Tuesday, May 31, 2011

If I Tweeted - May 2011

Here's what my slapdash comments would be if I had tweeted this month.  I take on Osama, Obama, Oprah, and some things that don't begin with the letter "O."

@LenSpeaks  Glad to see we got bin Laden.  It would have been tough to wait all the wait till Halloween for him to open his front door.

@LenSpeaks  President Obama is proud of this accomplishment but says he's not going to spike the football.  And he's been running around like Deon Sanders ever since.

@LenSpeaks  Idiots who think Osama is still alive also think Donald Trump would make a good President.

@LenSpeaks  ...and think that Sarah Palin would make a good President.

@LenSpeaks  ...and think that Newt Gingrich would make a good President.

@LenSpeaks   As opposed to the morons on the other side who think Obama is a good President.

@LenSpeaks    A great line I wished I wrote but didn't: "If you've ever seen pictures of Helen Thomas, you'll have no problem looking at the Osama corpse photos."

@LenSpeaks  The political landscape in this country for 2012 looks like Nagasaki in 1946.

@LenSpeaks  The pinnacle of obnoxiousness on the road?  A Black woman driving a Mercedes.  The hat trick of attitude.

@LenSpeaks  President Obama wants to revert back to pre-1967 borders in the Middle East.  In the United States, he wants to go back to pre-1867 borders for the state of Texas.

@LenSpeaks  Looking at how Obama has screwed over Israel, how do Jewish Democrats now reconcile their votes for him?

@LenSpeaks  If he were still alive, what a dilemma this would be for Sammy Davis Jr.!

@LenSpeaks  If our country reverts back to pre-1959 borders for Hawaii, does that mean Obama really isn't an American citizen?

@LenSpeaks   If we go back to pre-May borders, does that mean Osama is still alive?

@LenSpeaks   Now that the Rapture hasn't happened, the Dodgers apparently do have to finish the season.

@LenSpeaks   The Giants' Buster Posey broke his leg in a collision at home plate.  If he were on the Mets, the medical staff would prescribe Benadryl.

@LenSpeaks   Looking at this car with one of those Christmas tree air fresheners, I wonder.  Just how much does the driver stink???

@LenSpeaks   So, let me get this timeline right.  Arnold screwed the maid before he screwed the taxpayers of California?

@LenSpeaks   Oh, my God, that woman is ugly.  That's the best Arnold could do.  Geez, Shirley Booth as Hazel would be an upgrade.

@LenSpeaks   Maria Shriver couldn't take a hint?  She found a package of Pledge Wipes that hadn't been opened for two years.

@LenSpeaks   Or that maybe she hadn't been opened for two years.

@LenSpeaks   Oprah has ascended into Heaven!

@LenSpeaks   Now that she's off the air, how will anybody know what book to read next?

@LenSpeaks   I watch women in an office sobbing as Oprah closed her show.  The only thing missing was a centurion thrusting his spear in her side.

@LenSpeaks   Trust me, folks.  The world will go on as before.  Stedman will continue to put on his pants just like he always has---over his head.

@LenSpeaks   Oprah dragged that dummy out for the finale.  The conversation might have gone like this..."Here's ten thousand dollars.  You have to be my boyfriend this week."

@LenSpeaks   I keep hearing about all the good Oprah did for America.  Please tell me how many schools she built that were not in Africa.

@LenSpeaks   Also at the finale:  that old bag Maya Angelou reading one of her form letter tribute poems.  "Insert name of honoree here."

@LenSpeaks   With all the tornados across the country, I'm wondering why we didn't hear the usual crap from the global warming kooks.

@LenSpeaks   It's called weather!  Weather!  Weather!  Thank God for the twister.  Otherwise, Dorothy would never have seen Oz.

@LenSpeaks   My heartfelt prayers to all those who suffered devastation this month.  And, also to all those others who weren't watching Oprah.

Dinner last night:  Turkey burger and broccoli pasta salad.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday Morning Video Laugh - May 30, 2011

I just love this.  Obama's limo gets stuck on a driveway hump during his Dublin visit last week.

Dinner last night:  Chicken piccata.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Sunday Memory Drawer - My Namesake

It's Memorial Day weekend so let's remember a soldier.  Here's one who was a relative that I never met.

More importantly, I was named after him.

He was one of my father's three brothers.  My dad was the youngest.  I've have to look up records to find out where this never-seen uncle fell chronologically.  In a family unit that didn't share a lot of information on their most transparent days, I know even less about "Uncle Lenny."

Except that he was killed in the south of France about two weeks before the Nazis surrendered and almost at the same that Hitler bought the big one in the bunker.  I remember when I first saw that date.  How ironic.  So close and yet...   I wondered if anybody in my family acknowledged and lamented that bitter irony.

As usual, nobody said a thing.

Oh, my grandmother would casually mention him in a story.  There was a Purple Heart (I think it was purple) that hung in her living room.  I recall once her pulling some mementos out of a drawer.  There was a small flag that you could hang in your window during World War II and it signified how many in your household were serving in the military.  And there was another hanging cloth that let folks know you had lost a loved one.

