Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday rerun: Read all about it

Ms Curry
In publishing news, there's a story going around that some unnamed book-publishing firm is ready to offer Ann Curry eight million semolians to write a "tell-all" book about how the Today Show tied a can to her, and also to tell about how Matt Lauer ALLEGEDLY likes an occasional piece of chicken on the side and how Savannah Guthrie ALLEGEDLY took some Englishman away from his wife and later married and divorced him.

Mr Lauer (r)
Have we reached the information saturation point in this country?  Do we all have enough knowledge about the history of this nation, do we all speak at least two languages, is everyone up to date on everything we all ought to know?  OK then.  If that's the case, then I guess it's time to take our feet off the gas pedal and coast for a while.  Nothing says "putting my mind on hold" like "reading a book about Matt Lauer getting some strange nookie."

I guess this book will be ghostwritten and I guess it will come out on the bookstands and on the Kindles and the E-readers and the Whooz-Its and people will read about all this fooling around involving people who have to get up in the middle of the night to go to work.  I used to have to do the same (get up for work in the middle of the night), and yet there seems but scant interest in my memoirs.  Which is good, because I retired of my own free will and I never knew the taint of scandal and I don't know anything about people horsing around on the job.  I just don't.  Other peoples' sex lives should be of interest to them and them alone.

I always ran away faster than Paul Ryan at a marathon when people (always males) would begin telling me about how they "did it" to someone the night before. They always made it sound so, sided.  Which it might have been.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Saturday Picture Show, June 29, 2013

 This young lady suffers from the heartbreak of heterochromia iridium, the condition that leaves her with one brown eye and one blue one.  My first thought, of course, is what it says on her driver's license under "color eyes."  It's an inherited dominant trait, much like voting for people like Rick Perry, but much more interesting.
 The Fourth of July is right around the corner.  The question asked above is worth considering.  We happen to have one of the finest hand clinics in the world right here in Bmore at Union Memorial Hospital, where they will be very busy on the 4th, dealing with people who lit their 3rd M-80 after downing a 5th. Keep your hands to yourself.
 This young lady's night of golden prom memories will remain unbesmirched, as long as someone in the family can crop pervy Uncle Ace out.
All of these buttons would come in handy every day.

Happy 4th and for Pete's sake, be careful!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Shirting the issue

I've heard it said that the definition of grace is the ability to eat soup with the fingers and not need a napkin.

Graceful, I ain't.  And no steak, no crab fluff, no hunk o' broiled salmon stands much of a chance when I show up with my knife and fork.

The hapless victim in all this often turns out to be my shirt.  Therefore, over the years, I have tried to keep a few shirts just for when we go out and no food is involved, and some shirts that have seen the glory of bleu cheese dressing and Holland Daze (yes! I saw it that way on a menu) sauce bouncing off its buttons.  Often, I would come home and attempt emergency treatment with Spray 'N' Wash, but many times, after anxious moments by the laundry machines, the verdict would come back...stained for life.

The other day, the proverbial straw must have broken the camel's back in my closet, and shirts and pants went a-tumblin' down because of a broken shelf.  I fixed it, all right, but I decided to get rid of a few excess items. Oddly enough,  I came to this decision shortly after Peggy strongly suggested that I do so.

Three bags - the B.A. drum-liner size - went to the Goodwill yesterday morning, filled with shirts and pants and many many ties.  I think I need maybe 3 ties for the rest of my life.

There are now three categories into which my shirts may be sorted:

a - not for wearing when eating spaghetti
b - already been worn while eating spaghetti (and you can tell if you look really closely)
c - shirts that I will wear out to dinner, and if something gets on them, out they go.

It's not all that hard to say goodbye.  It's only a shirt!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A good show to watch

I don't like the sort of blog where the blogulator says "You have to watch this show or else!"   But I do recommend the special on HBO called "Love, Marilyn."

She was an interesting woman, Marilyn Monroe.  Compared to the ectomorphic women who play the sexy parts these days, she would be called pudgy.  But she was THE hot woman of the 50s and early 60s, and she is still revered today by many of us who have no interest and certainly no attraction to the Gwyneths and the Nicoles and the Umas.

Marilyn had a troubled childhood and things did not get better with fame and fortune.  She had a face and voice that movie cameras loved, and she wanted to learn to act.  As the documentary showed, she produced the movie "The Prince and the Showgirl" and hired Laurence Olivier to play the prince.  Seeking acting advice from the stuffy British thespian, Marilyn asked what her motivation should be in a certain scene, and he said, "Just be sexy; that's what you do, isn't it?" She was crushed.

Olivier is also the guy who said to Dustin Hoffman, who insists on "getting into character" and staying that way throughout the filming of a movie, "Wouldn't it be simpler to just act?"

So, on the plus side, Marilyn was beautiful and attractive.  Men loved her.  After a first wartime marriage, she married Joe DiMaggio, who had retired from playing for the damn Yankees, and he thought she would sit home with him and make lasagna all day.

After her divorce from Mr Coffee, she thought she could find happiness with moody playwright Arthur Miller, who gave us "Death of a Salesman."  He also treated her shabbily.

This would be a good time for me to editorialize and say that it's not fair to marry someone because you fell in love with the person they are, and then immediately set about changing them into the person you want.  Both of these men sought to do just that.

So marriage didn't work out, and she turned to the bottle and pills for help, and her sad end came in August, 1962, when she ODed.  There are millions of words written about Marilyn Monroe, and in the HBO special you see a lot of today's actors reading the words of Norman Mailer and other authors about her...but, because some boxes were recently found that contain some of MM's thought journals, there are actors reading her own words as a backdrop to film of her.

I recommend the show for those who love the memory and image that Marilyn left us.  Just last week, Turner Classic showed a couple of Mamie Van Doren's awful movies.  Mamie, born Joan Olander, was a bosomy blonde whom other film studios tried to trot out as a substitute for the real thing - Miss Monroe.  One quick look served to show why no one is compiling any biographies of Mamie.

There was only one Marilyn, only one Elvis, only one Shakespeare.  He said, "What's done can't be undone," and what was done to Marilyn should never have been done.

I hope you enjoy the show!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Little Jimmy undergoing treatments

There are plenty of worse ways to spend one's time than to listen to records by James Cecil Dickens, known and loved by country music fans as "Little Jimmy" Dickens.

All 4'11" of Jimmy will turn 93 years of age this December, and one listen to his traditional way of singing country will show you why they call him "Our Treasure" down at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN.  Country singers today like to team up with hop hop performers and jazz moaners and whatever it is that Julio Iglesias does, but as an Opry member since 1948 - the year my much-older sister was born - LJD has always kept it country.  And I always thought that if he did team up with someone from outside the country genre, he could work with Little Richard, although it would be a very close contest as to whose stage attire was more, shall we say. gaudy.

As proof of his country bona fides, I offer these:

 - - This is a recent Opry performance of "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose."  You'll see fellow West Virginian Brad Paisley on the song, and Brad is one of the few country stars of today to pay any homage to the greats who created the path he now drives.

