Friday, July 22, 2011

Rant #551: Finally, It Is Time To Relax

Starting at 5:30 p.m. EST, my family and I are on vacation.

That is when I get out of work, and that is when I don't have to worry about the drudgery of work for a week.

My wife and I deserve a break, as does my son. This has been something of a difficult year, so far, but also a year that has been filled with new experiences.

My son got his first job. It isn't a paying job--he is a volunteer at a day camp run by the school district--but he is receiving valuable experience for the time when he goes for a paying job.

My wife and I soldier on in our jobs, and it has been difficult. We've been in these jobs for years--me, this particular position I have had for more than 15 years--but it gets harder and harder to adjust yourself for the workday.

So off we go to warmer climates, although this year, it really isn't that much warmer than we are feeling here in the Northeast, where we have been scalded by ridiculously high temperatures.

But off we go into the wide blue yonder--in our car, which to we use to get to our vacation destination.

I really don't mind the drive. You get to see things that you don't normally see, and we have found that people are generally pretty nice wherever we go.

And yes, that is beautiful Annette Funicello in the photo. She looks like she will be joining us on our vacation. If only she could. But I always post a photo of the curvy Annette when I go on vacation, because it makes my vacation official, at least in my mind.

So I won't we checking in with you for several days, but I will be back, hopefully rejuvenated from the break.

Speak to you then.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rant #550: Finally, We Can Pay Penance To Dennis

On the day that the space shuttle program is over, we harken back to a different time, when the U.S. space program was in its earliest beginnings.

That was back in 1959, when the space race between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. was at its hottest.

However, there was a boy on TV who actually harkened back to an even earlier time--he was sort of a then-modern version of Huckleberry Finn.

I am talking about Dennis Mitchell, better known as "Dennis the Menace," and this TV series--like "Car 54, Where Are You"--is finally out on DVD.

This was a very different time than today, when kids actually went outside and had adventures that did not include computers, video games and Facebook.

Little Dennis was a whirlwind, getting into crazy adventure after adventure with his sidekick Tommy (early on, a young actor played the ever-silent Joey from the comics, but his character wasn't strong enough for the TV show) and his nemesis, Margaret. Later, Seymour joined the fray, but early on, a string of young actors also played Dennis' buddies, including a very young Ronny Howard, just before he left for Mayberry.

The show is perfectly cast, with actors who looked just like their comic counterparts. Herbert Anderson is Dennis' father, Gloria Henry his mom, and an incredible character actor of the time, Joseph Kearns, plays Mr. Wilson, later replaced by another incredible character actor, Gale Gordon, when Kearns died.

And the writing is top notch. Again, today's sitcom writers should take a page of notes from this type of writing, which builds to a laugh rather than have punchline after punchline like they do today.

As an adult, I see how complex Dennis's character really is, and the nuances the writers gave the character to make him more believeable than the single-panel pain in the butt he is in the comics.

And that leads me to the young actor who played Dennis, Jay North. I left him to last because his story is not a good one. Evidently, while we were laughing at his on-screen antics, behind the screen, he was experiencing a living hell. He was abused by his relatives, who he was left in the care of when he was on the series.

We don't know the full extent of this abuse, but Jay North came out about this about 20 years ago. It even shook him as an adult. He survived, but pretty much completely shuns the spotlight today, although in recent years, he has been appearing at a few nostalgia shows here and there.

We have no reason to think that this is a charade or sour grapes. North appears to have been treated almost as a slave by his handlers, and he opened up about it when child abuse first started to be talked about openly in the 1980s.

And the cast has said that while they thought North was somewhat troubled, they never knew the extent of it. And you have to believe them too.

Anyway, if you can get around that, the show is the perfect antitode for the summer blahs. Season One is out now, with Season Two to follow.

Create your own hurricane and get this series into your DVD collection.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rant #549: Car 54, We've Found You

One of the absolutely funniest TV shows ever is finally out on DVD.

"Car 54, Where Are You?" finally came out a few months back.

