Friday, January 31, 2014

Rant #1,135: A January Not To Remember

I am quite glad that this month is just about over.

One more day and I can breathe right again.

It seems from the get go, this month has been a horrible one for myself and my family.

It started out innocently enough.

The ball dropped in Times Square, but if you remember, ABC had some mistake with its cameras, so you did not get the full feel of the ball dropping because of misplaced advertising signs and bad angles.

That is OK. Nobody ever remembers anything about the ball dropping, anyway, after it happens.

But was this an omen for the rest of the month? I just don't know.

Then we got really into the month, and well, everything that could happen did happen to myself and my family.

Let me count the ways ...

I had an altercation with a metal garbage can, probably the last metal garbage can used in Nassau County on Long Island.

I guess you can say that the metal garbage can won that altercation, because it ripped off a good portion of the right side of my car.

That altercation cost me my car for about four days and several hundred dollars out of my pocket, making my wallet lighter than it is to begin with.

And one of the cars I used to get to work--my mom's car--suffered a flat tire while I drove it, and also, the "check engine" light went on during driving. I paid for the new tire, but the $400-plus bill for the check engine light went to my parents. I simply did not have the money to pay for it.

A few days after getting the car back, I reached for the door handle to get into my car, and it broke off in my hands.

Never in my 40 years of driving has this ever happened to me.

That still hasn't been fixed, not because I don't want it to be fixed, but because of the ineptitude of the people I was dealing with at Kia.

I found out yesterday that he replacement door handle was never ordered, as was promised to me, and when it is ordered, it won't come in until next week. The repair shop is only open during business hours, so somehow, I am going to have to get over there and get this done without upsetting my workplace.

During the month, my wife got rewarded for being a good citizen by getting jury duty. But no, she can't have this locally, she has to have this at the Eastern District Court of New York, which means she had to travel 50 miles there and back to serve. She gets the money back for gas and parking, and she was excused since her first appearance on Monday, but the drive is a horror, and it led to a completely wasted day and anxiety about having to go back there that continues today and for the next week.

Then, my son broke his computer. He had absolutely the dirtiest computer I have ever seen, and then earlier this week, he decided to clean it.

He took Windex to it, it must have shorted out some of the keys, and VOILA!, his computer doesn't work properly, a perfectly good computer in the trash can. He hooked up a spare keyboard to it, he can use it, but it is very awkward.

My daughter, although she does not live with us, is not immune to this nonsense we have experienced this month.

She received a parking ticket for parking her car near work in the spot she always uses, and has for quite a long time. It seems that the village she works in is now enforcing the parking rules there, and she and her fellow workers all got hit with tickets.

She has to go to court in February, and since the car is under my name, I was the one who received the summons, so I have to be there too.

And hopefully the final indignation happened earlier this week, when a bill that my wife and I sent out--our car insurance bill--was sent directly back to us with no notation as to why. The stamp was there, the address shone through the envelope's window, and everything seemed hunky dory. I took it to the post office for an explanation, and the clerk took one look at the envelope and said the reader read the forwarding address as our address, and that is why it was returned to us.

In my 56-plus years of life, I have never had a letter returned to me because of this circumstance--have you? The post office sent it out again, and hopefully it will reach its destination and won't be late.

So many other idiotic things happened to my family this month--my parents both falling on the ice (no damage, thank goodness), my wife and I needing replacement Social Security cards, constant snow shoveling, and many other little, trivial, yet annoying things, that I can't wait for the month to end, so we can move on from this nonsense into some semblance of normalcy.

The one good thing that is guaranteed is that even if February is equally as bad, it is the shortest month of the year, so at least we won't have to suffer for 30 days, just 28.

All I ask is for some normalcy, and I will gladly take it.

If not, I think I am gonna scream!

(And to continue my agony, there will be no new column on Monday. I might put in another "best of," but I won't be around to write a new Rant, and that is another story for another time. Have a wonderful weekend, have a great Super Bowl if that is your thing, and I will be back full steam ahead on Tuesday. See you then.)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rant #1,134: 58 Years and Counting

I have to wish a belated 58th anniversary to my parents.

I did not forget about them one on one, but I did not wish them the best in this column, so I think I better make amends and do it now.

Their actual anniversary was on January 22, eight days ago.

My family and I wished them "Happy Anniversary" then, bought them a gift, and we were all supposed to go out this past Saturday to a local Chinese restaurant, but the snow came, and wiped out that dinner date.

(The photo that accompanies this Rant is from my father's 80th birthday party a few years ago. My parents look the same, and my sister makes an appearance in the photo.)

Anyway, they were married way back in early 1956.

Back in 1956, the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn, gas cost maybe pennies per gallon, and the big TV duo were Lucy and Desi on "I Love Lucy."

Compare that with now. The Nets are in Brooklyn, gas costs several dollars per gallon, and the big TV duos are ... well, do "Mike and Molly" and "2 Broke Girls" count as TV shows or travesties?

I can't figure it out.

Anyway, the President was Eisenhower. Now we have Obama.

The Vice President was Nixon. Now we have Biden.

The minimum wage was probably $1 or so. Now the President wants it to be over $10.

Not good enough, say fast food workers, many without any education and some who can't speak English and are here in this country illegally.

But they are not color blind. They all know what "green" is.

My father was a Kosher butcher back then, now he drives a cab. My mom worked for a number of years, both before marriage and after, and now she manages the home, which is an extremely important job in itself.

Being born in April of 1957--yes, my parents were married over a year when I came along, a trend which many people pretty much ignore, being married before you have kids--I was actually conceived in 1956, and that makes it a special year all around.

And let's not forget my wife, who was actually born in 1956. She is a couple of months older than me, but she looks younger than me. That is the secret to a happy marriage--marry an older woman. My father did, as my mom is a few months older than he is.

Anyway, there you have it.

Happy belated anniversary to my parents, and I hope they have at least another 58 years together.

Heck, if it weren't for them, I would not be here.

Happy anniversary! Hallelujah!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Rant #1,133: Still Funny After All These Years

I do not like modern comedy.

To me, it simply isn't funny.

It is more putdowns than anything else, made to make the person the comedy is being directed at to appear as a fool, an idiot, a stupid person.

To me, that is not comedy.

Comedy is a look at human foibles through the eyes of comics that don't make fun of people, and the laughs are as clean as can be.

Slipping on a banana peel can be funny. Wordplay can be funny.

Making fun of a person's sexuality or body parts is not funny.

It can be, if done by people who know what they are doing, in the right situation, but I cannot remember the last time I laughed out loud at jokes revolving around these things.

That is why I always go back to comedy made by comedians who really knew how to make people laugh, comics who knew what they were doing onscreen 100 percent.

That is why I continue to absolutely love the comedy of Abbott and Costello.

