Monday, June 30, 2014

Rant #1,238: Chores Bores

Thank goodness this is a holiday week.

As usual, the weekend went too fast, even though, for the first time in a long time, I did absolutely nothing on Saturday and Sunday.

My wife worked the entire weekend, so I was pretty much bound to the house. I let my son sleep as long as he liked, since his sleeping days are over with his summer camp job beginning today, and he took full advantage of this.

When was the last time you slept until 2:45 in the afternoon?

Anyway, this Rant has nothing to do with that, it has to do with chores.

Yes, chores, those things that you have to do around the house to keep your dwelling ship shape.

Basically, our home chores are handled by my wife and myself, more 75-25 with her doing much more than me. We have tried to integrate our son into this, but by the time he gets to do what we've asked him to do, we've done it already.

Typical teenager, knowing that if he waits it out, he won't have to do it.

Anyway, one of my chores is emptying the dishwasher each and every morning, or at least five or six times a week in the morning after I wake up, take a shower and get dressed for the day.

This is not one of my favorite things to do.

All the dishes, plates, pots and pans and silverware need to be put away, and since I am the first person up, I am elected to do this.

When I am still half asleep, to do this, well, that is why they call it a chore.

For three people, we used a lot of dishes, plates, pots and pans and silverware each day and week, and it is my job to put the stuff away.

It's not like I have to walk all over the house to do it; all the cabinets are right before me.

But I think it is simply the mundane manner of the whole exercise that bores the heck out of me.

Do I mind doing it? Well, I do, but looking at what my wife does--cooks, cleans, and everything else--it is the least I can do to help her.

I often empty the laundry during the weekend, and certainly, when she is working an entire weekend, I empty the washing machine, which I did this weekend.

But there is something about emptying a dishwasher--our new dishwasher, as you already know--that just turns me off.

But I do it, and it only takes a few minutes, and I am done.

I remember that I saw some type of futuristic kitchen, where your drawers and cabinets actually became a dishwasher at the press of a button, and you didn't have to put anything away because it was already away as it cleaned.

Fat chance of that every happening in the real world, eh?

Again, my wife does the bulk of the chores in the house, so I really can't complain, but nonetheless, add emptying a dishwasher with putting on a tie as among the things I really don't like to do, along with shaving and hearing anything more about the World Cup.

And it's funny, but every morning, after emptying out the dishwasher, I start the whole process up again, because whatever I use for breakfast--generally my spoon and my cereal bowl--go right back into the dishwasher, so it really is a 360 degree thing for me.

And tomorrow, it will be back to the dishwasher again.

Yes, sometimes I do feel like one of those hamsters in cages that go on the wheel and seemingly don't ever come off of it, getting nowhere in the process.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Rant #1,237: "Evil" Personified

If you want to see the most "evil" character on TV, don't watch any of the dramas, because you won't see that person in action.

Don't watch any of the soap operas, because she doesn't do her "evil" deeds on those shows.

You have to watch any of the wrestling shows put on by the WWE, and you will see that person in the flesh:

Stepahnie McMahon.

Yes, the daughter of the legendary Vince McMahon has taken over her father's show, and she is as dastardly as he was, if not more so.

She comes on as a very pretty girl--yes, she has had, let's say, refinements, but she was good looking before she had the work done--but when she opens up her mouth, it is pure McMahon.

She appears--often with her husband, legendary wrestler Triple H--as the evil characters who run the wrestling empire, and they let you know at every turn who they are, what they are, and how much money--and power--they have.

McMahon appears to be the more evil character in this "Best For Business" mode, because again, she comes on like this pretty little thing, but while she is pretty, she is far from innocent.

When she is berating someone, verbally attacking someone, or firing someone, you see that old McMahon fire.

And when she screeches, "You're fired! you hear that old McMahon zest that her dad personified for all these years.

Whether you like wrestling or not, you probably have seen Stephanie McMahon around. She has become the ubiquitous "face" of the WWE, on all the talk shows, in all the TV media, even covered by the mainstream media.

The WWE backs many mainstream causes, including the fight against breast cancer and the Special Olympics.

And when they need a spokesperson to the media, it is Stephanie McMahon who represents the company.

It is a changing of the guard, because Vince McMahon, for various reasons, has taken a back seat to his daughter, and to his son in law, the parents of his grandchildren.

Stephanie McMahon and Triple H (real name: Paul Levesque) are real-life executives of the company, and they are having more of a say so on matters pertaining to the company, and will take WWE into the future with their decisions.

Stephanie McMahon has been a major part of the WWE for years, first as a performer, and now as a performer/executive.

And like her dad, when she is on TV, she likes to show her authority, but usually gets it in the end, embarrassing herself because it is "Best For Business."

Just the other day, she supposedly fired long-time WWE employee Vicki Guerrero over some insipidness.

This was fully planned, it was well known that Guerrero wanted to move on, but they decided to milk this until the cows came home, and they did.

The storyline was that Guerrero would have to fight to get her job back against a number of female competitors, including McMahon.

In a nutshell, what happened is that the fight basically took place in a mud bath, Guerrero ended up losing, but in the end, this one-time most hated personality in the WWE got the crowd's sympathy in her exit, because somehow, she ended up throwing Stephanie McMahon into the mud, which everybody absolutely loved.

Stephanie McMahon is the wrestling world's biggest heal at this point in time, and she plays the character to the hilt.

So if you want to see "evil," more pretend and fun evil than anything else, watch her at work.

It might not make you a professional wrestling fan, but I guarantee it will make you a fan of Stephanie McMahon, the most evil character on TV today.

And if you don't get it, well then ...

"You're fired!"

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Rant #1,236: Nil

Wake up, America.

Let's stop with this nonsensical interest in soccer that we have shown with our team in the World Cup.

We aren't really that interested in what the rest of the world knows as football, are we?

Soccer has always been a niche sport here, and it always will be one, simply because our slate is too crowded as it is.

Baseball, football, hockey, basketball, and all the individual sports, such as tennis, golf and bowling, among others, have really filled up our sports slate.

Heck, you can include professional wrestling in that mix too.

And soccer, next to golf, is probably the most boring sport on the planet to watch. Low scoring is the norm, and they are even checking the ball out this year because goals are up.

It might be juiced.

And we don't need the nationalism associated with soccer. When I see European fans, and soccer fans elsewhere, literally bathing themselves in national pride associated with these games, I become ill.

We are not Europe, we are the United States of America, and we don't do things like this here.

Look, soccer on the lower levels--kids leagues, primarily--has been popular for decades, I am not going to dispute that.

