Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rant #515: Busting Up Over Paralegal

Leave it to the New York Daily News to find this story hiding under a rock somewhere ...

A Chicago lawyer is saying his opponent in a small claims case is using his paralegal's large breasts to distract the jury.

Attorney Thomas Gooch, who is representing a car dealership, filed a motion last week asking Judge Anita Rivkin-Carothers to force the opposing lawyer's buxom assistant to sit in the audience, rather than at the plaintiff's table.

Gooch (yes, that is his real last name) said his opposing lawyer, Dmitry N. Feofanov, is using Daniella Attencia to draw the attention (get it Attencia-attention) of the jury away from the proceedings.

Feofanov insists that Attencia is his paralegal, and he needs her for his case.

Gooch, on the other hand, thinks that she is just there to show off her ample bosom, and isn't a paralegal at all.

"Personally, I like large breasts," Gooch was reported to have said. "However, I object to somebody I don't think is a qualified paralegal sitting at the counsel table -- when there's already two lawyers there -- dressed in such a fashion as to call attention to herself."

Feofanov said he's got paperwork to prove she's legit.

Evidently she has been paid as a paralegal before, but Gooch said that even though she has been paid as one, it doesn't make her one.

(The photo I used today is totally unrelated to the story. It is the cleanest photo I could find related to the search "busty lawyer.")

I don't know about this one. Just because a woman has an ample figure, does that preclude her from working on a law team?

On the other hand, if you see how some women dress today--even to work--with their you know whats bouncing and hanging out all over the place--don't you think the woman, or even the lawyer she is working with, know what she is doing?

There are scant few pictures of Attencia on the Web (rats!), so I can't judge for myself.

But again, should a woman's ample figure bar her from court proceedings?

All who believe that probably believe that a woman like this was born to do porno films, and that is it.

On the other hand, if her ample endowments are on display in the court, wouldn't you say that is wrong too?

Personally, I don't want to be Solomon here, making the breast, err, best decision about this woman and why she is in the courtroom.

But I think that Gooch should get her eyes of this woman's breasts and back to his legal briefs. (And keep on his other briefs, while he is at it.)

I'm sure his client would want that from him.

As for Attencia, well, let's see more of her on the Web. Then we can judge for ourselves what's going on.

C'mon, more Attencia on the Web.


(The latest wrinkle in this case is that Atencia is actually Feofanov's wife! Stay tuned, this might get more interesting!)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Rant #514: Well, I'll Be

This was a strange morning in the blogosphere.

As I always do, I collected myself and had a decent topic to talk about as I attempted to enter this blog.

However, Google pulled a fast one on me this morning. I could not get into this blog.

No matter what I did, I couldn't get into the blog. I even changed my password, but to no avail.

I looked into the blog during various times of the day, but I was till prevented from entering.

Now, at past 10 p.m. New York time, I have finally been able to do what I wanted to do with this blog.

However, what I wanted to talk about will have to wait.

Since I wasted a day today, I might just post something on Monday, which is a holiday. Usually I take the holidays off from the blog, but I might do something on Monday.

So, if you looked for something from me this morning and found nothing, no, I wasn't sick, I wasn't not near a computer, I did not forget.

Google did something, which I still haven't figured out.

I wasn't the only one who had trouble this morning--someone actually sent me an email through Google Help--but I did try.

Have a nice holiday, and I might actually see you back here on Monday.

If Google allows it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rant #513: Nothing But Promises, Promises

Did you ever have a song that you can’t get out of your head?

A song that you don’t necessarily like, but it sticks in your brain like peanut butter sticks to bread?

I have been going through this the past few weeks with a song from my childhood that I had pretty much forgotten about, until hearing it on the radio a few weeks ago.

And since hearing it, I can't get it out of my head.

The song is “Promises, Promises” from the 1968 Broadway show of the same name, a production which was written by Neil Simon. It’s from the only Broadway show that Burt Bacharach and Hal David ever wrote the score for. Although I never saw the show, it is supposedly based on the 1960 film “The Apartment,”

The song’s most popular version was by Dionne Warwick, who had a top 20 hit with it when the show was on Broadway. It has also been sung by many others, including Jerry Orbach, in the original Broadway show, Tony Roberts, in the London cast, and most recently, Sean Hayes in the 2010 Broadway revival.

Anyway, I just can’t get this tune out of my noggin, and I don’t know why.

I kind of like the Bacharach/David compositions of this period. They are light, frothy, and have the 1960s mentality written all over them, or at least the pop mentality.

Warwick was their muse, having numerous hits generated by the songwriting duo, including “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” (also from the show) and “Do You Know the Way to San Jose.”

As I said, light and frothy. No psychedelics in these songs.

I have never been much of a fan of Warwick, but in “Promises, Promises,” she puts her voice to good use, using her range well. The song doesn’t seem that hard to sing, but it has its moods and changes.

But that doesn’t explain, why do I have this song in my head like I do?

I have never seen the play in any incarnation. But, my parents did, way back when, and my mother was the type that after she saw a show she liked, she would head to the record store to buy the recording.

I still have that recording in my record collection, with Orbach warbling the tune.

