Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This Date in History - October 31

Boo.  A good day to hide under your bed.  And not take an airplane as you will see.

475:  ROMULUS AUGUSTULUS IS PROCLAIMED WESTERN ROMAN EMPEROR. 

And he battled the Eastern Roman Emperor in a one-game sudden death playoff.

1517:  MARTIN LUTHER POSTS HIS 95 THESES ON THE DOOR OF THE CASTLE CHURCH IN WITTENBERG.

And here come the Protestants.  Meanwhile, Luther couldn't come up with five more to make it an even 100.

1822:  EMPEROR AGUSTIN DE ITURBIDE ATTEMPTS TO DISSOLVE THE MEXICAN EMPIRE.

Yeah, that worked well.  Have you seen my local car wash lately?

1860:  GIRL SCOUT FOUNDER JULIETTE LOW IS BORN.

I wonder if her father's name was Hy.

1861:  DURING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR. UNION GENERAL WINFIELD SCOTT, CITING FAILING HEALTH, RESIGNS AS COMMANDER OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY.

Ulysses S. Grant, a nation turns its eyes on you.

1864:  NEVADA IS ADMITTED AS THE 36TH US STATE.

Electing Harry Reid to the Senate, their statehood should be revoked.

1876:  A MONSTER CYCLONE RAVAGES INDIA, RESULTING IN OVER 200,000 DEATHS.

A silver lining this day.  This storm wiped out about 10,000 telemarketers.

1896:  ACTRESS ETHEL WATERS IS BORN.

Still waters didn't run deep with her parents.

1912:  SINGER DALE EVANS IS BORN.

Happy trails to you.

1913:  THE INDIANAPOLIS STREET CAR STRIKE AND SUBSEQUENT RIOT BEGINS. 

Did the street cars go on strike or was it the guys who drove them?  Please e-mail me.

1915:  ORGANIST JANE JARVIS IS BORN.

Meet the Mets, Meet the Mets, step right up and meet the Mets....

1918:  BANAT REPUBLIC IS FOUNDED.

I'm not done.  Bring your kiddies, bring your wife, guaranteed to have the time of your life....

1923:  THE FIRST OF 160 CONSECUTIVE DAYS OF 100 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT AT MARBLE BAR, AUSTRALIA.

Because the Mets are really sockin' the ball, knocking those home runs over the wall...

1924:  WORLD SAVINGS DAY IS ANNOUNCED IN MILAN, ITALY.

East side, west side, everybody's coming down to meet the M-E-T-S of New York Town.  Okay, I'm done.

1926:  MAGICIAN HARRY HOUDINI DIES OF GANGRENE THAT DEVELOPED AFTER HIS APPENDIX RUPTURED.

Abracadabra, you're dead.

1931:  JOURNALIST DAN RATHER IS BORN.

What's the frequency, Kenneth?

1940:  THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN ENDS AS THE UNITED KINGDOM PREVENTS A POSSIBLE GERMAN INVASION.

No thanks to Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

1941:   AFTER 14 YEARS OF WORK, MOUNT RUSHMORE IS COMPLETED.

That's 3-and-a-half years per head.

1943:  FOOTBALL PLAYER BRIAN PICCOLO IS BORN.

I thought he was a musician.  I keep hearing about this song.

1947:  ACTRESS DEIDRE HALL IS BORN.

And so begins the days of her life.

1950:  ACTOR JOHN CANDY IS BORN.

His parents were candymakers.  Ha, ha.

1956:  THE UNITED KINGDOM AND FRANCE BEGIN BOMBING EGYPT TO FORCE THE REOPENING OF THE SUEZ CANAL.

Does a single day in history pass without some nonsense in this part of the world?

1959:  LEE HARVEY OSWALD ATTEMPTS TO RENOUNCE HIS AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP AT THE US EMBASSY IN MOSCOW.

And, yet, nobody in our federal agencies kept tabs on this guy.

1961:  IN THE SOVIET UNION, JOSEPH STALIN'S BODY IS REMOVED FROM LENIN'S TOMB.

Was this some sort of college initiation prank?

1968:  US PRESIDENT LYNDON B. JOHNSON ANNOUNCES TO THE NATION THAT HE HAS ORDERED A COMPLETE CESSATION OF ALL AIR, NAVAL, AND ARTILLERY BOMBARDMENT OF NORTH VIET NAM.

Yeah, how did that work out?

1984:  INDIAN PRIME MINISTER INDIRA GANDHI IS ASSASSINATED.

Here yesterday, gandhi today.

1988:  ACTOR JOHN HOUSEMAN DIES.

Law students, please see the bulletin board for your final grades.

1991:  PRODUCER JOSEPH PAPP DIES.

Schmeared.

1993:  DIRECTOR FEDERICO FELLINI DIES.

La Dolce Morta.

1993:  ACTOR RIVER PHOENIX DIES.

This Phoenix didn't rise.

1994:  AN AMERICAN EAGLE ATR-72 CRASHES IN INDIANA, KILLING 68 PASSENGERS.

And here come the crashes.

1996:  A FOKKER F100 CRASHES INTO SEVERAL HOUSES IN BRAZIL, KILLING 100.

And...

1999:  EGYPTAIR FLIGHT 990 CRASHES OFF THE COAST OF MASSACHUSETTS, KILLING ALL 217 ON-BOARD.