But for whatever reason, once you get out of these leagues, the interest vanishes, and I have to say I don't know why, and nobody else does either.

There have been several professional sports leagues set up to try to continue the interest, but honestly, they are really niche leagues, garnering little press and little following among sports fans.

Remember the NASL? Remember Pele?

Anyway, there continue to be professional soccer leagues operating across the country, but they really get little interest from fans--both indoor and outdoor, they exist, and that is about it.

But the World Cup kind of ignites interest in the sport from people who go with the flow.

It's sort of like the phony interest in certain sports generated by the Olympics--once they are over, does anyone really care about curling?

The only difference today is that our population is changing, and that is putting more of a spotlight on soccer.

We have many more Hispanics coming to this country, and they bring an interest in "futbol" from their native countries.

Since this is such an expanding market, advertisers see it as a way to make money, so they focus on the World Cup as a way to not only market soccer, but to sell their products.

That is all fine and good, but the U.S. is simply not a soccer country. This will fade once the U.S. team is eliminated, and we will be back to focusing on our most popular sport, baseball, during the summer.

Sorry, this is a baseball/football, and to a certain extent, baskeball/hockey country, and as much as some of us want us to be the same as the rest of the world, it isn't going to work.

Our real interest in soccer?


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rant #1,235: Opt Out

Yesterday, basketball star Lebron James announced that he was opting out of his contract with the Miami Heat, and would enter free agency.

This happened just a few days after the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony decided to do the same thing.

What this means is that, essentially, these players are open to either the highest bidder for their services, or the bidder that they like the best.

It is pretty much up to them where they play next season, and they could actually play with their old teams if they choose, because the Heat and Knicks, respectively, would be able to pay them more than any other team that they signed with.

That is where it gets complicated, and that is where I am going to veer slightly off of going into the specifics of why that is true.

I was just wondering if this were true in the real world, how many of us would opt out of our own current work experiences?

Most of us don't have contracts, so we couldn't opt out of something that we don't have, but what would happen if after a few years, we were allowed to shop around our own services to the highest bidder?

Would we get a good deal, or any deal at all?

Let's face it. Professional athletes have skills that are marketable commodities. They do things on their playing fields that we can only dream about.

Can the same be said for what we do?

Yes, we all work hard. We are all good at what we do.

Heck, I have been at my place of business for over 18 years, so I must be doing something right, right?

But what if after, let's say, reaching my 20th year there, I can say, "Shalom!" and move onto the highest bidder?

Personally, I write specialized stuff that most publishers could not care less about. I write about military exchanges and commissaries, venues, and subjects, that few civilians even know exist.

After those 20 years, if I could opt out of my "relationship" with my current firm, and go on the open market, would there be interest? Would I get a better deal than I had?

I doubt it. It simply does not work that way in the real world.

We do have a competitor, but that competitor really isn't one. They just exist in the same market, but we really have the lion's share of this grain of sand of a market that we really don't compete with anyone.

I could do other writing. In my career, I have written about many subjects, including real estate, security and entertainment. I could do it again.

But it just isn't the way it is in the sports world. Nobody would be banging down my door, nobody would be wining and dining me to join their organization.

So I, and most everybody else, just has to grin and bear it where they are.

There are no opt-out clauses in the real world.

When was the last time I even had a raise?

I can't even remember ... .

But I won't be going anywhere to test the waters, because the waters are cold, even frigid at the moment.

So I wish James and Anthony well, because they will do well wherever they go.

But me, I am staying put where I am.

No opt outs for me!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rant #1,234: Bursting With Pipe

Yes, I am still bursting with pride with my son.

I can now say that he is a high school graduate.

But last week was such a busy week.

My wife and I were also bursting with pipe last week.

Why, do you ask?

Because our dishwasher broke, and evidently, it was so far gone that it was releasing water into the crevices of the walls and ...

The downstairs part of the house was the recipient, with water leaking from the ceiling and water all over the place.

It took plumbers a while to find the leak. Originally they said it might be from our bathroom, namely the bath tub.

But once they did a more thorough investigation, they found that the motor of the dishwasher wasn't working properly, and it was allowing water to get where it should not be, building up in the wall and, finally, collapsing the ceiling.

Luckily, it only damaged about three feet of ceiling downstairs, but it left an unsightly hole in the ceiling that had to be fixed.

We were told on Tuesday that the dishwasher was the cause of this catastrophe, so after work on that day, my wife and I rushed out to our local appliance place and bought a dishwasher in haste.

I guess I am used to such purchases, since I pretty much bought my car in haste too.

I don't think we were in the store for more than a half hour before making this purchase. We took the cheapest one we could find under a good name--Amana--and we ordered it in black.

We were told that it would come on Thursday ...

And it did, the only problem being that it came in white, not black as we had wanted.

I got a call at work about this, and I guess since my car is white too--I wanted a darker colored car, but settled for what they had in stock--I agreed to the white dishwasher.

It is OK, I guess. I don't get too excited at dishwashers, and like everyone else, I certainly hate to unload it when it needs to be taken care of.

So that was one crack in the ceiling, literally, in a week that really was incredible.

And yes, before I wrote this Rant today, I emptied the dishwasher, so I gave this column the full "dishwasher effect" today.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Rant #1,233: "Dance Like No One Is Watching ... "

That is what the valedictorian at my son's high school graduation said yesterday in his speech, and yes, he is right.

Do what you need to do to get where you are going, and you will be fine.

That was really the theme of the day.

You have to do your own thing, to a certain extent, to make it today, whether your next step is college, or in my son's case, the job market.

Specifically about the graduation, it was a great evening.

Yes, it was held in the later afternoon into early evening, and yes, I am pretty much bushed today as I am typing this, after experiencing the busiest week of my life last week.

Every day, I had something to do after work. Then on the weekend, we had my son's graduation party, and then yesterday, the actual graduation.

Two graduations in one week can try anybody's soul, but we all seemed to come out of it OK.

Now it is back to reality.

My son needs to find a permanent, full-time job, and it isn't going to be easy.

Those supposedly "improving" employment numbers are a facade. We all know that. There are people who have been out of work three, four, five or more years who aren't counted anymore.

There are also millions who are part-time employed, who had been full-time employed, because that is all they can get.

There are still more who have taken jobs beneath their actual capacities, because that is all that is open to them.

My son is going for a full-time, entry level job. He has a disability, which is going to make it all that much more difficult.

I have done what I could to help him. I have applied for all the pertinent programs. He is being tested in September by one of those organizations, to see what he can do and can't do.