Starring Fred Gwynne as Officer Francis Muldoon and Joe E. Ross as Officer Gunther Toody, the show was probably the first of its kind, showing the comical exploits of police officers.

In an era when shows like "Dragnet" got down to the nitty and gritty of police work, "Car 54" was a revelation, poking fun at our men in blue.

Gwynne and Ross are terrific as the bumbling police sidekicks, and look at all the other faces you see in this show: Nipsey Russell, Shari Lewis, the future "Grandpa," Al Lewis (who would go on with Gwynne to star in "The Munsters"), and lots more.

What is also interesting is that the show was filmed in 1961-era New York City, so you see sites from that time.

In fact. legend has it that filming around the city, people took the fake patrol cars as real, and would hail them down for help. They changed the colors of the cars to make them less mix-upable.

And the theme song sets the tone for the show. It is one of the most memorable theme songs in TV history. Once you hear it, you start laughing.

So if you want to laugh, this is the set for you. I think current TV comedy writers should be required to watch this show, and see what actually is funny compared to the tripe they write today that they have the nerve to call "funny."

The second season comes out later this summer, and it is a can't miss!

And please, please, do not mix up this show with the wretched movie with the same title that came out some years ago. That piece of garbage didn't understand what the show was about, and was probably the worst classic TV show to feature film transfer of all time.

If you purchase this set, and the one I told you some time ago, "The Mothers In Law," you will be laughing for months to come.

Get both, and have a hoot!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rant #548: Movies On a Plane

Yes, it is the middle of summer. Not much is going on that I want to talk about here.

But I came up with an odd anniversary for today, so I thought I would share it with you.

On July 19, 1961, TWA became the first airline to begin showing regularly scheduled in-flight movies. It presented "By Love Possessed," starring Lana Turner, to its first-class passengers.

So for the past 50 years, airline passengers--and not just first-class passengers--have been treated to movies on flights to various destinations.

This must have been interesting 50 years ago. With no videotapes or disks, I wonder how they showed movies on planes. Did they use projectors?

Of course, in today's world, all that is taken care of. I still don't know how they show movies now, but I would assume that they use the disk format.

I do know that they charge for the headphones, and that they show television network versions of the films, so you won't see any nudity or hear any cuss words when you view a movie on a plane.

When I am on a plane, probably the last thing I want to see is a movie. I read a newspaper, read one of the magazines that are provided, or just relax. I can't get into a movie, especially one that is cut to shreds.

But to others, I guess it relaxes them. They can make believe that they are in a movie theater on the ground, and just get caught up in the film.

But in today's world, there can be so much more to do on a plane.

On some planes, you can watch television, and on others, you can hook up to the Internet. You can also watch something on your portable DVD player or on you phone. You can listen to music with your MP3 device.

Or you can just sleep.

All this for what they put you through to actually get on the plane.

What did people do before all of this stuff was available on planes? Did they just look at their feet, look out the window or fall asleep?

I remember one time I bought my mini-TV onto a plane, and watched David Cone pitch a perfect game for the Yankees. That anniversary was yesterday. That was fun, because I went on a plane that offered nothing special, so my little TV was literally the only game in town.

Today, I couldn't even get any reception on that TV.

What would I do today?

I will find out later this year, when my wife, son and I have to take a plane to Florida as we go on our first cruise.

Let me ponder just what I will do.

Until then, maybe I will watch a movie to get in the swing of things.

Let me figure out what movie could stand some cuts ... maybe the latest edition of "Transformers"?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rant #547: Old Friends

I had my second annual--and final--reunion barbecue for my old neighborhood this past Saturday.

What a difference from the previous year's gala. This year, the sun was shining all day, it was hot as could be in the 90s, and people actually had to go inside because it was too hot.

But I worked my tuckus off, as they say, as did my wife and my parents.

There were probably 40 some odd people there, about what we had last year. I thought we were going to have 60, but several people cancelled at the last minute.

Highlights included that one of my best friends from the old neighborhood showed up with his wife, and supplied about the nicest cake you'd ever want to see--and it tasted really good too.

Another highlight was that my next door neighbor from the old neighborhood showed up with her husband. I had not seen her for 43 years--and the funny thing is, she is still my next door neighbor, because she lives with her family in the next town over.

What a small world this is!

As I have said many times, Rochdale Village was an incredible place to grow up in the mid 1960s. It is the place where I went from a virtual baby, at seven years old, to a teenager, at 14 years old.

I saw things and did things that many people my age never experienced.

Yes, it was both good and bad, and bad and good, but the people made the place when we first moved in in July 1964, and they still do.

This is the last such barbecue I am going to hold because, quite frankly, the barbecues have served their purpose. I pass the baton to someone else, if anyone wants it.

Rochdale Village will celebrate its 50th birthday in late 2013. It opened just prior to the JFK assassination, although most original residents moved in between 1964 and 1965.

The place has already been celebrated in a book by noted historian Peter Eisenstadt, and it needs a proper party to celebrate this upcoming milestone.

Whether I and the people I had over at my house for this barbecue will participate is something we will have to ponder for the next few years, but I had fun as the host for these two barbecues.

Onward and upward!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rant #546: Let's Live For Yesterday

Let's go back to 1968 or so.

You turn on your radio, and you hear the latest hits of the day. Everyone knows these tunes, and probably eight out of every 10 people on the street can tell you the No. 1 song in the country.

You go from AM Top 40 station to AM Top 40 station, and you hear an incredible mix of music, including Frank Sinatra, the Temptations, Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Beatles, the Monkees, Otis Redding, and Dean Martin.

Incredible. Something for everyone.

And you also heard the Grass Roots.

You heard songs like "Midnight Confessions," "Let's Live For Today," "Bella Linda," "The River Is Wide" ... I could go on and on and on.

And when you heard the Grass Roots--and you would at least twice every hour into the early 1970s--you heard the voice of Rob Grill, the group's lead singer.

Grill, one of the most recognized/unrecognized voices during that era, died the other day. He had been ill with various ailments for the last several years.

The Grass Roots had a sound, and Grill's voice generally propelled that sound. But ask the guy on the street who Rob Grill was during that time period, and I am sure that those same eight out of 10 people who knew what the No. 1 song was hadn't a clue who Grill was.

The Grass Roots started out in the mid 1960s as a studio band that was going to be used to record the work of a number of songwriters, including Steve Barri. When "Where Were You When I Needed You" hit, the thought was that a touring band was needed to keep the momentum going.

A band of young, nice looking musicians was recruited from various working bands in the Los Angeles area, and Grill was among those chosen for this band.

So although he wasn't on the first set of recordings made by the Grass Roots, for all intents and purposes, Grill defined the Grass Roots sound: light and breezy pop with hooks the size of the Grand Canyon.

The band never had a No. 1 hit--"Midnight Confessions" got up to No. 5--but from about 1965 to 1972 or so, they had nearly two dozen singles make the Hot 100.

The aforementioned tunes were among their biggest hits, but their sound really didn't change during this period. "Two Divided By Love" and "The Runway" could have easily come out in 1967, and not in the 1970s as they did.

By the mid-1970s, music had changed, and most of the members of the band had left, but Grill soldiered on. He eventually had a solo album, "Uprooted," which is quite sought after, because it features Grill and just about every member of Fleetwood Mac on it. It had one song, "Rock Sugar," that you would swear was from the Grass Roots' own catalog.

Grill kept different versions of the band intact through the present time, but due to many ailments, he often didn't appear with the band at all.

Now he is gone.

The Grass Roots still live on as a touring band, and Creed Bratton has received some modicum of fame away from the band with his appearances on "The Office."

But the Grass Roots were a hit machine, and Grill was its engine.


I will be taking tomorrow off to deal with some very minor medical issues, but I will be back strong on Monday. Speak to you then.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rant #545: Gilligan ... and Sherwood Too ...

One of pop culture's most creative geniuses passed away the other day.

Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of both "Gilligan's Island" and "The Brady Bunch," passed away at age 94.

He began his career as a writer for Bob Hope and Red Skelton in the 1940s, but he rose to fame in the 1960s with those two shows, which became cultural landmarks for the Baby Boom generation.

What is even more incredible is that he sold these shows to CBS and ABC, respectively, through the theme songs that were at the beginning of each show.

Schwartz often said that he told the story of the show within these themes. Listed as a co-writer on both, the songs are among the best known TV theme songs of all time, simple but getting the point across:

"Just sit right back and you'll hear a tail ... " and "Here's the story of a lovely lady...".

Each of these shows were lambasted by critics, each wasn't a ratings winner, but the public loved the utopian aspects of each show, whether it showed a shipwrecked utopia on "Gilligan" or a family utopia on "Brady."

Things like this couldn't actually happen in real life ... or could they?

Through countless reruns and spin-offs, both of these shows are probably among the most popular in TV history, because they evoke a time and a place that we can all relate to in some way.

In other words, with the permissiveness of today's TV, they couldn't exist, or at least they couldn't exist in the format that Schwartz had in mind when he launched both shows.

People forget his other major network show. It was on CBS on Sunday nights around the time that "Gilligan's Island" was cancelled, and it didn't last very long, ultimately being too clever for its own good.

"It's About Time" was about two astronauts who somehow break the time barrier and land in the caveman age, where they meet up with two cavemen--Imogene Coca and Joe E. Ross (!) who take them under their wing.

Again, the theme of the blended family took hold here.

During the first half of the show's only season, the astronauts tried in vain to get back to their own time, 1967 or so. During the second part of this season, they made it back, but Coca and Ross were stowaways, and the situation was reversed, with the astronauts trying to show the cavemen the modern way of life.

The song had a catchy theme song that once again described the show's theme ("It's about time, it's about space ... ") but it just didn't resonate with anyone, and after a year, it was off the air.

Few remember this show, as it hasn't been rerun in years, and it hasn't been on DVD, although you can get bootlegs for a hefty price.

But through it all, Schwartz persevered. He kept his "family" theme intact for his next blended family, and the "The Brady Bunch" was born.

Here's to Sherwood Schwartz, who truly enriched our lives with his clear vision of entertainment that people wanted, even if the critics didn't like it.

To Schwartz, it really didn't matter what the critics said. The viewing public had a louder voice, and he knew it better than anyone.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rant #544: Long Island Beachcombers?

As part of the Nassau Coliseum plan on Long Island is a proposed minor league ballpark, which is as controversial a part of this plan as the rebuilding of the Coliseum is.

When the special vote for the overall $400 million project--including the $25 million baseball stadium--is held for this project on August 1, Nassau residents may not know details of a revenue sharing deal for the new ballpark.

Frank Boulton, the owner of the local Long Island Atlantic League team, the Ducks, has an attractive revenue sharing plan with neighboring Suffolk County, where the Ducks pay the county $1 per ticket and 25 percent of skybox revenue.

For non-Ducks events, the county gets 20 percent of gross concession revenue.

Boulton won out over the Mets and a local developer, and will have another team in this league, which is an independent minor league which plays roughly Double-A baseball.

The Ducks have been a major success in their 6,000-seat stadium in Suffolk County, and the hope is that Nassau residents will embrace the team as their nearby counterparts have.

But the first hurdle must be scaled. Nassau residents will decide whether to go ahead with this or trash it before it gets to the table.

The problem is the critics of the overall plan believe that borrowing more money during the recession--and putting the payback on the heads of already cash-strapped taxpayers--is not the way to go.

Proponents of the plan say that taxpayers may have to pay up front, but will receive a windfall later.

Who do you believe?

I believe that although the current plan isn't the best, it is better than the alternative, which includes losing the Islanders from the Nassau Coliseum, losing revenue from an area that will become full of blight once they leave and the current Coliseum falls into further disarray, and having an area that is completely underutilized in one of the most prosperous areas of the country.

