Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rant #288: Monkee See, Monkee Do

Well, here is another day with not much to rant about. The previous situation with my medical records remains unresolved, and the only other thing that I can rant about is my family's washer/dryer, which appears to have died an untimely death yesterday.

No, not much to write about, so I figured I would promote another one of my blogs that you might not be familiar with.

I was an original fan of the Monkees way back in 1966, and my fascination with them exists to this day. I have all of their American-produced records, and numerous foreign releases too. I guess I just can't get enough of the Pre-Fab Four.

But there are a finite number of releases that they put out on the label that was basically custom designed for them.

Colgems Records, a subsidiary of RCA and with a name that was sort of a conjunction between Columbia and Screen Gems, was best known as the Monkees' record label, but lo and behold, there are numerous other artists that recorded for that label, such as Sally Field (as The Flying Nun), Sajid Khan, Rich Little, and Quincy Jones.

So, as I got older, since I had all the Monkees stuff already, I figured I would investigate the other artists on this label. I was able to secure many of the 45s and albums that were produced on Colgems from 1966-1971--including a lot of soundtracks, which next to the Monkees, was the label's bread and butter--and a few years back, I started The Colgems Blog, which you can access at

Sure, the Monkees were the moneymakers on this label, but there were many, many fine recordings that had the Colgems name on it. In addition to the above named performers, other lesser lights, including The Hung Jury and P.K. Limited, called Colgems home.

The label even tried to morph the Monkees, country style, with the Lewis and Clarke Expedition, which included the artist later known as Michael Martin Murphey of "Wildfire" fame.

Yes, this was an interesting label with an interesting array of artists. And that is what the blog is all about.

I have posted everything on the label, less two Monkees albums that I hope to post over the next two months.

Much of the material has never been on CD, and it is hard to figure out who owns the rights to much of the music. But over the past few years, it could be accessed via my blog.

I have also had some of the artists contact me. No one has objected to the blog, they have only applauded it, so I am happy about that.

So, please, visit it on a lazy summer day like today.

And I promise that I won't write about my blogs again any time soon, because frankly, I have run out of blogs to write about.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rant #287: Picture Sleeves

Today is one of those days that I really don't have anything to rant about.

That situation from yesterday, about my medical records, has not yet been resolved. After a few calls yesterday, the lawyer for my former doctor said he didn't have the files, the district attorney did. I called the DA, and they said the lawyer had the files.

Both said they would get back to me.


Anyway, I thought I would take my ranting on a little vacation, and give a rave instead (no matter what it says in the title of this entry).

I have a few other blogs, but the one I want to concentrate on here is my Picture Sleeves A-Go Go Blog at

I have been collecting records for more than 40 years. Sure, I took some breaks here and there, but I have always been fascinated with records.

And when I say records, I mean vinyl. Those 45s and 33 1/3 LPs are much more fascinating than CDs and those infernal digital files that everyone downloads today.

For one thing, vinyl has character.

Anyway, I have always loved 45s. Those 7-inch pieces of plastic, usually with two songs--an A side and a B side--always fascinated me, how such a little piece of plastic could generate so much excitement for such a small price.

I have especially loved those 45s that came with picture sleeves, and that is the essence of this site.

I plan on posting all of the picture sleeves in my collection--they have to number several hundred from the 1960s through the 1990s and even some in the 2000s--plus some of the sounds contained on the records in these sleeves.

I have thus far uploaded sleeves and music from AC/DC through Chicago, and some good stuff is coming up, including the Dave Clark Five and Elvis Costello as I finish out the "Cs" and move onto the other letters of the alphabet.

So please visit the site, register your opinions, and tell me what you think.

I have put a lot of work into this site, and I hope you like it as much as I have liked doing it all.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rant #286: Doctor, Doctor, Give Me My Medical Records

I am in a quandary right now, and I figured that I might as well bring up this predicament that I am in here on this blog.

As I told you many rants ago, my doctor was arrested for dealing certain prescription drugs to people without prescriptions, and he had the nerve to perform these dastardly deeds from the sanctity of his own practice, which just happens to be across the street from the local high school. He was arrested, and from what I understand, he is awaiting trial.

Prior to his arrest, he had a pretty healthy practice, catering to all ages as a general practitioner. I had gone to him for his entire time at this particular practice after seeing the doctor he took over for for decades. All told, I went to a doctor at this site for 38 of my 53 years.

When he was arrested, and made national headlines in doing so, like many, I took a wait and see attitude. When it became apparent to me that he was caught red handed, I figured I would take my time to find another doctor. I am in good, general health, and all I need are my cholesterol pills and I am OK.

The doctor prescribed this particular cholesterol pill to me for many, many months, and the last prescription was to last six months, or six refills.

The first several refills were filled by my local pharmacy, even though this doctor had already been arrested.

However, two weeks ago, when I tried to have this prescription filled, I was told that the pharmacy could no longer fill his prescriptions.

Evidently--and I am piecing this deduction together from a variety of sources--he finally gave up his medical license just a few weeks ago, making all his prescriptions null and void.

I have found a new doctor, and will be going to him for the first time this coming Saturday.

However, I would like to retrieve my medical records from my old doctor, and here is where my problems have arisen.

To make a long story short, I have had a lot of trouble getting these records.

The new doctor told me I should contact the local precinct, which I did, and they didn't know what I should do.

The local precinct told me to contact the district attorney, which I did, but the DA does not have my records.

The DA told me to contact my former doctor's lawyer, which I did, but so far, I can't get my records from there. I have been told several times that the lawyer "hasn't had time" to look for them.