 - - As good as Jimmy is with the nutty novelty songs like MTBOPFUYN, he is equally adept with a ballad such as "Another Bridge to Burn."

 - - And another reason why Jimmy is beloved of the country fans is this kind of affectionate homage to the good and bad parts of rural living,  Many a person who bought the 1949 record of "Sleepin' at the Foot of the Bed" did that many times as a kid.

I bring all this up because Jimmy is going in the hospital in Tennessee next week for radiation treatment of a pre-cancerous condition on his vocal chords.  He is expected to make a full recovery.  Jimmy issued a statement via the Grand Ole Opry website:

“I can’t begin to express my sincere gratitude for the thoughts and prayers that are being sent my way. My family and I appreciate the support, and I can’t wait to return home to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in one of my favorite rhinestone suits someday soon.”
If you have a mind to send get-well greetings to a man who has been entertaining people since Hector was a pup, here is the address:

Jimmy Dickens
c/o Grand Ole Opry House
2804 Opryland Drive
Nashville, TN 37214

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Safety First

Mr Shaw
George Bernard Shaw said, "Youth is wasted on the young."  I can tell you about one youth who almost wasted the rest of his summer, if not his life, just yesterday afternoon.

I was on the way to an appointment and was driving in front of Parkville Middle School.  I saw a kid on a skateboard zipping across the parking lot and into the entrance way of the school off Avondale Rd, but I said two things to myself in that 1/10 of a second that life allows you to have these conversations:

a) this kid can't be stupid enough to roll right onto Avondale Road without checking to see if anything is coming

b) better hit the brakes!

 This kid is clearly that stupid.

If you sent out for a skater boy, this is what Amazon would send you.  Skinny as a 2x4, lacrosse hair hanging out of a backward baseball cap, headphones stuck in his ear, Ravens T-shirt, some sort of baggy shorts.

Suddenly he saw me!  And he jumped off the board and responded to my horn and my opprobrious look.  I lowered my window down and gave him The Look.  He said, "I'm sorry, mister; I wasn't paying attention."

I went for the best Lee Marvin or Jack Webb I could give him.  I said, "Son, pay attention out here.  This is life and death out here, with traffic all around."

I think he was totally shaken up as he yanked out the earphones and picked up his board.

I know I was.

And as I drove off, I got to thinking that we have created the greatest system of technology in human history.  This young man was carrying a smart phone on which he has downloaded, maybe, a thousand songs or so, and was listening to some of these digital bits as he careered across the parking lot.

Maybe Apple could include some free life lessons with every download.  "Don't ride your skateboard into oncoming traffic" would be pretty good advice.

This teenager learned it today. And he even called me "Mister"!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Wrong-Way Corrigan

When we think of civil protest, we think of people marching to end discrimination in housing, education and anywhere else that segregation was still practiced in our nation.

Or we think of those who protested the Viet Nam war, or those who marched to give women the vote, and to right other wrongs.

It's perfectly legal to protest, to state your opinions down at the Town Square.  The other day, there was a man in front of our local post office passing out leaflets urging people to impeach the president, and although I wasn't about to take the time to find out his reasons, I'd never quibble over his right to speak his mind.  That is what this country is all about.

There's a difference, though, between civil protest and stealing the property of others.  Case in point is a legal action proceeding through the courts in Anne Arundel County.  A couple of years ago we talked about this fellow down there, one David S. Corrigan. Corrigan is against gambling, which is his right.  But Maryland took it to the voters in 2010, whether or not to expand gambling in the state to include casino-style slot machines and "table games" (not talking about Clue or Monopoly here!)  During the election campaign, Corrigan was driving around the county, removing pro-gambling campaign signs.  Why, when he was caught by the police, he had 70 signs in his pickup, and let's just say the chances are, that wasn't his first time out there harvesting signs.

I'd bet you on that, but it would upset Corrigan too much. He copped out to taking "100 or so" signs.

His attorney, a man who went to law school in order to become involved with this inane behavior, is Ronald H. Jarashow.  Jarashow said, in court, "This is a case about civil protest. This is a case about someone having strong beliefs and acting on them."

The mouthpiece also said that Corrigan volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and feels that a lot of the people he seeks to help through that agency are harmed by gambling.  And he thought that the signs he was ripping off were on public property.

I did not attend law school, although I avidly watched "Perry Mason" and "L.A. Law."  Raymond Burr would want Jarashow to know that just because something is on public property, that doesn't mean it's up for grabs.  To prove the point, try sauntering down to your local police precinct and driving off in one of their patrol cars.

And Vinny Gambini, from "My Cousin Vinny," taught us that acting on your beliefs might not always be legal.  For instance, I believe that right now, the proprietors of Crabby's Crab House owe me a dozen XXL males and a case of National Boh, but I might have trouble walking out of there without paying for them.

I checked with the ACLU website, because who knows what crazy laws might have been passed, but they still say that the First Amendment protects many forms of expression, including the right to free speech, participating in demonstrations like protests and marches, leafleting, chanting, drumming and dancing. It also protects "symbolic speech," e.g., wearing T-shirts with messages, carrying signs, sculptures or puppets, etc.  But they add that  Violence or criminal activity does not become constitutional simply because you do it while expressing a political message.

The people who ran the pro-gambling campaign are suing Corrigan for damages.  Where he got the idea that he can steal other people's property just because he doesn't like the message printed on it will probably not come up in the trial.

But I wish it would!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday rerun: Murder, She'd Note

It was just about this time of year, seventeen years ago, when OJ Simpson changed in the public eye from star running back, commercial spokesperson and "Nordberg" in the Police Squad! movies to murder suspect and object of a slow police chase through Los Angeles.

All evidence would seem to point to OJ in the murder of his ex-wife Nicole and her new dude, Ron Goldman, but all that counts is that a jury found him not guilty, and even though a civil trial several years later found him civilly responsible, he is still innocent of the murder charges.  He is currently a resident of the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada, as a result of his 2008 conviction on  armed robbery and kidnapping charges.  Many people regard this as karma in the purest form, as it appears to some that Simpson skated on the murder rap, but is doing a minimum of nine years for slugging and threatening some guys whom he accused of ripping off his football memorabilia.  

I learned a long long time ago that things aren't always what they seemed, and so I can't say who really killed Nicole and Ron that night.  And being a nation of laws, we have to go by the jury verdict.  And, to be honest with you, as hot a topic as all this was in the mid-to-late 90's, it has almost acquired a patina of age in the years since, and seems to be similar to one of those fabled oldtime stories, such as when Harry K. Thaw shot an architect because that architect had despoiled Thaw's young wife (Evelyn Nesbit, pictured at left) during a previous relationship. Read that story and see how these people back in the early 1900s were the original swingers...White was into a weird fetish for young girls riding on the red velvet swing in his house.

Uh huh.

