Author Archives: majorterata

Maserati Toys with its Brand

Late last summer I strolled into the Maserati dealership on North Rush Street in Chicago where a fetching young woman guided me through the merchandise adorning the spotless floor. After a brief stop to ogle beautiful Ulysse Nardin watches, I … Continue reading

Posted in books, Business | Tagged , , | Comments Off

The Adventures of Bezo the Clown

Amazon.com was founded by Jeff Bezos as a book seller in the mid-1990s on the principle that revenue growth was paramount if the on-line store (then a novelty) was to compete against long-established companies like Borders, Waldenbooks and Barnes & … Continue reading

Posted in books, Finance | Tagged , | Comments Off

The Customer is Always Right a Pain in the Asset

General Motors just received a financial penalty of $35 million (the highest allowable) meted out by the US Transportation Department for their “criminal” behavior surrounding the flawed ignition switches installed in Chevy Cobalts whose failures led to at least 13 … Continue reading

Posted in Business | Tagged , | Comments Off

Mainframe Turns 50; Founder Rolls in Grave

This past month IBM celebrated the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the System 360 computer, the first in a long line of what would be come to be known as “mainframes.” In a move that was later called a … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, Business, TV | Tagged , , | Comments Off

When Charlie Met Meathead

Rob Reiner may best be known either as the son of comic icon Carl Reiner, or as the tormented, droopy-‘stached “Meathead” Michael Stivic on the seminal “All in the Family” TV show of the 1970s. In fact, Reiner’s greatest accomplishments … Continue reading

Posted in Movies | Comments Off

Cruel, but Becoming Less Unusual

For the first time in more than 80 years, Oklahoma would execute two criminals on the same night: the dark and dreary evening of April 29. Due to some appalling incompetence, however, the state executioners only managed to get through … Continue reading

Posted in Movies, Newspaper, Obits, Politics | Comments Off

Amnesiac Advertising

If you’re over 40 years old – and especially if your name is “Herb” – you undoubtedly remember a gruesome television ad campaign for Burger King called “Where’s Herb?” The conceit behind the 1985-86 campaign, developed by J. Walter Thompson, … Continue reading

Posted in Business, TV | Comments Off

This Week in Jerk-ville

Mr. Affirmative Action The Supreme Court voted 6 to 2 to uphold a ban on using affirmative action to make college admission decisions in Michigan. The ruling sets in motion the likely spread of AA bans in other states. Whether … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Comments Off

The 10 Things I Hate About “The Ten Commandments”

Not the tablets – the movie. As with “It’s a Wonderful Life” around Christmas and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” around Thanksgiving, Cecil B. DeMille’s bloated epic “The Ten Commandments” appears perennially like a stinky weed every Passover season (although most … Continue reading

Posted in Movies | Comments Off

The 5 Stages of “Global Warming” Doubt

There’s a “movie-inside-a-movie” scene in Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz” where a stand-up comic riffs on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of death. He notes that Kubler-Ross came up with the five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – … Continue reading

Posted in Photography, Politics | Comments Off

Drag Queens, Rent Boys, Pick Pockets, Junkies, Rockstars and Punks

Leee Black Childers, along with Bob Gruen, Roberta Bayley and Mick Rock was one of pre-eminent photographers capturing the NYC rock n roll underground – although Childers was just as likely to appear in a photo as to snap it. … Continue reading

Posted in Art, Music, Photography, Politics | Comments Off

The Long Life of a Short Man

Mickey Rooney, who died the other day at age 93, spent nearly all of his life in show business, having begun performing in his parents’ Vaudeville act at the precocious age of 17 months. Mickey Rooney had more lifetime experience … Continue reading

Posted in Movies | Comments Off

Stubby Ears and Blood Disorders: Publisher’s Gold

Although the barriers to publishing books have fallen precipitously over the past several years with the introduction of the Amazon Kindle ecosystem and similar services from Barnes & Noble, SONY, et.al., the largest challenges for most authors remain intact, namely … Continue reading

Posted in books | Comments Off

A Million Bucks Says I’m Against Gambling

First we had the righteous clerics, then came the blustery Donald Trump, and now making noises is the addled Sheldon Adelson. What do they have in common? They all hate gambling – at least the kind that interferes with their … Continue reading

Posted in Finance | Comments Off

Baselworld – Time of Your Life

Baselworld Watch and Jewelry Show opens this week in Switzerland, and sadly I am not there. I love watches. The combination of artistry and mechanical precision that results in a world-class time-piece is something to admire – and pay for … Continue reading

Posted in Art | Comments Off

Death of a Hate Salesman

The 2007 documentary “The Most Hated Family in America” presented by Louis Theroux is not about the Kardashians, the Koch Brothers, the Clintons or Bushes, but rather a sociopathic clan of homophobes established by recently deceased Fred Phelps. Phelps, making … Continue reading

Posted in Movies, Music | Comments Off

The Legacy of Peter Callander

By some calculations the total number of unique five minute songs is 1.7 trillion, of which perhaps five million have been recorded. Given this vast universe of musical combinatorics, it’s understandable that thousands of horrible songs would have been pressed … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Comments Off

19 Screenwriters for Every Screenwriter

You often hear people complain about the sorry state of movies from Hollywood, an industry that is ever more dependent on revenue from a collection of bloated action blockbusters, reliable if not imaginative sequels to previously successful films, and derivative … Continue reading

Posted in Movies | Comments Off

Got Egg?

One of the lesser-noticed achievements at the Academy Awards ceremony was the emergence of just the twelfth member of the EGOT club – people who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. This year Robert Lopez picked up an … Continue reading

Posted in books, Business, Movies, Music | Comments Off

Is Obsession a Pre-existing Condition?

Every weekend the President of the United States delivers a radio address ostensibly to inform the nation, although I suspect the majority of those tuning in are Beltway insiders and policy wonks. The practice, which was popularized by Franklin Roosevelt … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Comments Off