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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

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Stuff that never happens to me, Vol. XXXVII

I've been pretty lucky to spend much of my professional life interviewing interesting people that others would love to meet. Most of the subjects were athletes, but there were some cool politicians, musicians and actors sprinkled into the mix, too.

But, that's my professional life.

In my "real" life, I haven't had many brushes with celebrity. I once sat next to Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen on a flight from Florida to Chicago, but I didn't want to bother him so I didn't say a word.

What got me thinking about this, you ask?

It was this story about a couple in New Jersey's random encounter with Bruce Springsteen. This couple bumped into Bruce while posing for their engagement photos on the Shore. That's an awesome story. In my opinion, it's infinitely more interesting than the old "I interviewed so-and-so at media day ..." stories that I've collected.

Have you ever had a cool, random meeting with someone famous? Use the Talkback feature and let me know the details.

Shower mirrors come with bells and whistles, but none stay fog-free.
Shower mirrors come with bells and whistles, but none stay fog-free.

The key to shower-shaving bliss?

The older I get, the more I realize that the most precious commodity in life is time.

When I meet successful people from any field, I invariably marvel at their ability to juggle work, family, charitable, personal and social obligations. The quest is never-ending, frustrating and quite often fruitless, but I do strive to be more efficient in daily tasks.

That got me thinking about shaving in the shower.

I used to do that, on the premise that it saves time and because experts say that the steam from the shower softens the beard and makes for a better shave. I eventually got away from it, primarily because the handful of mirrors designed to help with the process failed on one (or both) of their primary functions: they either didn't stick to the wall or failed to remain fog-free.

It's ridiculous that companies can make shower mirrors with mp3 players and satellite TV hookups, but they can't keep them from getting foggy.

My Uncle Carl has been a "shower shaver" for years. I never talked to him about my dilemma, but somehow the topic came up during a recent family gathering and my father told me Carl's secret to success.

"No matter which one you buy, fog-free mirrors stink," the old man said. "They all fog up. But, Carl told me that if you put a drop of shampoo on your finger and run it across the mirror, it keeps it clear while you shave."

I tried it. It works. Now, I'm back to shaving in the shower and I've saved a few precious minutes from my morning routine. Now, I'll have more time to watch "Seinfeld" reruns, like the episode where Kramer tries to cook in the shower. He may have been on to something. 

"Entourage" closes season with a bang

The first six season finale episodes of HBO's series "Entourage" left me depressed because I knew that Vincent Chase, Ari, Turtle, E, Drama, Lloyd and other characters that I enjoyed were going away for at least a year.

Though some people I respect a great deal dismiss the show as a vapid, testosterone-laced rip-off of "Sex and the City" with Hollywood as a co-star rather than New York, I've enjoyed Doug Ellin's writing and the ensemble cast enough to look forward to each Sunday installment -- which in the current era of TV amounts to a ringing endorsement.

After last night's season seven swan song, I was depressed again ... although for another reason.

(SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED THE FINALE, DON'T READ THE REST OF THIS BLOG).

The cliffhanger came with the show's primary characters -- Vincent Chase (Adrien Grenier) and Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) at rock bottom. Chase, the show's centerpiece, has developed addictions to cocaine and his porn star girlfriend, played by Sasha Grey. After a failed intervention by his buddies, he ends up getting pummeled by Eminem at a party and apparently arrested for possession of a large amount of cocaine.

Gold, the super-agent whose story arc this season included a failed run at NFL ownership and the reputation-ruining release of audio tapes in which he berates his staff, sees his marriage run into the rocks when his wife leaves him.

The downward spiral of these storylines, coupled with Turtle's foray into the tequila industry and Eric Murphy's unexpected pre-nup assault from his future father-in-law, made for an uncomfortable half-hour of TV.

But, it also fostered hope that the series will end its run with a memorable eighth season and an expected movie spin-off.

Maybe when if I watch the show again, I'll be depressed about the long wait to find out what happens with "Johnny's Bananas."

Read more...

A rough return for No. 4

A year ago, like just about everyone else, I figured that Brett Favre didn't need training camp.

Last night was a different story...

Favre looked uncomfortable and out of sync in the Vikings' season-opening loss to the Saints. His receivers corps was battered, but there was another major difference that makes me think I was wrong about the old man and training camp:

The Saints.

Last year, Favre and the Vikings opened the season with games at Cleveland and Detroit. They flattened both of those doormats, then won a nail-biter in their home opener against San Francisco.

The Saints are the defending Super Bowl champs. Last night wasn't a layup. Favre may find his groove in the coming weeks, but it won't be easy.

Chances are, it won't be as magical as last year.