I will vote "Yes" on my ballot, even though lots of questions remain.

And by the way, names have already been suggested for the proposed baseball team.

In Newsday today, several names have been suggested, including the Sounds, the Suburbans, the Beachcombers and the Expressway.

Those were names that I emailed to Newsday, and they are attached to a story about the proposed new ballpark.

Other names posted include the Teddy Bears, the Sharks, and the Railroaders.

I like my choices better.

I hope that Nassau County residents like the project proposal, and vote "YES" on August 1.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rant #543: A Flair For the Dramatic

Well, it took an extra day, but the New York Yankees' Derek Jeter has finally gone into the record books as he collected his 3,000th hit during Saturday's game with the Tampa Bay Rays.

And he collected his 3,001st, 3,002nd, and 3,003rd hits too.

And before all that, he got his 2,999th hit, which set the whole day up.

And his 3,000th hit was a home run.

And his 3,003rd hit was the game winner.

Does this guy have a flair for the dramatic or what?

Even Jeter said in postgame interviews that nobody would buy this if it was merely a script for a Hollywood movie.

But it actually happened!

Jeter simply rises to the occasion. He knows when something is big, and this day was big for himself.

He wanted to get his 3,000th hit at home, and since there was a rainout on Friday, he had just two games to do it before the All-Star break. After the All-Star break, the Yankees go into the second half of the 2011 season on the road, so it was almost an imperative that he get the hit this weekend.

And he did.

And the guy who caught the homerun gave up the ball willingly. He could have made thousands off of it, but he just felt it was the right thing to do.

Yes, the Yankees gave him plenty of stuff in return, including the use of a luxury box for the rest of the season, into the playoffs and World Series, if the Bronx Bombers are lucky enough to get there.

But Jeter's 3,003rd hit was actually the bigger hit, as it brought in what amounted to the winning run in a tight 5-4 game.

And for the record, for good measure, Jeter got another hit yesterday in the Yankees' 1-0 victory over the Rays, so he is now up to 3,004.

Anybody want to start a countdown for 3,500? How about 4,000?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Rant #542: Hat's Off To 3,000

OK, I am going to do something I have held off doing for a while.

Congratulations to Derek Jeter on his 3,000th hit.

No, he hasn't reached the milestone yet. He currently has 2,998 hits, and has three games before the All-Star break to reach this milestone.

And I hope he reaches the milestone, and passes it, tonight.

Since I don't write on the weekends, I am going to congratulate him right now.

Playing his entire career for my beloved New York Yankees, he has been one of their finest players ever. In fact, when he reaches his 3,000th hit, he will be the only Yankee to do so in their history.

Yes, the only one.

But I wish he would get it already. The road to this hit has become a distraction to the team, and they are currently playing like it is a distraction, falling into second place in the American League East behind the hated Boston Red Sox with the Bronx Bombers' loss last night.

Attention has turned away from the games and directly to Jeter.

This is media nonsense, but it is what it is, and it has to affect the players. They are playing for the chance to win it all, to go through the playoffs and the World Series, but they have this great albatross to get off their backs.

And it is a huge one.

This is no knock against Jeter. He has been an incredibly gifted athlete.

Jeter is not the player he once was, but who is after so many season? He has given baseball fans thrills since he broke in 16 years ago.

All these years later, hiis productivity has dipped, but his popularity has skyrocketed.

He may be the most popular player ever to don a Yankee uniform.

Sure, he gets cheers at home. That is to be expected.

But he is about the only Yankee star I can ever remember who gets cheers on the road.

I wasn't around for Ruth, Gehrig or DiMaggio, so I can't comment on them. I do remember the Mick though. Mickey Mantle did get cheers toward the end of his career, but remember, he at one time was even booed at home.

I don't remember Jeter ever getting booed at home.

Anyway, I hope Jeter does it tonight, and the Yankees win.

And remember, that is the important thing. If Jeter gets his hits and the Yankees lose to the Tampa Bay Rays, it might make the back and front pages of the paper, but the team will continue in its doldrums.

