Friday, May 31, 2013

Rant #974: Freaky Friday

Today is one of those days where I don't really have a clear direction on what I want to write about here.

Nothing really stands out.

May is almost over, thank goodness.

This has been a tough month on my wife and myself, both mentally and financially.

Just when we think we are over the hump, something else comes our way to knock us down a notch.

My Yankees are truly pathetic.

After a nice start to the season, with injuries piling up but with replacement players stepping up, they have hit that wall I kind of knew that they would hit.

And they did it against crosstown rivals the New York Mets.

I can't even watch anymore.

Yesterday, I spoke about Deanna Lund's birthday, and the day before, Barbara Eden's ability at an advanced age to look absolutely gorgeous.

Maybe I should concentrate on female performers I had crushes on when I was a pre-teen.

Let's see, in addition to Lund and Eden, there was certainly Barbara Feldon of "Get Smart" fame.

Elizabeth Montgomery from "Bewitched."

Marlo Thomas from "That Girl."

Angela Cartwright from "Lost In Space."

Dawn Welles from "Gilligan's Island."

(And someone has just brought up to me the beautiful Karen Valentine from "Room 222." How could I have forgotten her?)

And then, from the music world, there was certainly Annette Funicello. But based on the many instances she has shown up in this blog, you already knew that.

How about the two ladies from the singing group the 5th Dimension, Florence LaRue and Marilyn McCoo? Not only did the names rhyme, but they were plenty hot back then, all over TV and the music charts, and they were really good looking women.

My, oh my, there were probably others ... my father loved Marilyn Monroe, so I knew her name at an early age. I don't know if I had what you could call a "crush" on her, but I did know who she was even when I was a very little kid.

But onto other things.

June is right around the corner, and it is something of a big month for my family.

As I said earlier this week, my son will get his high school portrait taken next week, and hopefully, it will be a good photo of him.

On the same day that he gets his photo taken, he gets a trophy from his bowling league at a dinner we will be attending.

And then, on June 6, it is my wedding anniversary.

Number 20, I might add, so it is an important milestone that my wife and I will hit.

And there you go.

Without much of a thought about what I was going to write about today, I touched on a number of subjects, and have fulfilled my desire to bring you an interesting, fun-filled column.

Well, maybe not after all, but well, it is Freaky Friday.

I have two days to rest up my writing chops and to bring you something really good on Monday.

See you then.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rant #973: "Giant" Heart Throb

Today, Deanna Lund is 76 years old.

Happy birthday, Deanna.

Most of you don't have the slightest idea who I am talking about, but if you were a boy in the late 1960s, you probably know exactly who I am referring to.

Lund was the sexpot on the popular Irwin Allen TV series, "Land of the Giants." The show was about an aircraft somehow breaking a barrier and ending up in a land where everyone around them was huge, and they were the size of dolls.

The show revolved around how they survived in a land where their kind was hunted. It was an extremely clever series, taking over the spot of another Allen series, "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" on the ABC schedule.

The show starred Gary Conway, Don Marshall--who, along with Nichelle Nichols of "Star Trek," were the first black actors to appear as regular characters on an American TV science fiction/action/adventure series--and Don Matheson, Lund's later husband, but to all preteen boys with hormones starting to erupt, Lund was the centerpiece of the entire show.

She played Valerie Ames Scott, who, if I remember correctly, was an actress who, let's say, fit into her outfits very well. There were other women on the series--Heather Young played the heroic stewardess--but all boys' eyes were on Lund.

Through two seasons and 51 episodes, from 1968 to 1970, the show ran, and it featured the exploits of how the lost crew and its passengers survived in a land where they were fish out of water.

The show closely resembled another Allen series, "Lost in Space," and quite frankly, it really didn't have the charm of that series, but it was clever enough to know it and run with what they had.

At the time, each episode set a record for cost, and with all of the large-sized props and elements of the show, one could see why.

Anyway, after the show ended, Lund appeared here and there on TV and in the movies. She had a major part in the film "Hardly Working," Jerry Lewis' comeback movie, and she also wrote a novel which revisited the "Land of the Giants" motif, told from the perspective of her character.

Her stardom was short-lived, but any boy like me who watched that show each and every week had to notice Lund. She kind of stuck out like a sore thumb on that show, but in a very good way.

So here's to Lund, whose role on the show lives on in TV reruns and on DVD.

Have a "Giant" birthday!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rant #972: We Still Dream of Jeannie

Who is the most beautiful woman in the world?

To me, my wife is the most beautiful. She has all the attributes that make her beautiful, both inner beauty and beauty that you can see.

But she is not famous. She is my wife and I love her to the nth degree.

As far as famous women, one of the most beautiful--at least outwardly, because I don't know her personally--is Barbara Eden, who rose to fame in the 1960s as the iconic title character in the hit sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie."

Eden, who is somewhere between 78 and 81 years of age depending on the source you use, has it all.

She has not only a pretty face, but a fantastic figure, which she showed off as much as the censors would allow on that 1960s sitcom, where she starred with Larry Hagman and Bill Daily.

Well, the other day, Eden proved that she still had it, even about 50 years later.

At the Life Ball charity event in Vienna, Austria, she donned her pink crop top and harem pants there, and shocked everybody by how good she looked in the outfit, the same one she wore on the series.

"Here it is folks--the navel that put NBC on edge," she tweeted, with a photo of her in costume.

And by the photo, she hasn't lost anything--she looks fantastic.

Heck, she even showed up former President Bill Clinton, which is a really difficult thing to do.

Eden has seemingly been around forever.

You might remember that years prior to Jeannie, she entered the public consciousness as the sweet young thing on two "I Love Lucy" episodes, the object of Ricky Ricardo and Fred Mertz's attention. Lucy and Ethel didn't like it, but what man wouldn't go ga ga over Eden?

And Eden has since spoken about that experience, saying that she was nervous the entire time because Desi Arnaz was so "handy" with her.

She made a few films after that, and then came "Jeannie."

"Jeannie" was always thought to be NBC's more sexy reaction to ABC's wildly successful "Bewitched" sitcom starring Elizabeth Monthgomery and Dick York.

"Jeannie" was never as good as "Bewitched" was, but it was a very good show on its own, pushing the censors to the brink of despair.

In those days, Eden had to cover her navel so as to be on the good side of the censors. And the scripts had to be just right, because on this show, Eden and Hagman weren't married, or at least until the end of the show's run.

So they became one of TV's first couples to live together without the benefit of marriage, although the show was very careful to point out that Tony Nelson lived in a house and Jeannie lived in a bottle.

Yeah, right.

Anyway, all these years later, how many of us could actually fit into, let's say, our bathing suits that we wore 50 years ago, 40 years ago, even 30 years ago?

I know that I couldn't. (Yes, I know, I was six years old 50 years ago, so the chances of me fitting into that bathing suit are nil. But, just for comparison sake, I know that I couldn't fit into my bathing suit of 40 years ago, when I was 16. No way, no how.)

Although it wasn't a bathing suit that Eden fit into very nicely the other day, her genie outfit is comparable, and her ability to fill it as well as she did decades ago proved that through probably excellent genes and a good diet, she can still do it and that she still has it.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rant #971: Graduation Situation

Now that Memorial Day is behind us, we are firmly in the period where schools across the country graduate their senior classes.

Many colleges have already held their commencement ceremonies, and from now into June, middle schools and high schools will send out their seniors into the world.

And part of the process is getting the dreaded graduation picture.

I remember in junior high school--that is what it was called back then--we went as a class into the library and we had a class picture taken.

No individual photos were taken, if I remember correctly, and that class photo was given to parents and ended up in our yearbook, which I am currently posting on my Facebook site honoring my old neighborhood or Rochdale Village, South Jamaica, Queens, New York.

In high school, I remember that we had our pictures taken during the summer, in August. I remember the day very clearly. It was a hot and windy day, and like most boys at the time, I wore my hair fairly long. We were told to wear suits and ties, and like most of the other guys, I wore a suit and tie on the top, and since it wasn't going to be a long shot, I wore shorts and sneakers on the bottom.

I walked to school, as I was about three months away from getting my driver's license. The wind swirled that day, and by the time I got to school, my hair was a mess. I didn't have a comb, so I patted it down, took the picture, and that was that.

The way the picture came out spoke a thousand words about what I thought about high school--and myself--at the time.

My college photo I don't remember at all. The only thing I do remember is that my hair was combed a bit better than it was for my high school photo, and that it came out pretty good.

Now, I am going through this picture-taking process with my son, who graduates high school next year.

This is going to be a photo for the ages, as at least right now, he isn't going to college, so my wife and I want this photo to be the best that it can be.

Things are done much differently now. Kids are given an assigned time to take the picture, which is not taken in the dead of summer anymore, but during the school year.

Next Wednesday, at 5:08 p.m., he has his appointment.

Suits and ties are not required anymore, just a nice top for the boys, so he won't wear a tie, just a nice shirt.

He has to get a haircut this weekend, so he won't have a problem with his hair like I did.

It should go well, I hope. We have told him that his high school portrait is one for the ages. It forever defines him, and will be referred back to when people go through their yearbooks 10, 20, 30, 40 and more years afterward.

It is among the most important photos he will ever take.

I went through this with my daughter, but it was very, very different.

Her mother was uncooperative during the whole process, and I couldn't even go through the school to get the photo. I had to go through the photographer, who also gave me hell, but finally, it was all sorted out and I received her photo, which was pretty good at that.

So on Wednesday, my son will have his picture taken, and my wife and I hope it turns out just great.

Clearly, my on does not understand how important this photo really is, nor should he understand.

But by the time he is my age, he will understand, I can guarantee you that.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rant #970: Memorial Day

Coming up on Monday is Memorial Day, the day we honor those who have served, and gave their lives, for our country in the numerous wars we have fought leading up to our country's creation in 1776 and beyond.

Once known as Decoration Day, the holiday falls every year on the last Monday in May.

In recent years--or for as long as I can remember--Memorial Day has taken on a different meaning.

Not to knock our service men and women--who continue to protect our country from unimaginable peril each and every day--the holiday means so many other things now.

First of all, many of us have off on that day, including, incredibly, myself.

I personally get so few holidays off during the year that I look forward to Memorial Day like a bee looks forward to the next flower it can pollinate.

Memorial Day also signals the beginning of the summer season.

Notice I say "the summer season," because summer actually doesn't come for several weeks after, in late June. But it signals warmth, hot nights and days, and so the holiday is thought of as sort of a gateway to summer and all the fun that that season brings.

And finally, Memorial Day generally signifies the day when many of us, myself included, have our very first barbecue of the year.

Honestly, I can taste those hot dogs right now! I love to barbecue, so if the weather holds up, it will certainly be my family's maiden barbecue of 2013.

Many parades are held during this holiday, and most of them are seemingly precursors to barbecues, so even if we honor our war dead--and again, this is not a knock against any of our service people--we gradually move toward family oriented events during the holiday.

This makes Memorial Day one of the most family oriented holidays on the calendar, and a day we can all look forward to.

As it is, my wife has to work on this holiday. I don't like it, she doesn't either, but at least I will be home with my son, and hopefully see my daughter that day for our barbecue, which we will have when my wife gets home from work.

If nothing else, it gives her a day off from cooking.

For me, Memorial Day represents a brief respite from work, and it comes at a very good time.

I hope it does for you too.

Have a nice holiday, and I will speak to you again on Tuesday.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Rant #969: Faster, Faster

Well, I done did it.

After resisting for months, I upgraded my family's bundle.

No, we did not have another child.

The bundle I am referring to is our Internet/phone/television bundle, so now we supposedly have the fastest speeds available for a residential customer.

We are up to 75mg on the Internet, so the speed is supposed to be so fast that it will blur me, or at least blow me away.

We now have digital phone, which means that the major difference is that we have to dial our area code while making calls within our calling area.

In other words, since we live on Long Island, we have to dial 516 plus the number rather than just the number when we are calling within our area.

But we were promised so many other phone features that I was floored.

(Not really.)

And as far as TV, we had the basic package, which I am told is no longer being offered. We were "behind the times" as they say, and now, we are ahead of the times. We have a couple of movie channels.

Well, I am on the Internet now, what are my impressions.

The computer connected to the Internet much faster, but admittedly, when I went to this site to begin my Rant, I don't think it moved any faster than normal.

My wife is on her iPad, and she didn't notice any discernible difference.

My son isn't up yet, so I don't know if he will see any difference on his laptop computer.

(He later told me he didn't see anything faster; in fact, he thought it went slower!)

I did turn on the TV, went to one of the Showtime Channels we now have, and the classic "Bikini A-Go-Go" was on.

Yes, I am satisfied. Already I am satisfied.

My family is a little unusual because we happen to have two different systems in our house. We have Dish Network in the living room, and Verizon in the two bedrooms.

