Wednesday, February 29, 2012

All hands look out below; there's a change in the status quo

The career of country singer Jim Reeves, sad to say, ended in July 1964, when the small private airplane he was piloting got tossed about in a storm.  Before he left this mortal coil, Reeves recorded a song called "This Is It."

Well, my career with Baltimore County, Maryland, ends today.  This is it for me. I have retired; there will be a cake and punch thing at the office for all of us who went out on this early retirement incentive program, and off I will ride into the sunset along with a couple hundred other young old-timers.

I won't go into detail about what I did and where I did it, except to say that it has been a privilege to serve the citizens and visitors of our wonderful county. I mean that. I have come in contact with thousands of people since May 9, 1983, and there have been some interesting citizens among them. Oh, I could weave tales and spin stories about crooks and bad people and abusers and cheaters and grifters, but what I will take with me is the memory of people who said, "Thank you.  You saved a life."  Sometimes, they added something about how they always heard The Government was unfeeling and uncaring and unkind, but not the government where I work(ed)! 

And the people I work(ed) with - I'm not going to name names, because I don't want to leave anyone out inadvertently. The people at work become a sort of large family while you're there.  That means you pull together and get the job done, and the mutual goal is met.  We've had fun together, we've laughed and cried together, and now some of us are moving on. 

But I'm not going to be a stranger. I'm not going to be that retiree who shows up all the time and just plops down in the chair of whoever is out that day, but then again I'm not going to be the one who moves to Arizona and starts sporting a tan and a turquoise bolo tie, either.  I'll be running around the house, doing something about the 150 boxes of stuff I put down in the basement when we moved in back in '99 (I told Peggy, "I'll take care of this as soon as I get a chance" and guess what! My chance is here!) and visiting the great nieces and nephews and who-all else, and I'm going to take some time to exercise and some time to enjoy my life with the simple difference of not having to worry about this meeting or that trial.  And I can make Peggy's life easier by handling all the household chores (vacuum/dust/launder) while still cooking dinner...just a bit earlier in the day. 

Stewie watched Mr Belvedere and now I'm going to try to be Mr Belvedere. And, according to this new arrival, life is more than mere survival.  Thanks, everyone.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ailin' Ladd

Anne Arundel County, MD, is known for several things.  The City of Annapolis, our state capital, is located therein, as is the US Naval Academy.

It is the county with the most miles of shoreline of any county in the United States, being a peninsula that butts right on out into the Chesapeake Bay.

Most people call it by its real name, Anne Arundel, but many use the local term "Anne Darundel," and no one can figure out why that is.

It's a big place, running from just south of Baltimore City all the way down to the farm fields of Calvert County. 
 
I have some friends who live down that way, none of them members of the Anne Arundel County Council.  Certainly, my friends do not number among them one Richard "Dick" Ladd, who, at a recent meeting of the council, found it necessary to use a racial slur to describe the Asians he encountered while fighting in Viet Nam.  He is a member of the county council, you understand. He is a Republican from the Broadneck area, home to gigantic traffic backups in summertime when people wish to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, but can't for a while due to traffic.
 
The big deal on the Council now is that a member lost his seat when he went to jail for five months because he did not file a tax return.  At the rate at which things are moving, that councilman, Daryl D. Jones, might be back in town and out of the hoosegow before the remaining members can settle on a successor.  Citizens from the area he represented need to have a replacement in place so that their concerns can be heard, but right now, the last two meetings of the council have been snarled up with votes on the matter, all ending in a 3-3 deadlock between supporters of former state Sen. Michael J. Wagner from Ferndale, a Caucasian guy, and Peter I. Smith, a Marine reservist from Severn who is African-American as is Jones.
 
It may be that each of these men, Wagner and Smith, has three strong supporters on the council, all voting strictly on the basis of their qualifications.  It would be nice to think so, but...
 
The other day at a community forum to discuss all this, "Dick" Ladd was asked questions about diversity on the now-all-white-all-male council, and, as the Baltimore SUN reported, Ladd "stormed" out.  Give him props for showing up in the first place - he was the only member of the county council to do so - but then, when the questioning got too hot for him, he paraded on out upon being asked to explain why he used a disgusting word for people of Asian descent.
 
"I don't believe there is a racist or biased bone in my body," said the man who called people "gooks." "There's nothing I can do that's going to please some of you here in this room. … I think I better leave before I say much more — before I incriminate myself."

The newspaper also reported a curious statement made by his fellow Republican council member, John J. Grasso, from Glen Burnie.  The SUN said Grasso said he was invited to the forum but forgot to attend, but was "saddened to have missed it. I would have enjoyed a challenging debate, particularly with the folks who were picking on Dick Ladd, because … every time you bring up race, that's a real big sign that you're a racist yourself," said Grasso. "It's all for one and one for all in Anne Arundel County."

Ah ha.  We've seen this before.  Someone points out something offensive, and the defense is that that someone must be doing the same thing in the first place.  It's like, you see a guy rob a bank, and you call 911, and they say, "Oh, you must be into robbing banks yourself."

OK.  Once and for all, Mr Grasso, I'm pretty sure that calling someone out for being a racist does not make one a racist.  

The shoe doesn't necessarily fit.

Back to those who were actually at the debate, Ladd was asked why he would use such disparaging language, at a government function no less, and he said,"I was asked to come here to explain my role in government knowing full well I might be asked questions of this sort. Perhaps I made an error in judgment. I do apologize to the Asian community. I should have known this was going to blow up in my face."

Then, even though he was looking down as he paced and spoke, he really stepped into it.  A man named Mark Chang, a community and constituent services representative from the county executives's office who is Asian-American, was there at the forum. And so Ladd turned to Chang and said, "I am very, very sorry to you."


For those who might not live, work or shop in a diverse society, this is that sort of over-the-top association by designation that is so off-putting.  It's like asking an African-American friend to show you how to moondance, or asking an Italian-American friend for their spaghetti sauce recipe - just because they are African-American or Italian-American. That's the difference.  You don't find the one person in the room who happens to be of the race you calumniated and apologize to them on behalf of all similar people everywhere.  It's another form of racism to do that, to my mind.
Richard "Dick" Ladd

So Ladd left, saying, "I am clear that I angered some of you today. This is a very difficult issue for all of us…Maybe I was ill advised to come down."

No, sir.  You were ill-advised to demean people with your ill-chosen language, and ill-advised to make grandstanding, apparently insincere apologies, and maybe ill-advised to enter politics.  And I think you do have some racist or biased bones in you, but I'll tell you what.

Do something to prove that wrong, and I will apologize to you.  Not to all fools, but you and you alone. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sea-lebrities

It's the end-of-winter doldrums period for America's celebrities.  Oh sure, it's Academy Awards time and time for new TV shows to be produced for this fall and all the spring movie releases ("Gone With The Wind II" starring Joe Pesci, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Dr Oz - in theatres soon!) are planned out. 

