Thursday, May 31, 2012

If I Tweeted - May 2012

I don't, thank the Lord.  But, if I did, this would have been on my mind this past month.

#LenSpeaks  At the Dodger game last Sunday, the Nationals had somebody named Tyler Moore batting sixth and Bryce Harper batting seventh. Yes, I popped off more than a couple of Mary and Rhoda references.

#LenSpeaks   Vin Scully is amazing.  I learned something new from him every night.  I had no clue that Barry Zito's uncle is Patrick Duffy from "Dallas."

#LenSpeaks  P.S., Dodger Stadium now features black and white cookies.  Or is that racist???

#LenSpeaks  Saw my first Magic Johnson t-shirt at Dodger Stadium.  The only problem was that his son was wearing it.

#LenSpeaks  Barack Obama, America's Entertainer-In-Chief, tied up traffic again in Los Angeles when he went to George Clooney's house for a $35,000-a-plate fundraiser.  Lots of those hated one-percenters showed up.

#LenSpeaks  Barbra Streisand showed up as well.  To feed her, that would be $70,000.

#LenSpeaks  When I now hear her sing "The Way We Were," I am remembering her with about 100 pounds less.

#LenSpeaks  The President now sees nothing wrong with gay marriage.  Two days after he said he was against it.  Just who did he meet in a Hollywood mens rooms and how was it?

#LenSpeaks  It's hilarious that homosexuals went so gaga over Obama's gay announcement.  Not realizing that he's just looking at them all as nothing but votes.

#LenSpeaks  Went to Disneyland on a Thursday afternoon early in May.  It was loaded with families.   I have one word for all of them.  School?????

#LenSpeaks  A quick way to develop claustrophobia?   Take that Nemo submarine ride at Disneyland.  I now can sympathize with a tuna.

#LenSpeaks  I hear about all the economy woes and then I look around at all the crowds at Disneyland coming in for $80 or $90 a head.  I call "bullshit."

#LenSpeaks  Hands down, Joe Biden is the dumbest vice president we have had.  And, yes, I am including Dan Quayle in that competition.

#LenSpeaks  Biden reminds me of that uncle you must endure at holiday dinners.  Making no sense and emitting all those awful "old man smells."

#LenSpeaks  Speaking of which, now that the Dodger ownership has changed, Larry King has returned to Chavez Ravine.  Just in case you were wondering why Field Level Section 5 smelled like moth balls.

#LenSpeaks  New York police may have finally solved the little Etan Patz case.   That's funny.  When nobody could find the kid, I just assumed he was working in the William Morris mailroom.

#LenSpeaks   I love all these asshole politicians who talk about the environment and "going green."  Meanwhile, they flood our mailboxes with their re-election literature.  Killing trees so they can keep their jobs.

#LenSpeaks  My retaliation on all that garbage?  I don't reccycle it.  I throw it in the good old fashioned waste paper basket.  Ha!

#LenSpeaks  I did not watch American Idol this season until the very end.  Is this still a singing competition?  You could fool me.

#LenSpeaks  This year's winner, Phillip Phillips, has a fitting name.  When he sings, he looks like he needs some milk of magnesia.

#LenSpeaks  They dragged out Chaka Khan on the Idol finale.  She seems to have sobered up.  I remember when they had to hang her up on a coat hook so she could pose for pictures.

#LenSpeaks  If it's possible, Steven Tyler's plastic surgery is even worse than Joan Rivers.

#LenSpeaks  My nominee for Mystery Talent this month?  Jennifer Lopez.  As far as the use-o-meter goes, hers is on empty.

#LenSpeaks  Donna Summer RIP.  It really was the last dance.

#LenSpeaks  A bad week for disco.  Robin Gibbs RIP.  Staying alive?  Er, not so much.

#LenSpeaks  Over the Memorial Day weekend, 40 people were killed in gunfire in the city of Chicago.  Most of them on the south side.  Obama's former area of political control.  Your honor, the prosecution rests.

#LenSpeaks  Now that's what I call good community organizing.  Meanwhile, you get no comment from the President on this news.

#LenSpeaks  No, I did not buy stock in Facebook.  I am quite comfortable with my ongoing investment in McDonalds.  Social networks come and go.  Obesity lives forever.

Dinner last night:  Chicken salad sandwich and salad.



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This Date in History - May 30

Today would have been Stepin Fetchit's 110th birthday.  And how many blogs are leading with his photo this morning?  Probably not many.

70:  TITUS AND HIS ROMAN LEGIONS BREACH THE SECOND WALL OF JERUSALEM.  THE JEWISH DEFENDERS RETREAT TO THE FIRST WALL. 

We have entirely too many walls in this world.  Thank God Mr. Gorbachev tore down his.

1416:  THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE, CALLED BY THE EMPEROR SIGISMUND, A SUPPORTER OF ANTIPOPE JOHN XXIII, BURNS JEROME OF PRAGUE FOLLOWING A TRIAL FOR HERESY.

What the hell is an Antipope??

1431:  IN ROUEN, FRANCE, 19 YEAR-OLD JOAN OF ARC IS BURNED AT THE STAKE BY AN ENGLISH-DOMINATED TRIBUNAL.

May 30 is a big day for lighter fluid sales.

1536:  KING HENRY VIII OF ENGLAND MARRIES JANE SEYMOUR, A LADY-WAITING TO HIS FIRST TWO WIVES.

His guy was such a pig.  Meanwhile, this is years before she became Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman.

1539:  IN FLORIDA, HERNANDO DE SOTO LANDS AT TAMPA BAY WITH THE GOAL OF FINDING GOLD.

This was Hernando's Hideaway.

1588:  THE LAST SHIP OF THE SPANISH ARMADA SETS SAIL FROM LISBON HEADING FOR THE ENGLISH CHANNEL.

They used this trip to film a sweeps-month episode of "The Love Boat" with Charo and Ricardo Montalban.

1642:  FROM THIS DATE, ALL HONORS GRANTED BY CHALRES I ARE ANNULLED BY PARLIAMENT.

And you think we have gridlocked government???

1806:  ANDREW JACKSON KILLS CHARLES DICKINSON IN A DUEL AFTER DICKINSON HAD ACCUSED JACKSON'S WIFE OF BIGAMY.

So I guess it was something he said.

1814:  THE TREATY OF PARIS IS SIGNED AND NAPOLEON BONAPARTE IS EXILED TO ELBA.

See ya.

1842:  JOHN FRANCIS ATTEMPTS TO MURDER QUEEN VICTORIA AS SHE DRIVES DOWN CONSTITUTION HILL, LONDON WITH PRINCE ALBERT.

Was Queen Victoria riding in a Queen Victoria??  Ha, you thought I was going make a Prince Albert in a can joke, right?

1854:  THE KANSAS-NEBRASKA ACT BECOMES LAW ESTABLISHING THE US TERRORITIES OF NEBRASKA AND KANSAS.

Well, we had to put backwards people someplace.

1859:  WESTMINISTER'S BIG BEN RANG FOR THE FIRST TIME IN LONDON.

I feel sorry for any homeowners within a five block radius.

