Thursday, May 31, 2007

Jose, We Can See....

I am going to piss off some of my Met fan brethren.

Jose Reyes of the Mets is one exciting baseball player. He does it all. Runs like a rabbit. Fields like one of those robotic vacuum cleaners. Hits for power. Sparks any rally anytime.

And I'm starting not to like him.

I had read on a variety of MLB message boards that Reyes is being viewed more and more with disdain by fans of opposing teams. Sure. Envy, you say. That's what I said. But you read on. You see the words "hot dog." "Bush league." "Asshole." I remember last Fall after the Mets lost to the Cardinals in Game 7 of the NLCS. In the St. Louis clubhouse, you heard the Redbirds mock-singing the Shea chant.

"Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose."

What the hell was behind that?

Now, I know.

Last Tuesday night, from my plasma perch 3000 miles away, I was thoroughly enjoying the Mets getting to the Giants' reliever Armando "I Blew the 2000 World Series" Benitez in the eleventh inning down a run. There's no better baseball pleasure than Benitez coming apart like a Walmart sweater. As a result of the baseline gyrations of Reyes, Fat Armando commits not one, but two balks. The tying run scores on the second one. Carlos Delgado follows up with a homer to right. Game over.

I was cringing a bit as I watched Reyes samba his way around the bases. He was like a monkey with a new organ to grind. But, once he got into the dugout, the antics didn't stop. He starts to make voodoo-like motions to the Giants. He gets his compatriots in broken English, Gomez and Gotay, to join in. The three of them together looked like the Andrews Sisters on a USO tour during WWII.

I was screaming at the set. "Somebody make them stop that!"

It was childish. It was unprofessional. And you know it didn't go unnoticed. The camera kept cutting back to Reyes and his two little cocoanuts. Even former Met pitcher and current announcer, Ron Darling, (who has become the only reason not to turn off the sound on SNY broadcasts) flinched a little in his commentary when he saw Reyes doing his Tito Puente imitation. I would have to liked to pigeon-hole him after the game to hear what he really thought. After all, the 1986 Mets might have been over-confident and a little arrogant. But, they did it quietly.

To me, as a Met fan, it was an embarrassing moment. We'll get no help here from General Manager Omar Minaya, who is not going to rest till he can negotiate contracts for all 25 roster spots in Spanish. Yep, Senor Randolph needs to take this kid aside and tell him what for in both English and Spanish---just to make doubly sure he gets it. All the great stats in the world will be tarnished by behavior like this. The Bad News Bears were more mature. There is an unspoken line of sportsmanship, and, apparently, Jose is regularly crossing it.

Because if he keeps it up, there's a 96 MPH fastball coming his way from someone somewhere. And, frankly, he deserves it.

Dinner last night: scrambled eggs and chicken sausage at the Cheesecake Factory.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hey, Wednesday, It's Me, Pugsley

And you were expecting Psalm 115?

---I am anxiously awaiting the Fall premiere of "Back to You" starring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton with tons of great talent behind the camera as well. This is the great chosen hope for the restoration of the multi-camera sitcom.

---But, if Fox continues to run the same damn promo all summer, they will kill my interest. I already can recite it like a robot: "For's God sake, do you ever cut your nails. It's like a falcon landed on my wrist."

---The quickest way to lose me for a new Fall show is to bombard me all summer long with the same clips. I have never watched a single frame of "My Name is Earl." Primarily because for the three months before it debuted, they ran the same annoying clip every game on Diamondvision at Dodger Stadium. By late July, I was done.

---A lot of friends thought Patricia Heaton was an annoying character on "Everybody Loves Raymond." I will counter that she had to be, because she was the glue that held that whole show together. Think about it. If she's not there, the show doesn't work.

---Heaton held ELR together like Audrey Meadows was the driving force on "The Honeymooners."

---Has Melinda Doolittle put out her CD yet?

---I'm betting you get this all the time now. Telephone help that concludes their business with you by asking "Have I provided you with excellent service today?"

---Honey, you have no idea what my criteria are for excellent service.

---You didn't cure cancer, foster world peace, or conquer global warming, so I am thinking the service was a little less than excellent for me.

---Don't you once want to say "no" so you can hear the pages quickly turning in their script looking for the response to that?

---Actually, since I gave YOU my credit card number, YOU should be telling me how wonderful I am.

---To the knucklehead who was on line with me at Phillipe's the other day and refused to shut up with his incessant banal questions, I can tell you that I have no openings in my life at the current time for the position of "Total Stranger."

---Watch how I use economical word power to kill two birds with one pebble.

---Hey, Lindsay Lohan, can you give Rosie O'Donnell a ride to her appointment with the psychiatrist?

---So, Rosie leaves The View and has one of her gremlins draw a moustache on Elizabeth Hasselback's poster in the hallway.

---Yeah, she's really normal. If her mom had lived, maybe she would have been the one to give RoRo the spanking she deserved when she was 13. Instead, her family threw their hands up as she became Jabba the Hutt while sucking down Hostess Snowballs on the couch.

---Don't believe the hype from her people that there are mega-offers coming her way for a new TV show. No broadcast executive in his or her right mind would hire this verbal mushroom cloud. Unless, of course, if the job is man the cash register and fold CSI t-shirts in the gift shop.

---She had her own show already, remember?? And it's not on anymore because, after the first year, the ratings went into the toilet faster than a meal at Carl's Jr.

---On her latest video blog, Fathead actually defends the woman who did the graffiti at ABC. Meanwhile, Rosie has this look of some bum who woke up on the wrong side of the dumpster.

---Watching the Cubbies play the Dodgers over the weekend, I can tell you that Lou Piniella is going to have one long hot summer on Lake Michigan.

---The Cubs make at least one bonehead play per game. Derrek Lee gets picked off second base in the middle of a rally. Michael Barrett throws to the wrong base when somebody tries to steal. And you watch Fat Lou get more and more steamed.

---He looks like some guy waiting for a bus at a corner and the bus goes right by without stopping. That bizarre mix of shock and downright indignation.

---Good news. The young daughter of the late Crocodile Tormentor, Steve Irwin, has officially taken over her dad's TV show on the Animal Planet. Bindi says she is now happy to "be with all my animal friends."

---Like father, like daughter. More solid proof that insanity is hereditary.

---These animals will be her friends until one of them decides they're kind of peckish for some "little girl." I'm taking the age of 13 in the office pool.

---Bindi's mom, Terri, has also taken one too many kangaroo paws to the head. In the press release for the new show, Mommy refers to the day her daughter was "hatched."

---Hey, Numbskull, your daughter didn't come out of a chicken's ass. She's not an egg. Until, of course, Allie the Gator decides to have her over easy.

---There's a new airline called Skybus that will charge only $10 for a round trip ticket. They will charge you $15 for a blanket.

---Just what we need....air travel now becomes nothing more than a city bus in the sky.

---Memorial Day was always the "unofficial" re-opening of the baseball season with day games and holiday doubleheaders. On Monday, there wasn't even a full slate of games. Both the Mets and Dodgers had the day off.

Seems like the only thing you can count on these days is for me to get really nasty on Wednesdays.

Dinner last night: German sausage sandwich.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Dodger Dog Alternative

I had seen this on an episode of Huell Howser's PBS show. The program where he explores California and spends a half hour dwelling on a gum wrapper he found on Sunset Boulevard. There is a restaurant downtown right on the outskirts of Chinatown, which means there are no cats in the neighborhood. It is also an Andre Ethier throw from Dodger Stadium. The place is Phillipe's The Original and has been around since 1908.

Howser had told us that this was a traditional stop for Dodger fans to chow down before the game and has been since Dodger Stadium opened in 1962. News to me. And I thought I had all the Dodger traditions already in my back pocket. I needed to check this out.

We went before last Friday night's game against the Cubbies. They ain't kidding. The place looked like a runaway show for Dodger fashion. You walk into this hole in the wall and are immediately taken by the long counter and longer lines to boot. There's no waiter service in this "joynt." A diner version of the Goldwyn Girls works the counter. I doubt any one of them was under 50.

