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Mike Gruss Archive

With fact-checkers gone, what should we believe?

I know we're less than two weeks removed from the election, but I'll say it: I already miss the Pinocchios. I miss the pants on fire. I miss the ubiquitous election-time fact-checkers and their ubiquitous fact-checking. (It's true. I checked.)

Surrounded by glam and glitter, haze gray won the day

At a time when no one wears a fanny pack anymore, everyone here is wearing a fanny pack. At a time when no one dangles a real camera around their neck, everyone here has a camera. "Did you see the mermaid?" a woman asks. How could you miss it? Everyone wears a badge to display the appropriate cruise information to the appropriate security folks.

In New Jersey, gawkers, con men and a few angels

I WISH I HAD something astonishing to tell you about New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.
Except what is happening in New Jersey is, at its most basic level, not that different from what many people have gone through after hurricanes ripped through here. The drying of photos. The tossing of furniture. The emptying of refrigerators. The grinding of generators. The belief that nature always wins.

In N.J., gawkers, con men and a few angels

I wish I had something astonishing to tell you about New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.
Except what is happening in New Jersey is, at its most basic level, not that different from what many people have gone through after hurricanes ripped through here. The drying of photos. The tossing of furniture. The emptying of refrigerators. The grinding of generators. The belief that nature always wins.

Can your own jingle dislodge a local classic?

"A Step in Time. A Step in Time. Gonna make your chimney shine."
Chances are, if you live in Hampton Roads, you know what comes next.
You've heard the jingle. You know the melody. You know the lyrics.
It's possible the music has clanged around your head, burrowed in and become trapped so impenetrably deep that you wish you had never owned a radio.

We hunker down and cry: Dance, photobomber, dance!

The neighbors talked about driving to Roanoke to outrun this year's version of the storm of the century.
Friends called with jokes about sandbags, and your online news feed was nothing but photos of remarkably dry basements. But from inside your family room, which had not yet lost power, where you decided to stay and face a homewrecker named Sandy, you saw it there on the TV.

A preteen shows up this wannabe

What makes you feel like a failure, especially, if, say, you're a 35-year-old man who once dreamed of writing books?
Interviewing a 12-year-old boy who has written a book.
And is on a book tour.
Complete with radio and TV interviews.
But life goes on. Dreams dissipate. Work gets in the way.
And, so, I set up an interview with the 12-year-old boy last week.

Life lessons continue for an idealistic ex-Boy Scout

We were not the photogenic, well-behaved, by-the-book troop.
There’s a joke among friends, and really anyone who spent time in Scouting, that for all the talk of thrifty, brave, clean and reverent, the Boy Scouts of America
does not teach its charges to be good, wholesome, law-abiding kids; it teaches them to be resourceful.
Teenage boys are teenage boys.

Like the belle at the swing dance

I'll admit, I feel self-important these days.
Chest out. Head high. A cloud of warmth surrounding me. I'm a bit quicker to share my opinions.
Let me tell you about Libya, I start. Or, here's how you fix the economy, I say to anyone, expecting - no, demanding - the world to listen.

Don't go to a Halloween party dressed 'Gangnam Style'

Seriously?
You thought you'd be the only one to show up at this season's Halloween parties as "Gangnam Style"?
C'mon, now. Your finger's not quite as close to the pulse of pop culture as you thought. Why not throw on that alpaca sweater, say "trick or bleat" and go as a sheep?
But the good news, my k-pop-loving friend, is that it's not too late to reconsider.

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