Bud and Lou actually came up in the vaudeville and burlesque circuits, so their jokes were not always clean early on, but they learned, with the help of expert writers, how to tone down their material and make it funny for the masses.

Their movies, even to this day, are some of funniest moments on celluloid.

What is funnier, the trash out today or "Buck Privates?"

Sorry, no contest.

And their routines ...

Everybody knows "Who's On First," probably the most famous comedy routine ever, about what players are playing what positions on the baseball field.

However, what is not widely known is that it was originally a "dirty" sketch about body parts, a burlesque standard that the boys' writers took and made clean as a whistle.

Beyond that, they did "Susquehanna Hat Company," the mustard routine (I don't have any idea what its real name is), and so many others that I could be here all day reciting chapter and verse about each one.

Their movies hold up extraordinarily well even 70 years after the fact, and "Abbott and Costello Meets Frankenstein" has been acknowledged as one of the funniest movies of all time ... and it really is just that.

And their TV show ... well, was there a funnier show ever? It contains all of their routines, and even if you aren't an Abbott and Costello fan, I dare you to sit there through that half hour and not laugh.

That cast of characters--including Mike the Cop, landlord Sidney Fields, Hillary Brooke, Bacciagalupe,  Stinky, and, of course, Bingo the Chimp--make up a supporting cast that is second to none.

When I hear potty mouth comedy that is so prevalent today in movies and on TV, I just cringe, because it just is not funny.

But at least, through the magic of video, I can always go back to Bud and Lou, and other such comedians, like the Three Stooges, and just laugh and laugh and laugh some more.

I have seen their movies and TV shows probably thousands of times, but heck, I still laugh.

And the great thing is, I always will laugh.

When my son was young, I introduced him to the boys, and the Stooges, and he laughed too.

So, there is hope in the comedy area for another generation.

Look, adult comedy is funny when it is done by people who know what they are doing.

But is seems today that all you have to do is get up, use one obscenity after another, and you get laughs like that, without any creativity whatsoever.

Sorry, that is not comedy to me.

Thank goodness for Abbott and Costello.

Now, I ask you ...

Who's on first, what's on second, I don't know is on third base ...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Rant #1,132: New York Is Not New Jersey (and Vice Versa)

I hate football.

Whether it is college, the pros, or even the Pop Warner league, I don't see what people get all riled up about when it comes to this game.

Some say it is our national pastime; I disagree, baseball is, but I will agree that it has become our national obsession.

With the NFL's Super Bowl coming this Sunday, a quandary has been created by having the game in its first cold weather environ.

The game is being played at Met Life Stadium, which just happens to be in New Jersey.

However, New York City, with the help of the NFL, has co-opted the game for itself, and although it is being marketed as a New York/New Jersey metropolitan area-held event, New Jersey appears to be getting the short end of the stick.

All the events that are being held in New York City are sanctioned by the NFL, whether it be concerts or the events in Times Square, which really have little or nothing to do with football, but are linked to the game, anyway, to get the peon fans involved.

No way they could afford tickets to the game, so this is a way to get those fans as involved as possible.

Anyway, the game is being played in Met Life Stadium, and areas like Secaucus and Jersey City are being short-sighted by the NFL with their events.

From what I have heard, not only can't they get these events sanctioned by the NFL, but they can't even use the term "Super Bowl" because that has been copyrighted by the NFL and cannot be used without permission, permission that they do not have.

Look, we know that New York City, and primarily Manhattan, is sexier than Secaucus. Nobody is going to argue that.

But the game IS being played in New Jersey, and the NFL, which has never acknowledged the existence of this state in its hallowed history, refuses to acknowledge this fact.

Just look at two teams that aren't in the Super Bowl.

The NEW YORK Jets and the NEW YORK Giants have as much to do with New York City as I do.

They haven't played in New York City in decades.

The NFL does not have a New York City team, although they would like you to believe that they do.

They have one, single New York team, and that is the Buffalo Bills.

It is a completely ridiculous situation that the NFL has yet to come to grips with.

Why not name the Dallas Cowboys for a neighboring state? How about the Green Bay Packers?

How about name the Minnesota Vikings the North Dakota Vikings, but keep the Minnesota on the helmets?

This is the situation that we have here in New York.

It got an exclamation point when years ago, then-Mayor Bloomberg thought that people would buy into his absolutely idiotic plan to draw the Olympics here and build a stadium on the West Side for it, which then could be used as the home of the New York Jets.

What he forgot is that by and large, people really don't care that much about the Olympics, the project died, and New York City lost its last hope for a homegrown team.

There have never been talks about another New York City team in the NFL, because the league figures that with the two New Jersey teams using the New York monicker, no one would notice.

Perhaps they still don't.

But the Super Bowl has really put the focus on this ridiculous situation, and it appears that New Jerseyians, fresh from the controversies engendered by their full of you know what governor, Chris Christie, are really feeling the pain now.

And you can blame the NFL and New York City for this fiasco.

And with weather reports either showing a decent day or a debacle right now, you can bet that the NFL won't ever put itself in this position again.

So New York City, enjoy this nonsense while you can, because I seriously doubt that a "New York" Super Bowl will ever be held in the future.

And while you are at it, please change the names of the Jets and Giants to the state that they actually play in.

How this has been allowed to go on so long is anyone's guess.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Rant #1,131: Jury Duty

No, I don't have jury duty, but my wife has to serve today.

The problem is, her jury duty is more than 40 miles away from our house.

Let me explain.

The Eastern District of New York is a strange district that stretches from as far west as Staten Island and as far east as where we are, in Eastern Nassau County on Long Island.

The meeting spot is in Brooklyn, and that is why she has to travel so far to get to serve.

Yes, it is crazy, but that is how New York does it.

And getting there, well the verdict is that it is a crazy drive that frays your nerves even before you get into the federal court.

Take it from me, I have been there and done that, and today, she is going to have to experience what I had to two years ago.

From where we are, it can take upwards of two or two and a half hours to get there, depending on several factors, including traffic, road conditions and construction, so it is not a pleasant ride by any stretch of the imagination.

Part of her journey is over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, which is probably one of the 10 worst roads in America. Naming it an expressway is almost funny; it is more a driving graveyard than anything else. 

And once you get there, there is no parking, so you have to park in a garage. Yes, you do get paid back for your trouble, but it is a complete nuisance.

But she has to pay her civic duty, and jury duty is your duty as a citizen of the United States.

We just wish it was easier to do for us where we live.

So I wish her the best today.

If nothing else, it is going to be an annoying trip there, an annoying trip home, and a completely wasted day.

And if she gets picked to serve on a jury, well, she will have to do this all over again on another day.

Let's all hope that that doesn't happen, if for nothing else than her own piece of mind.

