. The YouTube vid quality isn’t up to professional HD standards, and although she was really cranking on Joe Satriani’s The Forgotten, the sound didn’t come through well either. Oh well, it’s the best we got on a tight (read: zero) budget.


Large Appliance Shopping

I don’t understand people sometimes. Okay, pretty much all the time. Some friends of ours suffered a grievous loss a couple weeks ago. Their kitchen range died. No oven, no burners, nothing worked. It’s old, it was tired. We kept checking in. Did they buy a new one? No. Did they find a new one to buy? Nope. Apparently not even looking. Living large with a microwave and toaster I guess.

Continue reading

Life Hack #134 redux

I stumbled onto this Edison original– the Edison Standard Phonograph– the other day at the historic Turner Dodge House in Lansing. Now I’m comparing the original inspiration to my modern, digital-age equivalent here. Full disclosure: my inspiration came from a craft show where a skilled artist displayed at least a dozen of these things, generally using trumpet, bugle, saxophone bells, or bells from who-knows-what different brass instrument. The bell on mine is exactly the same as the one on the Edison. So I guess mine is closer to original than his are. I’d thought I was making a compromise, since this bell is not especially beautiful.

So here we reprise my first photo from Life Hack #134 below, and in this series of pictures we have a 100-year-old original design, plus my proof -of-concept test mock-up, and my original. No photos from the craft show, I’m afraid.All in all, though, a pretty neat find at the mansion.


Life Hacks 001 through 004

Talking with friends and relatives about the (monthly) cost of living today. Life now is so much more expensive than it was when I was young, mostly because there are so many more opportunities. Or ooportunitities, as we might say. As in: oops, I just spent all my money for the month. On day six. There are alternative options. Available to everybody!!! Continue reading

Life Hack #134

Another recent Life Hack. For when you want to entertain your friends with your tunes and carrying a little battery-powered bluetooth speaker in your pocket is just too inconvenient.

I saw these at an arts & crafts fair, and thought to myself, “way cool, but why would I pay $40 or $50 when I could probably build one myself, probably for a fraction of that?” Ha. I did it, but we won’t talk about how much I (didn’t) save or how I had to enlist the aid of a friend who’s a great craftsman, a finish carpenter with a massive woodshop, literally tons of equipment, and more talent and patience than I will ever possess. (See my proof-of-concept rough draft, which I cobbled together in my basement with 45-year-old 2x8s, deck screws and a Skil saw– obviously basic carpentry skills are barely within my grasp.)

Tuck a cell phone in the slot and crank up the tunes! Especially appropriate for SirusXM’s Forties Junction. The horn is removable for easy transport– far more portable than a little bluetooth speaker, amIright? I don’t believe I’m violating any copyrights or patents, but hesitate to post this because I really don’t want to steal ideas from a guy who is a very talented artist and craftsman. On the other hand, what I thought would be a quick and easy job turned into a months long journey. I thought I could pick up a discarded trumpet, trombone or bugle, cut the horn off, and I would have the most vital component in hand– the rest, after all, is just a block of wood. But how to find one? I was advised to go to garage and yard sales, but that just ain’t me. I did find a couple instruments at the local antiques malls– both a trumpet and a trombone, each listed at $250 or so. No thanks. The the block of cherry wood was free, but we won’t speak of how much I paid for the horn I eventually did find at the local antiques market. Not $250, but more than the list price of the finished products I saw months earlier, as I recall. And the spray can of poly finish and the superfine steel wool for polishing were certainly not free.

So trust me on this, if you see one of these in an arts & crafts show and you love it and just have to have it… pay the man!


Random Life Lessons

I was going to call this Hard Lessons, but really I have not had many truly hard lessons in my life. Well, there’s maybe “don’t fall backwards on the stairs and crack a few ribs right up close to your spine.” That was certainly a hard lesson, but really, in recent memory that’s about it. But if it should happen to you, by, let’s say, missing a step while carrying a loaded laundry basket to the basement for your wife, tell everyone it happened in your most recent MMA cage fight. Tough match, but of course you won in the end, and you’ll probably retire soon. Addendum: if you do have cracked ribs, do not sneeze. For at least three months. I am not kidding.

Today’s list:

  • Don’t accidentally substitute glucosamine hydochloride for glucosamine chondroitin. If one works for you, the other won’t. It’s too expensive to leave it sitting in the cupboard until it expires then just throwing it away.
  • After nearly five decades of living as a mostly-independent, semi-responsible, quasi adult, I just bought my first kitchen fire extinguisher. Just in case. I should have one in the car, too, just in case I should happen to start a grass fire or something, which we don’t need to talk about.
  • When recycling cardboard that’s been sitting in the garage for a few weeks, check it for crickets before loading it in the backseat of the car. Seriously. And mice. I cannot stress this enough. Especially if it’s your wife’s car.
  • If someone asks if you’re busy next weekend, just nod and say yes, yes I am. You’re probably not going to like their option.
  • If you feed birds, don’t buy birdseed with cracked corn. That’s junk. Junk birdseed only attracts junk birds. Exception: go ahead and buy the cheap sunflower seeds. Those birds are pigs and they don’t care. They won’t even know. I mean, they have a brain the size of a pea. And they hate you and fear you and want you to feed them and just leave.
  • When someone says they enjoy talking to you, take them seriously. They enjoy talking to you, not listening to you. Or maybe that’s just me.
  • You only turn 65 once, but it is a year-long celebration of multiple daily phone calls from your dear close personal friends from all over the country who want to help you select the perfect Medicare coverage, whether you need it or not. Enjoy! Or better yet, get call blocking.
  • Check your spare. Not that one, the one in the back of your truck or the trunk of your car. If it’s one of those little skinny temps, it
    1. is good for only 50 miles at
    2. no more than 50mph.
    3. And it wants 60psi.
    4. Don’t be like this guy: