Lloyd Stites regretted having to dial back his Santa duties in 1989

Lloyd Stites depended on two strategies when playing Santa in Tecumseh, Michigan. One was to wear mittens, covering up parts of two fingers that he’d lost to a snowblower. The other was to tell the truth: His yellow truck–not reindeer–brought him to meet the kiddies. … More Lloyd Stites regretted having to dial back his Santa duties in 1989

Remembering a special news story and getting an update on a special person

Sometimes I remember a story written years ago and wonder what happened to the subject. Katie Mattie, for instance, was a charming high school senior who’d composed a novel, the first in a projected four-volume series about teenage girls receiving powers from the Greek gods to defeat the Titans. Katie had even landed a literary agent … More Remembering a special news story and getting an update on a special person

Edward Herrmann provided a cerebral, classy quality to Dodge ads

I find myself being asked about Edward Herrmann, who died on Dec. 31. Besides his extensive acting credits, people forget that Edward was spokesman for Dodge in the 1990s–the long-running, successful campaign with the tagline “The New Dodge. We’ve changed everything.” Fifteen years ago this month, when I was a copywriter for Dodge’s marketing communications agency, I went to Salisbury, … More Edward Herrmann provided a cerebral, classy quality to Dodge ads

From the Isle of Man TT to Pikes Peak and the BBC, Guy Martin has all bases covered

Story and photos by Ronald Ahrens Not long after arriving in Douglas for last month’s Isle of Man TT, I was browsing in a bookshop on the shopping street and came across My Autobiography, by Guy Martin. At the time I knew nothing about him or any other TT racers. They might have all come from Mars. By … More From the Isle of Man TT to Pikes Peak and the BBC, Guy Martin has all bases covered

Solar skin, stem cell therapy, hydrogen fuel, rocket bike: my new friend

The yellow Tern Verge bicycle first caught my attention, then his craggy grin. He was tall, wild looking, with a woolly jaw. The bike was a $2000 beauty, yellow and black, like a meadowlark. He wouldn’t let me take a picture, saying I could get one on the Internet. He suggested I buy a Tern … More Solar skin, stem cell therapy, hydrogen fuel, rocket bike: my new friend