Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day!!!

This is one amazing snapshot.  Workmen making the final touches to Shea Stadium before its opening in 1964.

It's not there anymore.  Neither am I.
Here's another delicious slice of history.  Workmen making the final touches to Dodger Stadium before its opening in 1962.

It's still there.  And that's where I am.  My baseball life in two distinct parts.  But, at the core, the love of a team.  Okay, the love of two teams.  When it comes to baseball, I have that much to give.

It starts today.  5PM.  At what used to be affectionately called Chavez Ravine.  My baseball life renewed one more time.  Hope springing eternal all over again.  Right now, everybody is still tied for first place with equal records of 0-0.

Loge, Aisle 120, Row L, Seat 1.    Wearing my Clayton Kershaw jersey.

Home again.

Dinner last night:  Roasted vegetables at Pitfire Grill.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This Day in History - March 30

It's Peter Marshall's special day.  X gets the blog.

240 BC:  FIRST RECORDED PASSAGE OF HALLEY'S COMET.

And there was a later passage spurred by two spoonfuls of Haley's MO.

1282:  THE PEOPLE OF SICILY REBEL AGAINST THE ANGEVIN KING CHARLES I, IN WHAT BECOMES KNOWN AS THE SICILIAN VESPERS.

Soon it was King Charles Minus 1.

1296:  EDWARD I SACKS BERWICK-UPON-TWEED, DURING ARMED CONFLICT BETWEEN SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND.

Tweed's too warm a material for the spring anyway.

1725:  2ND PERFORMANCE OF JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH'S ST. JOHN PASSION.

At some point doing these history lessons, I am sure we will learn the date of the first performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's St. John Passion.

1822:  THE FLORIDA TERRITORY IS CREATED IN THE UNITED STATES.

Prior to this, old Jewish people would migrate to New Jersey for the winter.

1842:  ANESTHESIA IS USED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN AN OPERATION BY DR. CRAWFORD LONG.

100, 99, 98,...........Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

1844:  ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT BATTLES OF THE DOMINICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE FROM HAITI TAKES PLACE NEAR THE CITY OF SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS.

Now I'm waiting for the United States battle for independence from Haiti.  It will take place on Katonah Avenue in the Bronx.

1853:  PAINTER VINCENT VAN GOGH IS BORN.

"That's funny.  He had two ears when I got him."

1858:  HYMEN LIPMAN PATENTS A PENCIL WITH AN ATTACHED ERASER.

And gave nervous students something to chew on during final exams.

1863:  DANISH PRINCE WILHELM GEORG IS CHOSEN AS KING GEORGE OF GREECE.

A Danish guy running Greece?  Who screwed this one up?

1867:  ALASKA IS PURCHASED FROM RUSSIA FOR $7.2 MILLION BY UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

The price would have been higher but they made us take Sarah Palin as part of the deal.

1870:  TEXAS IS READMITTED TO THE UNION FOLLOWING RECONSTRUCTION.

And who screwed this one up??

1909:  THE QUEENSBORO BRIDGE OPENS, LINKING MANHATTAN AND QUEENS.

It's been jammed ever since.

1913:  SINGER FRANKIE LAINE IS BORN.

Rawhide!!!

1927:  TV HOST PETER MARSHALL IS BORN.

For years on the Hollywood Squares, nobody knew if he owned pants.

1937:  ACTOR WARREN BEATTY IS BORN.

And was out on a date the very next night.

1940:  JAPAN DECLARES NANKING CAPITAL OF A NEW CHINESE PUPPET GOVERNMENT.

Kukla, Fran, and Orrie.

1954:  THE FIRST CANADIAN SUBWAY LINE OPENS IN TORONTO.

Now Canadian homeless people finally have a place to sleep.

1965:  A CAR BOMB EXPLODES IN FRONT OF THE US EMBASSY, SAIGON, KILLING 22 AND WOUNDING 183 OTHERS.

Reason # 456 why we had no business in this war.

1968:  SINGER CELINE DION IS BORN.

And decent pop music dies.

1970:  SECRETARIAT IS BORN.

And when that thing came out, you know it had to hurt.

1972:  THE EASTER OFFENSIVE BEGINS AFTER NORTH VIETNAMESE FORCES CROSS INTO THE DMZ OF SOUTH VIETNAM.

Reason # 723 why we had no business in this war.

1980:  MY GOOD FRIEND, THE BIBSTER, MARRIES MRS. BIBSTER.

I was the only sober one at our reception table.  I offer a photo as evidence.  I'm just saying.

1981:  PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN IS SHOT IN THE CHEST OUTSIDE A WASHINGTON, DC HOTEL BY JOHN HINCKLEY JR.

You couldn't rent a copy of Taxi Driver for weeks afterward.

1986:  ACTOR JAMES CAGNEY DIES.

Sheer class and talent.  Watch him in Yankee Doodle Dandy at least once a year.

1999:  COMEDIAN GARY MORTON DIES.

Comedian?  I guess you can't list "occupation" as "Lucille Ball's second husband."

2004:  BRITISH JOURNALIST ALISTAIR COOKE DIES.

Masterpiece Casket.

Dinner last night:  Pasta with chicken and peas.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Shark Officially Jumped

I'm one of those saps.

I used to love "American Idol."  In the very early days of this blog, I used to wax philosophically on each week's performance show.  As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I started "Len Speaks" was because I was envious of the wonderful comedic summaries that fellow blogger Ken Levine used to do on all the Idol latest and greatest news.  I never tried to copy what Ken could do brilliantly, but I wanted to. 

So, I knew that, as soon as Simon Cowell left the series, "American Idol" would unravel like an Old Navy cardigan sweater.  That would be no surprise.  And I also figured that the Simon-less version would be less interesting to me.  That also was no surprise.

I found myself not watching the six weeks or so of this year's audition shows.  I mean, how many times can you watch delusional Americans overly impressed with their own mediocrity?  Heck, we all do that every day of our lives.  But I did amble over to the show as soon as it started performance shows destined to weedle down the finalists to the coveted Top 10.  And, in a marginal way, I did get sucked in a bit.  In the process, I slowly began to discover just how much "American Idol" now sucked.

