Devoted Barn the Ritz for rescue animals

melissa dogmelToday I come to the defense of a friend.

I come to the defense of somebody who is way different than anybody I know.

I come to the defense of someone who has been falsely accused of animal neglect.

I come to the defense of Melissa Borden who runs the Devoted Barn in Holly.

She is an animal advocate, not an animal abuser as some misguided souls have classified her on the Internet. You can’t even joke about mistreating animals to her.

Let me give you some background. Melissa is passionate about animals. We live in a world where animals are abused. They are chained outside left to starve and die. They are beaten, burned and used as props to stage deadly fights for human entertainment.

Melissa rescues these animals and nurses them back to health on her version of the Ritz Carlton for animals. They get a second chance at life. And we are not just talking dogs and cats. She houses horses, pigs, llamas, goats and cows.

I have a saying in life. “They only hit the person who carries the ball.”

Mel carries the ball for animals. And she gets hit.

There have been vicious attacks against this woman’s character on Facebook. I looked them over for the first time this morning and was stunned that people believe her to be a fraud. She is not.

I have walked her property with and without her. I have seen no animal abuse.

I have been inside her house and have seen no animal abuse.

I have not seen hundreds of dead animals on her property as someone accused her of hiding.

I have been in all the barns on the property and do not see signs of abuse. I do think one of the barns is haunted. But she has no control over spirits.

Unfortunately, people go by the motto of “if its on the Internet it must be true.” We are also at a stage in life where people lie at the drop of a hat. And if they repeat a lie loudly enough and long enough, people tend to believe the lie.

Melissa does not find animals who are having a nice day. She finds those who may be living their final days. They come in with one eye, one nose, three legs and little hope of living. She makes sure life is as comfortable as possible and helps extend that life.

If you believe in the Devoted Barn then keep on believing. Your donations and volunteer work is going to a good cause which is headed by a good devoted person. See what she does at

Maybe she works too hard. Mel has a bed in her house. She only sleeps in it two nights a week because she is running around at night helping animals who need her.


Help someone for Dr. King. Skin color does not matter

mlkA few years ago I attended a Martin Luther King program at Rochester High School.

During the presentation one of the speakers challenged audience members to reach out and help someone in honor of Dr. King.

As we were filing out the auditorium a woman approached and told me about her son, a high school football player, who wanted to play college ball. She said financial assistance would benefit her family. She was a single parent who needed a break.

She said her son, a running back, was good enough to play Division II or Division III football. But he hurt his knee his senior season and recruiting leads dried up. Could I help?

I told her I was not sure but I had some college connections through assistant football coaches I knew. I made phone calls and some of the coaches contacted the family. He got a couple tryouts.

I never knew if he played college football, but the coaches believed he could help a program. I wrote an MLK column on helping the kid and urged others to help somebody in honor of Dr. King.

The initial response from the public was positive. Then it turned troublesome.

Some questioned would I have gone out of my way for a white kid? Would I have made phone calls to get a try out for a white player?

I never mentioned the race of the mother or the player. It did not matter. It was not important. I was helping a human being. It did not matter if he were black or white.

I spoke to some of the angry callers on the phone. After their rants I waited a minute and told them that the kid was indeed white.

When they heard Dr. King, single parent and athlete the writers and callers assumed the kid was black. And I asked “so what if the kid were black? Why does that matter?”

They said it did not matter, but they believed I would not help a white person.

I once again ask you to help somebody in honor of Dr. King.

It does not matter if he or she is black or white.

Why does color matter?

Color matters.

But why?

My son Brandon wanted red wireless Beats Pill Speakers. The cost was $229.. While shopping for the reds I found the exact speaker in black for $119.

Guess what color speaker the boy got for Christmas.

I’ve not gotten one complaint about the black ones. Drake sounds the same in black or red.

A few weeks before that I shopped for boots at Nordstrom. I saw a pair of kick ass black ones for $200. I hesitated. The sales woman said if I didn’t mind oatmeal color that she could get me the same boot for $89.

Oatmeal can be just as kick ass as black.

My old workout shoes were getting worn and tattered. It was time for a new pair. I went to Dick’s and saw a cool pair of orange Nike running shoes for $79. Before reaching the checkout lane I saw the same pair of Nike running shoes in white with a cool looking speckled pattern on the sole.