1879:  NEW YORK'S GILMORES GARDEN IS RENAMED MADISON SQUARE GARDEN. 

Once a dump, always a dump.

1883:  IN NEW YORK CITY, A RUMOR THAT THE BROOKLY BRIDGE IS GOING TO COLLAPSE CAUSES A STAMPEDE THAT CRUSHES TWELVE PEOPLE.

So, years ago, the infrastructure was already fucked up???

1896:  DIRECTOR HOWARD HAWKS IS BORN.

Now his folks are bringing up Baby.

1899:  PRODUCER IRVING THALBERG IS BORN.

He died in 1936.  That's a really short stay.

1902:  ACTOR STEPIN FETCHIT IS BORN.

Doorbell, Ise a-get-it.

1908:  VOICE ACTOR MEL BLANC IS BORN.

He's up, Doc.

1911:  THE FIRST INDIANAPOLIS 500 ENDS WITH RAY HARROUN BECOMING THE WINNER.

Over 100 years ago, this wasn't a sport then and it's not a sport now. 

1911:  GAME PIONEER MILTON BRADLEY DIES.

No ladder today, only a chute.

1922:  IN WASHINGTON DC, THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL IS DEDICATED.

The guy died in 1865.  This honor was long overdue.

1926:  CHRISTINE JORGENSEN IS BORN.

Well, at least, for now....

1936:  ACTOR KEIR DULLEA IS BORN.

You know what they say.  Keir Dullea, gone tomorrow.

1942:  1000 BRITISH BOMBERS LAUNCH A 90-MINUTE ATTACK ON COLOGNE, GERMANY.

And take that, you Krauts!

1943:  FOOTBALL PLAYER GALE SAYERS IS BORN.

I love you, Brian Piccolo.

1944:  ACTRESS MEREDITH MACRAE IS BORN.

She died in 2000.  Petticoat Dis-junction.

1953:  MUSICIAN DOOLEY WILSON DIES.

Play it again, Sam.  Oh, wait, never mind.

1958:  THE REMAINS OF TWO UNIDENTIFIED AMERICAN SERVICEMEN, KILLED IN ACTION DURING WORLD WAR II AND THE KOREAN WAR, ARE BURIED AT THE TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER IN ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY.

Here lies....well, somebody.

1967:  ACTOR CLAUDE RAINS DIES.

A tough day for the Casablanca cast.

1968:  CHARLES DE GAULLE REAPPEARS PUBLICLY AND DISSOLVES THE FRENCH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.

The gall!

1986:  FASHION DESIGNER PERRY ELLIS DIES.

Size 16 shroud, please.

1989:  THE 33-FOOT-HIGH GODDESS OF DEMOCRACY STATUE IS UNVEILED BY STUDENT DEMONSTRATORS IN TIANANMEN SQUARE.

Democracy.  In China??  Now, that's a laugh.

2006:  ACTOR ROBERT STERLING DIES.

George Kirby really is a ghost now.

Dinner last night:  Louisiana sausage with mango salsa at the Dodger game.



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why I Like Theater in Los Angeles

There are lots of reasons actually. 

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I really thought I would miss the whole Broadway show experience.  The true New Yorker snobbishness. 

I soon learned just how civilized and pleasant theater going can be in the City of Angels.  Oh, sure, we generally wind up with national companies of shows that may have opened two years ago on the Great White Way.  Sometimes, there are one or two performers from the original cast.  Other times, you're dredging the bottom of the casting barrel.  One friend of mine recently saw the national touring company of the latest "West Side Story" revival at the Pantages Theater.  He was aghast at how horrible the dancing was.  Jerome Robbins has died several times since.

But, you take your chances if you live in Los Angeles and want to experience theater.   You're rarely disappointed.  Once in a blue moon, you get something before it even lands in New York as was the case when the wonderful "Drowsy Chaperone" was conceived and originally mounted at the Ahmanson Theater.  And, beyond the little jewels you have to seek out, there are so many other perks that give Los Angeles the leg up when you compare it to the New York City theater scene in 2012.

No need to run down 44th Street when your show lets out at 10:55PM and the Metro North express train to Yonkers is at 11:15PM.

No need to sit alongside tourists from all the anal portals of this country who show up for their night of culture in t-shirts, jeans, and flip flops.

No need to suffer through severe knee pain from a lack of leg room in whatever row I am seated in.

No need to endure a ten-deep line in the parking garage where there's only one attendant and he doesn't speak English.

No need to walk out from a darkened theater into garish Times Square where the neon advertising can literally give you Lasix surgery if you stare at them too long.

No need to endure slobs ambling around the Broadway promenade looking to snack on something they can easily buy in their shopping mall back in Bumfuk, Iowa.

Yeah, there are pluses.

And when something like "Follies" comes to the Ahmanson Theater fresh from its Broadway run and just before it shows up at the Tony Awards on June 10, that is the biggest plus of all.

I've never seen the show in any of its previous incarnations, so I had nothing to compare it to.  All I know is that this was virtually the entire cast that just played Broadway, save for Bernadette Peters in the lead.  And, for me, that's a double win as my expiration date on her Betty Boop act happened back in 1979.  There was one other replacement in one of the smaller roles---Sammy Williams who I saw years ago in the original cast of "A Chorus Line."

If you don't know the "Follies" story, it's pretty simple.  A bunch of aging Ziegfeld-like show girls gather in an old theater for one last reunion before the dump is torn down for a parking lot.  Husbands are in tow and marriages are unraveling around some pretty nifty tunes by Stephen Sondheim.  Old broads tap dancing with abandon.  How good does this get?
With this production of "Follies," pretty darn good.  There's not a bad performance in the lot with Jan Maxwell, Danny Burstein, and Elaine Paige as standouts in an already luminous cast. 

All in all, a stellar night on Broadway.  Well, three thousand miles from Broadway.

Beyond the marvelousness of the show, I savored all the aforementioned perks.  The audience was really divided into two distinct camps.   The older folks from Beverly Hills.  And the over-40 gay crowd.  And then there was me.  But, as I surveyed the throng, there wasn't a torn shirt or a flip flop in the house.  And, thankfully, nobody from either Nebraska or Oklahoma.

I had gotten to the show with simply a single ticket.  All by myself and I was tenth row center.  No aisle seat needed here.  Plenty o'leg room as the Ahmanson, thank goodness, was built after 1940.  I played with my phone as we all waited for the overture to begin.  Two gals on one side of me were busy chattering about their latest TV auditions.   Blah, blah, blah.   Relatively uninteresting.

The seat on the other side of me was empty.  The woman next to that was also apparently by herself.  A bad blonde dye job and wearing huge glasses from the Carlo Ponti collection.  She reminded me of somebody, but I couldn't pinpoint who.  And the clunky eyewear made it impossible to really recognize her.  Hmmm, maybe that's why she was wearing them.

She conversed with me rather innocuously.  I was friendly, but, not too much, as I didn't want to turn this into a theater pick-up on either end.  As the light dimmed, I commented on the glory of the empty seat between us.  We could stretch out.  I added...

"It's like when the middle seat next to you on a plane is empty."

