Mike Gruss Archive

A DeLorean, up in smoke: Must have been the flux capacitor

The Virginian-Pilot
IT WAS Robert Dolsey's third favorite car.To be fair, he doesn't really have a third favorite car. He has his favorite (a Rolls Royce convertible ) and his second favorite (a 1993 Mercedes 600 SL ), and then everything else is third.So when his 1982 DeLorean caught fire earlier this year, it was somewhere between his third favorite car and his 14th favorite car. It's hard for him to pinpoint.There's a certain trauma when you finally throw out a favorite T-shirt, or when you watch a goldfish die, . . .

Former interim president of Norfolk State decides to retire

By Matthew BowersThe Virginian-Pilot
NORFOLK - Alvin Schexnider, executive vice president of Norfolk State University who twice filled in as temporary president, announced Tuesday he's retiring. Schexnider, 61, said he'll expand a part-time management consulting practice while continuing as a consultant to the university through the end of the year. His retirement as an NSU administrator is effective Monday.NSU President Carolyn Meyers will be inaugurated April 12. Schexnider served as acting president from June 2004 to January 2005, . . .

Backed up to Ocean View: Socrates, where are you now?

The Virginian-Pilot
CHRIS PHILLIPS is at peace - and that's saying something because I met him when his 7-month-old daughter was teething.Phillips is a Newport News native and the author of a new book called "Socrates in Love, " the latest and last in a series he's written to push people to re-examine their lives using the Socratic method.When he spoke last week at Prince Books in Norfolk, his words arrived in measured tones between measured sips of water and hot tea. He wore a brown corduroy shirt and brown corduroy . . .

Holiday theft didn't deflate homeowners' love of displays

The Virginian-Pilot
There's one in every neighborhood.It's the house with giant inflatables for every holiday. This time of year, it will be rabbits, chicks, eggs or maybe even that great philosopher, Snoopy.In Chesapeake's Essex Meadows, the stand-out place belongs to Don and Jane Caler.I went out prepared to write a column about how preposterous these things are, how they ugly up the neighborhood and how we've all become products of the Clark Griswold generation trying to outdo one another with holiday displays.When . . .

No joke! These April Fools are for real

The Virginian-Pilot
THE PHONE RANG April 1, 1924, and Sam Zedd answered. He already had eight children. The voice on the other end said his ninth, a baby boy, had just arrived. He didn't believe it. Sure enough, Stanley Zedd was born early. His father, the story goes, thought they were playing an April Fools' trick on him. And - by the oddest of coincidences - Stanley Zedd, who grew up in South Norfolk, married a woman born on the same day of the year. Her name is Sarah Blumenthal - and that's Sarah with an "h," please; . . .

Unless you've been through it, don't judge John Edwards

By Lynn Feigenbaum
How people handle serious illness and death seems to become everybody's business, probably because it's our own deepest fear. What if it happened in my family? What if it happened to me?So it went with Terri Schiavo. With Abraham Cherrix. And others in the national spotlight. And now, of course, with Elizabeth Edwards, whose breast cancer has spread to her bones. And we all know that's very bad news.When her husband, John Edwards, quickly announced his decision to keep running for president, less . . .

In Jamestown ads, all are thankworthy

The Virginian-Pilot
THANK YOU, Bartholomew Gosnold. Thank you, Rawhunt. Thank you, Anthony Johnson. If you don't know who these people are, it means two things: You probably didn't see that Colin Farrell movie filmed around the historic triangle, or you don't know your Jamestown history very well and commonly confuse John Martin with John Ratcliffe. Either way, it's OK with me.In recent weeks, a bunch of new billboards have sprouted up around Hampton Roads featuring everyday-looking people wearing T-shirts, each of . . .

Knowing how to make a martini is an important man skill

The Virginian-Pilot
TWO YEARS AGO, in the throes of engagement parties and wedding planning, my wife, then fiancee, and I hopped from store to store looking for stuff for our registry. I had no idea what to ask for. She had a very clear idea.She wanted every serving dish known to man, just in case the entire Virginia Symphony Orchestra was to come over and we needed to serve every member cheese and crackers. I thought paper plates would work just fine.So I began searching for items to put on the registry myself.And, . . .

Make city's public art worth a second thought

The Virginian-Pilot
RIGHT NOW there's not much but construction crews at Crawford Circle in Portsmouth.But the city's started talking about what should go there. Maybe it'll be a monument. Maybe it'll be a fountain. Maybe a sculpture. Or nothing. Nobody knows yet.Let me tell you what I want: something wild, nothing boring.I want a piece of art that you look at and either love or hate. I want it to become an instant landmark, something that says you know you're in downtown Portsmouth because you passed the giant whatchamacallit. . . .

Va. Beach sounds cool for spring break

The Virginian-Pilot
It's Spring Break '07! Woooooooo! Yeaaaaaaaaaah! Virginia Beach, VA!Yes, it's the time when college students do stuff that they do the rest of the year, just in different cities.But surely nobody comes to Virginia Beach for spring break, right? It's too cold to go beaching in March unless you're whale-watching. And the only scantily clad hard-bodies on the Boardwalk are runners for the Shamrock Marathon. Aha! Apparently Virginia Beach sounds like a great spring break destination, and that's enough . . .

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