She is full of butterflies this morning, and I can't say that I blame her.

My recent experience there notwithstanding, let's be honest about it, nobody wants to serve jury duty, but each of us must do this.

Hopefully, it will be a virtually pain-free experience for her today.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Rant #1,130: 45s

As you probably know if you read this blog regularly, I also run a number of Yahoo Groups and a few Facebook sites.

The Yahoo Groups sites deal with my tastes in music, everything from obscure pop music to the Dave Clark Five.

On Facebook, my sites generally are geared to my old neighborhood, and really, if you didn't live in Rochdale Village, South Jamaica, Queens, New York, I don't think these sites will be that inviting.

So the other day, while a bit bored during lunch, I created another site on Facebook that I think will have a more general appeal, especially to those who frequent this blog.

It is simply called "45s," and it deals with--not guns or bra size--my mania for collecting 45 rpm records, those little records with the holes in the middle that were huge during the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, but have generally faded into the mist.

Sure, 45s are still produced on a limited-run basis--I have actually bought a few brand new ones earlier this year--but like vinyl albums, they are being produced but are relatively difficult to come by.

My focus is on the 1960s, but my site looks at all 45s.

The nicest ones to put up are the ones with picture sleeves, so the preponderance of photos are gleaned from my extensive collection, which began in the aforementioned Rochdale Village and continues to grow when I have the money to buy these things.

We have started off pretty small. I currently have less than 50 members, but the site gets new members every day.

There are plenty of similar sites like mine, but mine is mine, what can I say. If you like what I write here, I am sure you will find the same viewpoint there too.

So why not give 45s a spin? It doesn't cost anything, and it is a fun site, nothing but fun, no controversy, no nothing.

So far, even with a small number of members, it has become an active site, and I look forward to visiting it every day and see what has been posted ... and then add something new myself.

So please, if you are looking for a Facebook site that is very non-confrontational, this is it.

And if you like music and records, this is also it.

The address is, or simply type in 45s in the search box, and you will certainly find it.

Thanks, and this commercial break has ended. See you on Monday.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rant #1,129: Google Chromecast

My family has four TVs in our house.

One is in the living room, and is hooked up to Dish Network.

Two of our other TVs are in the bedrooms--one in my son's room, one in my and my wife's room. We are hooked up to Verizon.

We have another TV that is right now dedicated to video games which is in my daughter's old room.

We can watch just about anything we want to watch, and as you know, even with all of these channels and things to do, there often isn't anything to watch.

So when I heard about Google Chromecast, I became very interested.

This little device, which plugs into the back of your HDTV, allows you to watch several different computer services on your TV, including YouTube and NetFlix.

You just plug it into the HD1 portal on the back of the TV, put in a couple of codes, and there you go.

You use your device--whether it be your phone or you tablet--as a remote, put on, let's say, YouTube, pick a video, and watch it right on your TV.

I became very interested in this dongle because of its cheap price and the fact that the upcoming WWE Network will be part of this service when it debuts.

I figured that for the pay-per-views alone, a service like this would be magical, because all I have to do is program my unit for it, and it would be on the TV screen. I could then record it and keep it for posterity.

But wait--there is one catch, at least for me, for this pretty nifty device.

You cannot record programming from it, and nobody seemingly wants to talk about it.

I have posted this in Chromecast forums, have done the same thing on Facebook sites dedicated to this device, and I have yet to get an answer to my question: "Can you record content off of Chromecast?"

I don't think you can, but in this enterprising world, I would have thought that someone would have figured this out.

Guess not.

I do not have any DVRs. I use the standard, old fashioned, video recorders to record content off my TVs. I do have video recorders that record to DVD or tape, so I can go both ways with that.

But you cannot record content provided by Chromecast, and I have to say that I am disappointed.

There probably is a way to hook up my computer directly with my TV, and that is probably the way to record content off of the Internet. But I thought that this would be the easy solution, but it has not worked out that way.

Otherwise, Google Chromecast works just fine.

I have watched a lot of YouTube stuff using it, and I plan on watching some movies off NetFlix when I get a chance.

But I repeat, I am disappointed.

I should have figured, since this is a Google device. They own YouTube, and are very protective of it, wiping out any copying service that dares to give you the ability to record its videos for your own use.

I guess it was a pipe dream I had, but honestly, I would recommend Google Chromecast anyway.

It is a real nifty device, even without the recording capability.

I like it, and I like it a lot, but I don't love it as I thought I would.

Back to the drawing board ...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rant #1,128: Snow More!

This will be a shorter column today because I have to go out and shovel.

Yes, we got hit again!

I don't know how much we got, but we got!

Yesterday, with the snow coming down earlier than anticipated--by early morning, not the afternoon as had been predicted--just about every school and many businesses closed on Long Island.

Heck, my business even let us out at 1 p.m., which, in my nearly 18 years there, is a first.

Driving was horrid. I was going like 20 miles an hour on the Wantagh Parkway, and getting off the parkway, going much less than that, I hit an ice patch and did a nearly 360-degree fishtail.

Thank goodness no cars were nearby when this happened.

It took me only twice as long to get home--I know that for some people, the commute was not minutes, but many, many hours.

I looked out the window this morning, and the snow has stopped. It looks like we were plowed. All of our cars are in the driveway, so all we have to do is clean them off.

The problem is that it is bitter cold out, in the single digits and feeling lower with the wind chill.

My son has off from school today--in New York City, where they did not get hit as hard, the schools are open--and I do not know what lies ahead for my wife and I as far as work.

I have provided a few photos of how my main route--the aforementioned Wantagh Parkway--looks right now, and it does look like there has been some work done on it.

I did take some work home, so it is not like I will be staring at the walls here, but let me go out and shovel and see just what the real damage is.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Rant #1,127: "My" Random Thoughts

Perhaps if the Professor was still around, he could figure out the weather that we are supposed to get later today and into tomorrow.

Here on Long Island, we are supposed to get six to 12 inches of the white stuff.

Yesterday, the predictions went from four inches to six to up to 12 pretty quickly.

I haven't heard the weather news today yet, but it would not surprise me if we got another maybe three or four inches added onto that.

(I later heard the weather, and yes, we could get 14 inches of snow today into tomorrow.)

And yes, with shovel in hand, I will go out, clean the walks, and try to extricate our cars from the snow.

Snow is me!

Some random thoughts for today:

My car, my car: The story goes that I got my car back last week, as it was finally fixed after that altercation I had with the metal garbage can.

Everything is hunky dory. I have my car and I am back in one piece, as is the car.

Then on Thursday, I got out to the car, click to have the door open so I can get inside, reach for the handle, and VOILA!, it breaks off into my hand.

This weekend, I had scheduled maintenance at the dealer set anyway, but what is this going to cost me?