She laughed heartily.  But, why not?  I can be damn funny if I have to be.

Miss Clunky Glasses followed me out to the lobby at the act break.  As we ambled down the row, I noticed that some of the gay musical comedy queens in the audience were acknowledging her.

"I love your work."

"You're fabulous.  We adore you."

"Please come back to Broadway soon."

Okay, who the fuck are you, lady?  These gay guys know.   I don't.

I listened to her voice and noticed some familiarity, but still, I didn't have a clue.  I probably could have asked, but my first rule of Hollywood existence has always been not to bother famous people.

We returned to our seats for Act Two.  I watched the show with one eye and stared at her with the other.  She was not always responsive to the musical numbers, but was particularly effusive with certain performers.  Friends?  Maybe former co-stars?  Or perhaps you were both presenters at the Tonys?

It was killing me that I couldn't figure out who Miss Clunky Glasses really was. 

When the show ended, I flipped on my phone and immediately did my Google search of the possibilities I had run through the filter of my brain.  I settled on one.

Faith Prince. 

Except for the crappy blonde hair and ugly specs, this could have been her.  Looking at IMDB, I noticed she'd been LA-based of late with some TV work.  Okay, I was 75% sure now.

"Maybe Faith Prince" walked out the exit that I know leads to the stage door.  Ah, she was going backstage to congratulate whoever.

Me?  I hopped on the escalator and was at my car in five minutes.   A half hour later, I was already home with a bedtime glass of milk and a chocolate chip cookie.  Except for my inability to recognize a celebrity, it was a wonderful and stress-free evening.

And, so, that's why I like theater in Los Angeles.

Dinner last night:  Wyagu Roast Beef with grilled broccolini at the Whisper Lounge.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday Morning Video Laugh - May 28, 2012

One of the late George "Goober" Lindsey's first appearances on "The Andy Griffith Show."



Dinner last night:  Chef's salad.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Dad in Uniform

Happy Memorial Day weekend to all.  Many of us come from the generation that endured World War II and even served in its battles.  You may have had a father who did so bravely and later had stories to tell.

So did I.   And here's a photo of my dad in his Army uniform.

Truth be told, though, my father didn't have a plethora of heroic tales to share.  He did go overseas, yes.  To Japan where he apparently complained about the food.  But, major action?  Er, no.  He worked in an office and his mightiest struggle may have been with a pesky typewriter ribbon.

My dad's family was a microcosm of America during the 40s and the homefront years.  My grandparents had four sons and all of them served in WWII.  The oldest son, Augie, was in the Army and had some involvement with the D-Day invasion of the beach at Normandy.  My namesake was also in the Army and didn't make it back.  He was killed in the south of France about two weeks before V-E Day.  I believe Fritz was in the Navy, since I recall a photo of him with one of those Navy berets.

My dad was the youngest of the four and wound up as far from action.  The only weapon he had to worry about was likely a pair of chopsticks.  He didn't really ever said much about the experience, except that he hated the food.  Because, as was the case with this generation, they didn't mention anything.

Once again, if you wanted to find out about the past lives of your parents, you had to ask very specific and appropriate questions.  And, if you were extremely lucky, you got an answer.  Or, as was usually the case, you got bounced to the other parent who would immediately deflect you back to the first parent.  Suddenly, you weren't their child.  You were a ping pong ball.

Now I saw all these military headshots strewn around my family's walls and shelves.  I was curious.  I had always had a romantic attraction to the American homefront years, which was probably the last time this country was completely unified.  I wanted to learn all about it.  And I had all these first-hand witnesses, right?

I figured I would start small.  I'd ask my dad the most innocent of questions and then ramp up from there.  We were riding in the car one day to the super market and I dove in with both feet.

"So did Mom write to you a lot when you were in the Army during the war?"

Fairly mild and only slightly invasive, I thought.  But the look on my father's face made it seem like I had kicked him in the groin.

"What kind of stupid question is that??"

Ummm....

Dad paused for an eternity of ten seconds or so.  And then he offered up a morsel.

"I wasn't dating your mother.  I was getting letters from Muriel."

Muriel?  Like the cigar??

I asked the follow-up question and got the usual follow-up shutdown.

And this was one that I couldn't circle back to Mom for more information.  Suppose she didn't know about Muriel, who I later discovered was a woman in our church and still around for all to see and behold.  I didn't certainly want to start World War III in my own household.  So, I did exactly what all the adults in my family were very, very good at.

I kept it all to myself.

Nobody talked about those war years and, of course, Grandma was particularly close-mouthed about it all.  She had lost a son.  For years, I didn't know what that purple medal was that hung in her living room.  I later discovered its significance.  But that was a subject you didn't go into.  All the stories about my uncle with the same name as mine seemed to stop with 1944. 

Years later, my dad announced that he would give me a metal strong box that contained a lot of memorabilia about our family's loss in the war.  I found a yellowed and withered letter from the War Department that detailed the exact burial site for him.  It was in the south of France.  What was the reason why they didn't bring him home to the states for his final resting place?  Why?

In this case, my father was as clueless as I was.

"I don't know."

I noticed that the letter or wire announcing his death was not amongst the snippets of a military life in that box.  What happened to that?  My father knew.

"It went in the garbage."

Along with all the emotions that went with that devastating news.

Even though he didn't talk much about his Army tenure, I think my father was particularly proud of it, even though the only weapon he touched might have been a desk stapler.  He displayed his pride by taking me to every military movie that came out in the 60s.

"The Longest Day."

"The Guns of Navarone."

"The Bridge Over the River Kwai."

"The Train."

"Von Ryan's Express."

All seen with my father.  While my mom handled all the Disney and biblical films, Dad was the exclusive conduit to Hollywood's various depictions of WWII.  And, as good as every one of those movies were, he always had the same comment afterwards.

"I don't think it happened like that."

Oh, really, how do you know that?  Tell me more.  Please!

He never did.

There were only two times in my life that I actually saw my father cry.  The first was when he came into the house from work after my grandfather had just died.  But, the second time blew me away.  It was sudden, spontaneous, and, the time, unexplainable.

He had taken me out for a Sunday drive and, in a rare deviation from our typical route in the Bronx, we wound up motoring down the West Side Highway in Manhattan.  Since Mom was nowhere in the vicinity, the car radio was tuned to my father's favorite, WNEW-AM.  Suddenly, there was that ominous news bulletin alert.  That was always scary in itself.

"GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR HAS DIED."

Who?  I didn't know at the time.  I was that young.  But, I looked to my father and there were tears streaming down his face.  I asked him what was wrong.

"My boss died."

His boss?  I suddenly realized that, to someone who had been involved in the military during World War II, this man had tremendous importance.  And apparently commanded eternal loyalty.

There was a pause of a minute or two.  Dad wiped the tears from his eyes and then kept driving on. 

In the usual silence.

Dinner last night:  BLT sandwich at Blue Plate.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Classic Movie Trailer of the Month - May 2012

The music scared the shit out of me when I was a kid.  Coming out soon on Blu-Ray.  I can't wait for my copy.