They are stalling for some reason. If they told me that they couldn't release the information because they were going to trial, I could understand it. But they have said no such thing.

And this goes for my wife's records too. She used our former doctor on several occasions, and I would like her records back too.

I am going to contact the lawyer again today, and let's see what happens.

I don't want to be nasty about it, but 38 years of medical records could be an invaluable resource into my general health for any doctor that treats me. And a doctor that has given up his medical license certainly does not need these records anymore.

I was under the impression that I "owned" my medical records, but due to this situation, I have found that this is not true.

I will let you know what happens.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rant #285: Take Me Out To Another Ballgame

Baseball is the greatest sport in the world. It is our national pastime. Once this current soccer nonsense ends its run, it will only be a brief memory; baseball memories last for a lifetime.

Last night, my family and I went to a minor league baseball game. The Long Island Ducks, who play in the independent Atlantic League--meaning that the league and its teams are not directly hooked up with any Major League Baseball (MLB) organization--played at home against the Camden Riversharks.

The Ducks lost 6-2. This was not like watching the Yankees vs. the Red Sox, but on a hot, blistery night, this was good enough.

The Atlantic League is somewhere between AA and AAA baseball. There are several former major leaguers who play in this league--the Ducks' own Robinson Cancel and Dustan Mohr being two of them--and the league is used by many players as a stepping stone to getting back to the Big Time, or at least get back into a MLB organization.

But on a hot, steamy night, this was simply a game being played by two league rivals.

No, the action was not up to MLB level, but that was to be expected. The runners seemed slower, the pitchers seemed wilder, the batters seemed less able to hit.

But nonetheless, it was a fun night, something different to do on a mid-week summer evening.

I would suggest that if you have a minor league team in your area--and it seems that most areas in the U.S. have such a team or teams, or at least one or two within driving distance--attend these games. It is cheaper than going to the MLB ballparks, and you often see players who will eventually turn up in MLB uniforms.

The Ducks are one of the most successful minor league franchises around. They have a beautiful stadium where you can see everything no matter where you sit, they regularly get at least three-quarters capacity for their games (probably about 4,500 people or more), and they have become fixtures in the Long Island community.

Not every minor league team is this successful, but one thing that they all wear on their sleeves is the "fun" aspect. Sure, they are there to win just like the big boys, but minor league baseball offers its own brand of "down home" fun that isn't rivaled anywhere.

So take in a game. You will be glad you did.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rant #284: Loose Lips Sink Ships

This one has to take the cake.

Right now, the dumbest person in the U.S.A. has to be Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former Afghanistan commander who was forced to resign yesterday after the wholly negative comments he made about the Administration's handling of our war effort in Rolling Stone magazine surfaced.

President Barack Obama had a face-to-face meeting with McChrystal yesterday, and rather than be court-martialed for his comments, McChrystal resigned. Gen. David Patraeus, who oversees the Iraq effort, will now also be responsible for Afghanistan, too.

Simply put, McChrystal's negative comments about the President, VP Joe Biden, and others was clear insubordination. You can't have your man in charge making disparaging remarks about his commander in chief and his staff.

For instance, about Biden, he said, "Who's he?" when asked about him. "Did you say 'bite me'?"

And he said much worse about the President, stuff I won't get into here.

But you can't have that if you are trying to convince the public that what you are going overseas is right and just. It makes the President and his Administration look like fools.

What's more, why was McChrystal talking to a rag like Rolling Stone anyway? The main audience for this publication are young males, rockers, stoners, and people who think they are hip by reading it but are as far from hip as I am.

You know what you are going to get from Rolling Stone, so why cater to it?

Anyway, McChrystal is gone in disgrace. The tide is rising against the conflicts we are involved in, and people are truly getting fed up. Then you have a person of this stature go off like he did ... what does this tell you about the morale of our troops and the belief that they have in what they are doing?

Yes, McChrystal is a putz, he truly is. And the President really had no choice but to do what he did.

But having your long military career go into the tank because of Rolling Stone ...

Well, that has to make you the absolutely dumbest person in this country, if not in the world.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rant #283: Gag Me With a Gaga

Who is this Lady Gaga and why has she been put on this earth?

The more I read about this individual, the more I can't stand her.

I do not like her music. She thinks she is Madonna, and not that Madonna has been all that great, but she isn't this generation's version of The Material Girl.

Not only don't I like her music, but her attitude is terrible.

She acts like a diva, and gets away with it, because acting like a diva makes headlines. Through the years, haven't divas like Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, and, yes, Madonna, grabbed many headlines for their outbursts and actions?

Anyway, Lady Gaga (and I use that term "Lady" very loosely) has attended games at both New York's CitiField and Yankee Stadium. And she has acted like quite the diva at both venues.

She claims she wants to be inconspicuous, is simply a fan of both teams (right there she gets me--in New York, you cannot root for both the Mets and Yankees, it's like putting both ketchup and mustard on your hot dog), and likes baseball.

Well ...

I know a lot of women who like baseball, but they don't come to games looking like a tramp right out of some porno movie.

I also know a lot of women who like baseball who don't give the finger to other fans, nor pushes her way into a baseball clubhouse, and subsequently gets a security person fired for these actions.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld--I went to school with him, he was a senior when I was a freshman at Massapequa High School on Long Island--is so irritated at this supposed lady that he has lashed out at her on sports radio. He has called her a jerk, and questioned her actions at these ballparks.

