Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Last Wednesday Before Toll

Those of you with EZ-Pass, please keep reading.

---I actually feel sorry for Barack Obama. I know the feeling.

---My pastor's nuts, too.

---My reverend, with her ultra leftist and feminist leanings, has driven more people away than Beverly Hills Cab.

---And that's the point. When you don't buy into the minister, you walk away.

---I had to laugh when Reverend Wrong told the press club that he was patriotic because he spent time in the military.

---Yeah, so did Lee Harvey Oswald.

---Thanks to Wright's re-appearance from the mattresses, Obama's chances are starting to look like a Christmas tree on January 15.

---No wonder he doesn't want any more debates. Especially since ABC elevated themselves to third grade questions in the last debate.

---"Mrs. Clinton, what's your stand on asparagus?

---"Mr. Obama, boxers or briefs?"

---"Can either one of you please tell the American public why betamax machines failed?"

---I can't believe I have to do this for one more week.

---The Dodgers' Andruw Jones is so bad that...

---Watching him swing Sunday was like watching the guy from your mail room who has had one too many brewskis at the company picnic.

---Rumor has it Andruw hit his toe on a coffee table last week and they put in the box score.

---His three whiffs on Sunday singlehandedly ended global warming.

---Of course, in the true spirit of a bi-coastal blog, let's not forget that big load on the east coast.

---The Mets' Carlos Delgrounder to Second.

---I say we put Carlos and Andruw in a home run derby contest. That would last three months.

---Okay, Delgrounder to Second did hit two home runs on Sunday and the Met fans trashed him for not taking a curtain call.

---Come on, people. Everybody knows that players who don't like to stand for the National Anthem also don't take curtain calls!

---After those two homeruns, I wonder if they tested him for steroids.

---Roger Clemens supposedly had a ten year relationship with some country singer.

---But it wasn't sexual.

---They never are.

---But, just like his use of steroids, Roger has vehemently denied this.

---Uh-huh. And men love to look at Pamela Anderson because she's a good cook.

---Given his past reputation as a head hunter, I guess that's an interesting irony for Roger.

---The mouth is on the other foot, so to speak.

---You've got to read these Wednesday rants very carefully, gang.

---In his denial, Roger also thanked his wife for her support. Along with his sons. Koby, Kory, Kacy, and Kody.

---Klemens. One krazy krackpot of a krook.

---The National Hockey League has started the Stanley Cup playoffs and....ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

---The New York Rangers are doing well in the playoffs and...ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

---Does anybody give a shit about hockey in this country anymore? After their last year-long strike, these toothless wonders killed whatever popularity the sport had here.

---I wonder who has more fans. The National Hockey League or the Kansas City Royals? Will somebody do a quick head count? And you might need two hands.

---On American Idol last night, Paula Abdul actually started to give a critique of a song performance she hadn't heard yet. Or maybe she did, thanks to some advance transmissions from the mother ship.

---They trotted out Neil Diamond as mentor and they touted his legendary performance in the movie "The Jazz Singer."

---Which is widely regarded as one of the biggest bombs ever to come out of Hollywood.

---Has anyone seen Neil Diamond in the movies since?

---Seeing him at the popcorn stand at the Arclight doesn't count.

---Rhetorical question: who has the potential to be the fattest person in the world?

---Answer: A bulimic with Alzheimer's.

---I'm here all week. Try the veal and remember to tip your waiters.

Dinner last night: Spicy chicken and vegetable stir fry.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Your 2008 Top 5 American Idol Finalists


From several thousand to 24 to 12 to now 5. "American Idol" in Season 7 has continued the usual formula of finding the next mediocre pop star. And, now they have whittled it down to the quintet pictured above.

It's been the usual year of bad song choices and surprising ousters. Personally, I thought that the recently beheaded Michael Johns and Carly Smithson would be part of the final three, but, as usually happens on Idol, the older you are, the less chance you have of winning it all. Because, when it comes right down to the weekly vote, the show's core audience of teenage girls trumps all other voting blocs. They find the one who really melts their Hershey's Kisses and keep hitting "redial" on the phone all night. Keep in mind that "American Idol" is usually a family unit watch. So, I'd be surprised if Mom, Dad, Nana, and little brother Johnny don't do as heading-out-of-middle-school Sally dictates. The path of least resistance. Heck, if I had a 14 year-old girl in my household, I'd be looking to keep her quiet, too.

So, with Gidgets all over ruling the roost, any Idol finalists between the ages of 24 and 29 might as well keep their suitcases half packed at all times. You might sound like Judy Garland or Frank Sinatra in their hey day. But, if you're approaching 30, you are shit-canned as fast as their little teenaged fingers can hit those digits. When you add in some other factors that might be turnoffs to the youth of America, you should definitely keep that cab running outside of the Idoldrome. For instance, Carly's rather grossly tattooed arm had me screaming for a long sleeve referendum every week. If it weirds me out, just think of the Tiger Beat subscriber base tuned into the show somewhere in Bumfuk, Iowa. Sadly, Carly was the best vocalist this year, but middle America obviously has an aversion to any extensive inking that is not on somebody at your local truck stop.

So, we are left with the bunch above. Their continued presence on the show, albeit warranted by talent in some cases, is directly attributed to the teenage viewer. Let's take a snapshot (going from left to right in the photo above):

Jason Castro: The goofy kid with the dreadlocks and a pair of eyes that anybody would want to rip out of his sockets and replace in their own. Hell, even I think the kid is cute. But, as alluring as his gaze is, he's equally as stupid. Jason is this year's token Idol who has probably spent the most time in special education classes. Let's face it. He told guest mentor Andrew Lloyd Webber that he had never heard of the song "Memory" or the musical "Cats." Then, this 18-year-old went ahead and mangled it, completely ignoring the fact that it was written for a woman over 40. The kids love him, though, but that probably won't be enough. Either next week or the week after, he will be shipped back home to his collection of string from all nations.

Brooke White: The blonde who, like Jason, has been playing with house money for the past 3 weeks. I actually dig Brooke and, if we were much closer in age, we would probably be sharing a charge account at Ikea right now. Brooke's musical specialty is really a throwback to Carole King or Carly Simon, and that's not a bad thing. But, at the same time, Brooke has proven to be a bit overemotional. She cries a lot and that's coming from a guy who has been sobbing out loud everytime the Dodgers' Andruw Jones comes to the plate with two runners in scoring position. Brooke always seems to be tighter than Desi Arnaz' conga drum and that has resulted in two separate times where she had to start a song over. Even the usually super-soft Paula Abdul couldn't excuse those mental glitches. As cute as she is, Brooke is overmatched, but the teenage girls have kept her around because she has this Disney princess look. You expect to see her trolling around the Sleeping Beauty castle looking for tourists with digital cameras. Brooke just might last into the last 3 finalists, but her number will be called no later than that. Meanwhile, she can call my number anytime.

David Cook: I never really liked beatboxing Blake Lewis last year, and I have developed a similar dislike for David Cook this season. Don't get me wrong. He has steadily improved his performances every single week. And now he actually does run a comb through his hair at least once a day. The judges have fawned over his original interpretations of other peoples' hits. But, indeed, he is essentially been copying somebody else's cover of somebody else's cover, so he's not exactly that groundbreaking. Nevertheless, when he does straight singing, he's quite good. Unintentionally, he's been getting a lot of sympathy votes. One week, he's rushed to Cedars-Sinai because his blood pressure went sky high after a performance. Then, he drags out his half-brother, stricken with a malignant brain tumor, and plops him down in the audience right next to Teri Hatcher. David is destined to be one of the two finalists on the Nokia stage and just may win. While teenage girls don't look at David as the guy they would bring home to meet Dad, they do secretly fantasize about him being the dude on the motorcycle who forgot to bring his condoms.

Syesha Mercado: Unlike the fight for the Democratic nomination, Black votes don't count for shit on Idol. Ironically, Syesha's performances have gotten better week after week. Ultimately, her future is probably on Broadway as she might be destined to be a Black Bernadette Peters. As if having a White Bernadette Peters wasn't bad enough. Nevertheless, she has generally wound up in the bottom 3 vote getters for several weeks and she always received a last minute reprieve, since the teenage girl audience has never really identified with a Black girl on TV since Tootie lost her braces on "The Facts of Life." I am guessing that, within the next two shows, the governor of Idol State will not make the call in time and Syesha can start making tracks for some auditions in the Brill Building. I would suggest she make some definitive decisions with regard to her hair. When she dons a wig, she is quite captivating. When she goes with her own coiffure (as seen above), the only Broadway role she might score could be the lead in "Don King: The Musical."

David Archuleta: Every week that David continues in the Idol competition, you just know that people in his hometown are pissed. It's been that long since any of them have had their evening paper delivered correctly. David's the absolute ideal Idol of the teen set that dominates the audience. How many of these girls had their very first orgasm when David sang "Imagine?" Since his very first appearance, I was convinced that his silky smooth, yet pleasantly raspy song stylings would get him to the finals. Not that he doesn't have a downside. A lot of his song choices sound very much alike. Of course, this 17 year-old doesn't have a lot of life experience he can apply to singing. Let's face it, he would not be too convincing (or even appropriate) singing "Me and Missus Jones." And he supposedly has a stage father who could be the male version of Rose in "Gypsy." But, unless David comes out with tissues sticking out of his pants the next three weeks, he will be one of the two singers competing for the Idol title on the Nokia Theater stage.

Prediction: The final battles will be the Wars of the Davids. Cook Vs. Archuleta. For the teenage girl audience, it comes down to this. The bad boy Dad doesn't want to see vs. the good boy Dad approves of.

Is Idol more a popularity contest than a talent competition? Well, yes. There are ways they can modify this. Right now, phone voting is free. If they imposed a 50 cent surcharge on every call, it wouldn't be long before several Midwestern families applied for FEMA relief because little Jessica hit "redial" several hundred times. It certainly would minimize the teenage vote.

But, maybe that's the fun of it all. Because, as with everything in our nation these days, it all comes down to who you vote for.

Dinner last night: Muffalatta sandwich.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Morning Video Laugh - April 28, 2008

I know I'm going light on politics now, but this is so bizarre and stupid and bad. Enjoy!!

Dinner last night: BLT from Island's.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Top 25 Favorite TV Shows: #23!



Ages before I got sucked into the wonderful Lorimar nighttime soaps of the 80s, I was drawn night after night to the "continuing story of Peyton Place."

When I was a kid, "Peyton Place" was one of the hottest TV shows on the air. It was so popular that, at one point, episodes were on three nights a week. It was full of incest, sex, backstabbing, and adultery.

So, who the hell was monitoring my evening TV use? Certainly not my parents, who both worked nights for most of my elementary school years. And, apparently, certainly not my grandmother. She was watching the saga of the Harringtons and the McKenzies right along with me.

It was probably a strange dichotomy. I had probably just wrapped up my spelling homework. Or perhaps a book report on the latest offering by Beverly Cleary. Something with Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy. It was time for television. And, yes, there were Munsters and Barney Fife and Red Skelton. But, there was also the town of Peyton Place. Where somebody had just been impregnated by somebody else's husband. Or there was another pregnant lady getting pushed off a cliff. Or teenage pregnancy. Or somebody cheating on somebody else's wife. You didn't see this with Herman and Lily. It certainly didn't go on in Mayberry. But, it was captivating to me.

"Peyton Place" is probably how I learned about all the stuff that nobody talked about in my house. The quiet conversations my parents would have in the kitchen late at night when I was supposedly cuddling Zippy The Chimp to sleep. Indeed, "Peyton Place" clued me in to all the things I was missing around me. And, in a very bizarre connection, the folks of that New England hamlet taught me about morality. What was right and what was wrong. How to treat people and how not to treat people. And, all the while, I was enjoying it. The show was damn fun. Maybe my grandmother was not irresponsible letting me watch this with her. Perhaps, in her own way, she was even wiser beyond her advanced years.

Later on in my life, I would come to enjoy the original movie that the "Peyton Place" TV show was based on and regularly like to revisit the sheer campiness of it all. But, I have never gotten the opportunity to follow the TV program again. Because most of its episodes were filmed in black and white, a lot of cable networks have refrained from programming it. Also, the run of the series lasts over 500 episodes, which would be a sizeable undertaking for any network. But, still, I would love to take a trip one more time.

To see what I learned. To experience again a sense of innocence.

To understand fully why my grandmother never changed the channel just because I was in the room.

Dinner last night: Mongolian Beef/Honey Shrimp at Panda In..

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Paul Lynde to Win!

Here's some more Paul Lynde zingers from the Hollywood Squares:

Peter Marshall: In the movies, Frankenstein's monster was always big and ugly. And he had lots of scars. What was his biggest fear?
Paul Lynde: That the girls would be turned off by his big nuts!

Peter Marshall: Can you get 12 pounds of feathers out of a goose?
Paul Lynde: I got them in there, didn't I?

Peter Marshall: According to the old song, "At night, when you're asleep, into your tent I'll creep." Who am I?
Paul Lynde: The scoutmaster!

Peter Marshall: In television, who lived in Doodyville?
Paul Lynde: Oh, the Ty-De-Bowl Man.

Peter Marshall: According to research at USC, is it okay for your marriage to fantasize that your wife is Farrah Fawcett Majors?
Paul Lynde: If that doesn't work, try Lee Majors!

Peter Marshall: You've gone from egg, to larvae, to pupae. What's next?
Paul Lynde: A shave and a shower and off to work!

Peter Marshall: Who are Mark Trail, Steve Roper and Tank McNamara?
Paul Lynde: Oh, you found my address book!

Peter Marshall: To Roy Rogers, what is Cowboy Heaven?
Paul Lynde: Seven minutes with Tammy Wynette!

Peter Marshall: Paul, what is the primary problem that develops with men's zippers?
Paul Lynde: Rust.

Peter Marshall: Is it possible to drink too much water?
Paul Lynde: Yes, it's called drowning!

Peter Marshall: True or false, Dan Rowan hasn't spoken to either his daughter or Peter Lawford since their marriage?
Paul Lynde: I don't think anyone has seen them except for room service.

Peter Marshall: Mama Cass Ellott has an official royal title. What is it?
Paul Lynde: Tubby!

Peter Marshall: The state of New York is repainting something that will be 90 next may. What are they repainting?
Paul Lynde: Arlene Francis.

Peter Marshall: During the 18th century it was common for a bride to sell something at her wedding reception to help pay for the cost of the wedding. What did she sell?
Paul Lynde: Her first born.

Peter Marshall: Is Billy Graham considered a good dresser?
Paul Lynde: No, but he's a terrific end table.

Peter Marshall: Why was Daniel thrown to the den of lions?
Paul Lynde: For jaywalking in Jerusalem.

Peter Marshall: You are leaving Hawaii by boat. Legend says that you'll return if you do something. Do what?
Paul Lynde: I guess have Don Ho's baby.

Peter Marshall: According to Mythology, if a Sphinx asked a man a question, and the man answered it incorrectly, what woud happen?
Paul Lynde: Circle gets the square.

Peter Marshall: The newest best selling album by this top star is entitled "To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With". Who's the recording star?
Paul Lynde: Little Baby Rose Marie.

Peter Marshall: Olivia De Havilland once sat on something in a movie that Roy Rogers says he grew to love. What is it?
Paul Lynde: A box of Milk Duds.

Peter Marshall: Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire recently announced that after 30 years, they'regoing to do something together one more time. What?
Paul Lynde: Trade hairpieces.

Peter Marshall: Ann Landers recently wrote a book titled "How To Tell The Difference Between Love And..." what?
Paul Lynde: A kidney infection.

Peter Marshall: According to the song classic, "Things aren't always as bad as they seem if you..." do what?
Paul Lynde: Put a bag over her head.

Peter Marshall: Way up in the frozen north, what was Eric The Red's famous discovery?
Paul Lynde: Little Boy Blue.

Peter Marshall: Richard Burton wants one very much, but Liz is reported to be afraid to give him one. One what?
Paul Lynde: The Certs breath test.

Peter Marshall: Does Mark Spitz believe swimming in the nude helps you go faster?
Paul Lynde: Well, it's easy to steer.

Peter Marshall: Eddie Fisher says that he hasn't had one in eight years, but he's looking. For what?
Paul Lynde: Oh, an accompanist who takes Mastercharge.

Peter Marshall: Howard Cosell's wife recently said in an interview that her husband tells her this at least five times a day. What does he say to her?
Paul Lynde: Is my toupee back from the cleaners?

Peter Marshall: True or false, Paul...champagne glasses were designed to resemble Marie Antoinette's bosom?
Paul Lynde: And we have Karen Valentine to thank for the shot glass!

Peter Marshall: According to Compton's Encyclopedia, when Columbus returned from his famous trip, he brought Queen Isabella six naked savages, some animals, some plants, and something valuable. What was it?
Paul Lynde: I'll say the six naked savages.

Peter Marshall: Julie Nixon Eisenhower recently told reporters "You don't know what a relief it is not to worry about having them around all the time!". What are "they?"
Paul Lynde: Oh, Mom and Dad.

Peter Marshall: When is it a good idea tp put your pantyhose in the microwave oven for two minutes?
Paul Lynde: When your house is surrounded by the police.

Peter Marshall: In the Bible, King David asked beautiful and wise Abigail to do something after her first husband died. What?
Paul Lynde: Get him out of the room.

Peter Marshall: In the United States, what do we call the number one followed by 12 zeros?
Paul Lynde: Dean Martin And The Golddiggers.

Dinner last night: Dried cappacollo sandwich.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz, Buzz


A few days ago, I needed to amuse myself during a work-related conference call that was due to last at least two hours. So, I decided to count the number of times that somebody on the call used the hot new business buzzword.

Transparency.

In the space of a 134 minute conference call, this word (or the derivation "transparent") was dropped a grand total of 13 different times.

"In the spirit of transparency..."

"The goal is to appear transparent to the client."

Blah, blah, blah, blah.

So, when I was done with my counting, which was displayed above and is certainly not transparent to my readership, I tried to think of all the other words or phrases that got hot for about ten minutes in the business world.

Synergy.

Paradigm shift.

Multi-tasking.

Win-win.

Take it off-line.

Sidebar conversation.

Value-added.

Think out of the box.

Branding.

Market integration.