Dinner last night:  The terrific pre-game buffet at the Dodger Stadium Club.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Your 2012 Senior Prom Photo Album

Is this a senior prom or an Errol Flynn movie?
I don't think they mean George.
I thought welterweights weren't supposed to mix with heavyweights.
Yankee Doodle Dummies.
Headed straight from the prom to her job at the Post Office.
Excuse me while I look for a paper bag.
These two have seen one too many John Hughes movies.
He spent more time on his hair than she did.
Winnie the Pooh is climbing up to her honey tree.
What happens when prom dates can't find a babysitter.

Dinner last night:  Grilled Taylor Ham and salad.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The William Holden Moment


If you're looking at the title of today's post and wondering where this piece will go, I must confess that it's not about any connection I have to William Holden.  The guy's been dead for over thirty years.  There was no opportunity for me to run into him in the cereal aisle at Ralph's Supermarket.

But, the guy's been on my mind lately.  No, I didn't just watch "Picnic" or "Network."  I've been thinking about how Holden checked out of this mortal coil.

Drunk in his Santa Monica apartment, he fell down and cracked his head on the edge of a coffee table.  He bled to death.

Alone.

Makes you think.  Those of us who live by ourselves.

I'm doing it for the first time in about a decade and a half.  When my writing partner and I first moved to Los Angeles fifteen years ago, we stayed together in a temporary apartment.  Our time frame was to do that only for six months.  Three apartments and 183 months later, we were still at it.  The set-up just became very convenient and economical, especially for yours truly who maintains a bi-coastal existence.  The key was we both had separate lives and wings in our apartment. 

For a myriad of reasons that mostly concern health and family, my writing partner has returned east.  I remain in Los Angeles to hold down the creative fort and, thanks to computers and Skype, long distance writing relationships can still exist. 

So, I turn around and discover that I am in the apartment alone.  While it never happened once in fifteen years, I discover that there is no door to knock on in the middle of the night if I can't breathe.  Well, there is still a door but now it's just an empty guest room. 

I've lived alone before and certainly never had a problem.  Quiet is something to always relish.  But, I'm older now and maybe a little closer to a moment where I can't breathe in the middle of the night.

Amazing how your mind wanders into this bizarr-o world just because another birthday has been reached.

Yet, I look around and I marvel at the number of people I know who live in solitude.  By themselves.  I easily count those friends and I'm already in double digits.  For whatever reason, I know a lot of folks in the same lonely boat.

A few weeks back, there was a small scare precipitated by just this solo phenomenon.  A friend was going to be picked up for an outing, but he got stuck someplace and, in his cell phone-less life, couldn't connect to tell others he was late.  The usual "there's gotta be a logical reason" explanation.

Except all another friend of mine and I could think was that this was totally out of character and he just might have passed out in his apartment.  Alone.  Conclusions were not just jumped to.  There were major leaps.  Even the police were called.  Plenty of red faces ensued, especially when the tardy one showed up, hale and hearty.

A silly course of events.  You betcha.  But, the moment sticks around to this day.

So, now I have friends looking to erect phone trees of support.  Apartment keys will be exchanged.  Locksmiths look to get rich.  Everybody is looking to have everybody else's back.  Looking to guard each other from a William Holden moment.

I thought back to December 30, 1987.  I don't forget the date because, when your arm is a sling for New Year's Eve, the memory sticks with you.  I was prepping to go out for a movie.  I walked out of the bathroom and tripped on my untied sneaker laces.  I fell forward and landed on my shoulder.  The kind of pain that only makes you lie on the floor and laugh hysterically.  The joint now sported a hairline fracture.  The psyche made me worry about having an accident in my own home with nobody else around.

Nothing like that has happened since.  Fingers are crossed that nothing like this happens ever again.  I think of William Holden and I worry about the pointed corners of my new coffee table.  I look at the wine rack and know that I'm only good for just one glass a night.  Oh, and I always remember to tie my sneakers now.

To all those around me, near and far, who live alone, I feel your angst.  I get your apprehension.  I have your cell phone number. 

In reality, though, we are all alone even in the midst of a crowd.  You can only do what you can do.  Life comes and life goes.  On its own schedule.  Whether a person is across the apartment or across town or across the country.   Vin Scully has an interesting way of referencing this inevitability.

"If you want to make God smile, tell him you have plans."

Yep, there's going to be a William Holden moment for all of us.  I just hope mine doesn't cause a stain on the new carpet. 

Dinner last night:  Had a big lunch, so just a salad.





Wednesday, May 23, 2012

This Date in History - May 23

Today would have been Rosemary Clooney's 84th birthday.  A national holiday on my calendar.

1430:  JOAN OF ARC IS CAPTURED BY THE BURGUNDIANS WHILE LEADING AN ARMY TO RELIEVE COMPIEGNE.

So what kind of wine goes better when you're cooking a human?

1498:  GIROLAMO SAVONAROLA IS BURNED AT THE STAKE IN FLORENCE, ITALY ON THE ORDERS OF POPE ALEXANDER VI.

I'll ask the question again.

1533:  THE MARRIAGE OF KING HENRY VIII TO CATHERINE OF ARGON IS DECLARED NULL AND VOID.

No community property laws in England.

1568:  DUTCH REBELS LED BY LOUIS OF NASSAU, BROTHER OF WILLIAM I OF ORANGE, DEFEAT JEAN DE LIGNE AND HIS LOYALIST TROOPS IN THE BATTLE OF HEILIGERLEE, OPENING THE EIGHTY YEARS' WAR.

So this nonsense is over in 1648?

1618:  THE SECOND DEFENESTRATION OF PRAGUE PRECIPITATES THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR.

So this nonsense is over in 1648, too?

1701:  AFTER BEING CONVICTED OF PIRACY AND OF MURDERING WILLIAM MOORE, CAPTAIN WILLIAM KIDD IS HANGED IN LONDON.

Breaking an unofficial Hollywood rule: you don't kill off a Kidd.

1706:  JOHN CHURCHILL, 1ST DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH, DEFEATS A FRENCH ARMY UNDER MARSHAL VILLEROI.

3rd Duke of Pall Mall.

1805:  NAPOLEON BONAPARTE IS CROWNED KING OF ITALY WITH THE IRON CROWN OF LOMBARDY IN THE CATHEDRAL OF MILAN.

As if screwing up France wasn't enough for Shorty....

1829:  ACCORDION PATENT GRANTED TO CYRILL DEMIAN IN VIENNA.

Now Myron Floren has something to do.

1844:  A MERCHANT OF SHIRAZ ANNOUNCES THAT HE IS A PROPHET AND FOUNDS A RELIGIOUS MOVEMENT THAT WOULD LATER BE BRUTALLY CRUSHED BY THE PERSIAN GOVERNMENT.  HE IS CONSIDERED TO BE A FORERUNNER OF THE BAHA'I FAITH.

Unfortunately, we won't be rid of this nonsense for, like ever.

1873:  THE CANADIAN PARLIAMENT ESTABLISHES THE NORTH-WEST MOUNTED POLICE.

Sgt. Preston, here you come.

1910:  ACTOR SCATMAN CROTHERS IS BORN.

