Friday, July 31, 2009

Rant #58: Pigeons Like My Car

This has become a daily routine.

I wake up, eat breakfast, take a shower, get dressed, and eventually go to my car, whether to drive to work or to drive on the weekend.

And what do I find on my car?

Bird crap!

This seems to happen each and every day. Sometimes it's a lot, sometimes it's just a sprinkle, but seemingly each and every day birds leave their nastiness on my car.

The way our street is aligned, I have to park under a tree. I think that is the problem. Birds look at trees like humans look at water closets--one is in view, and you have to go.

Anyway, the good thing today is that it is raining, and without effort on my part, it should be gone by the time I get out of work.

However, I have noticed that sometimes, I get the industrial strength kind, and it doesn't come off so easily.

Well, less outlawing the rights of pigeons to fly near my car, what can I do? Is there pigeon repellant that you can spray on cars so that birds stay away? Should I bag my car, and thus the crap will be on the bag, not on the car?

I can't park anywhere else, as our street is full of cars.

I guess I am stuck with this crap, day in and day out.

At least my dog craps on the ground, and I can easily pick it up.

Birds should learn to do the same.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rant #57: Michael Jackson Will Not Alter My Eating Habits

I just read that comedian/social activist Dick Gregory has said that he will fast until the truth comes out about the death of Michael Jackson. He will fast for 40 days, only drinking water, "until the truth is uncovered, not just another story, about the sudden death of Michael Jackson, one of the world's most brilliant and talented people."

On first glance, I would say this has to be a joke, but Gregory hasn't made anyone laugh in more than 40 years, so I know he will go ahead with this. He has fasted before; he will do it again.

Perhaps he can get Rev. Al to follow him on this crusade. And what is the crusade?

Does he want the authorities to say that Jackson was murdered? Would that put him on the road to his next soy burger?

Well, it got Gregory's name in the paper. You know what they say: "No press is bad press."

As for me, it's easy as A-B-C.

Give me a hamburger!

Rant #56: The Lucy Show Is Back!

This post is more a rave than a rant, but in keeping with the way I have been doing things, we will keep it as a rant.

If you fondly remember The Lucy Show--the series that Lucille Ball did after I Love Lucy and her marriage to Desi Arnaz ended--than you are in luck! MPI Video has just released the entire first season of the show on DVD.

No, this show was never, never up to the comedic standards--and trailblazing techniques--of the I Love Lucy show. The Lucy Show--and later, Here's Lucy, which is also being released in the season by season format by MPI at a later date--were basically off-shoots of the character Arnaz and Ball created for Lucy on I Love Lucy--the scatterbrained lady with ultimately, a heart of gold.

In The Lucy Show, Ball and during the first three seasons, her ultimate comic foil, Vivian Vance--Ethel from I Love Lucy--go it alone without steady males in their lives, and looking at this show nearly 50 years after the first season was produced, they carry it off very well.

They get into similar comedic scrapes like they did on their previous series, and yes, the ladies are a bit older here, but the show is corny, dated and very, very funny, all at the same time.

They certainly don't make sitcoms like this anymore!

The Lucy Show was a virtual family affair for Ball, as the show was not only executive produced by former husband Arnaz (she married comic Gary Morton during these years), but both Lucie Arnaz and Desi Jr. can be seen on the show from time to time if you look hard enough.

The one drawback is the kids on the show. They are cloying, annoying, and can't act at all, but I guess you get the good with the bad here. I will bet that Lucy realized this when The Lucy Show ended its run, because on Here's Lucy, her kids co-starred with her.

All in all, a fine package. For Lucy fans who have been stuck with third-rate DVD versions of these shows in the past, this release is a revelation.

By the way, there are many extras on the DVD, including a wide-ranging interview with Lucie Arnaz where she talks about everything from her participation in show to the uneasiness she felt with her mom, father and stepfather on the set at the same time. And Lucie looks terrific, by the way, as she talks candidly about many things, especially about here mom.

Also, you get to see an early Dick Martin, who played Lucy's next door neighbor--and quasi love interest--on the show.

If there is one DVD for you to get that's out right now, this is it!

So now that you are done reading this entry, scoot over to or and pick this DVD up. You will not regret it.

The only regret that I have is this: why did it take so long for this to come out?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rant #55: I Now Need a New Watch

I have been pretty snakebitten lately when it comes to electronic stuff.

First, my son's computer went bye-bye, now my watch is on the fritz.

Heck, it is a cheap watch. I bought it at Wal-Mart for $18 about two years ago. It is waterproof and has a lighted dial, although I found out that in a dark movie theater when I want to see what time it is during a crappy movie, it doesn't help me, because the clock hands are not illuminated themselves.

Anyway, the darn thing was starting to give out last week, but once I put it on my wrist, I think my pulse (I do have one) sparked it and got it going again. Now, the pulse isn't working on the watch, and it stopped dead last night at about 10 p.m.

It may need a new battery, but I haven't had much luck with watch batteries in the past. Once they are put in, they last a few months and then the watch is useless again.

