Thursday, December 28, 2006

I've been sick

I've been sick lately, so I haven't been able to blog.
I really feel like writing, but after 10 minutes of sitting here, I start to feel like crap.

So this is going to be short.

What is wrong with the Giants?

They play brilliantly, then they play like crap. This up and down aggravates me as I get my hopes built up, and then they crash down. I like to believe in next year, but with Tiki leaving, and Strahan requiring surgery, it sure doesn't look good.

At least I can spell J-E-T-S.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I just feel like bloggin today

Nothing in particular. No shows to review. I just feel like writing and ranting. Actually, it may be more whimpering.
The big Holiday time is upon us. I see everyone rushing out to buy crap, and it got me thinking back to Christmas's when I was a kid.
I grew up in what was basically a middle class neighborhood. One neighbor was a cop, another owned a small business, while another still worked in a factory. It was not quite a big city, but not suburbia either.
I remember all the kids had their fair share of toys and stuff. Some kids, of course, had what seemed like everything. But that was not the norm.
Today, it seems, kids have everything. I was thinking about some of the kids I know, both personally, and through my job. These kids have PS 1, 2 and are expecting (and will get) 3. They have Nintendo, and whatever gamimg systems I left out. Not only do they have every kind of toy and amusement, but each has duplicity of them. No, not a spare unit, but a seperate gaming system because, well, just because.
I grew up collecting baseball cards. I would save up money from my paper route, or from returning bottles, or whatever way little kids got money back in the day. I would go and buy 3 nickel packs at a time, because sales tax at that time didn't start until the sale hit .15. Today, if a kid wanted to engage in something as simple as collecting baseball cards, he or she would just go and buy a box, or a complete set.
It makes me wonder. Was the joy in the baseball cards, or in the act of collecting them? If I traded Mickey Mantle for Willie Mays (what am I saying, I'd never trade Mantle for Mays) ok, Jim Fergosi for Nolan Ryan, that was a part of childhood. Kids today almost never would trade, or at least not without consulting a guide. Flipping cards was also an act of gambling and bravado. Today, that would never happen.
We used to play with Hot Wheels cars. I guess kids today do also, but when I go to Wally World, or Target, I usually find adults searching for special cars like Treasure Hunts.
So here's my thoughts: did adults drive kids out of these toys, or did other toys just replace them? Given a choice between using imagination and a hot Wheels car, or a PS 3 version of a racing game, which would it be? Last week, I was at a train show, and someone had a race set hooked up. The old fashioned 1/32 scale race cars. The kids were lined up to have a chance. Would they have done the same for a video? I don't know.
I'm turning into a poor man's versionof Andy Rooney, here.
I'm done writing for now.
I'm going to tell everyone that I'm not buying any more crap for Christmas. I'm just going to give them a few dollars and donate money to help others.

Friday, December 01, 2006

My Guys

TBS is getting into new shows, ala FX and so many other cable networks. The newest show, My Guys, is on Tuesday nights and co-start Jim Gaffigan (the "Hot Pockets"guy) along with some others whose names I don't remember. That's not a big deal really, because I don't remember too many actor's names anyway. The star is some pretty cute blonde chick who is what could be called a tomboy, I guess. Her best female friend is a really cute girly -girl black chick. So far, so good. Her problem is that she has lots of male buddies, so it is difficult for her to have a relationship with a man. They all get so jealous of her relationship with all the other men in her life. OK, the premise is kind of hackneyed. But the supporting cast is pretty good. The star is cute.
I want this show to be good. I really, really want to like this show. I like Jim Gaffigan. I like cute blondes and cute black chicks. But the show is so poorly written that I did not get one good laugh out of the two episodes I watched. The Jim Gaffigan character is great, but he is a bit player at best. The one thing missing is the wacky character. There is no Kramer, no Arthur (from the King of Queens) no brother Robert, or any of the various wacky neighbors, relatives, or friends that seemed to make all the other sitcoms throughout the years work so well. I was kind of hoping it would be Jim Gaffigan, but his character is a laid back, extremely hen-pecked guy. Not quite enough for the laughs a good sitcom needs. I may give the show another chance or two, but that's only because I like the characters so much.
I am going to give this show a provisional rating of 4.5. If I watch a few more episodes and if gets somne tighter writing, and a wacky character or two, the show has 6 or 7 potential.