The reason we have both is that my parents, who live beneath us, have Dish, and the whole house at one time was wired for Dish, going on probably near 20 years now.

When Dish pretty much dropped its entire local sports lineup, I was fuming, because I couldn't watch the Yankees or the Knicks, so I decided to keep Dish in the living room for the movie channels and get Verizon in the bedroom for sports. This also allowed my parents to keep Dish, which they like, and we have a very good plan with Dish anyway.

So, we aren't paying as much as other people who have one system, and we have the best of both worlds by having both.

Yes, you can say that I am a TV nut. I always have been. My mother says that when I was in the crib, I used to look forward to watching American Bandstand on our old Dumont black and white TV, and I would jump up and down in the crib to the musical acts on that show, which at the time was on daily.

Wow, I am old, aren't I? But I still love my TV.

And I have come to enjoy the Internet, too, as witnessed by the existence of this page.

And the phone ... well, I have never been much of a phone lover, but you have to have one, don't you?

So now my family and I are in "the high speed generation" ... until the next iteration of speeds on the Internet comes out, and we are left behind in the dust.

But for right now, we are fast, so watch out for us!

We will pass you by at any moment!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rant #968: Money Honey

Everybody who was around at the time remembers when the Beatles made their debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

It was a cold February evening in 1964, an evening that really changed the world of popular music and culture.

I remember years later, in the fall of 1975, Howard Cosell tried to duplicate that feat with a band by the name of the Bay City Rollers.

They debuted on his variety show--which was called "Saturday Night Live," believe it or not--and they were supposed to be the next musical sensation.

Alas, they did have a few hits during their career, but both his show and the Rollers fizzled after a brief time.

There was a tie-in between the Scottish Rollers and their tartan apparel and the show, as the Rollers' hit "Saturday Night" was steaming up to the loftier heights of the chart at the time.

Well, it didn't last for the band, but they did have a few notable hits.

Continuing the teenybop tradition that the early Beatles exuded, that the Monkees further exploited, that David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman rode their coattails on and that "boy bands" since then have jumped on, the Rollers had a couple of hits during a career that basically lasted from 1975 to 1977.

They placed eight songs in the Billboard Hot 100 during that span, and right after "Saturday Night" was another nearly irresistible tune, "Money Honey."

Again, the song followed the formula of "Saturday Night," in that it was very repetitive, very simple, but quite a nice pop song.

The song went to No. 9 on the charts, and the Rollers seemed to be onto something good.

But like I said earlier, it didn't last very long.

"I Only Want to Be With You" and "You Made Me Believe In Magic" were two other hits they had, and then they were pretty much done.

They even came back as simply "The Rollers" at one point, but they were done.

I rediscovered the single "Money Honey" while looking through my record collection the other day, and I have to say that it is a really fine record, trashy in its own right, but one of those songs that you can rightfully say, "This is so bad that it's good."

Let me tell you, by 1976 or so, I was a firm FM listener, tuned into the top rock and roll station on the FM dial, WNEW-FM in New York.

They played the Grateful Dead, Genesis, Led Zeppelin ...

They did not play the Bay City Rollers.

But I kind of liked all the hype surrounding that band, and I liked their music.

It was catchy, jumpy and it was rock and roll and pop, two idioms that were taking a big hit around that time from the burgeoning disco scene.

I even sought them out on TV. I seem to remember that in these pre-MTV days, they were part of CBS's Saturday morning lineup, which solidified their placement as major heroes for the weenyboppers.

But heck, I was in college at the time, probably three times as old as the kids watching them on Saturday morning.

But I did like them, have some of their records in my collection, and "Money Honey" is probably my favorite song of theirs.

There really isn't that much more to say. The Rollers moved on, as did I. You rarely hear "Money Honey" on the radio anymore, even though it did hit No. 9 in 1976, the year of our Bicentennial.

I listened to it the other day, and yes, I still like the record.

And all these years later, I am not ashamed to say that either.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rant #967: "The Doors" Is Closed

I just heard that Ray Manzarek, a founding member of the Doors, one of the classic rock bands of the 1960s, passed away. He was 74 years old and reportedly died of bile duct cancer.

It is his cascading keyboards that you hear on many Doors hits, including the seminal "Light My Fire," one of the greatest single records of that era.

The Doors were a different type of band than most of the acts that became popular during the 1960s.

Most of the bands that reached a high level were happy, poppy and their dark sides really didn't come out in their recordings.

The Doors wore their dark side firmly planted on their sleeves.

Led by Jim Morrison, the group--including guitarist Robby Krieger, who was the main songwriter, and drummer John Densmore--kind of sat on the fence between teenybop band and hard rock band during their existence.

With Morrison as lead singer out front, they fit right into the 16 Magazine paradigm. He was a good looking guy, with his sensuous look and long-flowing hair perfect to be slotted right alongside Davy Jones as a star for young girls.

But through their music and their actions, the Doors were much more than a teenybop band.

Although he was a good looking guy, Morrison's voice was not a classic teen idol warble. His voice was deeper, and had many dimensions to it.

He could do bubblegum, as in a song like "Hello I Love You," but he could be dark too, such as in "Riders on the Storm."

And it was all backed by Manzarek's crack keyboard work. His organ playing was really the backbone of that band.

When Morrison's drinking episodes and other nonsense caught up with him, and he passed away himself, the Doors kept on as a threesome, put out two albums, and it simply didn't work.

They broke up, but certainly not for good.

Manzarek had a solo career, put out a number of albums, but he, and the others, were so firmly linked to the Doors that public demand, and probably the lure of cash, got the Doors name out there on many occasions as a regrouped act, such as the New Doors of a few years back.

The Doors name also constantly was found on new albums, new greatest hits recordings, new live albums, even taking some of Morrison's poetic vocals and putting them to music.

Manzarek, much like Rod Argent did with the Zombies, took rock keyboarding to another level.

In these acts, that instrument was the real backbone of the recordings, not just another instrument in the mix.

I was a big Doors fan, although I don't put them into another dimension from other bands of the time.

They were different, with that dark side that they had, but they had that pop sensibility that was found on their singles. They were really able to show their "other" side on their albums, and their reputation has grown, seemingly every year since Morrison's death.

They are like the Marilyn Monroe of rock and roll; died so young, Morrison is sort of frozen in time.

Although Manzarek was in the background, his use of keyboards helped solidify Morrison's stature for the ages.

Manzarek will definitely be missed.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rant #966: All Powerballed Out

No, it wasn't me.