I think I will get myself a new watch. It is the only jewelry, so to speak, that I wear, and I have worn a watch since I was about seven years old. I feel naked without one.

So I will have to buy a new one. And hopefully this one will be totally illuminated, so I can see how many minutes are left in the next cruddy movie I see.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rant #54: Angels, Devils and Meet the Mets (and Press)

If ever there was a time that professional sports collided with sports journalism, yesterday was the day.

In a truly New York moment that ended up making national news, Omar Minaya, the general manager of the New York Mets, fired Tony Bernazard, the Mets' vice president of development, after word had leaked out through a column written by New York Daily News beat columnist Adam Rubin that Bernazard, among other indiscretions, ripped off his shirt and challenged one of the Mets' minor league teams to a fight. He also had verbal sparrings with several Met players, and all of this behavior, added to the recent failings of the Mets, led to his firing.

That would have been all fine and good, but during a press conference, Minaya insinuated that the reason Rubin wrote these accounts was ... to get Bernazard's job for himself.

Evidently, Rubin very casually spoke to owner Fred Wilpon some time ago about the possibility of "how to get a front office job." The question was very off the cuff, was done away from the Mets and Rubin's focus of business--the team's new Citifield ballpark--and was asked very innocently.

Minaya claimed that Rubin's more direct line of fire was to "get" Bernazard in his column, and when that was accomplished, move in for the kill--get Bernazard's former job.

As you can expect, Rubin was taken aback by this accusation, as he was now the focus of the story, not Bernazard and not the Mets. Did he write his columns to "out" Bernazard?

Of course, anyone who knows the Mets' situation knows that this is bunk of the highest degree. In fact, Minaya later held another news conference, where he said he still backs his accusations but agreed with others that the way he presented them really wasn't professional.

To use Rubin as a scapegoat for the Mets' mess is deplorable. Obviously, Minaya, Mets Manager Jerry Manuel, and the coaching staff are on the hot seat, and if the Mets don't improve they will be gone by season's end.

That is the obvious. The less obvious facet of the entire episode is this: even if he asked the question innocently, why was Rubin asking the owner of the Mets about future job opportunities--and more importantly, why are Rubin's sportswriter brethren sticking up for him as if he were a martyr?

I read one columnist today who said that with the recent fate of many newspapers--some of which have gone under in recent months--it was a smart move for a sportswriter to be asking about future employment. Also, so many sportswriters have gone into the front office in the past--former commissioner Ford Frick is one--that it is a "natural" move.

I say that Rubin should have known better. Heck, I am a writer. If I went to a competing publication, or one of our advertisers or companies that we deal with, and asked a similar question on the side, and word got out to my boss, my rear end would be on the carpet immediately, and I would surely be at least reprimanded if not fired.

It is totally unethical to ask the owner of the team that you are reporting on about "job possibilities." In fact, Rubin initially hedged when asked about whether he had made such inquiries, but he later admitted to it.

The Mets are under a tremendous amount of pressure to be competitive this year. They have a new ballpark and they are the perennial second team in town, behind the Yankees--who also have a new ballpark and are currently making the most of it. The Mets have been killed by injuries to major players this year, and someone has to take the blame ...

And Omar Minaya has elected Adam Rubin as his blame representative.

How infantile. Minaya should be out on his tush soon too.

But Rubin--if I were the Daily News, I would call him on the carpet too. He is the proverbial cat who ate the canary, and the feathers are beginning to stick out of his mouth.

Rant #53: It Isn't Even August Yet ...

For me, at least, we are in the dog days of summer.

This happens each and every year. It isn't even August yet, and the days are beginning to drag.

It has a lot to do with my place of business. We are in our busy season--we have a tremendous issue of our publication to get out--and I have been working real hard to make sure it gets out in a timely fashion.

There's lots of writing, lots of data entry, lots of statistics lots of fact checking, and lots of questions to be asked.

It is so huge that I feel like I am constantly running in place, even though I am sitting down.

Not only that, but my family's vacation this year, not even a month old, is just a distant memory right now. We watched some movies of what we did the other day, and boy, I wish I was down there in Florida now.

As I said in a previous post, the weather hasn't been that summer-like in this neck of the woods, although this week it looks like we will be in the 80s.

I think this issue that I am working on gets my goat every year. I think I am getting too old to be doing this ...

I guess I got the "Summertime Blues." (Thank you Eddie Cochran and later, Blue Cheer.)

But like clockwork, I will bounce back after this stuff is all done. I always do.

I guess everyone is allowed to feel down at times during the year, as long as you can pick yourself up. I am happy to say that I can do that, so my temporary depression won't last long.

And the Yankees won again. Of course, I was not there (they played the Rays in Florida), so that will always bring my spirits up! I should have known they were going to lose the game that I went to--I later found out it was Family Day for the players, where they can bring their families and play on the field with them after the game. Never go to a ballpark that has Family Day for the players--it means a lot of first-pitch swinging, and an attitude of "Let's get this over with so we can be with our family."

