Friday, April 28, 2017

The Marquee of Funny










Dinner last night:  Chef's salad.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Len's Recipe of the Month - April 2017

Barbecued ribs are messy to make and even messier to eat.   I can't help you with the second part of that sentence but I can give you a recipe that is so simple to make.   And again, it involves the trusted slow cooking crock pot.   If you pay attention, your baby back ribs will look as good as mine.

Go get yourself a rack of baby back ribs.   I vouch for ones at Trader Joe's but you can use whatever super market coupon you've got.

Line your crock pot with a cellophane liner.   Not totally necessary but it will make clean-up a a breeze.   If your slow cooker is my size, you will likely need to cut the rack of ribs into two pieces.   Liberally Kosher salt and pepper them.   Lay them in the crock pot on top of one another.

You're almost done if you can believe that.   Now add the secret ingredient.   Two cups of root beer.   Yes, you read that correctly.   Root beer.

Put the cooker on low for the next five hours.   And you can go sit in the yard or power wash the house.

After five hours, remove the racks to a plate and dump out the root beer liquid. Return the ribs to the cooker and cover them with about a cup and a half of your favorite barbecue sauce.   Again, Trader Joe's has a dandy one.  Reset the crock pot to high and let it go for another full hour.

Now you're done.   Put a bib on and thank me.

Dinner last night:  Just a sandwich.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

This Date in History - April 26

Whenever it's Carol Burnett's birthday, she will get her picture on this blog. And this date turns out to have a connection to another famous redhead.   Read on.

1478:  THE PAZZI FAMILY ATTACK LORENZO DE' MEDICI AND KILL HIS BROTHER GIULIANO DURING HIGH MASS IN FLORENCE CATHEDRAL.

Some people will do anything to avoid putting money in the offering plate.

1564:  PLAYWRIGHT WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE IS BAPTIZED IN STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, ENGLAND.

To be born or not to be born...

1721:  A MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE DEVASTATES THE IRANIAN CITY OF TABRIZ.  

Which probably started their move to the United States.

1777:  SYBIL LUDDINGTON, AGED 16, RIDES 40 MILES TO ALERT AMERICAN COLONIAL FORCES TO THE APPROACH OF BRITISH TROOPS.

Paul Revere, feh.

1802:  NAPOLEON BONAPARTE SIGNS A GENERAL AMNESTY TO ALLOW ALL BUT ABOUT ONE THOUSAND OF THE MOST NOTORIOUS EMIGRES OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION TO RETURN TO FRANCE.

And you thought Trump started all this shit?

1865:  UNION TROOPED CORNER AND SHOOT DEAD JOHN WILKES BOOTH, ASSASSIN OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN.

That manhunt took eleven days.

1925:  PAUL VON HINDENBURG DEFEATS WILHELM MARX IN THE SOUND RECORD OF THE GERMAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TO BECOME THE FIRST DIRECTLY ELECTED HEAD OF STATE OF THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC.

After Paul gained a few pounds, people were whispering that he was a big blimp.

1933:  THE GESTAPO, THE OFFICIAL SECRET POLICE FORCE OF NAZI GERMANY, IS ESTABLISHED.

One-Adolf-12.

1933:  ACTRESS CAROL BURNETT IS BORN.

And she received flowers every birthday from Lucille Ball.   Even though....well, keep reading.

1945:  WORLD WAR II - LAST SUCCESSFUL GERMAN TANK-OFFENSIVE OF THE WAR AND LAST NOTEWORTHY VICTORY OF THE WEHRMACHT.

Wehrmacht?  There, Macht.

1954:  THE GENEVA CONFERENCE, AN EFFORT TO RESTORE PEACE IN INDOCHINA AND KOREA, BEGINS.

And thus ending any future plots for M*A*S*H*.

1958:  FINAL RUN OF THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD.

Although it's still running on Monopoly boards all over the world.

1960:  FORCED OUT BY THE APRIL REVOLUTION, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA SYNGMAN RHEE RESIGNS AFTER TWELVE YEARS OF DICTATORIAL RULE.