I snapped them up figuring that they also cost $79. When I checked out I was charged $119. I paid $40 for the cool colorful pattern on the sole. The first time I wore them a woman in the gym commented about my cool speckled pattern and said she liked it.

We had a good talk about the shoes. That was cool but it was not worth $40. The only reason I got them is because I’d already gone through the line and did not want to jam everybody else behind me.

I’m finding that color does matter. But I don’t get it. A $75 pair of jeans should cost $75 whether they are blue, brown, red or green. The same for a pair of gym shoes and a speaker.

The best athletes we never heard of

big oThe barber shop on Detroit’s west side came alive on this Friday morning.

Two older black gentlemen discovered they grew up within a couple blocks of each other and the banter erupted into a sea of giggles, high fives and slaps on the back. I don’t know their names but let’s identify them as Talking Tommy and Giggling Greg.

“I bet we know the same people,” Tommy yelled.

“Do you remember Johnny B,” said Giggles with a chuckle. “Now he was a hell of an athlete. And that boy could fight. He would have kicked Tommy Hearns ass. But he went a little sideways. He could not leave them drugs alone.”

“Yeah,” Tommy replied. “I saw him kick six dudes ass in an alley all at once.”

I’ve noticed that when older black men talk about athletes they grew up with they are people we’ve never heard of, but they should all be in somebody’s sports Hall of Fame. They just get caught up in the streets and got a little side ways. And these dudes had the best names.

“Who was the best running back you ever saw,” Tommy demanded.

Now I am expecting a verbal battle between Barry Sanders and Jim Brown. How wrong could I be.

“Ol’ Musty Dusty Johnson,” said Giggles with another chuckle. “Nobody could hold a candle to that boy. If he made it to the NFL he would had run for 20,000 yards. But he never made it. He went a little side ways. He could not leave those women alone and fathered 19 kids by the time he was 17.”

“Oh yeah,” said Tommy. “I remember him. He ran for 400 yards against Catholic Central, but the school threw out the records of the game cause they were so embarrassed.”

“Did you know Jumping Johnny Jones? Boy could he hoop,” Tommy said. “He was better than Michael Jordan. He was a combination of Steph Curry and Wilt Chamberlain. He just went a little sideways and couldn’t stay out of jail.”

“Yeah I saw him play all the time,” Giggles said. “Mick McCabe from the Free Post kept writing about Antoine Joubert. But he never scored in double figures against Jumping Johnny. He was the Glove before there was a Glove.”

I know a number of you are saying that your boy T messed up. I meant to call the Free Post the Free Press. No. I got it right. Many black people did not read the Free Press and they called it the Free Post.

Even former Piston Oliver Miller called it the Free Post during a dressing room rant against former Free Press columnist Charlie Vincent. Vincent, who wrote a sports column, for the Morning Friendly called the Big O fat.

When reporters went into the Pistons dressing room before the game that night Miller asked every reporter: “Are you Charlie Vincent from the Free Post? I got to talk to Charlie Vincent from the Free Post. Ain’t nobody call me fat but my momma.”

Miller was 6-foot-9 and weighed more than 300 pounds during his career although teams listed him at 270 pounds. He eventually ate himself out of the league, ballooning to 380 pounds.

Sorry for going a little side ways, but I could not resist the story.big o






I am not a party guy

Nobody likes me.

I have not had a birthday party in my honor as an adult.

When I turned 40. No party.

50. No party.

60. No party.

When I took a buy out from the Detroit News. No party.

When I retired from radio. No party.

Last week I attended the surprise 60th birthday party for my neighbor Nancy. Her children arranged it and even had people from her birth place Ohio come up for the party. It felt good being a part of it and yelling surprise. Nance was pleasantly surprised and I saw her cry for the first time in 20 years.

I turn 61 in a few weeks and I know I won’t have a party because nobody likes me. Now I see why many black women I knew threw their own party at the Red Parrot in Southfield.

They grew tired of waiting for their friends to surprise them and did their own thing.

My cousin Miss Boots gave herself a party for her 72nd birthday and it was the most emotional party I’ve been to. Boots was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer a few months earlier. She knew she was going to die. So she skipped chemotherapy because she wanted to dance at her final birthday party.