It's like many years ago, when I went to a local racetrack (one of the few times I ever did), I heard an old codger tell another oldster, "Never bet on a horse that takes a crap on the turf right before he is set to run," or something to that effect. It's the same thing--never go to Family Day unless you are prepared for a long afternoon of baseball on the down side.

Anyway, writing this has made me feel up! Now I can get back to work! Hooray!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rant #52: Of Course, I Pick This Game

This weekend, my family and I finally went to the new Yankee Stadium to see a game--and to see the new stadium, of course.

The Yankees are red hot right now, in first place by 2 1/2 games over the Boston Red Sox.

The team completed their homestand at 9-1 with a win yesterday against the Oakland A's.

But, of course, we went to the Saturday game, the only game on the homestand that they lost.

Oh well.

As for the stadium, it really is beautiful. If anyone remembers how cramped the old stadium was, especially in the aisles leading to the field, this one is the direct opposite. Everything is wide open, and you can still see the game if you are at one of the concession stands.

We sat all the way up out in left field, and even though the temperature was in the mid 80s, we really didn't feel it, as we were in the shade for the entire day. And we had a great breeze throughout most of the day, to the point where one or two times my Yankees hat almost blew off my head.

And yes, the prices on everything are through the roof. I bought two hot dogs, and three chicken finger platters, and one beer, and it cost me more than $50. Add that to the food I bought later for my son--ice cream and a hot dog--and I spent close to $70 on food alone.

And that does not include parking, which cost $19.

Although the game was not a good one for the Yankees, I must say again that the new stadium is a site (and a sight) to behold. They have really made it into a beauty. It has everything one could ask for in a stadium ...

But in my eye, it isn't Yankee Stadium. It is a fantastic replica, but it is not Yankee Stadium. Yes, it is nothing more than a clone of its former self, a carbon copy, a Xerox. But nothing more.

What it is is a wonderful, modern stadium for the newest and succeeding generations of Yankees fans and baseball fans in general. But for me, who attended dozens of games at the old place since 1965, it is simply a replica of the grand old lady, which sits covered in mesh right across the street. I was so sad when I saw how it was covered up. It looked dead, but it was such a lively place. I know I wouldn't want to be the one to take the wrecking ball to this facility, which to baseball fans was our cathedral, a place of grandeur and history, even though it was cramped and maybe not as versatile as the newer stadiums are.

And as an addendum to what I said, getting to the new stadium was pretty good, took us a little more than an hour, even with the problems associated with the recent fire at the Throgs Neck Bridge. However, getting home was a nighmare. We were diverted through the streets of the South Bronx, which in the old days was like getting diverted through the streets of bombed out places in Europe during the height of World War II but is now just a horrible way to see the decay of the once proud borough of the Bronx. Not only is it horrible, but it took about an hour to get to the highway--about the same amount of time it took us to get to the Stadium!

Otherwise, even though the Yankees lost, it was a fine day.

Will we go back? Sure, but we will do it next year. I have to save up for tickets!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rant #51: Let Yourself Be Heard!

This is going to be a real short rant, because my eyes are bothering me again, but I was heartened to hear from two of you about my previous rant about the lack of participation at the blog.

I wish I can hear from more of you, because I know you are out there--not just in the U.S., but in Europe and elsewhere too.

So keep the comments coming. Do not be shy! I want to hear from you, whether positive, negative, or somewhere in between.

As for my eyes, everything was going pretty good until this morning, when I woke up and I knew something was amiss. Everything is pretty fuzzy now, and I guess I am going to have to call the doctor and make an appointment to have him look at me again.

This is so frustrating that I cannot put it into words.

Anyway, keep the comments coming. I really enjoy hearing from everyone.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rant #50: So Where Is Everybody?

I can't believe I have posted 50 rants on this site. It has been a lot of fun ...

But only seemingly for me and a couple of other people.

I have posted rants about a diverse amount of subjects--Michael Jackson, baseball, ampersands, and the weather, just to name a few--but I haven't received many replies.

I know that people are coming to the site, because it has received well over 1,000 hits since its creation. This is not a huge amount in the blog universe, but I am pretty satisfied with that number.

I know that people are coming to the site from not just the United States, but also Europe.

So why so few replies?

I don't know. I think people like to read rather than post.

But if you agree or disagree with something, please let me know. It makes everything that much more fun for me and those who come to the site.

As you know, I have joined Twitter, but frankly, I haven't seen any benefits from it yet. I've gotten a number of followers, but most of them I have deleted, because they have links to porn sites. The others I have seem to be legitimate, and one of the followers is Newsweek, so I guess they like to see what's going on in the blog universe too.

But back to this site--please respond when something touches you, when something riles you, when something needs to be said by you. That is the only way to keep this thing going.

Thanks for your understanding and hopefully, I will get some more involvement by you, the visitors to this blog.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rant #49: Cool Summer Not Too Hot

I live on the East Coast, and we usually look forward to summer as a respite for miserable weather during other times of the year.