I already spent a bundle on fixing the car the first time, and once again, for something totally stupid, I have to fix the car again, as I can't open the door on the passenger side without the handle.

My team, my team: The Knicks of the NBA are truly an awful mess. Many injuries, bad trades, and generally poor personnel have completely ruined this season, and yesterday, they dropped the Martin Luther King Day game to the also lowly but moving up fast Brooklyn Nets, a team on the rise.

The Knicks are completely awful, and they are going to have to decide very soon if they keep their one star player, Camelo Anthony, or get rid of him and get something in return.

See, Anthony started the ruinous path earlier this season by declaring that he would go the free agent route after the season, and open himself up to the highest bidder and/or best deal or situation for himself.

It made a stable team wobbly, and they haven't righted themselves yet, and perhaps won't be able to do so this season.

If you saw his expression on the bench yesterday (not the one in the photo) as the Knicks were getting pasted again, well, pictures speak a thousand words.

I said before that the Knicks' season ended during that game that my son and I actually witnessed in person, the 41-point dumping that they got at the hands of the even more awful Celtics.

Well, it is time to make a decision, and the time is to trade Anthony for something palatable. Forget about this season, and build on something for next year and the future ... like getting a few number one draft picks, which they don't have due to bad deals.

"Oh My My": That was the A side of the last official Monkees single on Colgems Records that came out in 1970. It was sort of a mix of bubblegum and soul, a good attempt to resurrect their hit-making potential, but barely scraped into the Hot 100 and died a quick death.

With only two Monkees left at the time--both Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork had already bolted--there wasn't much to the Monkees then anyway, and with their album "Changes" also bombing, that was the end ... until 1986, when due to MTV exposure, the Pre-Fab Four were resuscitated from their slumber and became big all over again.

The only reason I bring this up is that 1) it goes with this "My" theme here, and 2) the single entered the charts on June 6, 1970. Twenty-three years later, on June 6, 1993, my wife and I married.

My wife and our chart life lasted way longer than that single's chart life, and thank God for that!

I have run out of random thoughts, and my oh my, I will speak to you again tomorrow.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Rant #1,126: Nun-Sense

Perhaps we could have used the Professor to figure this one out.

Reports this weekend out of Italy are that a young nun in her early 30s recently gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

The nun said that she had no idea that she was pregnant, had some chest pains, and then gave birth.

She has named the child Francis, after you know who.

Anyway, this story seems to be legit. Remember, you can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but many, many news organizations have picked up on this, it's been a few days, so it does not appear that this story is a hoax.

So many questions arise from this story that I don't know where to begin.

First off, she claims that she had no idea that she was pregnant.

Ladies, never having been pregnant myself, I would assume, based on my impregnating two women, that I remember them both saying that their bodies went through various changes while they were pregnant.

First, your period vanishes, doesn't it? And don't you get bigger in certain places as the fetus grows?

How can a woman not know that she is pregnant? I have heard this refrain from other women in other cases, but I have no idea how that is humanly possible.

Second, how did this happen in the first place?

What did she think she was doing when she "hooked up" with whoever the father is?

Did she not know that she was participating in an act that could lead to pregnancy, and an act that is prohibited for nuns?

Now look, I know about the Virgin Mary and stuff like that, but heck, she may not know that she is pregnant, but she certainly must have known what she was doing with her partner ... wouldn't she?

I remember when I was a young man, every once in a while you would read in the newspaper about a virgin birth, where the woman claimed that she did not have intercourse yet became pregnant.

It is possible. One way is that there is an ejaculation in a swimming pool, and somehow, a woman almost unknowingly absorbs the stuff, and VOILA! she becomes pregnant.

And, of course, a woman can become pregnant under a doctor's supervision, like the Octomom did.

But the Octomom wanted to become pregnant. I assume the nun didn't.

But frankly, I have to scratch my head at this latest episode.

Years ago, the only "pregnant nun" I ever heard of was Sally Field.

When she starred as Sister Bertrille on "The Flying Nun," during the third season, she was pregnant, believe it or not.

She hid behind lots of rocks and her robes were even more flowing than before, but yes, she was pregnant portraying a nun on the show.

They used stock footage for her flying scenes, by the way.

And she sang "Felicidad" all the while.

Funny, that third season is not on DVD, isn't shown in syndication, and has vanished off the face of the earth.

Why is that?

Anyway, back to "real" life, like Ricky Ricardo used to say to Lucy on "I Love Lucy," that nun's "got a lot of splainin' to do."

And a lot of that "splainin'" will come in the future, when the nun has to explain to her son the circumstances under which he came into this world.

Oy vey!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Rant #1,125: And the Rest ...

One of the major icons of the Baby Boomer generation has passed on.

Russell Johnson, who played "The Professor," Roy Hinkley, on the television classic "Gilligan's Island," died yesterday of kidney failure. He has just celebrated his 89th birthday in November.

Although Johnson was best known for his role as the scientific genius who kept the castaways on the uncharted island going for three seasons--without ever figuring out a way to fix the damaged boat that they came there on--he was so much more than that role.

He was in the Air Force during World War II and was a flying ace, piloting a number of major missions. While in the service, he met Audie Murphy, one of the great war heroes of the time. Befriending Murphy, he, like his friend, segued into acting in the 1950s.

Johnson was one of the top actors in B-grade horror movies of the time, and he was one of the stars of a movie that simply scared the heck out of me when I was a little boy, "The Attack of the Crab Monsters."

Anyway, he was also in many, many episodes of major television series, including "The Twilight Zone," and "The Outer Limits," among other shows.

Then came his role as "The Professor," and that was the role, for better or worse, that he will always be remembered for.

The Professor could fix anything, mix up potent concoctions of things to ward off diseases, manage to keep the castaway's electricity going to a certain degree, but alas, he could never figure out how to fix the Minnow.

And the funniest thing about it was that in the original theme song, his character and Mary Ann, the character played by Dawn Wells, weren't even mentioned.

They were known "as the rest" in that song, and I heard Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of the show and the song's writer, later say that in the original concept of "Gilligan's Island," those two characters weren't even supposed to be that prominent on the show.

How that could be, with seven characters on the show all stranded on a desert island, is beyond me, but in the second season, their names were added to the show's theme.

Johnson admitted that he loved the role, but yes, he also felt stymied by it to a certain degree. What he really wanted to do, he said, was to be cast in "Star Trek" during its original run, but that never happened.

After "Gilligan" was surprisingly canceled after just three seasons and less than 100 episodes, he went on to become one of television's busiest character actors, appearing on shows like "Gunsmoke" and "The F.B.I." through the rest of his career.

And yes, he appeared in all of the show's reunion films.

He published his autobiography, "Here on Gilligan's Isle" later on, and it also came out on audio book, which I am happy to say that I have in my collection.

Why his character was never able to fix that boat and get the castaways off the island wasn't really a mystery. If he did figure it out, there would have been no show. And remember, this was a man of science, not a man of fixing up.

If you remember one episode, he developed a compound to fill the hole on the boat, but while it filled the hole, it also was an explosive, eventually exploding everything away in its path.

Back to the drawing board ...

I always thought that Johnson was the best "pure" actor of the seven stars of "Gilligan." Not that the others were not good actors--they all fit their parts perfectly--but in an ensemble cast like this, one of the stars has to rise above the rest. For instance, I always thought that George Takei was the best "pure" actor on the original "Star Trek."

But anyway, now only Tina Louise and Dawn Wells carry the "Gilligan" flame. Jim Backus, Alan Hale, Bob Denver, Natalie Schaefer, and now Johnson are gone.

And with talk of a big screen "Gilligan" picking up steam, I wish that thought would be put to rest.

There is only one "Gilligan's Island," one of its stars was Johnson, and could a movie ever be as good as this show was?

R.I.P. Russell. You will always be the Baby Boomers' lead geek, and that is the way it should be.

(And yes, I have heard that Dave Madden has also passed. He was band manager Reuben Kincaid on "The Partridge Family" and prior to that, was one of the cast members of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In." Another talented guy, I just remember him drinking milk in his sketches on "Laugh-In," and for his run-ins with young Danny Partridge on "The Partridge Family." Another Baby Boomer icon to pass--two in one day is two too much.)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rant #1,124: Wrestling With a New TV Format

I am sure that you heard that World Wrestling Entertainment, better known as WWE, announced this week that its new network, aptly named the WWE Network, would make its debut in late February.

And I am also sure that if you aren't a wrestling fan, you shrugged your shoulders in total apathy and moved on.

My advice to you is to not move so fast.

This might actually be the first move to what future TV is going to look like, not just for wrestling fans, but for all TV viewers.

The WWE Network will, of course, be totally built around its decades of wrestling content. The WWE--or in its earlier incarnations, the WWWF and the WWF--had the inclination to archive just about everything it put on the air, or even sometimes, stuff that never was aired, which other sports leagues only got into maybe during the past 20 years. That is why there isn't a clear, concise video of the first Super Bowl, because the NFL never thought about archiving its material until fairly recently.

Anyway, there will be new programming, older programming, and reruns of current material on the channel. Some of the programming will be regularly scheduled, and some of it will be on demand.

All of the wrestling organization's pay-per-views--its biggest attractions of the year--will be on the network.

And all this for $9.95 a month. Heck, the pay-per-views individually cost nearly $50 apiece, so the savings are there immediately.

And the first pay-per-view they will be showing will be Wrestlemania, its biggest event of the year and one of the biggest sports events in the U.S.

How are they doing this?

The WWE Network will be online only. That's right, you won't be able to subscribe to the network and watch it on your TV, unless you have a Smart TV or can figure out how to hook up your computer to your television (I can't figure it out, help!).

You can snub your nose at this, but the fact of the matter is that this might just be the first step into the future of television.

Right now, so many different media devices are converging, from television to smart phones to tablet computers. It is inevitable that all these devices will meet at a centerpoint, and the WWE Network might just be a tip of the iceberg when it comes to convergence, as once you subscribe for a six-month trial, you can get the network on all of your hand-held devices, and if you know what you are doing (I don't, help!), you can get it on your TV too.

I just think right now that the major TV networks are going to check out how successful the WWE network is. If it is successful--and there is no reason to think it won't be--then the networks could do the same thing, which they kind of do already by offering content on their sites. But they can go one step further, and offer archival content on their sites, which they leave to Hulu and other such providers right now.

It is another revenue stream that I am sure they are looking at, to provide their programming to the widest audience possible and thus, increase advertising revenue.

Why did the WWE go the online route? I can only guess that they couldn't secure enough interest from satellite, phone and cable networks to carry this programming 24/7, and this was the way that they could keep costs down, and thus, increase their revenue--do it themselves.

The price is right, the programming is perfect for the wrestling junkie, and being able to watch this stuff on all your digitial devices is something revolutionary.

So really, don't snub your nose at this.

Wrestling, which has been a mainstay of what you might call "alternative" programming since the dawn of television in the late 1940s, has come full circle with the medium, and the WWE Network is it.

Body slam, anyone?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rant #1,123: TV Themes

I often "Rant and Rave" about the quality of today's television fare, especially compared to what we had in past decades.

It stinks, period. I won't change my mind on that point.

And while some people could argue with me on that point, one thing that I will never, ever get an argument about is on TV theme songs.

Either they are non-existent today, or are so in the background that they barely exist.

Being a baby boomer, being born in the late 1950s and growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, I was in the real prime time for TV theme songs.

There were just so many memorable ones--from "Peter Gunn" to "Gilligan's Island" to "The Monkees" to "The Mod Squad." Each one of them had something to them that you just had to listen to them, and you pretty much knew what was coming.

The late Sherwood Schwartz, the creator/producer of "Gilligan" and "The Brady Bunch," said that he basically sold his shows based on the theme songs that he wrote for them. And he said his greatest TV theme song was for the show in between those two memorable shows, one that did not catch on, "It's About Time," about astronauts breaking the time barrier and meeting up with cavemen.

Anyway, I want to profile today a lesser know theme song, but a tune that was hugely popular in its time.

"The Theme From Ben Casey," was by Valjean, a single-named pianist in the shadow of Liberace. Actually, his full name was Valjean Johns, and he was born in Oklahoma. That is the only thing I know about him.

In 1962, medical dramas were all the rage, and "Ben Casey" was one of the most popular of the genre. Starring Vince Edwards, the show was gritty, timely and paved the way for later medical shows, including "Medical Center" and "St. Elsewhere."

So in 1962, at the height of the show's popularity, little Carlton Records released the single version of the theme song, an instrumental which reached #28 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Released in a plain picture sleeve that simply highlighted the name of the song, the single actually featured a bonus--the "B" side featured Valjean's take on the "Dr. Kildare" theme song.

So you had two competing television medical shows' themes on a single record! Pretty ingenious, I must say.

The "Dr. Kildare" theme did not chart, but it, also, pretty much wraps itself around the show, another sort of true to life melodrama that was quite popular at the time, and which starred Richard Chamberlain.

Valjean had one more Hot 100 placement, "Till There Was You," which barely got into the chart, reaching #100 the same year.

That was it for Valjean as a hit recording artist, and I have no further information on this performer.

Getting back to TV theme songs in general, the last major, new theme song that I liked was the theme to "The Nanny," which also set the pace for the show.