Allegedly, the French Dip Sandwich was invented here. Beyond that, there is a truckload of other comfort food: pickles, beets, deviled eggs, cole slaw, chili, beef stew. I saw a bunch of people walking away with trays of food that were also adorned by huge slabs of whipped cream-laden pies.

Since we were pressed by the clock, we opted for food to go. The lady behind the counter packed the meal with love. The only thing missing was a wet nap. I looked twice to make sure this wasn't my mother or grandmother working the night shift.

They dip the roll into some sort of au jus. I picked up the lingo from some of the regulars and heard them ask for single or double dips. I went for the double. It's amazing that, despite this liquidy manuever, the roll held up amazing well on my ham sandwich. The food made the 10 minute ride up the Chavez Ravine hill intact. This was nothing soggy about it as I opened up my dinner in Loge, Row 144, Seat 1.

The hell with the superlatives on the sandwich. You have to go for the potato salad alone. It was crack and cocaine dipped in chocolate.

This might turn into a regular habit depending upon the traffic patterns around the ballpark.

The sun was setting. Derek Lowe motored through the first inning. And the food was terrific.

Now I really believe I live in Los Angeles.

Dinner last night: eggplant parmagiana (again) at Maria's Italian Kitchen.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Monday Morning Video Laugh - May 28, 2007

One last Idol snapshot for the year as one more charter member of the Great and Delusional Unwashed grabs several minutes of undeserved fame.

Dinner last night: German salami sandwich on sourdough baguette.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

Not exactly appropriate for a Monday morning video laugh, as this looks pretty painful.

Dinner last night: eggplant parmagiana at Miceli's in Hollywood.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Josh Hancock Redux

I realize that the family of late Cardinal pitcher Josh Hancock must still be in the very early stages of the grieving and healing process following his fatal auto accident late last month.

At the same time, these painful days have apparently included several calls and communications with their legal counsel as Hancock's dad has just filed a wrongful death suit against the restaurant and bar his son visited that night. Also named are the owners of the disabled SUV that was stuck on the side of the road as well as the driver of the tow truck---both of which Hancock plowed into during beer-hazed evening.

Mr. Hancock, even in your most anguished moments, you need to think this one through. And consider your son.

By filing suit against Cardinal legend Mike Shannon's restaurant and bar, Hancock's dad is intimating that the ultimate control over a patron's intake is the restaurant. That, folks, is a ludicrous judgement call to me. I know people who, when completely bombed, give every appearance of sobriety. At the same time, I also know plenty of completely sober folks who act like complete assholes and give every indication of being liquored up. So, now it's up to the poor lowly bartender to decide that???

Josh's dad should see the movie "The Lost Weekend." Ray Milland's bartender in the picture has the same dilemma. He knows that one more shot glass of rye is going to send poor Don Birnam right over the edge. But, he pours it for him. Why? Because the customer demands it.

We have no idea how indignant Josh might have gotten that night if Shannon's had refused him one more drink. But, I am guessing he probably would get downright nasty. The kid obviously had a drinking problem. Heck, he had a bender several nights before and showed up one hour before game time. The Cardinals knew what was, no pun intended, brewing with their young hurler. Why doesn't the Hancock family sue the Cardinals?

For that matter, why don't they sue Verizon or whatever cell phone carrier Hancock was using while he was driving? Sue the girl who was on the end of the phone conversation and obviously was distracting Hancock's attention? Hey, let's sue the Missouri Transportation Authority for putting the highway there in the first place.

As painful as it is for the Hancocks, they must come to grips with the fact that Josh is dead because he accidentally killed himself. There is no fault there except for his own. A kid who obviously had a growing alcohol abuse problem that would have gotten somebody's undivided attention eventually. But, unfortunately, it was later than sooner.

Indeed, if Josh's accident had killed someone else either in another car or on the side of the road, they would have had every right to sue the Hancock family. And, most certainly, they would have every right to win.

It was Josh Hancock's fault. Deal with it.

Dinner last night: French Dip Ham sandwich at Phillipe's prior to the Dodger-Cub game. A longstanding Los Angeles tradition that I enjoyed for the first time.

Friday, May 25, 2007

One Year Later...

It's been almost a year since we had to move from the apartment building shown above. If you folks remember correctly, our nine-unit complex was purchased by the Sinai Temple across the street. When we first got notice that the new owners wanted us all to vacate within three months, it was a punch in the gut. While we had been there in Apartment # 1 a scant seven years, some of our neighbors had been there since 1970! The lady next door had moved in as a single person, married, watched her husband pass on, and then approached retirement herself while never changing her garage parking space.

When this happened, the nine units of 10400 Ashton Avenue bonded in a strange way. While no one was ever completely unfriendly, it wasn't exactly a Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland musical either. We weren't all banding together to stage "Strike Up the Band" on the rooftop garden. But, it's amazing how empowering an eviction notice can be. Suddenly, we were together as an aggregate in each other's homes, essentially plotting strategies but also....being neighbors.

We didn't all vacate at once. One or two units stayed to the bitter end in July. Yes, we all traded contact information: e-mail and home addresses, cell numbers, etc.. There was one semi-reunion in the last summer, but nothing since. I am sure pockets of people are still in touch. But, sadly, as a unified community, no.

Ultimately, after all the hoopla, everyone landed on their feet, although I'm certain some may still be experiencing a slight limp from the fall. Apartment 1 transitioned to another place down the block and became the habitants of Apartment 101. Despite the issues we experienced in a veritable steelcase struggle with the Condo Nazi, we are fine.

And, if you're wondering what became of the former property, I can tell you in one word: nothing. I drive by there all the time. Most of my neighborhood routes take me past the building. Our satellite dish still sits on our terrace. The same flyers are stuck in the same mailboxes. The blinds are drawn in each apartment just as the day we each left it. Except for a regular cameo appearance by the gardener, there is no activity on the premises. It would probably now function best as an outlet store for termites and spiders.

We were hustled out of there like some sort of immigration sweep on 24. Little time to think. Little time to regroup. Just get out by July 15. You figured that Sinai Temple had big plans for the property.

Well, apparently the nitwits on the Temple council wanted to turn it into office space. Except they didn't bother to check the zoning laws. Then, they were going to turn it into a pre-school. Oops, those pesky zoning laws again. I'm convinced the Temple's development plans were formulated not by its council, but a couple of four-year-olds in its resident pre-school. I hear they are now considering it as a site for senior citizen housing. Of course, three of the people they kicked out were senior citizens. Two were Jewish themselves.

So, the place sits. And sits. They used the garage as a parking lot extension on the High Holidays, but, other than that, it's hollow.

Except for what we left there.


Dinner last night: leftover andouille sausage.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Surprise! Not!

Jordin Sparks is the new American Idol.

If you sat on pins and needles for two hours and thought you would hear otherwise, "Misguided" is your middle name. Of course, if you were out for the evening and DVRed the event, I just told you the winner and your replay won't. Since the show ran over by 12 minutes, most TiVos probably shut down before the announcement.

If Blake had the mere notion of a nano-chance, he gyrated it away with that nauseating rendition of this year's Idol song. The only place that should be heard again is on the album "Epilepsy for Strings." Despite the success of past Idol second place finishers, Blake is destined to barely be a Trivial Pursuit question. The beatboxing will be a novelty act for teen birthday parties, but only if he can mix in some balloon animals.

Indeed, the whole show was full of music and actually a decent listen. They dragged out almost all Idols (save for Fantasia, who is either on Broadway in the Color Purple or in a roller derby match) and near-Idols. Yes, we had to sit through one more castor oil dose of Sanjaya, who heads off on the Idol tour before he settles into his day job rinsing hair at Super Cuts. Idol Winner # 2 Reuben Studdard came back from his time share in Oblivion, USA, and his main contribution was to model a suit from the James Gandolfini collection. And, for some bizarre notion, the Idol producers dragged out some of the worst auditions this year for one more bow...extending their undeserved 15 minutes of fame to an almost incomprehensible 16 minutes.