Or, take the big scandal from the 1920s when Ruth Snyder went to the chair for having her husband killed.  She and her boyfriend, Judd Gray, garroted the poor man because she preferred necking with Gray. All across America, people took time out from dancing the Charleston, drinking bathtub gin and wearing raccoon coats while dancing the Charleston and drinking bathtub gin to read the papers and their accounts of the trial, which ended badly for Ruth.  She became front-page news, all right (>>>>).  But now you rarely hear her name mentioned.

So, now I see that onetime talk show host Oprah G. Winfrey wants to drag OJ onto her new OWN cable channel and get him to confess to murder.  Before our very eyes, she'd have him confessing to crimes that had baffled cops nationwide for years.  I'm no lawyer, but my advice for The Juice here would be: "Don't answer your cell phone!  It might be Oprah! And you've got enough trouble as it is!"

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday rerun: I take a teenage quiz

 1. Who introduced you to the person you like?
Sam and Maura on a blind date

2. Where were you at four today?
gently dozing someplace, I'm sure

3. Would you rather sleep at a friend's or have them over?
It all depends.  Most of the time, when a friend sleeps over, it's because they fell asleep watching tv after dinner, and we don't wake them up because we were asleep too

4. Last thing you spent money on?
Some sort of painkiller, I'm certain

5. What is on your wrists right now?
Right arm: wristwatch.  Left arm: I don't know. What do you think that is?

6. What's your favorite season of the year?
My favorite seasoning is always Old Bay

7. Do you hate when people call you when you're sleeping?
Yes so please don't call after 6 pm

8. Do you cry a lot over the opposite sex?
Haven't cried in so long, it would be hard to imagine the cause of it being a female

9. Have your ever wasted your time on someone?

10. Where did you get the pants you are wearing from?
These shorts are from the Clearance rack at WalMart

11. When is your birthday?

12. Are you one of those people who obsess over hollister?
Rafe Hollister was that mountain man moonshiner on The Andy Griffith Show who had a naturally great tenor singing voice.  I enjoyed hearing him sing, but my interest stopped short of being an obsession.

13. What are you wearing on your feet?
Those little quarter sox and slippers

14. Do you think a lot of people think bad things about you?
All the Republicans do, or should

15. Is it easy to annoy you?
much, much harder now

16. Can you commit to one person?
Have since 1973.  Nixon was still president.

17. Have you ever met someone who turned out to be amazing?
See #16

18. Currently liking anyone?
I like almost everyone!

19. How many times have you dyed your hair?
I was born a blond with white teeth, now I have white hair and blond teeth

20. Name of the last person to text you?
it was either Richard E. Normus or Hugh Jass

21. Does someone like you right now?
I certainly hope so

22. What does the 15th message in your inbox say?
"Greetings to you kind friend, I am Barrister Algonquin J. Wilberforce. I represent the estate of a late Nigerian prince who decided to leave 1.2 $ US to you because he chose your name on the World Wide Web..."

23. Have you ever gone up to a car thinking it was yours and almost got in?
Yes and it was a police car

24. When was the last time you were in a car with someone besides family?
See #23

25. What would your name be without the first three letters?

26. Do you want to see somebody right now?
Sure, why not

27. Where was the last place you fell asleep other than your bed?
my recliner, my sofa, my kitchen chair, my dining room chair, the chair in the hallway, the driver's seat in my truck

28. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
The young lady who takes reservations at Bonefish

29. The person you have the strongest feelings for dies, do you care?
Uh yes

30. Have your ever slept in the same bed as your friends?
Oh not for years!

31. What are you listening to?
"The Great Gildersleeve" on Old Time Radio

32. Have you kissed the last person you texted?
If I did that, he would not let me buy beer at his liquor store anymore

33. Do you think you can last in a relationship for 3 months?
38 years is a lot of months

34. Do you think someone is thinking about you right now?
Yes and I want Sarah Palin to stop that!

35. Name one person you wish you could fix with, and why haven't you?
Rush Limbaugh. He still owes me for some oxycontin.

36. How have you felt today?

37. Was this summer a good one?

38. Would it be hard seeing someone else kiss the person you like?
Only if I were awake

39. You receive 500 dollars without any reason, what do you spend it on?
What 500 dollars?

40.Would you be someone's girlfriends/boyfriends right now if they asked?
What an enchanting notion.  Must say no.

41. Do you believe your first love can be the only love in your life?
My first love was Sandra Dee.

42. Do you like your school?
It seems like a nice place for the kids in this neighborhood to hang around all day

43. Do you love coffee?
Decaf after dinner

44. After taking a shower, do you change in the bathroom or in your bedroom
I strut around the house in my naked glory until Peggy reminds me we have company

45. How many people could comfortably sleep in the room you're in?
If I'm there, no one else would be comfortable

46. Whats the last thing you searched for on Google?
pictures of chipmunks

47. How would you react if your mom got a lip piercing?
I would be mad at the people who run the senior high-rise where she dwells

48. Do you start the water before you get in the shower or when you get in?
Long before .

49. Are you happy with your life?
yes !

50. You have 1 hour left to live, describe what you are doing.
Leaving for a one-hour drive with Lindsay Lohan

51. What kind of earphones do you have for your iPod?
The ones that came with it.  Is this a trick question?

52. What is your current favorite song?
A tie between "Tik-Tok" (Ke$ha) and "The Clock on the Wall" (Tommy Collins).  No matter the genre, I am time-conscious.

53. What nationality are you?
WASP but interesting

54. What is your desktop wallpaper on your computer?
It's a picture of Britney Spears.  Do they make other wallpapers?

55. You have to be an animal for a day, which would it be?
A Raven or an Oriole

56. Its 7:30pm on a Sunday evening. What are you doing?
I'm halfway through "60 Minutes"

57. What are your plans for the rest of the week?
I don't make long-range plans at my age.

58. You found a wallet on the side of the street. What do you do?
I return it.

59. Pick a lyric from the song you're listening to.
If you got a Cadillac, boy,
And a forty room shack, boy
A bucket full of money
And a tree full of honey
But if you're gettin' no huggin'
No smoochin' or muggin'
Well, if you ain't lovin'
Then you ain't livin'!  (by Faron Young)

Faron Young

60. Where is the person you like/ love?
Downstairs on the phone

61. For you next birthday, what would you like your parents to get you?
I have all I need!

62. What was the last movie you watched with your mom?
Jackass 3-D.  She did not enjoy it.

63. You're in a food court, what do you feel like eating?
Just something to tide me over til I get to the diner

64. What are you excited for to happen within the next few months?
Seeing Sarah Palin being asked serious questions and giving her usual stupid answers

Friday, June 21, 2013

Smile for the picture! Wave at Uncle Leon!

Say, whatcha got planned for the late afternoon of Friday, July 19th?  Laundry, ironing, mowing the lawn, going down to the Giant supermarket, waxing the Biscayne...all these can wait, because that's the day we are supposed to Wave At Saturn!

Starting at 5:27 PM (Eastern) time, from a billion miles away, a NASA operation will take pictures of Planet Earth, and they are encouraging you to wave at the sky on that day, if you want to be in the picture.