It's a new month, so here's a quick review of my ratings system:
10--a prime show. The Sopranos or 24 would rate a 10.
9-- definately worth watching. Think South Park or Seinfeld re-runs. Not as funny as the first time, but still great TV fare.
8-- Pretty darn good stuff. If you can't be home, you'd consider setting up the VCR. Some solid 8's would be Earl, or Everybody Hates Chris.
7-- Not quite good enough to tape. But you can look forward to watching. The Office is the first show that comes to mind as a 7.6--
Now we get into the shows that are ok, but only a first choice if other shows are re-runs.
6--You won't mind watching a 6 at a different time. Britcoms are 6's.
5-- Think of a movie you liked, but have seen a dozen times or more.
You'd choose the movie over the program, then the program is a 5. Mash and almost everything on TVLAND has become a 5.4--
4--Crappy show, but with some redeeming quality, like it features hot chicks.
Any show with Pam Anderson would be a 4.
3--Only worth watching if the only alternative is infommercials. Fishing shows are 3.2-- About the same as a good infommercial.
2--QVC is a 2.
1-- Infommercials, unless they are The Knife Collector Show. They sell swords!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Hot Stove Season Kicks Into Gear

Hot stove season, for anyone unfamiliar with the term, is the time of the year when baseball fans used to sit around the general store, or the kitchen, any place where there was source of heat, aka a "hot stove," and discuss trades, possible trades, awards, and just baseball stuff in general.
The season kicked into high gear yesterday when the Yankees traded Gary Sheffield to the Tigers for 3 prospects: Humberto Sanchez, Kevin Whelan and Anthony Claggett.

The latter are single A players, so who knows how they will turn out, but Sanchez is a hard throwing righty, with a chance to make the majors in 2007. He does have a history of injury, but he wouldn't fit in with any Yankees staff of the last few years if he didn't. If, and that may be the biggest word in sports, but if he does as well as he has shown throught his AA and AAA career, he may be a part of the Yankees bullpen in 2007. Couple that with their own top pitching prospect, Philip Hughes, and they may have a staff that more resembles a quality major league staff for the next few years. This is a welcome change from the Saturday afternoon beer keg squad that they have been fielding. Wang and a bunch of guys that used to be good is not enough of a pitching staff. Hughes, Sanchez, and TJ Beam (who showed promise last year,) along with a couple others, and we may be talking about the Yankees staff without laughing.

The other big hot stove news is Daisuke Matsuzaka. You have to know I C&P'ed that name. Anyway, according to rumors (called premature by them) the Boston Red Sox are in the thick of a bidding war to bring this terrific Japanese player to America. Now, this may be different from deals in the past. The team must bid for the right to negotiate with him. That's not his salary, just the money to go to his old team to try to make a deal with him. The bidding is reputed to be in the vicinity of $38 million dollars. Matsuzaka is 26 years old and represented by who else but Scott Boras. He will most likely sign a contract for $7 mil per year for 3 years. That is the Boras way, so that Matsuzaka will get a second chance at free agency in 3 years, at age 29. And make even more money. I have to wonder, though, if he is worth it. Amortizing the big negotiating money over 3 years means that he costs about $13 million without his salary. Add that in, and it comes out to around $20 million per year. That's a lot of Wendy's Frostys. Will he guarantee Boston a pennant? If so, that is a fair price. If not, that is a lot of money down the drain.

And Boss George has been strangely quiet throughout all this. Is it to keep the price down so he can swoop in at the end, or does he think this isn't such a good deal?

One more Yankees rumor, but as of today it is a long shot. Nomar is available. Yankees brass is interested. That would mean all 3 of the greatest shortstops of the 90's would be playing in one infield, two of them at a position other than short. Could be interesting.

The last bit of hot stove news.

Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano each won a Silver Slugger award.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Nobody Ever Died for Dear Old Rutgers

Last night was what some have called the most important game for Rutgers footbal since 1869 (which was the first game in college football history.)
In a stunning come frombehind win, Ruytgers, the Scarlet Knights, beat Loiusville 28-25 with a field goal with only seconds left in the game. Rutgers had missed the field goal, but a penalty gave the kicker another chance, and he booted it straight through the uprights. Depending on which poll, Rutgers had been ranked 13th or 15th, while Louisville was 3rd. This big win has suddenly turned the collegiate football world inside out.
Teams that were out are suddenly in, and whispers from coast to coast ask: "What about Rutgers?"
College football has some ridiculous method of choosing a national champion. Many times, if not most times, the champion is rather arbitrarily chosen. It is rare that one plays two, or any other combination to wind up with an actual winner. The teams are voted upon, and we all know how elections can sometimes turn out.
And this year, Rutgers is undefeated. Because they have not played enough nationally ranked teams, they will receive little to no consideration for a championship.
In the pros, we always have next year, but college players have an even more limited window than the pros. It is hard to build on a college team as so many graduate every year. This looks to be a very special Rutgers team, but barring a miracle collapse by every other top 10 team, they have no shot at a title.
And that is a shame.
It's time for college football to consider some sort of a championship playoff series. Not necessarily more games, but something where the top teams get into the top bowls. It may be too late for Rutgers this year, but at least set it up so tha the next "Cinderella Team" will have a shot at being America's best.

"Nobody Ever Died for Dear Old Rutgers"

Nobody ever died for dear old Rutgers,
Nobody ever had a life to give
When you're clipped by someone in the rear
You hear a mighty cheer,
But you're laid up for a year.
So nobody ever died for dear old Rutgers
Strangely enough they simply want to live
The alumni won't admit it's true, but
Nobody ever died for Rutgers U.

Rutgers, Rutgers, Rah, Rah, Rah, Rah, Rah, Rah, Rah, Rah

Nobody ever died for dear old Rutgers,
Giving away your life would be extreme
When the coach says smash the Princeton line,
His reasoning is fine,
But it's no good for your spine,
So nobody ever died for dear old Rutgers
But there's a lot of valor on the team
You can get a little black and blue, but
Nobody ever died for Rutgers U.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cookin' In Brooklyn

This is another one of those shows that only seems to show up on digital cable systems. I get it on one of the Discovery channels. It does not seem to be on any particular time, but whatever day it is on, it will be on maybe 6 times during that day. Alan Harding owns a few restaurants (did I have to tell you they are in Brooklyn?) and his show sometimes highlights a particular problem he may be having in one of the restaurants. The show has a catchy theme song, and I'm really a sucker for a good theme song. It's hard to think of any really bad show with a good theme song. Though My Mother The Car was a legendary awful show and had a decent theme song. Perhaps that is the exception that proves the rule. Or maybe I just like theme songs about cars. Or TV theme songs in general.
Nevertheless, Cookin' in Brooklyn is a very different type of cooking show. He does cook different recipes, but so far, I haven't seen many that I would ever make at home. He uses a wide variety of ingredients and often, they are things I wouldn't use. He put bacon and pork rinds in his chili!!! Oy vey!!!
The reason I like the show is that he doesn't just cook his recipes, he creates stories around every episode. For example, on the aforementioned chili recipe show, he was watching a football game with his friends. They provided the beer and he provided 4 quarters of food.
He celebrated Bastille Day (I'm not making this up) and had a BBQ with some lamb sausages. Often Alan will go out on the street and offer his creations to passersby.
The show is always interesting, and Alan has such a mild demeanor that it is an almost relaxing show to watch (as opposed to Iron Chef or Emeril--BAM!!)
And, that may be why I try to find the show, even when it is a repeat. The show is funny, and very interesting. It is as much a show as a cooking show. One episode may find Alan riding around in his old pickup truck (not a classic, just a beat up mid-late 90's white Ford) and then he'll be at the docks, then he'll be in his kitchen, all in the pursuit of the perfect fish dinner.
Or he'll organize a sandwich contest--I can't even explain that show, but it sure was entertaining. The show is always dependable for a laugh of two. And while I may not copy his recipes, they do make me think about food in a different way.
And it does have a kick-ass theme song.
I rate it a 6.8.
Here's a link with some of his recipes.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Borat: Cultural Learnings Movie