America is a fascinating country.  There are people living here who are willing to reach into their pockets and shell out money for a copy of the National
Enquirer, a publication of such indignity as to put a picture of Whitney Houston in her casket on its cover.

But after all, it is a World Exclusive, don't you know.  Scads of other magazines vied for this thanatological nightmare, but only the Enquirer had the werewithal to show you a photo of the late pop star, following in their ghastly tradition of doing the same for Elvis and John Lennon.

Extant celebrities are doing what all of them do in late February, which is to put on bikinis and have someone photograph them on the beaches of Mexico.  LeAnn Rimes, shown here, apparently will need to run around in the shower to get herself sudsed up, so ectomorphic is she.  And heaven knows, it's not like she is too busy entertaining people to take a minute to eat something. 
For regular people, taking a photographer to the beach is not part of our vacation routine.  Oh sure, someone always shows up with a camera, but that's just nutty Uncle Nutsy. He's like that.   

People start gearing up to become celebrities when they are very young, learning to sing and dance and tell jokes in an amusing fashion.  Then they get to be famous, or, worse, famous for being famous.  Along the way, they do all they can to get attention, and then, once they have attention, they demand to be left alone.

What a world.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Itz 2 dummmm

It takes a mighty serious topic to get the Alabama House of Representatives to vote unanimously, and they found one: the issue of texting while driving, which is about as stupid a thing as a person can do.  I even think it's a dumber thing to do than speeding, but it's a close call. 

When you read the article about the Alabamans voting to make the practice illegal, you'll see that one fellow recently changed his mind about it all.  Imagine!  "I used to be for it, but I changed my mind."

I can take issue with the proposed ban on talking on a cell phone, especially with headsets or BlueTeeth.  After all, people talk while driving, with their spouse or girlfriend or girlfriend's spouse in the car.  People talk to the guy in that damn Oldsmobile ahead of them in the drive-thru line all the time, although he can't hear a word they're saying because he is listening to the Books On DVD version of "The Devil Made Me Do It - the Rick Santorum Story."  And look at what people do already as they drive...they eat cheeseburgers, they dip nachos, they shave, they apply eye liner..and that's before they even leave the driveway!

Not to generalize, but it's usually not pappy old guys like me who text while driving.  The texts we receive usually have to do with remembering to go the Credit Union or pick up some American cheese.  Cool, sleek, lovely young women: some of these are your serial texters. 

And the crazy thing is, they are so concerned about their health that they will text their BFF and tell her they are driving on the way to the gym.

If they get there.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Eiffel Awful About All This



Just the other day we were talking about that movie "Arthur" in which there is a scene where Arthur (Dudley Moore) takes a woman to a fine restaurant and she reminds him of her profession, to which he sputters, "You're a hooker! Jesus, I forgot! I just thought I was doing great with you!"



The French version of Arthur, although much older and bearing more of a resemblance to an aged Armand Assante, is that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, one time head of the AMF  I mean IMF, who got into trouble in a New York hotel and also seems indisposed to behaving himself in the finer Parisian hotels.



(I will admit, the one and only reason I would ever want to go to Paris would be to ask them, "How is it, how you say, 'shower' in French?" and then giggle when they answer.)

DSK, as he is known in sunny France, is under questioning in sunny France for involvement in parties held in rooms full of naked women. It seems logical to assume that some of the women were paid to attend the parties, although the vast personal magnetism of Monsieur Strauss-Kahn, pictured here, must be regarded as another reason for the large turnout of jeunes filles.



According to the Washington POST, several prostitutes who have already been questioned said they had sex with DSK at a restaurant in Paris as well as hotels in the French capital and in Washington D.C, the Associated Press reported. Strauss-Kahn has denied any knowledge that the women were prostitutes, although he has admitted to attending “sex parties” in several cities across the world.

“He could easily not have known, because as you can imagine, at these kinds of parties you’re not always dressed, and I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked woman,” his lawyer Henri Leclerc told French radio Europe 1 in December.

This was dubbed“The Carlton Affair” by French media after the hotel where several meetings allegedly took place.  Police are investigating whether prostitutes were paid corporate funds from a French construction company to entertain guests at sex parties around the world.

While consorting with prostitutes is legal in France, supplying them to others is not, nor is the misuse of company funds.



So remember this excuse - "Just because she was naked in a hotel room, how was I to know she was a prostitute?" - if you're ever jammed up.



A random check of 100 random wives showed a strong disinclination to believe that story. In fact, an even 100 of them said they wouldn't fall for it, and 87 of them were already on the phone to their attorney - the firm of Bicker, Back & Forth.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Kitsch-en Nightmare

You'll want to make sure to be in front of a TV set (or set your DVR, if you're going to be in front of something else) at 8 o'clock tonight, Friday, February 24.  FOX will show the latest installment of Kitchen Nightmares, and this time it focuses on Baltimore's own Cafe Hon.

We talked about this place before and as it happens, both Peggy and I like the food and the ambiance there. The owner got in trouble with the city a couple of years ago over the matter of being required to have a sign permit for the ginormous flamingo that adorns the front of the joint.  All of the neighbors and all of the customers backed up the owner in this fight, which was soon handled when the mayor stepped in and "cooler heads prevailed," as rarely happens.

So, fresh off that public relations victory, Ms Whiting, proprietor of the Cafe Hon, tries to copyright the word "hon" and regulate anything corny or Baltimorey.  Predictably, people got royally peeved and the Cafe's business took a dip, so off to the rescue comes the Belligerent Brit, the Churlish Chef, Gordon Ramsay.

It didn't take a genius to tell her to drop the lawsuits and the legal maneuvering and get back to selling hot roast beef sammies with gravy, but let's tune in tonight and see how it all went.

Gordon Ramsay is available to help one and all with image problems.  I hear he's headed to Italy to work with a certain sea captain.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wave it bye-bye

I'm so CONFUSED!

I thought flag-burning was WRONG at all times, but here's a dad from Wyoming, Michigan who found it necessary to burn a New Jersey flag.

Here's the story:

A Michigan man whose son died in Iraq has burned the state flag of New Jersey after New Jersey flew its flags at half-staff in memory of Whitney Houston last week.

"They're watering down the term of what a true hero is these days," John Burri told ABC News. "I thought it was offensive to every family's fallen solider out there, and it cheapens the meaning of lowering the flag."

The 60-year-old's decision to torch the New Jersey flag on his Wyoming, Mich., patio grill came after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ordered flags flown at half-staff to honor the singer Whitney Houston, a Garden State native who was buried in her home state on Sunday.

Burri believes flags should only be lowered for those who died serving their country.