A sad Mother's Day in the offing for Mrs. Rhee.

1962:  NASA'S RANGER 4 SPACECRAFT CRASHES INTO THE MOON.

Was it supposed to do that?

1965:  COMIC KEVIN JAMES IS BORN.

A slow day for birthdays if this unfunny guy gets mentioned here.

1970:  STRIPPER GYPSY ROSE LEE DIES.

She took it ALL off.

1973:  ACTRESS IRENE RYAN DIES.

Ran out of rheumatiz medicine.

1981:  DR. MICHAEL HARRIS OF USC-SF PERFORMS THE WORLD'S FIRST HUMAN OPEN FETAL SURGERY.

Sad to say he's out of network.

1981:  ACTOR JIM DAVIS DIES.

Jock on "Dallas."

1984:  BANDLEADER COUNT BASIE DIES.

Down for the...well...you know.

1986:  ACTOR BRODERICK CRAWFORD DIES.

Arrested for the last time.

1986:  A NUCLEAR REACTOR ACCIDENT OCCURS AT THE CHERNOBYL POWER PLANT IN THE SOVIET UNION, CREATING THE WORLD'S WORST NUCLEAR DISASTER.

Think about all those hair stylists in Russia now out of work.

1989:  ACTRESS LUCILLE BALL DIES.

Lucy died early in the morning.  Carol got Lucy's birthday flowers in the afternoon.

1991:  SEVENTY TORNADOES BREAK OUT IN THE CENTRAL UNITED STATES.

Well, that certainly gave the Weather Channel something to do.

2011:  SINGER PHOEBE SNOW DIES.

Melted.

2015:  TV PERSONALITY JAYNE MEADOWS DIES.

No secret.

Dinner last night:  Leftover chicken and vegetables.




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Jewel From England

I'm still smarting from some films that were well-reviewed and stunk to high heaven when I saw them.  The last one, the absolutely dreadful "Song To Song" by renowned cinematic hack Terence Malick, officially became the first movie I ever walked out.  Thirty-eight minutes was all I could muster of that tragedy.

So I hear good stuff about "Their Finest" and I head out with trepidation.  And, then single-handedly, this little film restores my faith in the medium all over again.  Leave it to England to do that.

"Their Finest" is set against a backdrop that is fascinating to me.  London, 1940 with Nazi bombs making regular appearances all over town.  I've heard the stories from two good older friends of mine.   One of them was born under the bed during a blitz.  Here, Catrin is a young copywriter going through the motions in a live-in relationship with a painter. Somehow, she is plucked out of nowhere by a film company who wants a female perspective on a movie they are making and will be used to bolster British nationalism as well as let America know what they are going through every day.   The stiff upper lip must be shared.

At work, Catrin winds up with a writing partner, Tom Buckley, and their relationship grows slowly and naturally.  Catrin also encounters the film's star, Ambrose Hilliard, played wonderfully as always by Bill Nighy ("Love Actually"). Effectively, "Their Finest" becomes a movie-within-a-movie as you watch the production staff work to make a film that will show people how strong the British can be.   This might be the most fascinating backstage story since "The Bad and the Beautiful."  You really feel like you're on that set and living the ups and downs of movie making.  

Meanwhile, the blasts outside are numerous and devastating.  Characters go home at the end of the day to find their home in ruins.    Ambrose literally seems to lose his agent overnight.   And, as a production assistant casually sipping up a cup of morning tea, she just happens to mention that her landlady was killed the night before.  How did these people make it through this? Indeed, this was a type of courage that we probably will never see again, especially here in the now-completed-dumbed-down United States.

Where "Their Finest" loses a half-star in rating from me is the ending, which turns depressing and mawkish for a bit.   In retrospect, it was the best conclusion that director Lone Scherfig could conjure up and I get it now.   But you sorely wish "Their Finest" had the happy ending that Catrin crafts for the embedded movie.  But, at the end of two hours, I realize my time was well spent and, for once, the good reviews were spot-on.  Bravo...for a change.