And I see that the new version of "Hawaii Five-O" retains the classic theme song by the Ventures. I guess you can't have that show without that theme song!

The days of TV theme songs may be just about dead, but at least the past period was a fertile ground for these tunes.

Me, I love just about every one of them, because they set the tone for the show that follows them.

Heck, if I could whistle, I would do my own version of "The Andy Griffith Show" theme.

Maybe it's better off that I can't whistle ...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Rant #1,122: Pizza By the Slice

Yes, I finally got my car back. I just about feel whole now.

Anyway, I can now drive my car to the closest Pizza Hut and get a pizza.

What is new and revolutionary is that if a test program goes according to plan, I now can get pizza by the slice at the national chain.

Yes, Pizza Hut is selling pizza by the slice in order to one up its rivals, including Papa John's, Domino's and, of course, local pizzerias. It is doing this at two out-of-the-way stores, and if all goes well, the program could roll out nationally.

That is all fine and good, but remember, I am from New York, and there is only one pizza here that is worth its weight in cheese and sauce--and that is the product put out by our local, seemingly on every corner, pizzerias.

I was weaned on our local pizza outlet, which was known as King George Pizza, and when I was a kid, I learned early on what "good" pizza is. There was none better than King George, but as an adult, I have had many different pizzas from many different places, and while not all of them are top-notch, the local pizzerias have that local flavor--both inside and outside their pies--that make their offerings extra special.

The major chains' fare is OK, but it almost seems manufactured compared to the local pizzas.

Heck, if I wanted one like that, I would just go to the local supermarket and buy a frozen pizza.

I know that New York isn't everywhere, and in Idaho or Montana, your best option would probably be Pizza Hut.

But in my neck of the woods, the local pizzeria's pizza is so much better than Pizza Hut's pizza that it really isn't funny.

Pizza Hut came to my area in the 1980s, but didn't stay around long.

When you have a pizzeria on every corner, the competition is incredible, and most people here would much rather go for the local pizza than the national pizza.

They came back during the last 10 years, but usually in combination with other fast food enterprises, mainly Taco Bell on Long Island.

They don't sell the larger pizzas, just pan pizza and bread sticks.

So, while I think there are larger Pizza Huts on Long Island, most probably won't even participate in this promotion if it goes national, because they don't sell larger pizza.

But in the aforementioned Idaho and Montana, this probably is really big news. You don't have to buy a whole pizza anymore if you don't want to, and I guess Pizza Hut is falling in line with the norm in local pizzerias, that you can just buy a slice or two if you like.

Is this just another gimmick from Pizza Hut, the home of pizza gimmicks, or are they really changing their business plan, going for a more "local" style rather than their national style that has been successful around most of the country and the the world for decades?

I don't know, but to me, the pizza will taste the same, by the pie or by the slice.

This is making me hungry. Let me look up the local pizzeria's number and maybe get a pizza from them later on.

Is there any other pizza to me? No, sorry Pizza Hut, you just don't measure up, by the pie or by the slice.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Rant #1,121: Juiced!

Still no car, they told me maybe by the middle of this week.

I have returned the rent a car--which was costing me an arm and a leg--and will now drive my mother's jalopy until I get my own car back.

Woe is me.

I sound like Alex Rodriguez, don't I?

What can you say about what transpired over the weekend?

His suspension from baseball for PED use was reduced to 162 games from 211, but he says he never took anything and looks to go to federal court to file a stay against this ruling.

He says he never failed a drug test, and hasn't taken anything since he admitted taking PEDs earlier in his career.

An arbitrator made this ruling, and usually, federal courts do not overturn such rulings, but who knows, what has he got to lose at this point?

Yes, even as a Yankees fan, I do think the Rodriguez should go out to pasture, and take his banishment like a man. They probably had some incredible evidence against him, and he is lucky he didn't get an even loftier ban.

But I think baseball is missing the mark here.

To me, there is something so obvious that they are missing, that I cannot believe that they can be so blind to this.

It seems that just about every player who has been caught or suspected of doing PEDs--less higher profile players like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Ryan Braun--is Hispanic or of Latin background.

Now, I realize that that Biogenesis clinic where Rodriquez and many of the others--including teammate Francisco Cervelli--obtained the PEDs is in Miami, and there is a huge Hispanic population there, but it just seems that the preponderance of those caught are players of Latin origin.

Even prior to Biogenesis, the majority of those caught or thought to have used these things were Hispanic players, including former Rodriguez teammate Melky Cabrera.

Biogenesis users included Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Jesus Montero, Antonio Bastardo, and several other major and minor leaguers, all of Hispanic roots.

This tells me that these players must be educated at the perils of using these things--it seems almost an epidemic in these players' community.

I remember a local sportswriter went to the Dominican Republic, and was able to buy these substances right over the counter.

Who is to say that players aren't doing the same thing?

When is baseball going to take a stand on this aspect of the use of PEDs in their game?

Other than availability, why are Hispanic players drawn to use these things? It it a cultural thing, peer pressure, or what?

Sure, Major League Baseball doesn't want to single out one group, especially in this PC era. Hispanics have always embraced the game as their own, and you don't want to ruin that.

I get that part of it. But when you look at those doing this to themselves, you see that a majority of the players, including Rodriguez, are Hispanic.

There has to be a reason for this, and I just wish Major League Baseball would look into that and take action on it.

Sure Rodriguez may, in fact, be a scapegoat of sorts, but he is certainly not the only Latin player who has done this.

There has to be a set of reasons, and I wish that would be looked into as vehemently as this case was handled, because I think if you would find out some things in relation to Hispanic ballplayers, you might be on the road to eradicating this use from the sport forever.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Rant 1,120: Twin Peaks

Well, maybe I did indulge myself yesterday, maybe not.

You decide.

I belong to a site on Facebook where people talk about classic television, whether it is sitcoms, Westerns, dramas, cartoons, or whatever.

A fellow member of this group posted the following: "Have you ever been told that you look like a classic TV show actor or actress?"

Everybody supposedly has a twin somewhere in the world. In fact, back in my younger days, I was friendly with a guy named Jay who you would swear was related to me. We looked quite a bit alike.

Anyway, back to that post ...

The floodgates opened, and many people claimed that they looked like this actor or actress, everyone from Sally Field to Broderick Crawford!

Most people probably didn't look anything like those they thought they looked like, but it was fun reading the responses.

Anyway, I answered the question too, of course.

I said--and this is true--that when I was younger and had hair, several people said I looked like Dustin Hoffman. I never thought I did, but some people thought I did.

Sort of Dustin Hoffman plus several inches in height.

I also said that today, with my bald head in place and a bit paunchier, I look like a less verbose Richard Deacon.

But then, I also added to my post.

I said, that my wife told me many times that when she was younger, people said that she was a dead ringer for Adrienne Barbeau.

