The Jazz Singer

Keener Today – October 6

“The Jazz Singer” premiered on October 6, 1927. The landmark film marked the transition from silent films to sound films. Directed by Alan Crosland and produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, the film featured synchronized recorded music and singing, making it a significant milestone in cinema history. The story revolves around Jakie Rabinowitz, a young man from a traditional Jewish family who pursues a career as a jazz singer, causing a conflict with his family’s values. The film received an Academy Honorary Award for producer Darryl F. Zanuck. In 1996, it was preserved in the U.S. National Film Registry and ranked as one of the best American films by the American Film Institute in 1998. The film’s copyright expired in 2023, entering the public domain.


God Speed Dick Butkus – The Monster of the Midway passes at age 80.

Coming in 2024: a new World War II drama from Stephen Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Apple TV+ is set to premiere “Masters of the Air” on Friday, Jan. 26. This true story features Austin Butler and Barry Keoghan in leading roles, portraying American pilots conducting perilous bombing missions over Nazi Germany. Produced by Hollywood legends Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman, this project reunites them after their work on HBO’s “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific.” The series is a tribute to the brave men of the 8th Air Force who played a vital role in defeating Nazi Germany during World War II. The ensemble cast includes Callum Turner, Anthony Boyle, Nate Mann, Rafferty Law, Josiah Cross, Branden Cook, and Ncuti Gatwa, with John Orloff as the writer for the nine-episode limited series.(TVLine)

Abbey Road
Abbey Road

The story behind the iconic Abbey Road album cover – The backstory behind possibly the most famous album cover ever, is remarkably simple. It features all four Beatles strolling across the street in front of the now-renamed EMI Recording Studios where they recorded their final album together. The iconic photo, taken by Iain Macmillan on August 8, 1969, exists in seven or eight different versions, captured in just about 15 minutes with the help of a patient police officer who held up traffic as Macmillan stood on a stepladder. Interestingly, Abbey Road wasn’t the album’s initial title. “Everest” was considered, named after the cigarettes engineer Geoff Emerick smoked during recording. However, the idea of traveling to the Himalayas for a photoshoot was dropped. Notably, this is the only Beatles album cover without the band’s name or album title, a design choice by John Kosh, who believed it unnecessary given the band’s unparalleled fame. And he was right. (More Iconic Album Cover Backstories) Continue reading “Keener Today – October 6”

Motown Museum Upgrades

Keener Today – October 5

The Motown Museum is starting the final phase of its $65 million expansion project in spring. New interior renderings were unveiled at a private event, showcasing a 40,000-square-foot structure behind Hitsville, U.S.A. Two key exhibits in this expansion were revealed: “The Motown Atmosphere,” an immersive experience featuring Motown artists, and “The Backstage Lounge,” an audio repository with Motown’s song catalog and interviews. Construction was delayed due to additional federal funding and environmental approvals. The museum has raised $59 million of its $65 million goal, with support from Motown alumni and donors from across the country. (Freep)


Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band wowed a packed crowd at DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids. The concert featured a 24-song set filled with classic rock hits. Ringo’s famous friends, including Colin Hay, Steve Lukather, and others, delivered strong performances. The show was a nostalgic journey through music history, with Ringo leading the way with his signature charm. The evening included sing-alongs and standing ovations for hits like “Yellow Submarine” and “Photograph.” The night ended with a touching tribute to John Lennon with “Give Peace a Chance.” (Local Spins)

Peter Frampton, John Sebastian and Starship’s Jeff Adams are among the inductees one week from tonight at the Memphis Music’s Hall of Fame Legacy Awards. The event will take place at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. (Pete’s FB Page)

Are your car insurance rates going up? Here’s why. Skyrocketing insurance rates are impacting both vehicle owners and the cost of car rentals. Inflation is a significant driver, as are advanced car features which raise the cost of repairs. The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an increase in accidents on the road, resulting in more claims. Smart consumers can minimize the impact. Explore available discounts with your agent, but don’t compromise coverage. Continue reading “Keener Today – October 5”

Mount Rushmore

Keener Today – October 4

Today in 1927, artist/sculptor Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers began carving rock at Mount Rushmore. Their 60-foot high carvings of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln took 14 years to complete.