Well, whoever sings it, I have it in my head—but again, it wasn’t there before I heard the tune on the radio a few weeks back.

I figure that it must be stirring up some memory that I just can’t pinpoint right now.

Or maybe somewhere in my memory, I just remember my mother playing the LP on our Hi Fi, and the memory was released when I heard the song again.

But whatever it is, it is driving me nuts. I often find myself either humming the song or singing some of the lyrics when I am walking the dog, and let me tell you, I am no Dionne Warwick, and I am not even near Jerry Orbach, either.

Maybe I need to look into my inner soul to find out what is going on in my brain.

I promise myself to do this … there I go again with this “promises” thing again.

I must be losing it …

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rant #512: JFK and the Babe

Today marks two interesting anniversaries.

Seventy six years ago today, in 1935, Babe Ruth hit his 714th, and final, home run of his career.

Although he was best known for his heroics with the New York Yankees, Ruth was a few years separated from the Bronx Bombers. His last home run was hit while he was a member of the Boston Braves.

His 714 home runs was a record that stood for more than 30 years, until Hank Aaron broke it. Of course, Barry Bonds broke Aaron's record, but that is a story for another time.

Twenty six years after the Babe hit his final homer--and 50 years ago to the day--President John F. Kennedy was hitting his own homer. He hit the ball out of the park today in 1961 when he said, "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth."

After that mandate was set, we made that proclamation come true. Although JFK never lived to see it, man did land on the moon, not just once but several times.

Although these two anniversaries really have nothing in common with each other other than sharing the same date in history, JFK and the Babe do share some similarities.

Both were truly larger than life figures.

Both had many rumors swirling about them related to infidelity.

Both died way too young.

With all their faults, both were looked up to by millions, and to this day, people speak reverentially about both of them.

It is amazing that years after their death, they are still in the hearts and minds of the nation.

Is there an American who hasn't heard of each one? Is there an American who can't provide at least one interesting morsel about each of them--even if they weren't around when these two men lived?

Each man signified an era.

Ruth certainly signified the Roaring 20s, when Prohibition was in and the Depression was right around the corner. Ruth did everything in excess, which certainly signified the pre-Depression years of the flappers.

JFK did everything in excess, too, and he signified the move from the plain 1950s to the revolutionary Swingin' Sixties, although he never really got to see how that decade turned out.

You wouldn't think that this poor kid from Baltimore and this rich kid from New England had much in common, but they certainly did.

They also shared and lived one more thing:

The American Dream, and each one of them proved that no matter how you start out in life, with the right breaks and talent, you can live it.

I would like to think that that feeling is still true today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rant #511: The End of the World — Postponed

Harold Camping, that idiot so-called preacher who predicted that the world was going to end on Saturday, May 21, has done it again.

He now claims his prophecy was off by five months, as "Judgment Day" will now come on Oct. 21.

Don't you get the impression that this fool is like somebody you hire when you need some service done in your dwelling? You ask him when he is going to be there, and he says, "Sometime between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m."

And also, you have to question this idiot's prediction even more. He said that on May 21 and now October 21, that 200 million Christians would be taken to heaven before the earth was destroyed.

Well, where does that leave me? I guess I am a heathen, because I am Jewish.

This dope was reportedly so upset at his miscalculation that he left home with his wife and took refuge in a hotel.

The scariest thing about this whole thing is that Camping actually has people who believe him--and a lot of them.

Would they have been happy if the world ended? How would they show their happiness?

Were they disappointed that they could still see the faces of their loved ones after 6 p.m. on the supposed end of the world day? Were they disappointed that they could see the faces of their children?

I don't get this whole thing at all, I really don't.

And again, what scares me the most is that this idiot actually has people who believe him.

They are as mentally ill as he is, and the media loves this, they really do. They cover it as if it were as important as ...

Lindsay Lohan's next arrest.

And I am guilty, too, because I have devoted a whole Rant to this jerk and his prediction.

But then again, according to Camping, I can't be saved and I am going to hell anyway.

Or at least I am going down when the world does on October 21.

Mark your calendars--we only have five more months to go.

And it will go really quick.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rant #510: So the World Didn't End ... For Me, At Least

Well, the world didn't end. We are all still here.

It boggles the mind how people can get themselves involved with this, and how they can get themselves involved with that multi-millionaire nut who was promulgating this nonsense.

And, I ask, were they disappointed that the world did not end? Would they have been happy if everything went according to "plan"?

The world did end a day earlier for wrestling great Randy "Macho Man" Savage.

He died in a car accident on Friday. Although the full report is not in, it appears that he might have had some type of "medical episode" while he was driving. One thing led to another, and his car hit a tree, killing him. His wife was in the car, but somehow, she suffered only minor injuries.

Savage WAS wrestling in the 1980s. He and Hulk Hogan kept professional wrestling alive, keeping it on resuscitation long enough to make a comeback and eventually become the worldwide phenomenon it is today.

Savage's first sport was baseball, and he played in the St. Louis Cardinals' minor league system for a while. He was teammates with future All-Star Keith Hernandez during this early period.