I don't expect he will get a full-time job until the fall, maybe later.

He still applies for jobs on his own, but it is very, very difficult to do this without an organization to back him up.

He has a summer job, at his old camp, Thank God. At least it will keep him busy during the summer, for two months, but my wife and I do worry about the other 10 months.

But we weren't worried yesterday. We put all that aside, and we are quite proud of him and his accomplishments.

What a great weekend, and past week, that he had.

Two diplomas in one week. You can't beat that.

Now for the next phase of his life.

I just hope there is somebody out there that will give him a chance.

I can guarantee you that they won't be sorry for doing it.

He is a good kid, smart in his own way, and he has always done his best.

Let's see what happens.

But right now, all I can say is congratulations. We are super proud of you!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Rant #1,232: The Time Has Come

Sunday is the day that my wife and I have been anticipating for a long time.

Our son finally graduates high school.

The long-awaited day will be preceded by a party on Saturday, and right after that, my son and I have tickets to a WWE house show at Nassau Coliseum.

So it is shaping up to be one busy weekend.

Our son has accomplished a lot during his schooling. I remember when he could not hold a writing instrument the correct way to write out his name.

He holds it correctly now, but his handwriting is even worse than mine, which means it is pretty bad.

But he has made other strides during his schooling, and now he is ready for the world.

I don't really know if the world is ready for him, though.

Whatever the case, we are very proud of him for his accomplishments, and his graduation should really be something to remember, a final memory of his high school days.

As an aside, I remember my own high school graduation pretty vividly.

And I have to say it is a memory I would prefer to forget.

It was 1975, the height of the anti-authority age, and long hair and drugs were in, any link to the norm was out.

We had our graduation on the football field of my high school, so anybody could attend the event, and there were no tickets. Guests simply sat in the bleachers.

It was a hot day, and the graduates, of course, had to wear their caps and gowns. I know for a fact that most of the kids wore shorts, cutoffs, bikinis, what have you, under their caps and gowns, because it was so hot, and again, this was the anti-authority age, so there were few suits and ties underneath the finery.

As we sat there as speaker after speaker came up to the podium to say not much of anything, a bottle of Jack Daniels was being passed around among the graduates, with probably about half the graduating class taking a swig.

I didn't drink then and I don't drink now, so I wasn't one of those people. When it came to me, I just passed it on.

Some of the graduates were also smoking pot, because it stenched the air.

On top of that, some of the graduates--and others in the crowd--decided that this was the perfect time to throw firecrackers and cherry bombs, and they did just that.

I remember the principal got up to the podium and warned us that if we did not behave, the graduation would be canceled right then and there.

He was right to tell us this--it was very embarrassing--but few listened, and the explosions and pot and drinking continued.

Somehow, we got through it all, were given our diploma cases--we had the ultimate indignity to have to return to the school during the week to pick up our actual diplomas--and that was that.

But we were also warned prior to the graduation not to throw our caps into the air when the graduation was over, because it could cause problems.

Of course, few listened, and when the graduation was over, hundreds of caps were thrown in the air.

A kid I knew, who had not thrown a cap, was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the edge of a falling cap, which was exposed and acted as a jagged edge, firmly planted itself in his cheek, and blood poured out of his face as we all left the field.

His panicked look is also something I will never forget. I don't remember what happened to him that day, but I still remember the blood pouring out of his cheek.

All of this seemed to be a fitting end for my run at the school, four years of horror that I very few fond memories of.

Happily, my college graduation four years later was much, much better, but I won't ever forget my high school graduation.

I know that my son will have a much better graduation than I did, and let me tell you, he deserves a great day. He has worked hard to get to this point, and he deserves the best of the best.

Have a great weekend. I know that my wife and I and our family will.

And my son will too.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rant #1,231: Giving Me Gas Even Thinking About It

This do-nothing Congress is good for one thing--doing things that hurt families who are already hurting.

And I mean the middle class.

Whether you are talking about the past government shutdown and furlough, or something that has been recently proposed that I am going to talk about in this Rant, these Congressmen have proven time and time again that they don't care about their constituents at all, and they only care about their own personal agendas and themselves.

The latest proof of this is that two clowns who happen to be Congressmen have proposed an increase to the national gas tax that will add 12 cents to the already bloated amounts for a gallon of gas that we currently pay.

The plan created by Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) would raise the 18.4-cents-per-gallon federal gas tax and 24.4-cents-per-gallon diesel tax each by 12 cents over the next two years, and then index the taxes to keep pace with inflation. The increase would be applied in two increments of six cents each.

The rise in gas taxes is tied into Congress' inability to pay for highway and transit programs.

Gas is already taxed to incredible limits, and in places like California and New York, gas prices reflect the fact that we seem to be paying more on taxes than on the actual gas we are filling up our cars with.

And wouldn't you know it that two Senators, each of which probably hasn't driven a car since they were elected to their posts, would propose a further tax on this hottest and most important of commodities?

And you just know who is going to suffer the most from this--it won't be the wealthy, because they can absorb such an increase better than the rest of us, and it won't be the poor, because they are the least users of gas.

It will be the middle class, and to propose such an increase during a period of turmoil like we are in today is, well, pretty heinous.

And if the Senators don't already know it, when you up gas prices, you up the prices on all other things that we need to live, including just about every other commodity, in particular, on food.

It will cost those trucks that bring products to your local supermarket a bit more to drive to those stores, so guess who the increases will be passed down to?

Customers, of course.

So while you are paying way over $4 a gallon for gas, you will also be paying extra for lettuce, for TV dinners, and for peanut butter.

And it doesn't stop there.

Anything that has to be trucked to your local stores will garner a price increase if this ridiculous increase goes through--and from what I read, this action has bi-partisan support yet.

Funny, this Congress has done nothing to help the American people. It has its lowest rating in history--the last I saw, just 16 percent of the American people think they are doing a good job--and they have helped to make President Obama's tenure as the President a mockery (he has done that too, but that is another story for another time).

If this thing passes, and even if it doesn't--even the thought of this is pretty obnoxious--there is only one thing the average American middle class citizen can do.

And that is to vote out Murphy, Corker and any other legislator who backs this plan.

For that matter, whether they back this plan or not, I think it is high time that we voted out all incumbents when their time comes up, because they have proven that they have other interests than the people they are supposed to be representing.

Heck, if Eric Cantor can be voted out, any of these other clowns can too, and I think it is high time that the American people voted with their heads and did just that.

It is so simple, yet such a complex thing for people to do.