Well, this year, the miserable weather has continued ... into the summer.

"Miserable" might be something of a strong word here. I mean, it is sunny out there now, the weather is pretty good ...

But it's not summer, although the calendar says it is.

As of today, we have not hit 90 in my neck of the woods since April 28. The only reason I remember this is that it was my birthday, and I could have sworn that we were going to have a hot summer, with the weather warming up to this level so early in the year.

But it simply wasn't meant to be. Thus far, July is the coolest July on record. We barely get into the 80s on most days. Yesterday, we had rain most of the day, and the high was 71--but that level was reached early in the morning, and for most of the day, it was about 69 or so.

Happily, at least my family got to Florida on vacation, where it was pleasant--in the mid to high 80s--and we were able to swim just about every day.

Back home, we have barely touched the backyard pool, because it is just too darn cold.

Don't get me wrong; I am not one of those people who live for the sun. I hate when it gets too hot, and I hate when it is so hot that you could fry an egg on my head.

But this summer really isn't much of a summer weather-wise; it is more like spring.

Which leads me to wonder ... will fall be like summer? Will winter be like fall?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rant #48: I Need a New Computer

Well, actually I don't, but my son does, so I am going to have to buy it for him, thus the title of this post.

My son's laptop finally died about two weeks ago. I think it was on life support for about the last couple of months. I have been told by two repair shops that the motherboard is gone, and that to repair this thing would cost me more than $600. It is simply not worth it. I can buy another computer for that amount.

I have done some shopping around, and I am not that happy with what I have seen.

The heralded netbooks--mini laptops that are very portable--are quite frankly, a waste of money. They get you on the Internet, and you can do word processing with them, but you can't burn any disks without an attachment. And they are beginning to cost around the same amount of money as a traditional laptop--which comes with the burning feature--so why would I buy a netbook?

So I will get my son another laptop, but the good ones are pretty expensive, in the $700 and up range. I can get him a cheaper one, in the $400-$600 range, but will it last more than the three or four years his previous computer lasted?

I hate looking for computers because even though I do the research, I don't consider myself a computer expert. I originally thought the netbooks were a good idea, because I thought that they could do what their larger cousins can do. But they can't--at least, not without attachments--and since their cost is getting up there, what is the sense of buying one of these things?

My son will get a laptop, but I don't know how much I will spend yet. At nearly 14 years of age, he really needs a computer, a good one, not a piece of junk.

But again, don't believe what you read about netbooks. They are pieces of junk in my opinion. They are good as second or third computers, but nothing more.

Ah, I harken back to the days when the only electronics parents had to worry about were radios and black and white TVs. I often wish we were back in those days, because it just seemed that things were slower--and cheaper--way back when ...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rant #47: Goodbye Walter ... And That's the Way It Was

Over the weekend, we all heard the sad news that Walter Cronkite, the face of CBS News for many, many decades, had passed on at the age of 92. Once more, a "hero" from my childhood, although an unlikely one, has died.

His death sparked this notion in me: with his passing, it's as if everyone had a death in the family.

Cronkite was the anchorman of the CBS Evening News from the early 1960s, when it was a 15-minute program and later became a 30-minute show, to the early 1980s, when by this time it had become required viewing for just about everybody. The show had its competitors--Huntley and Brinkley on NBC and Howard K. Smith and a host of others on ABC--but let's face it, if you wanted the national news, you wanted it from the person who was referred to as "the most trusted man in America."

Cronkite started out as a war correspondent, and got his first big TV break when CBS's legendary newsman, Edward R. Murrow, asked Cronkite to join his team in the late 1940s. Cronkite initially turned down the invite, but in the early 1950s, with his young family now his responsibility, he took the job.

For all intents and purposes, Cronkite eclipsed Murrow as the face of television journalism during his career. He covered everything from the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the 1969 moon landing, and everything in between, with an aplomb that has never been equalled. If Cronkite said something, you had to believe it. When he broke from his usual demeanor and said that the Vietnam War was unwinnable, President Lyndon Johnson was reported to have said, " If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost the nation."

As a hero to me and my generation, Cronkite will be best remembered for two things: his coverage of the Kennedy assassination, and his fervent reporting on the space program, culminating with the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

On the assassination, he came on the air, looking a little ragged, but gave the nation the message that the President had been mortally wounded. His eyes welled up with tears, but he was able to keep his composure, taking off his glasses to pause, then reporting the story as any good newsman would.

His coverage of the space program was fervent, and he was criticized by some, who looked at him as a booster rather than a reporter. But, at least for me, he crystalized the program, made it approachable for everybody in our country, and made the ride both educational and enjoyable. Was there a happier man in the world than Cronkite when we landed on the moon? I don't think so.