But he moved onto pro wrestling, and his flashy personality made him a fan favorite, topped by his televised wedding to his valet, Miss Elizabeth.

Funny thing, in the ring, Savage (real last name Poffo) was flashy as a flash cube, but in real life, he was kind of conservative. In the ring, Miss Elizabeth was conservative, but in real life, she was out of control.

She later died of a drug overdose.

Savage--whose father and brother were also pro wrestlers--stayed with wrestling in the old WWF and later WCW. He achieved even greater fame as a spokesman for Slim Jim meat snacks. His raspy voice went well with those type of snacks.

He was in and out of the wrestling game for the past 20 years, but now he is gone.

My family and I had our own "end-of-the-word" episode at precisely 6:25 p.m. on Saturday.

My wife and I were watching TV in the living room, my son was on the computer in his room.

All of a sudden, we heard an explosion, and we lost all of our electricity ... as did, we discovered, everyone on our block and in the surrounding area.

To make a long story short, a transformer right across the street had exploded, and the air was full of smoke and smell.

It took about four hours, but we did receive our power back after 10 p.m.

Thus, I missed the Yankees-Mets game on Saturday, which the Yankees won. I guess the world didn't end for them, either.

And the world did not end, for us at least.

Did it end for any of you?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rant #509: Let Me Get This Out Before the World Ends

The world is ending on Saturday, May 21.

Or so claim numerous doomsayers, who predict that the world will end because, well, we deserve it.

So I better get in a lot of stuff that I wanted to say and do during the next 24 hours.

Otherwise, I might not have time.

So here goes:

Back to 1967 Borders?: Sorry, I don't buy President Obama's new stance about Israel going back to the borders that were established before the Six-Day War. If he really believes that, perhaps our own country should give back Texas and other states in that area to Mexico that we won in war. And his decision won't placate the Palestinians. They want their own state, and the annihilation of Israel, not necessarily in that order.

Active Hurricane Season Forecast: Heck, they've predicted active seasons since Katrina in 2005. Why should this year be any different? Twelve to 18 tropical storms are expected to hit the eastern U.S., with about half of them turning into hurricanes, say the supposed experts on this area. Phooey! I don't believe a word of it.

Playboy Launches Online Site Offering All of Its Magazines: Yes, that's true, for a fee ($8 a month, $60 for a year), you can now access all of the issues of Playboy--every breast and all the rest--from 1954 to the present. That includes the articles, which, of course, is the reason the magazine has been so successful for so long. To me, that is nice, but after you find what you want, are you really going to want to ante up the cash on a regular basis?

Big Day in the History of Flight: Today happens to mark the anniversary of several touchstones in the history of flight. In 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field on Long Island aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on his historic flight to France. Five years later, in 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic solo. And finally, in 1939, regular transatlantic mail service began as Pan Am's Yankee Clipper took off from Port Washington, Long Island on its trip to France. I wonder if both Lindbergh and Earhart had to remove their shoes before being able to board their planes, and was there any powder in those envelopes that went from Long Island to France?

Couric Ends Runs As Nightly CBS News Anchor: And I have to say I am sorry to see her go. I was a doubter when she took over the anchor's chair of the CBS Evening News five years ago, but I grew to really like her. Even though the show faltered right from the get-go in the ratings, it was nice to come home to work and hear and watch her handle the news. I found her to be more focused than I thought she was, and yes, I also found her to be quite fetching, too, a clear difference from the all-male fraternity who have filled the nighttime news slots for ages. Too bad most people felt differently than I did.

Hart Tapes Final Broadcast: Along the same lines, Entertainment Tonight co-anchor Mary Hart taped her final broadcast last night, just about 30 years after she took over that seat from original female anchor Dixie Whatley. It has been a terrific run for her, but the show has been absolutely terrible for about the past decade or so. It has lost its focus, becoming nothing more than a smooze-fest, making it into a snooze-fest for me. Hart is better than that, and she is leaving at the right time.

3D Titanic: And since we are all going to hell anyway, why not go to hell with dozens of passengers of the Titanic--in 3D! Yes, all the death and destruction of that real-life disaster will be displayed in 3D on April 12, 2012--that is, if we all last that long. The 1997 blockbuster film is being worked on right now. The re-release coincides with the 100th anniversary of the day the ship set sail. But in 3D? I don't know, but it might be interesting to see Kate Winslet naked in 3D--that might make it all worthwhile.

But again, we are also supposed to perish tomorrow, so we probably won't be around for that.

I guess I can go to my grave not having seen Winslet in this manner.

Oh well, see you ... sometime.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rant #508: Jackie and Marilyn ... and JFK ... and Ah-nold ... and Maria ...

When we look at the current scandal enveloping Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, it forces us to look back, because this is not the only politically-tinged sex scandal that has befallen the nation during the past 50 years--not by a long shot.

There have been many, many such trysts that have captured the attention of the media, the nation and the world.

Although not necessarily one of these--although I think the message was clear, even though there wasn't any proof of this--today is the 49th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's "Happy Birthday to You" moment at a Democratic fundraiser in New York City.

John F. Kennedy was President, and he, and his brothers, had incredible reputations as womanizers even back then. JFK was married to Jackie, but the rumors were always there.