I wasn't the one who had the winning Powerball ticket for the record breaking sum of nearly $600 million.

Just one ticket was sold, to someone in Florida, who bought the ticket at a Publix in Zephyrhills.

Zephyrhills was once best known for its water, but with this situation, it will be best known for its gold.

No one has stepped forward, so no one yet knows if an individual won, a group won, or even an out of stater won.

People do go on vacation in Florida, so it isn't out of the ordinary to say that maybe somebody visiting won the huge pot.

But it wasn't me.

We play at work as a group, hoping to cash in on something.

Thus far, in all the years I have been playing through work, I think the most we have every won is $10, and yes, that is as a group, so we really didn't win too much.

But we still play, hoping for the best.

And yes, we deserve it ... we deserve to win, it just hasn't happened yet.

But maybe it will.

I cannot imagine winning so much money. It has to change your lifestyle even if you don't want it to.

You can pay off all your bills, and have plenty left over to do the other things you have wanted to do in life.

I am sure you have to hire a tax attorney to sort out how you can keep as much of your winnings as possible.

So you set up a charity to help others less fortunate than you are.

Which means pretty much everybody.

In my case, I guess we will continue to play again and again, hoping for some good luck, luck which has evaded us thus far.

It only takes "a dollar and a dream," and while our dollars are dwindling, we still have that dream.

But alas, like it is for so many others, it really appears to be nothing more than a dream.

But I guess it is nice to have that dream, although it is steeped in reality. The percentages are astronomically against winning, more so then, let's say, getting hit by lightning.

So nothing has changed for me as we go into this workweek. I will still go through the same peaks and valleys I always go through during a normal week.

But for someone or some group of people, their lives have officially changed.

Whether it will be for the better is yet to be seen.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Rant #965: Singing on a Jet Plane

I am sure you have heard about the woman who was removed from an American Airlines plane the other day because she wouldn't stop singing.

If you haven't heard about it, let me fill you in.

Evidently, a Los Angeles to New York plane had to stop at another destination before making it to the Big Apple because a woman who refused to stop singing had to be removed from the plane.

She was singing "I Will Always Love You," Whitney Houston's old hit song that was written by Dolly Parton, and she sang it over and over and over again.

A federal marshall was on board, and she was led off the plane in handcuffs.

She was spoken to off the plane, not arrested, but she had to make her own plane connections to get to New York.

The woman claimed that she could not stop singing because she was a diabetic.

I guess her sugar was out of whack.

Anyway, serenading her fellow passengers with that song probably was pretty bad. All reports are that she couldn't carry a note.

But it could have been worse.

Just think of the other songs she might have chosen for her one-song concert, and maybe by singing the song she chose she spared her fellow passengers from Excedrin Headache No. 657.

"You Light Up My Life" by Debbie Boone.

"Honey" by Bobby Goldsboro.

"You're Having My Baby" by Paul Anka.

"Feelings" by Morris Alpert.

Heck, she could have chosen "Macarena" by Los Del Rios and gotten everybody dancing.

So maybe the passengers and crew should have actually counted their blessings, because things really, really could have been much, much worse on that plane.

"I Will Always Love You" is bad, but there are worse, much worse songs she could have attacked their ear drums with.

Speak to you again on Monday.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Rant #964: The "Goldberg" Age of Television?

ABC has released its fall lineup, and this lineup of shows seems pretty ho-hum.

I mean, how many times can you reinvent the wheel?

However, one show, at least to me, stands out, and for a very good reason.

ABC has scheduled "The Goldbergs" for Tuesday nights, and this sitcom certainly turned my head when I read about it.

The show is sort of a "Wonder Years" for the 1980s, following a seemingly slightly dysfunctional All-American family in their daily lives.

However, based on the title, I would say this is very, very different from standard fare, because the use of that title implies that the family being looked at is Jewish.

When was the last time a Jewish family was the star of a network TV show?

You might have to look back at "Brooklyn Bridge," the ambitious but ultimately under-appreciated sitcom looking at a Jewish family living in Brooklyn in the mid-1950s.

It was on Saturday nights, and I don't think a lot of people knew it was on.

Getting back to "The Goldbergs," the show seemingly has nothing to do with the early TV sitcom of the same name. This is something new, and maybe it is about time, too.

There are Jewish characters on television--whether implied or obvious--but the Jewishness of these characters is often used as a plot device.

One recent example of this is "The Big Bang Theory," where Wolowitz's Jewishness comes up pretty frequently ... so much so that he married a non-Jewish character on the show.

Why couldn't he marry a Jewish character?

There have been many, many other instances.

How about "The Nanny," where Fran was obviously Jewish, but married her non-Jewish employer?

And on "The Wonder Years," the character of Paul Pfeiffer was Jewish, and there was even an episode aimed squarely at his bar mitzvah. But after that episode, his Jewishness was never spoken about again.

No one is asking "The Goldbergs" to be entirely about the family and their world as Jews. But the different nuances of being Jewish would be welcome on this show. 

I mean, there should not be a "Christmas Show," and if they are going to do a holiday show, then it should be a "Hanukkah Show."

One of the show's stars is George Segal, so at least there is some Jewish "authenticity" to it.

But what I found funny is that one of the other stars of the show has a last name of "Gentile," which I know he probably pronounces "Gen-teel," but, well, a "gentile" is someone who is not Jewish.

Ha Ha.

ABC obviously allowed the named "The Goldbergs" to be used for the initial shock value of doing so. Let's see what they do with it.

I think that it is about time a supposedly "real" Jewish family finds its way into a modern, network TV show, but the proof is in the pudding.

If it's a good show, it will float; if it stinks, well, it will sink faster than a store-bought potato latke.

You can see the trailer for the show at

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rant #963: It Was 25 Years Ago Today ...

Today marks a stupendous occasion in my life.

Today, 25 years ago, at 4:15 a.m. in the morning, I became a father for the first time.

My daughter was born today in 1988, and she turns the "big" 25 today.

I cannot believe that I have been a father for a quarter century now.

I was 31 years old when I became a dad, and I remember the occasion as vividly as anything in my life.

I won't go into that much detail, but I can tell you that I was on Cloud Nine when she was born.

And no, we didn't know whether we were going to have a girl or a boy, and we were very pleased to have a little girl to call our own.

I remember that they monitored our soon-to-be-born daughter's heartbeat, and the doctors told us that she had the heartbeat of a boy.

So we were so surprised--and pleased--when we realized we had a girl.

And she had a darkest mane of black hair I have ever seen!