In later years, Cronkite was very active, and poked fun at himself in numerous on-screen endeavors. Although he admits that he never understood Woodstock, he became a big Grateful Dead fan. He had a memorable cameo role in a Mary Tyler Moore Show episode, and he still could be seen on TV at a fairly regular pace. I don't think he ever criticized the current way news is covered on TV, but I bet that in private circles he had plenty to say, but publically, he kept it close to his chest.

A few months ago, word got out that he was ill, and he never recovered.

How ironic that he died when we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of our first moon landing?

Here's to Walter Cronkite, certainly the voice of television for my generation ... and that's the way it was.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rant #46: One Small Step For Man, One Giant Mistake For NASA

The latest evidence that the NASA mission has fallen on its behind is that the agency admitted that several years ago, it erased its original video of the first moon walk because it had a dearth of video and needed to free up some of it for future tapings.

Of course, admitting this information as the 40th anniversary of the 1969 moon walk by Neil Armstrong and then by Buzz Aldrin is bad enough. But for the agency to admit to this major gaffe 20 years after the fact demonstrates, once again, that the agency doesn't have a clue as to what it is doing, or supposed to do.

Happily, other sources have come up with video, and with modern technology, the moonwalk footage looks better than it ever did. I am sure that NASA is kissing the ground that this footage could be retrieved.

But that, clearly, is not the point.

NASA has been botching the space program since the last moon walk in the 1970s. We are today where we should have been 35 years ago. Due the lack of further manned excursions to the moon and elsewhere, the public's interest has waned considerably, and may never be restored.

Sure, it was the time--1969, the year of Woodstock, where we believed that anything was possible--but it was also the mindset. We truly believed that we could do anything if we put our minds to it. If we could walk on the moon, would Mars be far behind?

Obviously, the answer is yes.

I remember as a 12 year old, watching Neil Armstrong in all of his glory on the moon. I was so interested, that I simply would not turn away from the TV, even though the images on our black and white Dumont living room TV weren't really very clear at all. But what I could see fascinated me, and fascinated the world.

We simply don't have that feeling today. Maybe we are more grounded. Maybe we know that everything is not possible, even if we want it to be.

I just don't know. But NASA erasing the videotapes of its greatest triumph simply does not surprise me in the least.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rant #45: I Love Lucy Quote Riles Some Hispanics

Yesterday, at the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, Sen. Tom Coburn's (R-Okla.) reference to television character Ricky Ricardo from the classic "I Love Lucy" TV show elicited some harsh comments from some in the Hispanic community related to insensitivity.

I would tell those that were offended to cool it.

Coburn said that Sotomayor would have "a lot of "splainin' to do" after she made a comment that, hypothetically, she might get a gun to shoot him in self defense.

Coburn's remark was said totally in jest; Sotomayor, who is of Puerto Rican descent and is from the Bronx, New York, understood that; why are others taking the comment to be something that it isn't?

In fact, I think using that phrase is almost a testament to the strength of the Hispanic community in this country. People forget what a trailblazer Desi Arnaz was more than 50 years ago. He was the first acknowledged Hispanic star on television (there were others who, for whatever reason, did not acknowledge this ethnicity, such as George Reeves, who starred as Superman), and he starred in, and for that matter, created, probably the top TV sitcom of all time. He made many contributions to the craft, including the way TV shows are filmed, guidelines which are used to this day.

The "splainin' to do" quote is one of the most memorable, heartfelt, and imitated quotes from the classic "I Love Lucy" sitcom. It is in reference to his "fractured" English, which was the part of many punchlines in the show. Not an iota of insensitivity was part of these punchlines; they were just funny.

In fact, the stuff that Ricky said in Spanish under his breath when Lucy did something stupid may have been even more offensive, because most viewers couldn't understand it and even more importantly, some could look at those Spanish meanderings as extremely chauvinistic and anti-woman (although I don't; I think they were hilarious even if I could only pick out a few words that I totally understood).

I think if he were alive today, Desi Arnaz, and for that matter Lucille Ball, would be very proud today.

Then why all the uproar?

The politically correct police are obviously active on this situation, but the phrase has almost become part of our national lexicon. I have heard so many people use it--heck, even wrestler John Cena has used it in reference to another character on WWE broadcasts, Vicky Guerrero, having an affair--and it is used not as a stereotypical phrase, but as a mere very slight putdown. Guerrero just happens to be Hispanic, and although this utterance on WWE doesn't make it right, necessarily, what I am trying to say is that Cena didn't use it because Guerrero was Hispanic; he used it because it was funny and fit into the plotline.

I mean, it's not the "N" word.

Also, those that were offended by this, they should be more offended by the line of questioning Sotomayor had to go through yesterday related to her knowledge of Perry Mason episodes and whether she watched the baseball All-Star game or not.

Now, that line of questioning is offensive to me, because it has nothing to do with whether Sotomayor would be a capable Supreme Court justice.

We should actually be offended by the possibility that Sotomayor, by her past actions and references, may be anti-white and anti-male. But, of course, in our politically correct world where Michael Jackson's funeral is given the reverence usually accorded to Presidents, we let stuff like this go.