LEN'S RATING:  Three-and-a-half stars.

Dinner last night:  Teriyaki beef and vegetable stir fry.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday Morning Video Laugh - April 24, 2017

I love this Match Game...not the current one with the bloated Alec Baldwin.

Dinner last night:  Roast chicken and vegetables.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Spring Has Sprung

Now you don't really get spring here in California.   Oh, sure, you'll get some warmer days when the temperature actually varies by about ten degrees.   It will rain less than once in every ten days.   Of course, with all the rain this past winter, things are a little greener than they have been.  And that has resulted in these huge poppy fields like pictured above.   You know how the folks back East drive around looking for leaves in October and November?  This spring, people in the Golden State are motoring all around for the requisite poppy field photo op.

I grew up on the East Coast in Mount Vernon, New York.   Now there's a place where spring really sprung.  The winter coats got moved into the back of the closet.  The Mets had started their season at Shea Stadium so WOR Channel 9 would be tuned into my television now until October 1.   My grandmother would be tinkering in the yard with her plants.  Sure, her beloved rhubarb patch was perennial, but there would be other plantings.  Perhaps some cucumbers.   Almost always a few tomato plants, the fruits of which we would enjoy for about three days at the end of August.

But there were a couple of harbingers of the season that would scare the shit out of me.   One usually began with a request from my grandmother to my father.

"Harry, don't you think it's time to take down the storm windows and put up the screens?"

Gulp.

For those of you not from cold weather states, your houses frequently came with heavy duty windows that you put in place for the winter.   Then you removed them in the warm weather and replaced them with screens that allowed you a mosquito-free environment.  Whatever, the process of making this change in October and usually April or May always spooked me out.   My father naturally needed an extra set of hands to get this done.  Those would be mine.  And I always was convinced that this would result in the mangling of my dad.

Why?   Well, the first floor...which was my grandmother's part of the house...was a piece of cake.  Naturally, the storm windows were heavy and the screens were light.   But the trading out on the front porch was a snap.  Even I could do it without screwing it up and that's saying something.

It was the front windows of our second floor that were the horror show for me. Because it required my dad to get on the roof over the front porch.  First off, he would hand me the detached storm windows through the actual window.  To do so, my father would remove and then back up on the roof in order to hand it to me.  

This was my family's annual circus act.  Because I would watch my dad walk backwards on the roof towards the edge as I grappled to get hold of the storm window inside.   Indeed, there were five different windows we needed to do this for.   I held my breath on every one of them.   I was convinced that the slightest slip from me would have my father sailing off the roof into Grandma's prickly hedges below.

Once this daredevil stunt was complete, we were not done.  And my fears would be renewed.   Because there was an acrobatic part to get the screens up there.   

My job was to get the screens out of the basement.   First I would hose them down.  Then I would move them to whatever part of the outside house where they would live till the fall.   Again, the second floor was an issue but Dad had a foolproof method to getting this solved.   

I would stand on the steps to the front porch and raise the screens enough so my dad could reach them from the roof.  Okay, again, my heart was in my throat.   I was always convinced that my father would have to reach too far and then come tumbling off the roof into a mangled mess in front of me.

It never happened but the fear was there every single spring.  That's an awful lot for a ten-year-old to handle.

So what was my other springtime fear?  Well, come back next Sunday to find out.

Dinner last night:  Corned beef reuben panini at the Arclight.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Classic TV Theme Song of the Month - April 2017

When the best thing about a TV show is the theme song...

Dinner last night:  Leftover meat loaf.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Your Weekend Movie Guide for April 2017

Back in the day, the holidays meant a trip to see what Radio City Music Hall had as their main attraction.   Sixty years ago during Easter week, the movie was "Funny Face."  I assume there were lines around the block.

This Easter at the multiplex, will there be lines?  I doubt it as Hollywood saves their big stuff for the upcoming summer season.  You know the drill, guys.  I'll zip through the movie pages of the LA Times and give you my gut reaction to the garbage being dumped at our cinematic feet.  

Oh, if we could only see "The Glory of Easter" one more time...