I wonder if it really says "Scatman" on his birth certificate.

1910:  BANDLEADER ARTIE SHAW IS BORN.

He made it to 94.  And you thought no man could survive being married to both Lana Turner and Ava Gardner.

1911:  THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY IS DEDICATED.

So am I.  To doing this blog every single day.

1912:  ACTOR JOHN PAYNE IS BORN.

He proved there was a Santa Claus.  At least in the movies.

1919:  ACTRESS BETTY GARRETT IS BORN.

That Irene Lorenzo dame!!!

1928:  SINGER ROSEMARY CLOONEY IS BORN.

One of my favorites.  And I met her once on my birthday!

1934:  BANK ROBBERS BONNIE AND CLYDE ARE AMBUSHED AND KILLED BY POLICE.

Oh, crap, so that's how the movie ends?  Spoiler alert!

1936:  ACTOR CHARLES KIMBROUGH IS BORN.

Jim Dial of "Murphy Brown" fame.

1945:  DURING WORLD WAR II, HEINRICH HIMMLER, THE HEAD OF THE SS, COMMITS SUICIDE WHILE IN ALLIED CUSTODY.

Coward's way out.

1949:  THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY IS ESTABLISHED.

Rising from the ashes already.

1958:  COMEDIAN DREW CAREY IS BORN.

Now reduced to a life of Plinko games.

1967:  EGYPT CLOSES THE STRAITS OF TIRAN AND BLOCKADES THE PORT OF EILAT TO ISRAELI SHIPPING.

Eighty years of war.  Thirty years of war.  Here comes six days that will last forever.

1975:  COMEDIAN MOMS MABLEY DIES.

My mother loved her.  With or without her teeth.  

1981:  COMEDIAN GEORGE JESSEL DIES.

My grandmother hated him.  With or without her teeth.

1986:  ACTOR STERLING HAYDEN DIES.

The first guy Michael knocks off in the Godfather.  

1998:  THE GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT IS ACCEPTED IN NORTHERN IRELAND WITH 75% VOTING YES.

With 25% voting against, that's hardly an agreement.

2002:  GOLFER SAM SNEAD DIES.

The sand trap of eternity.

2006:  POLITICIAN LLOYD BENTSEN DIES.

This idiot could have been Vice President.

2010:  PITCHER JOSE LIMA DIES.

I still remember him for Game 3 of the 2004 NLDS pitching for the Dodgers.  An electric performance.

Dinner last night:   Grilled chicken teriyaki and broccoli.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Days of Our Knees

You've been following the saga of my left knee here, right?  Well, who knew that this was going to be a long running soap opera?

So, on our last episode, you will remember that I had arthroscopic surgery to remove the severely torn meniscus on my left knee.  Disregard the fact that I didn't even know what the hell a meniscus was six months ago.  I found out pretty darn quickly and then it was gone.  Hello and it was nice to know you.

Now, I was told by many folks that meniscus surgery featured a relatively easy recovery.  You're walking pretty quickly.  You can return to a gym several days later.  What?  You have an audition for the touring company of "A Chorus Line?"  Er, no problem.  "One singular sensation..."

As soon as I woke up from the anesthetic, I was thinking that lots of those testimonials bore as much weight as my left knee was able to withstand.  I popped off the gurney.  I was given crutches that I never used.  I walked unaided wherever I needed to go.

Two weeks later, I had my first real test. The stairs leading down to Row L in Loge Aisle 120 at Dodger Stadium.  Opening day of the 2012 baseball season would feature also the opening of my new life without a left meniscus.  Despite the fact that there was no bannister, I was up and down those stairs very easily.  I was fine throughout that first home stand.

Not so on the second home stand.

Hey, what happened?  Did they move my seats?  This is suddenly a long walk.  Or maybe the pain just below my knee is making it seem so.

By the third home stand, I was back using my cane to climb down the Dodger Stadium stairs.  It seems that the United States of America isn't the only thing suffering a severe regression in 2012.  So was I.  Surgery, my ass.  Or should it be....surgery, my knee!  

I had been diligent about my required physical therapy.  I was still working with my trainer twice a week.  Why am I walking worse than I did the day after surgery?  I had a follow-up visit with my doctor, but that, unfortunately, provided no answers.

"Well, it has only been a couple of weeks.  Recovery from meniscus surgery can be slow."

What?  That's not what you told me.  That's not what dozens of soon-to-be-ex-friends testified. 

One of my therapists had suggested that the problem might not necessarily be connected to the actual and former home of the left meniscus.  His theory was that this was muscular.  I mentioned this notion to my doctor.

"Hmmm, maybe."

I realized that he wasn't necessarily going to agree.  To be shown up by a thirty-year-old former gym rat.   But he certainly didn't refute it.  I was due back in another month.  If I was not improved by then, there would be a cortisone shot reserved with my name on it.

More massages, ice treatments, and exercises with the therapists and my trainer.  I was fine going up any stairs.  But, the trip down I needed to hold onto something or somebody.  A trip to Disneyland was endured and I was grateful that Walt installed lots of benches when he built that place back in 1955.

Finally, there was a breakthrough, thanks to the brilliant thinking of my therapist, Susie.

"I think this is patella tendonitis."

Huh?  What the hell is that?  A seafood dish in a Spanish restaurant?

"It's very common after meniscus surgery.  I'm surprised your doctor never mentioned that."

Um, no.  Nor did about fifteen friends who will no receive Christmas cards from me this December.

Susie wanted to try something.  A procedure of taping just below my knee that effectively would "unload" the exertion being endured by the tendon below my knee.  After the surgery, it was forced to work harder and now I suppose was doing its own version of an Occupy movement.  Susie applied a few pieces of tape but the results were almost immediate.  The pain went from a 9 to a 3 overnight.

There was a Dodger game the next day.  I went down the stairs with the cane raised over my head.  I certainly didn't move down them quickly, but I think this was going to become an Olympic speed race anyway.  I certainly was moving better.

My other therapist, Justin, got with the program and taped me as well.  And Christina, my personal trainer, pointed me in the direction of her favorite fitness store where they sell special straps that help people deal with patella tendonitis.

All this and my doctor still doesn't know any of it yet.

The strap has helped to make me almost pain-free and, hopefully soon, I will also be patella tendonitis-free as well as left-meniscus-free.

Meanwhile, I Googled the following.

"patella tendonitis following meniscus surgery."

Oh, my God, from everything I read, this is as common as a cold.

Who knew?   Apparently not my doctor.

Dinner last night:  Grilled Taylor ham, beets, and corn.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Morning Video Laugh - May 21, 2012

With the recent PBS special, everybody's thinking about Johnny Carson these days.  And I'm no different.

 

Dinner last night:  Philly cheesesteak sandwich at the Dodger game.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Remembering Johnny Carson

Hopefully, you watched this week the absolutely marvelous PBS documentary on Johnny Carson.  I had a smile on my face the entire two hours and, when it was over, I had a renewed feeling of loss.  The same way I felt almost twenty years ago when Johnny packed up his cigarettes and his desk for the last time. 