Why aren't people in an uproar over this?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rant #44: CBS's Big Brother Watches Over Me

As I said in an earlier post, I don't watch much network TV.

However, I also admit that I do watch the lowest form of television, which has to be CBS's Big Brother. Suffice it to say, William Paley turns over in his grave every time a new edition of this voyeur-fest premieres. It must be successful--he has now turned over in his grave 11 times!

The latest edition features house guests who are split into cliques, like the ones that existed in high school. You have your athletes, brains, popular people, and the ones that just don't fit in anywhere.

And yes, there are the usual petty squabbles, arguments, nonsense and a girl with breasts that are the size of Mount Rushmore (and probably as man-made as that tourist attraction is).

I can't put my finger on why I watch this show, and have watched it since it debuted a number of years ago. I guess there is a voyeur in me, who basks in knowing the personal so and so's of these house guests.

I know that I have always loved show host Julie Chen, ever since she was a reporter on WCBS Channel 2, the local CBS station and the network's flagship. She is noticeably pregnant, even though she is still skinnier than 99 percent of the people on this planet.

I guess I am also interested because it is the summer, and after a hard day at work, I need a respite from all the nonsense I have to put up with there--this is one show that goes in one ear and out the other for sure.

And, of course, they constantly show girls in bikinis, and that has to be listed as a reason. The one girl I alluded to earlier--a bikini model, natch--is a natural for this show (although I don't think she is very natural in any way).

Whatever the case, if you have never seen the show, I am not going to tell you to watch it, because if you haven't gotten involved after 11 seasons of this, you just won't ever get involved.

If you do watch it, please provide me with some other reasons that people take in this voyeur-fest, other than the bikinis and large breasts.

Again, I don't normally watch this type of stuff, but Big Brother has intrigued me from day one--and I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that, although I just did.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rant #43: Soccer Just Kicks Me Off

I hate the sport of soccer.

I just can't stand it. Kicking a ball around ad infinitum, running around after the ball, and hoping to score a goal is just so boring to me that I can't explain in words, really, what I think about this sport, which is known as football in most places in the world other than the U.S.

Well, the rest of the world can have this sport. As the U.S. continues to make itself a place in the international community, we have tried to get the country interested in this sport. Going back to the 1960s, soccer has been an enigma that the American public has had jammed down its throats, but which it simply doesn't want.

Even the presence of Pele with the New York Cosmos couldn't save the sport, or that league, in the U.S.

When I was in the Florida, the American team played a valiant game against highly rated Brazil, but lost after playing what was called a perfect first half. Who cares? I just wanted to see the baseball scores.

No matter how politically incorrect it may be to say this, soccer is simply B-O-R-I-N-G. And don't tell me I don't understand the game; I do, and it still stinks.

Youth leagues abound in this country, but this participation doesn't translate down the line when these kids grow up. The four main team sports here--baseball, football, and to a lesser extent basketball and hockey--are so dominating that there is little room for a fifth sport. And what's more, sports like bowling, tennis and golf are way ahead of soccer in popularity in this country.

So keep your World Cup, I really don't care. And I am sick and tired of having this game rammed down our throats as if we must love soccer, because the rest of the world does.

It's a niche diversion, nothing more, and it will never be anything more in this country. What's more, I think if the world woke up, they would see it as the same thing we do here in the U.S.: a sham game that really isn't too exciting when you look at it with a discerning eye.

Elsewhere, I believe much of the draw of soccer is that it is more political and nationalistic than our sports can ever be, hence the numerous riots that have accompanied various soccer matches over the years in Europe and other parts of the world.

I would rather watch mold form than watch soccer.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rant #42: Me Myself Eye

My eye problems that I told you about in a previous rant continue.

I went to the retinologist on Friday, and quite frankly, I thought I was going to get a clean bill of health. My left eye--my troubled eye--had given me no problems since my surgery of a month earlier. I drove back and forth to Florida--more than 1,100 miles each way--and didn't have the least bit of a problem.

Thus, I went into the doctor's office on Friday morning fully expecting nothing to happen.

I was amazed when I was told that I would have to get another shot in my eye, the second one in what I now foresee as a long process to permanently remove whatever is in my eye.

I also had to take the day off from work, which I found a bit unsettling because I just got back from vacation and was just getting my feet wet again, so to speak, at my place of business.

I must say that I was pretty depressed about the whole thing on Friday. I have another appointment in early August, and I guess I have become pretty ambivalent about it. I know these processes are to save the sight in my eye, I just thought that I was so much better that this was something I didn't have to worry about anymore.

How wrong I was!

The next time, the retinologist said that they were going to do another procedure to highlight the eye so further pictures could be taken to see how my eye was responding to this treatment. They will probably have to dilate my eye again, which means I will once again not be able to do much that day (it took until early afternoon this time for the eye solution to wear off).

Again, I have nothing but praise for the retinologist, who certainly knows what he is doing. I am just so frustrated with this whole episode, and would love to put it behind me.