Top of mind awareness.

Out-sourced.

Low hanging fruit.

Get on the same page.

At the end of the day.

Call to action.

Okay, headache, anyone?

These words and phrases suddenly get traction in our everyday lives and you feel compelled to use them wherever and whenever. As if trying to make people like you in high school wasn't pressure enough, now we are forced to do so in adulthood.

But, more importantly, I have one basic question for the universe.

Who the hell comes up with these things? Who is the ultimate judge that tells us we must be on the same page at the end of the day with as much low hanging fruit as we can muster by thinking out of the box? Is it some lonely guy sitting in a small one-room walk-up on NY's East Side? Is there some think tank someplace in Nebraska that meets every six months to decide upon the upcoming year's hot phrases? Do they take suggestions from the general public? Because, frankly, nobody else has adopted the concept of "stepping in shit" as much as I have over time?

And, how is this new phraseology distributed to the masses? Does it come in some e-mail newsletter that might be going straight to my spam folder? Is it embedded in some secret code in the New York Times Business Section? Somebody needs to download this all to me because, obviously, my core competency and debriefing has been incrementally stalled. I eventually get the buzzword, but usually a calendar quarter or two late.

And isn't the concept of a buzzword ironic in its own nature? Because wasn't there a moment in time when the buzzword was "buzzword?"

Dinner last night: Veal Saltimbocca at Peppone's---a dinner that will be described much later in my Top 25 Favorite TV Shows countdown. You will have to wait.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Elevator to Nowhere

The following video has been a You Tube phenomenon this week, despite the fact that it was actually shot almost ten years ago. Apparently, some knucklehead working for Business Week in NY was working late on a Friday and went downstairs for a cigarette break. On his way back, the elevator gets stuck between floors. And he winds up there for practically two days.

The surveillance cameras capture it all. Amazingly, the maintenance staff in this building is clearly working on the other three elevator banks. But, not the one this guy is jammed in. You watch as he calls for help. Nothing. He climbs up and tries to get out the top. Several times. He opens the door and then closes it several times. He naps frequently in a fetal position. At one point, he needs to pee and does so. Right down the elevator shaft. Miraculously, after 40 hours, they finally find the dude. And then, at last, the "out of order" sign is placed outside the elevator.



I can sympathize with this guy. Been there, done that. Twice.

The first time I took up temporary residence in an elevator was years ago when I was at Fordham and working at the school radio station. I was set to be one of the co-anchors for the 530PM newscast and decided to get a pre-broadcast soda at the vending machine downstairs. Why anybody took that elevator was beyond me? The thing had been built long before Martin Luther had posted his 95 theses. And the whole mechanism was nothing but two pieces of plywood and some old chewing gum. So, it should have been no surprise that, on the way back upstairs, I got jammed all by myself. In the black darkness of Keating Hall. With a bunch of good friends about twenty feet above me---laughing their ass off. Of course, there is never any comfort when you press the red "HELP" button. First of all, whoever is on duty takes forever to answer. And, then, when they do...

"Si?"

I never did get to the newscast. I was stuck in that motorized casket for either two hours or six days. And I insisted that those hyenas/friends buy me dinner.

Eons later, it was a little scarier. It was my office building in Los Angeles---a first class run operation. Except I was going into work at 6AM on a very hot Monday morning when the air conditioning had been turned off for the weekend. Something didn't feel right as I was propelled, once again alone, to the twelfth floor. As we arrived at the top of the elevator bank, the door never opened. Of course, the red "HELP" button was useless at this early hour. The overnight staff was probably still in their seventh or eighth dream of the night. So, I just held my finger on the buzzer until....

"Si?"

I was assured that help was on the way. The janitor was due into work in about 90 minutes. Meanwhile, I could feel freedom coolly blowing in through the crack in the door. So, I pried open the door by myself and groped for a lever that opened the outer door. By myself. The elevator was about four feet off the floor, which became a quick jump and roll for me.

I have no idea when they figured out that I had gotten out of the elevator by myself. But, my two elevator experiences clearly proved one thing to me.

The quickest way to find the dumbest Hispanic in the world is by getting stuck in an elevator.

And, hopefully, that clown from Business Week also extracted one more lesson from his ordeal.

Don't smoke.

Dinner last night: Fajita tostada at Kay and Dave's Cantina.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pope Wednesday I



We have to think of a good caption for this picture.

---"Pope Benedict, in the on deck circle, gets ready to greet the Mets' David Wright after his two-run homer."

---"Pope Benedict shows the NY crowd why he loves M&Ms."

---"Pope Benedict runs to catch the Q44 Bus to Queens."

---"Pope Benedict tries to stop the oncoming Q44 Bus to Queens."

---"Pope Benedict announces to the Yankee Stadium crowd: 'No, wait, I got a better one!'"

---"Pope Benedict shows the Manhattan faithful that Tide does remove pit stains."

---Feel free to send me your own suggestions.

---While in New York, the Pope visited the Yonkers seminary which is two minutes from my apartment there. It's bad timing that I wasn't there. I would have put out coffee and an Entenmann's.

---The Pope visiting a seminary??? Joke, joke, joke, who's got the joke???

----Since the Catholic Church has to pay out over 700 million dollars in legal settlements for some of their slap-happy priests, you just know that they're going to start skimping on the wafer portion sizes.

---The Pope's Sunday appearance at a Yankee Stadium mass gave me an epiphany of sorts.

---I suddenly realized that there was actually a weekend during the baseball season where neither New York team was home.

---Shameful. Like when teams have off days on Memorial Day or July 4th.

---Does every single Yankee-Red Sox game have to last longer than four hours?

---New promotion idea: Yankee Bed Sore Ointment Night.

---I can remember when I was a kid and all night games started at 8PM and were over by 10:15PM.

---These days, most people haven't gotten to the head of the concession line until 10:30PM.

---If the Pope was looking to do a miracle while he was in the US, I would like to suggest he visit Andruw Jones.

---The safest wife in all of America has to be Mrs. Andruw Jones. He'll never hit her.

---Great diet idea: You only get to have a snack during a game if Andruw Jones gets a hit.

---You'll look bulimic by Flag Day.

---Heard this great line. The Dodgers look like a marching band in a dead-end alley and the ground is covered with marbles.

---Yesterday was Earth Day. Hope you took a planet to lunch.

---Thank God they are finally getting rid of those plastic cellophane bags in supermarkets. Do you have any idea how many jars of Newman's Tomato Sauce I have lost through the bottom of those suckers?

--- The ideal use for one of those plastic bags requires a handle tie that fits a size 15 neck and the nearby accessibility of any politician.

---Jeez, Earth Day must be like Christmas in the Al Gore household.

---I bet his family and friends all gather around the fireplace, toast some marshmallows, and hear him read his Powerpoint presentation one more time.

---I bet they even dim the lights of that mansion of his, which is apparently one of the biggest energy guzzlers in all of Tennessee.

---Here's how you solve a whole of problems in Los Angeles all at once: Make every street going east or south one way.

---That way, it all become Nevada and Mexico's problem.

---If Hillary Clinton were a cat, yesterday's Pennsylvania primary was Life Number 8.

---I knew Obama had no chance yesterday. The only dark faces in the state are all working in the coal mines.

---They dug up Andrew Lloyd Webber to be this week's American Idol mentor and the kids looked totally uncomfortable relating to this guy. It was as if your science teacher got invited home for dinner.

---Most of the contestants barely knew who he was. I guess there was no rap version of Sunset Boulevard.

Dinner last night: Brisket sandwich at Maria's Italian Kitchen.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cold Cuts


My new favorite sandwich these days is dried cappacollo with sweet roasted peppers and some of that hot Philippe's mustard on a Kaiser roll. So, I am at the deli counter at my local Ralph's Supermarket and I am watching the guy slicing up the meat. And he is laying out the meat side-by-side on the cellophane. I look at the others and they are all doing the same. And I think to myself that, when I was a kid, cold cuts were sliced and then stacked in very neat piles prior to being wrapped up in brown paper for sale. One more mental note that life has changed.

I amble down the deli showcase and my mind wanders to another nagging debate for the ages. It was really never an issue until I hooked up with my writing partner and it became a point of contention.

Call it The Great Genoa Salami Controversy.

When I was a kid, I hated the green peppercorns you might find in processed meat. Not just hated them. They actually made me violently ill and nauseous. It was my personal express lane to gagging. And, as a result, I despised Genoa Salami because it was loaded with these little green buggers. When I mentioned this to my partner, he told me that Genoa Salami did not contain the dreaded green peppercorns. It was Hard Salami which was the culprit. And, given that he had once spent a lot of time working in his father's Italian catering business, there was no point for me to argue. But, everytime I ordered Hard Salami from then on, there were no green peppercorns.

Which salami do you think has those nasty peppercorns? Feel free to tell me. But, I digress...

Cold cuts were as much a staple in my house as milk and butter. Back when I was a youngster, Saturday mornings were the time where we stocked up on sodium nitrate for the upcoming week. My dad and I would venture down to Klemm's Pork Store on White Plains Road near 222nd Street in the Bronx. In fact, every single offshoot of my family did the same thing and it was a weekly family reunion down there as the counter workers weighed our weekly allotment of bratwurst and olive loaf. As a matter of fact, Klemm's would put out an annual calendar and it was pretty much the official calendar for my family. No matter whose house you went to, there was the Klemm's calendar with a big picture of some pig innocently waiting to become your spiced ham.