That can't happen, and I doubt that Jeter would want it to happen this way.

My prediction: he does it tonight, with two hits, one a single to centerfield and the 3,000th a single to rightfield.

He doffs his hat in appreciation, but more importantly, he makes a great play in the field at shortstop to lead the Yankees to a 5-3 victory.

Let's see if I am as clairvoyant as I want to be in this instance.

And let's get it done and over with already.

(This will have to wait a day. Tonight's game was rained out.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rant #541: Ringo at 71

Since we are in the birthday mood ...

Ringo Starr is 71 today.

It is quite hard to believe that this former moptop drummer of the Beatles is in his 70s now, but he is.

I remember when they burst onto the American scene in February 1964 on "The Ed Sullivan Show." They were so young, so full of pep, so good in all ways.

You just thought this thing would never end. They would always be young, full of pep, and so good in all ways.

But then reality sets in. John Lennon was murdered, George Harrison died of cancer. Paul McCartney has been through numerous ups and downs in his love life.

Celebrities go through their own travails much like the rest of us humans do.

Ringo certainly went through his. His demon was alcohol, and once he conquered that, the world was his oyster, and it has been for decades now.

He still records when he wants to, and I will bet that if you asked him if he would ever have another hit record, he would probably say, "Who cares?"

He records for the sake of recording. He has had hits both as a member of the Beatles and on his own, so what difference does it make now?

And Ringo looks terrific. The problem that celebrities have that normal people like you and me don't have is that they age right before us, on a grand stage.

So yes, Ringo has aged, but he seems to have aged gracefully. He seems to have grown into his body, and to me, he looks really good.

And he has learned to laugh at himself, and you can see that in the video I attached to this post. Personally, of the four Beatles, I think he got the whole "thing" more than any one of them did. He was a bit older than them, and I think this allowed him to see the experience a bit differently than his bandmates.

Richard Starkey is 71. Unbelievable, but true.

The funny thing to me is that he is just nine years younger than my parents are.

Happy birthday, Ringo. Hopefully, that "Yellow Submarine" will afford you many more years with us.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rant #540: Robin at 66

Now that the bikini turned 65 yesterday, another pop icon celebrates a birthday today.

Burt Ward turns 66.

I know that some younger people who stroll by here are probably asking, "Who is Burt Ward?", but for a generation of kids, Burt Ward is something of an icon.

As a young kid, the former Bert Gervis Jr. was billed as the world's youngest professional ice skater. As he grew older, he excelled at many sports, but at age 20, his life changed forever.

He was cast as Robin on the Batman TV series.

Sixty-six is a lucky number for Ward, who changed his name at the behest of the producers, who believed the name Gervis would be difficult for people to pronounce. In 1966, the show began its two and a half year run, and one of the great TV phenomenons began.

From 1966 through 1968, seemingly everything was Batman oriented. You could get Batman belts, wallets, utility belts, looseleaf binders ... you name it, and the comic book character/TV superstar was on it. It was as if the world went Bat-crazy, and evidently it did.

Ward actually played two parts: Robin and the amiable Dick Grayson, high school student, who was the ward of Bruce Wayne, the alter-ego of Batman, played up to the hilt by Adam West.

Both West and Ward embraced their roles, and they will forever be remembered as TV's Dynamic Duo. Some, including me, say that the two are the best of all the Batmans and Robins that have been on TV and in the movies.

They got the roles. Some of the others, well, I don't think they understood the roles at all.

After the run of the show, Ward continued to act, and has been seen in a number of films, including a few where his link to the Robin character was the main drawing point. He has appeared with West in a number of films, TV shows, and fan conventions. The two are inextricably linked.

Although it is doubtful if he could fit into his old Robin outfit anymore, Ward has taken on a new cause. He is an animal rights activist.

So happy birthday, Burt. You will forever be Robin to us baby boomers.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rant #539: Bikini Atoll

Now that we are clearly in the summer mood with July 4 behind us, I must bring up a very important historical footnote for today's history lesson.