I was mourning him all over again.  I made a pledge at the time that I would never watch a late night talk show again.  And, except for some very isolated moments, I have remained steadfast and loyal to the one and only King of Late Night. 

For me, "The Tonight Show" was as much a part of my childhood as Bugs Bunny, the New York Mets, and homework.  It was my earliest connection to a magical world.  Hollywood.  The stars I loved.  The world I craved.  And, sitting in my bedroom with my black-and-white TV set in Mount Vernon, New York, this all seemed so far away. 

Johnny was my pathway to it all.  I was a weird twelve-year-old.  I loved a good television talk show.  I've written about this before, but it bears repeating.

When I was a kid, I loved loved loved Fridays. Not only was school done for the week and the weekend of play was at hand, it was the one weeknight that my bedtime was not under Nazi control. Translation: I could stay up till all hours, as long as I kept the TV in my room and me quiet. Not an issue. I didn't want to do anything that might endanger my Friday night watching Johnny Carson and "The Tonight Show."

This was when late night talk shows were true entertainment. Spontaneous, funny, educational, always interesting. Nothing like the over-rehearsed publicist-driven offerings now hosted by Jay Leno and David Letterman.   There's not an organic moment on their shows.


I looked forward to those Friday nights with Johnny. What old friend would I get to see that evening?

Tony Randall teaching us the origination of some obscure word.

Suzanne Pleshette complaining about her husband.   Watching this, I had no idea that, years later, I would have several telephone conversations with that very man.

Pearl Bailey pulling Johnny out to join her in a soft shoe dance.

Jimmy Stewart reading one of his poems, perhaps dedicated to the paper clip.

Joan Embery from the San Diego Zoo putting some creature on top of Johnny's head.

Don Rickles popping out to surprise Johnny during a Japanese bath.

Maybe Carnak. Or Aunt Blabby. Or Art Fern. It was always a roll of the dice, but it almost always came up a winner for me.

Once I actually had to expand my viewership beyond Friday. In a much ballyhooed event, that crazy crooner Tiny Tim was going to actually get married on a "Tonight Show" episode airing on, gasp, a Monday (and school)night. This precipitated about three weeks of Kissinger-like negotiations with my mother to be allowed to stay up for the nuptuals. I had to commit to going to bed at 7:30PM for several hours, so that my eight hour plus sleep time would not be disrupted.

My alarm went off at 1125PM that night.  My mother wondered about this alien noise.  Had she forgotten our deal?

"Go to sleep!"

But....

But....

BUT....

I won the argument.  And slept through my science class the next morning.

If I wasn't watching Johnny Carson on Friday nights, I was doing my own version of "The Tonight Show" in the basement.  I've written before here about the "TV shows" I used to do in my own little cellar studio.  Sometimes, I would arrange things for my sitcom set.  Or "The Mike Douglas Show."  But, there were certain days where the situation was right to do my "Tonight Show."

When Grandma's wash was drying on the line inside. 

You see, that gave me the opportunity to have a curtain.  I mean, I had to come onto the stage through a curtain like Johnny, right?

When Grandma had hung up her slipcovers, that was the optimum. 

"Don't play stupid with my laundry!"

Hey, I was just trying to be as authentic as possible.  And your slipcovers are fine, thank you very much.

When I got a little bit older, I started looking at Johnny's written material.  Hmmm, I can do this.  Suddenly, I would be writing down my own Carnac questions and slipping them into envelopes.  I'd go "up the block" to my friends and do a one-man-show for them. 

There was another bit that Johnny did which intrigued me as well.  He'd put funny captions on classic movie photos and do somebody's family tree.  Hmmm, I can do this, too.

I'd troop down to the Mount Vernon Public Library and pull out some books on old films.  I'd find the weirder pictures and, then......RRIIIIIPPPPP.  Right out of the book.  To this day, there are probably some books in that wonderful hall of literature that are missing whole pages.  Yes, I took them.

I'd mount the photos on cardboard and then, armed with my own version of a family tree, take them outside to entertain my friends in between punchball games.  They laughed.  I must have been doing something right.

As I have written before in these blog pages, my love for "The Tonight Show" also provided me with my first-ever attendance as a member of a studio audience.  Long, long ago, Johnny's gabfest was based in NC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. And the age limit for tickets was a very loose "15." I would send for tickets and then my friend Leo and I would truck down there for the 530PM taping.

As soon as we got home, I would send for more tickets the very next day. I continued to do this for about four years. And we relished the 1230AM commercial break where they always showed the audience and we would clamor to see us enjoy that 15 nano-seconds of fame.

As I got older, I got to watch "The Tonight Show" a lot more than just Friday nights. And it was the ideal way to end a day of college or work. Because it was spontaneous. Television you will never ever see again. Whether it was a celebrity or maybe an animal, you didn't know what to expect.  Like this less-than-toilet-trained coyote.
 

In this classic clip, Doc Severinsen and Johnny discuss their plans for Thanksgiving.  Totally unscripted.   And genuine.

Or the night where Ed McMahon was a little tipsy.

It's one show that I truly miss to this day. And now I go to bed on Friday nights at the same time I go every other night.

And I long for one more chance to stay up late with Johnny. 


Dinner last night: Pizza with prosciutto and arugula at Skylight Gardens.




 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Classic TV Theme of the Month - May 2012

As infectious as a TV theme song can get.


Dinner last night:  Sausage and garlic fries at the Dodger game.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Your Weekend Movie Guide for May 2012

Wow, there's so much going on in this newspaper clipping from the mid 60s.  Here we see an ad for the exclusive engagement of "Mary Poppins" at the legendary Grauman's Chinese Theater, where I saw "Dark Shadows" just last week.  Meanwhile, the adjacent theater ad offers a "3 unit eye bugger" of porno.  I love those titles.

"Tonight for Sure."

"Scanty Panties."

And, for those horny UCLA students, "The Ruined Bruin."

This reminds me of a marquee I once saw in Manhattan outside one of those smutty skin flick houses. 

"If You See Kay."

That's always been my favorite.

And, as horrible as those porno movies likely are, they might still be a better choice than what mainstream Hollywood is unleashing on us this weekend.    You know the monthly drill.  I'll comb through the Los Angeles Times movie pages and let you know how much dandruff falls out.  My gut reaction to the crap in our multiplexes.

The Dictator:  Sacha Baron Cohen's take on a terrorist.  He scored once with "Borat."  He will never do it again.  The schmuck at your dinner party who laughs loudest at his own jokes.

Dark Shadows:  Reviewed here earlier this week.  Put a stake in its heart, please.

Marvel's The Avengers:  The comic book company is part of the title.    That's the way you know this has absolutely nothing to do with the old TV show starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg.  More super hero mayhem strictly for those dropped on their heads at a very early age.

The Five-Year Engagement:  Is Jason Segal doing home renovations?  Because he must need the dough since he is in every single movie that Hollywood has produced in the last eight months. 

THe Best Exotic Marigold Hotel:  British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.  Very British with stars Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith, and Judi Dench.  It's a PBS pledge drive with Raisinets.