"My intention was not to hurt anyone, especially the residents of New Jersey," said Burri. "My intention was to show Gov. Christie how offensive it was."

The governor has defended his decision, calling Houston a "cultural icon."

"Her accomplishments in her life were a source of great pride for many people in this state and for the state as a whole, and so on that basis I think she's entitled to have that recognition," Christie told reporters last week.

After seeing Christie's comments on the local news, Burri said he set out on a mission to honor his son, Army Spc. Eric Burri, who died in 2005 when an explosive device detonated near the Humvee in which he was patrolling.
Burri bought a replica New Jersey flag, tied it to the back of his car and drove around two veteran memorials in Grand Rapids, Mich. He then stopped at his son's burial site before going home and burning the flag.

"Best $12.95 I've ever spent," said Burri.  "Sometimes, you have to do something drastic and extreme for people to listen," he went on. "I just hope it made a point that maybe someone will pick this up and get a new law made for flag etiquette."

Federal law gives governors of American states power to have flags lowered for residents or state officials.
There is no law requiring that person to have served in the armed forces.
According to the Associated Press, Christie's office has ordered flags flown at half-staff 42 times, including for Morristown coach Harry Shatel and E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons.

Burri still believes Houston could have been honored in another way.
"I have some peace now. This is done. The word is out there," Burri said. "I hope and pray something is done to prevent this from ever happening again."

Mr Burri, I have no doubt that you regard yourself as a patriotic American dad.  I join with millions - hundreds of millions - in being sorry for your loss.  Your son went to war and lost his life.  That has to be a monumental sorrow in your life, something that affects you every day as you try to go forward. 

This just burns me up.
But sir, you kind of goofed up.  By turning your sorrow into an act of outrage, you have defiled the sorrow of the Houston family, and before someone writes back to tell me that a soldier is worth a hundred singers, I say right here and now, we don't make that sort of value judgement.  Everyone stands alone here. The governor of New Jersey, a man with whom I very rarely agree, is nonetheless the governor of New Jersey.  It's within his purview to do what he did.  As they say in New Jersey, you gotta problem with that, already, go call the governor.

We hear all the time about flag burning when political candidates want to earn their Patriotism Merit Badge and loudly proclaim they are against the consecration of the cloth, the high-flying flag, the emblem of the land we love, the home of the free and the brave.  I can see their point to a certain extent, but also think it's the sort of an issue that really needs not come up.  I mean, do you really need to burn a flag to make your point?

And here's where the confusion comes in...all the big tough guys with the bumper stickers about "don't you dare burn my flag or I'll kick your ass" - does that only apply to the US flag, or to the flags of the individual states and territories?  You don't like Whitney Houston, so beloved for singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl at the very beginning of Bush the Elder's Desert Storm?  You loathe her so much that you burn the flag of her state?


How about this, Mr Burri?  How about, you find a way to honor the memory of your boy?  Maybe a scholarship fund, something like that?  And then, maybe you could crack a book and see why this country does not revolve around what just one person believes. 

Because I believe you need to apologize to the Houston family.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book him

The jury is back in the deliberation room today down in Charlottesville VA in the case of how to punish George Huguely.  Well, let me restate that.  They are still deciding on his guilt or innocence, but no one is denying that he stormed into his girlfriend Yeardley Love's apartment on a day when he had consumed some 20 drinks and got into a violent fracas with her.  When he left, there was a hole in the wall made by her head, and she was deceased.  So, we can't call him a murderer yet.  Even though there was a well-witnessed previous melee in which he choked her, and even though there was that email he sent her that contained the phrase "I should have killed you" for going out with some other guy, even though old George did not have a spotless record of faithfulness.

Huguely in an earlier mugshot
From all indications, his defense team put on a slipshod exhibition, which surprised me quite a bit. They are well-to-do people who sent this horror of a son to a prep school that costs $36,000 a year, and then to the University of Virginia, where he studied lacrosse, dissolute living and violence over a four-year stint that included several arrests.  Perhaps the plan all along was to mount a 1/2-assed defense so that the appeal would go more smoothly.  I don't know the legal ins and outs of all that, but I figure that today, if the jury gets started reviewing all the facts by 9 or 10 in the morning, they should be able to get to the salad bar down at Ruby Tuesday's by noon, their duty done.

See you around, George.  And don't drop your soap!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sofa, so good


Once upon a time...

There was a song by Stonewall Jackson back in the day, entitled "If This House Could Talk."  Old Stonewall was really given that first name, and his family claims descendancy from the Civil War general.  Stonewall became one of the cornerstones of the hard-driving honky-tonk country sound of the late 50s and early 60s, and you hear his songs on county radio these days about as often as you'll hear Pavarotti, sad to say.

But listen to Stonewall sing about that old house if you will, and think about how it feels when all you lived for has come to mean nothing, and the house is for sale and no one wants the knick-knacks and framed pictures of wide-eyed kids and dogs playing poker.  And those sad old "Family Circus" and "Love Is..." cartoons, so lovingly clipped from the Comics page of the paper after Uncle Bob finished working the Jumble ("that scrambled word game").

I am a bit melancholy over a sofa.  Specifically, I am sad about the sofa that someone tossed away on Perring Parkway, just inside the city line (which means it might lie there forever) near the Northern Parkway off ramp.  It's sort of a nondescript burnt orange sofa, in the style known as Early Room Store. And whoever owned it last, and was finished with it, just dumped it there, quite unceremoniously.

Is there something like anthropomorphism, in which people assign human characteristics to animals ("My dog has a sense of humor") for objects such as furniture?  What I'm saying is, how do we know that this sofa doesn't have feelings, memories, opinions and thoughts?  Perhaps this couch can recall times when the kids were bouncing up and down on it, playing "Chutes and Ladders" and tossing a Nerf ball off the balding pate of Uncle Bob, who soon put an end to that.  Maybe the couch saw sad times too, like when everyone came home from Charlene's funeral and mourned, sitting around with crockpot chili and cole slaw, the gentile version of sitting shiva.

Sis sat there on a Saturday, waiting for her date to arrive. All the babies posed there too, and everyone prayed that they'd thrive.  Salesmen, pastors, sellers of home repairs, the neighbors, the nappers, everyone wound up there.

The mother is always the first to notice the little shred marks on the legs of the divan, where the old tomcat that moved in some time ago would keep his claws honed.  And the center pillow had a stain on it from the time that Uncle Bob got so worked up doing that Jumble that he spilled his Pepsi when he figured out the answer to "What's green and sold millions of records?" was  E L V I S   P A R S L E Y. No use turning that pillow over, either; the other side was all threadbare from the days when Levi's had real brass grommets on the pockets.