Years later, I personally ran across some papers after my grandmother died.  There were several letters from the War Department letting my family know in what French cemetery he was laid to rest.  The actual longitude and latitude of his gravesite was listed.  Not that anybody went to visit it.  Ever.  There were other notes and documents that effectively closed out my uncle's life as far as the military was concerned.  Oddly, the telegram providing the grim news was not saved.  Or, perhaps, it was thrown away in a hailstorm of emotions.

I don't know.  More questions.  And now and forever, no answers.

Another level of confusion pops up.  I think about my uncle's grave in the south of France.  What was the thinking behind this?  Was there any thought to bringing him home to the United States?  I asked my grandmother once and she didn't remember.  Or want to remember?

I once heard a rumor that my mother was dating my uncle before ultimately hooking up with my dad.  When I would pose this query, I'd get the usual wave of the hand.  True?  False?  Or simply "go away, kid?"

Now I did know that my uncle was engaged to be married to a woman named Stella when he died.  I'm in on this intel because my grandmother sent her a Christmas card every year.  I used to write them out for her, so I would use the opportunity every December to do a little fishing.

"You sending a card to Stella?"

Of course.  But little else came.  Except that she was a nice girl and lived in the Bowery.

Like a bum, I asked.

I was told I asked too many questions.  Frankly, I didn't ask enough.

So the non-information continued to flow.  And, ultimately, the number of relatives available for that thought-provoking press conference started to dwindle.

Leaving me with a Sunday Memory Drawer that is sadly empty.


To be continued.

Dinner last night:  Philly cheese steak sandwich at Pig N' Whistle.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Classic Movie Trailer of the Month - May 2011

A movie that really creeped me out when I saw it for the first time.

Dinner last night:   French dip ham sandwich at Phillippe's---the Friday night pre-Dodger game ritual.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Your Holiday Weekend Movie Guide - May 2011

The majestic Radio City Music Hall lobby in all its glory.  Folks lined up for the best that Hollywood has to offer.

And, perhaps forty or fifty years later, we begin the summer moviegoing season with arguably the worst slate of films in the history of Hollywood.    I'll give you a pass on the last Harry Potter installment due out.  It has its legion of fans and, at least, some of them actually read the books.  The rest of the summer trash?  Mindless piles of shit that had no business being made in the first place.  And, so it begins.  Enter your multiplex at your own risk.

You know the drill.  I'll canvas today's Los Angeles Time movie listings and give you my knee-jerk reaction on what deserves your attention.  And, most likely, what you need to avoid like a plague.

Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides:  Talk about thieves.  These pirates have nothing on Johnny Depp and the filmmakers who are stealing you blind with the fourth installment of this crap, which was stillborn when the first movie came out.  Moronic twenty-year-old guys are walking the plank to see this and don't even realize there are sharks in the water below.

The Hangover, Part 2:  Now here's one I'm waiting for.  Not.  The first one got such decent reviews that I went to see it myself.  My life hasn't been the same since.  Kill these people before they strike again.  The same idiots who are going to see Pirates will run to this, too.  Pray for the youth of America.

Bridesmaids:  Those knucklehead twenty-year-old boys all have fat girlfriends and that's the audience for this hot mess.  Chubby chicks all dreaming about fitting into a wedding dress that is two sizes too small anyway.  I know some single women who saw this and even they didn't like it.  My God!  If you can't even please your own target audience...

Everything Must Go:  The detestable Will Ferrell tries his hand at drama, having still to have success at comedy.  Will is my first contribution to a zombie for the next scheduled Rapture.  A complete mystery talent who still needs to arrested and charged for giving us Anchorman.

The Beaver:  Jodie Foster, Mel Gibson, and definitely not Jerry Mathers.

13 Assassins:  Is this the new conspiracy theory about the grassy knoll in Dallas?  We're going to hear that JFK's killers all showed up in a yellow school bus.

Thor:  Thud.

Kung Fu Panda 2:  That comes with a spring roll, right?  I didn't see the first one.  I won't see this one.  I will not see the inevitable third, fourth, and fifth ones.

Make Believe:  Six young magicians pursue success and experience the trials of adolescence.   Most likely to try and make their parents disappear.

The Abduction of Zack Butterfield:  A woman kidnaps a 14 year-old boy and holds him prisoner.  Isn't that how Demi Moore landed Ashton Kutcher?

Dumbstruck:  Documentary follows five ventriloquists on and off stage.  This actually sounds like my kind of movie.  And, from what I hear, two of the dummies involved are actually United States Senators.

The Tree of Life:  Brad Pitt as a father in 1850s Texas trying to mend his relationship with his young son.  Needs to be chopped down immediately.

Fast Five:  Even faster if you don't bother at all.

Jumping the Broom:  Two Black families converge on Martha's Vineyard for a wedding.  Uh huh.  Sometimes you have to suspend all thoughts of plausibility when you go to the movies.   Usually, the only Blacks seen on the island are cleaning toilets at the Kennedy compound.   Here's hoping we can get JFK Jr. to fly some of them up.