Of course, at CitiField, when Mets fan were giving her the business after her middle finger escapade, security rushed her to Seinfeld's unoccupied sky box without his knowledge or permission, so we know why he is really upset about this incident.

But shouldn't the average person, or average baseball fan, also be upset?

If we did the things that she did, we would be kicked out of these stadiums on our butts. Or perhaps even arrested.

Who is this person? Has she, or any other performer, earned the right to be a diva?

She has had a few hit records (if they even call them that anymore) in a short period of time.

Big deal.

But her actions reek of the "I'm better than you" belief that many performers have toward us peons.

It really stinks.

This dummy should be banned from both stadiums permanently. There is no need for his type of behavior anywhere, including at a ballpark.

Batter up! Let's throw Lady Gaaa to the wolves!

I mean, there is only one type of hot dog that you have at baseball games, and it is something you eat.

Let's spit out this idiot. She will be nothing more than a musical footnote in due time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rant #282: Judy, Judy, Judy

Forty-one years ago today, Judy Garland died.

I think that even today, most people, including youngsters, know who Judy Garland was, even if it is through just one thing--her starring role as Dorothy in the film, "The Wizard of Oz."

But she was much, much more than that.

I only found out about her when I got married. My wife is a avid Judy Garland-Liza Minnelli-Lorna Luft fan, and I really didn't know how complex Garland was until I met my future wife, got married, and listened to her albums and watched her movies.

Garland lived a rock star life before there were any rock stars. She married and divorced several times, had numerous affairs, abused pills and alcohol, got kicked off films because she was ornery and oftentimes drunk, etc., etc., etc.

As much as she abused herself, the system abused her too.

A hoofer basically from the time she was born, Francis Gumm performed in a group with her older sisters. The problem was that her older sisters' talent (or lack thereof) was completely overshadowed by Garland's incredible talent. She could sing, dance, tell jokes, and look cute all at once.

She broke away from her sisters, and this led to Hollywood, where MGM didn't know what to do with her. They knew they had an immense talent, but how can you showcase such talent?

They put her in a few horrid movies and film shorts, but this teenager deserved better.

As she started to mature into a woman, they started the pill pushing to her, to keep her awake and to keep down her weight.

As legend has it, she wasn't supposed to even be in "The Wizard of Oz," but MGM could not get Shirley Temple--and this fortuitous bit of luck helped propel her to world stardom. Her segment where she sings "Over the Rainbow"--which was thought to be a pace slower than the rest of the film, and was supposed to be excised--became her theme song, and the theme of her life.

She starred in a succession of big hits for MGM, but always with the spectre of drunkenness or drug abuse hovering over her.

Somehow, through it all, she married several times, had three children, and was truly the most famous woman in the world during the 1940s.

She had breakdowns, made comebacks, was nominated for an Academy Award (for "A Star is Born"), starred in her own network TV show, made records, and was a greatly in-demand concert attraction until the day she died.

And in death, she became a gay icon. Somehow, her death was tied into the Stonewall incident, where I believe gays were rounded up in a bar for being what they were, and this became a rallying cry for the entire then-burgeoning movement. Her daughters have since carried that torch during their own lives.

Anyway, 41 years ago today, her body couldn't take anymore abuse, and just stopped working.

She was just 47 years old.

To this day, Judy Garland is a show business icon that few can top. She did it all, probably not the way she wanted it, but she did it all anyway. She is as revered in 2010 as she was 50 years earlier.

Books have been written about her life, movies have been made, and she is in that pantheon of show business legends--including Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and Elvis Presley among them--whose images are as popular today as they were when they were alive.

But, if anyone was a tragic figure in Hollywood lore, she is the one.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Rant #281: Summer Means Pro Wrestling

Happy summer to everyone, and happy Father's Day to those who are dads (one day late, though).

We had a pretty good Father's Day. My wife bought me dress shoes for work, something I desperately needed. In turn, I bought my wife a new bathing suit, which she claims she desperately needed.

I got the requisite holiday cards, and I also barbecued up a storm in 90 degree heat for my family, my parents and my sister's family.

I was bushed at the end of the day, but my son and I got up enough strength and went to the latest WWE Pay-Per-View wrestling show at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.

This was a gimmick event called Fatal 4-Way. What that means is the several championship matches were held not between two combatants, but between four wrestlers vowing for various championships all at once.

Yes, this is supposed to create more action, and at times it did.

And four championships changed hands. Pretty neat.

Professional wrestling is like the modern day version of going to the circus. At least half the crowd are young kids--and I mean, at times, very young, maybe age four to eight--and they are brought to the event by their parents.

They hoot and howl, cheer and boo, laugh and cry, all like previous generations did while attending the circus.

But when you hear a six-year-old yelling, "You suck!", you know that this is a different generation of kids then, say, my generation.

I am also amazed to see so many young women at these matches. I could never foresee my mother or sister going with me to Madison Square Garden to see wrestling in the 1970s, but this is a different breed of woman today.

My wife went with myself and my son last year when we were on vacation, and she said she would never do it again. And I believe her. And yes, my daughter hates it too.

But again, this is a different breed of woman attending pro wrestling matches. In fact, the only curse words I heard the whole evening from the crowd were those spewed out by a woman sitting behind my son and me.

Anyway, at the end of the evening, the rookie wrestlers from NXT--the WWE's answer to the minor leagues--took over the festivities once again, destroying everything in their path and beating up WWE matinee idol John Cena, who, after seeing him in several matches on Long Island, I am convinced is hated by this crowd more than any other on the circuit. I think it has to do with him being from New England, and the whole Yankees vs. Red Sox thing.