And...

2000:  A SINGAPORE  AIRLINES PLANE COLLIDES WITH EQUIPMENT UPON TAKEOFF IN TAIWAN, KILLING 83.

And...

2000:  A CHARTERED PLANE EXPLORES AFTER TAKEOFF IN NORTHERN ANGOLA, KILLING 50.

That enough for you?  If it's October 31, stay on the ground, please.

2008:  AUTHOR STUD TERKEL DIES.

But not in a plane crash.

2010:  LAWYER THEODORE SORENSEN DIES.

Nor was he.

Dinner last night:  Teriyaki meatballs, noodles, and green beans.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

If I Tweeted - October 2012

I have an account, but I don't use it much.  But, if I did, here's what I would have tweeted this month.

#LenSpeaks  The San Francisco Giants are in the playoffs.  I want to start a rumor that they're a terrorist sleeper cell.  Spread it around.

#LenSpeaks  Note to Dodger GM Ned Colletti.  Don't be tempted to sign Marco Scutaro this winter.  The guy is a stiff and playing way over his head.

#LenSpeaks  RIP Alex Karras.  Mongo like candy.

#LenSpeaks  I will vote for any Presidential candidate who commits to never visiting Los Angeles ever.

#LenSpeaks  Joe Biden could be a sitcom on Fox. 

#LenSpeaks  I don't care if Paul Ryan looks like Eddie Munster.  Now if he looked like Grandpa, then I've got an issue.

#LenSpeaks  The way Obama looked in the first debate is the same way I looked when I found out we were going to be doing forward rolls in gym class.

#LenSpeaks  That's what happens when you don't study and spend all your free time watching Sportscenter.

#LenSpeaks  RIP Gary Collins.  I used to see him in Whole Foods all the time.  So much for your organic diets.

#LenSpeaks  On a flight from LAX to JFK, I can't escape Dodger pal Rob Reiner.  His latest movie is the in-flight entertainment.

#LenSpeaks  And nobody's watching it up here either.

#LenSpeaks  Meanwhile, the hippie next to me snores.

#LenSpeaks  Does anybody really shop in the Skymall catalog??

#LenSpeaks  The Presidential debate at Hofstra is theater in the round.  I thought comedy acts in the round on Long Island all play Westbury.

#LenSpeaks  With your opening act...Sergio Franchi?

#LenSpeaks  Even better.  Peter Lemongello.

#LenSpeaks  Do people really think Romney is going to convert everybody to Mormonism?

#LenSpeaks  If a President could really do that, we'd all be Black today.

#LenSpeaks  With all these Presidential poll numbers, I have never been called once.

#LenSpeaks  Neither have any of my friends.  So I think Gallup and Rasmussen don't really exist.

#LenSpeaks  With this big ass storm hitting the East Coast, I have a rhetorical question.  What would happen if something like this happened on Election Day?

#LenSpeaks  Stay home.  But go out and vote.  No, stay home.  But go out and vote.

#LenSpeaks  I do miss the extreme weather of New York City.  As long as I can stay home in it.

#LenSpeaks  If I see one Facebook post about Hurricane Sandy and tying it to the character from "Grease,"......

#LenSpeaks  Funny.  When I see torrential rain, I don't automatically think of Olivia Newton-John.

#LenSpeaks  Although heavy wind does remind me of Stockard Channing.

#LenSpeaks  Obama made a public statement about the storm.  He blamed it on an anti-Muslim video.

#LenSpeaks  Thanks to Direct TV, I got to watch the NY local news coverage on the storm.  Thinking of all my friends there.   

Dinner last night:  Various Thai dishes at Thai Emporium in Westwood.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Morning Video Laugh - October 29, 2012

This is a real "living and breathing" campaign ad for Obama.  It is absolutely hilarious.  This Lena Dunham dumbbell is some actress and producer for a HBO series.  From what I can see here, that show must be entitled "Stupidity in the City."  Likening her vote for Barack Obama to the time when she first lost her virginity.

I can't stop watching this.  Giggles every time.


Dinner last night:  A great steak dinner at the home of good friends Amir and Kevin.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Hallow-waste


No, that’s not me.   

This dude is way too skinny to be me at that age.  When I was around seven years old, my body was so bizarrely contoured that this Superman cape would have looked like an ascot on yours truly.  But, there was one Halloween where I did go trick or treating as the Man of Steel.  Wearing a cape/handkerchief.

Welcome to Halloween, my least favorite holiday of the whole year.  Believe me, I would have more likely been willing to plant a tree on Arbor Day than I was to go begging for candy around my neighborhood.  Besides I wasn’t allowed to eat most of it anyway.  My folks were very mindful of razor blades being placed in your Halloween treats.

“Don’t eat that.  There’s probably something in it.”

So most of my candy would be verboten to me.   But, my father would pretty much wolf it down himself over the next week or so.  Apparently, he was totally immune to injury when it came to ingesting razor blades.

It really wasn’t more than three or four years that I was prime Halloween material.  You had to dress for the requisite class party that more than likely featured chocolate cupcakes with orange-colored icing.  Then you recycled the same get-up on the night of the main festivity.  But, first, the major task at hand would be the actual selection of the costume itself.

I would get dragged down to H.L. Green’s department store on Fourth Avenue in Mount Vernon by my mother.  The official costumer to the non-stars.