You can start with the highly-promoted overhaul of the judges.  Losing Simon was the equivalent of Clayton Kershaw getting his left arm stuck in the motor of a John Deere tractor.  On so many occasions this season, I was dying to hear Simon tell one of this year's schlubs to "pack your bags."  Logic and reason has completely left the void of the Idol judges.

Randy Jackson is the only holdover and he still has about as much substance as the stock guy at CVS.  Judging the viability of a singer's career?  Heck, I wouldn't trust him to tell me in which aisle I can find the Robitussin cough syrup.  This season, his critiques are about as hard-hitting as the wiffleballs you were underhanding to your kid brother in the back yard.  Randy loves EVERYBODY.
Meanwhile, we now meet Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler who are supposed to provide this well-established and knowledgeable presence to the show.  Huh?
Lopez came out of the kitchen barely warm several years ago and her career is now as cold and stale as the Klondike Bar you put in your freezer last summer.  Her last movie was?  Her last hit album was?  She sits mid-panel wearing eye liner that seemed to be on loan from the Frank Campbell Funeral Home.  She calls all the contestants "baby" and it always sounds like she's talking to her boyfriend through one of those bulletproof glass things in prison.  Most importantly, she rarely has anything constructive to say.  She loves EVERYBODY.

Steven Tyler now looks like Joan Rivers if she was a man.  That, of course, is a confusing statement to begin with, because Joan now looks more like a man than Steven Tyler does.  I'm so twisted now, but not as addled as most of Tyler's rantings on Idol.  He frequents expressions like "twitter thee dee" and he always sounds like Visitor's Day at Bellevue Hospital.  When you cut through the weird speech patterns, you quickly figure out that Steven has nothing to say.  He loves EVERYBODY.

As a result of this uber-lovefest, the audience can quickly discern that all these accolades are falling on one of the worst Idol finalist rosters ever.  The whole bunch is indistinguishable from each other and it looks like all the people who never got an audition to be on "Glee."
One chick is Pia and she's from Howard Beach, New York, so I give her a look.  She's also a fox so I give her about two dozen looks after that.  But she sings everything like Celine Dion and that's not a role model in my book.  Talk about your testosterone buzz kill.
James Durbin is a rocker with hair like that boy in "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."  Our heartstrings are tugged because he suffers from Asparger's and Tourette's as if one of those conditions wasn't enough.  But, when Hulk Hogan makes a surprise guest appearance, he kneels down in front of the wrestler and now all the afflictions in the world don't make him anything more than a moron to me.
Jacob Lusk is this year's token gay and Black contestant as if one designation wasn't enough.  Meanwhile, there is another Black chick called Naima Adedapo who has so much junk in her hair that I'm convinced her head got stuck in a clothesline with last Monday's wash.  She looks like Derek Jeter if he was a woman and she includes some African dance in every number she does.  That will be tough to manage the week she sings "Ave Maria."
Paul McDonald is unlikely to be the next American Idol but, given the smile, there may be a future selling Crest Whitening Strips.  My rule of thumb is that nobody with over 72 teeth in their head should get a recording contract.

This season's resident country music dork is Scotty McCreery and no one should use that first name unless you're a Little Rascal.  Scotty is sixteen but seems to be channeling Eddy Arnold from the grave.  A tough thing to do, since given this photo, he seems to be mid-stroke. 
The worst of the litter is Casey Abrams, who is this season's resident rabbinical student/former Keebler Elf.  The judges have been fawning over him since day one and the only rationale is that Jennifer Lopez must be mistaking him for Richard Dreyfuss.  Casey cannot sing a note, but, because he has been in and out of the hospital during the show with bouts of colitis, the judges love him.  Heck, I had colitis in college and it didn't help me sing any better. 

So, Casey's performances the last two weeks have been awful.  I mean "throw-a-shoe-at-the-cat-on-the-back-fence" bad.  America, which can sometimes get a national election right, wisely chooses him to be booted.  But, wait, not so fast.   The judges use their one and only season save to give Casey another chance.  The idiot is so overcome he virtually collapses at host Ryan Seacrest's knees and, at last, Ryan is finally taller than one of the contestants.

At that very moment in television history, "American Idol" jumped over the shark.

See ya.  Simon, when does the new show go on the air?

Dinner last night:  Garden medley salad at BJ's.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Morning Video Laugh - March 28, 2011

Hiccup!


Dinner last night: Spicy cashew chicken at the Cheesecake Factory.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Me and Liz Taylor....Well, Sort of

Well, that title got your attention.

Okay, unlike a previous tale about Jane Russell, this is not going to be a story about how I once had lunch with Dame Elizabeth.  Nor will it be about a chance meeting at In N'Out Burger, which I'm sure she must have frequented.  Nope, this is going to be the loosest tether possible.  But, I once was about ten feet from her.  And it makes sense to share the memory in the wake of her death.  But, first...

The photo above is from Liz' appearance in "Giant," which is one of my favorite movies of all time as detailed some time ago on these blog pages.  I had first been exposed to that epic on television, but I did get to enjoy it several times on the big screen in Los Angeles.  That's absolutely the only way to enjoy the George Stevens-directed masterpiece and Liz is luminous throughout. 

When I was a kid, I made a point of seeking out all her movies on those NBC movie nights.  From "National Velvet" to "Father of the Bride" to "Elephant Walk."  I remember when "Cleopatra" first came out, this became one of those Friday after-school movies that my mother took me to at the RKO Proctor's Theater in Mount Vernon.

Since the film was about six days long, I was sound asleep because Liz took it in the asp.

As I sprawled across the living room floor enraptured (or as enraptured as an eight-year-old can be) with Elizabeth Taylor, there was one person in my household who detested her.

Grandma.

Apparently, my grandmother never forgave her for breaking up Debbie Reynolds' marriage to Eddie Fisher.  Because everytime she came in the room and Liz was on the small screen, Grandma would utter a single word.

"Tramp."

Tramp?  You mean like the one Red Skelton plays on television?  Or Fred MacMurray's dog on "My Three Sons?"  I was a little naive and a lot stupid.

"That poor Debbie Reynolds.  Eddie Fisher is married and he's keeping company with..."

Grandma's voice would trail off.  I never did get the last word.  I probably wouldn't have understood it if I had.