Girl in Progress:  As single mom Grace juggles work, bills, and her affair with a married doctor, her daughter, Ansiedad, plots a shortcut to adulthood after finding inspiration in the coming-of-age stories she's reading for school.  The cast includes Eva Mendes, Matthew Modine, and a lot of Hispanic names.  Sounds like the Bobbsey Twins will be renamed the Ramirez Sisters.

The Hunger Games:  I am one of five people in America not to see this.  Can you name the four others?

The Pirates!  Band of Misfits:  The exclamation point is really part of the title.  More cartoon dreck that gives B-list unemployable actors some voiceover work.  Hugh Grant is one of the cast members so he might still be paying off some bail bonds. 

Think Like a Man:  A take-off on Steve Harvey's best selling book.  And when did you ever think you would see those last five words connected in the same sentence?

Sound of My Voice:  A journalist and his girlfriend get pulled in while they investigate a cult whose leader claims to be from the future.  Sounds suspiciously like a documentary about Barack Obama.

Men in Black 3:  Well, it doesn't open until next weekend, but I'm doing my public service here and giving you an early warning to stay the hell away from this. 

Where Do We Go Now?:  A group of Lebanese women try to ease religious tensions between Christians and Muslims in their village.  Hmm, I'm interested.  No, wait.  I read that wrong.  Lebanese.  Er, never mind.

What to Expect When You're Expecting:  Tales about five expectant couples and it stars Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Matthew Morrison, Dennis Quaid, and Chris Rock.  This reads like an episode synopsis of "The Love Boat" except the cruise ship gift shop is all out of condoms.

Tonight You're Mine:  Two feuding rock stars get handcuffed together for 24 hours at a music festival where they are both due to perform.  Er, that was an "I Love Lucy" episode that originally aired on October 6, 1952.

Mirror Mirror:  Julia Roberts as an evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright.  If you don;t realize this is a knock-off of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," you are truly too stupid to continue as one of my regular readers.

Going Down in LA-LA Land:  A handsome Hollywood hopeful gets caught up in the sordid world of prostitution and gay porn after arriving in L.A. with stars in his eyes.  Back in 1964, this might have been on the same bill with "The Ruined Bruin."

Hysteria:  A lighthearted romantic comedy based on the surprising truth of how Dr. Mortimer Granville came up with the world's first electro-mechanical vibrator.  Hey, now!  Some audiences might find this quite satisfying.

Battleship:  Peter Berg ('Hancock') produces and directs 'Battleship,' an epic action-adventure that unfolds across the seas, in the skies and over land as our planet fights for survival against a superior force.   Blah, blah, blah.  Doesn't this sound like every summer movie from the past decade?

The Samaritan:  Some dreary crap starring Samuel L. Jackson who is perhaps one of the most overrated actors working today.  Yeah, he's bad.  Yeah, he's bad.  Puh-leze. 

Lovely Molly:  Newlywed Molly moves into her deceased father's house in the countryside, where painful memories soon begin to haunt her.  Sounds like "Topper" but with a regular dosage of Zoloft.

Mansome:  Documentarian Morgan Spurlock, who previously made himself sick on an all-McDonald's diet, now takes on male grooming and the subsequent obsession.  None of this really applies to me.  Oh, who am I kidding?  Yes, it does.  Hopefully, there's a whole segment on dealing with nose hairs that develop into pimples.

A Bag of Hammers:  Jason Ritter, who's actually a much better actor than his dad was, stars in a tale about two misfit best friends incapable of growing up, whose direction is tested by an abandoned child, worn beyond his years; together they invent the family they've always needed.  A Disney Channel version of "Three's Company."

Virginia:  Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris star.  A sheriff sees his state senate bid slide out onto the ice when his daughter begins to date the son of a charming but psychologically disturbed woman with whom the sheriff has engaged in a two-decade-long affair.  Clearly, this isn't going to feature Andy Griffith and Don Knotts, because Mayberry was so much more sedate.  BUt I did always have my suspicions about Juanita down at the diner.

The Yankles:  A story about Charlie Jones, a washed up, ex major league ballplayer, and how he gets a second chance at life and love by managing a Jewish, orthodox yeshiva baseball team.  If you think this sounds weird, you ain't heard nothing yet.  The cast list includes...Donny Most.  I repeat.  Donny Most.

Bill W:  A documentary about Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.  "Hello, my name is Len and I have no interest in this movie."

Indie Games - The Movie:  All about independent video game designers.  If you wanted to come up with a documentary that would completely bore me, this might be it.

Natural Selection:  Having discovered that her dying husband has an illegitimate child living in Florida, a devout Christian housewife leaves her sheltered world on a mission to reunite father and son.  If you wanted to come up with a drama that would completely bore me, this might be it.

Dinner last night:  Hamburger.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Morons of the Month - May 2012

Okay, don't get excited.  I'm not calling some poor defenseless kid a moron.  Hardly.  It's just that this girl has the misfortune of living in the state of Massachusetts.  The home of politicians who are morons and elected to office over and over by...well, other morons.

Indeed, that New England state and its inhabitants own an eternal place in my lifetime Moronic Hall of Fame for continually sending the bloated and now worm and bug-filled Teddy Kennedy back to the United States Senate over and over and over.  Despite being a complete waste of a representative, Kennedy was an unconvicted murderer, a lecher, a raging drunk, and, worst of all, a lousy driver.  Yep, there's a guy I want guarding my best interests as a citizen.  But, I digress...

So, the citizens of Massachusetts are suspect from the get-go.  Now, they've got another cheeseball put in charge of the state as Governor.  Deval Patrick and he grew up on the south side of Chicago which is automatically...ahem, a black mark on his resume.  He's the one below in the suit, not the crown of thorns.  But, from the sound of what he's been trying to pull in Massachusetts, he might think he is Jesus.
Recently, the dumbbell Deval set into play some new state regulations which were to take effect on August 1.  These were new school nutrition laws aimed in part at battling childhood obesity.  Specifically, the ban would have prohibited  the sale of sweets in schools during the school day and 30 minutes before and after the start of classes.

Now, back in 2010, this schmuck had jumpstarted a previous bill designed to encourage the state's elementary and high schools to offer healthier food choices for students.  This legislation required schools to provide fruit and vegetable snack options and was designed to limit sugary sodas and sweet snacks along with potato chips and other vending machine offerings.

Let's give some credit here, though, to some parents who figured out that the latest law enacted by their stupid Governor would have pretty much ended the tried-and-true school method of raising money for class trips and activities. 

The bake sale.

Yes, let's kill cupcakes altogether.  And, if the eighth-grade band wants to get on a bus for the big football game in another county, well, you're shit out of both Skittles, Twinkies, and luck. 

The state wisely pulled back on this as a result, but the specter of it being enacted in the first place still looms large.  One more example of government trying to take over the lives of the screwballs that put them into office in the first place.  Shameful, shameful, shameful.