In 1946, 65 years ago, the bikini, created by Louis Reard, was worn by model Micheline Bernardini during a pool side fashion show in Paris, France.

Today, that might not cause much of a whimper, but think back to that time, and how revolutionary the debut of this type of bathing suit was.

It was right after the World War II, a war that devastated Europe. What better way to bounce back, literally, than to create a swimsuit that would change the way women wore such suits--and would simultaneously change the way men looked at women on the beach?

The story goes that Reard could not find a model to wear such a scandalous outfit, so he asked a nude dancer, Bernardini, to do the honors, she did, and the rest is history.

Prior to this event, women's bathing suits were one-piece outfits. Most showed off the figure well, but they kind of looked like corsets. I would imagine that they were uncomfortable.

And they didn't allow for much tanning.

But now came something revolutionary and new. They showed off a women's figure even more, and I would imagine that they were much more comfortable than the previous one-piece suits. And they allowed for a more all-over tan too.

Over the past 65 years, there have been all different types of bikinis. Some barely show off a woman's figure at all, but some leave little to the imagination.

They also had an impact on one-piece suits, which today, often show off as much of a woman's figure as the two-piece suits do.

Although it took a while before American women accepted this type of swimwear, they have become as much a part of pop culture as any piece of fashion. Think back to Brian Hyland's hit record "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" for evidence of that, a song that opened up American's eyes about this scandalous outfit.

Also, Annette Funicello appearing in all those "beach movies" probably had a lot to do with Americans' acceptance of this type of swimsuit. Funicello often didn't appear in a bikini--she was so buxom that it was felt it would take away from the other girls in these films, who often wore bikinis--but those films allowed the youth culture to embrace this type of swimwear.

So, I tip my hat to Mr. Reard for creating such a piece of swimwear, and certainly to Ms. Bernardini, who had the guts to wear such an outfit in public.

Here's to the bikini as it reaches Social Security age. What would the world be without such an invention?

(Spoken like the true male chauvinist pig that I am!)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Rant #538: Oh, the Pain!

You know it is a slow week news-wise when the Octomom pops up in conversation.

It seems that Nadya Suleman, who has 14 children and garnered fame and a lot of criticism for birthing eight kids in one sitting, has told In Touch magazine that her babies "disgust" her.

Suleman, who is single and has teetered on financial ruin since giving birth to her large brood, told the magazine that the only way she can cope is to lock herself in the bathroom and cry.

She also called her older six kids "animals" and she said they have gotten that way because she has "no time to properly discipline them."

OK. Let me shed a tear for her plight.

I am sure Suleman was paid for the interview--why else wouid she do it--but to go off on her kids, well if I were a higher authority, I would see whether these kids are being cared for at all.

It is obvious that the woman has mental problems linked to her need to give birth to human beings like animals give birth to their broods. That is not a knock against animals, but let's face it, human beings usually don't give birth to eight kids at one time.

She has major financial problems, although she has been paid off for her story by various sources.

But back to what she said. If you call your kids "animals" and you say they "disgust" you, don't you think that some action should be taken by whatever state she lives in--is it California?-- to make sure these kids are being taken care of and not being neglected or abused?

Suleman became a punch line when she was artificially inseminated by a doctor who has since had his medical license taken away. Once the press heard about this incident, they had a field day with it. She became an instant celebrity, the wrong type of celebrity, becoming famous because she was able to satisfy her mental illness by having kids.

Now, with this rant, I think the authorities should look into whether her kids are getting the care they need.

She is probably overwhelmed. Once the cameras left and people forgot about her, she was burdened to take care of 14 kids alone.

Heck, she can't even take care of herself.

I shudder to think about the future of these children. Will they be taken away from their mother? How will they become responsible adults when they have a mother like this?

Who knows, but in the meantime, I would investigate how these kids are being taken care of, if at all.

The rants she made to the magazine are obvious calls for help.

While we ponder this story, have a nice July 4. I will speak to you again on Tuesday.

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