At the same time, I actually got a chill listening to Melinda and Lakisha jamming with Gladys Knight. They carted out Tony Bennett and Bette Midler, which suddenly made me realize why American Idol does serve a purpose. You can tell their voices are going. The torch is lit for passing. And the well gets replenished with the likes of Chris Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jordin Sparks, and Melinda Doolittle.

So, as goofy as Idol can get, it's generally worth the attention.

Song is good.

Dinner last night: turkey meat loaf with red cabbage and sweet potato salad.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

If It's Wednesday, This Must Be Snarky

The weekly round-up of what's on my mind:

---So, Former President Jimmy Carter says Bush is the worst President ever.

---Kettle. Pot. Black. While Bush clearly stinks and will go down as one of the worst Presidents of the 21th Century, Carter is definitely in the running for the title covering the 20th Century. The only ones standing in his way of the top honors are Harding and Hoover.

---Carter was inept and continues to base his legacy on one single moment. When he flashed that smile of 200 or so Chiclets and brokered a meeting between Begin and Sadat that would promote lasting peace in the Mid East.

---Yeah, and how many suicide car bombs went off there yesterday?

---This hillbilly ran the government into the ground. There might as well have been a broken washing machine sitting on the White House lawn with Amy running around in Pampers through a sprinkler. Ford should have gotten the extra four years.

---I made the mistake of self-inflicting brain damage by watching 30 minutes of the SNL season finale. I was appalled to see how unprofessional a production it has become. The cast doesn't even try to be subtle about the cuecards.

---Lorne Michaels is the TV equivalent of a slumlord. He makes huge amounts of money for overseeing something that has not been viable since the early 90s.

---And he considers himself a comedy genius. How many suitcases does he pack for his ego trip?

---Michaels has such a big head you can find it on Google Earth.

---I got to make my first 2007 appearance at Shea Stadium last Saturday as I watched the Mets pummel the Junkees.

---In those inter-league games in the past at Shea, the crowd was mixed. Sometimes, a lot more cheers for the Yankees than the Mets. Well, this year, the tide has turned. Those few Yankee fans there were wearing disguises.

---It just goes to show how NY baseball fandom sets up. One-third of the city is diehard Yankee, one-third is diehard Met. The remaining third jumps on whatever band wagon is sporting the better record at the time.

---The new construction just outside the outfield wall is hideous. It looks like the ironworks set from an old production of "Sweeney Todd."

---My hot dog bun was stale. And they have restored the use of ketchup and mustard packets. The ones you have to rip open with your teeth and they wind up squirting more on you than the frankfurter.

---Major baseball prediction: the Mets will never win a World Series with Billy Wagner as their closer.

---Sure, he's dynamite up three runs and coming into the ninth with a clean slate. But, as soon as there is a sniff of trouble (i.e., one man on base), he unravels faster than an Old Navy sweater.

---Right now, the only job security Joe Torre has resides with a critically ill brother in the hospital.

---Met Manager Willie Randolph made the commencement address at Fordham University's graduation on Saturday. He's now Doctor Willie Randolph, thank you very much. I listened to the speech on my beloved WFUV-FM. I am guessing that his speech was the only commencement address to ever include the following line: "Jose Reyes, man, that brother can run."

---They've come out with Diet Coke that has vitamins added. How ridiculous is that? Aren't people satisfied with Flintstones Chewables?

---The better season ender on "24" would have been to discover that Jack Bauer hallucinated the entire day from a Chinese prison. With fellow prisoner Bob Newhart next to him covered in those Suzanne Pleshette bedsheets.

---It must be sweeps. We're learning about all these plastic surgeries that have gone bad every night on the 11PM News.

---I have yet to see Joan Rivers in that mix. She's become her own joke. You know, she has to bend her knees whenever she wants to smile.

---Her face is so tight she needs a shoehorn to put on her mascara.

---With all the skin they were able to pull from her, they were able to construct Thursday's starting pitcher for the Yankees.

---Watching the Milwaukee Brewers play the Dodgers on Monday night, I couldn't help but notice how Prince Fielder has emulated his old man. At the buffet table.

---Who names their kid Prince? That's a dog's name.

---The Idol final competition was actually kind of dull. Blake destroyed the song that won the writing contest. That puts Jordin over the top.

---I was thinking that maybe Seacrest would come out and say there had been a Supreme Court ruling that overturned last week's vote.

---Has Blake tucked in his shirt once this season?

---Was it me or did Jordin, in those home movies when she was younger, look a bit darker? I know she's from an inter-racial home, but she looks a lot lighter now.

---I hope she doesn't have some sort of Michael Jackson thing going. I am just chalking it up to bad Kabuki make-up.

---Chalking it up? I can be so clever.

---Paula Abdul broke her nose. She fell over her chihuahua.

---I didn't know that chihuahuas came in a bottle.

---This happened last night and she was not sporting a bandage. Only in LA can you find an all-night plastic surgeon.

---Although it looks like she had hers done at Ralph's.

Dinner last night: andouille sausage and pickled beets.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Family Find

I often lament that, as most of my parents' generation has passed on, I have fewer and fewer connections to my family's history. But, indeed, every once in a blue moon, something amazing pops up from the graveyard of memories.

When I was in NY the other day, I decided to check on my grandmother's famous strong box. Somehow, I wound up being the keeper of this metal mini-file cabinet. I had not looked in it for a while, but I had an inclination to do so and check on how her wedding rings are doing.I had already gone through most of the tarnished papers in there. Lots of correspondence with the War Department following the WWII death of what would have been my uncle. He was killed in the south of France in early May, 1945...just a few days before V-E Day. But, something propelled me to open up another compartment.I found the original deed and mortgage to the Mount Vernon, New York house that my grandparents bought in 1948. This would be my first home and the place I lived up until college. My grandparents (Father's side) had lived most of the time in the Bronx on Paulding Avenue. I suppose this was their Jeffersons move. To that deluxe home to the north. The fancy shmancy suburbs. Mount Vernon when it was elite. Mount Vernon when it was clean. Mount Vernon when it was actually livable.The thing that grabbed my attention was the price of the house. $3,000! Probably a lot of jack back then, but I just spent almost that on the new plasma TV and sound system. There were also an invoice from their lawyer on the sale. For his services rendered....$29.50.But, it really wasn't the lesson in economic inflation that was the real takeaway from my afternoon's snooping. Not by a long shot. Because I discovered that the mortgage on the house was not held by a bank, but one of my grandparent's friends. In-laws twice removed. The parents of the woman that my father's other brother married. I remember them vaguely. Actually, the only true memory I have of the man was that he later would become the first person I would ever see laid out in a casket. But, I digress...I can imagine how this all unfolded. These people were pinochile buddies of my grandparents. They lived in Mount Vernon. They probably were after my grandparents to get the hell out of the Bronx...even then. I can hear my grandparents say that they did have the dough for the housing upgrade. And they probably said they wouldn't trust a bank for a mortgage, since the recovery from the crash of 1929 was still a fresh wound in their passbooks. So, the other half of the pinochile quartet said that they would front the cash. And, so it happened...Of course, there was left nothing to chance. There were extensive documents heralding this loan of $3,000. And, also in the strongbox, I found almost five years of monthly receipts that acknowledged my grandparents were paying back the loan. At the lofty clip of $ 60 per month at 4% interest. By 1953, they were done. It was amazing to see how civilized they all were about this. It truly was another time, another place, and another generation. I closed the lid of the strongbox one more time.Dinner last night: Super Dodger Dog and fries at Chavez Ravine.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday Morning Video Laugh - May 21, 2007

A little longer clip today, but a classic. Spurred by my trip to Boston last Thursday and watching hordes of Red Sox fans leaving Fenway. Watch it all the way through for the slo mo replay.

Dinner last night: Back in with prosciutto and black olives.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I saw this website in USA Today a few days back. Now, it's a bag of Ruffles Ranch flavor potato chips for me. I can't get enough. It's a cooperative website where people post incidents of extreme bad driving. You can load the offender's license plate. Try it. Hilarious and frightening all at the same time.

For instance, consider this nitwit:

This driver was spotted driving 55 mph on a highway while reading a newspaper!