My father pretty much ordered the same stuff every week and he covered the entire house. He always liked Klemm's homemade kielbasie, but, for a sandwich meat, he opted for the HARD salami (with NO peppercorns). My mom was not a sandwich person, but did occasionally enjoy Klemm's homemade liverwurst. It was my grandparents' choices that made me scratch my head. My grandmother loved Klemm's bologna, but she would eat it with grape jelly and it looked just gross. But, my grandfather outdid everybody on the weird-o-meter. His favorite cold cut was head cheese. For those not in the know, head cheese is made up of a lot of junk meat that butchers would scoop up from the floor. It gets tied together with some gelatinous substance and it essentially looks like somebody blew chunks in the dumpster behind the A & P. My grandfather would take one single slice of this pig autopsy and put it in a dish. Then he'd cover it with straight vinegar. That would be his lunch. I just know that, somewhere in the bowels of Germany, this is a common meal. On 15th Avenue in Mount Vernon, it was something right out of the Addams Family.

As for me, I had two favorite luncheon meats which would wind up on my sandwich either when I was eating lunch at home or brownbagging it at school. Years before I realized that Taylor Ham should optimally be enjoyed after frying up a slab in a pan, this popular pork roll was sitting inside my sandwiches most days. When I was home for lunch, my mom would make me a Taylor Ham sandwich with mustard. On the plate right alongside, there would be six small pimento-stuffed olives. Not five, not seven. Exactly six. I never understood why. I never asked. I worked under the assumption for years that most jars of olives had quantities divisible by six and my mom didn't want to be one olive short at the end of the week.

The other cold cut on my hit parade was Klemm's homemade cervelat. Yeah, I was probably the only kid in the school cafeteria with a couple of cervelat slices sitting on his rye bread. It's like a salami, but it's a bit milder. Cervelat is a sausage that used to be made in the German speaking part of Switzerland and I couldn't get enough of it. I didn't have it for years until I moved to Los Angeles and found a German pork store that actually sold it. And, from time to time, I enjoy it all over again without having to worry about a biology quiz the next day.

A trip to Klemm's with my dad always provided me with some other eternal questions that I never got answers to.

---Why was it that people always ordered American cheese "sliced thin?" No matter who the customer was, the American cheese always had to be customized in this way.

---What the hell is mortadella? Is it a bologna? Is it a ham? Is it a cheese? Whatever the answer, it looks disgusting.

---There is honey ham, Virginia ham, and Black Forest Ham. I always contended that if you took a blindfolded taste test, you could not tell the difference between the three.

My entire family stopped going to Klemm's suddenly and, as I look back on it, the decision was totally reflective of the times and one that I am not proud of. Back in those days, the deli counter workers didn't wear the plastic gloves you see food handlers wearing today. And nobody really blinked an eye.

Until my father and I ambled into Klemm's one Saturday morning to discover the guy slicing our luncheon meat was...Black. I still can recall the look of horror on my dad's face. And that news spread through my family that day as if it was Pearl Harbor all over again. Almost instantaneously, no one with my last name or one remotely related was ever seen in Klemm's again. The pork store closed a few years later and, to this day, I wonder just how much of their income was based on my love of Taylor Ham.

Dinner last night: Evelyn's Favorite Pasta at the Cheesecake Factory.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Morning Video Laugh - April 21, 2008

A rare clever moment from a recent SNL. There's an ad attached. Deal with it.


Dinner last night: Hawaiian Burger at Island's.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Top 25 Favorite TV Shows: #24!


Every afternoon between 4:30PM and 6PM, I should have been doing my homework. Or maybe I was. But, whatever was occupying this youngster's time, I was probably doing it with "The Mike Douglas Show" on the TV at the same time.

At the time, "The Mike Douglas Show" provided me with my first glimpses of the show business world. Everything was wonderful. All the movie and TV stars were nice people. Everybody loved everybody else. They were all regular people, who could be singing a song or telling a joke one minute and then cooking up some beef goulash the next.

I swallowed it all hook, line, and sinker. And it was terrific.

Mike Douglas was unique back in the day. As a contrast to the late night shows anchored by Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin, Mike was on during the day and geared to mothers and kids. It's the only TV show that I remember being tuned to on both floors of my childhood house. My grandmother had pretty much finished her early bird dinner on the first floor by the time Mike came onto Channel 9 in NY. Meanwhile, upstairs, my mom was trying to figure out what to heat up for my supper as I wrapped up some book report for school. The Mike Douglas soundtrack echoed throughout. And I was glued. Totie Fields trying to crawl up on a stool. Milton Berle "being funny" by slapping Marty Allen in the face. William F. Buckley playing charades. It was all so weird, but delightful.

What made Mike Douglas' show so interesting was his daily broadcast always featured a weekly co-host. Totally ingenious, because, by the end of the week, you felt like that particular star was a member of your family. I remember my grandmother (and me) becoming a huge fan of Pearl Bailey after she spent a week squeezed into those goofy white plastic chairs situated amid a sea of those big asterisks. My grandmother said she wished Pearl could come over for dinner and that was a big deal in those days for my family, because it was specific that Pearl could eat the meal with us and not be the one serving it. That's the way it was with "The Mike Douglas Show." It oozed this personal touch and Mike Douglas was the ultimate nice guy sharing his friends with you. And he mixed and matched them with abandon. You could watch Moe Howard teaching Ted Knight how to take a custard pie to the face. Or a three-year-old Tiger Woods showing Bob Hope how to putt. Or, in this clip, Judy Garland just chatting away with Mike and co-host Peter Lawford.



At one point, I was so enamored by the utopic world that Mike Douglas was offering that I briefly started a fan club devoted to the show. My hope was that we would be of some interest to the show's producers and that we might be invited one week to visit the Philadelphia studio and meet Mike and that week's co-host Vivian Vance. That never happened. I was still home most weeks. Doing my math homework and waiting for a Swanson's frozen dinner.

Years and years later, it rankled me to death when fat ass Rosie O'Donnell did her own daytime TV show and dedicated it to all those years when she was fat and depressed and inhaling Drake's Cakes on the sofa while watching Mike Douglas. In my humble opinion, she took "The Mike Douglas Show" and made it all about her deep-seeded mental issues which have still gone untreated to this day. For me, "The Mike Douglas Show" was something a little more basic. A little more personal. And a snapshot into a world I craved to be part of. I wasn't watching because I was crazy or depressed or fat or starved for attention. I was tuned in because these were nice people. Pure and simple. And, for 90 minutes a day, they were in my home.

There will be nothing like it again. And, to this day, I am still dying to sample Rip Taylor's Famous Cole Slaw.

Dinner last night: Sicilian pizza from CPK.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Heartbeat of America

My family didn't take a lot of pictures. I always thought the practice was a little odd. Until, of course, I saw photos of other families and people. I now think my parents were geniuses to avoid it all.

The pictures below are hilarious and each and every one screams just one thing.

What the hell were you thinking?????

Like the girl on the right. Doris Day of the Omaha Country Day School. You just know that Mom was mixing tapioca in the same bowl she used for this kid's haircut.

And take these two goofballs in the glass. Back on their wedding day, they could fit in this goblet. Now, they probably can't fit into their pants.

Can you picture your family posing for a Beatles album cover? I can't, but these idiots did. It would actually be frightening to see this hanging in somebody's dining room over Thanksgiving dinner. Celebrating a holiday with "The Damned."

Look at these dorks. Now, my rhetorical question is the following. What takes this mom and dad longer? Taking the boys to the barber or Lenscrafters? They look like some clones from a science lab and they exclusively used DNA from Wink Martindale.

Of course, the family on the right is another story. Dad must be one bitchin' stud. Mom apparently has been on her back for the past ten years. Kids are sliding down her birth canal like it's a Volkswagen full of clowns at the circus.

And then, last but certainly least, there's this bunch of morons.


They're a scream at parties. At least, those parties they're invited to. I can hear the conversation. "Gee, let's all put on funny hats and make faces." Guffaw, guffaw. You just know they all hate Blacks, gays, Jews, and anyone not born in Kansas. Please pave the state ASAP.

Dinner last night: Lasagna.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Your April Weekend Movie Guide



It's been weeks since I saw a first run movie at the local cinema. With the crap that is coming out these days, I would much prefer seeing a classic film (like the one to the right) than some piece of junk in the neighborhood 27-plex.

But, don't let me stop you if all you have to choose from on a Saturday night is the current Hollywood fare. Here's my monthly public service to you. I flip through the weekend section of the LA Times and provide you with my gut reaction on the movies that are out there for our visual digestion. Godspeed to all of us.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall: Forgotten. That was easy.

Smart People: Must be set in Europe. It can't possibly be about some Americans.

Prom Night: When you remake garbage, you get more garbage. You want to talk about a horrific senior prom? Take mine. I didn't even go. It consisted of twenty Black couples going to the Apollo Theater. I wasn't even a White couple at the time.

Young At Heart: This documentary could be on my "to see" list. The trailer is fascinating. A bunch of nursing home residents singing classic rock. Unfortunately, when you see the real Mick Jagger these days, he's not that far removed from the Porcelana cream either.