How dumb are the parents of Massachusetts that they can't instill good eating values in their urchins?  And does anybody think the dopes in public office know any better?  Of course, we now have the biggest nutritional expert in the country residing in the Off-White House.  Michelle Obama, champion of carrots and dried apple slices.  Who the fuck is she to dictate how we all should be eating?  Hmmm, I'm looking at her resume and I see a lot of legal jobs.  When was she a school nurse?  A cafeteria monitor?  A dietitian for a local hospital?  Yeah, I thought so.

Meanwhile, the FLOTUS has an ever-expanding posterior that is growing to Department-of-Motor-Vehicle-stool proportions.  Look at the photos.  The wide angle lens does not lie.  And you don't get that way by sucking down radish slices and dried pineapple snacks.  Perhaps, she even helped to concoct her Chicago buddy Deval's state nutrition laws.  They might have met to discuss it over a legal pad while inhaling a Big Mac or two at some South Side of Chicago McDonald's.

But, I digress again...

The really good news here is some parents rebelled and overturned the law that would have perhaps jailed some poor ten-year-olds for arranging a bake sale.  But, the bad news is that the politicians they elected still exist.  Dying to tell their constituents that they, and only they, know what's best for their kids.

Hey, obesity is rampant in America.  But the cure starts at home, not somebody's lofty office in a state house or Governor's mansion.  I'm thinking back at my life.  Always a struggle with weight.  I was a chubby kid.  But, my parents worked with me to try and get that under control.  Whether I succeeded or not, the buck and the bag of Lay's Potato Chips always and ultimately stopped with me. 

You can't institute accountability.  It has to be handed down from generation to generation.  In the privacy of your own home.

Dinner last night:  Cervelat sandwich and salad.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

This Date in History - May 16

Happy birthday to Remington Steele.  You'll notice I didn't say James Bond.  There's only one actor who would get that accolade.

218:  JULIA MAESA, AUNT OF THE ASSASSINATED CARACALLA, IS BANISHED TO HER HOME IN SYRIA BY THE SELF-PROCLAIMED MACRINUS AND DECALRES HER 14 YEAR-OLD GRANDSON ELAGABALUS, EMPEROR OF ROME.

Go to your room Julia.  And no television!

1204:  BALDWIN IX, COUNT OF FLANDERS IS CROWNED AS THE FIRST EMPEROR OF THE LATIN EMPIRE.

The sixth Baldwin brother.

1527:  THE FLORENTINES DRIVE OUT THE MEDICI FOR A SECOND TIME AND FLORENCE RE-ESTABLISHES ITSELF AS A REPUBLIC.

For me, Florence will always be a maid to the Jeffersons.

1532:  SIR THOMAS MORE RESIGNS AS LORD CHANCELLOR OF ENGLAND.

Later on, he opened up the girls dorm at Fordham University.  The only guy to have any kind of success in there.

1568:  MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS, FLEES TO ENGLAND.

Whooosh!

1770:  14 YEAR-OLD MARIE ANTOINETTE MARRIES 15 YEAR-OLD LOUIS-AUGUSTE WHO LATER BECOMES KING OF FRANCE.

Oh, you crazy kids!

1843:  THE FIRST MAJOR WAGON TRAIN HEADING FOR THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST SETS OUT ON THE OREGON TRAIL WITH ONE THOUSAND PIONEERS FROM ELM GROVE, MISSOURI.

My grandmother's favorite TV western.  Paging Ward Bond.

1866:  THE US CONGRESS ELIMINATES THE HALF DIME COIN AND REPLACES IT WITH THE FIVE CENT PIECE OR NICKEL.

The one coin that has been neglected and maligned over the years.  I love my nickels.

1868:  PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON IS ACQUITTED IN HIS IMPEACHMENT TRAIL BY ONE VOTE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE.

So there were college interns in the 1860s??  Who knew???

1905:  ACTOR HENRY FONDA IS BORN.

Little did he know what a big mouth his daughter would be.

1918:  THE SEDITION ACT OF 1918 IS PASSED BY THE US CONGRESS, MAKING CRITICISM OF THE GOVERNMENT AN IMPRISONABLE OFFENSE.

From what I can see, nobody ever enforces this law.

1919:  PIANIST LIBERACE IS BORN.

Do diapers come with sequins?

1920:  IN ROME, POPE BENEDICT XV CANONIZES JOAN OF ARC.

As if being burned at the stake wasn't enough.  Now they shoot her out of a cannon.  Oh, wait.  I read that too fast.

1928:  BASEBALL PLAYER/MANAGER BILLY MARTIN IS BORN.

Drunken dirtbag.  I once watched him pee in the snow.  Check my archives for the complete story.

1929:  IN HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA, THE FIRST ACADEMY AWARDS ARE HANDED OUT.

And the first Best Picture was........Wings!  Check it out on Blu-Ray. 

1931:  ACTOR JACK DODSON IS BORN.

Howard Sprague of the Andy Griffith Show!!

1951:  THE FIRST REGULARLY SCHEDULED TRANSATLANTIC FLIGHTS BEGIN BETWEEN IDLEWILD AIRPORT (NOW JFK) IN NYC AND HEATHROW AIRPORT IN LONDON.

Just curious.  What or who the hell is an Idlewild?

1953:  ACTOR PIERCE BROSNAN IS BORN.

I once saw him in a movie theater.  He looks much older in person.  Oh, the wonders of make-up and special effects.

1955:  AUTHOR JAMES AGEE DIES.

His most famous book was "A Death in the Family."  Boy, he got that right.

1956:  CANDYMAKER H.B. REESE DIES.

RIP.  Rest in Pieces.

1957:  FEDERAL AGENT ELIOT NESS DIES.

God says he's not so untouchable.

1966:  THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA ISSUES THE MAY 16 NOTICE MARKING THE BEGINNING OF THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION.

Culture in China?   That revolution ends with the May 17 Notice.

1974:  JOSIP BROZ TITO IS RE-ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIALIST FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA.  THIS TIME HE IS ELECTED FOR LIFE.

So are most postal workers in America.

1975:  JUNKO TABEI BECOMES THE FIRST WOMAN TO REACH THE SUMMIT OF MOUNT EVEREST.

Junko???  The first woman to do this was a clown??

1984:  COMEDIAN ANDY KAUFMAN DIES.

Or so we think.

1984:  AUTHOR IRWIN SHAW DIES.

Rich Man, Dead Man.

1985:  ACTRESS MARGARET HAMILTON DIES.

She melted.

1990:  ENTERTAINER SAMMY DAVIS JR. DIES.

One of the best.  Even with one glass eye.

1990:  PUPPETEER JIM HENSON DIES.

God ultimately pulls all our strings.

1991:  QUEEN ELIZABETH II OF THE UNITED KINGDOM ADDRESSED A JOINT SESSION OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS.  SHE IS THE FIRST BRITISH MONARCH TO DO SO.

Any excuse to buy a new handbag.

2000:  BODACIOUS THE BULL DIES.

No bull.

2003:  IN CASABLANCA, MOROCCO, 33 CIVILIANS ARE KILLED AND MORE THAN 100 PEOPLE ARE INJURED IN THE CASABLANCA TERRORIST ATTACKS.

Nobody's going to Rick's on this day.

Dinner last night:  Louisiana sausage with mango salsa at the Dodger game.