Years later, prior to my move there, I found myself visiting friends in Los Angeles.  Liz Taylor had become nothing more than a John Belushi character on "Saturday Night Live."  And, frankly, I was now straining my infatuation muscles over other more realistic and worthy competitors.  But, I was stoked to learn that my trip to LaLa happened to coincide with one of Dame Liz's stage appearances, this time at the Ahmanson doing "The Little Foxes."  Okay, I would put that on my trip agenda.

During that vacation, I found myself visiting the ex-girlfriend of a college roommate.  Oh, I wasn't visiting her directly, but, somehow, in the "divorce," some of his friends had gotten custody of his former galpal.  There were plans for some of us to re-connect with her.  Total innocence.

Yeah, so I thought. 

Another friend and I went to pick up the ex-beau one night.  To let her know we were there, I went up and rang her apartment doorbell.  She flung open the door and greeted me.  Rather demonstratively.  Are you fucking kidding me?

Uh oh. 

Now I was beginning to understand all the wackiness that my college buddy had been talking about.  Apparently, I was going to be part of the game. 

Uh oh.

Sometime during dinner that night, she asked me my plans for the next day.  My friend was working.  I was going to be alone.  All day.  But I certainly wasn't going to share that little tidbit with this Glenn Close wannabe.  I mustered up the fastest fib I could tell.

"Um, I got the last single ticket to the matinee of Liz Taylor in "The Little Foxes."

Well, I didn't really have a ticket, but it was the only thing I could think of.  And, then I figured I probably should at least cover my lie with a truth.  I would go to the Ahmanson the next afternoon and see what was available.

I scored a seat.  Smack in the middle of the very first row.   Probably no more than ten feet away from Ms. Taylor.  Never had such conviving and quick thinking provided such a wonderful benefit.  I was enthralled by her every move.  Rarely does anybody get that close to a Hollywood star.  And, sorry, Grandma, from this vantage point, she's not so "tramp-like."

The first act sped by like a freight train.  The intermission curtain rang down amid tumultuous applause.  This was one marvelous theater event.  In a daze, I felt a tap on my shoulder.  Fuzziness morphed into cold reality.

"Hi.  I got a ticket, too.  Been sitting right behind you the whole first act."

Shit.

All these years, I remember absolutely nothing about the second half of "The Little Foxes."  And, suddenly, with my distinct lack of focus, Elizabeth Taylor seemed miles and miles away.

Luckily, a similar distance remained intact between my seat in Row A and the gal in Row B.

Okay, okay, I know.  It's probably a flimsy connection to Liz.  But, it's the only one I got.

Dinner last night:  Turkey burger.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Classic Movie Trailer of the Month - March 2011

HBO's mini-series "Mildred Pierce" starts tomorrow night.  But I will always prefer the 1945 movie from Warner Brothers.

Dinner last night: Tortellini with chicken and pesto.

Friday, March 25, 2011

If I Tweeted

I don't, of course.  Well, at least not yet.  But, if I did, this might be a sample of my tweets the past month.

#LenSpeaks The Japanese are saying the earthquake is the worst thing to happen to them since WWII.  Er, I think they brought that one on themselves.

#LenSpeaks  With all those amateur tsunami videos, you can obviously still depend on the Japanese to have cameras ready at all times.

#LenSpeaks  If you're Japanese and have Parkinson's, you probably don't even know there was an earthquake.

#LenSpeaks  Japan is worried about bad stuff in the air.  Have they ever been around Larry King after lunch?

#LenSpeaks  I guess it's inevitable.  We're all going to wind up with beachfront property sooner or later.

#LenSpeaks  Gilbert Gottfried got fired by AFLAC for making jokes about Japan.  Boy, am I glad I'm not the voice of a duck.

#LenSpeaks  I'm offended by people who are frequently offended.

#LenSpeaks  The driver in the car next to me is on the phone, texting, and has a dog on his lap.  A car wreck coming soon to your street corner.

#LenSpeaks  A simple solution for America.  Charlie Sheen going on a speaking tour.  Anybody who willfully buys a ticket get deported to Paraguay ASAP.

#LenSpeaks   Way too much product in my hair today.

#LenSpeaks   For Lent, I am going to give up going to church.

#LenSpeaks   I don't know about you, but I'm really comfortable knowing my President has a great lay-up shot.

#LenSpeaks   If humans tweet, how do birds communicate with each other?

#LenSpeaks   Which is correct?  Do you flesh out or flush out an idea?  Could be both ways.

#LenSpeaks   For instance, the Dodgers' decision to sign Andruw Jones was an idea that needed to be flushed.

#LenSpeaks   When you get off a crosscountry flight, how come the messiest area is in first class?

#LenSpeaks    White House confusion.  The President has picked Duke to play Libya in the NCAA Championship.

#LenSpeaks    Wouldn't downing a spoonful of sugar make you sick enough to take even more medicine?

#LenSpeaks    Is it always daytime in Heaven?  Is it hot or cold or a perfect 72 degrees?  And, how do we know that 72 degrees is perfect in the afterlife?

#LenSpeaks    If Sarah Palin can run for President, why didn't anybody vote for Gracie Allen when she ran in 1940?

#LenSpeaks    The worst sound in the world is anybody trying to whistle a tune.  It never sounds right.  Please stop!

Dinner last night:  Pork fried rice.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Casa Len - East Coast

Yeah, this is the way my NY kitchen used to look.  But, thanks to a terrific contractor who took advantage of working through my annual winter hibernation, this is no longer a place where only Alice of the Brady Bunch wouldn't be ashamed to work. 

The 70s are officially gone.  Welcome to the new century, Len's NY kitchen and bath!

Okay, consider the photo above.  And, now...voila!
Almost the same image.  Except, despite how it looks, I still have lighting installed.
Is that better?  The sink moved about two feet to the right.  And it was not propelled by a 8.9 tremor.  Dig my glassware, courtesy of a New York Mets soda vendor.
You want another angle?  I got another angle.  The other side of my galley kitchen.  Okay, it is a small room.  Top Chef will not be taping there any time soon.  But, the new stainless steel appliances make it shine.  Yes, that is an Entenmann's coffee cake.
You want a closer look at the granite countertop?  You got it.
You want a closer look at the new granite tile floor?  You got it.
The old microwave in the old kitchen.  It's a different Entenmann's coffee cake.  That's my grandmother's old radio.  It hadn't worked in any year starting with a "2."  It takes the tubes inside five minutes to warm up.  Well, the radio landed snugly with a thud in the dumpster.  The Jerry Mahoney head had moved to another location in the apartment.  But, now, take a gander at the new microwave.
Amazing transformation, n'est-ce-pas?
All topped off with some nifty track lighting. 