Since I know about as much about astronomy as I do about seasoning a crêpe pan, I'll just send you over to this article about it from the BBC.

I do know that Saturn is a giant ball of gas (and so it could just as easily have been called "Limbaugh") that, as of today, it is the only planet wise enough to have taken Beyonce's advice and put a ring on it.

I can't say this for sure, but the name of this project, "Wave at Saturn," is pretty much a direct ripoff of an idea hatched by me and several other purposeless teenagers during an afternoon of fishing and emptying beer cans at Loch Raven Reservoir some years ago.  We thought that dropping trou on a a moonlit night would really give the man in the moon something to look at.

Of course, we called the project "Moon The Moon" and we hoped to be invited to be on the news, but we were just a bunch of cheeky kids.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June Brides

I never thought about getting married much before I met Peggy, but I started thinking a lot about it within 10 seconds of meeting her, a meeting which occurred 40 years ago tomorrow.

It's not that a lot of women weren't asking me to get married.  My mother, my sister, my grandmother, a great aunt or two and several family friends suggested repeatedly that I run off and elope as fast as possible, taking my stuff with me.  Harrumph.

But I have always enjoyed weddings and all that goes with them, especially the conception reception immediately afterward.  We talked before about my buddy who made a Saturday habit of putting on his one sports coat, white shirt, tie and decent khakis, and crashing wedding receptions at the fabulous Martin's Eudowood.  When he showed up with the rest of us dateless ne'er-do-wells and rakehells on a Saturday night, he was already full of free beer, Lobster Newburg, roast beef, green beans almondine and twice-baked potatoes, all the items that were as certainly a part of the Martin's Wedding Experience as Al Martino's record of "Daddy's Little Girl."

Used to be, a couple got married in a local church and then their friends and family showed up in a banquet hall and toasted the newlyweds, who were in a big hurry to get the honeymoon started, so they changed to their "going away" clothes as soon as the people catering the shindig wheeled out the Make Your Own Sundae fixin's.

There doesn't seem to be the same hurry to get to the bridal suite down at the Airport Motel 6, so today's couples have dual bachelor and bachelorette parties in Las Vegas, Reno or Miami Beach, with a destination wedding to follow.  That means that Uncle Paul and Aunt Pearl have to pony up for a trip to Jackal's Island in the Grand Bahamas, because the groom's parents will be damned if they are paying Paul and Pearl's fare, after they way they acted about selling them that Bonneville with the cracked block and defective radiator when Paul, Jr, left for the Coast Guard.

Point is, weddings are not as simple as they a) used to be or b) ought to be.  But do hire a good photographer.  I can recommend a great one for you!  Our friend Angie will record the day with taste and dignity, and will make sure that the relatives never have to see anything like this >>>>

Where is the dignity?  Who thought this would be a good idea?  Uncle Paul?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Well, I was all set to write about the idiot DJs down in Atlanta who thought it would be funny to do a bit poking fun at a former player for the Saints  - a fellow who has ALS.

But thinking about that sort of person, or three such persons, makes me sick to my stomach.

Wondering about what else was on my mind, I started playing with a photo app called Snapfeed.  Snapfeed allows you to take a picture and do all sorts of filters and color changes.  I wanted to take a new picture on the tablet to test it out, and I thought, for once, let's get up off the recliner.  I don't need another picture of my feet, taken as I lie supine watching Frasier reruns.

So I got up, left the family room and wandered into the formal living room.  I took this picture of the one corner...and aged it so it would look like something passed down from Aunt Maude from the time they brought electric to town.

Right in front of that window, in a planter that sits on the porch, a family of wrens has built a nest and are in the process of moving in.  The male wren is trying to get his brother in law to help move stuff, but you know how that goes.

And then I almost got lost leaving the living room, which we call the formal living room because the "good" sofa and "good" love seat are in there, along with the grandfather clock my father made for us and some other niceties.  I don't go in that room, except if someone comes over to discuss something of earth-shattering importance and Peggy doesn't want me to a) turn the television on (there is no tv in this room) or b) fall asleep while talking.  No one can fall asleep on the sofa in there; the upholstery is still tight and firm, so the sink-in factor is nil.

And with no tv or other form of entertainment, the room might as well be sealed off.  Stop over some time and I'll show it to you, but we won't be there long!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

And the beat goes on

If my father were still alive, he'd be about to turn 100 y.o.a. this September.  Long lives are not a long suit of my family, owing to the risky undertakings of some departed distant relatives such as "Wrong Way" Clark, who kept driving his Studebaker the wrong way into tunnels and over bridges, "Shocky" Clark, who demonstrated that inserting the tines of a fork into an electric outlet was bad for the fork (and its holder), and "Sinker" Clark, who was the first to prove that you really shouldn't go in swimming for half an hour after eating.

But Dad wasn't from that side of the family.  A prudent, cautious gentleman, he lived to be 84, and to zoom past the three-score-and-ten mark, outlined in the Bible, by 14 years is a pretty good life.

I stumbled across this link on Stumble Upon.  I find it interesting and I hope you do.  Dad surely would.  If I could talk to him about the world he was born into and the world of a little fellow born today, he would be fascinated.  Just the other day, Peggy and I discussed whether Dad would have a smart phone, and I don't know that he would have.  He might have gone with a plain cell phone.  It would not have been his way to be driving to Home Depot while texting someone about meeting him later that morning and seeing how many board feet of lumber he would need to repair the back steps.  He would be appalled to see the way most people today drive and act and write.

We talked earlier this year about a little baby born to a splendid couple of Baltimore journalists.  His mom pointed out that he could very well live to see the year 2100 rung in.  I was thinking that my Dad's family, at his birth in 1913, would scarcely have dared to wonder if he would still be around in 2000.

He didn't miss by much, but he did live long enough to see Sonny Bono get elected to the US Congress.  And maybe that was more than his family could have ever dreamed.

Monday, June 17, 2013

All over the field

I remember reading a short casual by Woody Allen about pantomime and his inability to enjoy it.

I enjoy pantomime, if only because the practitioners thereof take the art SO seriously!  As they pretend to be stuck inside a glass box or spreading out a picnic basket or calling 911 to report a fire, they really get INTO much so that you almost feel you need to call 911 for them!

I'm going to type this next part very slowly, so please understand that a lot of thought and deliberation preceded it.  I watched "60 Minutes" last night and I saw the story about the Barca "football" club in Spain and how they have a development academy to take young men and turn them into soccer professionals and how the entire Catalan population supports this team as not just a team, more a way of life, and they sing the team anthem before the game starts with 102,000 people watching and

And...I'm not being a smart aleck for once...