Anyway, he gets booed on Long Island more than any other wrestler, and it is one of the few places where he gets booed.

After getting beat up, in typical pro wrestling style, he had enough energy to address the crowd about the situation. At the end, you could see that he was frustrated with the crowd, and I think his exhortations were kind of real at this point, because he is not used to the booing.

He screamed--not yelled, but screamed--at the crowd, saying, "You might be able to question my skills as a wrestler, but you can't question me as a fighter!" or something to that effect.

Was it real or was it Memorex?

Who knows, but the capacity crowd loved it!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rant #280: Oily Mess

I have held off speaking about the mess that is being caused by BP and its oil pipeline, which has been spewing out oil at a record rate for many weeks now.

I guess I didn't know what to say.

And I still don't.

What more can be said about this situation that hasn't already been said?

The areas where this oil is migrating too will be changed forever, as the ecological impact of this mess is really infinite. When you see birds and other sea life encased in oil, you know that things will change as these species adapt to their new, oily environment.

What can be done to stop the seepage? I haven't the slightest idea. It seems that BP has done just about everything it could to put a stop to it. less putting a Dutch boy's finger in the pipe's opening.

Should BP been more diligent to start out with when it constructed this line? That is pure conjecture, but what I have heard is that they may have cut corners, not taking measures to stem such a situation from happening before it happened.

What can you or I do about this?

Good question. I guess we can boycott BP gas stations. Really, what more can we do? We can volunteer to help in the cleanup, but for 99 percent of us, that's an impossible thing to do due to logistics.

I don't really know what else to say on the matter. If I were BP, if measures continue to fail, they should open up the situation as a competition. Anyone, or any company, who comes up with the solution to this mess gets X amount of million dollars as a prize. That means any individual or company who rights this wrong gets paid plenty for its idea.

Maybe that's the way to get this thing done. Open it up to the public.

BP, under the government's pressure, has devoted millions to this problem, and will devote millions more to it both now and after it is solved.

But maybe it should go to the public for a solution.

Again, I don't know what else I can say about this, but it seems that that is the way to go.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rant #279: Bare Legs At Disney

Land sales alive! The Walt Disney Co. has cast off its long-time rule about bear legs. Female employees are now granted the right to bear their legs while at work!

The company announced that it has adopted a new dress code that allows these workers to bear their legs--no pantyhose is required anymore--while wearing skirts.

Although the changes apply to mostly behind-the-scenes workers, this is still quite significant.

Disney has always had a strict dress policy, even for people visiting the park.

At one time, it actually turned away guys who wore their hair too long or wore bandanas. A famous case was that Little Steven, the actor and singer, was turned away from one of the parks because he had long hair and wore a bandana. And it happened to thousands more over the years.

In addition, due to the new rules, women are also permitted to wear sleeveless tops, as long as the shoulder straps are at least three inches wide. They can also wear open-toed shoes.

And male workers are now permitted to wear casual, untucked shirts.

Of course, costumed characters have to continue to wear their, um, costumes.

If you have been to one of Disney's parks, you know that today, pretty much anything goes. These parks are operating in such hot areas that it is not uncommon to see both men and women in various stages of dress and undress. And the attractions often warrant it--who wants to be formally dressed when they are going to be doused with water?

Now, at least the workers get a break, too.

Oh, I know, Mr. Walt Disney himself is probably turning over in his grave about this, but at least he is doing it while he counts his money.

But it's time that Disney loosened up a bit.

I mean, it's not like Minnie Mouse is going to go topless, nor will any of the workers, but at least people who are in the Disney employ will be comfortable.

Now, onto a bigger question: what is the difference between Pluto and Goofy, and why does one stand on two legs and the other on four?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rant #278: Hollywood Kryptonite

Today is a sad day in my life. It is a day that helps me relive one of the first memories I had of my childhood, and it is not a good one.

Today is the 51st anniversary of the death of George Reeves, best known as TV's Superman.

Although I was barely two years old when this even occurred, I was already an avid TV watcher, and this was around the time I started to read--and I started to read comic books. At that time, due to Dr. Felix Wertham's pronouncements that reading comic books would turn kids into juvenile delinquents, this wasn't the preferred method for a kid to learn to read, but my parents didn't believe in this balderdash, and encouraged me to read whatever was available.

And comic books were available. My father read them when he was a kid, and he turned out just fine, so he started to buy me comic books to read, and Superman was one of them.

And mix this with being an avid TV watcher, and you can see the potency that this news had on me. I loved the Superman TV show, and do to this day. It is really one of the great TV shows of the baby boomers' generation, and even in its simplicity, it resonates with us to this day.

Reeves--who years earlier had played a small part in "Gone With the Wind"-- played the dual role of Clark Kent and Superman, and other stars in the show were Noel Neill (replacing Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane after the first season), Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen), John Hamilton (Perry White), Robert Shayne (Inspector Henderson), and a host of top character actors.

Anyway, probably my first childhood memory was hearing that Superman was dead. I remember not really understanding this, but I do remember seeing the Daily News in our apartment, and this was emblazoned across the front page. And that is my memory.

As it stands, years later, the mysterious death of George Reeves has never been solved.

The one point that all agree on was an obvious one: he died from a gunshot to the head. But who did this to him? Did he do it to himself?

Reeves was supposedly depressed about a number of things at this time in his life. His acting career was going nowhere fast, as he was typecast as Superman. He had also broken up a relationship between himself and a mobster's wife, and had been seeing another woman. So he had a lot to be upset about.