Simply vote out whoever is in office when you go to the polls, regardless of party.

We have to show that we have had enough.

I know that I have, and I will do just that come Election Day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rant #1,230: Nuns Stripped of Their Sanity

Moving back to the news, truth often is stranger than fiction.

I related to you a few months back about a pregnant nun, a woman of God who had no idea how she got pregnant, but here she was, with a nice baby bump, and ready to spill ... err ... the beans.

Here is another nun story, not as strange, but interesting.

A group of nuns is suing to shut down a strip club in an Illinois suburb which they say is sited too close to their convent for their own sanity.

The Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo Scalabrinians (not pictured) say in the suit that Club Allure is too close to their Stone Park convent, with all the lights and noise emanating from the club having ruined their peace.

Not only are they kept up at night by the neon lights and the thumping music, but they have witnessed fights right on their street, and what's worse, they have found condoms littering the area.

The suit, filed against the club and Stone Park, states that Club Allure violates state law against operating adult businesses within 1,000 feet of a school or house of worship.

The club is also near private homes, and a couple of neighbors have joined the suit.

Personally, I think that the nuns have a real beef here. Didn't the village realize that putting a strip club so close to a nunnery would cause a problem like this?

There have been other incidents like this that have occurred during the past few years. I know that right here on Long Island, several adult businesses have had to close or relocate due to their proximity to schools and churches.

Again, my whole problem with these things is not that the businesses have a right to operate--they do--but their placement. Where are the towns and villages when the papers are filed to open up such a business? Why don't those authorities that cover real estate usage in these municipalities see that there will be a problem with such businesses opening where they are, so close to these other venues?

Namely, why are they allowed to open in the first place where they are? Again, they have a right to operate, but so close to schools and churches? Why aren't these things nipped in the bud before a situation arises?

I guess there is still sanctity in this world, where people walk around half undressed and don't think other people should be staring at them, where curse words and negative words are bandied about as if they were bubblegum, and where no subject is taboo.

Get rid of that club so the nuns can have their sanity back. But the club should not be shut down, simply moved to a better location.

It seems to be a popular place for those who like this type of entertainment, so a move won't cause it to lose too many customers; they will simply follow the club as it moves to its new, better positioned location.

Then everyone is happy, right? The nuns get their peace and quiet back, and the strip club gets its piece of the dollar-laden pie, just somewhere else.

Perhaps it can even book that formerly pregnant nun for some appearances ...

No, at this point, I am sure she is all booked up at the moment, still trying to figure out how she got that way in the first place.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Rant #1,229: Moving Onto the Next Step

As I told you yesterday, my son graduated from BOCES yesterday.

I have been to several graduations--my own and my kids' graduations--but I never experienced anything like this.

We barely got there. I left work early, but traffic was horrendous, at best.

It took me 40 minutes to get home, for a usual 20-minute trip. Then we had to get to C.W. Post and its Tilles Center performing arts venue, where the graduation was held.

That was also a trek, although we went against traffic, so it really wasn't that bad.

We got there, and my son went off with his graduating class.

The class was large, probably about 800 kids, but the energy in the room was stirred by the speakers, from the principal to the guest speakers.

Their vim and vigor during this graduation made it more of a pep rally than your standard graduation, and I kind of liked the change of pace.

It put a lot of electricity into the room, and it made for a very interesting time for all.

Each and every graduate was called up to the podium to receive a holder for their graduation certificate, which they received later on from their teachers.

After a few hours, it was over, and my son was a graduate of BOCES, the precursor to his high school graduation, which takes place this Sunday.

We drove home, got back about 10 p.m., stayed up for a while, and went to sleep, where I consequently overslept by a half hour.

I guess you get a sense of satisfaction when you have a graduate in your midst, and I just conked out last night.

Now, my son moves onto the next step. He has a few more days of classes in regular high school, then he has his graduation party Saturday, and then he becomes a high school graduate on Sunday.

Yes, this is pooping out myself and my wife, but it is a good pooping out. We are as proud as punch about our son, and we can't wait for this weekend.

Even though he doesn't show it, I think he is a bit proud of himself, too.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rant #1,228: Shift In Focus

Yes, the spotlight was on dads this past weekend.

Father's Day went off without a hitch in my neck of the woods. The weekend was beautiful weather-wise, the company was good, and the food was too.

I have never eaten so much pizza in my entire life, but that is all right, there is nothing like pizza for real comfort food on Father's Day.

Now the focus, at least for my family, shifts dramatically. Where this weekend, the focus was on me, and the other dads in attendance, from today through this coming Sunday, the focus is on my son.

He has two graduations coming up, the first being today, the start of his final week in our local school system.

He is graduating BOCES, which stands for Board of Cooperative Education Services. He went there for the past two years in addition to going to regular high school, and he really enjoyed his experience at this school.

He was part of the retail branch, and he looked upon his time there as his college. He took it very, very seriously, and I think he learned a lot there.

That graduation is tonight. It is being held at the college that I received my master's degree from, C.W. Post College in Greenvale, Long Island, so it really closes the circle for us, or at least for me, having the graduation there.

He has a few more days of regular high school this week, and then the weekend comes, and it really IS all about him.

On Saturday afternoon, we have his graduation party. We are having a whole slew of people over, and it should be fun. They will get a chance to sign his yearbook, and a chance to wish him well as he moves onto the next level of his life.

That evening, we just happen to have WWE tickets for the Nassau Coliseum, so my son and I will go there, pretty much sending off that old lady into the sunset, as the place will be rebuilt next year. We wonder if this is the final WWE show we will be going to there, at least for now.

And then on Sunday evening, he graduates regular high school during a ceremony held at Hofstra University. He has a very large graduating class, so there will be plenty of people there to send these kids off, including, for my son, his parents and grandparents.

No, my son will not be going to college, but let me tell you, we are as proud of him as can be. He surmounted many, many odds and obstacles to reach the summit, so to speak, and he did it with a lot of drive, determination and aplomb.

He has at least a summer job lined up, at a day camp, and he will be tested in September to see what he can do and what he can't do as far as a regular, full-time job. He has applied for numerous jobs the past few weeks, and while he hasn't gotten any job offers, between the programs that he is in and his own determination, we feel it is just a matter of time before he gets something.

So this is going to be a busy week, leading into a busy summer. Work, at least for me, will basically take second fiddle to all of this, and it will be tiring, but it will be fun.

My wife and I are looking forward to all of this, and I can just imagine how my son is feeling. He hates to take center spotlight, but this week, he has no choice in the matter.