But could someone, in 25 words or less, explain the appeal of soccer to me?  Not the game.  I get the game.  The word soccer itself derives from the old expression "SO who Cares?", which was the question the Native Americans had when 11 Englishmen got off the boat at Plymouth Rock and began playing a game without scoring.  The soccer field, or "pitch," is the approximate size of the approach runway at the airport, and 11 people per side run up and down that field for an hour and a half and you're doggone lucky if anyone scores a goal, because that means you don't have to hang around for more soccer.  I just don't see the appeal.  I've watched it played by people from 6 to 60 and at least with the little kids, it looks like two amoebae eddying up and down the field and now and then a soccer ball squirts out.  With the pros, one goalie grabs the ball, being the only person allowed to touch it with hands, and then he or she hurls it to someone who will boot it upfield for a mile and a half, only to be tripped up while approaching the goal, or "pitch."  The action then reverses and goes back and forth several thousand times until later, when the grounds crew all has to go home, so they turn out the lights.

American football, based partly on soccer and partly on the street fighting scenes from "West Side Story," is vastly preferable to me.  Skilled defensive play on both sides keeps the scoring down to an average of 42-49 points per team per game, and skilled offenses display their ability to run up and down the field while holding on the ball (most of the time) and that's the difference.

Pastor Tilton awaits your donation
I know, I have many good friends who love soccer and some who have dish antennas mounted on their roofs just to be able to pull in Peruvian Summer League play, which comes on tv at 4:30 in the morning, right after Pastor Tilton.  I love my soccer lovin' friends and just humbly ask them one last time to tell me what there is to like about a game played by a person in shorts with advertising , or "pitch," all over their jerseys.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday rerun: Your call is impotent to us

Yesterday, the computer doohickey attached to the pfisteris that makes pictures and words come up on the screen went down, or "went down," in technical parlance.  WiFi became NoFi! Or maybe WiNo!   And I couldn't see email or any videos in which wide-eyed kids and skateboarding dogs and cats amuse an entire nation, so I called the good folks at Comcast, or "Xfinity," in technical parlance.

It's always a good idea for a large company to go by two names.  Is it still Comcast, or is it Xfinity, or what, huh?  It's so confusing that one friend of mine, who uses them for phone, cable and internet service, says he has "Verizon Fios," which sounds like a great Greek dessert.  But I assume my friend's check gets to the right place every month, or I wouldn't be getting emails from him.

I wasn't getting emails from anyone, the reason I called Comcast.  By means of answering 27 questions, I got to the lightning round, where I got to sit and listen to Muzak for seven minutes.  It was almost a relief when the problem-solver picked up my call, uttered a sigh heard round the world, and promptly disconnected me.  Within seconds, I was being entertained by that "If you'd like to make a call..." lady, who sounds for all the world like a grade school librarian hollering at the kids for picking up books and not shelving them properly, or at all.

Second call, waiting time was much faster, and as a free bonus, I got to talk to someone and also help him learn a new language: English.  I had to repeat and define something in just about every sentence, but I considered it my "hands across the sea" gesture.  Reading from his script, he told me not to worry, and that he was sure we could get me back on line.  Then he said something that sounded like tech talk when he told me what he was going to do and suddenly, we were like Abbott and Costello:

Him: Fine, sir, at this time I am going to flapper the noddistrand, so please look at your obfuscator and tell me what you see.

Me: What does that mean?

Him: What does that mean, "what does that mean?"

Me: I don't understand what you are going to do.

Him: (Silence)

Me: (two minutes later)  Are you still there?

Him: Yes, do you see the lights going off?

Me:  On the modem, you mean?  Yes they're off, and now here they come, one at a time...

Him:  How can that be happening?

Me:  I dunno, but here comes my email!

Him:  What does that mean, "here comes my email"?

Me: It means my email inbox is filling up with important emails.  I must go at once and reply to the widow of a Nigerian prince.

And then, just like when you go to look at a video, I got a commercial.  The guy asked me  - and I am not making this up - if I planned to put an addition on my house.  I thought at first he wanted to move in and be my tech team, but he said he was asking in case I wanted to add more cable outlets or anything.

Some people just live to torment me.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Saturday Picture Show returns! 6/14/13

 My gift to you is this free wallpaper for your pc, tablet or phone! Those of us in the Baltimore area saw some vivid sunsets this past week with storms in the air, but we made out pretty well - no derecho!
I'll wait right here if you think you can find a cuter picture of a little baby critter than this.  If you show me a little kitten or puppy, I will have to point out that Stampy, Jr, here is actually smiling, which makes this the cutest picture of any baby animal ever!
 It's either that I have seen this picture before - or someone else did this with their fence somewhere!  A little work with a spokeshave on top of fence pickets, and rainbow of colors from a paint store, and a plain fence becomes a plain joy!
How did it come that chocolate/vanilla/strawberry ice cream or frozen "yogurt" is called "Neapolitan"?  Do we have evidence that the legendary ice cream makers of Naples found a way to combine the three leading ice cream flavors at some point in history?  Whoever invented it, the chocolate dispenser on this production line was clearly sloughing off the day this tub came down the chute.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Patent Pending

The other day, I went to the Giant Food supermarket around the corner.  It's my favorite grocery store, not only because of the good prices and the high quality of the chow they sell, but also because of the exceptional customer service they offer.  They will filet a salmon and steam some shrimp and grind some beef and special-order a grocery item and decorate a cake just special for the birthday guy or gal.  And they'll do these things with a smile, and offer to carry the whole order out to your car if you want.

I recently had knee replacement/revision surgery, and while I have nothing to complain about in terms of health, compared to others who are dealing with real serious issues, I cannot walk so well just yet.  'Sway it goes!  So, since there was a cart right by where I parked that I could use as a rolling walker sort of thing, I went in without my trusty cane.  I only needed some chicken and some corn.  I went in, got what I needed, but by the time I got to the register area, I was draggin' my wagon, if you will.  Limpin' like a madman, walkin' like a bad man.

It must have been a sight.  Because there were a couple of registers open, with lines mobbing around, and a young lady whose job it is to keep an eye on the lines and also assist people using the self-checkout machines spotted me and so very kindly called me over and opened a register so I could pay and go.  I told her how much I appreciated her kindness.  She could just as easily have looked the other way, or right through me like they do at WalMart.

Smile, Clarence!  It's gonna be all right!
And then today, I read that the US Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, said that human genes cannot be patented.  I think that this young lady's kindness gene should be patented and shared worldwide, although I see an uphill battle if I call Clarence Thomas to discuss the matter.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hooray for Captain Spaulding!

Being a man without kids, I am often in the position of amused observer at how people raise their own broods, with varying levels of success.  I am prepared to state that the most successful parents are the ones who work at it.  Children rarely go to the library to check out books on etiquette, responsibility, manners, and how best to handle life's day-to-day activities.  They need to be taught, they want to be taught, and they look to good ol' Mom and Dad for the teaching.