“Don’t make this a big project.”

Yeah, but this is a very important decision.  How I would be seen on Halloween by my neighborhood friends and my school chums.  It just couldn’t be any old costume.

“Hurry up.  I have stores to go to.”

Like Bromley’s Dress Shop, where my mother had a revolving charge card and a search party was ordered if she didn’t walk through their front door at least twice a week.

I’d sift through all the costumes on display, all of them in boxes from some company called Ben Cooper, whoever the hell he was.  Hmmm.

Popeye the Sailor?

Bugs Bunny?

Batman?

Invariably, I would pick one out and then try it on, only to discover it didn’t fit.  Unfortunately, the folks at Ben Cooper thought every child in America had the same skinny body frame as Jay North of “Dennis the Menace” fame.

I know I dressed up once as each of the aforementioned characters.  And, of course, there was my Superman year as well, where my cape got stuck in my grandfather’s car door when he came to pick me up at school.   And, on the actual night of Halloween, you would wait anxiously for 6PM which was the optimal time to start trolling the neighborhood.

With my mother walking behind me, I would start to scamper up Fifteenth Avenue in Mount Vernon, New York.  A short block of residential homes as well as two six-story apartment buildings for those feeling really ambitious.  I’d meet with my childhood best buddy Leo and some of the other gremlins on the block and we would start attacking the neighbors.

“Trick or treat!”

The older ladies liked to linger when you rang the door bell.  They spent all their time going over each of the costumes that had just shown up on their front doorstep.

“And who are you dressed as tonight, young man?"

I’m Bugs Bunny.  What are you freakin’ blind???  Just cough up the candy that I won’t be allowed to eat anyway.

My mother was the final word on what houses to visit.

“Don’t go there.  He drinks.”

“It's dark on that porch and they have a big dog."

“Stay away from that house.  We don’t like them.”

Okay.

Indeed, the whole ritual took less than an hour to complete.  We stayed totally on our block.  Venture out-of-the-box to Fourteenth Avenue?  That was not allowed.  Even in that much simpler era, you stayed close to home.  Usually, by 7PM, my mother was dragging me home.  Meanwhile, my friends got to stay out longer.  In my entirely Catholic universe, all my friends had off the following day for the All Saints celebration.  Me?  I was headed for bed and a new school day.  As we approached our home, it was completely dark.   The venetian blinds on all of our windows downstairs were drawn.  The illusion of nobody being home.  But there was. 

Grandma.

"I'm not opening the door for any of those ragamuffins."

Yep, she was no fan of Halloween.  And, shortly thereafter, neither was I.
As I wrote, I pretty much tired of this whole trick-or-treating ritual after a few years.  And the costuming started to be a drag as well.  There would be one more year for me.  But I was completely done trying to fit into some outfit that was one size too small.  Here comes Frankenstein with that spare tire around his waist.  I didn't need to endure that one more year.  I would simply wear a mask.  And a current one to-boot.
I went as President John F. Kennedy.
This is a replica of what I wore.  On October 31, 1963.

I tried to wear the same mask the following year.  Although I had updated it by cutting out the top corner of the head.  Mom was not amused.

'YOU'RE NOT GOING OUT WITH A HOLE IN YOUR HEAD!!"

And, with that, trick or treating officially ended for Len.

Costuming, however, would make an ignoble return right after college.  In my twenties, I was a little more daring to make an asshole out of myself.  

There were several Halloweens where good friends decided to throw Halloween parties.   I was encouraged to dress up as well.   I searched around for my JFK mask.  This time I could wear it complete with a blood-spattered suit.  Maybe I could get one of my female friends to don a pink pillbox hat.  Ultimately, I opted to go as a television character.

So, along with the erstwhile blogger Djinn from the Bronx, I forgot to shave, threw on a medical labcoat, and entered into the world of MASH 4077.

Hawkeye and Hot Lips at the ready.

I got a little lazy the next year.  I had no desire to dress up for another TV character costume party.  But, I ultimately did.  Simply by donning a suit.

And renting a wheelchair so I could be Detective Robert Ironside.
 As I wheeled myself around that night, I was chastised by many.  

"That's a sin.  God's really gonna put you in a wheelchair now."

Yeah, but, for the very last costume party I ever went to, I had a seat all night.


Dinner last night:  Ginger beef at Panda Inn.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Classic Movie Trailer of the Month - October 2012

Happy Halloween, everybody.  Stay away from summer camps.

Dinner last night:  Vegetable salad.

Friday, October 26, 2012

When Just One Awkward Photo is Not Enough

The family that gets x-rayed together...
Well, it is Oktoberfest!
"The voice in my head is telling me to kill you."
You are always on my mind.
Planned Parenthood, phooey.
Eddie Cantor's baby picture.
Granny gets a lei.
I can't wait for the spin cycle.
Does that baby come with a side salad?
Father Sleeps Least.

Dinner last night:  Had a big lunch so just a hot dog.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Discombobulated 2012 of Len

I looked up the official definition of "discombobulation."  There are lots of words that can be applied to it.

"A stunned or bewildered condition: befuddlement, bewilderedness, bewilderment, daze, fog, muddle, mystification, perplexity, puzzlement, stupefaction, stupor, trance."