I will keep you updated on all of this, you can be sure of that.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Rant #1,227: Dad

This particular Rant will be short and sweet, because I have an eye exam today, and I really want to rest my eyes as much as I can before I take this thing.

It is a wasted day for me, as the solution they put in my eyes hampers my vision basically for the entire day. I can't go to work because, quite frankly, I can't see.

Anyway, Father's Day, the holiest day of the year--I got that from my father, by the way--is on Sunday.

I want to salute the dads that were so important in my life, including my two grandfathers and my dad.

All of them were strong men with strong values. Yes, my grandfathers are gone, but my father is still here, still works, and still is a vital member of our society.

My grandfathers were as different as night and day. My father's father was from the old country in Europe, had old ways, but was a smart man. He had many faults, but if you wanted old world thinking, he was the guy to go to.

My mother's father was modern all the way. Again, he was an absolutely brilliant man, would have been an engineer or an architect in another life, but if you wanted modern advice, he was the go-to guy.

My own father is a mix of old and new. He has the old values, but he is firmly steeped in the new, I guess because of the influence my mother has had on him.

And yes, he is as brilliant as the other two, probably would have been a lawyer in another life, and his influence on me has been immeasurable.

The three of them have filtered down to me, and I guess I am an amalgam of the three. I have one foot in the old, one foot in the new, and I must say that I think I may not be brilliant, but I am pretty good in the brain area.

But you know what? I think the three of them really were/are much brighter than I will ever be, because they each had many more obstacles than I ever had to overcome to be successful.

In plain words, they made it easier for me to survive and make my own way in life.

My next generation potential future dad is in the wings. He graduates high school in a few days, and again, he has obstacles in front of him that I will never have to face.

He is a good kid, and I hope the world is nice to him as he tries to move up the ladder to success.

I would imagine I have been an influence on him, as has been his two grandfathers, my dad and my wife's dad. My son is smart in his own way, and he tries hard to succeed.

I think over time, he will do just fine.

And not to forget my daughter, but I guess even often at a distance, I have had some type of influence on her, too.

I am sure every family has their own stories of male perseverance and strength. In a nutshell, you just read about mine.

So happy Father's Day to all the men out there, and cook up a nice hot dog for me, OK?

See you on Monday.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Rant #1,226: Air Conditioning

I hate to wear a tie, but I just love air conditioning.

Always have, always will.

I have become a devotee to air conditioning during my 57 years on this earth, and the recent attack on the Miami Heat's Lebron James for nearly passing out and cramping up when there wasn't any air conditioning during an NBA Finals game in San Antonio, Texas, really roiled me.

My family never had air conditioning in our apartments until I was seven years old, and we moved to Rochdale Village, Queens, New York.

So as a young child, it was very, very hot during the summer in our home.

The only relief we would get is when we went to the movies. Once inside, you could feel that cold air, and it made you feel so good.

When we moved to Rochdale, we had something that was new at the time called central air conditioning, meaning that your entire apartment was air conditioned--and the room that I shared with my sister was air conditioned, too.

What a pleasure to come in from a hot day and feel the cold air! I loved it.

Alas, it did not stop my allergies from emerging, but at least I suffered in relative comfort, in a way.

Then we moved to Long Island, and no, initially, we had no air conditioning.

I got sick a few weeks into living there--we moved in in July, at the height of the summer heat--and the doctor told my mother, "If you have just one air conditioner in the house, it has to be in Larry's room."

So after several weeks in our new home, I had an air conditioner in my room, which is still there, by the way.

My body became so used to the air conditioning that any time without it became excruciating, especially when I was doing something physical.

I remember in junior high school back in Rochdale, I passed out when, in gym, we were told to run around the track. I did not conserve my energy, dashed out quickly, and the heat eventually got to me.

A worse time was a few years later, on Long Island, when I was crossing Sunrise Highway--a major road, not a real highway, where I live--and I was riding my bicycle to a friend's house.

It was deathly hot that day, if not 100 then quite near it.

I got to the intersection at the light, and got off my bike to walk it across the street.

I remember nothing else about what happened. The next thing I knew, I was on the ground on the island in the middle of the street.

I think I passed out while crossing the street, and a guardian angel who was driving actually stopped his or her car and dragged me across to the island, and then drove off.

I came to, basically shrugged if off, and was on my way, but to this day, I have no idea what happened.

Some years later at Yankee Stadium, on a day when the temperature hit 97 degrees, I literally hyperventilated while in the bathroom. My son called for help, and Yankee Stadium security got me back to health pretty quickly.

But for a few minutes, I had no idea where I was.

My doctor once told my mother that I have something called heat prostration, which pretty much means that my body is reliant and used to the air conditioning so much that when it isn't on, I feel it more than others.

My wife will tell you that I always complain of being warm, even when she is comfortable or even chilled.

Last night, it wasn't overly warm in our bedroom, but after several minutes of tossing and turning, I had to have the air conditioning on, and so I turned it on.

I fell asleep immediately.

The people ranting against Lebron James--saying he should have "toughed it out" when the air conditioning system malfunctioned during a playoff game--don't understand what he went through.

James later said he has been battling this "malady" since he was a kid, and he probably has what I have, an over-reliance on air conditioning to cool down one's body.

He talked about leg cramps, but I saw his face, and yes, like what probably happened to me when I was crossing Sunrise Highway all those years ago, he was a step away from completely hyperventilating, which, I am sure those making fun of him don't realize, can be deadly.

This really is no laughing matter, and with the proper medical care, he got back to health pretty quickly.

So yes, I love the air conditioning, and yes, even right now, without it on in the room where my computer is, I feel a bit warm, but nothing that bad.

But during the day, in an office where air conditioning is used sparingly, I will feel the heat, I can promise you that.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rant #1,225: Smoking Gun

I do not understand the fascination that many people in this country have with guns.

Why normal citizens feel the need to carry weapons is beyond me.

Why anybody thinks they need to carry a gun to protect themselves is something I do not understand.

By carrying a gun, I believe you are putting yourself in harm's way without even realizing it, creating a situation which generally does not exist.

And what are you going to do with a gun, anyway? Shoot somebody, which generally isn't a very good thing to do.

The last few days, with gun violence in schools and our streets being highlighted, I think that once and for all, something must be done about the gun problem in this country.

It seems like since Columbine, a day doesn't go by that we don't hear about another violent act in our schools revolving around guns.

And the scary thing is that the guns involved in these incidents are generally legal, being procured through the normal means. They are not guns from the streets.