First, the sofa went down into the basement, where the kids would hang around the water heater and the furnace, stashing numbers behind the loose brick and texting love notes to the new girl who transferred in from the Catholic school. It really took a beating down there for four years, so much so that when Alan moved into his off-campus apartment with that girl from the Catholic school, he almost didn't take it with him, but he did, and it spent four more undergraduate years in that basement apartment with the mildewy scent and the dripping toilet.  Alan and his bride have both been graduated now, and recently moved into a condo with two private parking spots and elevator service.  The new decor that he and Mary Teresa settled on is sort of a Southwest/Greek fusion theme, meaning that there are many lithographs of cactii, and a futon.  In the kitchen, the salt and pepper shakers are miniature habanero replicas, and there is a Navajo blanket for a tablecloth. 

You still see these...
So, even though it was of the right color, the sofa just did not fit into Alan and MT's plans, and Mom and Dad certainly didn't want it, and Uncle Bob has gone off to that big old family room up yonder.  Therefore, they called on their shiftless cousin Brattleboro, the one who has the pickup truck with "Forget, Hell!" license tags, and he was supposed to take the old couch to the dump, but what do you know?  He saw there was a big sale at Sears, and he jettisoned the settee right there by the off ramp.

And that's all I know about it, and anything else is pure conjecture.

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Would you like another fish?"

I think it's a good idea to laugh, but Rick Santorum isn't always on TV, so I keep Dudley Moore DVDs at hand.  Try and tell him that 5'2" British comics weren't going to make it in America!  We enjoyed his voiceover the other night, watching "Milo and Otis," a live-action picture about the adventures of a mischievous cat and dog.

And that brings us to a little movie called "Arthur."  That 1981 "moon pitcha" would be great to watch anytime.  You get to see Dudley as the dipsomaniac playboy (with an unexplained British accent) (and John Gielgud as a butler who is more like a father to him) who is supposed to marry this A-list D-bag named Susan.  If he doesn't marry her, there will be hell to pay, and he won't have a dime to pay it with, because his family will cut him off.  So he goes and falls in love with Liza Minnelli.  

Hey, it happens!

So I'm not about to ruin the surprise for you if you haven't seen it, or if you accidentally got in the wrong line at the Cineplus 16 last spring and saw a version of the Arthur story starring the insufferable Russell Brand.  You should ask for your money back and go get a DVD of the original, so you can enjoy lines such as:

Susan: A real woman could stop you from drinking.
Arthur: It'd have to be a real BIG woman.


Hobson the butler:  You obviously have a wonderful economy with words, Gloria. I look forward to your next syllable with great eagerness.

and of course

Susan: Arthur, will you take my hand?
Arthur: That would leave you with one!


The movie was riddled with gags like that but it made a valid point.  Dudley's other big film was "10," which was more of a Bo Derek-runs-on-the-beach video, but it had its meaningful moments.

Dudley Moore was married four times and divorced four times, so you can't say that he ever found happiness in love.  Life didn't hand him such a great deal at all; he died at 67 of progressive supranuclear palsy, which is a terminal degenerative brain disorder described as one of the worst illnesses known to humans. 

He had musical talent (he played and composed on the piano) and comedy skills and let's hope he knows how much happiness his talents brought to us. It's like Arthur said, "Isn't this fun? Isn't fun the best thing to have? Don't you wish you were me? I know I do."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Issa Isn't

The other day, we were witness to the ridiculous spectacle of a group of members of Congress having a hearing on the topic of women's reproductive health..and all the experts who lined up to testify were NOT WOMEN!  In fact, all the members of the panel who were there to discuss this vital health issue were all MALE CLERGY MEMBERS OPPOSED to the Administration's policy requiring employers and insurers to provide contraception coverage to their employees. Gee, what a horrible thing that would be, not to have so many unwanted unplanned pregnancies, resulting in unplanned, unwanted, uncared for people roaming the earth. 

Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, a member of the committee that was throwing this foolish party, tried to have a woman join them to talk about substantive issues, but the Chairman, this gozzlehead Darrell Issa, would have none of that.  I see his point.  Why have someone confuse a woman's issue with empirical facts from a woman, when it could just as easily be heard by a group of men with theoretical religious dogma?

We talked about this Issa dude before...so here's a Saturday rerun from January 2011. This shows what kind of man he is.

Issa Issa Baby

You just never know where the next genius is going to come from, but it appears that we may have found him in this Darrell Issa, the (R) congressman from California whose net worth hovers around the $250 million mark.  He knows everything, and there are even some things he knows about and does not talk about.

Speaking of talking, remember that annoying voice saying "Step away from the car!" when you got within ten yards of an auto with a Viper brand car alarm?  That was the voice of Darrell Issa (say "ICE-uh,") who was the chief executive of  Directed Electronics Inc, manufacturers of that irritating appliance.  He took the fortune he made from that company and went into politics, and lookie here, all of a sudden he is in his sixth term and has been elected chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, meaning that he is one of the people who will hector President Obama on every little thing that the president does from now til Obama leaves office in 2016. After the elections of this past November, Issa sent a letter to 150 bigshot corporations and associations asking them which of the president's regulations Congress ought to go after, and Baltimore Congressman Elijah Cummings, who serves on that Oversight committee, pointed out that what Issa did is simply “inviting businesses to tell us what they want us to do as opposed to protecting the American people.”

Which is why we broke away from England all those years ago, to make things better for rich businessmen, right?
Vanilla Issa
Meanwhile, Issa voted against the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), which prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation.  Himself a proud descendant of Lebanese grandparents, Issa nonetheless votes against members of other minority groups in this time-honored fashion.

Darrell Issa, while in the Army on a bomb-inspection detail, claims to have provided security for President Richard Nixon at the 1971 Orioles-Pirates World Series, sweeping the ballparks for bombs.  Nixon didn't go to any of the World Series games that year, though; that was the only hitch in that story.  But hey, I once fixed a five-course dinner for Princess Grace, although she didn't show up to eat it.  And the letter that I got in the mail yesterday was the seventeenth letter in a row that I have not gotten from Britney Spears!  Maybe the eighteenth.

Issa and his brother, who later served three years in the Ironbar Hilton for car theft, were once arrested for car theft, but hey, haven't we all driven away in a red Maserati from a showroom? And when Issa was popped for driving a yellow Volkswagen the wrong way down a one-way street in 1972, and the cops found a Colt pistol, 44 rounds of ammo, and a tear-gas gun with two rounds for it in the glove box, well, he told them that he had the right to carry arms to protect his property.  44 bullets and a tear-gas gun should have been enough to protect himself if Canada had suddenly declared war on him and him alone.