I didn't have any older photos handy of my wife when she was in her 20s. I have known her for less than 25 years, so when I met her, she was in her early to mid 30s, just like I was.

So I put together a more recent photo of her, taken about two or three years ago, with a recent photo of Barbeau, also taken that recently, and Voila!, I had my match.

I am letting you take a peak at these, and what do you think?

I didn't think that she looked like Barbeau--the heart throb of many teenage boys in the 1970s as Carol on "Maude," and honestly, the only reason(s) that I watched the show, if you know what I mean--but looking at these photos, there is something of a resemblance, top to bottom I would say.

And some people have agreed with me!

Barbeau's character was not only extremely sexy, but she was a headstrong character, a champion of women's rights and sort of a younger version of Maude, who she often clashed with about one thing or another.

She was also the sexiest lady on TV at the time, the first female character that I can remember who wore halter tops on a semi-regular basis--and filled them very well indeed.

Anyway, so I did indulge myself after all.

Did I marry the ersatz twin of a female TV star or a sexy person on her own?

After being married more than 20 years now, I would say definitely the latter.

My wife is sexy as hell, is her own person, and man, did I get lucky the second time around!

So while I will still occasionally tune into "Maude" just to see Ms. Barbeau's charming assets, I have a charmer sitting right next to me ...

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Like I said, after all is said and done, I am a really lucky guy.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Rant #1,119: Indulge Myself

Since I have had such a wonderful week to this point, I thought I would read my horoscope.

I don't usually pay attention to such things, but heck, I feel I need all the help I can get here during this week in January, so what do I have to lose?

"You need to indulge yourself today -- even if you feel tapped out. In fact, a little decadence may go a long way toward recharging your batteries, so don't feel guilty about it!"

That is what the horoscope said. Not too bad, not too shabby at that.

Now, let me see what I should indulge myself with.

Perhaps waking up a little later than I normally do? Maybe 4:50 a.m. instead of 4:40 a.m.?

Sorry, I'm up already, so I can't indulge myself that way.

How about taking it easy at work?

I have a pile of stuff to be written just waiting for me, so I don't think that is going to happen.

How about having a nice, clear drive home without having to stop anywhere?

No, I can't do that today. I have to get my allergy shots--yes, four of them right in my arm.

OK horoscope, tell me how I am going to indulge myself today?

I am sure that during the course of the day, there will be something that happens that somehow fulfills what it says.

For instance, I, on rare occasions, get what we call "graft" in the mail at work.

It is a package addressed to me that contains something that the sender wants to promote, like meat snacks or snow cleats or something that I don't really need.

Again, I don't often get stuff like this, but if I do get something today, will that fulfill my horoscope?

Now that I know what the horoscope is, I will be extra cognizant about it.

The best indulgence for me today would be to get my car back from the shop, but fat chance of that actually happening.

They told me Friday--at the earliest--so I can't expect miracles, even though my insurance company has me on some type of "speed repair" plan.

I guess if I wasn't on that plan, I would get back the car on Friday--in February.

So we are back to square one again.

How am I going to fulfill the horoscope and indulge myself today?

I have no idea, but if I do indulge myself, I will get back to you with the results.

Right now, I am at the low end of the totem pole, so any indulgence would be heartily welcomed.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Rant #1,118: The Ballad of Car vs. Can

Going to work one blustery day

I dropped my son off at school and went on my merry way.

Driving on the road like I do every day

I met up with a metal garbage pail that stood in my way.

It was "my car or the object," I said to myself

And although I swerved, the object was stealth.

It hit my car on the passenger side

I hoped that there wasn't damage, but luck was not with me on this ride.

The further I drove, the more rattling I heard

And when I stopped the car ... well, I won't repeat the word!

I drove into work and made my insurance claim

I then drove back to my area on the same road I came.

I looked for that can as hard as I could

But it wasn't to be, as I stared from the window across my hood.

I drove the car to the repair shop, and knew what they would say

I would have to leave the car, and they would repair it, by Friday.

They gave me a loaner car, a nice Jeep that was white

I haven't driven one in a long time, so to be safe, I drove on the right.

Another driver who was in a rush blurted out through a stop sign

Barely missing the loaner car as I drove on the right side of the line.

I knew this was not my day and drove back to work

And yes, driving this loaner white Jeep made me feel like a jerk.

No accidents for decades, no problems at all.

And now I feel about two feet tall.

But I warn you that one day I will find that can

And when I do, well, I might say things to it that aren't normally part of my plan.

But will it answer back, as inanimate objects normally can't do?

My luck, this one will, and I will really feel like I'm truly without a clue.

Until that day comes, and hopefully it never will

I will have to take this experience as a bitter pill

This is my ballad of car vs. can

I just have to take it, because ultimately, I am the better man.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Rant 1,117: How Big Is Too Big?

I love television.

I always have.

My mother tells me that when I was a baby in the crib, when she would put on "American Bandstand," I would jump up and down like my bed was a trampoline.

TV has changed over the years, and I am not necessarily talking about the programming, which has changed drastically since the days of that show and "I Love Lucy" and all those classic shows from that time.

Where once we had televisions which were as much furniture as a couch was, we moved to portable TVs, which were smaller but more flexible in where you could position them.

Then, just in the past few years, we moved into the digital age, and TVs are now pretty garish, black, rectangular devices that have to be hooked up by wire to something to get programming.

Somewhere in the past six decades, the electronics industry came up with a measurement for TVs that is really outlandish, measuring the screen diagonally to get its size.

So you have 32-inch TVs that really aren't 32 inches, but their screens are using that rate of measurement.

Anyway, to get to my point, there are TVs of every screen size now, from the 20s into the 60s and above.

At the Consumer Electronics Show, Sharp has just debuted an 85-inch TV. It has all the bells and whistles you would expect from such a TV--such as 3D--and it is huge.

And Sharp isn't the only TV maker with such a huge TV--I believe Samsung has one too, among others.

Why anyone would want an 85-inch TV is beyond my comprehension.

First of all, who has the room for such a TV?

Even if you have a large room, a room dedicated to home theater, 85 inches is really, really huge, almost akin to watching TV in a movie theater.

Secondly, does one really need such a large TV?

The "measurement of a man," in popular terms, used to be what type of car he drove.

Today, it seems to be what size TV he has.

My family has three TVs, actually four if you count the TV we use for my son's video games, which is a dedicated TV for that purpose.

They run in size from 21 inches to 32 inches, and really, that is all we need to watch TV.

We don't have a home theater room, but even if we did, 85 inches would be a bit much.

And the price ... don't get me started on that.

Going back to what I said earlier, TVs today are highly functional, but compared to TVs of old, they are pretty garish, just being black rectangles with large screens.