But on the other hand, things were looking up for him, in a way. Although he hated playing Superman, he had upped for another season, but this one was to be much different. He would direct most of the episodes--something he loved to do--and would write some of them too. He had also broken free of the mobster's wife, and was looking forward to being away from her.

Whatever the scenario, something happened on this night 51 years ago. The coroner ruled it a suicide, but that has never been proven.

A few books have been written on the subject, and Ben Afleck starred as Reeves in a terrific movie about this incident a few years back.

But still, the case remains unsolved.

How I can remember seeing the Daily News headline about Reeves' death is just one of those incredible things that somehow is stored in my memory to this day. I have other memories of my early childhood, but this was probably the first one that I can remember.

He was the first hero of the baby boomers to die, and die a violent death. He wouldn't be the only one, as more than 20 years later, John Lennon would perish due to an insane fan's obsession with him. A gunshot was the cause here too.

I guess I still can't get over the fact that Kryptonite didn't kill Superman, a gunshot did.

He was a mortal just like the rest of us.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rant #277: A Name By Any Other Rose

Researchers have found that the name you are given when you are born has the potential to haunt you for the rest of your life.

According to a new bit of research done in England, an unusual or unpopular name can screw up a kid all the way into adulthood. What is even more interesting is that parents who gave their kids these idiotic names often come to regret their choices.

According to the research, 20 percent of these parents later wished they could choose a different name for their kid.

And "cross-dressing" names leaves a bad odor too: boys with names traditionally given to girls are more likely to act out as they grow older. However, girls with masculine names are more likely to study math and science, areas that boy generally excel in compared to girls.

Whenever I hear about a kid being born and given an idiotic name (re: Apple), I have to cringe. Parents think they are being cute, but they are not. Giving a kid a name that makes him or her stand out like a sore thumb among their peers is something like a subliminal form of child abuse.

Many celebrities think they are above everyone else, and they give their kids the most ridiculous names imaginable. I remember that David Bowie named his son Zowie and Abbie Hoffman named his son America. When both kids came of age, they changed their names.

I wonder why? Obviously, they had more brains than their parents.

Sure, you don't have to name your kids with the most popular names around. But why would you name a kid Pete if your last name is Moss?

Looking back, there was a teacher in my grammar school whose name was Mrs. Moss, and darned if her son's name was Pete.

How can you do this to your kid? Are you not thinking?

Personally, I don't like my legal first name, Lawrence, but I love my nickname, Larry. I think my middle name, Scott, is terrific.

I think my parents made the right choice. They obviously were thinking when they chose my name.

But some parents choose their childrens' names as if they were picking a name for a dog or cat or fish or gerbil.

As this research suggests, they are just plain stupid. Maybe they are ignorant, too.

I will give them a name: how about Jackass? See how they like it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rant #276: Take Me Out To the Ballgame

I went with my family and my son's friend to Yankee Stadium (or what they now call Yankee Stadium) on Saturday to take in the Yankees vs. Houston Astros game.

We go to just one or two games a year, so every game we go to is a treat.

The Yankees won, 9-3, Derek Jeter had two homeruns and Jorge Posada had a grand slam.

The game was pretty stress free, even though the Yankees were losing at one point. The Astros are so bad that you knew the Bronx Bombers were going to come back, and they did.

We were sitting in nose-bleed land. Those were the best tickets I could get, or more to the point, those were the only tickets I could get at the money I spent for them ... and I had to go to an outside source to get them (one of those legal scalpers), because I could not get five seats in a row through legitimate means. And I think I described in an earlier rant about the hassles I experienced getting these tickets.

The day was a nice one: not too hot, not too cold, with a breeze. And the sun was out but there were clouds, so it was nice, and certainly nice for a ballgame in the Bronx.

We also went to Monument Park, which is where the Yankees keep all of their monuments and other plaques from the old stadium. You have to wait on a line to get in there, but I hadn't seen the monuments up close since 1965, so the 20 minute wait was worth it.

Back then, after every home game, the Yankees would allow fans to line up on the field and be ushered into centerfield, where the monuments were back then.

Yes, they were on the playing field, and plenty of balls went between and around them during games. I remember one where Yankees centerfielder Bobby Murcer had to run in between them to get to a ball.

Anyway, back then, my father instructed me to kiss my shirt, bring a sleeve over to Babe Ruth's monument, touch the sleeve to the monument, and bring it back to me, kissing it again. It was like kissing the Torah during High Holy Day services. I didn't do the same thing this time--I certainly didn't ask my son to do it to bring the memory full circle--but I did pat the old Babe on the top of the monument. And yes, it made me feel good.

Before the game, they had a salute to the military, and they had a brief air show, which was pretty spectacular. Military planes buzzed the stadium, and paratroopers came into the stadium on precision as if it were an invasion.

One more thing: the prices on food were incredible. I swear I must have spent over $100 on everything from hot dogs to beverages to Cracker Jack to ... well, at least I had the money on me, after spending $23 on parking before I even got into the new House that Ruth Built.

It only took us a little over an hour to get there, but getting home, it took three hours! Traffic was everywhere. You couldn't move out of the stadium area, and even when you finally made it to the highway, there was traffic due to construction. Later, there was an accident that held everything up.

It was impossible.

The next game we (myself, my wife and son) will attend is in Tampa Bay when we are on vacation late next month. The Rays will play the Yankees, and the way the American League East race is going, it is going to be a battle for first place.

It should be fun, but I bet I won't spend as much money as I did in the Bronx this past Saturday.