Okay, now, let's remember what the crummy old bathroom looked like.

All together now.  One, two, three.....YUK!!!!!!
Abracadabra!
The first time I took a shower here, I felt like I was in a hotel.  So, as a result, I went out and got a whole bunch of white hotel-like towels and accessories.
Let's zoom in on the ceramic floor.
And let's look up at the light on the ceiling.  In both the kitchen and the bathroom, the old "drop-down" plastic ceiling has been removed in favor of the more traditional ceiling. 
And it all came in only $1500 over budget.  That was due to some major plumbing issues in the wall.  But, still, you can never expect a project like this to come in exactly as estimated.

Good job, Lou!

Dinner last night:  Shanghai beef and rice from P.F. Chang's.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This Day in History - March 23

Hello, dere!!

1708:  JAMES FRANCIS EDWARD STUART LANDS AT THE FIRTH OF FORTH.

That looks like one of those sentences they make you do over and over in typing class.

1775:  DURING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, PATRICK HENRY DELIVERS HIS "GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH" SPEECH.

Is that the only choice you got?

1801:  TSAR PAUL I OF RUSSIA IS STRUCK WITH A SWORD, THEN STRANGLED, AND FINALLY TRAMPLED TO DEATH IN HIS BEDROOM AT ST. MICHAEL'S CASTLE.

Overkill.

1821:  DURING THE GREEK WAR OF INDEPENDENCE, THE CITY OF KALAMATA FALLS.

And the price of olives went way, way up.

1857:  ELISHA OTIS' FIRST ELEVATOR IS INSTALLED AT 488 BROADWAY IN NEW YORK CITY.

Bet their stock went up, too.

1868:  THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA IS FOUNDED IN OAKLAND WHEN THE ORGANIC ACT IS ENACTED INTO LAW.

The Organic Act?  Has this got something to do with Whole Foods?  Meanwhile, now that this college exists, Chinese math students finally have a destination.

1889:  THE AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY IS ESTABLISHED BY MIRZA GHULAM AHMAD IN QADIAN INDIA.

It must be really easy to score a lot of points in the Muslim edition of Scrabble.

1903:  THE WRIGHT BROTHERS APPLY FOR A PATENT ON THEIR INVENTION OF ONE OF THE FIRST SUCCESSFUL AIRPLANES.

Looking at one of these very early planes, there was definitely more legroom.  Even if you were lying across the wings.

1905:  ACTRESS JOAN CRAWFORD IS BORN.

We love you, Mommie dearest.

1908:  AMERICAN DIPLOMAT DURHAM STEVENS IS ATTACKED BY KOREAN ASSASSINS JEON MYEONG-UN AND JANG IN-HWAN, LEADING TO HIS DEATH IN A HOSPITAL TWO DAYS LATER.

It must be really easy to score a lot of points in the Korean edition of Scrabble.

1919:  IN MILAN, ITALY, BENITO MUSSOLINI FOUNDS HIS FASCIST POLITICAL MOVEMENT.

He'll be hanging around until the day when he is...er, hanging around.

1922:  COMEDIAN MARTY ALLEN IS BORN.

A very bad hair day.

1933:  THE REICHSTAG PASSES THE ENABLING ACT OF 1933, MAKING ADOLF HITLER DICTATOR OF GERMANY.

What's with March 23 and rising dictators?

1953:  SINGER CHAKA KHAN IS BORN.

I once went to an industry function and, in the green room, she was so stoned that they had to prop her up against the wall for photo opportunities.

1956:  PAKISTAN BECOMES THE FIRST ISLAMIC REPUBLIC IN THE WORLD.

It's all downhill now.

1964:  ACTOR PETER LORRE DIES.

The undertaker needed a crowbar to close his eyes for the viewing.

1965:  NASA LAUNCHES GEMINI 3, THE UNITED STATES' FIRST TWO-MAN SPACE FLIGHT WITH GUS GRISSOM AND JOHN YOUNG ON BOARD.

The euphoria would be short-lived for Grissom who burned up while testing the Apollo capsule the following January.

1966:  MY GRANDFATHER DIES.

While I don't usually recall the dates when relatives die, this one was easy as it was the day after his birthday.

1982:  ARTIFICIAL HEART RECIPIENT BARNEY CLARK DIES.

So much for that extended warranty.

1983:  PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN MAKES HIS INITIAL PROPOSAL TO DEVELOP TECHNOLOGY TO INTERCEPT ENEMY MISSILES.

Well, there he goes again.

2005:  THE UNITED STATES 11TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS, IN A 2-1 DECISION, REFUSES TO ORDER THE REINSERTING OF TERRI SCHIAVO'S FEEDING TUBE.

Bye, bye.

2011:  ACTRESS ELIZABETH TAYLOR DIES.

Cats are envious.  She had about twelve lives.

Dinner last night:  Chicken wrap and spinach salad back in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to Succeed in Keeping Me Entertained

I haven't seen a single frame of any Harry Potter movie since the first installment.  And, frankly, I haven't felt like I am missing a thing.

But, after seeing Daniel Radcliffe in his Broadway turn as J. Pierpont Finch in the very latest revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," I am going to stop ignoring the young man.  The dude can sing.  The dude can dance.  And, as long as he doesn't fly around on some broom, he and I are good to go.

While it's not a perfect musical, I've always been a fan of this show.  I was first exposed to it in its movie version which was released in 1967 with both Robert Morse and Michele Lee reprising their stage roles.  When it was brought back to Broadway with Matthew Broderick and the then-unknown Megan Mullally in the mid 90s, I saw the live edition for the very first time.  And adored it.  So, here we go almost fifteen years later and Broadway brings it back once more.  A starring vehicle to be sure.  And the young wizard from England pulls it off.  At the very least, a Tony nomination is on the way. 