Midnight in Paris:  Allegedly Woody Allen's best movie in years.  Owen Wilson is in it, so there's already one strike against it even before it starts.

Something Borrowed:  So let's return it.  Like immediately.

Water for Elephants:  Nap for Me.

Priest:  A priest disobeys church law to track down the vampires who kidnapped his niece.   So, let me get this straight.  Gays and women clergy, not good.  Vampires, okay?

Hobo with a Shotgun:  A homeless vigilante blows away crooked cops, pedophile Santas, and other scumbags with his trusty pump-action shotgun.  Okay, I'm in.

The First Grader:  The true story of an 84 year-old Kenyan villager and ex Mau Mau freedom fighter who fights for his right to go to school for the first time to get the education he could never afford.   Does this sound even remotely like a movie I would see?  If it does, may I please refer you to the last four plus years of this blog?

The Double Hour:  Speed dating in Italy.  You're cheating on your girlfriend five minutes after you meet her.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams:  Another Werner Herzog documentary.  You can never go wrong.  People with brains, please line up to the right.

Forks Over Knives:  A documentary examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.  Are hot dogs available at the candy counter?  The filmmakers better not look at my daily "Dinner last night."

Dinner last night:  Had a big late lunch, so nothing really.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Yay! I Finished Another Book - The War for Late Night

Regular blog readers will remember that this writer is a very poor reader.  In an effort to jumpstart myself, I pledged to do regular book reports here as I try in earnest to crack a few spines.  Book binding, that is.

Well, it only took me five months, but I finally finished a book in 2011.  So much for challenging myself.

"The War for Late Night" by New York Slimes reporter Bill Carter is a sequel to his book "The Late Shift," which was written in 1994 and I actually did read that one when it came out that same year.  Carter is uber-focused on the late night television wars.  Seventeen years ago, he chronicled the network battles over Johnny Carson, David Letterman, and Jay Leno when the Tonight Show was up for grabs.  His latest update is all about Leno's travails in prime time, his return to late night, and the subsequent displacement of Conan O'Brien.

"The War for Late Night" is a remarkable tale of NBC's sheer ineptitude.  The guys running this network might be better suited for managing a Dairy Queen, and, even then, they're probably too stupid to keep enough hot fudge sauce in stock.  At every turn of this drama, somebody in power at NBC is screwing up royally.  And they wonder why the only audience they can get these days is by rerunning their shows on American Airlines flights.  And, even there, I ignore them so I can finish books like "The War for Late Night."

The saga is well-known.  Leno has to quit "The Tonight Show" so the network doesn't lose Conan.  But, then, NBC doesn't want to lose Leno so they give him a show in primetime which is the equivalent of a nightly colonoscopy for viewers.  Instead of losing Jay, they put him back to late night and bump the hapless O'Brien to oblivion or, more specifically, TBS. 

While all the twists and curves are entertaining, there's really nothing terribly revealing in this book.  When you cut right down to dollars and sense, NBC simply made a smarter decision when choosing between Jay and Conan.  Cutting bait with Leno would have cost them $100 million.  Shitcanning Conan only cost them $40 million.  You do the math.

Carter skirts unbiased journalism, but who doesn't these days?  He clearly is enamored with Conan and, hence, the red-headed moppet comes off very sympathetically.  That's an immediate stretch for me, because, from insiders I speak with, Conan is a complete snot and a dirtbag.  One of those Harvard grads who thinks he's the smartest one in any room that he enters.  But, here, he is depicted as a martyr and it certainly taints the story Carter relates.  While I enjoyed it all, there was an unsurprising revelation for me at the end of the book.

I didn't give a shit.

Since Johnny Carson left late night, I have logged a grand total of about fifteen video minutes of viewing any of these talk shows.  When Carson bid adieu, I made an almost solemn vow never to check into a late night show after that and I have pretty much held firm to my pledge to Johnny's tenure and now memory.

Frankly, I've never liked Jay Leno's humor.  Always a bit mean-spirited and ultimately empty.  David Letterman must be sampled in small doses only and, with all his latest escapades, he's nothing more than a filthy old man who you always try to avoid during social hour at the nursing home.  As for Conan, his talents have always been lost on me.  I doubt if I would feel differently if he was a graduate of Fordham.

Totally missing from any of these late night talk shows is any whisper of spontaneity.  Each and every moment is now carefully scripted.  Remember the days when Suzanne Pleshette and Tony Randall would pop onto Johnny's couch and just bullshit for fifteen minutes?  Long gone.  Now, it's a guest promoting a movie.  Then the latest reject from either American Idol or Dancing with the Stars.  Then a musical number from somebody I've never heard of.  End of show.  A creative vacuum that never really stops sucking.

While the drama about who's doing these shows is always entertaining, the end result is always the same.  Boredom. 

Johnny, you are still missed.  And your accomplishments and legacy could give us volumes if only somebody like Bill Carter would devote time to writing them down.

Dinner last night:  Pork loin, sweet potato fries, and sauted string beans.