But hey. Youthful indiscretions, right?  I mean, haven't we ALL been indicted on grand theft charges and been caught riding in stolen vehicles with our brother before he went up for a three-year bid?  I mean, this Issa is a genius.  Here's why - and
you can read all this in the New Yorker, if you could just give FOX News a rest for a second:

Issa bought the car alarm and electronics company in February, 1982.  That very September, the place burned down!  Electrical in nature, the firefighters said, and Issa blames the blue flames that burned into the California night on the fire department's failure to shut off a gas line, so never mind that the St Paul Insurance Company's report a month later said that the fire was incendiary, with evidence of a flammable liquid being poured over a stack of cardboard boxes, and two sources of ignition.

And just after the fire, one of his associates in the business told the investigators that right before the fire, Issa had moved the computer out of the office, with all the discs and equipment for an early pc, and had moved important files and designs from filing cabinets into a fire safe and had "increased his insurance from a hundred thousand dollars to four hundred and sixty-two thousand dollars."

The man just knew it was time to move valuables out of the building right before the building burned down, and had a hunch that the time was right to buy more fire insurance.  This makes him the greatest prognosticator of our day.  Hats off to Darrell Issa, who now is free to hassle Obama.  Surely the ability to forget his past leaves him plenty of brainspace to see the future.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Let's go, Camping

H.G. Wells was an English science-fiction writer who wrote a book in 1923 called Men Like Gods that presaged an future in which people would mainly communicate through wireless telephones and voice messages.  Can you imagine such a crazy world of phones that you can just walk around talking on and leave messages for people who don't answer their walkaround phone?

Next, they'll be talking about people typing little messages and sending them out wirelessly, and taking pictures and making movies on your cell, and I don't know what-all else!

Wells also wrote the book The Invisible Man, but you might not have seen it.

Yes, I went there.

He also wrote War Of The Worlds, which became a radio program considered to be the scariest show on AM until Rush Limbaugh began bloviating.

And we never had any space creatures invade the swamps of New Jersey and need to be hauled away by law enforcement, so he wasn't right about everything.

So, Snooki, we wanted to talk about predictions that didn't quite work out.  I'm typing this on Thursday evening, and the weatherpeople are wearing their serious looks and talking about a possible B.A. snowstorm heading our way for tomorrow.   This is a tough job, weather forecasting, because the weather changes all the time and how is one person supposed to know when it's going to rain? God only knows, and He has the best sense of humor in the world, which is why you have itchy skin in places you just.can't.reach......

Preacher Harold Camping
Like that sinbuster who kept claiming the world was coming to an end in May of last year, and then when the world kept on turning, he said, "Oh, did I say May?  I meant October! Yeah, October!" and that didn't happen.  So, to my surprise, he shut the hell up.

When I was in high school, tech-type teachers were always saying that "In the future, computers will replace paper.  There won't be paper documents in a few decades."  Well, dude, we have the documents all printed out and we have them stored in cardboard boxes and we have boxes full of flash drives with teeny images of the originals, and of course we send emails and attachments back and forth all day with links to original PDFs that we then print out to show to the guy down the hall who could just as easily see it on his screen, but he didn't. 

And the teachers did not foresee a day in which someone would hit *print* three times in order to get three sheets of paper out of the printer to take to a meeting.  Predictable.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I refudiate you, madam

As far as I'm concerned, anyone can vote any way he or she wishes to, but it starts to amuse me when Sarah Palin speaks about how conservative people are and how conservative they ought to be.  

To be quite frank about this, anything that Sarah Palin says amuses me, because, as a fan of speaking voices, I get a boot out of her Midwestern adenoidal twang.  It makes everything she says sound sort of strident and, well, a bit unpleasant.  Here are words she said about Mitt Romney the other night to a group of people so conservative that they felt the need to spend a weekend in DC with other people equally so:

"I trust that his idea of conservatism is evolving and I base this on a pretty moderate past he has had, even in some cases a liberal past," Palin told Fox News Sunday. "He agreed with mandating on a state level what his constituents needed to be provided, needed to purchase in the way of health care and Romneycare, which of course was the precursor to Obamneycare."

This is why she seems snarky...she "accidentally" creates neologisms, the better to damn Romney by linking him to the president, a guy she seems to dislike quite a bit.   This is considered "cute" by the crowd that likes to pun on people's names.  Like they call our Governor O'Malley "Owe"Malley!  That's funny. The man has to raise taxes because his predecessor spent money we didn't have, and now the bills are coming due, so blame the guy who's trying to settle the check at the restaurant after everyone has enjoyed their feast.

And how is it that people think it's so doggone cute when she calls reporters "the lamestream media"?  "Lame" is an offensive term for people facing mobility challenges.  

And the same people who use that sort of term like to mock the president because his mother and father gave him a middle name that they consider repulsive.  Like he had something to do with what name they gave him. 

Jimmy Carl Black, born James Inkanish, Jr.
It seems to me that when one has to go around trumpeting how conservative they are, they might be wondering about it themselves.  It was funny when the former drummer of the Mothers of Invention, Jimmy Carl Black, would blurt out,"Hi, boys and girls, I'm Jimmy Carl Black, and I'm the Indian of the group!" because his Cherokee heritage, while a source of justifiable pride to him, wasn't really germane to the issues the band was singing about.  It's not as funny when Ms Palin goes, "Hi, I was once the governor of Alaska for a whole half of a term and now I go about, not really havin' the nerve to run for anything, but just commentin' on everything and everyone, don'cha knooooow."

Don'cha knoooooow that she doesn't know much about Paul Revere, either? "He who warned, uh, the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms, uh, by ringing those bells, and um, makin' sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed."

She has no idea how much she amuses me. She ought to have her own show.  Oh wait.  She did.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Our Lazy Crooks

Kathleen Turner, movie star
The local police blotter is never full of the sort of things that make the local Chamber of Commerce blush with joy, but you have to admit there's a certain panache about some criminals, despicable though they are.  In town after town all across the nation, other people get to swell with pride as a young man is charged with multiple counts of whatever, and during his trial, has to be chained, shackled and cuffed to prevent him from bursting out with, "I did it all for you, Loretta!  They can't keep us apart!  They can't stop you from loving me!  Let me not to marriage of true minds admit impediments!"

The magnificent Towson High
Nothing but nothing is better for a town's morale than a Lifetime Movie Of The Week being filmed there, right in the courthouse.  We had our cine-moment almost twenty years ago, when John Waters made "Serial Mom" in Towson, and we got to see true movie magic at work.  It was the dead of summer when they filmed it, but some prop guy had to find autumn leaves to strew about, because they had to work in the gag about it being improper to wear white after Labor Day. 

But whereas Kathleen Turner, in that movie, killed someone with her car right there in the back parking lot of my alma mater Towson High, lately the crime scene in our village is down to just where the perpetrators can't even stay awake.  Here is something from the local Patch:


Ridge Avenue, 200 block. 10:55 a.m. Feb. 12. Someone used a key left in a home's front door and laid down in a bed. The person refused to leave until police arrived. Police arrested (a young man named Adam), 20, also of the 200 block of Ridge Ave. He was charged with fourth-degree burglary and trespassing and released Feb. 13 on $10,000 bail.