Ok, the official title of the movie is Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan . The title is too long for the page top.
The Crotchety Old Lady and I went to see the movie today. We went to the 11:35 a.m. showing. Believe it or not, the theater still had quite a few attendees. I would estimate it as being at least half full. I guess that is a fair crowd for a Sunday morning.
On to the film, a mocumentary of epic stature...
It reminded me of Airplane, a comedy with constant jokes. One after the next. Many of the scenes from the movie have already been shown both on TV and various internet sites, but I can assure you that the funniest scene from the movie, possibly the funniest scene from any movie ever, has not been shown yet. The Old lady laughed so hard that tears rolled down her cheeks. I feared that she was going to have a seizure as she apparently couldn't breathe. And she was not the only one. I have heard laughter in a theater before, but never quite like this. In fact, she told me afterwards that this one scene was worth the price of admission.
As far as the rest of the movie, the jokes came so fast and so often that I am sure I missed some. Rapid fire comedy at its best. Just be sure that you go to the restroom before the movie. If you get up during it, you may miss a few dozen really funny lines. And no way, you could ever ask someone, "What did I miss?" It would take too long, and you would miss another dozen laughs just trying to catch up.
I plan to see this movie again, it was that funny. And Pam Anderson had a nice role in it, so you know I am a huge fan already.
By the way, the movie is not family entertainment. It is rated "R" and deserves it. But it isn't a movie that gets its laughs from "blue" language. It uses comedic situations that transcend the one joke "guy from a foreign country who misunderstands English" humor that you often see in these movies. In fact, the funniest scenes would be funny even with different characters. The movie is so very well written. To paraphrase the words of Borat, "It has just enough Anti-semeticism."
It may even have you singing the Kazakhstan National Anthem as you leave the theater.

I rate it a solid 9.58.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I Pity the Fool

Mr. T is back on TV. I have to admit, I would watch anything with Mr. T on it. If it was a show with Mr. T just sitting on a stool and talking, I'm there. A cooking show where all he makes is cheeseburgers--I'm there. You can get the picture. I am a huge Mr. T fan. He is perhaps the funniest tough guy to ever get on TV. Whether he is telling someone to stop the jibber jabber (a Mr. T trademark expression) or running around calling everybody a fool, Mr. T is just the best.
In his new show on TVLand, Mr. T helps people with their problems. And he does it with his own inimitable Mr. T style. For example, in one episode, a car dealership is struggling, so they call in Mr. T to raise morale. He motivates the staff and even helps sell a couple cars himself. Nothing is funnier than Mr. T helping his customer negotiate with the dealership's sales manager.
Another episode featured Mr. T helping out a dance school. The parents and the dance school teacher/proprietor were at odds. He helped them all get on the same page for the benefit of the kids.
Each episode has a "warm fuzzy" factor of 10+. Mr. T is like a big old teddy bear. Listening to him speak, though, he either has fantastic writers, or he is a much more educated man than he has portrayed in the past. He quotes classic literature and philosophers equally well.
But the show does have some serious flaws. In the dance show, the kids welcomed him like he was a pop star. Since he has been more or less out of the spotlight for the last 20 years, it just seemed so contrived. Sure, Mr. T was a big star, but these kids had never seen him on TV except on TVLand repeats. And even then, the show is only on once a day during the week. I just don't believe these kids had any idea who he is. Maybe it's just the skeptic in me.
And, Mr. T does get a little corny as he actually participates in the dance recital. He organizes a car wash and goes out into the street to draw people into the car wash. He is pretty funny yelling at the cars as they go by.
I've seen 3 episodes, so far. Each one is as great as the next. Mr. T helps a real estate office in Brooklyn, a dance studio in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and a car dealership (I think it was in NYC.)
Overall, though, the show is great. It's hard to rate it due to my absolute nearly child-like admiration for Mr. T.
It is a very solid 8.6. The only reason it didn't rate higher is because it is on so many times (like all basic cable programming) and it is hard to look forward to it when I never really know when it is on. Or what episode is going to be repeated endlessly. Have I mentioned that I like Mr. T?

A quick review of my ratings system:
10--a prime show. The Sopranos or 24 would rate a 10.
9-- definately worth watching. Think South Park or Seinfeld re-runs. Not as funny as the first time, but still great TV fare.
8-- Pretty darn good stuff. If you can't be home, you'd consider setting up the VCR. Some solid 8's would be Earl, or Everybody Hates Chris.
7-- Not quite good enough to tape. But you can look forward to watching. The Office is the first show that comes to mind as a 7.
6-- Now we get into the shows that are ok, but only a first choice if other shows are re-runs. You won't mind watching a 6 at a different time. Britcoms are 6's.
5-- Think of a movie you liked, but have seen a dozen times or more. You'd choose the movie over the program, then the program is a 5. Mash and almost everything on TVLAND has become a 5.
4-- Crappy show, but with some redeeming quality, like it features hot chicks. Any show with Pam Anderson would be a 4.
3-- Only worth watching if the only alternative is infommercials. Fishing shows are 3.
2-- About the same as a good infommercial. QVC is a 2.
1-- Infommercials, unless they are The Knife Collector Show. They sell swords!