But again, there is nothing better than being out at the game. You can smell the grass, you can smell the hot dogs, and the game unfolds right before you without any distraction.

There is nothing like it. I am addicted, I know, but there is nothing like watching Major League Baseball live and in person.

I love it!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rant #275: Watch Your Melons

Hide those melons in your local supermarket, because Debrahlee Lorenzana may be out to get them!

Yes, the comely Ms. Lorenzana has taken the New York and national media by storm this past week, and it all has to do with her breasts.

It seems that this shapely gal was at one time employed by Citibank. Evidently, she was given the boot there because she showcased her shapely figure in tight, cleavage showing clothing that the company felt was completely inappropriate for the workplace.

When she was terminated, the bank said that because of her choice of dress, she was proving to be a distraction.

She sued, of course, and that is when the media firestorm started.

The New York Daily News, never a newspaper to be left abreast of such matters, gave her a media platform, and she has taken off from the ground faster than Supergirl.

But give credit to the Daily News. They also exposed her as a phony--or at least her figure as phony--as it later printed a photo of her when she was on a reality show a few years ago. The photo they used showed her pawing two large melons, putting them up to her chest, and telling someone that this is the size breasts that she wanted through plastic surgery, and that she wanted to look like a Playboy model.

You can see the video below.

Well, evidently she got what she wanted as far as her breasts were concerned.

And with all the daily publicity she has received from the New York media--and also nationally--you know it's only a matter of time before Playboy knocks at her door.

She has since moved onto JP Morgan Chase, and they have told her to calm down her antics. However, she has taken offense to that, saying that she will also take them to court if they muzzle her.

She went to work yesterday, in some sort of ensemble that accentuated her fake curves but didn't show too much.

The whole thing is that obviously, this woman is a publicity hunting person, and she has gotten what she wanted.

But even though she is as she is, and she is as phony as a $3 bill, was Citibank correct in terminating her because the figures she was accentuating had nothing to do with checks and balances?

Banking remains a very conservative industry. My wife works in this field, and she will tell you the same thing. Banks don't want to draw too much attention to themselves, and certainly don't want the attention that a curvy woman brings to the table.

My wife has told me that in the places that she has worked, several females have been told to cover up their assets.

But is this a reason to fire a woman?

I don't know if that is a reason to fire a woman, but this headline-grabbing lady is completely repulsive. And the media buys into this, which is even more repulsive.

Let's count the days before Debrahlee Lorenzana leaves her current position and makes a windfall from Playboy. I am sure that day is coming soon, and once it does, we don't have to hear about this melon head anymore.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rant #274: A Rascal Passes

It is amazing that a movie series that started nearly 100 years ago would still be remembered so fondly by Baby Boomers and other movie lovers, but the Our Gang comedies still resonate with those looking for something to laugh at.

Most of the Our Gang (or to Baby Boomers, Little Rascals) stars are gone, and have not been around for years. There are some, like Jackie Cooper, Dickie Moore, and Robert Blake, who will probably outlive us all.

Most of the girls are gone, and one more was added to the list the other day.

You won't find much about her, and there were scant obituary mentions of her death, but Dorothy DeBorba passed away on June 2. She was 85 and had been in ill health recently.

DeBorba was one of the early talkies leading ladies, and while she was featured in 24 films in the Our Gang Series, I don't think too many people remember her.

But for those that do, that spunky little girl is perhaps best remembered in "Pups Is Pups" from 1930. She played Jackie Cooper's kid sister, and you might remember her as the girl, who in a running gag in the film, keeps on jumping into mud puddles.

You might also remember her in "Love Business," (1931) where she delivered lines to Chubby Chaney that were absolutely hilarious. She mimicked Chaney's love lines to the point where she became known as "Echo."

Her curls and hair ribbons were her trademarks.

After appearing in the series, she worked at Republic Pictures and also worked as a clerk at the University of California-Berkeley.

A lifetime smoker, she continued to smoke even when she was attached to an oxygen tank, and this compulsion led to her demise.

I have been a huge fan of the Our Gang comedies seemingly from childbirth. They are so innocent, depict a different time, and are as funny today as they were when they first came out.

Although a relatively minor player in the series, DeBorba's work stands out.

And as one of the last surviving female stars of the series, the announcement of her death was a bad bit of news to hear about.

Here's some video of her with Chubby. It's not all about DeBorba, but it is all I could find.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rant #273: Ah, Youth ...

Didn't someone once say that "youth is wasted on the young?"

I think someone did, but I don't know who.

But some young people are making major strides into becoming big stars, and yesterday, young baseball players made it known that their youth was not a detriment to their success.

On the eve of the baseball draft--filled with many more young players who will eventually become stars--the Washington Nationals' super-hyped pitcher Stephen Strasburg won his maiden Major League game, a 5-2 victory over the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates.

The young pitcher, who is only 21 years old, struck out 14 in his debut, and only allowed four hits. He didn't walk anyone.

I guess all the hype was true about this guy. He threw several pitches at 100 miles per hour, and 65 of his 94 pitches were strikes.

Almost forgotten in this hubbub is that another baseball phenom, the Florida Marlins' rightfielder Mike Stanton, also had an impressive debut.

In his team's 10-8 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, Stanton went three for five with two infield singles, He also scored two runs.

The 20-year-old is projected less as a singles hitter and more as a slugger, but nonetheless, this was another impressive debut.

And it all makes one feel old. Heck, at 53 years old, I am more than twice the age of these two guys. Even if you add up their ages, I am still way older than the two of them put together.