Yeah, this year since the very first day, I've been a bit all of that.

If this sounds like a preface to a daily entry that will be steeped in self pity and wallowing, you're right.  It is my name and picture at the top of this blog.  I can do what I want.  Please feel free to come back tomorrow for some comedy.

For those of you suckers who stayed...

Right from January 1, 2012, this has been a year that I will ultimately like to forget.  On New Year's Day, sitting in the Aero Theater for a Marx Brothers double feature.  Dealing with what I would later discover was a torn left meniscus.  A good knee that now was also a bad knee.  Struggling to get up out of the theater seat.  Virtually crawling up Santa Monica's Montana Avenue to get to my car.

Beyond the usual up and downs that life always seems to present, 2012 would be called in my lexicon "The Year of Immobility."  MRIs, canes, arthroscopic surgery, and a few painkillers.   These were the days of my life so far this year. A slow moving soap opera.  At times, incredibly slow moving.  Against me, snails are the big winners of every race.

Yes, I guess there are countless people whose issues are a lot worse than mine.  I should be thankful for what I have.  But it is becoming harder every day when the world is passing me by.  Literally.

Three things (well, people, in two cases) have saved me from complete despair the past summer months.  Nightly Dodger baseball.  And the help of my personal trainer and my physical therapist.  Those two have worked diligently to keep me as mobile as I can be.  Indeed, most of my body has been strengthened immeasurably.  Muscles are defined like never before.  Core strength has rarely been this good.  Yet, as taut as my calves and my thighs are right now, they still are connected by those joints which are reminiscent of sound effects from the worst haunted house movie you can remember. 

Beyond the physical work, Team Len, as I call them, have also acted as mental therapists.  The only two people I feel comfortable talking to about the increasingly limited mobility I will have to endure until I go for the extreme fix with parts likely purchased at your local Home Depot.  They understand how difficult it has become for me, a person with limited self esteem, to become even more compromised.

It all became very highlighted over Labor Day weekend.  I had a friend visiting from Texas and there were activities every day.  Two Dodger games.  Two Hollywood Bowl events with the biggest hills this side of the Rockies.  An extended walk-through of the Reagan Library.  And, of course, the rigorous piece de resistance---Disney California Adventure, where you are seemingly still walking even if you're standing still.

I got through it all.  But noticed it was even harder this time.  And I started to pay attention to people I was with.  While I know a lot of this is imagined, I sensed being a burden to the group.  When folks suddenly found themselves a block and a half ahead, they would stop for me to catch up.  "Oh, wait.  We forgot.  Him."  And I'd catch up only to be lagging again within the next thirty seconds.

I've always been active.  I've always acted as ringleader amongst friends.  I can't do it in my current capacity.  And I don't know if I will survive that downgrade of physicality.  I'm not good at feeling bad.

Now I'm thinking of some extreme actions.  There are some unconnected dates and deadlines next spring that will require some change in living location.  Do I remain bi-coastal?  Or pack it in for a solitary coast and residence?  Go for the big fix that can have me bouncing like a rubber ball.  If I opt for that and the resultant three-month recovery period, do I simply have the surgery on the east coast where my life is a bit more compact and where I have more friends available and willing to help out?  On the flip side, there will be 2013 Dodger baseball.  Even as alone as I sometimes feel on the West Coast, how can I replace that?

I am painfully aware that, despite all the good work I am doing with my therapist and my trainer, it is not fixing the big issue.  I am simply toning my body to make the ultimate recovery process a bit faster.

This is just more of the same.  Discombobulated.  Befuddled.  Perplexed.  Bewildered.   Beyond the knees, I look at my current situation and wonder what's up.  I have two houses, but essentially no home.  Life that is half empty and half full.  For that particular repair, there is no surgeon's knife available.

Perhaps, for now, I will just let the day turn into night and back into day again.  There is no easy answer today.  Tomorrow might have it.  Or the day after.  I will just see what the fates have in store and take it slowly.

And taking it slowly, I am very, very, very good at.

Dinner last night:   Chef's salad.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This Date in History - October 24

I'm not a fan of Kevin Kline, he's the most interesting birthday I can find for this date.

69:  THE SECOND BATTLE OF BEDRIACUM AS THE FORCES OF ANTONIUS PRIMUS DEFEAT THE FORCES OF EMPEROR VITELLIUS.

I feel so deprived since I know nothing about the first battle of Bedriacum.

1147:  AFTER A SIEGE OF FOUR MONTHS, CRUSADER KNIGHTS LED BY AFONSO HENRIQUES RECONQUERED LISBON.

Crusader Knights, I don't know.  Crusader Rabbit, I do know.

1260:  SAIF AD-DIN QUTUZ, MAMLUK SULTAN OF EGYPT, IS ASSASSINATED BY BAIBARS, WHO SEIZES POWER FOR ITSELF.

Didn't this happen last month in Egypt?

1590:  JOHN WHITE, THE GOVERNOR OF THE SECOND ROANOKE COLONY, RETURNS TO ENGLAND AFTER AN UNSUCCESSFUL SEARCH FOR THE LOST COLONISTS.

I feel so deprived since I know nothing about the first Roanoke colony.

1851:  WILLIAM LASSELL DISCOVERS THE MOONS UMBRIEL AND ARIEL ORBITING URANUS.

Oh, pay attention to your own anus.