Gifted:  I hear good buzz on this tale of a super smart girl.   Did she end up working for NASA?

Their Finest:  A comedy about London during the bombing of 1940.  Well, I guess somebody found it funny.

Colossal:   I guess it's big.

All These Sleepless Nights:   For anybody who voted for Hillary.

Get Out:   I've heard good things.   No longer does that automatically get me into the theater.

Going In Style:   A remake from the late 70s.  Is it better?  Probably not given the participation of Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, and Morgan Freeman who will do any script at any time.

Ghost in the Shell:  I doubt this is about Casper.

The Zookeeper's Wife:  Well, somebody's got to be married to him.

T2 Trainspotting:  A sequel from a film made over 20 years ago.   Talk about slow development.

Beauty and the Beast:   It's made a gazillion dollars because people just love the original cartoon.   Shot for shot, the live action is the same movie.  So how come it's a half hour longer?

Personal Shopper:  Been out for weeks and I still have no idea what this is.

Wilson:  Woody Harrelson stars and I don't think it's a remake about President Woodrow Wilson.

The Boss Baby:  Alec Baldwin voices in a cartoon about...oh, who am I kidding?  I was out at Alec Baldwin.

Norman - The Rise and Fall of a New York Fixer:  It stars Richard Gere as a guy who once did a favor for the prime minister of Israel.   If you insist.

My Entire High School is Sinking Into the Sea:  I wish.

Tommy's Honour:  About father-son golfers.....zzzzzzz.

Truman:   And I doubt this is about Harry S.

The Outcasts:  All about uncool kids.   If they are so uncool, how do they get their own movie?

The Fate of The Furious:   Number 123 in a series.

Little Boxes:  A bi-racial family from NY moves to a small town.  Which reminds me...there were no Black people in Mayberry.

The Lost City of Z:   I'm sorry I missed the Lost City of X and Y.

The Mason Brothers:   It's not a documentary about the guys who make all those jars.

Smurfs - The Lost Village:   Why is anybody looking for it?

CHIPS:  Because Hollywood is completely devoid of original ideas.

Life:   A cereal.   And a board game.

Logan:   You like Hugh Jackman?  You go.

Unforgettable:  Sorry, you Nat King or Natalie Cole fans, it ain't about them.

Let It Fall - Los Angeles 1982-92:  A documentary about the decade leading up to the Rodney King verdict.  See it nightly before the 7PM curfew.  It's playing in theaters, but you should also know that ABC-TV is telecasting it tonight.

Karl Marx City:  A documentary about most major metropolises in America.

A Night Without Armor:  A police captain and a pediatric nurse talk about their lives.   Sounds well meaning but dull.

Phoenix Forgotten:  Done.

The Promise:  Christian Bale in a drama about the Ottoman Empire.   And the sheer mention of that conjures up all bad memories from 10th grade World History.

A Quiet Passion:   Cynthia Nixon in a drama about Emily Dickinson.  And the sheer mention of that conjures up all bad memories from 11th grade English.

Free Fire:  About when Boston was violent in the 70s.   Seriously?  I thought all they cared about was Bucky Fucking Dent's homerun in 1978.

Dinner last night:  Meat loaf and broccoli.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Please Make It Stop!

Here's Kiefer Sutherland as the President of the US on "Designated Survivor," a show I generally like even though it's completely ridiculous.  But if you're not watching his character govern the country from the Oval Office, don't sweat it. There are almost a half-dozen other Presidents that you can enjoy on other programs.

Let's see.   There's Kevin Spacey on "House of Cards."  Elizabeth Marvel on "Homeland."   Keith Carradine on "Madam Secretary."   And these are just the shows I watch.   I know there are others.  But, the office of the Chief Executive has been used repeatedly over the years.   There were four or five different Presidents during the run of the original "24."  And, of course, there was that lunatic Martin Sheen who actually really thought he was President of the United States on the grossly overwritten and overrated "West Wing."