Bedbug infestations are on the rise in Paris, causing concern ahead of the 2024 Olympics. Reports of bedbugs in cinemas and on trains have fueled fears. Paris City Hall and the government are taking the issue seriously to protect the city’s image. Exaggerated stories on social media have added to the panic, although bedbugs have been making a comeback due to globalization. These pests are more of a psychological menace than a physical threat, as they don’t transmit diseases but can have a severe impact on mental health. Tackling superspreaders, individuals who unknowingly transport bedbugs, may be a key strategy in controlling the problem. (BBC)

Netflix plans to increase the price of its ad-free service after the Hollywood actors’ strike ends. The exact amount and timing of the price increase have not been revealed. Other streaming platforms have increased ad-free prices by approximately 25% in the past year. Another round of price increases are on the way elsewhere. Disney will implement hikes for its ad-free streaming platforms, including Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. This marks the second increase in prices within a year, following similar moves by other streaming services like Peacock, HBO Max, Paramount+, and Apple TV+. Special pricing options tied to exclusive content like live sports are also under consideration.

The evolution of work spouses – Once upon a time, they were called “work wives,” the typically female secretaries who managed their boss’s affairs. As attitudes toward marriage and gender roles changed, work spouses transformed into more egalitarian, platonic bonds between colleagues of opposite or similar genders, characterized by a deep emotional connection, mutual trust, and support, without any romantic involvement. The term persists because it helps define and explain these unique bonds in the workplace, even if the use of “husband” or “wife” in this context doesn’t appeal to many of today’s sensibilities. (The Atlantic)

If you have a college degree, you’ll live longer – the non- college educated live roughly eight and a half years less than their degrees counterparts. 6 in 10 American adults lack college degrees, facing growing exclusion from quality jobs, political influence, good healthcare and social recognition. Life expectancy once grew by about four months annually during the 1970s. More recently, it’s lagged behind other wealthy nations, which have seen life expectancy rise by over two and a half months each year. (NYT) Continue reading “Keener Today – October 4”

The Andy Griffith Show

Keener Today – October 3

Today in 1960,”The Andy Griffith Show” began the first of its eight seasons and 249 episodes on CBS. Starring Griffith, Ronny Howard, Don Knotts and Frances Bavier, it ran through April 1, 1968 and has been a syndication staple ever since. Danny Thomas introduced the Andy Taylor character on his program. The show was produced by Thomas’ production company and was always in the Nielsen Top Ten, ending it’s run at number one.


Stevie Nicks as Barbie? The Fleetwood Mac singer is latest icon to have her likeness celebrated in doll form as part of Mattel’s Barbie series of famous musicians, along with Tina Turner, Gloria Estefan, David Bowie and Elvis Presley. According to NPR, It will be officially released in November.

Bruce Springsteen’s tour contracts requires chicken soup, heavy on the broth, before each show and 16 cold, fresh shrimp, after. the 37 page tour rider also requires a hand-squeezed 16-ounce bottle of lemon juice, a blender, toaster and electric kettle, six hard-boiled eggs with yolks removed, peeled and sliced apples, cubed watermelon and four bottles each of Congo Pear, Costa Rica Clementine and Kula Watermelon drinks. All that is on hold as the boss has cancelled his remaining tour stops this year to treat a persistent peptic ulcer. (Ultimate Classic Rock)

There’s a new book out, celebrating the 1980 comedy hit, “Airplane.” David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker wrote and directed the film and authored “Surely You Can’t Be Serious: The True Story of Airplane!” In conversation with NPR, they credit the 1957 suspense classic, “Zero Hour” as an inspiration. Beyond the joke-filled script, actors were encouraged to play it straight, as if oblivious to the comedic context. Leslie Nielsen leveraged this approach to create a second career as a comedic leading man.

How to live to be 100 – Our chances of reaching the age of 100 are influenced by our genetic makeup, but that’s not the sole determining factor. This is good news for those with less favorable genes.