The Visitor: Some guy finds illegal aliens living in his apartment building. And the drama comes from what?

The Ruins: I think this could be about any major metropolitan city in the United States. Or Paris Hilton's film career.

Shine A Light: Martin Scorsese continues his trend of filming concert performances of famous rock acts. This time, he tackles the Rolling Stones. Given their mutual ethnic heritage, I'm a little confused why Marty has, up to this point, avoided a similar take on the DeFranco Family.

My Brother Is An Only Child: Is this about George Bush?

Run, Fat Boy, Run: Away from this film, Spunky, away from this film.

Chapter 27: A fictional look at Mark David Chapman, the killer of John Lennon. If they are taking some literary license, how about getting Yoko with the second shot?

Bra Boys: A documentary about an Australian surf tribe. Wardrobe supplied by Jane Russell.

88 Minutes: Al Pacino plays the same part he has done in every single movie since he played that blind guy. Whoo Ah! A thriller told in real time. At least you know exactly how much time you'll be wasting before you even buy your ticket.

Where In the World is Osama Bin Laden?: The same knucklehead who did that McDonald's expose goes in search of the terrorist leader. The first place he should look is any Florida Marlin home game. Osama could be a season ticket holder there and nobody would notice.

Zombie Strippers: Where's the ticket buyers' line, please?

Stop-Loss: Ryan Phillippe as some American soldier who keeps getting sent to Iraq. And he thought marriage to Reese Witherspoon was pure hell?

Dr. Suess' Horton Hears A Who: Still hanging around for the convenience of those children who were punished the entire month of March.

Sex and Death 101: I swear I took this course to fulfill my theology requirement at Fordham.

21: 24 minus 3.

Street Kings: More drama about LA street gangs. I can drive 3 miles to the south, roll up the windows, and watch the real thing.

Leatherheads: It's either a romantic comedy starring George Clooney and Renee Zellwegger or a documentary about old Jews in Miami who forgot to buy sunscreen.

The First Saturday in May: A documentary about the Kentucky Derby. Or the date every year when the Kansas City Royals are mathematically eliminated from the pennant race.

My Blueberry Nights: Starring Norah Jones! America's one hit wonder becomes America's one movie wonder.

The Forbidden Kingdom: Jackie Chan vs. Jet Li. And they will probably cover more important issues than the last Clinton-Obama debate.

The Life Before Her Eyes: Some dreary looking chick self reflection with Uma Thurman. In five minutes, I'd be focused on the life playing out on the back of my eyelids.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day: And apparently several months. When does Miss Pettigrew take a stake to the heart???

Kiss The Bride: Two gay guys fight over Tori Spelling. I have so many jokes ping ponging around my head it's like I have ice cream brain freeze.

Dinner last night: Steak and pasta salad.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Is There A "Do Not Write" List?



There's a radio commercial running all over the country these days for a company called Lifelock. In the ad, the owner of the place gives you his Social Security number and virtually dares you to do anything nefarious with it. Because he is covered by Lifelock's annual service agreement, his identity is completely protected and is totally immune to fraud. As someone who has had experience with creeps trying to start Nextel credit card accounts with my SS#, I can appreciate the need for it. I remember the time from my NY days when I had to rent a tuxedo for a business function in Manhattan. I held the rental on my American Express card. One month later, my Amex statement showed up and I was very generously paying for some Colombian drug dealer's extensive travel to South America. So, you can definitely see how easily shit can happen. Of course, if you join Lifelock, you will also have nothing but headaches everytime you yourself try to open up a credit account and you are asked to prove that you are you.

One of the alleged side benefits of Lifelock (per their owner) is an immediate reduction in junk mail, most notably with the endless and daily credit applications that clog our mailboxes. Indeed, if American companies were truly devoted to saving our planet, they would immediately curtail the gross waste of paper that goes into this daily postal oversaturation. But, I digress...

If Lifelock can stop this glut of garbage, they might be worth the subscription fee. I would say that 90% of my daily mail intake doesn't even get into my house. I essentially come up from the mailbox and stand by the garbage room as I dump one unopened envelope after another down the trash chute. Of course, these credit card companies (who probably can tie into the surveillance camera in my apartment hallway) have figured this out and have gotten crafty. Now, they hide the fact that they are indeed credit applications.

You will see clean white envelopes with only the words "check enclosed" on the front, as if anybody really will telegraph the notion that they are sending you a check in the mail. There are other envelopes that will give you the semblance of being handwritten, which is true folly these days since no friend has sent me a personal letter in over 20 years.

If you can't figure out that a particular envelope is junk mail, you end up opening it to find this bizarre salutation: "We are writing you this because we have tried unsuccessfully to reach you otherwise."

Huh?

Trust me, folks, I am embarrassingly easy to find. All those telemarketers from India and Pakistan, who are allegedly on my "Do Not Call" list, have absolutely no problem finding me when I am home and eating dinner. If a credit company can't find me, they are incredibly inept. But, I guess they do score a victory. They got me to open the freakin' envelope and, perhaps, a less educated recipient might be truly enticed by the prospect of "zero interest" as they grope with gasoline prices of six dollars a gallon.

So, how do you stop this? Short of signing up every year to Lifelock, which might work only slightly better than that stupid "Do Not Call" list, there are several ways you can combat the junk mail phenomenon. It may not stop the glut of mail, but you can certainly mess with the heads of the senders. I've dipped into all of these retaliations a bit, and, at the very least, they momentarily made me feel a little better.

For instance, I kept getting a mysterious envelope addressed to both Len and Leonard, as if I was keeping a cloning machine in my bathroom. That alone pissed me off and I was doubly annoyed when I found that it was from the local Beverly Hills branch of Jehovah's Witnesses. Perhaps they were one hammer short in the erection of a new Kingdom Hall on Roxbury Drive. Regardless, I ripped up the first letter. When another one showed up two weeks later and it was apparent that the forthcoming Judgment Day had unlimited postage capabilities, I decided to take additional action. I stuck a post-it inside that said both Len and Leonard were debating their religious choices and neither one of them was considering a conversion to Jehovah's Witnesses. I marked the envelope "Return to Sender" and dropped it in a mailbox. As a matter of fact, the "Return to Sender" approach has worked well. Somewhere somehow, people are noting that and updating their address databases.

When credit card offers are particularly annoying, I have been known to fill out the applications with more fiction than Charles Dickens. They are, of course, thoroughly confused to discover that Mamie Eisenhower is looking for a reversible mortgage on her hot dog stand in Compton.

Also annoying is the embedded junk mail in legitimate correspondence. You get your Macy's bill and there are mucho slips of paper for cologne, lingerie, you name it. The easy way to deal with that is to send those right back to them with your on-time payment. They, too, should be aware of that fabulous new scent from Hugo Boss. Actually, those slobs that stuff the envelopes probably need it more than I do.

Of course, my feeble attempts at Guerilla Warfare would not be necessary if we actually had "Do Not Call" or "Do Not Write" lists that really worked. But, for every person like me who dreads the daily opening of my mailbox, there's somebody else out there who is looking for that next great opportunity to further bury themselves in debt.

America. The land of opportunity. And ever-expanding credit limits.

Dinner last night: BLT from Cafe 50's.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Taxing Wednesday


If you're reading this and you still haven't sent in your taxes, you're late.

---Who the hell are those idiots that you see on the 11PM news on April 15, standing at the post office and mailing their tax returns? How freakin' disorganized are you?

---But those morons are still not as late as singer Dionne Warwick, who has piled up a delinquent tax bill of over 3 million bucks.

---Since she made a lot of that dough from that goofball psychic network, you would have thought that she saw this coming.

---She needs to say a little prayer and fast.

---In jail, the windows of the world have bars.

---Alfie didn't quite tell her what it was all about.

---With her one phone call out, she can send that message to Michael.

---Trains and boats and planes? How about a police car?

---She'll never fall in love again. Unless, of course, if it's with some burly cellmate named Hilda.

---Okay, I'll stop.

---Yeah, sure. Promises, promises.

---Speaking of prisons, the Mets' Johan Santana lost in his first NY appearance and promptly got booed by the Shea faithful. He had about 45 minutes of a free pass.

---He'll discover that the weather in Minnesota is not as cold as the fans in New York.

---If he think it's bad now, wait till he loses a game in Shitty Field next season where the ticket prices are probably going to be doubled.

---At Dodger Stadium on Sunday afternoon, the first pitch temperature was a toasty 93 degrees.

---Contrast that with the first pitch temperature on the same day back in Cleveland. A Popsicle stick-like 38 degrees.

---Despite the rotisserie oven heat, the crystal clear sky over Chavez Ravine created a picture perfect day with a glorious view of the San Gabriel Mountains. And, every once in a while, there was a wonderful breeze.

---Thanks to Andruw Jones swinging through a few more pitches. By the end of Sunday's game, he had struck out 11 times in his last 22 at bats. George Costanza didn't whiff that much.

---Andruw swung at one pitch that was so far away, it would have counted for three points at the Staples Center.

---At this rate, Adolf Hitler's My Space would get more hits than Andruw.