Or this entry for some screwball out here:

A large, dark SUV was ahead of me (by a larger-than-average distance; I like to keep a lot of space between my vehicle and others) on highway 80 east approaching the highway 4 exit when he hit a very large piece of a truck-sized partial rubber tire. OK, so maybe he didn't see it, but he couldn't have failed to have felt it when he rolled directly over it. The rubber piece went flying and slammed hard into my car, missing my windshield by less than 2 inches. Instead, it ripped my side view mirror off, adding another hazard to the road, to say nothing of how hazardous it is for me to drive (and now illegal without that side mirror). I chased him down and got his licence, and followed him off the freeway. I got his attention by honking and drove next to him and pointed at my missing mirror; he looked, and then drove off. His CA license is: 3HPL216.

Or this one from the state of my birth:

New York CNP-1699
Sunday, May 06, 2007
sliver LAND ROVER 4x4
Vancourtland Ave / gouvernuer Ave (New York)
If any one sees this land rover get out of the way! When I was heading Wets bound on van Courtland Avenue and Gouvernuer Avenue this idiot was heading east bound and just cut in front of a Toyota Camry and a New York City transit bus! He was also talking on the phone when this occurred.

You can argue that this is nothing but a fertilizer for road rage. Indeed, the following entry tries to capitalize on just that. Some people will do anything to make a buck.

This message is to anyone who frequently gets angry when driving. Does it really make you mad when other drivers violate traffic laws or you're just stuck in a ton of traffic? I am offering a FREE 4-session treatment to help people who get angry on the road. The treatment is part a study run through Hofstra University in Nassau County, NY. I conduct the sessions at Hofstra University and in Rockland County, NY. If you or someone you know needs help with driving anger, please contact Tracey at or 516-463-5660 or visit my website at

Happy Motoring, everybody!

Dinner last night: lasagna at the beloved Carlo's in Yonkers following a Met 10-7 victory over the Yankees.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Brotherhood of the Pedestrian

In Los Angeles, they are strict about the jaywalking laws. You have to cross the street at a designated crosswalk. You have to wait for the proper command from the sign above. They often time your walk across like you're participating in some goofy stunt on "Beat The Clock."

This ain't New York, folks. You want to know how many times I diagonally ran across Madison Avenue from 47th Street to 49th Street? Hell, I ran across 42nd Street and Madison yesterday. The light was green and I was trying to catch a train.

Cops will nail you in LaLa Land. Outside my office building, there is a motorcycle cop who hangs out behind a bush waiting to nab somebody who doesn't obey the "hand."

Now, this shouldn't be a big problem in your day. After all, there is a button on each corner. You press it and the light changes, allowing you to scoot across the street.

Except for this. You know when you get to the crosswalk of an intersection when a pedestrian is already there ahead of you, and you're tempted to press the button, but you don't do it, because you feel it would be insulting to the person who got there ahead of you? Or you press the button, but you feel a little guilty or stupid about it? And then, the other person glares at you like they think you're the moron.

Anyway, the last three times I've gotten to the crosswalk with other preople there, the knuckleheads haven't pushed the button. They've just been standing there, waiting to cross or Godot, depending upon what shows up first. So, then this forces all of us to scramble through the intersection at Jose Reyes speed against the omnipresent "red hand."

It's like the squirrels who get out of the way of a car. It should be instinctive. Do your part, folks. Get your heads out of your a.....

Press the freakin' button!

Dinner last night: barbecue pork ribs at TGI Fridays in the Palisade Mall.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Somebody Slap Me

A killer day of travel for my very innocent Thursday sojourn to Boston. The morning flight was delayed two and a half hours because they could not find the captain. I was hoping that he wasn't tucked away in some LaGuardia bar. Then, my 6PM flight from Logan did not leave till almost 10PM, as they couldn't find a plane. How hard is it for American Airlines to find equipment? And keep track of their flight crews? The disaster did provoke one great laugh as a fellow passenger on the return started to argue with the gate personnel because he was missing the season finale of Grey's Anatomy? Hey, Stupid, get a DVR and season pass a show so it will always be recorded for you?

Do I have to teach logic to everybody in this country??

With all this time cooped up in airport food courts, my mind started to wander a bit. I kept thinking about Melinda Doolittle's ouster from American Idol the night before. Beyond being the best singer in the entire competition, I found her quite engaging and grounded as a person. She'll be one of those Idols who does better than the ultimate winner. Where the hell is Reuben these days? I swear he scalps Laker tickets outside the Staples Center. Melinda's song stylings are essentially the type of music I like. I am waiting for the CD. She will be doing the Hollywood Bowl and Feinstein's. I am ordering a white wine to sip at the same time.

What I finally got with this cockamamie vote is that American Idol is no longer a singing competition. It's a popularity contest. Worse. It's the tenth grade class election. While I'm not disputing Jordin's musical gifts, she essentially has sailed to the finals because she reminds the core of the Idol audience of their best friend. The one you walk around the mall with and practice doing each other's hair with. Blake is the edgy boyfriend that is acceptable to both your friends and your parents. Dad would be amused to hear him sputter like a old carbine engine while sitting in the living room waiting for you to come down for your Shrek:the Third movie date.

The American Idol tour does phenomenally, but the venues must reek of Clearasil wipes. It's probably no different than Rugrats on Ice. The loading area where moms are picking up kids after the concerts must have a car line six miles long. Statistically, there was no way a 29-year-old expert singer of soul could ultimately win. It was the same reason why Chris Daughtry got the boot last year. Because those adults who are watching and fans of Melinda or Chris may join the geeky Pod people and vote once. The teenage girls, enamored of Sanjaya or Blake, take their cell phones and hunker down on their bedroom floors hitting speed redial like crazy.

And that's how somebody like Blake gets to the finals.

I'll pay a little less attention this year to the Idol finals. I'll probably flip between that and a Dodger game or Susan Lucci hawking necklaces on HSN. Unless Jordin goes completely full frontal, she will be the next American Idol. She'll wind up with a marginable CD and host next year's Kids Choice Awards on Nickelodeon.

But, I'm not as engaged this year because I've already lived through my shares of sophomore elections.

I didn't win then either.

You know Melinda's bounce is killing Simon Cowell, who genuinely wants this to be a singing competition. If Idol is serious about that, they would change the voting procedures. Indeed, some weight should be given to the judges' opinions. Simon's critique should have the most weight. Randy Jackson's thoughts should be weighted a little less. Tell Paula her opinions are important, but then ignore them.

But they won't monkey with the format.

Because somewhere someplace ATT and Sprint are making a fortune when some little Gidget in Ohio bangs "redial" on her cell phone about 500 times every Tuesday night.

Dinner last night: Burger King Whopper Junior in Logan Airport.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Any Hanging Chads?

Yes, the sun did set on Melinda Doolittle last night on Idol.

That was America's biggest voting mistake since....

Well, you finish the joke.

She will come back in a year with a fashion makeover, new teeth, the works. She will be appearing at the Hollywood Bowl and I will have seats in Section E.

Blake Lewis will be demonstrating some techno stereo equipment at Circuit City, while offering to open up an account for you.

Unless Jordin Sparks has a Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction next week, she is the new Idol.

Dinner last night: chefs salad.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

All The News from Coast to Coast

Two time zones, double the sarcasm.

---Nothing makes me feel more like I am back in New York City than driving out of Newark Airport and hearing Fatso and Fruit Loops on WFAN. Lots of fun all the way up the turnpike as Chris Russo ripped Yankee Bobby Abreu a new one.

---I love seeing businessmen flying with their own personal pillows.

---What, no blankie?

---And then there was this Asian couple wandering around the American Airlines terminal in LAX. They got on the line in front of me for Platinum check-in. Of course, they were not Platinum, but the clerk processed them anyway. Then, going up to the security check, they were in front of me again on the First Class/Platinum line. This time, they got the heave-ho. All the while, they were pretending to have language issues. It would be my luck that these two jokers were on my flight as well. And, of course, they tried to board with the First Class passengers, and were, once again, kicked to the curb.

---They pretend they don't speak English. You know they do. They're like the Japanese players in the MLB who run around with interpreters just so they can avoid talking to reporters.