Knollwood Road, 7900 block. 1:49 a.m. Feb. 12. Someone kicked an apartment door open and laid down. Police arrested (another young man named Adam), 22, of the 200 block of Donnybrook Lane. He was charged with fourth-degree burglary and destruction of property. No further information is available.

And that's the way it is in 2011. Somehow, I can hear these young crooks, whom I don't know from Adam, being interrogated by the gendarmerie.  "Yeah, see, so you slept at the Petersons', see? And that wasn't enough, oh no.  Then you had to sleep at the Willises' and the Harpers' and the O'Hoolahans'!  And then you woke up one day, and sleeping in someone's house wasn't enough, so you started asking them to leave out some warm milk and cookies, and you slipped into their Snuggie® and used their white noise machine, and then you started recording Republican debates on their DVRs and you were up to five Santorum rants about how the left wing is trying to destroy the very fabric of America per day and still it wasn't enough, and then you started snorting Ovaltine - first the Classic Malt flavor and then the Dark Chocolate..."


Could someone just do something normal for once?  Like get arrested for jaywalking?
 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How's your Vade Mecum doin'?

Not to get too personal, but you do have a vade mecum, and to some people it's vital to have it around.

I had never heard the term before seeing it the other morning in my daily Merriam-Webster Word of the Day feed.  Here's how they define "vade mecum:"


"Vade mecum" is Latin for "go with me" (it derives from the Latin verb "vadere," meaning "to go"). In English, "vade mecum" has been used (since at least 1629) of manuals or guidebooks sufficiently compact to be carried in a deep pocket. But from the beginning, it has also been used for such constant companions as gold, medications, and memorized gems of wisdom.
 
It's probable that not so many people carry around any sort of pocket manual any more.  Even doctors no longer tote their 85-lb volume of the Physician's Desk Reference, which lists vital information for physicians: medications, their recommended dosages and possible interactions, and tee times at leading golf clubs.  All this information is now an app; just buy it at the App Store and download it on your phone.  Very handy.  Same thing for other handbooks and manuals.  Even the Bible is available to download.

In its other meaning, we all have Vade Mecum in the sense of stuff we Don't Leave Home Without. Wallet, keys, pocket change, pocket knife, bandanna, cell phone: that's mine, everyone has their own, and here's a big shout out to the person who invented pockets! Because we don't have but two hands!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A frosty reception

So how many times have you wanted to describe what could lengthily be described as "a grayish-white crystalline deposit of frozen water vapor formed in clear still weather on vegetation, fences, etc" ?  Just think of the countless times people have come in late to work because they were busy scraping a grayish-white crystalline deposit of frozen water vapor formed in clear still weather off their windshields.  (This excuse not valid in August in Maryland, although some will try it out.)

I bring this up because on TV not long ago, a weather person used the correct meteorological term to describe this grayish-white etc to the news person and the news person about flipped out.  Because, that frozen stuff is known to dictionary readers as "hoarfrost."

I'll tell you another perfectly good English word that just does not get used because it would make people giggle if it did, and that's "hoary."  Dickens used that word a lot, and it was only a couple of centuries old when he did. It started in the 1510's, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (best not to argue with that) and it descends from the Old English word "har" meaning "gray, venerable, old" and so we came to use "hoary" for something old and "hoarfrost" for that frozen junk on the windshield of the Biscayne that is grey, like the beard or hair of an old man.   Still, middle schoolers, I cannot recommend that you point out to your elders that they certainly do "look hoary" today.  I can tell you from sad experience, people won't get it.

There's a certain Bart Simpson-ish delight we all get from being asked what we talked about in Sunday School ("Hell! Hell! We talked about Hell!") and from looking forward to days of having a sore throat because it enabled (me) to ask for another horehound cough drop. Turns out, horehound is an Old World bitter perennial mint (Marrubium vulgare) used for making cough drops and me chortle. 

So now, we're finished with the snickering over words, as long as I don't have to go to a doctor and be told there's something wrong with my coccyx.

 

Monday, February 13, 2012

EW!

By now you have seen this commercial, unless all you watch is PBS or the Home Shopping Club Sandwich Channel. Seems like a good idea, to have three straight-out curt girls follow you around and criticize everything you do. If it makes you want to put that big gooey sandwich, or stack o' waffles aside, so much the better for the diet.

But outside of the dietary realm, wouldn't it be helpful to have three little helpers with us at other times?  Such as when we're tempted to be texting while racing through an intersection, trying to make it while the light is stale yellow, and trying to steer around the pedestrians and baby strollers in the walkway.   How great then it would be to have three beefy traffic cops in the Studebaker with you, growling "Dude, you could kill someone." "NOT smart!" "What are you, drunk, or crazy?"

Reaching into the toaster with a metal knife to retrieve that scorched-and-smoking slice of pumpernickel, it would be a nice reminder to have two electricians and the ghost of Benjamin Franklin: " 120 volts!" "You could get a shock!" "You could short out the toaster!"

Or when someone tries to warn you not to hold your cell over the stern of the boat while you try to get one more shot of Cousin Ingemar water skiing...when someone says "Be careful!" when you're sharpening a knife...when you go darting down the sidewalk to get the newspaper and you're certain that it's not icy...that's when you need advice.  


Kids in middle school know everything.  It would pay us all to listen. 



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Rerun: We'll Cross that Bridget When we come to it



Her father was Peter Fonda, who made Easy Rider. Her grandfather was Henry Fonda, who made dozens of great movies. Her aunt was Jane Fonda, who made a lot of great movies and also dabbled in politics, made a ton of weight-loss exercise videos, and exercised her free speech rights a time or two. She's married to Danny Elfman, musical composer for everything from The Simpsons to Pee Wee's Big Adventure to Good Will Hunting, and whose nephew is married to Jenna Elfman.

Dag if you didn't guess it right! Say hi to one of my favorite actresses, Bridget Fonda. Bridget gave us starring roles in "It Could Happen to You" and "Point of No Return." ICHTY was the one where she played a down-on-her-luck waitress who accepts the tip of 50% share of a lottery ticket from henpecked NYPD cop Nicolas Cage, who guffaws his way through another whole movie. Her luck sure changes!

PONR was the one where she was a street thug in DC, known as Scooter Libby. No, seriously, she played Maggie. And when she was arrested, a secret government entity took her away, teaching her everything from martial arts to etiquette (taught by good ole' Mrs Robinson herself, Anne Bancroft.) Trained to kill in 17 different ways, she was sent out into the world to do the bidding of this mysterious organization, and then a lot of people's luck changed, mostly for the worst. Diving down a laundry chute to avoid a rifle-launched surface-to-air missile, killing a bad guy with his own breakfast, and taking care of the real-life father of the guy who played Mike Damone in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," Bridget was everywhere in this movie.