The press was different then, protecting those with power rather than exposing them, like they do today.

Well, during a Democratic fundraiser, which took place at old Madison Square Garden--the predecessor to the current arena--Monroe sauntered out in a skin-tight gown and sexily sung her birthday wishes to the President.

He looked embarrassed, and he should have been. The sexual overtones were incredible. Even watching the video all these years later, the sexual energy here was incredible.

Imagine Pamela Anderson doing the same thing today to President Obama, or better yet, Jenna Jameson.

Anyway, rumors circulated about the JFK-Monroe link for years to come, even outlasting their own lives.

And this incident didn't quell rumors, it stirred them up.

I mean, it wasn't as if Margaret Hamilton was serenading him.

The ironic thing is today is also the 17th anniversary of the death of Jackie Kennedy.

And, of course, Ah-nold is related to the Kennedys through his marriage to a Kennedy.

So all of this didn't start with Ah-nold, and won't end with him either.

People in power often let their egos fly out of their pants, and they really should know better.

But they seemingly never do.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rant #507: The Killer Is Gone

Harmon Killebrew, one of the greatest baseball players ever, and certainly one of the best ballplayers when I was a kid in the 1960s, died yesterday of cancer. He was 74.

Playing almost his entire career with the Minnesota Twins--who moved to Minnesota after their tenure as the Washington Senators ended--"The Killer," as he was known, hit 573 homeruns during his more than 20-year career.

And his tape-measure homers were probably only matched by those launched by Mickey Mantle during this period.

He hit 40 or more homers during eight seasons, and was a fine first baseman too.

He made 13 All-Star teams, won one MVP award (1969), and was voted to Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1984.

Legend has it that Killebrew was discovered in Idaho, a stocky farm boy who built his body through hard work, such as lifting heavy milk cans, each and every day.

A standout high school athlete, legend has it that Killebrew was "discovered" by Idaho Sen. Herman Welker, who touted Killebrew enough to Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith that Griffith sent the team's farm director to Idaho for a scouting trip.

Although I remember his homeruns, my lasting memory of Killebrew is not a good one.

Playing in the 1968 All-Star Game, he was playing first base, and reached for a throw. He lost his footing and did a split. I have never seen anyone in such agony. He was carried off the field, still in intense pain.

But to see him give 110 percent at an All-Star Game, a game which many players use as an excuse for a vacation, was something that I will never forget.

In later years, he spent several seasons as a broadcaster and spring training instructor.

He was one of the most well-liked people in baseball, and although he struggled in later years, he never missed a spring training.

He will be missed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rant #506: Ah-nold the Sperminator

I am pretty sure that the last word in my title here has probably been used in a porno film before I used it--and if it hasn't, well, I guess I've coined a term--but let's face it, Arnold Schwarzenegger has proven that he is a bit of a pig.

The former California governor--and star of "The Terminator" and countless other flicks--has acknowledged that he fathered a child with a member of his household staff. When this news was presented to his wife, Maria Shriver, she left the couple's home before they announced their separation last week.

The child actually preceded Ah-nold's ascendency to the governorship, and is probably about 10 years old now. The reports I have read have not revealed the child's sex or how Schwarzenegger is taking care of him/her (and obviously, has taken care of the staffer so she wouldn't blab).

Funny, but Schwarzenegger has been accused of piggish behavior with women before. He has been accused of groping more than one, and he has said things in the past that have shown that he considers women in a lesser light then men.

But who knew he was dropping his pants?

It is truly amazing that this news only leaked out now, when he is not the governor anymore. How has he kept this indiscretion so hush hush for such a long time?

I am sure he has paid the woman handsomely, but how could Maria Shriver not have known about this?

Or did she know about it, but simply figured that she wouldn't complain just yet, not with her husband as governor and she as the state's first lady?

That is assuming a lot, but you never know. Don't tell me Hillary Clinton hasn't know about her husbands indiscretions. She, and perhaps Shriver, figured they could get ahead through their association with their husbands, even thought these men can't keep their pants on.

And, of course, we also have the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, who tried to skip town last week but was nabbed when it came out that he forced sex on a chambermaid at the hotel he was staying at in New York City.

And like Ah-nold, he has been accused many times before of piggish behavior with women.

The difference in this case to that of Schwarzenegger is that the Frenchman is being accused of rape--and his wife is standing by her man, saying it could not have happened.

I don't know what is more reprehensible, the behavior of these powerful men or the behavior of their wives, who take a "see no evil, hear no evil" stance. And that includes Shriver, who is portraying herself as possibly the dumbest woman on the planet.

But these guys are pigs. They really are.

My advice to them is to keep their pants on, because every drop of their pants is going to cost them, and cost them dearly.

Will they ever learn?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rant #505: Mystery Solved

I am sure you heard about a former Playboy Playmate of the Month who was found dead in her dilapidated apartment a few weeks ago.

Evidently, she had been dead for a year or so, but no one noticed until recently, when mail started to pile up at her door.