I am no fan of our President, but on this issue, I agree with him 100 percent: these incidents, especially in our schools, are unnerving, as both a citizen of this country and a parent of two children. The logjams he has faced in even getting the most basic gun laws put in place in this country is a heinous blotch on Congress, and it will be their unfortunate legacy if nothing gets done during their tenure.

Look, we are not talking about illegally obtained guns here. If someone wants to get a gun, they will get a gun. Sure, there are laws in this country against getting these types of guns, and those laws work and don't work, and that is another story for another time.

What I am talking about here are legal firearms, those obtained from gun stores, at gun shows, those where the owner has to have a permit to own such weapons.

There has to be laws put into place to make it even more difficult for people who want to own guns legally to get them. Maybe we are talking about longer waiting periods, maybe even psychological evaluations of those who want to own such weapons.

But clearly, something needs to be done, because the weapons being used in these incidents, as I said, are generally ones that have been purchased legally.

Sure, those who feel that there are enough rules and regulations on the ownership of guns claim that it is our right as citizens of the United States to own firearms. I don't disagree, but I feel that it is time that we looked at the reasons why people own guns today.

This is not 1776. It is 2014, and do we really need guns to protect ourselves?

Just last week, there was an incident involving my son's school, where two prior graduates were arrested for talking about participating in a Columbine-like "event" at the high school. They were apprehended because a parent alerted the school's principal that these two clowns, one girl and one boy, were talking up such stuff on Facebook.

These two fools then said they were just joking, that they had no plans to either shoot up or blow up the school.

Very funny, and the authorities will deal with them later.

Anyway, with the phrase "weapons of mass destruction" part of our current lexicon, rather than look out of the country for such things, we only have to look right here in our country for them.

They are guns, and clearly, something must be done to stop them from being used to kill innocent people.

The problem has reached epidemic proportions, and there seems to be no turning back.

We must do something, and something soon.

This is not a cartoon.

When are people going to understand that guns kill?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rant #1,224: Dumb Down

I was a pretty smart kid when I was growing up.

I taught myself to read, and I watched a lot of television; contrary to what has been said for ages, television taught me a lot back then.

So when I finally went to school at P.S. 165 in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, I was under the microscope.

I remember in kindergarten, men came to our class in suits, and they were watching me play.

In first grade, I was in a class that was kind of special. It was taught by an older woman who had never taught grade school before, a college professor, and she taught us stuff way beyond our grade level.

When we moved to Rochdale Village, I was at least two years ahead of most of my peers, and the stuff we did in second grade was a bore to me. Everything kind of evened out by fourth or fifth grade, but in those early years, I was bored.

By the time I got to junior high school, the playing field had evened out, but I was still in the SP classes, which I guess nowadays is the equivalent of the Honors class.

Late in eighth grade, my friends and I decided that we would try out for one of the elite schools in New York City, and I took the test for Bronx High School of Science (pictured)--the others were Brooklyn Tech and Stuyvesant--and passed the test.

I never went there, as we moved to Long Island right before high school began, but I could have gone there if I wanted to.

That is why it pains me to hear that certain New York City education officials pretty much want to dumb down the admission test for admission to these elite schools, making it easier for "everyone" to attend these institutions.

I am totally, 100 percent against this move, the latest in a whole host of "dumbing down" proposals on these schools that have been talked about since the 1980s or so, when the makeup of the students in the New York City school system had so radically changed.

Nowadays, it is not a disproportionate number of whites who go to these schools, but a disproportionate number of Asians who pass the test and make these schools, and for some reason, this has gotten people into an uproar.

Again, you have to take a test to go to these schools. You have to be smart to pass the test, and that has been the way it has been for generations.

No, not everyone should go to these schools.

However, some officials believe that not only taking a test, but other things should be added into the equation on who gets in and who doesn't, including school attendance, overall marks, and other areas that are nice, but they don't make for a successful student at these schools.

These people claim that that is how Ivy League schools do it, so if it is good for Harvard, it is good for Stuyvesant.

Well, if that was the case, I should have applied to Harvard when I was in high school, because I rarely missed a day of school.

This all is utter nonsense. It should not be easy to get into these schools. That is why they are elite schools, having a student body that is the best of the best of New York City school students.

And that has nothing to do with color or ethnic origin. The advocates of this plan say that it evens the playing field, and allows all ethnicities to attend these schools.

Funny, I thought that all ethnicities were allowed to go to these schools--you just had to pass the test, and no matter if you were black, white, yellow, pink or purple, if you were worthy of going there, you went there.

This is just another sort of link to affirmative action, and sorry, I cannot say that I am for that.

You should always take the best of the best, no matter who they are, and that is what these schools have done for generations.

Anyone can go to high school, and the way the city's public schools are now, you are not locked into going to your local high school, if there is one, and that has been the policy for more than 40 years.

So what is the big hubbub over this latest proposal?

To me, it just shows how far down the New York City schools have moved down into the quagmire.

This school system was once the best in the world. Over the past 40 or more years, it has gone into the garbage pail. This all started when districts became decentralized, and you had non-education people running the districts and their schools. They were more interested in getting local people into teaching positions and other positions of high authority than taking the best people available.

Although Stuyvesant and the other elite schools have always been there, there were also regular high schools which at one time excelled, such as Erasmus in Brooklyn and Jamaica High School in Queens. These were special schools that have given way to educational decay.

The latest move is symptomatic of a bigger problem, the fact that the New York City schools are not what they once were.

But you know what? Not being able to go to the elite high schools does not doom you in your future endeavors. Plenty of doctors, lawyers, teachers and yes, writers, come out of the New York City school system who don't attend the elite high schools.

So what is the problem here?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Rant #1,223: Ice Cream

We finally had a decent weekend, really didn't have to rush around for anything, and my wife and I ended up in the backyard pool for a few hours yesterday afternoon.

We use an incredible radio when we go into the pool. This is a bathroom radio that I believe my mother got us around the time we were married 21 years ago.

We put in the batteries way back then, and listened to the radio when we swam outside.

We have never put in another pair of batteries since then.

Don't ask. I can't figure it out myself.

Sure the power is running down by now, and yesterday, we were just about able to pick up a local station where they were doing a lot of recollections about the past, and how kids were brought up in the 1950s and 1960s, interspersed with a lot of Italian pop music from the likes of Dean Martin and Jerry Vale.

And it got my mind and my wife's mind going about ice cream.

I mean, it was over 85 degrees yesterday, it is nearly the summer, and for former Queens kids like us, any conversation about the past has to include ice cream.