So much has happened in the intervening years, including the divorce between myself and her mother.

I hold no grudges, it was a union that simply didn't work out for the long term.

We have both moved on, both married again, and as you know, my wife and I welcomed a son into our little family in 1995.

Sure, I made mistakes as a father. The divorce put a chasm between myself and my daughter which exists, to a certain extent, to this day.

But I am very, very proud of my daughter, I really am.

She went to college, got her degree, and after a long period of time, she finally got a decent job, one that she can grow with.

She is always welcome in my home, although she rarely takes advantage of that open house.

I speak to her on the phone about once a week or so, and I see her several times each year.

She has her own life, and is very protective of it.

But she is my first born, and nobody can take that away from her, or me.

She is also the first grandchild on my side of the family, actually being just nine days older than my sister's first born, her first of three sons.

My daughter is also the first great grandchild. I know my grandparents cherished the few moments they had with her while they were alive.

Anyway, I simply cannot believe that it is 25 years to the day that I became a father, a mantle that I will bear for the rest of my life ... and one that I am very, very proud of.

I look at my daughter, as I do my son, and I see a lot of myself in each of them.

They are good kids, have to battle for what they have, and will get what they want eventually, but it isn't easy, not in this world we live in.

My daughter has enriched my life for the past 25 years, given me more of a purpose other than simply being a member of society.

When she first said "dad," and even before that, before she could say much of anything, I was hooked.

I looked in her eyes the first time, right after she was born, and I knew I had finally found my place.

Happy birthday to my daughter. I am sure she will see me today, even briefly, so I can wish her the best in person.

She helped to make my life complete.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Rant #962: Agents of Tease

I hope everyone had a nice Mother's Day.

We did, as we had a houseful of people, a big hero as the main dish, and everyone seemed to have a fine time.

Anyway, my wife and I have made it a habit to generally stay away from the TV networks and their programming.

We watch a few shows--she more than me, as I am usually preoccupied with sports--but we don't watch too much, because, quite frankly, what is on network TV today is utter trash that pales in comparison to what was on 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago.

But we do watch ABC's "Once Upon a Time," a two-season Sunday night staple about the citizens of Storytown, a mythical place where fairy tale characters live in today's world, having been banished from their own land by an evil witch's curse.

(If you haven't yet seen this show, don't ask. Put out by the people who gave us "Lost," this show, too, is as convoluted as its predecessor, but it has a certain charm that is intriguing.)

Well, we watched the season finale last night, and that was all fine and good, but that is not why I am writing this Rant.

During a commercial break for this show, a short teaser was run about a new ABC show for the fall season, something called "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

If you are an old comic book collector like I am, and if you are a current move goer, which I am occasionally, you know that this teaser, which lasted maybe a minute, was far more exciting than this 60-minute episode of "Once Upon a Time."

"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is evidently going to be a TV show based on the organization which had its place in Marvel Comics during the 1960s, and has been revived in the Marvel superhero movies of the current time.

See what viewers saw at

I think "S.H.I.E.L.D." first premiered with the character of Nick Fury way back when, but in the past 50 years, with real-life coverups and other derring-dos with real governmental organizations, this was revived in the movies, and played out very well in "The Avengers" film, which made oodles of money last summer.

Actor Clark Gregg reprises his role as Agent Phil Coulsen in the TV show, overseeing this secret law enforcement agency.

The problem is, Coulsen died in "The Avengers" film, so how will he be resurrected?

Will the movie be a prequel to what happened in the film, or is Coulsen actually not dead?

More importantly, will Marvel's stable of superheroes, including Iron Man and the Hulk, turn up on this show?

Just based on the promo, ABC could have a big hit series in the fall, or this could fall flat on its face, but let me tell you, it perked up my ears a bit, as usually during the commercials, I have to prop myself up to even pay attention to them.

But this one got my rapt attention.

If this is how the Marvel Universe is extending itself--and now that ABC is owned by Disney which owns the Marvel franchise, it evidently is doing just this--then it was pretty genius of them to promo this concept during TV's reigning high-concept fantasy show.

But I bet it took lots of people unawares, and yes, it threw me for a loop.

I guess we will just have to wait until the fall to see how this plays out.

I will see you next on Wednesday, as tomorrow, I am busy with business related to my son's education.

See you in two days.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Rant #961: To All the Moms Out There

Sunday is Mother's Day, and to some, that day is the holiest day of the year.

Without our mothers, where would we be?

Moms are the most special people in the world.

They give birth to us, they nurture us, they keep us in step with how we are supposed to behave and act.

Yes, fathers do this too--except the giving birth part, of course--but it is done at a different level.

Both moms and dads are there at the beginning, of course, but moms are there through the course of their pregnancies, give birth to us, and watch us grow into supposedly solid human beings.

I grew up in a traditional setting, one which doesn't really exist anymore.

My father worked, my mother stayed home to bring up their two children, and everything was hunky dory.

When I got a scrape, my mother tended to it. When I needed help with homework, my mother helped me. When I needed a shoulder to cry on, my mother provided comfort.

Of course, in today's world, that type of upbringing really isn't around anymore. Women work, and that type of nurturing aspect has just about vanished.

I am not saying that that is what is wrong with our world today, but the change in women's roles has certainly impacted the way we are brought up and the way we live.

As far as this year's celebration, my wife and I are having both sides of our families over this time. We ordered a large hero with all the sides, and it should be fun having a houseful of people to celebrate the occasion.

I am very, very lucky. My mother is 82 years old and as spry and active as someone half her age. She has the get up and go that puts younger people to shame.

And as for my wife, well, she is just a super person, juggling her job and our home life with nothing but enthusiasm. I don't know how she does it, but she does it, and I am thankful that she can do it the way she does. My son and I would be lost if she couldn't do it at the level she handles things.

So there you have it. I hope all the mothers out there have a great day, because quite frankly, you deserve it.

Where would we be without you?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Rant #960: No Soap

Two elephants were sitting in a bathtub together.

One said, "No soap."

The other replied, "No soap, radio!"

That is the all-time sucker joke, used to see if you are paying attention.

It isn't funny, was never meant to be funny, and quite frankly, it makes no sense.

Neither does the situation my family goes through every week regarding the use of soap.

When we shower, we use soap to clean our bodies.

Not that our bodies are dirty, but this way, we know we are clean from head to toe.

But somehow, bars of soap get eaten up here like hot dogs at the ball park.

There are three of us, as my daughter does not live with us.

Three people using a total of seven bars of soap during the week doesn't make too much sense.