You may know the tale.  A window washer reads a "how to" book on succeeding in the corporate world and, by the end of almost three hours, he's running some conglomerate called World Wide Wickets.  Guy loses wash bucket, guy finds job, guy finds girl, guy loses job, guy loses girl, guy wins back job, guy wins back girl, and guy doesn't win back wash bucket.  Talk about a tried-and-true musical comedy formula.

The original show from 1962 won a Pulitzer Prize, despite the fact that there are some problems in the construction.  The first act starts very, very slowly and doesn't really get going for the first fifteen minutes.  That probably wasn't an issue when JFK was a President and not an airport, but, in the attention deficited new millenium, younger audiences might be scrambling for the exits with text messages ready to go.   In this edition, director Rob Ashford, straight from his sparkling work on last year's revival of my personal favorite "Promises, Promises," does his best to shore up the original speed bumps.  Once the "Coffee Break" mercifully starts, the show shifts into a higher gear.

Admittedly, there are some duds in the "How To Succeed" music and lyrics by the legendary Frank Loesser.  In fact, the movie wisely dumped a couple of them altogether.  Here, with inventive staging, the "Loesser" efforts were more like a hangnail than a sore thumb.  Director Ashford can keep mining old 60s musicals as much as he wants.  He seems to have found his creative destiny.  Never were so many Laura Petrie hair-dos welcome on the Broadway stage.

TV's John Larroquette plays J.B. Biggley, the role originally essayed by Rudy Vallee complete with megaphone.  Truth be told, I've never liked his work, but, in this his Broadway debut, he works mightily and wins me over for the first time in his career.  As far as I am concerned, he is now officially forgiven for years of needless histrionics on "Night Court."

In the original show, Charles Nelson Reilly won a Tony Award for Supporting Actor as Finch's snarky nemesis, Bud Frump.  The good news is that the same fortune likely awaits Christopher J. Hanke, who steals every scene he's in.  Let's just hope that he doesn't wind up his career as a panelist on Match Game 2018.

As Rosemary Pilkington, Rose Hemingway gives a valient but unsuccessful try to make this role work and she can blame the original playwright, Abe Burrows, for her suffering.  Almost inexplicably, Burrows alternated between over-writing and under-writing the character to the point of utter confusion.  When I saw the Broderick version, I remember saying that Megan Mullally was no Michele Lee.  Well, in 2011, Rose Hemingway is no Megan Mullally.  She tries hard, but the real challenge started when Burrows put carbon paper into his Smith Corona fifty years ago.

The reverse can be said this time around for the should-be-guaranteed-laughs-and-mayhem role of Hedy La Rue, the bouncy and buxom girlfriend of big boss Biggley.  La Rue needs to be played by a big ham, but, here, we get a single slice of turkey bologna.  Tammy Blanchard misses one golden opportunity after another and leaves barrels of money on the table.  The performance is as flat as Gomer Pyle's crewcut when he entered the Marines. 

Another casting misfire comes with the choice of CNN's inept Anderson Cooper as the pre-recorded "book voice" that guides Finch through his corporate journey.  I can't find who did the voice in the 1962 original, but Walter Cronkite did the honors for the Broderick edition and he nailed it with his God-like intonations.   You need power here.  As a journalist, Cooper has about as much as personality as a head of Iceberg lettuce.  His presence is as flat as Elvis Presley's crewcut when he entered the Army.  Was Tom Brokaw busy?  Did Charles Osgood suddenly start to stammer like the King of England?  Hell, did the Cronkite family estate request too much money for the tapes from the 1995 show?  Hopefully, the tape of Cooper disintegrates faster than you can say "Mission Impossible." 

But, all quibbles stop when Daniel Radcliffe enters the scene, this time on a window washer's rope from below the stage and not the rafters.  The kid has a future on the stage and not just for dropping his boxers when he did "Equus."   A decent singer, he shines even more brightly in dance numbers when he seems to be channeling the light-footed-ness of James Cagney in "Yankee Doodle Dandy."  Boundless energy is displayed at every turn.  He's especially impressive as he literally ping pongs across the stage in the numbers "Grand Old Ivy" and, of course, the perennial show-stopper, "The Brotherhood of Man."  This might be the smartest career move anybody could make.  Radcliffe immediately stows away that dorky wizard shit and marks his territory as a versatile and like-to-be-frequently-hired actor.

Of course, there's another word of caution that needs to be shared if you venture out to see this "How To Succeed."  Because of this personal audience with the beloved Harry Potter, the Al Hirschfeld Theater is being packed to the gills with loads of teen age girls masturbating for the very first time.  When Daniel takes his curtain call, the ovation is nothing short of Jesus delivering the Sermon on the Mount.   At a Broadway theater, Woodstock breaks out.  Yes, he deserves every accolade he gets.  But this kind of loudness is usually reserved for the outdoors and certainly a respected theatrical house.  The screams seem oddly out-of-place.  If you want to really enjoy this "How To Succeed," you want to wait and get tickets when Justin Bieber has some NY concert dates and the teeny boppers are playing with themselves elsewhere. 

Leaving the theater, though, there was a big smile on my face and a lift to my spirits.  How many times does that really happen any more?

Yes, they Succeeded.

Dinner last night:  Virginia ham plus potato salad and cole slaw.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Morning Video Laugh - March 21, 2011

We're still celebrating the fourth anniversary of Len Speaks with one of the favorite Monday Morning Video Laughs.

There she goes again!!


Dinner last night: Leftover sausage and peppers plus salad.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Remembering Grandpa on His Birthday


All the elders in my family are gone.  My parents, as well as my aunts and uncles, all got wiped out over a ten year period.  Some people remember the date their relatives die.  Truth be told, I'd actually have to look up the exact day that my parents and my grandmother passed away.  It's not worth remembering.  When I want to conjure up a calendar point to recall the good times, I much prefer to do that on their birth dates which are forever etched in my mind.

I, however, cannot forget the date my grandfather died.  March 23.  It's easy to remember because it was one day after his birthday.  Symmetry like that is not hard to ignore.  A few years back, I recall from his obituary that TV host Mike Douglas actually died on his birthday.  Well, that certainly makes for clean record keeping in Heaven's central office.  Grandpa missed that distinction by 24 hours.

So, I think about Grandpa this week and flashback to a piece I wrote here several years back.