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Thank God It's Xanax!!!!!!!!!!

My better half, the Crotchety Old Lady is extra cranky in the morning, and lately, has been really cranky all day long.

She has been going through a lot of personal strife and she has been letting it get to her. (imagine living with me every day--and I'm one of the bright spots lol) So, after all these many days of sadness, she has gone to see her doctor. He believes that she is beginning to get depressed. And he prescribed Xanax for her.

What a change it has made in her life!!! No longer is she a cranky wench in the morning. She has actually smiled in the morning for the first time since I met her. She still has many issues to deal with on a daily basis, but at least she is able to cope with them. We both are against medication unless absolutely necessary, but we are pretty glad that she made this choice.

It has been suggested (by her and anyone who knows me) that I would benefit from some drug therapy, but for now, I'm going to resist.

I already have such a sunny disposition and optimistic outlook, why mess with it? I wish I had a font for sarcasm.

Putting my usual real world outlook of impending doom and suicidal tendencies aside, I do intend to look into this medication for myself. I guess I'm just afraid I'll turn into a grinning idiot instead of the somber idiot that I usually am.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Little People, Big World

This show is on TLC (The Learning Channel.) I'm not sure when it is on, but like most shows on cable, each episode is repeated endlessly. So, if you miss one, not to worry, it will be on 6 more times in the next month. The family featured in this reality show (yeah, I'm addicted to the genre) is the Roloffs. Dad, Matt, and Mom, Amy, are two little people who married and started a family. They have 4 kids. Three are average while one of the twins has the dwarfism gene. Each show features some of the challenges faced by little people (Matt also has a disability) but the best part is that it shows family interplay that has nothing to do with the size of their bodies. One recent double episode featured the family trip to Hawaii. Matt, who is driven to guide his kids to have the best possible childhood squeezed in a month's worth of fun and activity into a week or so. The family took a zip line trip, scuba dived, surfed and went shopping. I was exhausted just watching them. Matt had a very limited childhood due to his various illnesses and his physical limitations. He is trying to ensure that his kids have no such limitations. He also wants to be sure that they never miss an opportunity to try new things. The shows are very fun yet thought-provoking. I rate this show a very solid 6.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Gene Simmons Family Jewels

I've seen a bunch of episodes. Celebreality is not my favorite thing. I never tune in, it is usually the Crotchety Old Lady who turns on the channel. But, once it is on, I just can't turn away. I'm not sure whether it is the numerous beautiful women (especially Shannon Tweed, Gene's long-time lover and mother to his 2 kids) or the fact that Gene Simmons is funny. Not in the sense of a comic funny, but that he is just goofy. I meant that as a compliment. He's like a buddy you would like to hang out with. He is always up to something, and mixes in a lot of fun. Gene is involved with a million (at last count) business ventures. In a way, he is like Ralph Kramden, assuming Ralph was an 80's rock god.The episode I saw last featured Gene's newest venture--the launch of "Gene Simmons Bikini Car Wash." What's not to like? Beautiful women in bikinis washing cars. I want my own franchise. But I digress. The show is just plain entertaining. His two kids are absolutely wonderful. They are both well aware of the camera and love to make fun of their dad. Usually, you sense that they really do care about him. They know that Gene isn't the average dad.And Gene throws money around. One episode, he went to a spa with Shannon. It was a health based exercise, and not what he thought it was going to be. Almost no food, no TV, no fun, and he slept in a seperate room from Shannon. Naturally, he heavily bribed a staff member to bring him junk food and a TV from outside the compound.Of course, Shannon caught him, so some of the hi-jinks appear to be rather contrived.Gene's office is featured very prominently in many episodes. The office is in his palatial home and he has on display tons of Kiss items. While some of it is real memorabilia, most of it is Kiss Dolls, comics, and all the assorted crap licensed by Kiss. Gene's family is great, and the behind the scenes glance at this marketing maven is interesting (no one word will really do justice and convey the feeling) I'm going to rate this show a very solid 7.69.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Soup