---Surely, the Dodgers could have bought a high-powered air conditioner for less than 18 million dollars. Best Buy has deals all the time.

---Then, in a temperature shift that would make Al Gore salivate, it was 55 degrees last night for Jackie Robinson Night at Dodger Stadium. Where this historic trailblazer was honored by Chaka Khan screeching her way through the National Anthem.

---Hey, Chaka, it's about the flag, not a disco ball!

---Reminded me of an industry party I went to about 20 years ago when Ms. Khan was so stoned on coke, she had to be propped up against furniture so she could stand.

---Not diminishing Jackie R at all, but does anybody realize that this guy doesn't get a sniff of the majors without being signed by Branch Rickey? A white man. In my mind, they both had a lot of guts.

---Hey, screw the tributes. The cool temps last night allowed me to savor one more time the Dodger Stadium Hot Chocolate. It is the absolute best cocoa I have ever had!

---So, the Pope is going to be bouncing the US this week. Time to Windex up that Popemobile.

---In New York, he'll be going to see Ground Zero and Yankee Stadium so he can get his Joba Chamberlain bobblehead.

---He needs to recruit better, since it's now official that there are more Muslims in the world than Catholics. That's odd since I think Muslims have to kneel down a whole lot more.

---That would be a dealbreaker for me. My ideal religion features no bending or eating restrictions.

---Hopefully, the Pope did not travel here via American Airlines. I have this mental picture of the guy on line at Burger King in JFK after his flight is cancelled.

---I've logged over 900,000 miles on American over the past ten years. Just what the hell have I been flying on? A piece of scrap metal and two bolts?

---American does have the oldest fleet of any airline. Would it kill them to go down to McDonnell Douglas and do a little window shopping on some of the newer models??

---You know all these costs will get dumped back on us. I can hear it now.

---"The 'American Way' magazine is available to all passengers at the price of $4.95."

---"Bathrooms are coin-operated and your flight attendant is equipped with several rolls of quarters if you need change."

---Of course, I am betting that we might be seeing less flight attendants. I can see my dilemma now.

---"Miss, my window's open."

---"That's not my aisle."

---See, I told you I could get through one of these rants without one single mention of the three stooges running for President.

Dinner last night: Super All Beef Dodger Dog and fries.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This is the Bibster's Colon



Well, not exactly. But what follows is the Bibster's voice and he wanted to "open" up here today about his first ever colonscopy last weekend. A public service to those of you who have yet to make this very smart decision about your health and well being. So, take it away, Bibster...

As a further public service to a post Len made a few months ago, I want to urge the readers of this blog who are age appropriate to make an appointment for a colonoscopy ASAP. I went for my first ever colonoscopy this past weekend and honestly… it was a piece of cake.

My mother-in-law died last December from stage four colon cancer that had spread to her liver. She was very good about going to the doctor regularly for her heart and blood pressure, but she never went for a colonoscopy until she had a tumor in her colon. Until that point I was one of those people who said “yeah, I’ll do it one of these days.” After seeing how she had to live her final few months, and knowing that this disease is preventable, I decided that “one of these days” had arrived.

I should preface this story by saying I had NEVER been under anesthesia before. I have NEVER had to spend a night in a hospital either….not that I did in this case, but I’m trying to say that I am not used to having medical procedures.

The preparation is not as bad as I had expected. I had my “last meal” Thursday night, and Friday I subsisted on a vanilla yogurt for breakfast, chicken broth for lunch and dinner, and lots of water and Gatorade throughout the day. For a week prior to the procedure I could not eat anything containing nuts or seeds, and for two days it was no fruits and/or vegetables.

At 5PM Friday I took four Dulcolax tablets. At 7PM I drank 10 ounces of Citrate of Magnesium, and ten more ounces at 9PM (note: each Doctor seems to have his/her own method of preparation. Yours may be slightly or dramatically different).

Yes, I was in the bathroom frequently, mostly between 8:30 and midnight. I also had to go twice during the night and a couple more times when I woke up at 8:00 Saturday morning.

Then it was off to the doctor’s office at 9:30. I signed some forms and put on a gown, and by 9:40 I was on the table. The anesthesiologist put oxygen in my nose and told me he would be connecting my IV and I would be asleep in a minute or so. I looked at my watch. It was 9:45.

The next thing I knew my eyes were open and I was about to say “Hey, I’m still awake” when I heard the Doctor say, “OK, we’re all done.” I looked at my watch. It was 10:06.

The nurses helped me to a sitting up position, gave me some apple juice, and told me to get my bearings. After about ten minutes, they moved me to a chair and told me I could get dressed when I felt up to it.

About five minutes later I got dressed and was on the way home. The only thing a little bit off was that for about an hour I felt like if I tipped my head all the way back I might fall over. But why would I tip my head all the way back?

On the pain scale, with 1 being no pain at all and 10 being a lot of pain, I give this a “2.” And the only reason I give it a “2” instead of a “1” is that when the nurse ripped my IV Band-Aid off she pulled a lot of my arm hair with it.

The results were just was I was hoping for: a clean slate. See you in five years.

And now it’s my opportunity to channel my inner Katie Couric. If you have not had a colonoscopy, don’t put it off any longer. All it takes is a day and a half off your routine, and in return you get peace of mind and one less thing to worry about.

My dinner last night: Chicken salad sandwich and homemade tomato soup.

The Bibster's dinner last night: Grilled lamb chops with rosemary and mustard with side salad.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Morning Video Laugh - April 14, 2008

For my good friend, The Bibster, who had his moment on the doctor's plasma screen last Saturday:




Dinner last night: Chicken salad sandwich.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Top 25 Favorite TV Shows: # 25!


The hell with "Perry Mason." My watershed moments for Raymond Burr came with his portrayal as Chief Robert Ironside. This show was probably one of the best crime dramas ever presented on TV. And one of those classic bonding moments with my television tour guide. My grandmother.

As a youngster with two parents who worked nights for a good deal of my childhood, it was my grandmother who did more to architect my TV choices more than anybody. Luckily, she and I liked pretty much the same types of shows. Comedies. Westerns. Variety shows. Yet, for some strange reason, the type of program my grandmother loved the most was a cop show. She dug them all. "Dragnet." "Mannix." "Columbo."

But we connected with "Ironside" more than any other. When it premiered in 1967, the opening title and music reeled us in and didn't let go. Those were the days when you could literally judge the quality of the show by how good the song and opening was. Even more significantly, back in those days, you could pretty much get the entire backstory of the show by watching the opening credits. On "Ironside," you were immediately ramped up (no pun intended) on how he wound up in the wheelchair. Every single week with that gripping Quincy Jones theme, you got the gunshot, the collapse, and then the wheelchair. Our week was not complete unless we saw it.



Over the long run of the show, there was another inner controversy for me. After the first four years of "Ironside," the resident girl cop, originally played by Barbara Anderson, was replaced. She apparently left in a contract dispute and the substitute character was Fran Belding, played by Elizabeth Baur. As would befit most of my hormones at the time, I couldn't tell which one I liked more. They both were hot. Who was hotter? A question for the ages. And one certainly not discussed with my grandmother.

As crime dramas went, "Ironside" was probably the best written. The plots weren't hackneyed and you could tell that the writers took some time in making sure this wasn't run-of-the-mill TV. It was also one of the first shows that I remember was reflective of the times we were living in. There were drug busts and hippies and weirdos. And, here's one that I didn't even realize. In the very first season, there was a guest appearance from none other than Tiny Tim.

Raymond Burr and Tiny Tim in the same scene? There's a joke there someplace.

Years after "Ironside" went off the air, I was invited to a costume party where you had to go as a TV character. I'm not one for dressing up, so I took an easy way out. I got dressed up in a suit and rented a wheelchair.

Not only was I honoring one of my favorites, but I also managed to have a seat all night.

Dinner last night: Turkey meat loaf and macaroni and cheese.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Return of the Sunday Countdown

When I wrapped up the Sunday countdown of "My Top 25 Favorite Films," I witnessed an interesting phenomenon from many of you readers who communicate with me via e-mail. You all mentioned how much you looked forward to seeing what film would pop up next. And how much you enjoyed the whole series.

And you all wondered what the hell I was going to do next.

Huh?

Honestly, I didn't think I was going to follow it up with anything specific. But, I realized how much I myself loved going into my mental treasure chest. I recalled things about those movies that I hadn't thought about for years. You all got a surprise when you opened up this blogspot every Sunday. For me, it was frequently a weekly catharsis.

Does magic work twice? Rarely unless you're David Copperfield. But, nevertheless, I gave thought to what I would do my Casey Kasem on next. The answer was logical.

My Top 25 Favorite TV Shows.

Once again, this is more based on my love of a particular TV show than quality. Granted most of these programs are damn good. But, at the same time, my criteria for selecting these shows was based on TV moments that consumed me. I didn't concentrate on prime time. All genres were eligible. Series I never missed. Or had particularly fond memories about how they impacted specific times in my life. When I sat down to compile this list, I found it was amazingly easy. I ticked off shows one after another. Total gut reaction After I finished, I looked back over the list and was surprised. By the inclusion of some, which you might find bizarre. One or two of these programs you could be hardpressed to remember on your own. There are some equally strange omissions. Where is so-and-so? What about such-and-such? They might be well-known parts of television history. But, they did not make the life-altering impact on yours truly.