---I'll say this about Guiliani. At least, he shows some guts going against (sort of)the Republican party line with his modified pro-choice stance.

---Of course, on the flip side, Pope Eggs Benedict is running around Brazil talking about pro-choice people self excommunicating themselves for their views.

---I'm just happy he finally found Rome Airport and got around to a little international outreach. It was starting to look like he was in the job only for the rings.

---I love the billboard I saw on the way to LAX Monday morning. It was touting Oprah's episode that day. "Oprah and Gayle's Big Spa Adventure."

---Yeah, right. Hey, Ops, isn't it about time?

---Is she afraid that this news will prompt her lemmings across the country to desert her? Look, they do everything she tells them to do. Make it an extension of the Oprah Book Club. They will completely follow suit.

---That could be hilarious. A groundswell of lesbianism in trailer parks across the country.

---I can hear a typical hayseed husband now. "Yall are now called a what???"

---Flight attendants (and it's sad that I now know some of them by first name) have told me that Oprah, when she was flying commercial, was universally regarded as the worst passenger to provide service to. Totally abusive and condescending.

---But only if the flight attendant was white.

---Of course, it was well known that she would call ahead and make sure the flight attendant servicing her was an African-American.

---Bring back Phil Donahue please. Where the studio audience didn't sound like a bunch of crazed shoppers at a Mervyn's "doorbuster" sale.

---Oprah gave the commencement address the other day at Howard University. She told the assembled that her grandmother's dying wish in 1963 was for Oprah to work for "some good white folks." Oprah winked at the irony. She replied that today she has plenty of "good white folks" working for her.

---This woman continues to get a pass from us for her systematic dumbing down of America. And we allow it. Just because, from time to time, she spouts off some Maya Angelou limerick.

---At Dodger Stadium on Sunday, I got to watch the Reds' Ken Griffey hit his 570th career homerun. It reminded me with sadness that this is the guy who should be tapping on Mr. Aaron's shoulder, not that chemical-enhanced Bluto. And Griffey's done it largely on skill. And legally. Had it not been for injuries, he would have sailed to the record. But, that's what happens when even dried cuticles can land you on the 60 day disabled list.

---When Bonds gets the record breaker, Emperor Bud Selig needs to treat it as if it's a salad bar in a leper colony. Stay away. Far, far, far away.

---I also got to see Red reliever Todd Coffey's act. When summoned from the bullpen, he runs in like a greyhound. I appreciate the efforts to speed up a game, but you looked like an idiot, Todd. Do you want to call that much attention to yourself?

---I'm still a little verklempt over the Sopranos episode on Sunday. You knew Christopher was going to go before the end. But, from an excessive nose bleed?

---I thought the episode was a little too self-indulgent and pretensious. Tony's in Vegas. He's in the desert watching the sun rise. Asbestos is being dumped into water. Yawn, yawn. With only three shows left, David Chase needs to leave this kind of stuff in an unnamed folder on Final Draft.

---You do know that Chase is a little deranged? He would have to be in order to write this type of show.

---We're not talking about a grounded showrunner like Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal, who went home at five every day to help his kids with their homework.

---As for me, I am hoping that, at some point in the closing three episodes, Edie Falco has one of her scenery chewing performances. She and Bracco make the show for me.

---Hey, Jerry Falwell, is it hot enough for you? This is the guy who invented the Red States.

---"The King of Queens" had its series finale the other night. A show of hands, please, from all those who were riveted to their TVs.

---I see none.

---NBC is what, the number eighth ranked network these days? So, they announce their 2007-08 primetime lineup and they have renewed mostly everything. Another year of Law and Order: The Eisenhower Years? For Pete's sake, I was half-expecting to hear that "Joey" was coming back as well.

---With all the junk they renewed, NBC obviously had a horrible development season. Whoops. Let's face it, they are scheduling two hours of reruns on a Saturday night.

---Did you ever wonder about those people who write headlines for newspapers? Are they trying to be inappropriate and get on Leno? Or, are they just happy funny accidents? Like this wonderful headline I saw in the LA Times sports pages about two weeks ago.

---"Royals to Get Taste of Angels' Colon."

Dinner last night: leftover meat loaf sandwich.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Live from New's Tuesday morning.

I was recently drawn to the new movie "Waitress," primarily because of the film production's back story. You may have heard. The movie's writer and director, Adrienne Shelly, was killed in NY last year by a construction worker because she complained he was making too much noise. The film, now serving as her ultimate legacy, showed a lot of promise. Sad.

But, "Waitress" is also noteworthy because it heralds the return of Andy Griffith in a supporting role. He steals the picture. One of those roles where you keep waiting for him to pop up again. Of course, he's now 80 and that's the time where Hollywood gets a lot of mileage by putting an oldtimer in a movie and getting him or her to say outrageous things. In this case, Andy does not disappoint.

It reminded me of how much I loved "The Andy Griffith Show" when I was a kid. It was on Monday nights around 9 or 9:30PM. That would be the one night I would be allowed to stay up past 830PM. And it was a weekly negotiation. If we went out to visit relatives on Sunday and we got home late, my mother would feel compelled to announce that I was severely sleep-deprived and that I would be skipping Andy on Monday. So, I began to secretly hope that we would never ever visit relatives on a Sunday ever again. It was a weekly struggle. I think I won most of the battles.

I am not sure why I loved this show so much. Yeah, it was folksy and cutesy---all the things I hate in entertainment now. But, Andy, Barney, Opie, and Aunt Bee were an extended family. The only difference is that they didn't send me five dollars in an envelope every birthday. For some bizarre reason, I enjoyed the half hour I spent with them every week. It was a very simple life. I wished I lived next door, so Opie and I could have a catch.

I remember one episode, however, that was a bit unsettling. Andy and Barney went to their high school reunion. Andy saw an old flame there and, before long, he was kissing her dead-on in the courtyard. You had never seen that before in Mayberry. Borderline passion. It felt wrong. I'm pretty sure I read a later interview where Andy Griffith actually talked about what an uncomfortable moment that was in the series. I am pretty sure the show was fairly chaste after that. Andy's next love interest, Miss Helen Crump, got limited action---usually a peck on the cheek. I always wondered why that moment was so jarring to me. I suppose it was a harbinger of things to come for all....and how complicated life would get for all of us.

I've probably mentioned that Don Knotts lived in my apartment building for the past twenty years. He died about two months before we moved in. I have yet to see any Emmy Awards in the dumpster. But, I have heard that, when Don was sick, Andy came over frequently to visit. Now, that would have been way too cool. I'm in the lobby throwing out my junk mail and in comes Andy Griffith. And you want to know what I say to him:


Dinner last night: homemade meat loaf and German potato salad.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday Morning Video Laugh - May 14, 2007

The title of this is "Super Afro Ninja." Enough said.

Dinner last night: Chopped salad with grilled chicken at BJ's.

Reporting from NYC starting Tuesday.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

To All You Moms Out There...

Happy Mother's Day! I wish I could say this post was completely original. It's not. I saw it on veteran comedy writer Ken Levine's blog and I couldn't resist stealing it.

You know how TNT does a marathon showing of "A Christmas Story" on December 25 every year? I am formally suggesting that they do the same with "Mommie Dearest" every Mother's Day.
Faye Dunaway has never been worse. And we have a lot of rotten performances to choose from.


Dinner last night: pizza at the Pig N Whistle in Hollywood before a totally trashy double feature at the Egyptian. Two pieces of junk from the 70s: "Doctors' Wives" and "The Love Machine." Hilarious!!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Throw Your Butts Here

A wild and wooly week in Southern California. Since it hasn't rained since Saturday Night Live was funny, this entire part of the state could go up about as fast as Ray Bolger on the set of the Wizard of Oz. And we're not talking about forest areas here. The Griffith Park fire was less than three miles away from Dodger Stadium. Some friends of mine had to drive through it on their way to work. We're talking flames smack dab in the middle of a city.