Now we have learned that Vickers, an actress in several classic B-movie horror films, died of natural causes "due to arterial sclerotic cardiovascular disease," or heart disease caused by a hardening of the arteries, according to the Los Angeles Coroner's Office.

Vickers, who was in her 80s, had left a space heater on, and evidently had a heart attack when she died. The space heater continued to run for the past year without interruption.

But for a year, she had no visitors, no family, nobody, who tried to visit her or at least check in on her.

When police finally investigated her disappearance, they found a woman who was as far away from the glitz and glamor of Hollywood as one could be. She was a virtual recluse, her apartment was filled with boxes and was in disrepair ... it was pretty much a mess.

But 50 years ago, this girl was as hot as hot could be.

Vickers was nothing more than a B-movie actress, at best, during her time in the limelight. She used her good looks--she could have been Marilyn Monroe's sister--to become a model, posing for Playboy in 1959.

Her good looks got her into a few lower-level films, including 1958's "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" and 1959's "Attack of the Giant Leeches."

For a young kid who watched "Chiller Theater" and "Creature Features," she was one of the female stars that I recognized as a young child.

She also had bit parts in major movies, including "Sunset Boulevard" and "Hud."

Her last feature role was in a 1990 horror called "Evil Spirits."

She also did loads of commercials, and was the White Rain girl in a series of mid-1950s TV ads.

Vickers also was a singer, releasing at least one album.

She married twice, but both marriages did not last very long. She also reportedly had a long-term romance with actor Jim Hutton.

Whatever happened to her throughout the remainder of her life, what a sad end to an interesting story.

And what is ironic is that at the time of her death, she was writing her autobiography. What stage that work was in is unknown, but however far she got with it, it might be an interesting read.

R.I.P. Yvette Vickers.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rant #504: Friday the 13th Idiocy

You just knew it had to be Friday the 13th.

I tried to get into this blog this morning, only to be met with a message telling me that Google's blogs were down.

Not only that, but my Rant of yesterday--against smoking--also bit the dust.

I don't have a copy of it, so if you didn't see it yesterday, you aren't going to see it today.

Maybe there's also a full moon out, I don't know.

But losing a Rant also ticks me off.

I spend time thinking these things through, and when one bites the dust--because of some other entity's stupidity--I don't really like it too much.

It is kind of ironic, though. The Rant had to do with smoking, a practice that kills thousands of people every year.

And now, my smoking Rant was killed.

Very sad. I will never put up a #503 Rant ever again in honor of this worthy Rant that isn't around anymore.

Anyway, it is Friday the 13th, the day the movie series was named after.

I hope to continue to have a fairly decent day (other than the lost Rant).

But I remember on one Friday the 13th, about seven years ago, we had something of a "job massacre" at my work.

My managing editor was fired, and several other people lost their jobs, if I remember correctly.

It was an awful day at work; the one day seemingly lasted about five days. I couldn't wait to get out of there and get back home that day.

But Friday the 13th is lucky for some people, I guess.

Like the people who created the Friday the 13th movie franchise.

They can thank their lucky stars about Friday the 13th, because it has made them millions.

Me, this Friday the 13th is just another day.

Two days from now, my daughter will celebrate her 23rd birthday.

Other than that, this day means nothing to me.

It's just another day in paradise, if you know what I mean.

(And this dumbness got me away from giving a "shout out" to my daughter, who turns 23 on Sunday. Happy Birthday ... and many more!!!!!)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rant #503: Up In Smoke

According to an Associated Press story, Chief Executive Louis C. Camilleri of cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc. told a nurse handling cancer patients that while cigarettes are harmful and addictive, it is not that hard to break the habit and quit.

In addition, Camilleri also said that the tobacco industry doesn't get enough credit for the efforts it makes to ensure that there is effective worldwide regulation of a product that is both harmful and addictive. He added that there are more previous smokers in America today than current smokers.

Camilleri is himself a smoker, and reportedly only quit once, for three months when he had a bad cold.

Obviously, this guy lives on another planet. Tobacco use is perhaps the most addictive habit of all, and the hardest to break.

We have all seen people smoking, often chain smoking, and we grieve for those people, especially loved ones.

The habit often begins in young adulthood, and carries over to adulthood.

Sure, some people can smoke and never get hit by it.

But so many people get cancer from it.

And on a lesser level, it is a somewhat disgusting habit. No matter how much perfume or after shave someone uses, you know that they are a smoker.

The residue clings to the body. There is always a stench around these people.

Just look at their faces. They are always yellowish or full of lines.

That is what smoking does to you.

Perhaps I am prejudiced. My grandfather was a heavy smoker. He went from cigarettes to pipes to cigars in one fell swoop.

He couldn't help himself. He was an addict, plain and simple.

And when he did stop, it was way too late.

My grandfather lived until he was 74 I think. My grandmother, his wife and a non-smoker, lived into her late 80s. My mother, their child, just turned 80. Using these basic statistics, I think smoking robbed probably at least 10 years off my grandfather's life.

He never saw my sister and I graduate high school and college, and he never saw us become parents ourselves, so he never experienced being a great grandparent.

That is what he robbed himself of by smoking.

This dummy from Philip Morris has no understanding of this at all.

