Mike Gruss Archive

Toting all our stuff to the sand is no day at the beach

Let's talk beach bags.
In the August issue of Consumer Reports, the real-world testing laboratory of meaningful material items such as cars, televisions and cellphones turns its attention to the extremely extemporaneous: the beach bag.

Shackled underwater, she's a symbol of our times

To her friends, she's known as Donna Purnell. Mother of three. Resident of Medway, Mass., 45 minutes outside of Boston. Transporter of son to hockey tournaments. Wife of Bill.
This week in Norfolk, she will become Alexanderia the Great, an acclaimed escape artist, at the International Brotherhood of Magicians conference.

Dinner table goes on tour to encourage political talk

That star-spangled tablecloth is in every shot. Navy blue with white stars, it looks like it came straight from a Fourth of July closeout sale. The sheet lay on top of a flimsy silver folding table, the kind that would fit easily in a trunk, the kind that is an unintentional metaphor for political discourse in the country - rickety enough to fall apart at any minute.

Thanks, Title IX, for helping ladies leave me in the dust

There's a PHRASE in competitive sports, specifically in individual sports, which is "to get chicked."
Which means to get beat by a woman in some kind of race - by bike, by foot, by canoe. Whatever.
Unfortunately, this is a term I am intimately familiar with as I have been beaten by thousands of women in dozens of races. Machismo left at the starting line.

At Ntelos, Phish enlists one of the Navy's top brass

"A very dear friend." That's how Trey Anastasio introduced his special guest at Tuesday's Phish concert. Gears on trumpet.
Gears. The guy who had played horns with Phish since 1988, who after special permission from his boss toured with Phish in 1991, who played on one of the band's gold records, which still hangs in his office.

Warning: This column will shock you

WARNING: This column contains many warnings and may be inappropriate for people who dislike warnings and appreciate the element of surprise. Side effects may include, but are not limited to, open mouths, wide eyes, hair standing on end and even diarrhea. If you're over 55 or have a history of an irregular heartbeat, please consult a doctor before reading this column.

Class of 2012: Whatever you do, don't set it in stone

Here was my original idea for this column: I was going to write a pithy 600 words about the names bartenders assign their customers in their computer systems, the same smart-alecky names that are often printed on receipts. Recently, when I wore a checked dress shirt, a bartender dubbed me "Guy in flannel." The shirt was cotton, but I got the point.

Bacon is not the answer to all problems

I write to you today in the face of a serious epidemic, one that is casually and maliciously creeping across our country. Consider this a public service message of sorts. For too long we have followed an unfettered path. We have taken shortcuts.

At Opsail, the real fireworks come after the pyro show

If you haven't seen photos of OpSail, then you haven't been looking.
Everyone had a camera. Everyone had a camera phone.

Street saxophonist blows tunes to beat money blues

Talton Manning, a nylon backpack over his shoulders, takes the bus from his off-campus apartment near Old Dominion University to Ghent.
He wears a white T-shirt and jeans, tennis shoes with bright green laces. He carries his saxophone, the one his mother bought him before he left for college four years ago. It's a Cannonball, a durable beginning brand. The case is worn. It's his moneymaker.

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