There are personal reasons that justify each and every one of these selections. And they all resonate with me on some sort of emotional level. Perhaps a head scratcher for you, but a total no-brainer for me.

Some factoids for those who might want to speculate:

There are thirteen comedies.

There are three soap operas.

There are two talk shows.

There are two game shows.

There are two shows created by the same two people.

There are several shows that feature the same or connected characters.

There is only one western.

Enough. Let's start with tomorrow. Number vingt-et-cinq.

Dinner last night: Turkey meat loaf.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I Need An Enema




Well, I guess that got your attention. Indeed, the subject of this post is going to be an end run. And I guess you can say that's two more examples of a play-on-words with the picture to the left. No, wait. I have one more. This is a blog entry that I will be backing into it.

Okay, I'll stop.

There's a product frequently advertised on the radio called "Ever Cleanse." It's apparently some gunk that you drink and it amazingly removes the waste from your intestine walls. Allegedly, you can have almost 25 pounds of toxic waste stuck in your body and this stuff pretty much removes it.

I am wondering if there is such a thing that works on brain matter. Because, for all the past meals that never made the complete journey through my body and stopped to enjoy the sights of my innards, it is my brain that now contains all the truly poisonous garbage. And things are lingering there much longer than I would like. As much as I try to decompress and deprogram, we are now living in a world which makes that impossible. And I now realize that I have about as much ability to separate myself from mental toxins as some of the idiots I like to lampoon on this site.

I noticed it initially when I reviewed a year's worth of this blog when I celebrated its first anniversary last month. The more I read the passages, the more I realized something.

When the hell did I become so politically angry???

I've been wrestling with that strange notion internally ever since. But, it was my good friend, the Bibster, who vocalized it to me. He suggested that this blog was now less about fun and more about crap. Too much Obama. Too much Hillary. Too much Reverend Wright.

Too much too much. Too freakin' much.

A point well taken. And embraced. I hear you because I heard me. Thanks to our now everpresent media onslaught, we cannot escape the mediocrity of this country. Never has a Presidential campaign been this consuming and this divisive. Super Tuesdays. Super delegates. Super racism. Super sexism. Combine this all with the other inescapable horrors around us and we are all mentally smoked.

Politically, I am a moderate. Back in New York, I was registered as a Republican, most likely because my father had driven me to sign up when I first hit the voting age. In Los Angeles, I am essentially an Independent. In between, I have voted for Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and my absolute favorite candidate, Nobody. I try to vote for somebody and not against somebody else. That, however, becomes harder and harder to do, as my father's voice and voting counsel more and more resounds in my head.

"They all stink."

And they all do. In what is now essentially an unexceptional country, our leaders are even less so. Look at our choices to lead this land for the next four years. Barack Obama is a liar and a fraud who has beguiled a largely stupid populace with eloquent rhetoric and little substance. Hillary Clinton is a throwback to a yellow journalist, selling misstatements and scare tactics to an unsuspecting public. John McCain's leadership skills are antiquated and certainly not equipped to lead us through the ultra-complex issues facing our world.

There's nobody for me. So, I just need to accept that. I love to read up on 20th Century Presidential history and pretty much can tell you that the only truly great Chief Executives have been Franklin Delano Roosevelt and perhaps John F. Kennedy for about 13 days in October, 1962. Other than that, each and every one of them have been grossly partisan and extremely agenda-ridden. The latest three jerks running for the office are even worse.

Unfortunately, it is all inescapable. Beyond what I read in my own damn blog, I more recently noticed that I couldn't even duck it all when I enter what should be a bastion of solitude and normalcy. My church.

I should not be surprised. My pastor has been doing politically-oriented sermons for some time, and has effectively driven so many people away from our pews that our Sunday services now come up short for even a bridge game. And, admittedly, she's got at least one screw loose on her very best days. But, over the past several weeks, she's so crossed the lines that I am actually considering another house of worship. Last week, she compared Obama's "message of hope" to Jesus Christ.

HUH????

So, now all the idiocy of the world outside comes inside to our most inner of sanctums. When does it stop? How much more do we endure till we throw up our collective hands? The two party system of extremists on both sides is choking the life out of our national windpipe. But, at the same time, I absolutely and unequivocably refuse to be as angry as these jerks want me to be.

I will now contribute in some own small way. So, moving forward in these entries, you will see more memories and movies and, hopefully, merriment. I started this blog a year ago as a daily writing exercise that would hopefully be fun for you as well. And that's where we are going. Oh, there may be a moment or two of reflections on this screwball world we live in. And, if somebody dumps a strawberry milkshake on Michelle Obama's head, that would be too delicious for me to ignore. But, largely, I can no longer contribute to the insanity of our ongoing political disasters. This is not to say that it's going away from our lives completely. Just here.

Right back at ya tomorrow.

Dinner last night: Dish of ice cream (Had a huge lunch).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Autism: The Musical


You can file this post under the category of "Things Happening Around Me That I Didn't Even Notice."

HBO has been running an amazing documentary over the past few weeks and you definitely need to seek it out. "Autism: The Musical," admittedly a title that might be a product of the National Lampoon, is the amazing story of Los Angeles acting coach Elaine Hall and her efforts to start a theater company comprised of children with autism. It's not as maudlin as it sounds. Many of these kids behave very much like normal children with usually one major handicap. One kid named Wyatt talks incessantly about the bullies in his school. Henry, who is the son of rocker Stephen Stills, can't get his mind off the dinosaur world. Adam throws tantrums and makes the life of his stage mother a living Hell. Neil is Elaine's adopted son and he never speaks more than one word. There are a bunch of other kids and parents that you get to know intimately.

You get to watch Elaine craft these children into the Miracle Project, a little theater company that writes, produces, and performs their own show by the end of the documentary. And it is quite good. This is most assuredly a captivating watch and I literally stumbled over it on the program guide with the title bringing me in for all the wrong reasons.

As I was watching the documentary, there was this brain-nagging everytime Elaine was on camera. The woman was vaguely familiar to me and I couldn't figure out why. Perhaps we had a brief conversation about plastic vs. paper at Ralph's. Or her blouse had gotten mixed in with my dry cleaning. And then it hit me!

She had rented space at my church for this theater company. And I had met with her numerous times regarding rent adjustments, etc.. Two years ago, when my pastor went on a three month sabbatical, another congregation member and I effectively ran the business of the church. And we met weekly on Wednesday afternoons at the very hour that Elaine and her kids were using the fellowship hall for rehearsals. So, we saw them every single week. And the only thought I gave to this group was that it was probably some afternoon babysitting program for slow kids.

Now that I have seen the miracles that were going on in there, I am angry. Angry that I dismissed it as something inconsequential. Angry that I could not see beyond the surface. Angry that I didn't take Elaine up on her invitation to see the final production. I simply took the rent check and cashed it every week. Without so much as a single thought about the wonders of this talented bunch of kids.

For their next year, the Miracle Project moved to bigger quarters. But, in the documentary, there is a scene or two that was filmed in our facilities. And we are nicely thanked in the scrawl at the end.

But I should have looked beyond that. A missed opportunity to share in some magic.

Dinner last night: Chinese chicken salad at Hugo's.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thou Shalt Not Mess with Wednesday

Never less than ten commandments here.

---Well, they can finally get that rifle out of Charlton Heston's "cold, dead hands."

---It's sad that this guy's last screen appearance was when he had his property trespassed by that fat slob Michael Moore in "Bowling for Columbine."

---If Chuck had a rifle, he should have used it that day.

---Hopefully, Michael Moore will suffer the same fate as Heston and become a blithering, incoherent mess.

---No, wait, he already is.

---I know people who knew Mr. Heston and he was an extremely gracious and generous man who just happened to possess some very strange political stances.

---Who doesn't?

---It was odd to see the news clips on Heston. In one of his last interviews before going private, he and his wife sat down for a one-on-one with...Peter Jennings.

---And he checks out two years before Chuck. Weird.

---If Ronald Reagan was teflon, Hillary Clinton is velcro. Cheez, everything sticks to her.

---She just can't get out of her own way. Now she's getting strung up for telling a story about some woman who died after being refused medical treatment from a hospital.

---A story which never happened.

---It's like Alfalfa and Spanky are running her campaign. Next thing you know, they'll have Bill be one of the judges for the "Miss Teen USA" beauty pageant.

---The airlines shelve some planes to fix defects and they make it look like a consumer promotion.

---"We're American Airlines. We'll Get You There in One Piece."

---"Or Maybe Two."

---How long will it be before we see the Mets' Aaron Heilman with a potato sack over his head in Flushing Bay?

---I can already see Joe Torre's influence on the Dodgers. The batters are all working deep counts and making the opposing pitchers work.

---Everybody except, of course, Andruw Jones. Mr. Misspelling swings at the ball like Ralph Kramden tried to attack that golf ball.

---Except Kramden weighed less.

---"Hello, Ball. Goodbye, Druw."

---Which means that games in the last week of September won't be over till Thanksgiving.

---Watching the Final Four Championship game, I wanted to know who got the tattoo franchise for the NCAA. Practically every player was inked up in some fashion.

---One kid looked like the Jerome Avenue 4 train in 1979.