The problem is one that many of us have gone through personally and have experienced as parents ...

We have a teenager in the house.

Our 17-year old son goes through soap like he goes through chocolate donuts; he doesn't leave a morsel behind.

When we are teenagers, for many of us it is the first time we have a sense of ourselves, or own beings, and the first time that we want to look good for ourselves, our friends, and certainly, the opposite sex.

So when he goes into the bathroom, he attacks the soap from both ends of the bar, so to speak, and seven bars of soap wrap around his body like a straightjacket.

Often times, he uses so much soap that when I go in to take a shower, there are either pieces the size of dimes that are left, or nothing at all.

In those cases, I use either body wash or hand soap, but to go through basically a bar a day ... how clean can a person possibly be?

One saving grace to all of this is that we buy our soap at the dollar store, so we can get seven bars of soap for $3 dollars. It is a cost-effective way to minimize the damage.

Luckily, since it is only Thursday, I found a brand new bar of Irish Spring in the cabinet, so I was able to bathe myself with a new bar of soap. There is still one fresh bar left, so until we go shopping on Saturday, I would think we would be OK.

But maybe I am assuming too much.

I like the fact that my son is taking care of his own personal effects, but I don't know if I will feel soap-safe unless we had 10 bars in the house.

His room is a mess, he throws stuff on the floor of his room and doesn't hang anything up, but he uses soap like there is no tomorrow ...

Meaning he is a typical teenager, and my wife and I really wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Rant #959: Know Thy Neighbor

It seemed that the nation became collectively stunned as the news of the Cleveland kidnapping case came to light yesterday.

Three young women, one who had been missing for 10 years, were found to have been kidnapped by three brothers in a Cleveland neighborhood.

One of the women actually had a child that one of her captors fathered.

And absolutely no one knew about what was going on in this house of horrors.

The three Castro brothers were that good in keeping the three women in hiding, shackling them and brutalizing them to the extent that they would not, or could not, leave.

The police had checked out the premises before, but they never went into the house.

You would think that the screams of the women would have alerted somebody that they were in there, but after a time, the screams probably turned to whimpers and then to absolutely nothing.

But you would still think that somebody would have noticed something, and that the Castro brothers would have made a slip that would alert someone that something was wrong.

Neighbors said they did not suspect anything. I heard one neighbor say that he had had barbecues where the brothers were in attendance, and he never suspected a thing.

Other neighbors said that they considered the brothers friends and acquaintances, and they were as shocked as anyone about what was uncovered about the evil deeds of these brothers.

In today's world, where we are truly mesmerized by personal devices, and social activity is not what it once was, you can say that what happened in Cleveland is a reflection on the society in which we live.

Everybody is pretty much into themselves, and they rarely move out of their own personal cocoons to view the world.

I guess you can say that, but, of course, this is an extreme case.

But people do appear to be anti-social these days, or at least not as social as they used to be.

Do anyone of us really know our neighbors and people who live in our own communities?

I know in the community I live in, we don't really know our neighbors, and this is a symptom of the problems neighborhoods face today.

When I lived in Queens, it seemed everybody knew everybody. We lived in apartment buildings, and maybe it was because of that close proximity, but our neighborhood was almost like an urban Mayberry.

When my family and I moved out to Long Island in 1971, I immediately noticed a big difference.

People lived in private houses here, and people weren't as much into the social aspect of their neighborhood as they were when we lived in the old neighborhood.

That has carried over to today, and I think modern technology and the Internet has a lot to do with that, and has made communities looser.

With all the devices we have today--and all the outlets provided by those devices--you really don't have to physically communicate with anyone anymore. You can do it through the device.

People simply aren't as social today as they were 40 or more years ago, and that hurts neighborhoods.

Sometimes, it is good for everyone to know everyone's business.

In this extreme case in Cleveland that is unfolding, it certainly would have been prudent if the people living next door, near and around this house of horrors would have known their seemingly nice neighbors a little bit better.

It certainly would have been better for these women.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rant #958: Tuesday, Tuesday

Tuesday is about the loneliest day of the seven-day week.

It is the third day of the week and the second day of the work week, so it really is a runner-up to Monday, and thus, something of an also ran.

When it is Tuesday, you have completed just one day of the work week. And it isn't even as good as Wednesday, which is affectionately known as "hump day," getting over the "hump" for the remainder of the week.

Tuesday is sort of like Thursday, but on the opposite end of the week. When it hits Thursday, you are not quite there for the end of the work week on Friday. When it's Tuesday, you are just past Monday, so you have plenty of work week to go.

The "terrible Ts," I guess.

And when a major holiday falls on a Tuesday, don't we now switch it to a Monday, so it makes for an easier three-day holiday weekend?

And creative people don't really honor Tuesday much.

We do have a past hit song that talks about Tuesday, "Tuesday Afternoon" by the Moody Blues. The song hit No. 24 in 1968, and maybe it is one of the reasons that the Moody Blues aren't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I mean, it doesn't have the cache of "Monday, Monday" by the Mamas and the Papas, a chart topper and a true pop classic.

And then there is "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium," a film from 1969 starring Suzanne Pleshette about a trip to Europe. It is a piece of fluff, with nothing much memorable about it other than the fact that a lot of "faces" of the time pop up for cameos in the movie, including Peggy Cass (if you don't know the name, look it up).

No, Tuesday is kind of the poor stepchild to Monday, and it certainly can't hold a candle to most of the other days of the week.

It doesn't mean that Tuesday can't be a good day, it just means that Tuesday is usually an also ran, just another day in the work week that builds to the weekend.

Tuesday is Tuesday, and we will just have to move past it to get to the other days of the week.

Let's start to move! The faster, the better.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Rant #957: Selling My Soul For a Cell Phone

I am not a fan of cell phones.

More to the point, I am not a fan of the things that happen to people when they get their cell phones.

I have found that people all of a sudden become rude, so tied into their cell phones that it is as if no one else exists.

I hate it when I am having a conversation with someone, they get called, and they have to excuse themselves to take the call.

I also hate it when people are with you, and let's say, you are sitting down to eat, and the cell phone is put right in front of them, as if it were a plate and they were going to eat off of it.

Or they text right in the middle of a conversation with you.

I have a cell phone, only because my wife feels safer with me having it. It is a basic cell phone, a Tracfone, and I don't go on the Internet with it, I don't text with it, I just use it as a phone.

And I rarely use it. I have over 1,000 units left on this thing, because my main use of this device is to charge it up every week or so.