1852:  POLITICIAN DANIEL WEBSTER DIES.

The Devil, you say.

1861:  THE FIRST TRANSCONTINENTAL TELEGRAPH LINE ACROSS THE UNITED STATES IS COMPLETED, SPELLING THE END FOR THE 18-MONTH-OLD PONY EXPRESS.

So there was no Pony Local?

1901:  ANNIE EDISON TAYLOR BECOMES THE FIRST PERSON TO GO OVER NIAGARA FALLS IN A BARREL.

Yeah, but did she live?

1904:  PLAYWRIGHT MOSS HART IS BORN.

Later on, he was married to Kitty Carlisle.  Which means he never saw his wife without long gloves.

1911:  ORVILLE WRIGHT REMAINS IN THE AIR 9 MINUTES AND 45 SECONDS IN A WRIGHT GLIDER.

Those of you with 8 minutes and 25 minutes in the office pool, well, sorry.

1915:  CARTOONIST BOB KANE IS BORN.

Batman!

1922:  CANDY MANUFACTURER GEORGE CADBURY DIES.

Melts, actually.

1926:  HARRY HOUDINI'S LAST PERFORAMNCE IN DETROIT, MICHIGAN.

Not the first person to go to Detroit and disappear forever.

1926:  FOOTBALL STAR Y.A. TITTLE IS BORN.

And why not a Tittle?

1929:  "BLACK THURSDAY" STOCK MARKET CRASH ON WALL STREET.

Gentlemen, please use the windows on the left.

1931:  THE GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE OPENS TO PUBLIC TRAFFIC.

And it will be full of that traffic for the next 80 or so years.

1934:  SINGER GLEN GLENN IS BORN.

A singer?  I thought he was the guy with all the sound on those Desilu shows.

1935:  GANGSTER DUTCH SCHULTZ DIES.

Bang, bang, you're dead.

1936:  ACTOR DAVID NELSON IS BORN.

The one Nelson with absolutely no musical talent.

1945:  FOUNDING OF THE UNITED NATIONS.

Created primarily because every fourth-grade class in the NY area needed someplace to go on a field trip.

1946:  ACTOR KEVIN KLINE IS BORN.

Sorry, still don't like him.

1947:  WALT DISNEY TESTIFIES BEFORE THE HOUSE UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE, NAMING DISNEY EMPLOYEES HE BELIEVES TO BE COMMUNISTS.

I always had my suspicions about Geppetto.

1954:  PRESIDENT EISENHOWER PLEDGES UNITED STATES SUPPORT TO SOUTH VIET NAM.

You'll be sorry.

1972:  BASEBALL STAR JACKIE ROBINSON DIES.

Go, Jackie, go.  Oh, wait, you just went.

1973:  YOM KIPPUR WAR ENDS.

Why fight?  It's a public school day off.

1977:  VETERANS DAY IS OBSERVED ON THE FOURTH MONDAY IN OCTOBER FOR THE SEVENTH AND LAST TIME.  THE HOLIDAY GOES BACK TO NOVEMBER 11 THE NEXT YEAR.

Meanwhile, this is no longer a day off.  Boo hiss.

1991:  PRODUCER GENE RODDENBERRY DIES.

Going where millions of other men have gone before.

2002:  POLICE ARREST SPREE KILLERS JOHN ALLEN MUHAMMAD AND LEE BOYD MALVO, ENDING THE BELTWAY SNIPER ATTACKS IN WASHINGTON, DC.

The way our politicians in DC are these days, I'm all for letting these two guys out again.

2003:  CONCORDE MAKES ITS LAST COMMERCIAL FLIGHT.

Can you blame them?  I mean, what with the crashes and everything.

2005:  ROSA PARKS DIES.

Frankly, lady, I don't care where you sit.

2008:  "BLOODY FRIDAY" SAW MANY OF THE WORLD'S STOCK EXCHANGES EXPERIENCE THE WORST DECLINES IN HISTORY.

And this means October 24 is never the right day to look at your stock portfolio.

Dinner last night:  Beef pot pie, potatoes, and green beans---the Tuesday night tradition at my good friend Barbara's.



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Moron of the Month - October 2012

No, not her. 

The current First Lady of the nation certainly is no moron.  She’s wily.  She’s crafty.  She knows what she wants and how to get it.  That’s not stupidity, in my book.  And, besides, I won't say that publicly.  I don't want to be audited for the next five years.

Nope, the morons this month are those of you who buy into Michelle Obama’s act.  That she’s some caring and loving individual.  That’s she the beacon of simplicity.  That’s she’s your average American mom. 
Because she’s none of those things.  She’s about as close to June Cleaver as Fidel Castro is.  A woman that would throw you and your family under the next bus without a thought. 

I know people who worked with her when she was a lawyer in Chicago.  The current public persona is a myth.  She’s a screamer.  Rude, abrasive, and uncaring.  “A horror to work with.”  Note the quotation marks.  That’s a real statement.
Yet, there are some of you clowns who actually have bought the White House’s marketing department concoction of what Michelle Obama is supposed to be.  She’s like you.  She’s struggling to raise her children in a busy and changing society.  She’s trying to make ends meet.  She’s so super supportive of her hubby.  And, oh, wait, she shops in Target.