In these Sunday memory drawer recollections, Grandpa's made only fleeting appearances. Part of the reason why is that he was one of the earliest departures from my life. Grandpa died when I was 12. So, I didn't get him that long. But, there are some random memories that have stayed with me.

In reality, though, I really don't know much about the man beyond what I was told by my grandmother. Or what I remember from my very wee years.
From what I was told, Grandpa had a variety of jobs over the years. I did see a picture of him standing behind a bar with an apron on, so I assume he was a bartender at one point. There was some other talk about him driving a delivery truck. But, the job I know he had the longest was for a milk company. Borden's or "Bordink's" as my grandmother called it. What he did there was a mystery, except, at least, he had achieved an upgrade in the healthy aspects of the beverages he was involved with.

But, as far back as I can remember, he was already retired. Sitting in that big easy chair in the living room and yelling at the wrestlers on TV. If the match got particularly nasty, he would move closer to the edge of the cushion, as if his next move was to vault into the ring himself. If it was really intense, the instructions yelled at the set by both Grandpa and Grandma were in German, so I'd be lost. At the foot of his easy chair was always a glass bottle of Kruger Beer. My grandfather actually had beer delivered to the home every Wednesday morning. Tuffy, our dog, would hear the truck's squeaky wheels from blocks away and her incessant barking always heralded the "beerman's" arrival.

On Sunday afternoons, I can always remember Grandpa sitting at the kitchen table, reading the Daily News. I'd sit alongside him, which was always the signal for him to go into Fiorello LaGuardia mode. Even though I could read at a very early age, my grandfather liked to read the funnies to me.

"So, Moon Mullins sits down on the couch and says to Kayo..."

I have no clue why Grandpa liked to do this with me, but it happened like clockwork every Sunday.

There are other snapshots.

Grandpa's lunch often consisted of a slice or two of head cheese in a plate covered by vinegar. Head cheese is the cold cut that is made up of all the parts of a pig most people don't eat. The whole meal looked gross to me.
"Wanna try some?"

I'd run away in horror.

My grandparents would eat their supper early. Usually around 4:30PM. Which meant that, from 3:30PM to about 4:15PM every day, Grandpa was missing in action. That was his time to walk two blocks and hoist a few brews at what my grandmother referred to as "the beer garden." He never came home drunk. It was simply his daily cocktail hour.

I do recall, however, one night where Grandpa was completely snockered. There was a community place on Stevens Avenue in Mount Vernon called the Turn Hall and they frequently featured Saturday night dances for any Germans interested. My family and all its tentacles always showed up. And, for some inexplicable reason, I got carted along at the age of 5. They'd sit me down at a table with a Coke and my favorite Colorforms set while the immediate world would commence to polka. While I got bored, Grandpa got pickled.

It was a rainy night and we all piled into my dad's car for the trip home. I was in the back seat, seating beside Grandma and on my grandfather's lap. Soaked to the gills, he used the moment to get very amorous. With me.

Kissing me all over my face, Grandpa kept announcing over and over. "I love you, I love you so much, I love you, I love you so much."

It was mere minutes before Grandma had endured enough. There was an ice cold stare.

"If you don't stop that, I'd gonna pop you one with this goddamn umbrella."

Who knows what happened behind their closed bedroom door that night.

When I was really young, my father worked days. So, any transport that my mom and I needed during the daytime hours was provided by Grandpa and his green Buick sedan. On my very first day in the first grade, my school was closed at noon because of an impending hurricane which was going to hit New York dead on. Grandpa picked me up outside for the five block ride home. He never ever showed much emotion. But, looking out the window at a raging wind and blinding rain, he appeared a little vulnerable. Almost scared.

"Oh, my God, this is going to be a hurricane."

During the summer months, the Grandpa transport extended to Orchard Beach where he would drop us off and pick us up after a day at the "Bronx Riviera." On one ride home, there were two other passengers with us. One of my mother's friends and her kid. Well, anyway, mucho chatter had ensued. And, for some reason, Grandpa seemed to be a little unsure about the way home. And then he ran a stop sign. And whacked a car coming the other direction.

I got knocked onto the floor of the back seat, but everybody was otherwise okay. Surprisingly, there was no damage to our car. And a medium-sized dent on the car we hit. But, the real trauma was etched on Grandpa's face. He was crestfallen. He had never been involved in an accident before. His demeanor showed the result of his epiphany. With his reflexes slowing down, he was encountering the inevitable.

His driving days were over.

As my family often did, we went into lockdown mode. Grandpa whispered to me.

"Don't tell your grandmother."

Check.

My mother whispered to me.

"Don't tell your father."

Check again.

Somehow, this was going to be a little secret between my mother and my grandfather. And me. But, there was an obvious leak because I soon noticed that my father would do all the driving whenever my grandparents needed to go someplace. To the supermarket every Thursday. To the Bronx on the first Tuesday of every month when my grandmother saw her doctor and then they shopped for Kosher dill pickles at some neighborhood they called "Jew Town." More importantly, that accident was never discussed ever again.

The years and more were closing in on Grandpa.

That fall, he came down with pnuemonia and pleuresy, which had him bedridden at home for about a month. He really was never the same after that. Breathes became shorter. Walks to the beer garden became extinct. And he even stopped smoking his beloved pipe.

By the following March, the days were dwindling down to a precious few. On the day Grandpa would pass away, I would conveniently be home from school. I had brokered an afternoon home sick. Partly because of a sore throat. Mostly because I wanted to listen to a Met spring exhibition game on the radio. My mom had walked around the corner to the grocery store. Sequestered in my room on the bed with my transistor radio, I suddenly heard my grandmother wail from downstairs.

"Lenny, quick. Go run and get your mother. I think something happened to Grandpa!"

I scooted quickly out of the house like Lassie when Timmy fell down the well. My mother dropped all her groceries in the store and told me to come along. I told her I would stay there. It was no time to argue. She ran out.

Within five minutes, amidst the cans of Krasdale vegetables, I could hear the faint but scary sound of sirens. Those noises have bothered me to this date. But, the only thing worse than hearing those piercing mechanical cries is knowing that they are headed to your house.

Eventually, I headed home and kept myself busy. Upstairs away from the activity. Because of all the strangers in the house, I grabbed Tuffy and hid in the bathroom. I don't think I came out for an hour.