---Thanks to high def, I think I got to read one dude's term paper on Dickens that was written between his right shoulder and wrist.

---It has come to this. Starbucks had coupons for a free coffee in most newspapers on Tuesday.

---It's just a matter of time before they lower themselves to being served in a Sunoco, right next to the Drake's Cakes rack.

---Since Disneyland is refurbishing the "It's A Small World" ride because too many fat people are bottoming out the boats, they are making other changes as well. Adding Disney characters throughout the ride.

---And the ride purists are going nuts. As if Pluto shouldn't have the freedom to live amongst Asians if he wanted to.

---No, wait, he already does.

---As for me, I hate the ride. You get the same effect looking for a parking spot in the Cross County Shopping Center during the holiday shopping season.

---There's some sort of nonsense with them running around with the Olympic torch. I have no idea what that's about, but I thought we just had the Olympics.

---When did they become monthly?

---Netflix suggestion: Take a look at the documentary "Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains." It is fascinating.

---While I was not a fan of the guy, I got to give him props for suggesting in his book that the Israel-Palestine conflict might not be so one-sided.

---Good for you, Jimbo. Have a cashew on me.

Dinner last night: Turkey reuben at the Cheesecake Factory.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hello, Dummy

Knowing that I would be seeing Don Rickles perform last Saturday night, I set up this post in advance and called it "Hello, Dummy" in honor of his 1968 record album. Except I never realized at the time that the post title would be more apropos of the waiter I had that evening. Such is the tale of my adventures at The Grove of Anaheim. But, first, a little back story...

Last fall, when I saw a sneak preview of the HBO documentary on Rickles, "Mr. Warmth," at the LA Film Festival, I got into this whole re-discovery of just how good this guy can be when you see him live. I had seen him perform many, many moons ago at the Westbury Music Fair and I was shocked to see that Don was still doing about 25 tour dates a year. A quick internet search led me to Rickles' website and, lo and behold, he was playing some place in Anaheim on April 5. A perfect notion and an even more ideal Christmas gift for my friend, the Anonymous poster from the Barbara Judith Deluxe Furnished Apartments on Hollywood Boulevard. Slam and dunk.

I rarely venture down to Orange County unless, of course, there are mouse ears involved. The Grove of Anaheim is a curious little supper club that looks more like the airplace hangar from the finale of "Casablanca." It's actually tucked away in the left field corner of the Angel Stadium parking lot and, since there was a game going on at the same time, I could literally watch Diamondvision from my car.

When I ordered these tickets last December, my charge receipt said "Dinner Service Required." Which meant that, besides the cost of the ticket, you also had to show up two hours prior to the show and have dinner. Simple enough. Little did I know that I would be eventually longing for the sanctity of "Panda Express" which I spotted across the street. Because, indeed, the simple act of eating a meal should not be as complicated as engineering the end to the Vietnam War.

The Grove of Anaheim is really a throwback to the old Vegas lounges. It is one big hall with tables and chairs all situated around a stage. The only thing missing were some slot machines and that's probably only because some Indian tribe hasn't yet claimed this area of the Angel parking lot. We got there right on time---two hours prior to the show---and were immediately escorted to a table very close to the front. So far, so good. There was a menu on the table and, though the fare was limited, it was certainly manageable.

And then we met our waiter. David.

Within the next two hours, David would come to represent to us the inadequacies of the Orange County work force, the shortcomings of the Mexican border patrol, and the positive attributes of euthanasia all in one neat package. In a kindly retrospective moment, I would like to think that perhaps this was David's first day on the job. Or the planet. But, never before in my life, have I encountered someone as clearly inept and stupid as David. And, trust me when I write this, I have met a lot of idiots in my time.

It started well. As soon as we sat at our table and perused the menu, David was right there to take our order for drinks, appetizers, and entrees. He said he was going to be back immediately with some rolls and butter. And he was. He brought us butter. The rolls would be a story for the next hour.

I noticed that David had also taken the order for the two tables adjacent to us. And then disappeared. From the premises. For all I know, he might have gone over to the ballpark to watch the middle three innings. Because it would be a long, long, long time before any of us ever saw David again.

Some girl brought us our appetizers. And, then a few moments later, some silverware. The beers, which would have gone very nicely with our shrimp tempura and pork potstickers, were obviously still brewing. I noted that the tables around us were also having similar issues. Except they didn't get the correct appetizers. We had one advantage. We did have butter. But no rolls.

After about twenty minutes, David finally re-emerged from the mist as if he was in "Wuthering Heights" and brought us our beers. Of course, when he inquired as to the mysterious rolls, he said he was going to be right on it. But, first, he needed to address all the things had fouled up at the other two tables. And, then this deaf, dumb and blind plate spinner ramped up his challenge significantly by taking the dinner order for a fourth table. I watched him as he entered this into the kitchen computer and finally realized another of this boy's deficiencies. Given that this kid probably grew up on an X-Box, it was startling to me that it took him almost 15 minutes to input an order. I know kids who probably finished their SAT exams in less time.

And then he disappeared again.

After 45 minutes, we got tired of looking at our appetizer plates. So we bussed our own table. Picked up the plates ourselves and brought them over to a service tray. And then went to another service station and got our own rolls. We considered doing this for the other tables around us and perhaps picking up a few dollars to cover the cost of parking.

By now, David's ineptitude was becoming legend throughout the Grove. The diners at the various tables started to compare their horror stories as if it were September 12, 2001 all over again. I joked that New Orleans got FEMA relief after Katrina faster. We motioned to anybody who even remotely resembled Grove management. We all heard that David was on his way out of the kitchen. By way of Sacramento.

Ironically, the food at the Grove is quite good. Or perhaps it tasted better because nourishment is always more satisfying after you've been on a two week hunger strike. As blood sugar levels started to reach their deepest levels, David finally returned with food. Most of the people at the other table got the wrong orders, but, at this juncture, they didn't care. Everybody ate what was put in front of them whether they liked it or not.

As the show was ready to start, David made his unfortunate rounds to collect money and we all tearfully said our farewells to our credit cards. I envisioned that mine could possibly wind up someplace in Arizona. I listened to David as he did the money transactions. He had an almost robotic disclaimer. "I'm sorry about all the problems. I'm sorry about all the problems. I'm sorry about all the problems." As he spoke with such utter precision, I figured this was the only thing he does correctly every night. Apologize.

Of course, the Bangladesh-like conditions aside, the evening was a pure delight. About 30 minutes prior to the show as we were still trying to determine the nutritional value of our tablecloths, we spotted Don Rickles' manager walking the room and surveying the people in the front rows. And I realized what he was doing. He was "casting" the show. He was looking for an Asian, a Black guy, a fat person, a Mexican, etc. to be Don's targets. I wanted to call him over and tell him where he could find a stupid waiter.

In pure Vegas style, the headliner can't possibly appear without the audience being subjected to some opening act. In our case, the grossly under nourished denizens of Tables 213 through 215 were subjected to somebody or something called Jennifer Joseph. As she was being introduced, some strange chick came over to us and asked if we would cheer loudly when Jennifer appeared. An odd request made even more inappropriate by the severe levels of famine we had just endured.

Jennifer Joseph is one of those Vegas entertainers who has never had a single original moment on stage. In front of the audience in a off-the-shoulder black pant suit and wrapped up with more hair extensions than the Woolworth's cosmetic counter, she was essentially an episode of "The Simpsons." Since she was Miss Nevada some years ago, she broke up her musical set with stories about how much community outreach Miss America contestants do. I thought to myself that, if this was truly the case, Mary Ann Mobley or Bess Myerson should have been here an hour ago with a basket of bread. Every number was a complete rip-off of somebody else's act---from Bobby Darin to Aretha Franklin. When not talking about her talent portion of the Miss America pageant, which might have consisted of a demonstration on how to pack a suitcase without wrinkling your clothes, Jennifer was talking about how much she has learned from watching Don Rickles work. Huh? My guess is that Miss Joseph is chowing down in the local Baja Fresh ten minutes after she gets off stage.

Finally, Don Rickles appears to a thunderous ovation. Hunched over like an 82-year-old would be, Don looks his age. But, he is still razor sharp. His first 15 minutes on stage was like the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Machine gun fire. One joke after another. Perhaps my most laugh-filled quarter-hour ever on Earth. Sheer brilliance. And since his manager had done the appropriate prep, Don knew exactly where his foils would be. The Chinaman over here. The fat lady over there. The Black guy two rows back. In an age where political correctness has created a stranglehold on anything remotely humorous or creative, only Don Rickles can get away with what he does on stage. He nails them all. Jews. Nazis. Negros. Pollocks. Chinks. Japs. Queers. At the same time, he does more for improved relations between nationalities and races than our politicians could do in a hundred speeches. Because when Rickles talks about us kidding each other, he does so with such sincerity that no one else could begin to muster.

Luckily, there were some B and C list celebrities in the audience that also got to be on the Rickles receiving end. Steven Weber. John Stamos. Jack Klugman. All of them had been served on time. They were obviously not seated at one of David's tables.

After 90 minutes of this truly great performer, I was hungry for more. I wanted to find where Don Rickles was appearing next.

I will, however, eat ahead of time.

Dinner last night: Smoked turkey sausage.