I guess it is just going to take time, and I have to get used to this.

So my rant is really against me this time. Why can't I get better quicker?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rant #41: Pay Up, Or Beat It

Back to Michael Jackson ...

I read that Los Angeles spent $1.4 million to provide security, traffic control and other services for Michael Jackson's memorial service. It cost so much that the financially troubled city is looking for ways to have others help them to pay this bill. They have even set up a Web site to collect donations.

AEG, which produced the memorial service, hasn't paid for anything, and neither has the Jackson family.

Heck, I hope when it is time for me to go that someone else picks up all the costs associated with my funeral. If they do, I can have a gold lined casket and maybe even be eulogized by Rev. Al (even though I am not of his faith).

All kidding aside, you would think that either AEG or the Jackson family would pay for at least part of this. And for Los Angeles to ask the general public for help ... I mean, are they kidding?

Jackson's LPs are selling out across America. You would think the family could take a portion of those proceeds and pay for the memorial, and maybe even give the city a little more, but, well, I guess they haven't thought about that yet.

Heck, maybe old blubberpuss, er, Rev. Al, might be able to fork over some money for this. Maybe he can forego his cross-country traveling for a day or two and give Los Angeles just a little bit of money ...

Ah, I was just dreaming I guess.

Rant #40: Go Manny, Go (Back From Where You Came From)

To get off the Michael Jackson bandwagon for at least one rant, has anyone seen the response that the return of Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers has elicited?

This guy is a cheater, the biggest name ever caught doing illegal steroids. He was banned for 50 games, did his stint in the minor leagues, and now is back with the Dodgers. He hit a homerun last night against the Mets.

Anyway, I remember when the names of McGwire, Sosa, Canseco, Clemens and all the rest came out as being steroid users or at least being questionable about their steroid use. There was clamor, uproar, disbelief, and a lot of yelling and screaming.

Not with Manny. When he came back, he got cheers.

I think what has happened is that baseball fans are so used to hearing that their heroes used steroids during the 1990s through the current playing time that if another star surfaces as having used them, nobody cares anymore.

Look at the whole Alex Rodriguez incident. He admitted to using steroids in his younger days, and a book came out to further scandalize his life and career. The whole ARod thing was news for seemingly five minutes, and then it died out quickly. Nobody even talks about it anymore, particularly in New York, where ARod mans third base for may favorite team, the Yankees.

Personally, I was upset at the beginning of this incident, but like how I believe most baseball fans feel right now, I really don't care anymore. And that book, well, I am sure you will be able to get it for $1.00 at Borders sometime soon.

I just think that we are hardened to the fact that baseball players--and other athletes--gleefully used performance enhancing drugs probably from the 1980s to the 1990s, and that some players continue to use drugs that we haven't even heard of yet. Of course, this feeling is unfair to those who have been above board all of this time, but I don't think anyone can blame the fans for thinking this way.

I would hope the next breed of athlete--the kids born in the mid-to-late 1990s--have been warned, and warned repeatedly, about the damage that these substances can do to your body over the long term, even though the initial rewards can be great.

And even though people don't seem to care anymore, Manny Ramirez is not to be pitied, nor cheered, no booed. I think at this point, no response would be better than any response, quite frankly.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rant #39: Sharpton Wants To Stamp Out Jackson

Well, you kind of knew it was coming to this.

As he praised Michael Jackson at the celebration of the pop singer's life yesterday, the Rev. Al Sharpton has also served notice on the U.S. Postal Service: he wants a Michael Jackson stamp ... and he wants it now!

Yes, old blubberpuss has decreed that Jackson's image must be put on a postage stamp, and that the normal five-year wait for such an honor to be given should be waived. The only time the waiting period has been waived has been for Presidents who have passed on.

I am sure that Jackson will get his stamp someday, because the Postal Service is always complaining that it needs the money. But to put Jackson in the same league as the President of the United States is ridiculous.

But again, Sharpton said during yesterday's service that there was nothing wrong with Jackson--"There wasn't nothing strange about your daddy" he told Jackson's three kids--so I guess he believes that there is nothing wrong with putting him on the same level as the President of this country.

The picture I have is of two Jackson stamps from overseas. Countries outside of the U.S. often honor American actors, singers, athletes and others with postage stamps that are highly collectible. If the Post Office succumbs to Sharpton's wishes, I guess they feel that a Jackson stamp from his own country will be at least equally collectible, if not more so.

Personally, I feel most sorry for Jackson's kids. They have not grown up in a normal environment to begin with, and who knows who they will end up with when this is all played out. Sure, they will not have to worry about money for the rest of their lives, but they have been almost pawns in this entire episode--and probably cash cows when it is all said and done.

I am happy that Jackson's fans had their day of reverence, but it is time to move on. The next big bit of news will be when they finally announce what actually killed the pop star--and who provided it to him, assuming, like many of us have, that he died from the overuse of prescription drugs, just like Elvis did and just like Judy Garland did.