Meanwhile, these leaders are not just dealing with Congressional bills or greeting boy scouts on the West Lawn.   Nope.   Our TV Presidents are dealing with terrorists, assassination attempts, Capitol explosions, and scandals.  It's apparently prime time TV's new "go-to" when it comes to plot devices.

Now, there was a recent asinine article in the Hollywood Reporter where several prominent show runners were interviewed about writing TV in the age of Trump.   How did his election affect their story lines, especially since the majority of the production people in Hollywood are still in denial that he won? Well, be assured that these folks are coping and working diligently to include this real life dilemma into their shows.

I've got a clever idea.   Why don't you ignore it all and simply entertain us in other ways?  

First off, when shows like this work current events into their plots, it immediately dates and depreciates the program quicker than a new Hyundai driving off the car lot.  Five years later, are you going to be really watching a repeat episode of "Veep?"  Including timely references is the death knell for any TV show.   "Murphy Brown," which went heavy up on Dan Quayle jokes, is paying the price now.  It is rarely rerun and DVD sales never got past the first season.  Nobody cares what happened when Murphy had her baby.   

There are many other examples of shows that focused on current events and lived to regret it.   The shelf life of some television these days is shorter than the six-pack of Thomas' English Muffins you bought last weekend.   And, as a result in a decade from now, retro TV networks like Antenna TV and Me TV, currently showing reruns of "Hazel" and "Everybody Loves Raymond," will still be showing reruns of "Hazel" and "Everybody Loves Raymond."  Given the state of what will be rewatchable in ten years, there's probably going to be a TV network (probably TBS) that runs nothing but "The Big Bang Theory" episodes.

The other quibble I have with all these politically-heavy shows is that...well...they are all politically-heavy.  After watching the news, don't we need a freakin' break?  How about something that makes you smile or...perish the thought...laugh?  The thing I am hearing that was not included in that dippy Hollywood Reporter piece was that we might be trending back to more comfortable and easy-on-the-mind television.   I vote "yea."   Some of the most watched shows on Netflix are "Friends," "Frasier," and "Cheers."  Hmmm.  I wonder why.  Frasier and Niles never shared their thoughts on Trump or the Clintons.  We have 13 episodes written of a new project and there was one single political joke about Obamacare.   One.  It's gone now because even that is already dated.

Don't we all need a rest?  Look at everything that comes out of super-lberal Hollywood which constantly tries to lead us all in several verses of "Kumbaya." Meanwhile, did you watch any of the recent "24" reboot?  Let's see.  All the villains were Muslim terrorists.   There was a Black gang war and they all had guns.   And, oh, yeah, in the middle of rush hour, a bomb blew up the middle of the George Washington Bridge.

Yes, let's have more shows like that, jerks.  Perhaps we'll get a break soon.   The writers may go on strike.

Dinner last night:  Chicken tenders plus sauteed spinach, mushrooms, and garlic.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

This Date in History - April 19

Happy birthday to Elinor Donahue.  This is probably the only blog in the world sporting a picture of her today.

65 AD:  THE FREEDMAN MILICHUS BETRAYS PISO'S PLOT TO KILL THE EMPEROR NERO AND ALL THE CONSPIRATORS ARE ARRESTED.

Too bad.   Would have saved a fortune on arson insurance.

797:  EMPRESS IRENE ORGANIZES A CONSPIRACY AGAINST HER SON, THE BYZANTINE EMPEROR CONSTANTINE VI.

April 19...a day to plot overthrows apparently.

1529:  THE BEGINNING OF THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION.  

My pal Martin Luther must be in the middle of this somehow.

1539:  CHARLES V AND PROTESTANTS SIGN THE TREATY OF FRANKFURT.

With mustard and relish.

1770:  MARIE ANTOINETTE MARRIES LOUIS XVI OF FRANCE IN A PROXY WEDDING.

A head of her time.

1775:  THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION BEGINS WITH AN AMERICAN VICTORY IN CONCORD.

USA!  USA!

1810:  VENEZUELA ACHIEVES HOME RULE WHEN GOVERNOR EMPARAN IS REMOVED BY THE PEOPLE OF CARACAS AND A JUNTA IS INSTALLED.