Once they got that under control, the wooded areas of Catalina Island got torched up. There's less 1/4 mile of a commercial and residential area out there and the fire potentially could have wiped out the entire livelihood of the island within one hour. Luckily, they got a handle on that as well.

Yes, it's been bone dry. And it's been hot and windy, so fires can easily get spread. But, you all know how these blasted things start. We're not talking about a couple of Eagle Scouts who get sloppy when they're rubbing two sticks together. Come on, you know the answer.

Lucky Strikes. Pall Malls. Virginia Slims. Newports. Name your poison.

Morons running around and flicking their ashes without regard to anything but themselves. An actress friend of mine lives in the Loz Feliz area. She quickly had to pack up her new born and prepare to evacuate. Her neighbors were a little less concerned. They were standing on their roofs, watching the fires with wine glasses in one hand and cigarettes in the other. Cheez, how many shades of "Stupid" come in your box?

I was following one such nicotine-crazed knucklehead driver last week. At every red light, she extended her arm out of the driver's window about three feet and flicked away. Of course, she managed this intricate process while never once missing a beat in her cell phone conversation. Slapping needs to be legalized.

And speaking of screwballs behind the wheel, we had another incident here of an 85-year-old plus person hitting the gas instead of the break. She backed into an outdoor cafe and provided the ultimate luncheon entertainment---at least for those folks who didn't wind up with a Dunlop imprint on their foreheads.

My dad had the right idea. As soon as he hit 65, he announced to all assembled that he was not comfortable driving anymore and ascended to the throne of "Professional Passenger." He wasn't going to be the one that turns a typical Farmer's Market into a Six Flags thrill ride.

It's a wonder any of us ever survive to see another day.

Dinner last night: pizza.

Friday, May 11, 2007

....Do Us Part

On a recent Wednesday night watching American Idol, I got sucked into a classic TV ploy. I stayed with Fox and watched the show that followed Idol. There are countless TV shows in history that have become hits primarily because people were too darn lazy to change the channel. That theory, of course, worked better in the dark ages, better known as pre-remote control. In 2007, if you are too lazy to change a channel, I would recommend a list of cemetaries for you to consider....immediately.

Anyway, all of the above is a long way of saying how I wound up watching "'Til Death" starring Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher. I had never before sampled a single frame and I figured that Brad Garrett, who I mega-enjoyed on "Everybody Loves Raymond," wouldn't be involved in crap.

I over-estimated Brad Garrett. This show was a mess. Not a single laugh. And what was more painful for me was watching somebody, whose work I thoroughly relished on what was arguably one of the top 10 sitcoms ever, labor so badly in a premise that was clearly designed to play off his success in his former series. Watching Brad cavort in this fuel spill actually tarnished some of the good memories I had of him on Raymond.

There is nothing worse than an actor trying to catch creative lightning in a bottle. Any truly legendary comedy series is a product of its times and, indeed, the perfect blending of cast, writing, directing, and even craft services creates a moment of sheer serendipity. People keep trying and it never ever works.

Let's consider all the superstars of TV sitcoms. How many folks can you think of actually managed to have weekly success more than once? The answers are on the fingers of my right hand only.

You might say Lucille Ball. And I will tell you that, after "I Love Lucy," she enjoyed rating success but certainly not creative nirvana. Except for the first season (black and white) of "The Lucy Show," Lucy was on fumes. All people were seeing was rehashed plots and everybody was essentially waiting to see if they could see where her facial skin was taped up under her orange wig.

Mary Tyler Moore did it with "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and her own MTM series. Even Dick Van Dyke couldn't do it twice: his second sitcom limped along for three seasons and nobody noticed. Both of Mary's series would be on my top 10 sitcom masterpiece list. Bob Newhart managed to achieve it as well.

You could argue that Bea Arthur and Betty White hit sitcom paydirt twice. But, except for "Maude," their shows were certainly not built upon or reliant upon their specific casting. And Andy Griffith had a hit sitcom followed by a long running hit drama, which I think is being piped into every assisted living and nursing home facility in the country.

So, you can see that it doesn't happen more than Haley's Comet. But, at the same time, actors will keep trying and trying it. There's a hot sitcom pilot that Fox may be airing in the fall. It's from the writers of "Frasier" and "Don't Shoot Me." It will pair none other than Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton. Their legacies are renown. I am hoping and hoping this will be a quality project. But, history does stack a deck against them. The networks announce their new Fall schedules starting on Monday. Let's see how many of our former friends get "recycled."

But what do I know? I wish I had an Emmy that was tarnishing on my bookcase.

Dinner last night: Roast Beef Sandwich from Clementine.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Team Clemens

Here's one of my favorite shots of Roger Clemens. Pitching during Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. I look at it and realize just how horrible he's going to feel about three hours later.

Well, I am happy to know that 2007 will offer one more baseball season where we can watch this consummate professional toil at his wily craft. Baseball fans will be truly honored all over again to see him throw five quality innings every fifth or sixth day.

When is this nonsense going to stop? Are teams that starved for pitching that, every May, we are going to be subjected to this annual announcement of Roger's return to baseball? For the Yankees this year, certainly anybody that can zip up his uniform pants can qualify as a starting pitcher. I am guessing Whitey Ford couldn't be be coaxed off the golf course. And, when that dinosaur fossil Bob Shepherd went on the PA and re-introduced Clemens to the Yankee Stadium menagerie last Sunday, I was actually waiting for him to say....."And returning to manage in 2010....Billy Martin."

Bill Stoneman, GM of the Los Angeles Angels of Orange County in the Western Time Zone, nailed it. "I don't think this is good for the integrity of the game. He shouldn't be able to sit on the sidelines, watch how things are going and decide where to go. No club should be able to benefit from that."


Sure, we get Clemens' regurgitated pablum about wanting to be involved one more time with a baseball team headed for a championship.

Fat Boy, you haven't been involved with any team but yourself in years.

Tim McCarver got it right. He said during Fox' Saturday game that, if Clemens was truly interested in being part of a team's championship year, he should be with them as early as spring training.


We keep welcoming back this lowlife year after year. We let him dictate the rules. He wants to perserve his strength, so he can't possibly pitch earlier than May 15. For that same reason, he's allowed to miss most games when he is not pitching. He essentially sweeps in only when he is scheduled to work. I guess being there to support his other teammates on those "non-Roger" days really saps his energy. Even former teammate David Wells, another staunch pillar of the community, says this is bad for team morale. And try this one on for size: Greg Maddux, also on the side of 40 that is closer to 50, was asked if he would ever try the Clemens approach of shortening his season to perserve his annual pitch count. Maddux replied that he would never try it because he loves being with a team in spring training.

A team. A unique four letter word in the classless Clemens vocabulary.

Of course, this pig is also making money hand over fist with his pro-rated seasons. Sure, you can tell me that a lot of it goes to the Roger Clemens Foundation, which is dedicated to advancing educational and religious avenues for children. Uh-huh. You know what the latter means, right? We are growing more fundamentalists. Just what this country need. But, I digress...

I remember when Jolly Roger bolted from the Toronto Blue Jays to go to the Yankees years ago. He didn't want to close out his career without being in a World Series.

Roger, I have two words for you.

Ernie Banks. Roger, you're not even fit to clean up the sunflower seeds Ernie spits out onto the dugout floor.

Whether it be on the mound or in the clubhouse, Roger Clemens is concerned about one thing and one thing only: Roger Clemens. It's about the money in his pocket. The ring on his finger. He could care less about anybody else.

I am hoping that, even with his talents, forty four plus years on this earth have slowed his reflexes at least one nano-second and he won't be able to get out of the way of a screeching line drive back to the box. And, while he will still show flashes of dominance, there will be more and more outings where he is lit up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. It's not like he's going to make that much of a difference for the Junkees. He's just one more starter on a staff that can't get past 5 2/3 innings. They need at least 3 relief pitchers every game, and that includes Mariano Rivera who is definitely winding down. If the Pinstripes needed to pull in a pitcher from the woodpile, they should have gone after Dennis Eckersley or Goose Gossage.

Hopefully, maybe some baseball season soon, this overstuffed ego will stay down on his Texas farm with his goofy wife (have you ever listened to her being interviewed? Her IQ is lower than Roger's career ERA) and those peckerwood kids of his.