Sure, I had dreams to play Major League Baseball, but I stunk, and I knew I stunk. But I was never the worst player on the field, and I knew that, too. So I played Little League until I was 15 and then called it a day.

This is unlike another very young slugger, the Atlanta Braves' Jason Heyward, has been hyped as baseball's newest power source. He has had a fine season for the surprising Braves, and, to boot, he is the son of someone who lived in my old stomping grounds in Rochdale Village, Queens, New York!

These guys have a chance to be dominant forces in baseball ... and for that, they bear watching for the remainder of the season.

As for Stanton and Strasburg, will their first games be flukes? Can they continue to be successful? We will just have to wait and see. And the same goes for Heyward.

And as an aside to all of this, the news media has just picked up on the fact that the latest Playboy centerfold is the first one who was born in the 1990s!

Ah, youth ...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rant #272: Walking To 70

We are all growing older. Heck, I can feel it in my bones. I am not 20 years old anymore.

And when one of the icons of your youth turns 70, you have to take notice.

Today is Nancy Sinatra's 70th birthday!

It's hard to believe, isn't it, that Frank's daughter, who turned "These Boots Are Made For Walking" into a worldwide phenomenon, is now the big 7-0.

She was one of the hottest girl singers of the 1960s. She was a Sinatra, so she had to be tough, and unlike a lot of the girl singers of that time, she wasn't fluffy. She was full of poison.

Sure, she had other hits, like "Sugar Town" "Somethin' Stupid" (with her dad) and "The Last of the Secret Agents," but she will be forever known for the "Walking" song, which gave her an image that had escaped her in her early recordings.

The cover of that album is a classic, showing Nancy in a pose that was both provocative and downright perverse at the same time.

And she was in several biker movies. No beach movies for this kid. She was rough and tough, and biker movies suited her just fine.

And although she was not in beach movies--the screen could hold only one siren at a time, and Annette Funicello fit the bill in many ways--Nancy Sinatra looked darn good in a bikini ...

And she looked darned good without a bikini, as she proved in a Playboy pictorial when she was past 50.

She still records to this day, and although being a Sinatra has probably been both a blessing and a curse for her, she has had an incredible career, apart from dad.

Here's wishing Nancy Sinatra many more years of health ...

And keep those boots walking forever.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rant #271: Happy Anniversary ... To Us

Yesterday was a historic day in the annals of history.

June 6 will forever be known as D-Day, and yesterday was the 66th anniversary of the landings that led to the Allied liberation of France in 1944 during World War II.

That event, in itself, makes June 6 a monumental day for all of us, whether we realize it or not.

But June 6 is also an important day for me, because on that day I got married to my wonderful wife.

I met my wife when I was totally down on my luck. A few months prior to meeting her, I decided to join a dating service, which was pretty progressive for its time, much like sites like are now. I had been separated from my first wife for a few years, our divorce wasn't finalized yet, but I knew that it would be within time. And it was time for me to move on and start meeting other women.

Then, I got let go by my company after working there for a few years. This happened right before meeting the woman who would later be my wife. I remember that when I was given her number to call, and first called her, I told her right out that I had just lost my job. I wanted to give her an out just in case she wanted one. But she must have believed in me, because she didn't take the out.

We met, had some fun, and started to date, and the rest is history.

And she stuck with me. I was out of work for more than a year. Sure, I had jobs here and there during that time, but nothing steady. I must say that I was doubting myself during this period. The divorce was being held up by my joblessness. I had to prove to the court that I was looking for work. During the year and a half that I was out of steady work, I applied for over 800 positions.

Finally, I got something. It wasn't the greatest job, but it was steady. Once I got that job, everything fell into place, including my divorce, which was finally set into motion and finalized.

During this period, the woman who became my wife could have left me, if for nothing else, out of impatience. But she kept with me, and I guess it paid off for both of us.

We married on June 6, 1993, one of the happiest days of my life. To this day, everybody says I was smiling from ear to ear the entire ceremony, and I probably was. I finally found the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and I guess she found hers.

It was such a windy day when we got married, and we had an outdoor ceremony to boot. Everything was blowing around, it was a bad hair day, but we persevered.

A few years later, we had our son, to go along with my daughter from my first marriage, and then, tragedy struck again; when my son was just a few weeks old, I lost my job.

Happily, this time I was out of work for just about three months. It helped me bond with my son, and then I found the job I still have.

Yesterday, we didn't do much to celebrate. We went to the movies--one of our favorite things to do dating from our courtship--and saw "Robin Hood," which was better than I thought it would be.

On Saturday, we ate out at a restaurant. And "tragedy" struck again--a crown I have had in my mouth for two years or so came out when I was eating flounder. I am going to try to get that fixed today.

But even without the crown in my mouth, my wife sticks by me.

She is the best.

And even without the crown, she makes me feel like a king.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rant #270: Yer Out!

As a baseball fan, I had to cringe when veteran umpire Jim Joyce called the Cleveland Indians' Jason Donald safe during a game where Detroit Tigers' pitcher Armando Galarraga was on the verge of pitching a perfect game.

And cringe I did, because the call was wrong.

But in the aftermath of this error--on the umpire this time--I think, for once, Major League Baseball got it all right.

I was watching the Yankees drubbing the Orioles again, and when I heard that Galarraga was in the midst of this gem, I turned over to the MLB Network to see the last three outs.

The first was routine, the second less so. Unfortunately, lost because of the umpire misplay was an absolutely fantastic catch by the Tigers' centerfielder, Austin Jackson. If this were a perfect world, Jackson's catch for the second out would have gone into the history books as the catch that saved the perfect game.