And yes, if you can't be responsible for your own body, then you are irresponsible--and Jackson certainly was. And his "handlers" were no better--enablers of the lowest form.

Let's see what happens.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rant #38: Are You a Racist If You Don't Buy Into the Jackson Madness?

Sorry, I am one of the people who don't buy into this Michael Jackson madness surrounding not only his death, but his life. I just can't get so worked up about this guy, who was extremely talented but even more troubled than talented.

Rep. Peter King posted similar thoughts on YouTube, and right away, a whole bundle of people are labeling him as a racist.

Sorry, I don't buy that either.

I thought that with Barack Obama becoming President--a President elected by blacks, whites and by Americans of every racial category--we would be over this racial "hump" we have, where if you dare criticize a minority, you are termed a racist.

Boy, am I naive!

We are getting the same thing now that Jackson is being memorialized as a saint. King used words like "pedophile" in his YouTube rant, and while some might think that to be a bit harsh--Jackson was never convicted of child molestation, although he did pay off accusers--the pop idol is acknowledged to have exhibited inappropriate behavior towards minors.

And by his friend Quincy Jones' own admission, Jackson did not want to be black anymore, keeping his strange profile as sort of a combination black man/white skeleton (that's my description, not Jones').

OK, so King is a racist in the minds of some ignorant people. I am just concerned that if President Obama doesn't fulfill the country's needs, will he be given a bye because he is a black man? If one speaks out against Obama, will one be categorized as a racist?

Back to Jackson ... for all of you mourners, please get a life. This is not like the Pope passing away, or a country mourning a President after an assassination. And these dummies have allowed Al Sharpton to increase his profile, which is bad news for both blacks and whites--and for race relations in this country. The guy loves to stir things up--remember Tawana Brawley?--and he is stirring things up once again. Just in his own backyard on Long Island, a white man was beaten up by some young black teenagers who were involved in an argument that they thought he was getting involved with as he moved his car into his driveway. Where is Sharpton? In Los Angeles, of course.

I don't know where Jackson is being buried, and although I am not a religious person, I do know where he is going.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Rant #37: Midnight Train To Fawcett

Yes, I also heard about her passing while on vacation.
I probably was the only male on the planet who didn't have a thing for this Charlie's Angel in the 1970s. I found her to be a horrid actress, and not as pretty as advertised under all that hair (Jaclyn Smith was--and still is--a hottie).

I found her most recent self promotion--showing her waning days on an NBC special--despicable. Obviously, she was not of her right mind when she agreed to this. What is even more ridiculous is that had she lived, NBC was planning a followup special. They really should be ashamed of themselves.

I will give Farrah credit for one thing--she inspired one of the biggest hits of the 1970s. I will cut this story down to the bare facts. Fawcett was a struggling actress in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and by the early 1970s, she had taken up residence with Lee Majors, her future husband.

The pair were friendly with a then unknown songwriter named Jim Weatherly. Weatherly called Majors at home to speak with him, but he was not home and Farrah picked up the phone. Weatherly did not know Farrah that well--he knew Majors very well--but they got into a somewhat long conversation anyway.

Farrah told him she was soon going to Texas (Houston) to visit relatives. She had trouble getting a plane for the day she wanted to leave, having to take an overnight trip, and used the phrase, "the midnight plane to Houston" in this conversation.

Weatherly hung up the phone when the conversation was over, but the phrase was one he couldn't forget.

He wrote a song "Midnight Plane to Houston" but changed "Plane" to "Train" because in the context of the song, he wanted to convey a feeling of desperateness, and he felt that using train instead of plane would give the protagonist in the song more outs (as in train stops) to contemplate.

Anyway, the song was given to Cissy Houston to record. However, Houston did not want to use "Houston" in the song title for obvious reasons, and she asked Weatherly to come up with another city. He chose "Georgia," and Houston recorded the song. It flopped.

However, a few years later, Gladys Knight and the Pips discovered the song and had a number one hit with it in 1973.

So, I guess Farrah should be as well known for this as she was for her hair, but I guess that won't happen, will it?

Rant #36: Michael Jackson-A Whiter Shade of Pale Beats It

I was on vacation when I heard the news about his passing.

This guy was mentally ill, a sick person. Yes, he was an awfully cute kid, tremendously talented, but the older he got, the screw became that much looser.

He was sick, mentally, physically and emotionally. I won't get into everything, because the media has covered his life pretty well, but I am uncomfortable with the fact that it is now politically incorrect to say anything bad about this demented person now that he is gone, but I have never cared about being PC, so who cares?

Although he was never convicted of child molestation, it is pretty well acknowledged that he at least had inappropriate relationships with children.

That being said, why we are applauding a sick character like this is beyond me.

I guess his death has given Al Sharpton's career new life.

Also, I find the parallels between Jackson's death and Elvis' death eerie--and also the fact that Elvis had pedophilic (perhaps my own word) problems too.

And for all the people whose lives have been forever disrupted by his passing-please grow up! It's not like a close relative has died, you know.

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