They aren't furniture anymore, and they certainly aren't portable.

Sure, we don't have the ghosts and the interference that those TVs experienced, but heck, we learned to live with that, didn't we?

I don't know, 85 inches to me is a basketball player at more than 7 feet tall, not a TV size.

But I can guarantee that that basketball player will really look his full size on these TVs.

I guess such a TV is a slam dunk to some, but to me, give me a smaller TV anytime.

The question again is, "How Big Is Too Big?" and I believe this set has answered that question with its size.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rant #1,116: Hoops!

Friday was a complete washout.

I never made it to work, my windshield wipers were frozen solid until Saturday, and I hurt my back shoveling our driveway and walk.

But things started to look up on Saturday.

My wife and I were able to do everything we needed to do on that day, and then some.

This enterprising guy purchased tickets to see the Brooklyn Nets versus the Cleveland Cavaliers months ago, and who knew that the game would be the day after a blizzard?

So we trudged into Brooklyn, and this time, it wasn't just myself and my son, but my wife also accompanied us.

She is not a basketball fan at all, but she wanted to see what the Barclays Center looked like.

We got there early, tried to eat at a major restaurant chain, but we were thwarted by the wait (two hours), and ended up eating at a packed to the brim McDonald's.

We then made our way over to the arena, which, as I said last year when I went with my son, is really a beautiful place to see a basketball game.

This year, we had center court tickets, but were in virtually the last seat in the last row.

But our vantage point was better, and I don't think I have been seated center court at a pro basketball game probably since the Nets were on Long Island and played at the Nassau Coliseum.

The Nets have been a major disappointment this year, rolling with the Knicks at the bottom of the standings. Even though the arena was officially sold out, there were numerous empty seats for this game, as the Cavaliers are as bad as the Nets are, with numerous injuries and a horrid team in their post-Lebron James era.

Anyway, the Nets won a tough game that was pretty close throughout.

And yes, my wife got into it, clapping and cheering as much as my son did.

Me, I was there for the atmosphere. I am a Knicks fan, but you can get three Nets tickets for the price of two Knicks tickets, so I don't mind going to Brooklyn, the place of my birth, to see professional basketball.

My wife has said she doesn't want to see a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, but she left open the possibility of seeing another Nets game next year.

That's good. Nothing like doing something with both my wife and son involved.

Heck, I wish I could do this more often, but ticket prices are outrageous.

Maybe we can get there again next year.

Or maybe, does anyone out there have any stray tickets out there?

Please let me know.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Rant #1,115: We Done Got Hit!

Yes, with snow, and a lot of it.

I have just come in from the outside, where I shoveled for about a half hour, and also tried to dig my car and my wife's car out of the muck.

And it is still snowing.

We must have a couple of inches on the ground, and more will be coming as the day goes on.

Neither my wife nor I know if we have to report to work today.

My wife works in a bank, and they have a system of checks and balances when it comes to a day like this.

My work has absolutely no system in place at all for weather disturbances, which, of course, puts me and everybody who works there in a ridiculous situation.

Do I go in or do I not go in? That is the question, Shakespeare.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention, it is also about 10 degrees out now, which is making everything that much worse.

Frankly, I don't even know if I can maneuver the streets with my car.

My wife has a Jeep, so she should have no problem.

Me, I have a Kia. Yes, I might have a problem.

What to do?

Who's on first, I don't know on's second ... sorry Bud and Lou, I had to do it.

So have fun today wherever you are.

I know that I will--I have had so much fun since 4:30 this morning, the rest of the day should be snow much better!

Pun intended.

(Here is the deal, which shows more about the state of business today than anything else. My wife calls her work hotline, which tells her that her bank is open today. So she manages to get out of our driveway, and goes off to work. While she is slipping and sliding on the road, she gets a call on her cell phone that her place is not opening until 11 a.m., so she came home--in one piece, but as angry as can be. My place, well, they simply don't care about anyone. I called up at 6 a.m. because one guy sleeps over there (don't ask). I told them I am having trouble, and they should call me back about whether we are open or not. I got outside later, and not only can't I get my car out of the driveway, but my windshield wipers are frozen solid. So I call back again, telling them my predicament, and to this moment, I don't know whether we are open or not. But without the ability to get out of my driveway nor clear off my windows of the still-coming snow with my wipers, I couldn't get there if I wanted to. And yes, there is a snow emergency on the streets, so why is anybody even contemplating driving around this morning to begin with?)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Rant 1,114: 2014

How was your New Year's Eve and Day?

Mine was pretty much nothing with nothing.

We were allowed to leave work early on Dec. 31, 90 minutes early, which rarely happens, but when it does, it is like a blessing from heaven.

Later, my family and my parents had a Chinese food feast. It was delicious.

And then, reality set in.

Sure, this was a special night on the calendar, but really, how special is it?

After the Hanukkah and Christmas onslaughts, is New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day, really that big a deal?

Not to my family, at least.

My wife fell asleep at 8:17 or so--I know because when she officially dozed off, I checked the clock--and then my son and I were the only ones up.

My son was on the computer or playing video games, and I watched television.

I watched the news, which was pretty dry, but the anchor was very pretty (yes, it has come to this).

Anyway, right after the news, "The Honeymooners" marathon began, so I went right into that.

At about 11:55, I turned on ABC to see the ball drop, and if you were watching, didn't you get the feeling that somebody made a big error during the ball drop?

It seemed that the camera was positioned in such a way that you really couldn't see the movement of the ball clearly. There was a big advertising sign in front of the ball, which didn't help either.

As the countdown went on, they showed shots of the crowd rather than the ball.

And then, to add insult to injury, they then moved to a different angle for the ball--probably because they saw that they made a mistake earlier on--and you could not see the movement of the ball at all.

I put this up on Facebook, and I wasn't the only one who was disappointed in the way the ball drop was handled.

I have to think that Dick Clark was turning in his grave at the sight of this, and to what his show has turned into--a freak show--in his later years and now that he is gone.

Anyway, I watched some more of "The Honeymooners"--an eternally funny show that has stood the test of time--and then I went to sleep.

New Year's Day was really nothing with nothing. I only ventured outside once, to throw out the garbage.

We watched "The Honeymooners" and "The Twilight Zone" all day, and that was pretty much it.

But now reality has set in on January 2.

The work week kicks in again, and there are predictions of a major nor'easter coming our way later today.

2014, apparently, will start off with a bang, and a white one at that.

My family has some major plans this weekend, and hopefully, they will not be derailed by this nonsense.

So happy 2014 to you and yours, and we are probably in for another interesting year.

Let's see just how interesting it is--Rant 1,114, the first Rant of 2014.

There is something eerie about the two number 14s aligning there, but I will leave it at that.

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