I am thinking of two families I have recently observed. (Suddenly I feel like this is taking the turn of the journal of an African explorer, who takes to the wild to observe a family of jaguars in their rituals and child-rearing techniques.)  But here is my non-clinical report:

Family one was a mom and dad in their early 30s with two kids, a male about 8 and a girl about 10.  I saw them on the sidewalks of Hampden as they left the 7-11 and proceeded down The Avenue Which Is A Street (36th, in fact.)  The parents were embroiled in a discussion over the mores of a friend of theirs, a female who was currently enjoying the attentions and affections of two males, and was unable to choose between the two gentlemen.  In graphic detail, in front of the children, the mother laid it out for the dad: their friend enjoyed doing the horizontal hoo-hah with both of her swains, but only one of them had a "@!%$ing job" at the present time. while the other was a layabout, a neer-do-well, quite possibly a rakehell.  (My translation).  At some point, the mother turned to the children trailing behind and bellowed, "Eat your dinner!" and the kids, chastened, renewed their foraging through their bags of Cheese Puffs and guzzling their grape sodas.

The other family, I saw the other night at the hospital.  Peggy and I went to get some dinner in the cafeteria while Mom had an MRI.  A young (30s) female doctor, in scrubs, was dining with her husband and their three youngsters, girls about 7 and 5 and a boy about 3.  I got the impression (and I rarely do impressions anymore) that the dad brought the kids over for some mommy time while she worked the night shift.  The parents made sure to get decent food for the, with some veggies on the side and water to drink.  Of course, the kids wanted soda and ice cream and made these preferences known, setting off a round of a game that's been played between parents and children since the first caveman dragged home a wooly mammoth and grilled it up for the brood:  "Come just this much and then you can have dessert."

Times three.

And while negotiations raged on with the girls, the boy gave up on eating altogether in favor of darting around with a toy helicopter.  And the girls would not touch their corn.  And the father went off to round up the little helicopter pilot and the mother nibbled at her food while cajoling the girls to "just try the corn!"

And then her dinner hour was about over and she hurriedly finished her chicken sandwich while the dad shepherded the kids into one eddying mass for a minute.

And I pictured both families, times 365.

So where did they get "Whitey" for a nickname?
They say that environment and parental raising are not the only factors that determine our suitability for later life, pointing out that the Bulger family of Massachusetts had a son who became a college president and another who became a mobster, currently on trial to explain nineteen murders.

I guess we'll have to see.  I remarked to the weary doctor that the time would come in a few years that she and her husband would be sitting home on a Saturday night while all three kids were on dates, wondering why it was so quiet!

And she said she would miss what's going on right now.  That's the difference, right there, as I see it!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Big difference!

I saw that guy Rick Santorum, the former senator from the state of Pennsylvania, on TV the other morning.  I was flipping around and, I don't know, maybe the batteries need replacing in the remote, but it got stuck on one of those crazy channels and as I feverishly pressed "Channel UP" I saw Santorum, with that self-righteous smirk on his face, saying, "Barack Obama doesn't believe in freedom of religion.  He believes in freedom of worship!  And he doesn't seem to know that there's a difference."

According to my Merriam Webster dictionary, religion means     " the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance"

and worship means "reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also : an act of expressing such reverence"

So I don't see a difference.  This is not the 700 Club, I don't go on about your religion, or mine.  But I have to wonder just what point is Santorum, the man who once said,"Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that's okay, contraception is okay. It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be" trying to make when he says religion and worship are different things.

By the way, my contraception license is due to expire in 2081. I got a special extension, so to speak.

And speaking of comedy performers, how about this "it's a whole different thing" from NBC?

NBC’s legendary series “The Tonight Show” is paying tribute to the past, and will change its name when Jimmy Fallon comes aboard in February.
The show, now officially known as “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” is getting a tweak and will become known as “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon,” according to Deadline.
The change from “with” to “starring” echoes of the early days of the show, when it was known as “The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.”
So there is a huge diffy-diff between The Tonight Show WITH Jimmy Fallon and the The Tonight Show STARRING Jimmy Fallon?  How many people will say, "You know, honey, I wasn't about to watch that show, what with his forced humor and obsequious efforts to appeal to everyone from cradle to grave,  but now that they say the show STARS Jimmy Fallon, how can we not?"
How can we?  There's a real difference, ain't there?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Oucho Cinco

You remember him as Chad Johnson when he first showed up as an excellent wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals.  His ego and sense of showmanship were such that he became famous for making amazing catches on the field but also for stunts such as using a goal-line marker as a "putter" and playing golf with the football after a touchdown, and putting on a fake NFL Hall of Fame yellow jacket after another score.

He was a showman, all right, more than a scholar.  He decided to play on his uniform number (85) and call himself "Ochocinco," which means eight-five in Spanish.  ("85" would be "ochenta y cinco.") For the love of Pete, or Pedro, he even changed his name legally to Chad Ochocinco.

As always happens, the league smiled while he was a productive, capable player, and after he wore out his welcome in Cincinnati, he played a year for New England, and then was all set to play for Miami last year, until he was arrested for headbutting his wife, and that was the end of his playing days for now.

But he always finds a way to stay in the news, right in the public eye.  This latest, from yesterday, is not so good, though.

Still dealing with the domestic violence charges involving his now-ex-wife, Evelyn Lozada, old #85 failed to show up for a meeting with his probation officer last month and was taken to court to answer for that.  During the hearing, he did what seems to come naturally to football players: he patted a guy on his team right on the left buttock.  But this was not an offensive lineman who had cleared the way for Chad to score; this was his attorney, Adam Swickle, who got the butt tap.

Her Honor, Judge Kathleen McHugh, was not amused.  The judge refused to take a plea deal that would have seen him doing community service and more anger management counseling. Nope.  She put him in the Ironbar Hilton for 30 days in jail and added three months onto his one-year probation, which now will run until December.

He won't be the first, nor the last, to realize that what seems so doggone adorable while you're on top of your profession is something you go to jail for when you're finished.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Birk's Law

Last week the Baltimore Ravens, winners of the Super Bowl, went to the White House for what is a truly great part of the American sporting scene.  The winners of major championships get to meet the president and present him with a commemorative special jersey.

Similarly, winners of NASCAR races are invited to drive past 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and honk their horns.

There's no word on whether or not President Obama stayed up fretting over the absence of erstwhile Ravens center Matt Birk, who retired after the past season.  Birk complained that he couldn't bring himself to attend, because,  "I would say this -- I would say that I have great respect for the office of the presidency, but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and he said, 'God bless Planned Parenthood."

A Harvard graduate(!), Birk didn't seem to learn much at that fine institution.  One thing that paying attention in college would have taught him would be to verify things before parroting the wrong thing that you heard all wrong.  Because, here is what the president said, at a Planned Parenthood meeting:

“Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. God bless America."

That's a little bit different.  Of course he thanked Planned Parenthood.  He was there speaking to their membership, not promoting their cause.

Birk has every right to protest as he sees fit, and from the looks of things, no one on the team was devastated by his absence.  He is active in the anti-abortion movement, and he is entitled to that action, but here is where it gets interesting to me.

Children will say, "I'm not playing with Johnny because he likes the Jets" or something childish like that.  As adults, we tend not to avoid contact with other adults simply because we differ in philosophy with them.