When I arrived she had 10 and 20 dollar bills pinned to her and the music was blasting in her backyard. She was not hobbled by the side effects of radiation. She danced at her birthday party.

I cried.

She died a few weeks later.

I know what you are thinking. Why don’t I throw my own party?

I would. But no one would show up.

Nobody likes me.


Doctors orders. King and Foster podcast begins at

jimmy kingEvery six months I pile into Dr. Lawrence Eilender’s Southfield office for a check up. He has me do quick finger exercises, monitors my speech and personality and evaluates my progress.

Eilender is a neurologist and I’ve been seeing him along with my primary care physician Dr. Lisa Elconin routinely after suffering a stroke more than three years ago.

People often ask me how I’m doing. The short answer is I am doing fine. That, however, is not the complete answer. I am doing well, but there are days that still suck. They often happen when I do too much.

I am lucky. I am leading a near normal life, but I cannot push the envelope as much as I want. My blood pressure spikes and I feel miserable for a few days. That happened a few weeks ago when I grew tired of the Mt. Everest pile of leaves in my yard and attempted to scoop them up.

Bad mistake.

I gave up the task, hired somebody younger, and now you can see the dead grass in my yard, which I am thrilled about.

My stroke was a weird disorder. I never felt pain during my recovery and rehabilitation. It effected me mentally. I withdrew from society and still struggle with that part of life. Part of my rehab was going out with friends and try to stay engaged in conversation as long as possible. I am much better at it but there are times when I say I’ve had enough and want to disappear.

After my stroke I knew I needed to eat better and exercise. I lost 46 pounds, hit the gym four to five days a week and take this sometimes grueling and often fun class called “Body Pump” led by the fabulous Stephanie. People often say I look good. Maybe they mean to say I look different.

It is hard for an old roster like me to look good.

That was the physical part. Dr. Eilender says I did a great job of exercising the body. Now I must exercise the mind more. He wants me to do things I used to do before getting sick. That’s one reason I write these blogs in the basement along with stories that never see the light of day.

Now I am adding on to my rehab and desire to communicate by doing a podcast with former Fab Five member Jimmy King. The King and Foster Show debuts today at 1 p.m. at

You can also find the podcast on Apple and Google Play. We will add a new episode every Thursday and Friday afternoon. It will include a lot of sports. We will peak behind the curtain of being a professional athlete, member of the Fab Five and sports media.

What did the Fab Five do the night Chris Webber called timeout near the end of the 1993 National Championship game against North Carolina?

Why did these players rub their asses on the Spartan S after beating Michigan State at Breslin Arena?

Who tried to fight Shaq? It sure wasn’t me.

What Detroit Lions coach cussed me out because he did not like my columns about the team? And what is the full story behind the Adrian Dantley finger wag during the Detroit Pistons championship run?

Stay tuned.

We will also tackle real life issues. The tough part of being a parent. Blacks for Trump. Why brothers are petrified when pulled over by the police. Is my son Brandon pulling my chain by saying he wants to go to Western Michigan University despite me being a proud Chippewas?

A few months after my illness I made a brief attempt to resume my radio career. Dr. Eilender advised against it. I thought he was an overcautious quack.

He was right. I got sick after every Valenti and Foster Show and was passed out in bed by 7:30 p.m.

I could not remember things. I was not quick and I was not sharp. I retired and life is much better. Dr. Eilender wants me to do a podcast because it is not a grind like doing four hours of radio Monday through Friday.

He also believes it will make me happy.

I hope you give us a listen.









Someone robbed my bank

warren bank robberI never saw the bank robber. I was not in the building the same time as him. But there was something exciting by stumbling across a bank robbery scene.

One moment there is calm. The next moment police cars are surrounding the Huntington Bank on 10 Mile in Warren with lights flashing

And moments after that I am talking to an excited motorist at the next door Marathon station who saw the suspect running out the building down 10 mile.

“Yeah he was a fat dude and he came running where you are standing just a few minutes ago,” the man said. “You just missed him. He had his money in one hand and was holding his pants up with the other.”

I shook my head, not because the dude robbed the bank but I thought the fad of wearing your pants too big and showing off your underwear had passed. I guess not.