Puh-leze. 
She hasn’t seen the inside of any department store in years.  Nor a kitchen.  Or a vegetable garden.  Hello?  Put those manicured nails in dirt?  Come on.  Are you that na├»ve?  Is there that much gullibility in the world?

Apparently.

Here’s a woman who has been such a lightning rod in her past that the White House wranglers had to work overtime to find a public First Lady cause for Michelle Obama.  All First Ladys have one.  Nancy Reagan hung with Gary Coleman and told kids not to use drugs.  Laura Bush pushed reading skills.  Hillary Clinton, well, was focused on her next job, but I digress.
But, given Michelle’s past volatility, they needed to come up with something as vanilla as possible.  Oh, wait, here’s a perfect one.

Fat kids.
Let's fix the eating habits of the chubbys and chubbettes in school.  After all,  their parents are way too busy to keep their children away from the Yodels and Ring Dings.  Somebody needs to help them control their food intake.  Might as well be the uber-gardening First Lady and some well-written federal regulations. 
These rules went into effect about a year ago and now school systems are going nuts trying to comply.  After all, Michelle Obama, who did not either major or minor in Nutrition when she went to college, knows what's right for your kids.   And your adoration of her doesn't help the argument. 
Out go Sloppy Joes.
Out goes Friday pizza at the cafeteria.
A candy snack after a tough World History test?  Forget about it.
How about a carrot stick?
A tasty radish will make you feel energized after gym class.
Have you ever tried hummus?
The good news is that your children are officially smarter than you are.  They are rebelling.  Taking all these new healthy lunches and throwing them in the garbage.  What seventh-grader wants to eat hummus anyway? 
I was a chubby kid in school.  I dealt with the jokes, the slowness, and the inability to successfully compete in that mandatory exercise where you had to run around picking up erasers in gym class.
My parents told me "you should lose some weight."
I went on a diet and did.  Done. 
I didn't need the government.  Or Michelle Obama.
Those of you who think you do.  Well, munch on some celery as you consider your status as this month's top moron.
Dinner last night:  Leftover bratwurst and red cabbage.
 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Morning Video Laugh - October 22, 2012

The Mets aren't in the playoffs this year and haven't been in past years either.  Here are some reasons why.  The first clip is my favorite.  When a bird gets in the way of a flyball...
Dinner last night:  Bratwurst, spaetzle, and red cabbage.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Sunday Memory Drawer - The Mouse

Everybody remember Sniffles the Mouse?  A very popular Warner Brothers cartoon character and one of my favorites.  I love the cartoon where he tries to stay up and wait for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

Sniffles was adorable.  Not so much the mouse that lived in our house when I was a kid.  Don't jump the gun here.  My family home was not infested with vermin.  We were actually pretty clean, almost Felix Unger-like.  But, one autumn, a mouse came into our residence.  Likely to get out of the oncoming cold weather.  And, for almost three years, this little creature drove us crazy.

It all started very quietly.  My mother went over to our pantry closet to get a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  The corner of the box had little holes in it.  Tiny teeth marks.  Just the sight of this made her scream, drop the box onto the floor, and take to the bed.

I'm not going to have macaroni and cheese tonight.

"No, WE'VE GOT A MOUSE IN THE HOUSE."

Oh.

While my mother was ready to set fire to the entire building, everybody else took a passive approach.  Always the way my father handled everything.  Slowly and systematically.

"He'll go away on his own."

He?  Are you sure, Dad?  How do you know it's not a girl mouse?

"Don't ask stupid questions."

Oh.

This gnawing problem went on for several days.  Spaghetti boxes.  Cereal packets.  Cookie bags. 

So, Mom, the mouse is smart enough not to try his teeth on a can of peas.

"Go ask your father."

Dad.

"Don't ask stupid questions."

My father did finally pick up the gauntlet and begin the attack on the ravenous little creature, who I envisioned was going to have to embark on a low-fat diet very soon.  Just like in the cartoons I was watching every afternoon, a trap was set with some cheese. 

By the next morning, the trap was still there.  The cheese was gone.  Not only was this mouse an overeater, he also understands the dynamics of basic machine operation.  Another trap was set.  The cheese disappeared again.

Given the way he was eluding capture, the mouse must have started to feel pretty darn sure of himself.  He started to make personal appearances out in public.  The first time was a command performance for my beagle Tuffy.

Luckily, my mother was not home as this experience would have sent her to a hotel for a week.  I had walked into the kitchen for a snack.  There, smack in the middle of the kitchen linoleum was the rodent.  In a staredown with my dog. 

Neither moved for what seemed to be an eternity, but probably was no more than ten seconds.  They locked in a mortal gaze.  Tuffy finally growled.  The mouse quickly scurried off.  Tuffy, hero dog that she was, scampered off as well.  In the opposite direction.  The entire scenario had scared her enough that she retreated to her sleeping box and buried her head under her blanket.

Now, since the mouse had free passage all over the wooden inner frame of our two-story house, it was inevitable that he would start to branch out.  And, the very next day, Sunday afternoon quiet time was interrupted by a shout in German from downstairs.

Grandma.

I didn't understand the first words she yelled.  But the rest was plainly in English.

"GET OUT OF HERE, YOU STUPID, GODDAMN THING!"

I ran downstairs to find Grandma in her kitchen waving a broom around the floor.  There was nothing there.  But, for a brief moment, the mouse had taken a bow in front of my grandmother's pantry. 