Ice cream was one of the lifebloods of our existence back in the mid to late 1960s. Playing in the park all day, when the ice cream truck rolled around, we were ready with our money, and the line was long to get this kids' delicacy from the truck into our waiting hands.

Ice cream trucks were probably even more important to generations ahead of us, because a lot of people didn't have refrigerators or freezers in their homes--think "The Honeymooners"--so back then, the ice cream truck probably almost signaled the coming of the messiah.

But for us 1960s city kids, the ice cream truck simply meant a cool break to what we were doing.

And for 25 cents yet.

Where I grew up, in Rochdale Village, South Jamaica, Queens, we had circles that the buildings were positioned in, and in our circle, the third section of the development, we often had three ice cream trucks there at the same time: Good Humor, Hood and Mister Softee, and there were long lines of kids at each one.

We even occasionally had one more venture into the neighborhood: Bungalow Bar. This ice cream was really the lowest of the low, to me at least, and there was even a jingle attached to this brand of ice cream:

"Bungalow Bar
The more you eat it
The sicker you are."

Anyway, I preferred Good Humor out of all of them. Their ice cream simply tasted better on a hot day than the others.

Frank was the Good Humor truck driver's name. He came around each summer, strode out of the truck in his white uniform--cap down to his sneakers--and stood there, reaching into the truck's freezer for ice cream. I loved Strawberry Shortcake, and really any pop was fine. My mother would not allow my sister or I to have ices, so it had to be ice cream.

Then it was about 1969, and Frank wasn't around anymore. Yes, Good Humor came around, but for some reason, this old 70-ish guy embellished the ice cream, and getting it from somebody else wasn't the same.

We later found out that Frank, our Good Humor ice cream man from 1964 to 1968 or so, every summer, had died.

And with that, our summer ice cream simply didn't taste the same anymore.

Sure, we still got it for the succeeding summers I lived there through 1971, but it just didn't have the same taste.

Who knows, maybe it was because I was getting older, and ice cream didn't have the same fascination to me as it once had.

But ice cream never tasted the same anymore to me.

This weekend, while shopping with my wife, I guess I had ice cream and Frank--we never knew his last name, to us his full name was Frank theGoodHumorIceCreamMan--on my mind, so to honor Frank and those days, I bought myself a box of Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake from the supermarket.

Yesterday evening, I had my ice cream, and I have to tell you, Frank's death still has something on me and ice cream.

It just didn't taste the same as it did when Frank doled it out to us.

So here's to Frank, my Good Humor ice cream man from more than 40 years ago.

I hope if he is reading this column from heaven--where else would a deceased Good Humor ice cream man go--he is getting a good laugh out of it.

And here is a song that has about as much to do with my ice cream experience as "House of the Rising Sun" does, but at least it shares its name with this summertime treat, and experience, that I will never, ever forget.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Rant #1,222: Celebration

I am back at this column. Whatever went down yesterday went down yesterday.

Not good, not bad, somewhere in between, but it had to be done, and I am glad that I did it.

Anyway, I am back just in time to tell you about the greatest woman in the world.

Yes, I am talking about my wife, and today, we have been together as a husband and wife for 21 years.

Heck, after the horror that was my first marriage, I still cannot believe that I married again, but I did, and boy, did I marry the right person!

She is everything I ever wanted in a wife, and then, even more.

I got lucky, I admit it. I am not necessarily one who beats the odds, but I think I did with my wife.

Somehow, we joined together, and 21 years--plus an extra year that we lived together--shows how solid our union is.

She is beautiful, talented, smart and my dream girl, all in one.

Sure, we are in our late 50s, but when I am with her, I feel like a teenager.

Honestly, I have to pinch myself to make sure that this is the real world and not a dream, even all these years later.

She is my perfect match.

And she is a good mother to our son, who can be difficult at times.

She doesn't take any garbage from him, but loves him and cares for him and worries about him as any good mother would.

She is the total package.

Sure, I guess all of us can say that about our spouses. But from my end, being on the cliff and ready to jump off before I met her, I know the real thing, and this is it.

It just took me a little longer to find her than I would have liked.

But once I found her, I knew she was it, and from what she has told me, the feeling was mutual.

So here is to my wife on our 21st anniversary, the person who I have to say is the greatest woman in the world.

At least in my world, and she is very, very important to me.

We have been through a lot in those 21 years--lots of good, lots of bad--but honestly, I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Rant #1,221: Simple, Isn't It?

These new-fangled cars ...

All I want to do is open the door, sit down, put the key in the ignition, turn the car on, and drive away.

It isn't that simple anymore, as I am learning with my new car.

There are all these gizmos and gadgets in the car that are making me crazy.

The basics of the car I have down pat. I can get from point A to point B pretty well.

But it is the other stuff that is making me crazy.

Let's start with the dashboard.

I have driven at night just a few times since getting the car, and when I turn on my headlights, that is easy, nothing too hard with that.

But the dashboard does not light up as I am accustomed to. I can see it pretty clearly, but it does not light up brightly.

Yesterday night, I was out taking my son to the doctor, and driving there, the dashboard lit up like I like it after a few minutes of driving.

Driving home, it never lit up that way. I have no idea why, what I did earlier to get it to light up, or any clue at how to get it to light up brightly immediately.

Next we have the radio. I have been listening to an MP3 disk I made on my computer, and while the music plays just fine, although it is not in shuffle mode, it seems to play songs randomly.

This really is the least of my problems, because it plays pretty well, but not in the order that the tracks were originally burned in.

Heck, I cannot even program that stations I want to listen to on this radio yet.

Next comes the trip meter, and this is where I think I just have to bide my time, and all of these things will be found out.

I could not find the darn thing. Usually, it is right by the speedometer, and a simple push of a button resets it.

Heck, in this car I could not find it, could not find any trace of it.

After some trial and error, I found that I could access it--and several other speedometer and other things that I will probably never use--through a control on the steering wheel.

But I could not figure out how to reset it.

Here is where the hope I was talking about comes in. I simply could not figure this out at all, but then I figured, "Let me try this other button," and lo and behold, it worked like a charm.

Now, you are probably saying to yourself, "Why doesn't he read the manual. All the answers are in there."

Well, that is not quite true.

I have read the manual, which is as thick as a small encyclopedia. I have even read the quick tips card that was provided. But I find that all the answers are not in there, or at least, not explained so this guy with a master's degree can understand it.

Maybe I need a doctorate, I don't know, but it seems to take for granted that this is not the first "smart car" you have driven, and doesn't explain very much in what you would call "English."

I am sure I am not the only person who has struggled with what I would call "nuisances" when purchasing a new car like this, but it can be very frustrating.