Of course, the longer he pitches, the longer it will take for him to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

If we're lucky, all those steroids will finally take hold and the honor will be posthumous.

Dinner last night: Turkey burger at the Cheesecake Factory.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

I'm Just Saying....

---Victoria Principal has paid $200,000 for the opportunity to go up in the space shuttle. Now NASA scientists can finally learn what zero gravity does to fake breasts.

---Paris Hilton is going to jail. Who's going to tell her there's no mini bar in her cell?

---Due to those nasty brush fires in Los Angeles yesterday, they may have to evacuate the L.A. Zoo. I'm guessing they will all spend the night at Betty White's house.

---Somehow I have to get myself invited to one of those Hollywood funerals. I hear the service for Tom Poston was hilarious. His wife, Suzanne Pleshette, started his eulogy by introducing herself as the "Widow Poston" just in case there were single men in the audience.

---Suzanne actually buried her second husband alongside the resting place of her first husband, Tom Gallagher. If your name is Tom, don't throw your hat in the ring to be Husband #3. Especially if you smoke a pack a day.

---My partner and I had the occasion to have some dealings with Suzanne's first Tom about ten years ago. A really nice guy, but I have an idea what did him in. I told a joke on the phone and his laugh turned into a cough that lasted for ten minutes.

---Barry Gibb was on American Idol last night and he obviously got his dentures the same place Margot Kidder bought hers.

---The four finalists were so so. Jordin Sparks' rendition of Barbra's "Woman in Love" was so bad. That wail of anguish you heard last night was coming from the Streisand compound in Malibu. It would be like she just learned that they have removed term limits from the White House. I'm guessing it would sucque to be wearing James Brolin's bathrobe last night.

---Blake and Lakisha are the favorites to be non-favorites by Thursday. His beatbox versions of Bee Gee songs tonight sounded like Jack Benny's old Maxwell. The only thing missing was Rochester turning the crank. It's like Mel Blanc decided to be a rock star.

---Judge Judy got the nice "upfront" seat in the Idol audience. In a swap of guest shots, Paula will visit Judge Judy's show next week when she sues somebody for selling her a broken washing machine.

---Yesterday, they released the 20th anniversary DVD of "Dirty Dancing." Can you believe that movie came out in 1987?! That was three noses ago for Jennifer Grey.

---It was so long ago that it was pre-Law and Order for Jerry Ohrbach.

---It was so long ago that the movie's director was one of the EARLY casualties of the AIDS virus.

---And it was probably the last time Patrick Swayze got a callback from his agent.

---Does anybody know what car wash he's working at these days?

---There is no more exhilerating film moment than that last dance number in "Dirty Dancing." Except not one of those numbers resemble anything close to rock and roll music heard in 1963. In the same way that none of the songs in "Dreamgirls" sound remotely like anything produced in Motown.

---So, you go to lunch and get the special. Soup and a half sandwich. My question: what the hell happens to the other half of that sandwich?

---Another rhetorical question from a good friend: if Tommy John get his appendix out, is it still considered Tommy John surgery?

---Why is today's post sounding like an episode of Seinfeld?

---Or that goofy USA Today column Larry King used to write? When he used to write such declarations as "For my money, nobody makes a better hard salami than Boar's Head."

---That HD camera is very unforgiving for some actresses. Nicolette Sheridan looked horrible on "Desperate Housewives" Sunday. Sort of like Victoria Principal during re-entry.

---And we are right back where we started.

Dinner last night: smoked turkey sandwich from this great neighborhood luncheonette Clementine.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

How Many Fingers Do You See Now?


Much hand-wringing abounds following the news that Cardinal pitcher Josh Hancock was loaded with beer, pot, and cell phone when he chose to play a game of Extreme SUV on some highway in Missouri. I am truly sorry for the loss his family is enduring as he gets rung up for a heavenly Strike Three by John McSherry, the umpire chief in the sky. I am also happy that this tool didn't take an innocent person or two along for his journey into eternity.

So now we get Cardinal management putting the kibosh on clubhouse drinking, which must be killing their team's main sponsor, Budweiser. The team is struggling to cope. It's Darryl Kile all over again.

Boo hoo.

First of all, Darryl Kile died mid-season as a result of a congenital cardio defect. Totally unavoidable. Josh Hancock's death was lamentable, but certainly the control...or actually, lack of it, was all his. So, in my mathematical equation of life, Kile does not equal Hancock. By a country mile.

If Cardinal management wanted to make a statement about alcohol abuse, they should have opened their Midwestern mouths two months ago when their own fearless leader, Tony LaRussa, got arrested for drunk driving. If you go back to the news reports on that incident, all the Cardinal top brass says is "we are looking into it." I guess it's all okay, since all Big Tony did was take a snooze behind the wheel at an intersection. No big whoop, heh? No lives lost. Heck, at the very next spring training game, the idiots in the stands gave this clown a standing ovation.

Sone daring reporter asked LaRussa the other day about Hancock's drinking and connected his own DUI. LaRussa, ever the Rhodes scholar, responded that he was just concerned about Josh's family and his own drinking escapade was "way down on the list."

Well, Stupid, maybe it shouldn't have been. If you and your bosses had any guts, you would have set a better example for your team when it first happened. But, let's face it. Tony LaRussa has never shown any level of courage ever. He must have been sleeping it off all those years where Mark McGwire was conducting his science projects in the clubhouse. I guess with blurred vision you can miss a few thousand pills.

Back in 2004, when the Dodgers played the Cardinals in the NLDS, the Blue Crew managed one win, thanks to a surprising effort from Jose Lima. The place was electric and it staved off certain elimination for at least one day. After the Dodger victory, fans didn't want to leave the ballpark euphoria. As Tony LaRussa was driven in a golf cart to the left field tent where all post game press conferences were held, he had a single message for all the Dodger fans assembled. All the way out to left field, he raised his middle finger to the crowd.

A complete piece of garbage.

I'd hold up a finger right back at you, Tony. But, I'm not sure how many you will see.

Dinner last night: some nifty Mexican pork dish at Border Grill.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Monday Morning Video Laugh - May 7, 2007

This month, Bob Barker ends 123 consecutive years as host of "The Price is Right." All trailer parks across America will be draped in black.

Dinner last night: Chicken Crispers at Chili's.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Thumbs Up

I have to tell you. I had to look several times at this picture before I realized who it was.

Good for you, Roger Ebert!

He's been down for the count since June of last year. A surgery for cancer of the salivary gland wound up requiring the removal of his jaw bone. The operation also necessitated a tracheotomy. Then, several surgical procedures to replace the jaw bone prompted excessive bleeding and had to stopped before completion.

He can't speak yet. He is the first to admit he now looks something from a casting call for Raging Bull. But, he just made his first public appearance in a year at his own film festival.

And, more importantly, he is still writing movie reviews.

His mind is alive and well.

And that's why the printed word is so cherished.

Dinner last night: Post "Waitress" French Dip sandwich at the Arclight.

Saturday, May 5, 2007


Okay, the video below is of David Hasselhoff drunk on his ass. His daughter manned the camera. Apparently, this recovering alcoholic made a pact with his kids. If they ever found him back in the stew again, he wanted them to film his every drunken move so he could really see how bad he looked. Frankly, David didn't need to drink to do this. He could look at anything he's ever acted in. But, I digress...

So, what's the utter hypocracy about this video? It's a noble idea on Hasselhoff's part. So, he tumbled off the water wagon? The daughters film it, show Dad how bad he drools while liquored up, and we all call it a day. But, no, they take it one step further. They release it all to the semi-press...namely, Entertainment Tonight.

It all smacks of publicity. Since David Hasselhoff isn't getting into the news in a good way, I suppose bad press is better than none at all.

Meanwhile, in other non-sobriety news, it comes out that Cardinal pitcher Josh Hancock, killed last weekend in an auto accident, was not only legally drunk upon impact, but a bong was also found in his vehicle. And, cell phone records show that he was on the phone talking to a girl at the time of the accident. That's the big umpire in the sky calling "Strike Three."