Junta...always loved that word.

1882:  THEORIST CHARLES DARWIN DIES.

Evolve this.

1892:  CHARLES DURYEA CLAIMS TO HAVE DRIVEN THE FIRST AUTOMOBILE IN THE US.

Probably a false claim because I never heard of anybody driving a new Duryea.

1927:  MAE WEST IS SENTENCED TO TEN DAYS IN JAIL FOR OBSCENITY FOR HER PLAY SEX.

That's play sex as in theatrical production, you dirty minds, you.

1930:  ACTOR DICK SARGENT IS BORN.

Darrin #2.

1935:  ACTOR DUDLEY MOORE IS BORN.

Probably stayed at the same height for the rest of his life.

1937:  ACTRESS ELINOR DONAHUE IS BORN.

A good friend of mine is a good friend of her son.   If anybody is playing Six Degrees of Elinor Donahue.

1943:  WORLD WAR II - IN POLAND, THE WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING BEGINS AS GERMAN TROOPS ROUND UP THE REMAINING JEWS.

Paying attention, President Roosevelt?

1948:  BURMA JOINS THE UNITED NATIONS.

Shave.

1956:  ACTRESS GRACE KELLY MARRIES PRINCE RAINIER OF MONACO.

Based on his looks, he did very, very well here.

1971:  CHARLES MANSON IS SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR CONSPIRACY IN THE TATE-LABIANCA MURDERS.

And this guy still walks the earth.

1971:  SPORTSCASTER RUSS HODGES DIES.

Also sentenced to death today.   Sort of.

1987:  THE SIMPSONS FIRST APPEAR AS A SERIES OF SHORTS ON THE TRACEY ULLMAN SHOW.

After all these years, wow, that's a lot of yellow ink.

1995:  THE OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING.

Remember it like it was just 22 years ago.

2005:  CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER IS ELECTED TO THE PAPACY AND BECOMES POPE BENEDICT XVI.

Later quit when he discovered he had to work Christmas Eve.

2005:  ACTRESS RUTH HUSSEY DIES.

Listed here only because the last name makes me laugh.

2011:  FIDEL CASTRO RESIGNS AS FIRST SECRETARY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY.   

Wonder what kind of 401K plan the Communist Party has.

2013:  JOURNALIST AL NEUHARTH DIES.

Founded USA Today which nobody reads unless they're in a hotel on a business trip.

2013:  BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING SUSPECT TAMERIAN TSARNAEV IS KILLED IN A SHOOTOUT WITH POLICE.

As depicted in the movie Patriots Day, this guy was one dumb terrorist.

2016:  BASEBALL PITCHER MILT PAPPAS DIES.

Gets listed here because, frankly, April 19 isn't a particularly busy day for dead celebrities.

Dinner last night:  Leftover pasta.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Beating a Dead....Whatever

Okay, in case you were on another planet for Easter week, you certainly know all about this story.   This is United Air Lines' nightmare, but a comedy writer's dream.   You've no doubt seen the jokes like the one above.

"Southwest:  We beat the competition, not you."

"Fly the Unfriendly Skies of United." 

Or this visual...
Yep, if this was your week to buy United stock, well......

So, there's lots and lots going on with this story.  First things first, there is no way in Hell that this should have happened to any passenger on any airline.  No way, no how.

But...

As we learn more about the unlucky passenger, Dr. David Dao, I'd like to state emphatically that, if somebody had to have this shit kicked out of him, it was this piece of crap.   Have you read his backstory?  Medical licenses revoked repeatedly for inappropriate use of his prescription pad.   Trading OxyContin for blow jobs and other sexual favors.  A jerk that, while he didn't deserve this treatment, merited the sucker punches anyway.  Sadly, as much of a lowlife that he is, this shithead will wind up with millions and millions of dollars.

Now, as much as I have flown over the past two decades, I myself, as an exclusive American Airlines million mile flyer, have never witnessed such a catastrophe in person.   Oh, sure, I always hear the announcements before you board for oversold flights.   But I've never seen anybody forcibly removed from the aircraft.   And I wonder how I would react if the computer metrics had randomly selected me like they chose this David Dao asshole.