And then she made a few more movies and she retired in 2002, and has not made a movie since. I'd like to see that change next year. Not gonna happen, but I'd like to see it! She left the movies about the same time Peggy and I did: she because she had tendered enough money to be able to retire from making talkie movies for theaters, and we because we were tired of people eating chicken tenders while talking during a movie in a theater.

And did you know that the real-life guy upon whom the nerdy Mark "Rat" Ratner was based in that FTARH movie was a real-life computer geek named Mark Rathbone, who later wrote "Windows for Dummies" and made a fortune?

Bridget Fonda already had a fortune, I guess, so she doesn't need to make any more movies. I wish she would. Then I could get all worked up and say, "Oh boy I can't wait til that new Bridget Fonda movie comes out... on pay-per-view so we can enjoy it in peace and quiet without cell phones ringing, people conversing, people chewing chicken tenders in my ear, and all the rest of those things that drove us out of the theater in 2002!"

It could happen to me!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday rerun - Nickel and Dimed

Barbara Ehrenreich wrote a book entitled "Nickel and Dimed," which is all about the current economy.  She showed how hard it is to get by on the minimum wage by going out there in the workplace and doing it! It wasn't always successful, but she wanted to see if she could at least pay for a place to live, transportation, and food, off a low-paying job such as serving food, cleaning hotel rooms, being a dietary aide and residential housekeeping.

I don't think I would like to replicate her efforts; being comfortably ensconced as I am in my happy life means I don't think I'd do well living out of a rented room in Podunk and earning 6 bucks at MegaMart.  But reading this book got me to thinking about three jobs I could do and three jobs I WISH I could do.


F'rinstance, I would love to be a sub shop guy.  There will be those who have been sub shop guys or gals who will say, "Oh nuh-uh you wouldn't!" but maybe for a short period it would be fun to make cold and hot subs and pizzas.  Unless people got really picky and started telling me just how much mayonnaise they wanted, or to hold the fried onions on the cheese steak.  I guess I'm saying I would like to have a sub shop to make subs for me and Peggy, but maybe that's impractical.

Waiter or server, yeah, I could try that.  I believe that someone tried to float the word "waitron" as a unisex word for all who schlep food out of a restaurant kitchen and over to a table, but it seems that most people are sticking with "server." I do love to talk to people who do this.  They all have several hundred stories about good and bad customers, and if they have a second, they are only too glad to share the stories.  You have to know when to ask, though.  

Cab driver is something else I could try, as long as we can rule out armed robberies, drunk passengers, passengers who hop out of the cab without paying and run like thieves, and drunks who would rob me and then run like thieves.  Not good.  But, take away the unpleasant aspects of any job, and it looks like a bowl of berries.  I just think that pushing a hack around would give me the chance to meet some interesting pedestrians and show them my extensive collection of shortcuts and ways to get around our county.  I don't think I'd take any fares into the city, at least its more crime-ridden areas.  But I could tell people why they should stay out here in the boonies, and we'd both be better off!

Any list of three jobs I could never land but think they would be fun to get would start with major league baseball first-base coach because this non-stressor mainly involves greeting members of my team who have successfully reached first base, reminding them not to leave for second until I say so, and picking up foul balls to toss to happy kids in the stands.  And to think, people get paid to do this!

Being president of the United States of America would be a gas too, if only for the apoplectic state it would induce in my many critics who claim I am too liberal for words.  Imagine their faces when I start my term with promotions such as "Turn-In-Your-Gun Tuesday" and "Vice-President For a Day"!

There is no doubt at all that the coolest and easiest job of the high-paying jobs is movie director and what fun that must be, huh!  You get to stand in a room full of glamorous people who have their lines all memorized, and the sound effects person is ready, and the camera people and everyone else, and then you go "Action!" and everyone acts and then later you show up at the premiere wearing a beret and a tuxedo jacket over blue overalls and talk about your "craft" and the difficulties of being an authentic "auteur."  Occasionally, a new or nervous actor will ask you what is their motivation in some scene.  You just tell them their motivation is to say all their words in a reasonably convincing manner and not fall over the ottoman in the living room scene.  And then you start thinking about what to have for dinner at some swanky H'wood bistro later.

Nice to dream, ain't it?

Friday, February 10, 2012

I never would have guest it

Here's a tricky etiquette question:

You receive a wedding shower invitation and a "hold-the-date" for a wedding..from a woman whom you have never met, who briefly worked with your husband several years ago.  Unless her husband saved this woman's life through a well-timed Heimlich Maneuver or CPR, why are you getting an invite to the nuptials?  

Ahhh...cast a wide gift net.  So many people just get invitations, say, "Meh," and send some Corningware® or a Keurig coffee machine, those little K-cup deals that work so well for two months and then just make gagging, grinding noises when all you want is an honest cup of mocha java.

BUT there is an alternative!  Here's how it works.  You buy the gift and send it along via ME!  I'm looking for a steady source of retirement income, and surely a well-paying job as Wedding Guest Stand-In would do me well.  I have a nice pinstripe suit, some shirts and ties, and I'll even find a pair of dark socks to wear in place of my customary crimson footwear.  

In return, I will take along ZipLoc bags so I can bring you some Lobster Newburg.  I will shout out "Nice pull!" when the groom toasts the bride. And I will lift up the centerpiece, look underneath and claim that it has my seat number written on a little label, thereby entitling me to take it home.  

I don't enter this profession without a background.  I love weddings, I love love, I love the church part even when everyone oooohs and aaaaaahs, and then I love piling back into the Biscayne and driving over to the conception. What better way to wile away a Saturday than to hear the DJ croon,"And now...making their first appearance as husband and wife...will you please give it up for Dickie and Dixie Normus!!!!!!!!!!!"

And while all this is going on, I'm sizing up the fruit table or the giant lasagna, as it sits bubbling away. 

And I can Chicken Dance like nobody's business. Snap snap snap snap!


I had that buddy Johnny years ago who made a Saturday habit of putting on his sports jacket and tie and showing up at receptions, blending in after everyone was seated for the main meal, showing up in time to scarf up chow and guzzle free suds.  If anyone asked who he was, he would just reply that he was an old friend of the bride.  Or groom.  His great gift was his ability to look nondescript. He just blended right on in.  I think a lot of that was owing to his sport jacket being the exact color of Lobster Newburg.


Wedding season is coming up; please contact me soon and arrange to stay home while people whom you don't even know, and/or like very much, get married.  Let Mr Guest be there for you!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

One Million, Give or Take

Attention, One Million Moms:  How come there are only 40,000 of you on your Facebook page?  How is that a million?  