Yeah, it's all fun and games when somebody shows up drunk.

Dinner last night: sausage and peppers sandwich at Maria's Italian Kitchen.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Hello Larry

I guess nothing blew up yesterday. CNN finally got to run that blasted tribute to Larry King---honoring his 50 years of clogging our ears.

The two hour special was incomplete as far as I was concerned. So much vital information was missing. You would think they would have had plenty of time to cover the following:

---All the juicy details behind the photo op shown above when he got busted for bad checks.

---The well-known fact all over Hollywood and CNN that Larry farts continuously throughout his entire show. His studio apparently has to be aired out nightly. Production people around CNN try to avoid working his show as much as possible.

---That he is probably one of the cheapest TV personalities around. He never ever picks up a restaurant tab.

---That most female interns on his show are warned about his "happy hands" before they meet him.

---The fact that he is a sex addict as was evidenced by me first hand. Back when he was doing an overnight radio show for a company I worked for, I would spend one evening a year in Arlington, Virginia. Several colleagues and I would do a quick on-air survey of his listeners to find out what they were up and listening to this idiot (we refined the language for the situation.) On the hourly breaks which were about 8 minutes long, Larry would pick up the studio phone and call whatever number wife he had at the time. And, in front of me and anybody else, he proceeded to sex-talk her on the phone.

"What are you wearing right now?"

"Is it the nightie I like?"

"How do you have your hair?"

"Did you shave your legs this morning?"

One year, one of my colleagues was female and she ran back to her hotel room after one hour of listening to this x-rated Bob Newhart. She said the next morning that she felt so dirty she had to take a long hot shower.

Larry probably would have liked to know that.

What a pig.

Here's to another 50, Larry. Minutes, that is.

Dinner last night: beef with broccoli.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Saturday Night at the Movies

Besides the weather, there is one thing that Los Angeles does infinitely better than New York. That's the preservation of classic movie theater palaces.

At one time, back in the 1940s and 1950s, New York was the place to be when you wanted to head out to the movies. In Manhattan, you could find over a dozen single screen theaters that sparkled in their grandeur. Beyond Radio City Music Hall, you had places like the Rivoli, the Criterion, and the Roxy. You weren't just going for a movie. You were destined for an experience like no other. I only got the very tailend of that era, but I can still sense how special it was to head downtown with one of those places on your agenda.

But, then again, even if you stayed "uptown," you had an assortment of cinematic cathedrals for your afternoon or evening's disposal. Mount Vernon, New York was no different. There was RKO Proctor's: a tri-level theater that smelled like a movie theater. There were always hot dogs spinning on that wheel at the candy counter. The right side of the orchestra was designated for the smoke wouldn't blow over to you thanks to the "It's Kool Inside" air conditioning.

Two blocks away was Loew's Mount Vernon, which, for some reason, was always incorrectly pronounced as "low-ees." This was only two levels: orchestra and balcony. But, the lobby was huge and there was a huge staircase headed upstairs to this gigantic smoking lounge. I can still remember the display ads in the lobby with these "view-master" slides clicking through as they heralded the picture that would be coming next Wednesday.

I can't tell you how many Pom Poms I dropped on the floor in those places. I can still remember what pictures opened at which theater. Proctor's got all the Universal, 20th Century Fox, and Disney releases. Loew's got MGM, Paramount, and Columbia.

They're both gone now. Loew's was demolished to become this eyesore of a parking garage in what is now a pig sty of a city. The Proctor's building still stands, but it has been completely revamped for offices.

There are countless theaters just like that in the NYC area. No, correction, there WERE countless theaters just like that in the NYC area. That city has done nothing to maintain that rich heritage. Sure, Radio City Music Hall still stands in its opulence, but they stopped showing movies when Carter was president. All it is now is a concert hall and a place for senior citizens to go every Christmas to see pre-recorded taps by the Rockettes. They make a big deal of the Ziegfeld as being a movie palace. But, it was created in the 60s and tries to replicate the original theater that was torn down nearby. The Ziegfeld being an oldtime theater is like saying the current Yankee Stadium has anything in common with the old Yankee Stadium besides the dirt.

In Los Angeles, you can still find, see, and enjoy the rich history of a night at the movies. No stadium seating. No cup holders. Just a bag of popcorn in a, gulp, balcony. I will relate some tales about these gems in future posts.

Last Saturday night, I went to one such gold nugget: the Alex in Glendale. Sure, they have refurbished it. But, from the displays in the lobby, the theater hasn't changed that much since they hosted the premiere of Ben Hur in 1959. The theater doesn't show films all the time, but there is an organization, the Alex Film Society, that takes it over about five Saturdays a year. They give you a cartoon, coming attractions, and sometimes a newsreel. Then a classic film. Last week, it was "The Best Years of Our Lives." An amazing evening. As always.

If I closed my eyes, I could see and hear those hot dogs slowly spinning at Proctor's all over again.

Dinner last night: sandwich and salad

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Low Definition TV

So this is the damn plasma TV I bought. It's a 42 inch Pioneer Elite and I got a great deal on it.

If you are one of the few lemmings who has yet to move to the world of HD television, let me give you some advice. Don't get rid of your 35 inch clunky big tubed television just yet. That's what I get for not reading Consumer Reports that closely. Sure, now I know what brand of tuna fish tastes the best. But, there are a bunch of little quirks about HD flat panel TVs that are worth mentioning in the spirit of "Don't Let Me Happen to You."

Don't get me wrong. If something is broadcast in HD, both the picture and the sound are phenomenal. Desperate Housewives looked terrific. 24 was explosive. The Fox baseball game of the week was amazing: you could almost smell the grass on the infield. But, Turner Classic Movies is lost to me. The main problem is that you have to keep adjusting the screen size to match what you are watching if the particular network is not HD. If you leave non-HD images in a wide screen mode, the resulting aspect ratio gives you an image equivalent to having Lasix surgery with a Ginsu knife. And, if it's an old movie on TCM that was shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio, the screen is surrounded with these two gray side bars that are very annoying. If you stretch out that image, Emeril starts looking like E-T: the Extra-Terrestrial.

Who knew? I'm just glad I kept the old Mitsubishi 35 inch for my bedroom. Now I have TV sets devoted to eras. Anything produced before, say, 1995 gets viewed in my bedroom. The living room is for the later years. Just what I wanted: an apartment sorted by Hollywood era. Of course, I add to the mayhem by having two different services in the house: Time Warner Cable in the living room and DirectTV in the bedrooms.

I am going to listen to the radio more.

But, last night, I did enjoy the HD rendition of American Idol. Thank God Sanjaya is gone. I don't think the warranty covers him. Bon Jovi was the guest mentor last night and he was heralded as one of the great bands of all time. Huh? Frankly, I have heard enough of the sputtering washing machine better known as Blake Lewis. Jordin Sparks had her first horrendous week. Rock is not in her comfort zone. And she made matters worse by apparently using Red Vines as hair extensions. They are mixing in the votes from last week's telethon to knock off two folks this week. I am thinking that Chris Richardson can now book that adenoid surgery for tomorrow morning. For the other, I am waffling between Lakisha and Phil. Actually, since George and Laura Bush made a taped appearance last night, I think they should have been added to the numbers offered for dial-up. Insert Jeff Foxworthy show joke here.

Dinner last night: chicken with spinach, Kalamata olives, and sundried tomatoes.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Who Am I?

I can only relay yesterday's conversation as it happened.

I am in the checkout line at Ralph's supermarket. I go through the process of concluding my transaction with the clerk. He hands me back my Ralph's Club card and my receipt. And he says...

"I enjoy your work on television."


I responded with the first thing that came to my mind.

"Thank you very much."

I walk away dazed. As I made my way through the parking lot, I had just one thing on my mind.

Who the hell did he think I was???

I wish he would have said something like "I enjoy your work on television, Mr. Sutherland."

But, on the other hand, at least he didn't say "I enjoy your work on television, Mr. Nelson Reilly."

Dinner last night: Cheesecake Factory for Chicken with Garlic Noodles.