And with cigarettes going for double figures pure pack, I am sure he is counting the cash in his wallet, and at the same time lighting up.

I wonder how his grandchildren feel about this, and how they would feel if their grandfather got really sick from these cancer sticks.

I really wonder ... .

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rant #502: Good For the Island

Today, a proposal will be launched to revitalize the hub of Nassau County, Long Island, the major strip of land that is the site of the Nassau Coliseum.

After long delay, a proposal, which will eventually be voted on by the public, is on the table. This proposal will include a new arena, a minor league baseball stadium and other improvements.

It will cost millions, and the public will be able to vote on its worthiness in a special election during the summer.

Even though it will most probably raise taxes, I have to be all for it.

Without it, the Coliseum will never be redeveloped, the New York Islanders NHL hockey team will move, and this major strip of land will be wasted on things like a casino and low-income housing--or perhaps even worse, completely lay barren, not generating much revenue.

The proposal will create jobs, especially in the construction industry, and probably longer term jobs in the Coliseum and the new ballpark.

Sure, it's probably not the perfect solution for this expanse of land, but it is far better than the alternative.

Way back when, I said that the then-burgeoning Lighthouse proposal--which would have been privately financed--should be passed. In that long-ago Rant, I figured that that proposal--which would have also brought a huge amount of retail to the area--would be better than the alternative.

But those behind that proposal were ill-prepared to answer questions surrounding this idea, and the proposal ended up falling flat.

I am sure those behind the newest proposal are better prepared, and will have all the answers that need to be addressed.

I say go for it. Again, it is not perfect, but looking at the alternative, would you rather have a revamped site or a site that falls into further disrepair, generating nothing but negativity?

When the vote comes, I hope those in Nassau County vote YES for the proposal.

I really do.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rant #501: Houston, We Have a Problem

Whitney Houston, the once golden-voiced diva who sold millions of records during her heyday in the 1980s, and who has battled drug addiction for years, has entered rehab once again.

She is reportedly in a drug and alcohol treatment rehab program at an undisclosed location. She can leave the facility, but only with a monitor.

Lots of people thought that something was awry as far back as 2009. Houston, supposedly clean--released an album--the name of which I can't remember--and it played to mainly negative reviews, but more importantly, most people not only questioned the quality of the material, but the quality of her voice.

Her voice, once considered by many to be as velvety smooth as silk, had become wretched, evidently wracked by many years of abuse, including of the drug and alcohol kind.

On her tour to promote the album, she cancelled numerous dates due to illness, and negative reviews also impacted the tour.

Now we pretty much know what was going on--not that we didn't figure that this was what was happening.

Personally, I have never been a fan of Houston. She was the first of what I call the shriekers or screechers, who don't necessarily sing, more than shriek or screech. They may have good voices, but you would never know it by the way they handle a song, warbling rather than singing, using vocal gymnastics more than actual technique.

But you can't argue her popularity as one of the most popular singers in the world for a number of years.

Her success opened the floodgates for similar screechers, including Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera.

What can I say? I just don't like these types of singers.

But Houston was plenty popular. She sold millions of records--including "I Will Always Love You," the Dolly Parton song that is one of the biggest sellers in history--she acted, she was ubiquitous in every form of media for a while.

Her high profile marriage to Bobby Brown kept her, and him, in the headlines for years, mostly for negatives rather than positives.

And the descent has been precipitous.

My, how the mighty have fallen.

When I heard about Houston, I also heard that the Ah-nold and Maria Shriver marriage may be kaput.

Sometimes, you reach the top of the mountain, but even though you've hit the summit, the top is too steep.

I think that that is what happened to Houston, to Ah-nold and his wife, and to so many others.

Gravity sets in, and maybe a little reality too.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rant #500: Today Is the Day

Today is my 500th official post on this blog.

I think I actually have a couple more than 500, but as far as official posts, this is a milestone for me.

When I first started this blog, I decided that if everyone else could do something like this, why couldn't I?

I have been a writer for decades, but always writing about things other people--namely my employers--wanted me to write about.

But here, I can write about just about anything I want to write about.

Having this freedom keeps the energy flowing. When you are constantly writing about things that others want you to write about, you can get stale and boring, especially if it is the same thing over and over, which is my circumstance.

Well, that is not true here.

I have written about President Obama, the New York Yankees, hating to wear a tie, and numerous other topics that interest me.

Today, May 9, is, coincidentally, also a major milestone in my life, as it was the day I was bar mitzvahed. Today is the 41st anniversary of that day.

I have written extensively about it before here, so I won't go that deep into it again, but looking back, am I the same person that I was at 13 as I am at 54?

I think that I am, pretty much. I still believe in the same things, although from an adult viewpoint.

The things that I believed were wrong then I still believe are wrong, and the things that I believed were right then are still OK with me.

But again, I am an adult now, rather than a kid, so my perspective has changed on some things.

You can't be a kid your whole life, so your viewpoints on some things have to change.

For instance, I doubt I worried about the price of gas back then, but today, my perspective is a different one.

Back then, the snow didn't bother me; now, I hate the snow with a passion.