As medical advancements continue to combat diseases like heart disease and cancer, daily habits, such as our diet, exercise routine, and sun exposure, can contribute significantly to getting us to 90. Once we enter our 100th decade, genes become more decisive in the journey, as highlighted in William J. Kole’s new book, “THE BIG 100: The New World of Super-Aging,”

Here are Kole’s five centenary life hacks:

  1. Stay stress-free: Toxic stress can harm our longevity by diverting energy from our cells’ ability to promote long life. Biologist Martin Picard of Columbia University emphasizes the importance of managing or avoiding stress.
  2. Keep moving: Supercentenarian Herlda Senhouse’s advice is to stay active. At 112, she maintains a vibrant lifestyle, attending church, dining out, and even visiting the casino. Experts suggest that even simple activities like brisk vacuuming can benefit both our bodies and minds.
  3. Prioritize sleep: In a culture that often pushes us to be constantly productive, we often neglect proper sleep habits. The American College of Cardiology asserts that healthy sleep habits can extend life expectancy by 4.7 years for men and 2.4 years for women.
  4. Foster connections: U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has identified loneliness and isolation as a public health crisis, likening their impact to smoking 15 cigarettes daily, according to the National Institute on Aging.
  5. Maintain a positive outlook: The world’s oldest living person, Maria Branyas Morera, attributes her 116 years to her optimistic attitude. Research also supports this, with a study of nearly 160,000 U.S. women aged 50 to 79 showing that those with high optimism scores were 10% more likely to live beyond 90.

Baby RuthDid you know: World War I created a candy bar boom that is still tickling America’s sweet tooth today. An increased demand among soldiers who got an energy boost from chocolate rations led to the U.S. government soliciting donations of chocolate in bite sized blocks from American candymakers to distribute to GIs. After the war, the love for candy bars spread, and in the 1920s, dozens were introduced with catchy names like Baby Ruth. By the late 1920s, there were over 40,000 different candy bars produced in the United States. (History Facts) Continue reading “Keener Today – October 3”

An Early Peanuts Comic Strip

Keener Today – October 2


The Charlie Brown comic strip debuts.  Today in 1950, “Li’l Folks,” created by Charles M. Schultz, launched in seven U.S. newspapers. The strip was later renamed “Peanuts,” and totalled 17,897 strips over the next 50 years.

The lifelong friendship between Bob Seger and Glen Frey. The late Eagles founder said meeting Bob was the best thing to happen to him.

For 62 years, Slippery Rock has received the biggest cheer at The Big House when they are winning. Here’s the unlikely backstory about how a small school with a cool name became a University of Michigan icon.

Can video games help kids with an attention deficit? We’re almost a year into the Adderall shortage. Wired reports some researchers say digital therapeutics could help fill the gap for people with ADHD.

104 years ago today, a woman became the de-facto, unelected President of the United States. Today in 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke that paralyzed his left side and impaired his vision. For the next 17 months, the public was not told that the president was bedridden, near death and barely able to write his own name. All communication with Wilson went through his wife, Edith, who effectively ran the country for the rest of Wilson’s term. He never fully recovered. Continue reading “Keener Today – October 2”

The First Johnny Carson Tonight Show

Keener Today – October 1


The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson Debuts. Today in 1962, Johnny hosts his 1st “Tonight Show” on NBC; guests include Rudy Vallée, Tony Bennett, Mel Brooks and Joan Crawford. A series of guest hosts preceded Johnny after Jack Paar left the program.

Former President Jimmy Carter turns 99 today. He is the longest-living former president, has seen the elections of seven successors and outlived two of them, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, who both passed away at younger ages. When told his skin cancer had spread to several vital organs, he told the press, “I’m looking forward to a new adventure.” When he entered hospice, doctors said he might not survive for a week. That was eight months ago. His son, Chip Carter quoted his famous father in the Washington post: “He told me has been successful at everything in life, but he can’t figure out how to die.”

Wired, the ground-breaking website we turn to for everything from tech to pop culture turns 30 this year. Here’s a look back at their beginnings, before Facebook was a gleam in Zuck’s eye.

Keener SportsScope: Michigan remains unbeaten. MSU’s downward slide continues. Miguel Cabrera gets some pregame love from a sellout crowd of 40,224 at Comerica, then helps Tigers secure second in AL Central with an 8-0 shutout against Cleveland. The 3-1 Lions are idle until October 8.