Grandpa was gone. I later heard the details. His labored exhales had caught the dog's attention as she sat at his feet. My grandmother noticed this.

"Pop, Tuffy is listening to you breathe."

He apparently leaned forward to look at my dog, smiled, and then leaned back to die. In his favorite easy chair.

The sum total of my memories about my grandfather, my dad's dad, are etched above for the ages. I just wish I had him a little longer than I did.

Dinner last night:  It was a Saturday night and I'm in NY.  You guessed it.  My absolute favorite---Sausage and peppers at Carlo's in Yonkers.  Nobody does this dish like them.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Classic TV Theme of the Month - March 2011

How retro can you go????


Dinner last night:  Proscuitto and arugula pizza at Zaza in Scarsdale.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Creature That Ate Walmart

"Well, it fit when I tried it on in the dressing room."
"Well, it looked good in the box."
No one in Beverly Hills would be caught dead in this get-up.
Happy Valentine's Day from your friendly neighborhood pimp.
Let's just hope it's stained from the outside and not the other way around.
"Excuse me, what aisle can I find the man groomers?"

Dinner last night:  Pork chop at Todd English's Ca Va Restaurant.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Picture on Top of This Blog

How many times can you look at my picture today?  I just gave you one more.

More Len Speaks fourth anniversary musings.   Over the past year or so, I have been asked several times why I have never changed out the photo that adorns this blog each and every day.  For those who really are over-saturate with yours truly, they have to look at the very same mug shot on my Facebook page as well.

Truth be told, it is one of the only two snapshots of me that I have actually liked.  The other is from a wedding years ago.  My hair is longer.  There is a moustache.  And I am wearing a polyester three-piece suit from the Johnny Carson Collection.  I look like somebody on his way to an awards ceremony for the porno industry.

My profile photo above does look pretty close to what I look like now.  Despite what one blog reader has asked, I am not blind.  I live in Southern California and wear sunglasses all the time.  And, despite the shameless Coca-Cola product placement, I am not an employee of American Idol. 

Yep, I like the picture and that is pretty much me today.

Last year, I did think about a change-out of the photo.  Hell, I'm in Hollywood and there's a head-shot photographer on every corner.  I seriously considered investing in some classily-done portraits of me.  You know the type of photo shoot.  

"Okay, Len, smile to the left.  Now turn to the right.  Smile.   Now straight at the camera.  Be pensive.  Click."

For me to get myself in the absolute perfect frame of mind and appearance to do this would be akin to landing a man on Mars.  I would have to perfectly time my haircut.  I would undoubtedly need to spend two weeks with a heat lamp.  Maybe some of that spray tan shit.  And don't even start on closed facial pores.

I look at the photo above and I can remember the day as if it was last week.  I was having lunch in the Farmers Market in Los Angeles.  A table located right next to the hot dog stand.   In snapshots like this, you see your smile and you realize a fun time in your life.  You're smiling for a reason.   Maybe because of the friend on the other side of the camera.

That's why a photograph is so vital to our lives.  It captures history that is so fleeting.

The friend that took this picture passed away several months ago after a long battle with breast cancer.

Yeah, this snapshot stays on this blog as long as it lasts.  My little hat tip to a friend and a memory that does last forever.

Dinner last night:  Cold roast beef plate with German potato salad at the newly renovated NY apartment.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Day in History - March 16

Take my blog, please.

37:  CALIGULA BECOMES ROMAN EMPEROR AFTER THE DEATH OF HIS GREAT UNCLE, TIBERIUS.

The very first sex-starved politician.  I wonder how many college interns he had.

1190:  MASSACRE OF JEWS AT CLIFFORD'S TOWER, YORK.

Geez, they never get a break.

1521:  FERDINAND MAGELLAN REACHES THE PHILIPPINES.

"I came this far for this??"

1621:  SAMOSET, A MOHEGAN, VISITS THE SETTLERS OF PLYMOUTH COLONY, AND GREETS THEM, "WELCOME, ENGLISHMEN!  MY NAME IS SAMOSET."

Big Chief Master-of-the-Obvious.

1660:  THE LONG PARLIAMENT DISBANDS.

They came up short.

1751:  PRESIDENT JAMES MADISON IS BORN.

So how come we don't get March 16th off?

1802:  THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY AT WEST POINT IS FOUNDED.

Previously, the folks at Navy were forced to play with themselves during the big annual football game.

1865:  DURING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR, THE BATTLE OF AVERASBOROUGH BEGINS AS CONFEDERATE FORCES SUFFER IRREPLACEABLE CASUALTIES IN THE FINAL MONTHS OF THE WAR.

They had about one month left before their sorry asses surrendered.

1884:  SILENT ACTOR HARRISON FORD IS BORN.

Gee,  Indiana Jones is really, really, really old.  Yes, I know it's not the same one.  This is what we call "humor."

1906:  COMIC HENNY YOUNGMAN IS BORN.

"Just came back from a pleasure trip.  Took my mother-in-law to the airport."

1912:  PAT NIXON IS BORN.

"Went to the doctor and told him that it hurts when I do this.  He said don't do this."  Okay, I had nothing to say about Pat Nixon, but I did have another Henny Youngman joke.

1912:  LAWRENCE OATES, AN ILL MEMBER OF SCOTT'S SOUTH POLE EXPEDITION, LEAVES THE TENT SAYING, "I AM JUST GOING OUTSIDE AND MAY BE SOME TIME."

The earliest recorded smoke break.

1926:  ROBERT GODDARD LAUNCHES THE FIRST LIQUID-FUELED ROCKET AT AUBURN, MASSACHUSETTS.

"My wife was running after the garbage truck and yelled 'Am I too late for the garbage.'  The guy says, 'No, hop in.'"  Okay, I'm done now.

1926:  COMEDIAN JERRY LEWIS IS BORN.

Lucky us.

1939:  THE MARRIAGE OF PRINCESS FAWZIA OF EGYPT TO SHAH MOHAMMAD REZA PAHLAVI OF IRAN.

The bride and groom are registered at Bed, Bath, and Bullets.

1942:  THE FIRST V-2 ROCKET TEST LAUNCH.  IT EXPLODES AT LIFT-OFF.

Somebody got fired over this.

1945:  NINETY PERCENT OF WURZBURG, GERMANY IS DESTROYED IN ONLY 20 MINUTES BY BRITISH BOMBERS.