"I'M GONNA KILL THAT SONOFABITCH!"

She never got the chance to. 

The drama lasted one more week.  For a few days, there was nothing.  The next mouse trap with cheese had gone untouched and uneaten.  There were no more sightings either in front of Tuffy or Grandma.  Perhaps the rodent had packed his bags and headed off to a fat farm.  Or perhaps got lost somewhere in the woodwork. 

All was calm the next Sunday morning as my father was making raisin toast.  He dropped two slices of bread into the appliance.  Suddenly, smoke seeped out of the opening.  And there was a distinct aroma of burning fur.

Yep.

Looking for the big Kahuna of crumbs, the mouse had somehow slipped into our toaster.  And did a wonderful impersonation of Bruno Hauptmann.

My dad unplugged the toaster and took it away to wherever you take appliances that have electrocuted mice. 

Two days later, I noticed the toaster was back in its place.  I thought it was the same one.  Nah, couldn't be.  Likely, my father had gone out to buy the exact same model.  But, still, the very next Sunday, it was time again for raisin toast and I had to ask.

Is that...?

"You ask too many stupid questions."

I don't want to think about it.

Dinner last night:  Hawaiian luau barbecue at the Sons of the Desert October meeting.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Classic TV Theme of the Month - October 2012

It's no secret that Hazel was sponsored by Chevrolet.

 
Dinner last night:  Hot dog at Disneyland.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Your Weekend Movie Guide for October 2012

A line around the block for the Exorcist.  Does anybody line up to see a movie anymore?  I mean, line up for a good movie.  Sadly, no.  And the theater in the photo is the National in Westwood Village, California.  They tore it down several years ago.  For?  Nothing apparently.  It's still a vacant lot.

Here's my monthly gift to you.  I'll peruse the movie pages of the Los Angeles Times and give you my knee-jerk reaction to what's currently playing in the cinematic cesspools all around town.  You want to see a good movie?  Get in line!

Argo:  I saw this last weekend.  A good movie, especially the scenes set in Hollywood.  And directed by Ben Affleck.  I repeat.  Directed by Ben Affleck.  Directed by Ben Affleck.  Sorry.  My fingers can't stop typing this absolutely incomprehensible fact.  A good movie...directed by Ben Affleck.

The Paperboy:  Also saw this.  A bad movie that you would think was directed by Ben Affleck, but wasn't.  The paperboy leaves it on the roof.  Or in a puddle on your front walk.  Grim and violent.  If you're dying to see Zac Effron spend half the time in his underwear, this is the film for you.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower:  Last month, I referenced this movie by saying "there are none."  There still aren't.

Taken 2:  Strictly for those who saw Taken 1 and are anxiously dying to see Taken 3.

Pitch Perfect:  An a cappella version of Glee.  I saw it mainly because Anna Kendrick was in it.   That's what I get for being lascivious.  Anna's 27 and she's playing a college freshman!

Hotel Transylvania:  Only if the Motel 6 is full.

Frankenweenie:  Oh, I wish I was an Oscar Mayer frankenweenie....

Seven Psychopaths:  A documentary on the current composition of the Supreme Court?

Here Comes the Boom:  It stars the unfunny Kevin James so there goes the thud.

Sinister:  A documentary about Nancy Pelosi?

Looper:  Hired killers chase each other through time travel.  As much as I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I'll stay in the present day, thank you very much.

The Master:  Been there, yawned that.

The Oranges:   Perusing the cast list.  Hugh Laurie?  Okay, I'm running away and screaming.

Wuthering Heights:  Another pointless remake.

Paranormal Activity 4:  The first one was ridiculous.  So, naturally, they made three more. 

End of Watch:  Reviewed here recently.  A good film worth your time if you can get through all the obscenities.  One Adam Fucking 12.

Alex Cross:  A homicide detective is pushed to the brink of his moral and physical limits as he tangles with a ferociously skilled serial killer who specializes in torture and pain.  It stars Tyler Perry and I am now running faster than I did when I heard Hugh Laurie was in The Oranges.

Sexy Baby:  A documentary about coming of age and the prevalence of sex in mainstream culture.  When I came of age, there was no prevalence of sex...anywhere.

Sassy Pants:  Desperate to get out from under her overprotective mother, a home-schooled teen runs off to live with her dad, and forms a bond with his much-younger boyfriend.  They dusted off Haley Joel Osment for this one.  I see dumb people.

All Together:  Five old friends decide to move in together as an alternate to living in a retirement home; joining them is an ethnology student whose thesis is on the aging population.  In the cast are Jane Fonda and Geraldine Chaplin.  I can remember when they were young ingenues.

The First Time:  A romantic comedy centered on the first weekend of a fledgling romance between two high school kids.  And talking about that prevalence of sex in mainstream culture...

For Ellen:  A struggling musician takes an overnight long-distance drive in order to fight his estranged wife for custody of their young daughter.  AMBER ALERT!

Bigfoot - The Lost Coast Tapes:  After a "Bigfoot Hunter" claims to possess the body of a dead Sasquatch, a disgraced investigative journalist stakes his comeback -- and the lives of his documentary film crew -- on proving the find to be a hoax.  The Blair Witch Project just with a wider width.