Ever wonder why docs wear white coats? Studies show doctors appear more trustworthy, knowledgeable, and approachable, according to a study. But that might be changing. Despite the positive perception, white coats can harbor microbes due to their long-sleeved design and infrequent washing, prompting some medical programs to adopt bare-below-the-elbows dress codes. (VCU) Continue reading “Keener Today – October 1”

The Flintstones

Keener Today – September 30


Today 1960, “The Flintstones” the first animated sitcom created by Hanna-Barbera premieres on ABC. 166 episodes of the pre-historic nod to Jackie Gleason’s “Honeymooners” show were broadcast over six seasons. It continues to be a staple in syndication to this day.

According to board-certified dermatologist Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, we should wash our sheets once week. “Bacteria, fungi, and viruses, oils, bodily secretions, dust and debris collect on bedding, contributing to clogging of pores, allergies, odor and even infections.” (Glamour)

The “Haunted Cottage,” in Liphook, England, is often credited as one of the first haunted houses. Built by fairground manufacturers Orton & Spooner circa 1915, the place may seem mild compared to today’s standards, but audiences of its time enjoyed navigating through dimly lit spaces with moving floors, experiencing chilling air gusts, and hearing recorded screams. The attraction is still accessible today. Following a restoration in 2017, visitors can now enjoy the experience at the Hollycombe Working Steam Museum in Liphook. (Interesting Facts)

Are we alone in the universe? Astronomers now focus on when, not if, we’ll find life beyond Earth. Optimism is high for discovering life in the next few years, possibly even on Jupiter’s icy moons. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope hints at life on an exoplanet, and many more discoveries are expected. Ongoing and upcoming missions signify a space race for a historic scientific breakthrough. Prof. Catherine Heymans believes that with our technology, we can finally determine if intelligent life exists beyond our planet in our vast Universe. (BBC)

Fall Bucket List
Michigan Fall Bucket List – Click to Enlarge

Fall reveals Michigan at its best. The Great Lake State provides a picturesque autumn setting, from the stunning Upper Peninsula to the quaint towns in the Lower Peninsula. The Awesome Mitten has curated a Fall Bucket List for Michigan, filled with captivating experiences. (Awesome Mitten)

Where smart phones are concerned, Gen Z-ers in the us are increasingly opting for dumb and dumber. Companies like Punkt and Light offer devices for those who want less screen time and fewer features. While smart phone sales continue to grow internationally, the Generation Z demographic appears to have a growing interest in more mindful tech use. (CNBC)

Could cursive writing make a comeback? The Economist cites research which shows that taking notes by hand offers a significant advantage. The slowness of handwriting actually helps people think and condense information, preventing mindless verbatim transcription. As a result, many school systems are shifting away from heavy technology use in classrooms, especially in the early years, and are emphasizing the teaching of handwriting, including cursive writing. (The Economist) Continue reading “Keener Today – September 30”

Grand Funk Railroad

Keener Today – September 29


Today in 1973, Grand Funk scored their first number one record with “We’re An American Band.” The album and single were produced by Todd Rundgren, catapulting the trio to superstar status.

This Week on Keener n 1971 – Click to Enlarge

Did you know: Ben and Jerry learned the biz from a correspondence corse: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, initially aspired to careers in medicine and art but shifted their paths in their twenties, after Jerry was rejected from medical school and Ben left college as a potter. They learned ice cream production thanks to a Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences correspondence course. Using a 5-gallon machine, they began selling eight flavors at their Ben & Jerry’s shop, but as their flavors grew more adventurous, including Chunky Monkey and Cherry Garcia, they expanded with more shops and a wholesale delivery business. Eventually, an IPO marked their success, and in 2000, Unilever acquired Ben & Jerry’s for $326 million, joining the parent company of Breyers and Klondike.

Today in History:

In 1930, Newscaster Lowell Thomas began his 46-year tenure on CBS Radio.
In 1953, The television sitcom “Make Room for Daddy” debuted, starring Danny Thomas, Jean Hagen, Sherry Jackson, and Rusty Hamer. At the beginning of the fourth of its 11 seasons, the program’s name was changed to “The Danny Thomas Show.” Originally on ABC-TV, the series’ last seven seasons aired on CBS.
1954, The movie musical “A Star Is Born,” starring Judy Garland, James Mason, and Jack Carson, had its world premiere in Hollywood.
In 1956, RCA Victor Co. received over 856,327 advance orders for Elvis Presley’s next single, “Love Me Tender,” which gave Elvis co-songwriting credit due to his publishing deal with Hill & Range. Continue reading “Keener Today – September 29”

Gladys Knight and the Pips

Keener Today – September 28


Today in 1967,  Gladys Knight And The Pips released “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” in the US. The song achieved significant success, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and claiming the #1 spot on the R&B chart in November. This record became Motown’s best-selling release up to that point, until it would later be overshadowed by Marvin Gaye’s rendition of “Grapevine” just over a year later.