In 1970, I couldn't have imagined that I would have married, and took the plunge twice.

Nor could I have imagined that I would have two kids, a boy and a girl.

I am sure I thought that when I got older, I would get married and have kids, but certainly, your dreams at 13 are not your dreams at 54.

Have I fulfilled all the dreams I had way back when?

Probably not, but who has?

But it has been a good, decent life. There are still things I would like to do, and maybe I will do them.

And one of those things is write a No. 501 rant and rave, which I will do tomorrow.

See you then.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rant #499: Trumped President?

Now that President Obama is surely soaring in the polls after the death of Osama bin Laden, it is time for reasonable people to take a stand.

Say no to Donald Trump for president!

A new poll reports that most New Yorkers don't like the idea of a Trump presidential run.

The NY1-YNN/Marist Poll says that 75 percent of votes in New York disapprove of Trump running for the highest position in our country, while 24 percent favor the real estate magnate/reality TV star.

And what is most interesting, among Republicans--the line he would probably run on--two thirds of voters oppose such a run.

And who do voters want to run against President Obama? Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani leads former New York Governor George Pataki and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, as well as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Honestly, unless a better candidate comes out of the woodwork for the Republicans, I think that President Obama will win in a landslide.

Trump is an absolutely horrible candidate, and his candidacy, if he, in fact, would like to run, has been soured beyond repair by his current attacks on the President's birthplace and school records. He looks like an oaf, and is acting like one.

Guiliani might be a viable candidate, but he has to put his personal life out of the picture, as would Trump if he ran. Both of their personal lives have been at best messy.

The former Governor of New York State is not that well known outside of New York, and since he has been out of office, he has kept a very low profile, so low that he is out of the minds of voters.

New Jersey Governor Christie is a neophyte on the national scene. Perhaps somewhere down the road, but not now.

And Mayor Bloomberg? Don't get me started on him. He is probably the worse candidate out of the entire lot.

Can anyone beat Obama? Certainly not Sarah Palin, who curiously, is keeping a very low profile now. However, she is a skanky as they come, a close second to Bloomberg as the worst possible candidate that the Republicans can put up against the President.

I just don't know who else might want to run, but right now, even though Obama hasn't been a great president, there is no one even near him on the Republican side.

I will bet you, though, that Mickey Mouse will garner plenty of votes this time around, as the character always does. This is how some people show their opposition to the major candidates, and if they want to vote that way, more power to them.

I think that they think the choice is actually no choice.

And the scary thing is that they may actually be right.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rant #498: Thanks, Jackie

Jackie Cooper passed away a few days ago. He was 88 and died of old age.

A few months ago, in Rant #333, I gave a pretty decent overview of Cooper's wide ranging career, tied into his birthday. He was an actor, a producer, a director, a writer, an executive, and one of the best remembered and most beloved of the Our Gang alumni.

He basically did it all.

And in a break from tradition, I am going to rerun that Rant right here.

I thought I said it well then, and I don't think I can improve upon it, so here goes:

Jackie Cooper is 88 years old today.

I know that some of you may not know who Jackie Cooper is, but to my generation, this guy was certainly one of our earliest stars, the guy we watched on TV every day as a member of the Little Rascals in the Our Gang comedies.

Sure, those short films were made decades before we were born, and weren't even new when many of our parents were born. But to a kid like me, Jackie Cooper was it.

He starred in the series during the first series of talkies. The Our Gang comedies began in the 1920s as silent features, but by 1930, when sound was being added to film, the Hal Roach Studios followed suit, and gave a voice to those kids that the kids of the 1920s adored.

Cooper was in the series with the first group of kids that became recognizable on TV years later: Farina Hoskins, Chubby Chaney, and although not a kid, who can forget the shorts with Miss Crabtree, the comely teacher who Cooper and all the other boys were in love with?

When TV was searching for material to put on the air to satiate little kids during the medium's earliest days, they dug up the Rascals, and in the 1950s, they were resurrected for a new generation of kids like me. Although not much seen on the air since the 1980s, their films are readily available on home video, and I have to say, when I watch one, I still laugh until I cry.

Spanky, Alfalfa and the others would soon join the series, but those films with Cooper are truly special, showing a youthful innocence that is almost foreign on screen today.

And Cooper was extremely talented, Oscar nominated as a kid for his role in the film "Skippy." He went on to an interesting career as an adult, starring in movies and television shows (remember "The People's Choice" with the talking dog?) through the 1960s. He also became a studio executive with Screen Gems in the mid 1960s, and his battles with one act that came his way, the Monkees, are legendary.

He also starred in the Superman movies of the 1970s and 1980s as Perry White. And he also became a well regarded director.

Although the Our Gang or Little Rascals "curse" is often over-stated, Cooper skirted well beyond any supposed curse and became a versatile "Jackie" of all trades in Hollywood.

There aren't too many of the Rascals left: Cooper, Dickie Moore, Jean Darling, and Robert Blake are just a few of the handful of those kid actors who are still around today.

But Jackie Cooper was probably the best of them all, and today, I want to wish him a happy birthday, and many, many more!

