The Latest in Detroit Free Press

SUPER ADS SEND MIXED-UP MESSAGE

SUPER ADS SEND MIXED-UP MESSAGE

ATLANTA -- I still remember my first ad. I was 6 years old, and my sister and I were selling lemonade on the curb in front of our house. In order to attract people driving by -- not that there were many driving by -- we needed a sign. So we got a piece of cardboard, a red Magic Marker and wrote the words, "Lemonade, 5 cents."Never mind that our letters were too big and that by the time we reached the "d," we were out of space. All in all, it was a good ad. Simple. Effective. Inexpensive. Reached the people.
THE DAY HE PUT HIS CLUBS AWAY

THE DAY HE PUT HIS CLUBS AWAY

Last in a series on the challenges of state athletes and their families.Gary Miller is not a famous athlete. But like a lot of us, he can chart his life by the sports he played and the uniforms he wore.He grew up in Detroit, during World War II, and played American Legion baseball on a sandlot behind a bowling alley. He wore a gray-and-red pinstripe jersey. His position was catcher.
LIONS PUT IN THEIR PLACE BY THE EAGLES

LIONS PUT IN THEIR PLACE BY THE EAGLES

It was like asking Britney Spears to dance with the Bolshoi, like watching Nelly try to sing "La Boheme," like seeing if the cashier at the 7-Eleven can crunch numbers with Alan Greenspan. The Lions and Eagles may have shared the same record coming into Sunday afternoon's showdown at Ford Field, but that was where the similarity ended. Coach Steve Mariucci had predicted this game would be "a reality check" for his young team.Guess what?Reality stinks.
ONCE AGAIN, WE WORSHIP A FALSE IDOL

ONCE AGAIN, WE WORSHIP A FALSE IDOL

Last week, nearly 23 million Americans were glued to their TV sets for that most critical of news announcements: Who would win the karaoke contest?I am talking about "American Idol," a TV show that began as a half-hour of nastiness and somehow, by the end of the summer, was dubbed important enough to go two hours, lead the national newscasts and have its winner jetted overnight, first class, from the "Tonight Show" in L.A. to the "Today" show in New York.Wow. Who knew singing "It's Raining Men" could get you all that?
‘RINGS’ CASTS SPELL AND TURNS HIM INTO GEEK

‘RINGS’ CASTS SPELL AND TURNS HIM INTO GEEK

And I am now a geek.So this is what it feels like.I never thought as a geek before. I never embraced geekdom. But I cannot deny it. Tonight, during the Academy Awards, while others root for serious dramatic fare -- serial killers, abuse victims, lonely salesmen -- I will be rooting for orcs, elves and dwarfs. I will be wishing for wizards. Hoping for hobbits."Lord of The Rings" geek?Guilty.
LIONS SEEM NO WISER FROM THEIR DEFEATS

LIONS SEEM NO WISER FROM THEIR DEFEATS

Here's the part that makes you feel better:The Denver Broncos won the last Super Bowl. They lost their star player and missed this year's playoffs.The Atlanta Falcons were in that same Super Bowl. They lost their star player and missed this year's playoffs.The New York Jets went to last season's AFC championship game. They lost their star player and missed this year's playoffs.And the Green Bay Packers, a perennial playoff team? They lost only a coach. And they missed this year's playoffs, too.
WHO’S PRESIDENT? THERE’S NO DEBATE

WHO’S PRESIDENT? THERE’S NO DEBATE

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to our final presidential debate. And we mean it this time. Let's begin with the obvious question: Gentlemen, which of you is our president?BUSH: I am!GORE: I am!Which of you had more votes?BUSH: I did! Electoral votes!GORE: I did! Popular votes!What about recounts?BUSH: We're done counting!GORE: We've only just begun.Absentee ballots?BUSH: They're mine! The military loves me!GORE: They're mine! Jewish voters living in Israel love me!
IT’S OFFICIAL: GRANT’S GONE

IT’S OFFICIAL: GRANT’S GONE

THERE GOES the franchise player, out the door, headed for Space Mountain. What began with great fanfare six years ago -- a press conference, smiles for the cameras, a new uniform, a promise of a long-term future -- ended with one late-night phone call Thursday from Grant Hill, a phone call that should have come days earlier, a phone call that, truth be told, should not have been a call at all, but an in-person meeting, if only out of respect.
PISTON ROAD SHOW FLOPS IN PHILLY; SERIES TIED AT 2

PISTON ROAD SHOW FLOPS IN PHILLY; SERIES TIED AT 2

PHILADELPHIA -- Allen Iverson had the look, and Chucky Atkins tried to square in front of him. Atkins leaned in. He stayed on his toes. He went to swipe the ball -- and instead knocked Iverson's headband down over his eyes.Well. There's an idea. Maybe if they make him play blindfolded. . . .Short of that, the Pistons had better come up with something. Because there's even in games and there's even in edge. And while this series may be tied at 2, the Pistons on Sunday night had their heads down for a reason.
LINEMAN LEADS MEDIA ON TENNESSEE WALTZ

LINEMAN LEADS MEDIA ON TENNESSEE WALTZ

ATLANTA -- You want focus? This is focus. It's freezing cold, and the Tennessee Titans are huddled in the hotel's last warm hallway before venturing outside into the media tent. Most are griping about having to do these interviews in the first place, let alone with their hands stuffed in their pockets and their heads covered in stocking caps.Except one.
THE WEB GIVETH, THE WEB TAKETH

THE WEB GIVETH, THE WEB TAKETH

Nobody died. No one got sick. But this is a sad story just the same.It is about a phone booth. In the Mojave Desert. "The loneliest phone booth in the world," they called it. It sat by itself, miles from anywhere, in a dusty stretch amidst scrub brush and dirt. Its windows were shot out. Its door was long gone. Its hinges showed decay from the harsh desert climate.But it worked.The phone booth, not far from Death Valley, originally was installed many years ago so that miners could have contact with the outside world in case of emergency.
HERE’S WHY THE PLAY’S THE THING FOR ME

HERE’S WHY THE PLAY’S THE THING FOR ME

'Playwriting is an irrational act. It is the Las Vegas of art forms. The odds are terrible. And the most difficult part is . . . I love it."I love writing plays, too, and the reason why is the man who said those things, Herb Gardner, one the best playwrights this country has ever had. He wrote his first in 1962, when he was in his 20s -- "A Thousand Clowns" it was called, and it remains a classic.