Skydio’s new law enforcement drone can follow you. It boasts the capability to track subjects even in low-light conditions, potentially decreasing the reliance on high-speed pursuits. However, concerns have been raised by civil liberties groups who argue that there is a lack of comprehensive regulations governing the use of drones by police forces.

Look for a harvest moon tonight in Metro Detroit. It’s your last chance to see a “supermoon” until this time next year.

Did you know: Ford Field is one of the most “Walkable” in the NFL? Walkability reflects how easy it is to walk to the stadium and use public transportation. BTW. The Lions are in in Green Bay for Thursday Night Football against the Packers. Kickoff is at 8:15 on Fox.

40 years ago today, “The Big Chill,” a movie about a group of University of Michigan grads written and directed by UM alumnus Lawrence Kasdan, debuted in theaters. Continue reading “Keener Today – September 28”

Beach Boys Sullivan

Keener Today – September 27


Today in 1964, The Beach Boys debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing “I Get Around” and “Wendy.”

Baseball legend Brooks Robinson, the Orioles’ Hall of Famer, has passed away at 86. Known as the greatest defensive third baseman in baseball history, he spent his entire 23-year career with the Baltimore Orioles, helping them win two World Series championships. Robinson’s remarkable fielding skills earned him nicknames like “the Human Vacuum Cleaner,” and he remained beloved in Baltimore long after retiring in 1977.

After 148-day, striking Hollywood writers will be able to resume work starting today. Union members will vote on the contract starting Monday, concluding on October 9th. It is widely anticipated that members will give their approval to the proposed three-year agreement.

Detroit is expanding its use of license plate readers (LPRs) to track down cars involved in crime. City Council voted 7-2 yesterday to approve a $5 million contract with Illinois-based Motorola Solutions.

Not Flying? These U.S. Airports Let You Pass Through Security as a Visitor (More)

Got a cold? Here’s what doctors recommend: While there’s no cure, you can alleviate discomfort. Stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and smoking. Over-the-counter medicines are available, but consult a healthcare provider for children. Focus on comfort, not unnecessary treatments. Consider staying home to rest and prevent spreading the cold. Hydrate, stay active, and use saline sprays or rinses. Humidifiers can help, and honey can soothe your throat. Ginger, hot soups, and tea may also provide relief. Most importantly, listen to your body and seek medical advice for complications. (More)

Hot and enough for you? This summer witnessed record-breaking heat worldwide, and now, even as we transition into fall, we’re experiencing some of the hottest temperatures for this time of year. While it is cooling down with the arrival of fall, the recent temperatures remain significantly higher than the historical average for late September. Continue reading “Keener Today – September 27”

Keener Today – September 26


Axios Detroit reports, the 2,000-mile trail network connecting Belle Isle to the Upper Peninsula will be closer to completion after the Oct. 9opening of a 7-mile segment in Van Buren Township. The Iron Belle Trail is 71% finished, according to the state. (Free Press)

It now takes a mere 163 text messages for contemporary couples to ignite a deep connection. Social media and texting have supplanted traditional approaches to romance, revolutionizing the way we build relationships. Gone are the days of adhering to the ‘three-day rule’ for post-date communication. Astonishingly, 73 percent of individuals are now open to engaging with their newfound love interest within just four hours of their initial, captivating encounter. Continue reading “Keener Today – September 26”

The Association 1965

Keener Today – September 25

Hollywood Studios and the Writers Union have announced a tentative deal to end the writers’ strike. The aggrement won’t impact the ongoing strike by SAG/AFTRA, the union representing actors.

The Association’s Terry Kirkman passed away this weekend at age 83. Terry wrote and sang lead on “Cherish”, “Everything That Touches You” and “Requiem For The Masses”. Our good friend, Mark Westcot told us, “My close friends know what a huge fan I’ve been of The Association, the hippest of the unhip bands.” Continue reading “Keener Today – September 25”