These goofballs who called themselves One Million Moms, a part of the bizarre American Family Association, are urging people to make nuisances of themselves.  You go on the website of this AFA, and they're busy asking you to call Home Depot stores and ask for the manager and annoy him or her by engaging them in bickering about how horrible it is that the Home Depot supports the right of people to love whom they wish.

That makes me want to stop off at the Depot on the way home and buy some 2x4s, maybe even some 4x8s.
 
I took this right off the AFA website:

Last week we reported that Home Depot appeared to be pulling back its support to homosexual activists. We spoke too soon. Immediately after we released our findings, Home Depot said it will continue to support homosexual activities.

And I find this to be true.  I needed to run by the Depot last week for some hinges, and right there in the aisles, homosexual activity abounded. I was shocked. Shocked! I lumbered on over to where they keep the lumber, trying to buy some shelving, but the aisle was blocked off because some clerks and customers had formed an impromptu chorus line, doing a tribute to the Liberace Era.
Homosexual Activities.  How silly a term. I mean, when I go to the lumber yard or the Dollar Tree for my shower supplies, no one calls that a "heterosexual activity."  When Peggy and I sidle into "our" booth at the fabulous Double-T Diner, I don't think of that as a "heterosexual activity."  And even when we have heterosexual activity, I don't think of it as "heterosexual activity." 

So, if you're gay and you work at the Home Depot, selling me paint or drill bits is a homosexual activity, and my painting the kitchen window frame or drilling a pilot hole to hang a picture is a heterosexual activity.  What's the diff?

Now, the self-righteous have turned on Ellen DeGeneres, and they're asking that we call our local JC Penney and heckle the manager and threaten to boycott the store and say any number of bad things about their towels and sheets and t-shirts. The Many Moms said that J.C. Penney was trying to gain a new target market by "jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon" by hiring Ellen to promote their merchandise.

"They  wanted to get me fired and I am proud and happy to say that J.C. Penney stuck by their decision to make me their spokesperson," Ellen said.
This is what you look like when you let others do your thinking for you.

I am proud to report that I have been walking this earth for 60 years, and during all that time, not one person who ever drove by me on their "pro-gay bandwagon" tried to force me to jump aboard with them and ride around town. Each and every gay person I have ever met left me alone with my preference, and I have tried to reciprocate by letting them do as they like as well.

See you at Penneys and Home Depot!   

 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I don't need Sri Lankans flipping me off

During the Super Bowl broadcast the other night, as the clock wound down toward halftime, Al Michaels mentioned that Patriots coach Bill "Ratty Hoody" Belichick was so meticulous, so detailed in preparing his squad for the big game, that he even lengthened the time of their break during practice in the last few days.  During the regular season and the playoffs, halftime runs for 12 minutes, plenty of time for showing beer, pickup truck and erection assistance commercials along with some insightful analysis from Terry Bradshaw.  

But in the Super Bowl, home of memorable ads and winners donning celebratory t-shirts and caps within seconds of the final gun, the halftime break is thirty minutes.  So Belichick halted practices last week and made his charges sit around the locker room for half an hour to acclimate them to the length of the break on Sunday.

The drawback was, all those men had to try to sit for a longer period of time in the same room as Tom Brady's ego, a massive, turgid, swollen ego that expands and contracts like the fortunes of the supermodels he beds.  

The good news is, during the game, which the Patriots, to Brady's astonishment, lost, neither team had to watch the halftime show.  This year,  featured artist Madonna, a singer popular in the 80's, lip-synched songs that very few people knew while even fewer paid attention, being more deeply involved in the bacon-horseradish dip and crockpot chili simmering on the card table near the kitchen.  Madonna was assisted by Cee Lo Green, Nicky Minaj, M.I.A, LMFAO, and ROTFLWTF in singing a seemingly interminable medley.  M.I.A, a British performer of Sri Lankan descent born Mathangi Arulpragasam, is 36 years of age, and virtually unknown, so she thought she would indicate, by holding up a finger, how many people cared about what she had to say about anything (see photo).  It always strikes my funny bone that this boring halftime show is sponsored by Bridgestone, a tire manufacturing company.  It's funny because I am tired of the whole spectacle.


Back in the days when the University of Maryland was turning out more All-American football players than doctoral candidates, the joke was that they needed to improve the college so it could be a school that the football team could be proud of.  Now we have this Super Bowl, and the last few games have been very good football games.  Here's a vote for a quicker halftime show, with no need to trot out people who have not been on the cultural radar since the days of Howdy Doody. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

He's not really a good man


I love pics of rich guys being hauled into court
Apparently, there are at least two John Goodmans (John Goodmen?) in this world.  Sure, there's the one from the "Roseanne" show, the actor who went on to play Linda Tripp on Saturday Night Live's satires about Bill Clinton.  I feel your pain.  

Then, there is this other John Goodman, down in Florida.  Hmmm.  What do we know about this dude?

Papa. Don't preach.
  • He founded the Polo Club Palm Beach, where rich people cluster to watch people playing polo.  In Palm Beach.  Sounds delightful, am I wrong?  Next year, if they're still open, let's get down there in January and watch them play for the Herbie Pennell Cup.  Oh well now, I mean, really. 
  • He's worth around 300 million dollars.
  • He ALLEGEDLY drove drunk, piloting his Bentley into the path of a Hyundai car driven by a 23-year old named Scott Wilson.  As Wilson drowned in a canal, Goodman ALLEGEDLY ran off on foot (the only way to run, really) and later blew a blood-alochol test that was off the Lohan scale.
  • Anticipating financial setbacks from settlements with the Wilson family, he set up trust funds for his children to hide the money from the Wilsons, who probably are as repulsed as his own kids at the fact that he
  • adopted his girlfriend as his daughter.  He's 48. She's 42.  Funny what love can do.

With his trial due to start on March 6, and with charges that could send a person whose father was not an HVAC billionaire to the Ironbar Hilton for 30 years, Mr Goodman is making his plans, putting his affairs in order, getting his ducks in a row.  Under Florida law, where this bizarre adoption took place, anyone can be elected by hanging their chad out, and there is no law against having sex with an adopted child as long as there is no "lineal consanguinity" - meaning there is no close blood tie, such as aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew.

With my retirement coming up in a matter of weeks, I get a lot of questions. "How is Peggy going to put up with you now?" is one of them.  The other is, "Are you going to move?"  I get this one a lot from neighbors.

But "Have you ever considered getting a girlfriend to adopt as a daughter?" never came up.  And I don't think I want anything to do with people who live like that.


Until recently, I had considered moving to Alaska.  But I found out, wacky stuff goes on there, too.


But I am understanding now that corporations are people, my friend.  Therefore, Mr Goodman ought to adopt Apple.  That sounds like the name of a Palin offspring anyway.