Unfortunately, there won't be any more birthdays for Jackie Cooper, but his work lives on, for many more generations to enjoy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rant #497: Ohio Anniversary

Now that we can move on from the recent headlines, let's look back at a story that made news 41 years ago today.

Where were you when you heard that Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire during an anti-war protest at Kent State University, and killed four students?

I know this incident doesn't set off memories of "where was I?" like the JFK assassination does, but it still is one of the darkest days of the 1970s.

We were deep into a war in Vietnam, and it was becoming increasingly clear we could not win this conflict. Young men were being sacrificed daily, and the country was becoming more and more divided.

Young people thought that they had a voice, and protests around the country against the war were a daily occurrence.

And then we had Kent State. Students gathered there to protest our entrance into Cambodia, but little did they know that this protest would be etched into history.

Years later, it appears that the National Guardsmen may have lost their cool, and started shooting when the crowd that gathered for an anti-war protest became rowdy.

Bullets flew, and four students were killed.

The famous photo of a woman grieving over one of the dead bodies is a footnote to this incident. Evidently, she was not a student, but a prostitute who meandered over the the protests for whatever reason.

This incident supposedly mobilized Americans to protest the war. Schools around the country closed in a silent memorial to those who were slain.

However, polls taken around the country showed how fractured we really were. In those polls, more than 50 percent blamed the Kent State students for the incident.

Ironically, 10 days later, in a similar protest, two students were killed at Jackson State. You don't hear much about this one, except in the black community.

Now, here we are, 41 years later, and we are still involved in wars in distant lands. Young servicemembers are being sacrificed every day, just like they were in 1970.

Is it all worth it?

I don't have an answer, but all I can say is that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rant #496: Let's Not Let This Get Out of Hand

Yes, the U.S. of A. feels real good right now.

We got our man, the guy we have been pursuing for years.

He is over and done with, and we can move on.

Or can we?

I understand the celebrations that were held from coast to coast yesterday, as we disposed of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

But I think we also have to be realistic.

This terrorism "thing" is not over. And it's not over by a long shot.

When I saw the revelers yesterday, it almost reminded me of what goes on elsewhere when a regime is overthrown. We almost looked like a third world country, without the gun blasts.

Osama bin Laden being dead is good, and it is closure for some people. But let's be honest about it, we must be on the highest terror alert now, and be on that alert for the foreseeable future.

Many people will use his death to make him a martyr. And religious martyrs are truly crazy. They will do anything they believe will revenge his death, and make him a hero again.

And we have people in our own country who believe he is a hero. And that is the scary thing.

So yes, we have done a good deed for humanity. But don't think that good deed will be looked at favorably by many. And they won't just sit on their hands thinking about it.

And what of Pakistan? I have even less regard for this country now than I had before. They have taken pretty much a negative stance on this whole thing, basically saying that they didn't think American troops in their country looking for this killer was a good thing.

You had this guy under your noses for years--who else are you harboring?

Forget the political correctness. Right now, I would consider Pakistan an enemy of the civilized world. Unless they divulge more information on who they are harboring, and unless they cooperate fully with what we are doing, let's take away any money we are giving them. Put them on the same list as Iraq and other non-friendly countries.

Sorry, they instigated this whole thing with their "Hear No Evil, See No Evil" stance.

They've been bloodsuckers. Let's not help them do anything.

And let's be cognizant of the fact that the war on terrorism might have turned a page, but in other ways, it has just started.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Rant #495: Osama, Obama ... Osama, Obama ...

I woke up this morning to hear the news that according to President Obama, public enemy No. 1 Osama bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan.

He was the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorists acts, and his death has brought joy to the streets.

In New York alone, thousands came to Ground Zero, site of the former World Trade Center, and danced and sung the night away.

People are rejoicing all over the world at this announcement.

So, what does this really mean?

Well, for one, I think the U.S. should be on the highest terror watch now. A lot of people, sick as they are, think that bin Laden was a hero--including many poor, sick souls in this country--so we better be really careful over the next few hours, days and weeks.

Another thing. We always assumed we knew where he was hiding out. Pakistan is supposed to be a country that is friendly to the U.S., especially when it comes to hunting down terrorists. Are you telling me they couldn't have weeded this guy out years ago? I would question Pakistan's resolve against terrorism, and withhold any money from them until they fess up.

For a lot of people, the circle has closed. He was the guy behind this horrible plot, and his actions, and the actions of his henchman, changed the way we live.

Prior to this day, did you ever see armed guards on every street corner?

Did you have to go through a screening process at the airport that was akin to getting a physical at the doctor's office?

Did we ever live where we had to keep one eye forward and one eye on our backs?

He, and the actions of others, changed everything.

Wiping this guy out isn't going to necessarily change anything, it actually might make things worse.

But he had to be found, and since he put up a fight, he had to be killed.

No, it won't bring back those that perished during that horrible day, but it does amount to some retribution.

Those people did not die in vain, whether bin Laden is alive or dead.

But now that he is gone, well, I believe we are all better off, even if it might not appear on the surface that we are.

And bravo to our servicemembers, who put their own lives on the line by weeding this guy out.

Let's all celebrate their efforts.

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