But like I said, these are nothing but minor problems, and through trial and error, I will conquer them.

I just wish for the days when you could just get in a car and go to where you had to go, and not worry about such nonsense.

But in our high tech world, those days appear to be over.

I guess that I am a guy for a different time, but the time is now, and maybe I am still stuck in the early late 1970s to early 2000s, when you didn't have to worry about such stuff. I never did with my other car.

Technology is wonderful, isn't it?

By the way, I will not be around tomorrow. I have to take care of a personal issue, nothing horrible, so I will speak to you again on Friday.

See you then.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rant #1,220: Sterling Messes

Messes are things that have to be cleaned up, and there are two messes that are collecting now that need to be sopped up as quickly as possible.

One of them involves embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who, it appears, will fight tooth and nail to retain his NBA franchise.

Sterling, you might remember, uttered some nasty things in private, had them tape recorded, and what he said was brought onto the world's stage, where people didn't take kindly to an old, wealthy Jewish guy making disparaging remarks about blacks.

What was worse, he said them to either his personal secretary or mistress or both, since he is going through a divorce.

The NBA banned him, forcing him to sell, and there is a buyer. But throw his ex-wife in the mix, the fact that it is illegal to tape record someone without their knowledge in the state of California, and that Sterling is a top lawyer, and you have a mess that won't go away.

Making it even worse is the fact that the credibility of his "Girl Friday" has always been in question. She is a wannabe, no doubt about it, but she seems to also be someone that I wouldn't trust on a bet.

Also, Sterling himself might be suffering from some type of dementia himself.

The other mess is in Washington, where a service man who was held captive in Afghanistan for the past five years was set free in a prisoner exchange last week.

That would be all fine and good, but there appears to be much more to this story that meets the naked eye.

First off, there are allegations that we gave up too much for one man, five prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison that are supposedly high-level operatives for the Taliban, or at least a few of them are.

Giving up one for five was never good in baseball cards, and it doesn't look good here.

Second, and this just came out late yesterday, it appears the captive that we are bringing home might not deserve the heroes welcome that he will get when he is finally goes home.

Some fellow service men say he is nothing but a deserter, someone who was fed up with what he was doing and decided to take a hike--in the wilds of Afghanistan, without any body armor or weapons.

Smart, eh?

Others who were in the same command that he was also say that men were wounded and killed looking for him, which makes the whole matter even worse if true.

Anyway, these two messes really have to be cleaned up soon, because the credibility of the NBA and the President of the United States look pretty bad now.

First off, in the NBA thing, the league knew about Sterling way before this incident, but did nothing about him. He is the senior owner in the league, was an owner before most of the players were born, but there were always questions about him.

Now, with things coming to light, Sterling might actually have the upper hand here, at least legally. Can the NBA force an owner out because of things he said in private that were recorded without his knowledge? I don't know.

And as for the other thing, which, of course, is so much more important than the NBA fiasco, if what certain people are saying is true, then we traded five "Mickey Mantles" for one "Ross Mosschito," and sorry, that doesn't make much sense, does it?

And to treat the guy like a hero because he basically got up and walked, what does that say about our own intelligence, not just brain-wise but also strategically?

These things don't make any sense, and they should be cleaned up immediately, before these messes fester into things that are so large that they can't be contained.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rant #1,219: "Sons" Rise, "Sons" Sets

With everything going on with me the past few weeks, I have been distracted from the things that I cherish most to relax with, since I really haven't relaxed at all lately.

One of those things is television, something that I really do cherish, always have, always will.

It relaxes me while it brings the world into my home.

What I am going to talk about isn't monumental by any stretch of the imagination, but it does affect what I watch on TV.

"My Three Sons" is no more, at least no more on MeTV.

The network--which features old shows from the 1950s, 1960s and lately, the 1970s--has decided that it has had enough with this all-time great family show, chronicling the daily maneuvers of the Douglas clan, and it has removed it from its program schedule, in its own words "indefinitely."

They usually change the schedule during the summer, so normally, I would not fret as much as I am doing now.

But the use of the word "indefinitely" tells me that MeTV and the Douglas clan have parted ways.

In its place, they have put on another family show, "Make Room For Daddy," which is a good show, but sorry, it is not "My Three Sons."

MeTV showed a group of the color episodes of "My Three Sons," and that was it. They did not show the much better black and white episodes, and they did not show the later color episodes.

So of the 380 shows that made up the "My Three Sons" catalog, they might have shown maybe 110-150 of the episodes, tops.

But those were the core episodes that I grew up on, when I regularly started to watch the show in 1965 or so, when Barry Livingston's "Ernie" character was adopted by the Douglases, so those were the shows that made me enamored of the show in general.

I discovered the black and white episodes when they were shown on "Nick at Nite," and honestly, the later episodes I haven't seen in decades.

Personally, I don't need the show to be on MeTV, because I do have all the episodes as a bootleg, but it was nice having them on, and available, on a daily basis.

Where the show will turn up, or if it will turn up anywhere, is unknown right now. It is an old fashioned, traditional type of show, and my hope is that Antenna TV picks it up, or perhaps one of the other outlets that show old TV shows puts it on their respective schedules.

I miss the daily plays of the show even though it has only been off the air for a week now, I really do.

Hopefully, the show will turn up elsewhere. The Douglases were like my own personal next door neighbors, and I think that was the beauty of the show for so many people from 1960 to 1972, and then in reruns.

They rarely tackled current issues, although their treatment of blended families certainly pre-dated "The Brady Bunch." Their handling of Ernie's adoption saga was one of show's greatest story arcs, and it even stands out today as something special, showing the power of television to both entertain and teach at the same time.

So I hope that they bring the show back, somewhere. It was off TV too long to begin with, and then it came back, and for me, it was too short a time.

Let's see what happens as the summer plays itself out.

And let me conclude with some news that I just found out--Ann B. Davis, who played "Alice," the live-in housekeeper on "The Brady Bunch," passed away.

I never was a fan of this show, but I watched it with my sister when it was originally on.

It is banal, corny, completely unrealistic, and pretty dry.

But it stands as a cultural touchstone for my generation, the Baby Boomers, so I guess it was what it was.

And Davis' character held the whole thing together in her own way.

She was one of a long line of "servants" on television, but she had her own way about her that made her one of the first of that ilk to be more than a cooker and a sewer and a cleaner.

She was an integral part of the show.

So we will all miss Davis, who in real life, was as dedicated to her faith as millions of viewers were to "The Brady Bunch."


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