That's What She Said:  Bebe and DeeDee, best friends with different relationship problems, embark on a New York City misadventure with their new acquaintance, Clementine.  Starring Anne Heche.  I can remember when she was an ingenue.  And gay.

The Sessions:  A man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity contacts a professional sex surrogate with the help of his therapist and priest.  Sure.  Doesn't everybody? 

Nobody Walks:  A Silver Lake family's relaxed dynamic is tested after they take in a young artist so she can complete her art film.  Nobody walks...except the audience to this movie.

Four Assassins:  Four assassins meet in a hotel suite to resolve unfinished business.  Hey, Sirhan Sirhan, stay away from that honor bar please.

A Whisper to a Roar:  Courageous democracy activists in five countries (Egypt, Malaysia, Ukraine, Venezuela and Zimbabwe) risk it all to bring freedom to their people.  After everything that happened in the Middle East last month, I think this documentary needs a rewrite.

Wake in Fright:  The story of John Grant, a bonded teacher who arrives in the rough outback mining town of Bundanyabba planning to stay overnight before catching the plane to Sydney. But his one night stretches to five and he plunges headlong toward his own destruction.  Originally made in 1971, this is a restoration.  Interesting candidate for that, given I never heard of it previously.

Six Million and One:  A filmmaker and his siblings research the experiences of their late father, who survived the Holocaust during World War II.  A new documentary which I think has been made about two dozen other times.

Simon and the Oaks:  Two boys come of age in Sweden during World War II.  Well, if you have to get laid the first time, Sweden is a good place to do it.

Sister:  A drama set at a Swiss ski resort and centered on a boy who supports his sister by stealing from wealthy guests.  Which is why hotel rooms have safes.

We Are Legion - The Story of the Hacktivists:  A documentary on the workings and beliefs of the self-described "hacktivist" collective, Anonymous.  I have a regular reader named Anonymous.  Does he know he was the subject of a documentary?

Dinner last night:  Grilled Taylor Ham with cheese on a Kaiser roll.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Yay! I Finished Another Book - "The Me Generation...By Me" by Ken Levine

Technically, the title of this book is a bit longer than will fit into the blog entry space alloted.   Moot point.  Regardless, this is a whale of a read and certainly worth your time with at least two "out loud" laughs on every one of its 300 plus pages.

I got to spend some time with the author Ken Levine a few baseball seasons ago when I donated to the Dodger charity auction and wound up as a co-host on the "Dodger Talk" post-game show with Ken and Josh Suchon.  As a result, I watched the game from the stadium press box right along with Ken and he was a delight to spend a baseball contest with. 

Ken has an amazing career.  Well, two actually.  A well-known TV comedy writer and producer with the likes of "M*A*S*H*," "Cheers," and "Frasier."  Oh, and he reminds us in the book, let's not forget his work on "Almost Perfect," a show that never should have been cancelled.   But, he also transitioned himself into the world of baseball announcing and he's most recently been one of the radio voices for the Seattle Mariners.  Most people don't get to follow and achieve one dream in their life.  Ken got to manage two.  Moreover, his daily blog is quite well known.  I believe Time Magazine cited it as one of the top blogs out there.  And I'm guessing Ken's blog likely has more readers than Time Magazine anyway, so that's a dandy factoid from Oxymoronville.   

He can now add "book author" to his lofty resume.  These days, everybody can be one.  Write yourself 300 pages and you can always self-publish.  Or organize two hundred or so of the funniest poses by your cat Sniffles.  Suddenly, the immediate world can be Bennett Cerf at Random House.  But, the trick is to publish your own book and have something nifty to say.  That's what "The Me Generation" manages to do.

As you read my blog on a daily basis, I can tell you that Ken's blog was a bit of an inspiration as I began it five years ago.  That was intentional.  What Ken's new book is a variation of my Sunday Memory Drawer pieces.  I'm pretty sure that was unintentional.  But, the effect is the same.  Ken goes through a linear recounting of his life growing up in Woodland Hills, California during the 60s.  That takes us from age 10 to age 19.  The most formative years of any person.  Where puberty takes hold.  And, believe me, that's the overriding focus on most of Ken's vignettes from that decade.  Sex and how does a kid get any?

Oh, don't get me wrong.  There's plenty of other fun stuff in Ken's decade-long journey.  For someone who, as a kid, would view the world of Southern California as if it was on the moon, it was refreshing to learn that a teenager there was just like a teenager anyway.  Except that you were a lot closer to the beach and you could hear Vin Scully every day.  It was fascinating to hear about what was the hot record store or radio station in Los Angeles back during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.  We had a hot record store and radio station in Mount Vernon, New York.  As a result, Ken's memory bank resonates with each and every one of us.   And it's frequently hilarious, to boot.

But, back to the carnal urges.  There's a lot of that in Ken's book and, comparing it to my own teenage years, I began to wonder what the hell I was doing wrong.  I don't remember it being that prevalent on the minds of me and my friends.  Oh, sure, we all had our mad crushes.  But, I don't recall a lot of talk about sex or lack thereof.  As I giggled and smiled my way through Ken's story, I couldn't help but think whether my gang back in the neighborhood was normal.  Or abnormal.  Or had I missed something altogether?  

And boy, did we miss something?!!!

Dinner last night:  Had a big lunch on the plane, so nothing really.