Birk had a lot to say last year when the Maryland Legislature was considering (and passing) a law making same-sex marriage legal here in the Free State.  Notice that he managed to keep showing up every day, practicing and playing alongside  Brendon Ayanbadejo, a linebacker who took an active stance in favor of gay marriage.

So. Matt Birk, as long as people are paying you millions of dollars to play a game, you can associate with people with whom you disagree, but when the chance comes to shake the hand of the president of the United States and represent your former team and former home town, you demur, choosing to make some point?

Enjoy your retirement.  Try to grow up a little.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday rerun: 'Ello! I'm Ron Weasley!

Baltimore only has one remaining big-screen old-fashioned movie theater.  It's called the Senator Theater, and it's not far from the county line, so I've been there a number of times.  I'd estimate that number at 37.  You can read here about the previous owner of the place and his quixotic struggles to keep owning the place.  Whatever it is, the theater is still open, and the other night they had the midnight showing of "Harry Potter and the Deadly Boredom II," or something like that.  

I recall a night in 1972 when I got up off a stool at Souris's Tavern and went to a midnight showing of "The Godfather" along with a couple of my buddies, and it was fun.  I hope that everyone who went to see "Harry Potter and the Half-Ass Prince" enjoyed it nearly that much, although they probably couldn't have, given the absence of scenes like Michael Corleone coming out of the men's room at the pasta restaurant with more than a noodle in his hand, and the absence of characters with names such as Luca Brasi and Khartoum The Wonder Horse, whose role was brief, but heady. 

Outside of mime, modern art, modern dancing and Sarah Palin, there aren't many forms of entertainment that I apprehend less than "Harry Potter: Gobblin' Fire."  It's been interesting to see this phenomenon grow over the years.  People who never liked to read began reading Potter books, and many of them continued to read until they read ALL the Potter books.  Before she started writing these fantasies, J.K. Rowling was on British welfare, which I believe means she would get a ticket good for a pint of beer and a blood-pudding sandwich once a week, along with subway fare to see the Queen ride by in a horse-drawn carriage with Camilla Parker Bowles leading the procession.  Now she is the richest woman - maybe the richest person - in England because of the book money and movie money. 

And we've all enjoyed seeing the cast grow up to be fine young adults.  Emma Watson, who has played the part of "Emma Watson" in all 118 HP movies, is attending college here in the US and hopes to be in more movies.  Daniel Radcliffe has shown acting talents far beyond wearing goofy glasses and is currently appearing on Broadway.  Rupert Grint is currently seeing his worldwide media empire crumble in a sea of lies, tapped phones and prevarication...oh wait, that's Rupert Murdoch.  There is no person named Rupert Grint.

Ten years from now, let's see if Pottermania is still in vogue.  I'd hate to see that they decide to do one of those "reunion" pictures, but if they do, I hope it will be called "Harry Potter and the AARP Membership Commercial."

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Saturday rerun: Pencils Down!

This fellow Mr Fifty Cent  (I knew him when he didn't have two nickels to rub together) had a song called "21 Questions" and it made me think of 21 of my own.

  1. How come in the movie "Arthur" with Dudley Moore, no one asked how come a rich New York playboy spoke with an English accent?
  2. Who would play the part of "you" in a Lifetime TV Movie of the Week? 
  3. How long are you willing to wait in a restaurant for a table?
  4. ref #3...Would you stick around even if I told the hostess my last name is Donner so that she would later call out,"Donner..Party of 6!"
  5. How do you think it felt to be the first person who ever ate a raw oyster?  Remember - they probably didn't have cocktail sauce then!
  6. How is it that people will spend thousands of dollars to go to HotAsHell Florida to visit an amusement park based on the adventures of a mouse, yet they freak out if they see a mouse darting around in their yard?
  7. Why do we sing "Rock a bye baby" to put a baby to sleep when the song is about putting your baby in a tree and letting the wind crash the cradle on the ground? How restful is that for a baby?
  8. Do you agree with Michael Kelso's statement that "Canadians don't have time to generalize about people because they're too busy drinking beer, playing hockey and putting maple syrup on their pancakes"?
  9. Do you notice how much different things were over a ten-year period than they are lately?  As in, look at how people dressed and what kind of music was popular in 1952, and compare that with 1962. But people still dress the same in 2012 as they did in 2002.  Wha' happen'?
  10. If you were a celebrity, would you sign autographs for everyone who mobbed you at dinner?
  11. Did you ever go on a date with someone you were sure was going to be dull as dishwater, only to find them scintillating?
  12. Did you ever go on a date with someone you were sure was going to be scintillating, only to find them dull as dishwater?
  13. Do you hate it when a person makes up questions and simply reverses the thesis of one to create another?
  14. Do you like it when when a person makes up questions and simply reverses the thesis of one to create another?
  15. Are you in touch with your inner child?
  16. Can you remember to pick up a bottle of milk on the way home, or do you need to write a note?
  17. What is it about some people, anyway?
  18. Would you swap 10 years of your life to be really rich or really famous or really good-looking?
  19. Have you ever felt like you were having deja vu for the second time?
  20. If you could know your exact day of death, would you want to find out?
  21. Who has ever seen a ball of wax? Why do we refer to "the whole ball of wax"?  Who wants a ball of wax to begin with?
Please send your answers before tomorrow night.

Friday, June 7, 2013

69 years later

Yesterday was June 6.  The 69th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at Normandy in World War II.  I spent the day thinking about how if must have felt to be on one of the landing craft or parachuting into a beach full of enemies shooting everything they had at the invaders.
That was your view as you disembarked and headed for the beach.  Thousands of soldiers were brought to the battle, thousands are buried there, hundreds came home wounded for life.  

It seems like so little to say it this way, but what this meant was, if this invasion had failed (and General Eisenhower had a message all written in advance to be read if that happened) and the war had been subsequently lost, our freedoms and everything else the Revolutionary soldiers fought and won for us would have been lost, and we would have gone under the despotic rule of the Hitlers and the rest of that awful crowd.

I've shared this before but with D Day on my mind, it came to me again.  As a child, most of my peers had fathers who had been in the war.  That's why we were called the Baby Boomers, folks!  Our fathers came home from the Army, Navy, Marine, what have you, and got married and got busy having kids.  

But one of my father's friends was a very quiet man.  He never said much, and my folks said that he had not sought advancement in his work, preferring a simple job with few responsibilities and a basic pay grade.  Oh, he had his family and his home and kids and so forth, but he always seemed to hold back just a little from things.  At parties or gatherings, he stayed quiet, didn't join in much.  Everyone said he could have done this or joined that or gone there or said more.

I wonder how many of those people knew then what I didn't learn until after the man died...that he had been a huge war hero, and was saluted for bravery during one of the most hellish stretches of the invasion.  

Once I knew that, I also knew two other things:  one, that I wish I had known sooner about what he did for us, so I could have passed along my thanks, even as a dumb kid, for his part in saving us.  But also, I came to understand why he held back, why he didn't get involved.  

Maybe he was so glad just to be here, back safe on soil he saved from Hitler, that being here was just enough.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Where do our comedies come from?