Few know my number, and that is the way I like it.

What this is all getting down to is that this weekend, for Mother's Day and for our upcoming wedding anniversary on June 6 (our 20th), I went out and bought my wife an iPhone.

She has had a cell phone for years, but it didn't have the capability that this one had.

It was old and "antiquated" because it really couldn't perform the functions beyond a phone that cell phones can handle now.

She texted with it, but she couldn't do much else when she used it beyond its functions as a phone.

Since she had been seemingly forever complaining about it, I made up my mind that she was going to get her iPhone, and I kept my promise.

Frankly, I am happy that she is happy with it. She was playing around with it all weekend, and yes, she does consider it to be an adult "toy," something to fiddle around with when the situation presents itself.

Me, I don't need such a phone, although the salesman did ask me if I was also interested.

I replied, "Absolutely not."

My wife is conscientious, but the most conscientious person gets wrapped up with these phones at the most inopportune times ...

... like texting while driving.

I can't tell you how many near accidents I have gotten in because people are not paying attention to the road but are paying more attention to their phones.

And we have all heard about the horrific accidents that do happen when somebody is texting and not paying attention.

I've been lucky to not have been in one of those.

I am confident she won't text while driving, but this fascination as a culture on these phones really is perplexing.

Do you really need your life history in your pocket?

And why are people so fascinated with having this information at the ready like they are?

Personally, I don't get it.

I have used my phone one or two times for an emergency, like when my old car broke down.

But generally, I never use the thing.

Would I ever get an iPhone?

I could tell you never, but never is a long time.

All I can say is that I doubt it. I really do.

I don't need all that information at my fingertips, and I certainly don't want to turn into the type of people that I described earlier.

And yes, my daughter has a cell phone such as this, and my son wants one.

I guess it is like when we were younger, everyone had to have a transistor radio to loll away dead time by listening to music.

But I simply don't need such a device.

To me, a phone is a phone is a phone, and it is nothing else.

But society seemingly has overruled me. I can't win here.

I am not sold on cell phones, but just about everyone else is.

I guess I am in a minority on this one, but so be it.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Rant #956: Those Were the Days ... ?

Well, I don't know if they really were THE days, but they are days that I cannot forget.

Just celebrating a birthday during the past week, it has forced me to reflect on my formative years, or the years when I went from being a baby to a young man.

As I have told you many times, I lived in a place called Rochdale Village, in South Jamaica, Queens, New York, a place that was both wondrous and frustrating at the same time.

It was a brand new community, some say an experimental community, a mainly white, middle class community plopped down right in the middle of a long-time, very proud black community.

The experiment was simple--could blacks and whites live together?--and we proved that we could, at least for a few years.

Several things spoiled the whole thing, including changing times, various teacher strikes, and the aftermath of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, but in those early years of the development, I think we proved that those with the same dreams and goals were color blind.

I lived in this development from 1964-1971, and those later years--1968-1971--were rife with safety issues, crime, drugs, you name it.

And the schools weren't very good, either.

I went from what could be called a very progressive school for its time, P.S. 30--to a school also modeled on progression, but an educational institution that became the hot pot for everything that was wrong with the development at the time, I.S. 72, Benjamin Schlesinger Intermediate School.

This was the newest school in the development, and the school with the most problems.

Every problem that was present in the development was present in this school, seemingly 100-fold. There was little or no discipline, and the teachers were powerless to do much of anything.

It seemed as if outside forces had taken over the school, and declared that this was going to be the battleground that they would fight for and win.

And, they pretty much did, destroying the last vestige of the pride of this development.

I can tell you that being a student in that school was a situation that I wouldn't ever want to relive again.

There was the safety issue, which was impossible at that school.

There were rampant muggings, pin attacks, shirt fights, you name it, we had it, including riots during the school day. Anti-white, and what I later found out, anti-black people living in the development bias was rampant.

I was in the Honors, or SP program, there, and while I did manage to learn things there, it was a zoo, a real zoo, with no laws, no rules, and virtual anarchy every day we went to school there.

For a variety of reasons, including the education situation, any families-both black and white--left the development in the early 1970s, and now,  Rochdale Village is basically a minority community, a very long-standing one, one that I haven't gone back to since about 1976 or so.

But for whatever reason, the community brings back nostalgia to the kids who witnessed, first hand, its rise, kids like myself, who actually saw buildings go up on the grounds.

The place is ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary in late 2013--the first tenants actually moved in right after JFK was assassinated--and there have been many reunions and celebrations of the place over the past decades.

I guess we kids were there at the beginning, and most of us spent our formative years there--I certainly did, ages seven to 14--so it kind of rings nostalgic to us, the good and the bad.

There are numerous Facebook pages put up by the original kids of the development, and there has even been an award-winning book telling the history of Rochdale from the beginning to the present.

A big 50th anniversary reunion is being planned for the development, and Rochdale itself is holding its own festivities.

What am I getting at here?

Well, I have my own Facebook page devoted to the old neighborhood, and the other day, I put up what I hope to be a series of scans of my old I.S. 72 yearbook. I hope to spread this out over the next few weeks.

Well, it elicited lots of comments, both positive and negative, and many sort of in-between.

First off, it is rare that you see a junior high school yearbook put up on the Internet. Yes, high school yearbooks are all over the place, but not junior high school yearbooks, so I have myself something of an exclusive by putting this thing up.

Second, putting up some of the pages of this book--mainly focusing on the teachers and staff of the school--has produced lots of comments, positive and negative, about the teachers and the school.

A lot of the teachers were very good educators, some were in it for the ride, and I am sure this isn't unlike any other school of that time, or this time.

But the creaky black and white pages of this yearbook bring out lots of remembrances about what we were doing way back when and how we feel about it now, with decades of hindsight to use to see what was really going on there.

I hoped that people would wax nostalgic at these page scans, and they have.

There are as many different opinions on that era as there are people looking at these scans, and everybody seemingly has an opinion on a particular teacher or situation.

I also think a lot of people have lost their yearbooks, and they probably haven't seen these pages in years.

Anyway, I applaud all of those who have responded. The give-and-take has been quite nice and informative.

As I said, I hope to put up more pages as the weeks go by, and I am sure they will elicit many more comments, especially when the class pictures go up.

Look, I am sure that you look back on your junior high school or middle school years with some fondness, or even a lot of hate. Those were difficult years for everyone, as you become a young adult. Everyone has funny stories, and unhappy ones too.

Those were MY years in MY development, and for better or worse, I will never, ever forget them.