Hmmm.  I hear my father's voice from years ago.   As soon as I became a teenager and started to drive, my dad gave me words of advice that I have adhered to for life.

"If police or the authorities ever tell you to do something, you do it.  You don't argue.  You simply say 'yes' and comply."

Okay, a passive approach indeed.  But, according to my father, it's the smart thing to do and you can always argue your point later in front of a judge.  

So, if I had been asked to give up my seat, I would have done so willingly.  And negotiated a better reward.  I would not have screamed like a banshee or run around the cabin like a lunatic.  Hopefully, I'd have an extra $1500 to two grand in my pocket for my inconvenience.

That said, the issue here is that United really goofed in how they handled this situation.  Most news articles quoting flight attendants say that all of this overbooking nonsense should have handled at the gate before the passengers even got on.

And here is buried the subtext that we are all ignoring.   And I witnessed for myself a airport gate snafu three weeks ago that perfectly illustrates the problem.

I board my American flight back to LAX from JFK.  Sitting comfortably in my exit row seat while they are getting ready to close the cabin door, they make the announcement that this is Flight 117 to Los Angeles.   I note a commotion in the back.   Five minutes later, two Hispanic women are escorted off the plane.  We are delayed by about a half-hour but ultimately do depart.

Mid-trip, on one of my frequent strolls through the cabin to counter any DVT symptoms, I ask the friendly flight attendant about what had transpired.

It seems that the two women, when they heard the flight was bound for LA, got agitated.   They were supposed to be on a flight to Miami!  When one of the crew asked to see their boarding passes, they replied that they had left them in McDonald's.   That's what got them bounced.   Ultimately, it was an innocent mistake.

Sort of.   Because I began to question how they managed to get on the plane at all without boarding passes!!!  I thought back to when I boarded.   I noted the two gate agents seemed to be new.   They were easily confused and looked like it was Day One on the job.  And this pair clearly had their hands full boarding a full flight.

So, there's your problem, ladies and germs.  Air travel in 2017 is so affordable and accessible for all.  And, to accommodate the reduced fares, airlines are using other tactics to show a profit.  Like reducing the number of gate agents. And perhaps hiring the less qualified.   That's how two Hispanic women got on my flight without boarding passes.   And that's all how United completely bungled the situation last week.

Anybody for Amtrak?  Or Greyhound?

Dinner last night:  Linguine with tomatoes and Kalamata olives.






Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday Morning Video Laugh - April 17, 2017

Genius moments from Johnny Carson and Steve Martin.

Dinner last night: My current favorite dinner - New York steak with pan roasted tomatoes in Balsamic jam.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Easter Finery

Jesus Christ is risen today.  Hallelujah!!  Hopefully he will forgive you for wearing hats like this.

Yes, we celebrate the holiday where the most outlandish of the absurd get paraded up and down Fifth Avenue in New York.   I am glad I never got sucked into this nonsense.

Or did I?  Indeed, Easter is the lost holiday for me.  Oh, I'll go to church, for sure.  But, after that, I usually head home, switch to my play clothes, and watch a baseball game.  Even better for me this year.   I'm headed to Dodger Stadium for an afternoon game.   I might as well.   If you're not exchanging gifts, what the hell is the point of a holiday?  

I didn't have that luxury when I was a gift. Because Easter was the annual family photo op day.  The women in my family decked out in their finest.   And me winding up in some ridiculous get-up that no self-assured five-year-old should ever endure.  For instance...
Yep, I've shown this before and it's embarrassing all over again.  This is the Easter picture during my Bing Crosby period. I don't look happy in this photo. Would you? I look like some old Jewish ex-vaudevillean waiting for a bus on the Grand Concourse. Or one of those Jerry Mahoney dummies. With emphasis on the word "dummy." This is why all children, at some point in time, hate their parents.
To make matters worse, my father was going through his creative period in playing with his prized Argus Technicolor camera.  