Police said the robber was 5-foot-10 and weighed 240 pounds. He jumped into a silver Pontiac G6 and sped off. No one knows if he had a weapon, but he intimated to the teller that he was carrying a gun.

This was my first trip to the area in many years. My daughter Celine was getting her hair done at a salon on Gratiot in East Pointe and she said her debit card stopped working. So I went to the bank to get her a new one.

Not quite. The place was being robbed and the doors were locked. Police swarmed the place and placed an official lockdown on the building.

Now my wife has issued the ridiculous rule that I am only allowed to go to banks near the house.

I will try again today. Hopefully none of the customers are wearing masks and dark sun glasses.




Lions right in keeping Matty Patty

Jets Lions FootballThe New York Giants fire coach Pat Shurmur after two years because he only won nine games.

The Detroit Lions keep head coach Matt Patricia after he won just nine games his first two years as head coach.

Who made the right move?

I actually like the Lions approach better although we will spend the next couple seasons seeing which philosophy worked the best.

I am old school. I do not believe in hiring and firing coaches every couple years. That leads to losing football because teams rarely jell and develop the right chemistry to become consistent winners.

You don’t trust Lions ownership. I don’t trust Lions ownership. That makes it easy to blast their every move. However, players will tell you that it is difficult to adjust to new ideas and new schemes multiple times.

Sometimes it is best to live with your mistake for one more season to see if it catches fire. It’s what the Lions are doing.

Let me issue a warning. The Lions will probably finish 7-9 or 8-8 next season and will boast how much the team has improved. Don’t buy it. Remember. 9-7 is not good enough. I knew General Manager Bob Quinn would choke on those words as soon as he said them.

Hold his feet to the fire. If the Lions cannot win 10 games in year three and make the playoffs, Quinn and Patricia must go.

The Lions are living proof that the good ol’ boys network does not work. This franchise was built on pals hiring pals.

Owner William Clay Ford began the trend when he hired drinking buddy Russ Thomas as general manager and kept him on for 23 years despite Thomas running the franchise into the ground and pissing off players left and right.

Then they hired Thomas’ buddy Chuck Schmidt. When the Lions hired Matt Millen, one of the first things they said was he is a good guy. Another pal.

And now Quinn hires his New England BFF to run the team. This has become the good ol’ boys network run amuck.



Give that final hug beyond airport security

detroit_metro_airportThe last time I took my daughter Celine to the airport for her long flight to San Francisco to return to school, she begged for money so she could eat in the airport.

That’s not new. She always begs for money.

“You won’t need any cash,” I told her. “You will be OK.”

A perplexed look boiled all over her face.

“So you are going to let me starve at the airport,” she retorted.

I remained silent.

I sometimes walk her to the security gate to say so long and then turn around and head for the sad car ride back home.

This time I didn’t.

I did not tell Celine about a new government program that allows loved ones to join passengers beyond security and wait with them until their flight departs.

I handed a pass to a TSA agent and joined her in line.

Now she knew something was up.

“What are you doing mister?” she asked.

That’s when I told her about the new program, that I would spent the next hour with her at her gate. I was buying her lunch and eating with her.

“Why you got to be all secretive?” she asked.

I wanted it to be a surprise. We ended up spending three hours together because her flight was delayed. We ate deli sandwiches together, drank bottled water together and laughed and talked while we waited for her flight to leave.

It was very enjoyable and I was so grateful for the time together. The only reason I did not bawl like a baby when we parted was because she was coming home for Christmas in a couple weeks.

Then I will cry because we won’t see her for a while. She spent last summer working for Face book in Austin, Tx. Next summer she will work in Dallas for Boston Consulting Group.

You can also wait with friends and family at the security gate. The TSA allows 75 people per day to take advantage of the program between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Monday is a black out day. The day before departure log onto and apply. You will be notified by email if you are accepted.

Pick up your pass at the Delta Airlines baggage claim and share that final hug just before your son, daughter, mom or pop board the plane.

It’s that simple.

It looks like I will be using this program for a while. Celine is a junior at Stanford and job offers are already flying her way. I fished around to see if she might return home after she graduates.

That does not appear to be in the cards because she hopes to work in New York, Chicago or Seattle. Detroit was not mentioned.

But I remain hopeful.



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