So what was Wurzburg, Germany?  Two city blocks long?

1949:  ACTOR ERIK ESTRADA IS BORN.

Ponch!!!!

1952:  IN CILAOS, REUNION, 74 INCHES OF RAIN FALLS IN ONE DAY, SETTING A NEW WORLD RECORD.

Clearly not the place to go for spring break that year.

1968:  DURING THE VIETNAM WAR, THE MY LAI MASSACRE OCCURS.  BETWEEN 350 TO 500 VIETNAMESE VILLAGERS ARE KILLED BY AMERICAN TROOPS.

And somebody got fired over this.

1971:  PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE THOMAS E. DEWEY DIES.

Headline on the New York Times that day:  "Dewey Lives."

1978:  FORMER ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER ALDO MORO IS KIDNAPPED AND LATER KILLED BY HIS CAPTORS.

No moro.

1983:  TV PERSONALITY ARTHUR GODFREY DIES.

Party at Julius La Rosa's home: 6PM.  Bring some Rheingold.

1988:  DURING THE IRAN-CONTRA AFFAIR, COLONEL OLIVER NORTH AND VICE ADMIRAL JOHN POINDEXTER ARE INDICTED ON CHARGES OF CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE UNITED STATES.

Somebody really, really got fired over this.

Dinner last night:  Salisbury steak at the Cheesecake Factory.

Tomorrow from NYC!!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beware the Ides of March

From the Useless Information Department:

The traditional gift for a fourth anniversary is silk as shown in the photo above.

The more modern but accepted gift for a fourth anniversary is a small appliance.

I don't need either.  But I will accept your good wishes today.  The official fourth anniversary of Len Speaks.  Perhaps the worst thing to ever happen since Julius Caesar woke up on the same day and decided not to call in sick.

On this annual occasion, I always take time to deliver what I call my State of the Blog address.  The good news is that my words don't cost us anything in new property taxes or health care costs.  Unlike the President of the United States, I don't have any recent shooting victims or first responder heroes sitting with my wife up in the Congressional rafters.  Nope, these words are shared between me and you alone.

Isn't that what blogging is all about?

Looking back at Len Speaks for the past twelve months, it was quite the year for gaining new readers.  Thanks to some Google links, a tie-in to some other blogs such as "By Ken Levine," and a lot of shameless promotion on my part, the daily hits have skyrocketed.   I am writing about this in another entry, but it's almost startling to see where some of the readers are clicking on.  There's one daily check-in from somebody in India, which means a telemarketer is looking for something to do in between providing you with excellent Dell computer support.

The more astute fans know that I made a very conscious decision to stop writing about the disastrous political platforms now permeating everything we see, hear, and do in America.  It has resulted in a little bit kinder Len Speaks.  The major change came when I discontinued my Wednesday rants.  Frankly, I find every politician, regardless of the party affiliation, fairly detestable. 

When will these folks realize that the taffy pull between two extremely opposite thought processes is killing America as we know and love it?  I've been very vocal in announcing that I think the United States has only about a half century left as a purely democratic nation.  Unfortunately, from everything going in our worlds today, I now concede that my vision might be a little too optimistic.

But, I digress... 

The new Wednesday blog pieces are simply "This Day in History" and my research for them has been very educational.  They are also easy to write and, blog cheater that I am, I have discovered that I can write them way in advance.  Indeed, I did all of the March Wednesdays in one morning.  So much for doing a blog that forced me to have a daily writing session.  I set up a lot of the content here in advance and have often forgotten to run pieces altogether.  I had some nifty words to say about Lindsay Lohan last November.  Except, by the time I remembered the piece was in my draft queue, the whole thing was dated and her arrest record had already expanded by six more court dates.

I also make sure to have at least one daily piece that is "evergreen."  For those days where I am either not available to write or being held hostage.  If, in the next several weeks, you suddenly read a blog entry about Jack Benny, please contact the local SWAT team. 

Checking the Sitemaster stats, my most widely read piece was the one where I related my experiences "co-hosting" Dodger Talk last summer.  It also was helped by the fact that I posted that day's link on my Facebook wall.  There are some blog writers who do this as a regular practice.  I have resisted...so far.  After all, Facebook should be reserved for more special things.  Like telling your friends that last night's dinner made you nauseous or that your cat just ate poison.

My most popular pieces continue to be found in my Sunday Memory Drawer.  As a a matter of fact, in a rather amazing series of events tied to Facebook, some memories from grade school re-connected me to three girls that were with me from the second through the eighth grade.  That will evolve into new Sunday Drawer pieces soon as one memory usually leads to a flood of them. 

Indeed, that's often what happens with those entries.  Truth be told, there are some Friday nights where I realize that I have nothing written for the upcoming Sunday.  Then, suddenly, I will have an inkling from the past.  Before I know it, I have a three-part series that will consume my content quota for practically a whole month.  I can't explain how my mind works. 

I have come to realize, however, that my memory well is not bottomless.  There are stories I recall that I suddenly remember I wrote about two years ago.  This explains why, from time to time, I will bring back some previously-told tales for a second peek.  Yes, that's a classy way of saying "rerun."  I rationalize this action by referring to all the new readers who were not here in 2008 when I first wrote about some wacky thing somebody in my family said or did.  I will do my best to keep coming up with new "old" stuff.  But, when a Sunday Memory Drawer entry is all about starting this blog, it will be time for me to find something else to do on a Sunday.

It has been suggested by several friends that I should stitch the Sunday Memory Drawer into a screenplay. A "coming of age" story about somebody who is still admittedly waiting to "come of age."  I counter that nobody would really care about my story.  Frankly, it's really nothing more than "The Wonder Years" with a German grandmother.  And I did that already in a spec script for that show about twenty years ago.  If I find some sort of hook to hang the saga on, I will give it a whirl.  The good news is that most of my relatives are dead and can't sue.  Unless, of course, we all discover the ultimate horror and find that litigation is possible in Heaven.

Thanks for indulging me over the past four years.  At this point today, I'm meandering off the point.  But, then again, isn't that what a blog is all about?

What the Hell!  Happy Blogiversary!  Year Five begins now.

Dinner last night:  Sausage and olive pizza at Maria's Italian Kitchen.