The yearbook pages just reiterate that those were both the happiest years of my young life and also the most frustrating, both at the same time.

They helped make me what I am today, so I guess my waxing nostalgic had even a greater purpose than I might have thought when those incidents were actually happening.

It has been a fun ride, I have to say ...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Rant #955: Plane Simple

Recently, sequestration hit the airline industry, as air traffic controllers were faced with losing their jobs due to belt tightening.

Of course, politicians, faced with extra delays in getting from one place to another, lifted this threat, and people in these jobs don't have to worry about being out of work, and the general public doesn't have to worry about facing incredible delays when they are flying.

That's good, but our legislators should do more to get rid of sequestration and put us on the right path for the future.

They won't, and will only do things when it is convenient for them and meets their own agendas.

We know that all too well.

Throughout recent history, there has always been uneasiness between the public and the airlines, and this ties in with a record I have in my record collection, believe it or not.

"The Great Airplane Strike," by Paul Revere and the Raiders, features one of the most unlikeliest topics for a hit Top 20 song: an airplane strike that grounded flying in the Los Angeles area in 1965.

Based on a true incident, the song, written by band leader Paul Revere, lead singer Mark Lindsay, and producer Terry Melcher (Doris Day's son), talks about the utter confusion about getting from Point A to Point B during an airline strike in 1965.

Sounding like a first cousin to the Rolling Stones' "19th Nervous Breakdown," the song stands on its own, and there are actually two versions of this song that were released in late 1966.

There is the album version, on the band's "Spirit of '67" long player (one of my favorite LPs of that era), which basically is a standard tune from beginning to end.

There is the single version, which goes at a pretty quick pace, and which has one of the oddest endings to a record that I have ever heard, as if your pipes are in the process of backing up. That is the only way I can describe it.

The song hit #20 in October 1966, one of a handful of successful singles to come from that album.

The Raiders were looked at as nothing more than a bubblegum band, but let me tell you, they put out some of the finest pop/rock records in the 1960s and early 1970s.

I mean, there is really nothing more to say about the song, but it is clever, catchy, and one of those hits from that era that you will never hear on the radio, even oldies radio.

I have no idea why, and over the years, I think it sounds better to my ear than it did to my ear as a kid.

The flip side to the single, "In My Community," is pretty much a standard rocker, and also pretty good, making for a really solid all-around 45.

Listen for yourself (although what I put up here has a clipped ending), and let me know what you think, and by the way, here are the lyrics, which tell a pretty interesting story.

I was down in L.A. town
When our manager said "jump"
I threw my clothes and my saxophone
In a two by four-bit trunk
I pushed it to the airport
And I ran to the ticket line
Man said "Son, you could have saved the run
Those airplanes just quit flyin'"

If I can't leave here
I just might stay
And that L.A. flyway
Is goin' to be my home

I ran through the terminal building
To fly by my airline
The man said I could ride the wing
And I said that was fine
He said I'll confirm your reservation
And put the plane on hold
He come back and said "Sorry
But that wing space just been sold"

If I can't leave here
I just might stay
And that L.A. flyway
Is goin' to be my home

I walked into the washroom
And I built myself a fire
Threw on lots of paper
And the flames kept gettin' higher
The janitor come runnin' in
So scared his face was white
So, I explained my situation
He said "That's all right"

If I can't leave here
I just might stay
And that L.A. flyway
Is goin' to be my home

Next day I thought that I would leave
So I packed my things again
I waited fourteen hours
For a taxi to come in
I spotted one that wasn't full
And I threw myself in fast
The driver said "I'm sorry
But this taxi's out of gas"

If I can't leave here
I just might stay
And that L.A. flyway
Is goin' to be my home

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Rant #954: The First, and the First Forgotten

As I said as an aside to my Rant yesterday, Jason Collins is getting all the recognition as the first currently active male athlete from any of the four major professional team sports in the U.S. to come out of the closet as being gay, but he was not the first such athlete to do so.

How soon we all forget, including myself.

The 1970s were a different time in our history.

Gays were still in the closet, afraid to come out for fear of losing their livelihoods and afraid that society would look at them in a different way.

In the mid-1970s, Glenn Burke was a highly prized draft prospect for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was a multi-sport star in several sports in high school, and when he was drafted, he was listed as a "can't miss" prospect who had tools that were compared to those of a young Willie Mays.

After a short minor league career, he came up to the Dodgers in 1976, and he reportedly told the team and the team's adminstrators that he was gay.

Although he did not proclaim this to the world, his teammates and team officials knew about his sexuality from the get-go.

This led to a tumultuous, and very short career for Burke.

For whatever reason, he never lived up to his potential on the field, but off the field, even with his sexuality out in the open to his teammates and team officials, Burke was chastised.

There was supposedly an incident between him and Al Campanis, the Dodgers' GM who later was fired for making disparaging remarks about black ballplayers on national television.

According to Burke in his autobiography "Out At Home," Campanis offered him a lavish honeymoon if he would get married to a woman. Of course, he refused, and of course, this story is open to conjecture.

He bounced around in the major leagues, played for the Oakland Athletics, and called it a career in 1979.

Homosexuality started to come out in the open in the 1980s, and he was actually outed by Inside Sports magazine in the 1980s. With this now being public knowledge, there was no need to hide this anymore, and he played in the Gay Games, a gay-themed Olympics.

After a car accident, he was never the same person. He got into drugs, and his lifestyle caught up with him when he contracted AIDS.

I remember that one of the first stories I ever read on the Internet was about Burke and his struggles after his baseball career. If I remember correctly, his autobiography had come out, and he was clearly dying of this disease, a bitter man who was nearing the end of his life.

Maybe in anger, he claimed that he knew other baseball players who were gay, but never revealed who they were.

And for whatever reason, in later years he took credit for creating the "high five" in baseball, and supposedly, the high five is a show of solidarity in the gay community, probably without most people, including athletes, realizing that.

He ended up passing away in 1995, and probably the story would have ended there.

However, actress Jamie Lee Curtis has had an option on his life story for years, wanting to make it into a motion picture. I read yesterday that she believes that now, with the Jason Collins story out in the open, the time may be right for this film to finally move ahead.

Shame on me--and shame on mass media--for forgetting the Glenn Burke story amid all the hoopla about gay athletes.

His story is an interesting one, maybe even more interesting than the Jason Collins story, and to forget it is to create a crevice between how our society was in the 1970s to our more tolerant society that we have today.

It is a story that should not be forgotten so easily.

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