"Lenny, go stand by that tree and pretend you're looking for something."

Like what?   My dignity.  That's AWOL.

As I look at these Easter photos all over again, I can feel the shirt tightening around my neck one more time.  As if I'm being choked by that fucking bow tie. Now I know why they didn't flinch when I told them I wanted to live at a college that was less than 10 miles from my house.   They knew these pictures existed and there was a price that needed to be paid.

At least, the three of us are captured for posterity in this one. Knowing my mother's fashion sense, I have no idea why she's wearing a red dress that clearly clashes with my red sport jacket.

A RED SPORTS JACKET!!!  With something in the pocket that might be a handkerchief.  What the hell is going on in my life at this juncture???  And, from the twisted expression on my face, I'm pondering that very question at that exact moment.  Either that or perhaps I'm the youngest person to ever suffer a stroke.  

In retrospect, I realize that my dad wore a suit rarely.  On Easter or whenever somebody in the family wound up being "stretched out" down at Suchy's Funeral Parlor in the Bronx.  From what I see here, he wore the fancier outfits well.  I doubt Mom wore this dress to any wakes.  On second thought, she might have.   It all depends on who it was.

Back to the RED SPORTS JACKET, there is a follow-up story.   When I previously posted this photo in a blog entry, a good friend of mine from grade school immediately recognized it.   Not from me, but from her brother wearing the same jacket.   As we figured out, my mom used to give my friend's mother clothes that I outgrew.  Hopefully, they didn't hand it down any further and simply garbage bagged it at some point.  

Happy Easter, gang.  Time to put on my Dodger jersey.

Dinner last night:  Moo shu pork from Century Dragon.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Classic Movie Trailer of the Month - April 2017

What were you expecting this month?  White Christmas?

Dinner last night:  Homemade pizza with Kalamata olives.

Friday, April 14, 2017

How To Promote Easter At Your Church










Dinner last night:  Barbecue chopped salad.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Morons of the Month - April 2017

After a few months of a personal cleansing of all things political from my system, this recent chart from the "news" network MS-LSD gave me pause again to address the lunacy all around us.

In this incredibly bi-polar, manic depressive society we live in, it's fascinating to watch the talking points from both sides.   Indeed, what was an issue for Republicans the last eight years is now a gut wrencher for the Democrats?  I love how this flip flops depending upon on who is in the White House.   It's like each party completely forgets their own argument for or against.

Among the many issues that are always debated ad nauseum by the assholes that run our federal, state, and local governments is the vacation time of our leadership.   Right now, Trump is on the hot seat because he seems to go to Florida every single week.   Yes, every time a President moves his location, there is a large tax payer cost for gassing up the plane, moving relatives, Secret Service, etc..

Well, you see that totally "factual" publication Politico is showing just how much Trump is draining the travel budget compared to the previous idiot who lived at 16oo Pennsylvania Avenue.  Okay, I am astounded by the logic used here.  And you have to live in Los Angeles to know that the Obama numbers are...well...under reported.  

This is a guy who made almost 50 different fund raising trips to California as he courted the dastardly 1 percent of the Hollywood community who are stupid in their own right.   Every time this ass wipe showed up here, traffic was tied up for days in a complete disregard for the common citizen.   I once was stuck two blocks from my house for three hours because there was a 50 percent chance the Presidential motorcade was going to come down my block.   

Cops working overtime.   People stuck in traffic burning gas.   And the guy was not doing any sort of business that involved the state of California.   None of those costs are reflected in the numbers on this chart.

Of course, this debate is always cyclical.   Democrats complain about Trump, Bush 1, Bush 2, and Reagan.   Republicans complain about Obama, Clinton, and Carter.   The same arguments get trotted out, only worded differently.   It's part of the mayhem and gridlock that is destroying this country systematically.   So, you idiots on both sides of the aisle, keep griping about Florida vacations and golf trips and excursions to Hawaii.

While all Presidents travels, the rest of us are going no place fast.

Dinner last night:  Had a big lunch so just a sandwich.