Sometimes, the really great sitcoms on TV come out of the really good sitcoms on TV.

One example would be "W!," the laff-a-minute hilarity on FOX from 2001-2009. It featured the antics of "Dubya Junior," who portrayed a lovable rube who rose to a high office through some sort of damned mixup. Very little is remembered about that show. It was like laughing about a breeze that momentarily tickled you, but later, didn't seem all that funny at all.

The genesis for that show was the old "George and Bar" show, which was cancelled after four years on the Retirement Living Channel.  That was a show about a man married to a woman that everyone kept taking for his mother, and his hilarious attempts to blend in with normal people by buying sox at a KMart (but not having a wallet) and having dinner with Japanese diplomats (but immediately thereafter doing the technicolor yawn.)  George tried to hold onto a job that he was given by his friend Ronald, who used to play cowboys in the movies, but he made promises that he couldn't keep, one of which was the time that people from the Lone Star State tried to form a new state, but he stood firmly in opposition, famously stating, "Read my lips!  No New Texas!"

Then there was "Frasier," which took the self-absorbed psychiatrist from the old "Cheers" show and placed him in Seattle, and gave him a normal dad, a self-absorbed brother psychiatrist, and a radio show.

I wondered for years what was the deal with the closing theme to that show..."Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs."  It turns out that it's all about Dr Frasier Crane's efforts to deal with his patient/callers, whose thoughts are tossed like salads and scrambled like eggs until they are out of their heads. You can read about it here!

But even now, I don't know what to do with those tossed salads and scrambled eggs.  Once I hear that song, I can't get it out of my head!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Read all about it

It doesn't cost much to have a newspaper delivered right to the house, and I get a huge amount of enjoyment out of reading The Baltimore Sun, a fresh copy of which gets tossed onto our yard out of a speeding auto every morning at about 0530 hrs.  

In just one Sunday edition from June 2, I learned the following information which stunned me:

 - - Morning news anchor Patrice Sanders of local FOX affiliate WBFF TV got into a set-to with Dr Andres Alonso, the hapless outgoing boss of the Baltimore City School Board.  The interview concerned an audit that revealed that millions of dollars in tax money given to the remarkably inefficient city school system had been wasted.  In other words, Ms Sanders was asking why school buildings are unrepaired and students are unprepared while 28 parents in some sort of PTA program chowed down on fried chicken and potato salad at a price of $99 per person.  Dr Alonso, unable to cite a single positive aspect of his woeful stewardship of the schools, argued that Sanders was using "dog whistle terms," but he failed to explain how anyone could spend 99 bucks on a chicken dinner. No mention was even made of the insanity of spending that much on a chicken dinner, or pheasant under glass, or Chateaubriand or filet mignon or giant prawns. But he got all out of joint about it.    

  - -  Then I breezed over to the sports pages, where I read that the three or four stupidest thieves in America are the dimwits who attempted to steal a truck belonging to Mr. Mike Adams.  Adams is an offensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and even though he was stabbed in the fracas, the sight of his 6' 7", 323-lb. form running toward the crooks must have had at least one of them committing an act of involuntary defecation.  

 - -I don't know what you do for a living, nor do I even guess as to what you earn for doing it, but I read on the same page that baseball's disgraced all-time hits leader, Pete Rose, banned for life from the game for betting on the game, earns more than a million dollars per year for signing his name on things.  For that million dollars, Rose could come to Baltimore and purchase 10,101 fried chicken dinners!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Civil rites

You know things are going crazy when the conservatives turn on John McCain.

I guess I'm out of touch, because I thought we had advanced a little bit in this country and had got to a point at which we allow other people to marry whomever they wish.

By the way, just yesterday a friend put a very clever posting on Facebook .  She said that she was in Subway, in line to order, and the guy ahead of her ordered a sub for his lunch that she did not like.  She wondered if she had the right to holler out and tell the dude to change his order, and compared the situation to the opposition to same-sex marriage.

But you would think that a big shot like John McCain - a US Senator from Arizona, former POW, rich guy who married a beer baron's daughter - would be able to post pictures on his facebook page of his son's wedding.  I mean, what's it to any of us whom young Jack McCain marries?  He's 27, a member of the Air Force Reserve, and he married he met in Guam while serving.

But...apparently the lovely bride is not WHITE enough for some people.  Read the comments and see what people's awful.  "Is she black?"  "No wonder McCain crawled into bed with Obama."


The comments are all there, in black and white, ironically enough, for us to read and gag on.  It's a reminder that there are people in this world so filled with hatred, so deeply stilled in prejudice, so full of anger and jealousy and envy and I don't know what-all else that they have to sit and type nasty messages on the Facebook page of Senator McCain because of the skin pigmentation of the woman his son chose to marry.

In Sammy Davis, Jr's autobiography, "Yes I Can" the great SD describes a scene that occurred while he was dating Kim Novak.  They had to resort to disguises and hideouts in order to see each other, and one night, hidden in the back of a limousine on his way to meet Kim, Sammy saw a wizened, grizzled old white guy who had fallen on tough times and was panhandling on a corner.  Sammy came to the sad realization that even though this guy's station in life was a sad one, at least he was a Caucasian, and so would have been suitable company to be seen in public with Kim Novak.

But that all took place in like 1956 or something.  Here we are in 2013, and there is a part of the population that says hate-filled things during a love-filled occasion.

Read them for yourself, on the senator's page, and see if you don't feel sort of sorry for a lot of people.  It's beyond awful.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Tornadic Activity

I feel bad about the deaths of the "stormchasers" out in Oklahoma. I mean, any death is tragic, certainly, and these men were out there with good intentions of reporting on the tornado and contributing to scientific research on those killer storms.  Mike Bettes, whom we've all seen on The Weather Channel, was tossed around along with his crew in their Storm Chaser vehicle that same Friday night, and later told the Today show that he felt weightless as the car was taken airborne by the wind, and feeling that he might be breathing his last earthly breaths.  Bettes says he's not sure he wants to get any closer to a raging storm than most people want to be to Ted Nugent, speaking of violent, uncontrolled forces with a lot of hot air involved.   

But it's none of my beeswax if people choose that path in life.  What I am shaking my head over is the debate that took place on Facebook on pages where the deaths were discussed.            And it wasn't just that so many people sitting at home or wherever positioned themselves as instant experts on the matter and expressed pure disdain over what anyone else said. This is known as the "I'm right and you're wrong" school of debate, even though the rightness of some of those participants was slightly besmirched by statements such as "you should do some resurch (sic) before you say anything."  

No, none of that was as bad as this one fellow, who had this to say to a fellow writer who said that maybe going out in a car and getting right in the middle of a raging tornado might be a trifle too risky:  "Why don't you do us all a favor and die in a fire?"   

And this was not the only vitriolic statement by any means.     I started reading these comments trying to figure out whether this stormchasing activity is worthwhile on balance.

I finished, not knowing how to feel about either stormchasing or a sizable segment of our fellow countrymen.