Well, onto what should have been the third out. Donald hit the ball to the right side. The first baseman ranged way to far to his right to grab the ball, and he threw to first, where Galaragga snared the ball, put his foot on the bag a clear step ahead of Donald, and that was it.

But Joyce called the runner safe!

No, this could not be! But it was.

The next out was recorded, and Galaragga had a one-hitter. Not nearly as good as a perfect game, but still pretty good.

Well, after the game, Joyce, a veteran umpire who is probably one of the best in the business, admitted that he blew the call.

Galaragga, almost understandably, blew his stack.

But evidently, both made their amends to each other.

Before yesterday's game, Galaragga was presented with a car, which I am sure soothed his wound a little bit (but he can probably afford this car himself--he should donate it to a worthy cause). He also carried out the lineup card, and presented it to Joyce, who was behind the plate for this game. They jokingly patted each other on the head, and that was that.

Baseball looked into this, and for once, Bud Selig made the right call. He decided that the game would stand as it is, and go down as a one-hitter.

Frankly, if he would have rescinded Joyce's call, it would have cast a pall on the integrity of baseball's umpires. It would have also opened a Pandora's Box of problems, being that any call, play or incident in a baseball game could be open to question.

In a game that is full of judgment calls that are about 98 percent correct, you really can't have that.

Baseball will look into the extended use of instant replay, though, which I think is an idea whose time has come.

I have one question which I don't think has been brought up by anybody about this unfortunate incident.

Why didn't the crew chief reverse the call himself?

I don't know who the crew chief was, but it was not Joyce. In other sports--most noticeably in pro basketball--the other referees defer to the crew chief. I have seen many basketball games where the crew chief over-rules the other official, and you don't hear a peep about it.

However, in baseball, you rarely ever see that happen.

I think it is some unwritten rule in baseball that one umpire does not upstage the other, and that is why you rarely see this happen.

Well, it should have happened during this game, because it stole a once-in-a-lifetime moment from a young pitcher, and it made a veteran umpire look like a Little League once-a-weeker.

What a shame!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rant #269: Bark! You Have Cancer!

Dog's are known as man's best friend, and based on a recent report from Parisian researchers, they potentially are REALLY our best friends.

According to the researchers, dogs can be trained to detect the characteristic odor of unique chemicals released into urine by prostate tumors.

Evidently, many cancerous tumors--not just from the prostate, but from other areas, including the breast and lung--release odors that can be detected by the extremely sensitive canine nose.

According to the researchers, it takes a year to train dogs to detect such odors, and their detection methods can be more reliable than those of the current tests that are used to detect such cancers.

Well, once again, dogs have been found to be the most helpful of all animals in keeping humans healthy and happy.

This does not surprise me. They say animals have no souls, and I completely disagree with that when it comes to dogs. If they didn't, then they wouldn't be so attuned to human beings.

They are the most dedicated of all animals to humans. Sure, they rely on us for everything they have, but they give back too.

When I see my dog, Max (not pictured), smile as he gets petted, or after we take him out to do his thing, I know that this dog has a soul.

He feels the love that we give him every day. He is nothing more than what you would call a house dog, but I swear he understands everything I say to him.

He is part of our family, and at 14 years old, you won't find a more trusted pet than Max.

And again, I am not an animal lover, per se.

But this pet is something else.

And now, if dogs can be trained to detect such cancers, wouldn't they be more than pets?

They would be our protectors, which would suit my family--and Max--just fine.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rant #268: Still Lost

Now that we are over a week removed from the "Lost" finale, I think it is time that I dissected the final plot nuances, the plot devices used, the metaphors and similes, the ...

No, I won't do that here.

As I said in a previous rant, I found "Lost" to be an intriguing show that kind of went off the deep end, and I am going to stay with that summation. The best seasons were the first and second, as the main crux of what was going on--the plane crashing and the castaways looking to do what they could to get off the island--were explored during this period.

Once they got into season three, things went haywire, the show lost a lot of its audience, and even those that stayed with the show had to scratch their heads at what was supposedly going on.

The final show did nothing to clear very much up, and left some loose ends that, well, if you want to believe the people involved with the show, are there for the audience to figure out themselves.

I guess that since this group had such a horrific experience together when they died in the plane crash--or at least as a result of the plane crash--that they had to go together as a group to heaven.

And that included those that they connected with, including loves and babies.

But they had to meet some challenges head-on to prove that they deserved a place behind the pearly gates.

One they met those challenges, the door was open to them--but they went in as a group.

Ben could not go with them because he never made the same physical and emotional connection with them that they had. He also had not yet met his challenges head-on like they did. His time would come later.

That is my reading of the last episode. We can argue until the end of our own time what it really meant. I think it is way open for interpretation.

Let me say that my favorite character on the show was Hurley. I thought that character was the moral compass of the island, its conscience, and the character ended up being the island's No. 1 protector. He never meant to be the hero, but he was one at the end.

Well, that's it. There really isn't much more to say about it ...

Although I am sure that it isn't the last word we will hear about the show.

And what of the actors who starred in the show?

Most, if not all, were unknowns or B-level actors. Sometimes a show like this tends to limit its actors when they want to do other things, typecasting them out of roles that they want.

I hope it doesn't happen to this group. You can tell that they embraced their roles, embraced the stardom that came from these roles, and I hope to see them do other things in the future that are not limited by what they've done in the past.

Will their abilities get "lost" now that the show is over?

Let's hope not.

Now, what about the smoke monster ...

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