Blog Archives

Happy Monday

Stranger things are certainly happening in 2017.

But let’s not forget that weird events started occurring back in 1983…

The Screen Actors Guild spotlighted the nostalgic powerhouse Stranger Things as the winner of “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble” during last night’s ceremony. The Netflix show has been accurately described as Steven Spielberg meets Stephen King. Playing by the new rule of non-network TV (10-episode seasons released all at once), Stranger Things has captivated audiences (myself included) that a season 2 order was going to be a sure thing just weeks after Netflix watchers binge-watched all of season one’s hour long episodes.

And ladies and gentlemen, for any TV show, that’s an impressive feat.

While the award is nice (and yes, the speech by the show’s heroic Chief Hopper and Winona Rider’s wide-ranging facial expressions constructed the viral highlight of the night for the Netflix sensation), let’s celebrate the overall awesomeness of Stranger Things by seeing and listening to portions of the show’s incredible synthesized soundtrack…

as performed by three cello players.

Those string things are pretty cool.

Have a Better Week Than Last Week.


Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s a day when we say thanks, eat a grand feast with family, watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade…

and are reminded that Detroit has a professional football team.

Today is a wonderfully chaotic celebration. Delicious food is eaten and entertaining anecdotes are shared. As my mom would say with a grin, it’s a day for “forced family fun.” It’s also a day for surprise fun with friends.

And yes, that includes everybody’s favourite group of friends.

Here’s to you having a “The One With” kind of Thanksgiving!

Uncle Phil’s Final Curtain Call

Sadly, actor James Avery did not get to ring in 2014.

For those who may not be familiar with the name James Avery, he may be known not only as the former voice of Shredder and Splinter in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television series from the late 1980s and early 1990s, but more famously remembered as Uncle Phil from the 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

According to the Washington Post article, “James Avery, television and movie actor, dies,” Avery passed away at the age of 68 on Tuesday, December 31st. The cause seems to be related to complications from a major surgical procedure.

Millions of fans from around the world watched (and watch in reruns) Avery entertainingly portray Uncle Phil in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for 6 seasons. His character was the moral center of the show. He provided plenty of laughs and moments of sincerity and heart, as well as important life lessons for the show’s viewers.

For 30 minutes a week, he was everybody’s uncle.

Below is a clip featuring some favorite moments from the popular sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. There is one portion that starts at 3:26 that embodies so much of what so many loved and will miss about everybody’s Uncle Phil (however, it is recommended to watch the entire video).

The background to the scene is that Will went against his uncle’s stern warnings to not go to the pool hall. Will disobeyed and thought he could beat an older gentleman who turned out to be one of the pool hall regulars. Deep in debt, Will was forced to use his uncle’s Mercedes/his ride as collateral until his debt could be paid. Panicked, Will managed to convince his furious uncle to go back to the pool hall to discuss with the hustler a way to get the car back alongside his trusty butler Geoffrey/”G.”

Uncle Phil has lost a couple games to Will’s nemesis…and badly. However, Uncle Phil is able to negotiate one more game at the steep price of $100 a ball…

Smart. Loving. Funny. Role Model. A Hustler for Good.

Now, the “Big Guy” is with The Big Guy.

Rest in peace James Avery/Uncle Phil.

Diving Without a Cage

“Shark Tank” is a popular television show on ABC that highlights the complexities, tribulations, success and wild creativity of burgeoning entrepreneurs. These aspiring capitalists are usually met with harsh realities (and some praise of course) from the show’s all-star business panel, featuring Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Lori Greiner, Kevin O’Leary (aka-Mr. Wonderful), Barbara Corcoran and Robert Herjavec. Each of these businessmen and businesswomen has a great (and in some cases surreal) success story in starting a business and subsequently building an empire.

If there’s a puppy around, then you’ve certainly got the attention of Mr. Herjavec (Hint: no matter the product, bring a puppy!).

The expert panelists listen to a pitch, which comes with an offer that reveals what the person(s) believe is their company’s valuation along with a percentage of ownership for a Shark if they are to invest. The Sharks investigate the product and then engage in an exchange focused on the company’s financial house in an attempt to find any leaks or faulty structures.

This process can be as stressful as, well, starting a business. The great catch of the show is that if one (or more) of the Sharks like the product and/or company, then they can accept the entrepreneur’s offer for capital investment and a percentage of the company or make a counter-offer, all with their own money. Not the show’s money, but their personal money. Consequently, the deals are difficult to come by on this show. There have been some great ideas that were passed on because of one lagging metric, statistic or personal characteristic. However, if a deal can be made, the deal will almost certainly pay immediate dividends because of the popularity of the show. This has been proven in seemingly countless testimonials by former deal makers.

For a show that plays at 9:00 p.m. on the now prime time-less Friday night, “Shark Tank” has done tremendously well. According to “TV by the Numbers,” last week’s episode saw an all-time series high in ratings with 7.5 million viewers. It “equaled a season high in Adults 18-49 (2.0/6). It was Friday’s #1 TV show on both counts.”

It’s a perfect show for America because of the country’s history and necessity for the entrepreneurial engine, then and now. Each member of the panel is a self-made/entrepreneurial millionaire or billionaire. The fortunes, the products and the jobs these individuals have created are undeniably impressive. It’s remarkable what these people, like so many other hard-working Americans, have built from the ground up.

And yes, they/we did build that with hard work, long hours, incredible levels of uncertainty and risk, ingenuity, courage, business savvy and a wherewithal to survive.

It’s very difficult to start and/or run a business, despite what some may foolishly believe.

As a fan of the show, it was exciting to watch a clip recently of a well-known pitchmen who appeared on “Shark Tank.” It’s from a few years back, but it should bring back some fond memories…

Saved by the bonds of business and friends.