This show on E has been the launching pad for stars. Greg Kinnear was the old host years ago when it was called "Talk Soup." Today it is hosted by Joel McHale and just called the Soup. The show is a wrap-up of all the goofy moments from shows on many different channels. The best (worst?) of reality shows in less than 5 minutes. All those hours and hours of daytime talk shows that no one can sit through? You get the best in about 3 minutes. It is 22 minutes of funny clips with some very short skits done by the show's writers.
I consider it can't miss TV.
I rate it very highly, a very solid 8.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Stupid Yankees

Less than 24 hours after the biggest sports debacle in recent Yankees history, I sit here and still try to figure out what happened.
I can understand them getting beaten. In a short series, anything can happen. Look at the red-hot Twins getting knocked out in 3 games. Never expected that. Who would have? Espcially considering the A's were pretty much off the radar all year long. Few, if any, even thought of them as a post season force. And the Cardinals, who were all but given up for dead just a few weeks ago, can clinch today. Pretty much unexpected.
But, never in a million years would I have predicted that the Yankees got beaten the way they did. They scored in just 3 innings in the last 27+. Damon hit a 3 run blast for all the offense against Kenny Rogers.
Kenny Rogers? The nearly washed-up old man, who hasn't beaten the Yankees since 1993.

Then they were shut out by a rookie.
And, the biggest humiliation of all was the final game., Another rookie shut them down. I saw the veteran team, the guys who were part of the greatest offense ever assembled, looking like an overmatched group of Sunday afternoon beer leaguers.
Maybe they could have taken a pitch? Just a thought.
Bonderman pitched a 7 pitch 1st inning. And he was into the 5th having thrown less than 50 pitches. May have been less than 40, even.
What the hell was up with this team? And Williams, Sheffield (twice, last I looked) struck out on pitches that were at least a foot out of the strike zone. Hell, Williams needed a friggin golf club to hit the one he struck out on. And Sheffield would have missed if he had a friggin tennis racket.

Should I shred my A-Rod Jersey, or just burn it? Or should I do both?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Antiques Roadshow

PBS is the little channel that could. In between the many beg-a-thons, some decent programming takes place. I'm a big fan of the Britcoms, particularly the older ones like Fawlty Towers. But they have to provide many hours of programming, so, this show comes on. The crew of expert antique appraisers show up in a town and every booger eating moron within hailing distance shows up with some stuff they have had in their attic since Truman was President. The appraisers then, well, give an appraisal. It is interesting to learn about all the stuff, but it just pisses me off at the reaction the people have.
For example, some yahoo shows up with some original artwork done by Grandma Moses. His family bought it many years ago from Grandma herself. Probably paid about 10 bucks. The appraiser gives an estimate of 5 or 6 figures and Goober is so surprised. What friggin rock was Goober living under so that he had no idea an original piece of artwork by a reknowned artist would be worth mega-bucks? And worse yet, why did he wait for Antiques Roadshow to arrive? If I had a major piece of artwork, I sure as hell would have at least been aware of its incredible value.
I'll have to give this show 2 seperate ratings.
It gets an 8 for educational purposes. But, for the incredibly dumb reactions from the yahoos, it gets a 5.
Overall, it would be a 6.5.

A quick review of my ratings system:
10--a prime show. The Sopranos or 24 would rate a 10.
9-- definately worth watching. Think South Park or Seinfeld re-runs. Not as funny as the first time, but still great TV fare.
8-- Pretty darn good stuff. If you can't be home, you'd consider setting up the VCR. Some solid 8's would be Earl, or Everybody Hates Chris.
7-- Not quite good enough to tape. But you can look forward to watching. The Office is the first show that comes to mind as a 7.
6-- Now we get into the shows that are ok, but only a first choice if other shows are re-runs. You won't mind watching a 6 at a different time. Britcoms are 6's.
5-- Think of a movie you liked, but have seen a dozen times or more. You'd choose the movie over the program, then the program is a 5. Mash and almost everything on TVLAND has become a 5.
4-- Crappy show, but with some redeeming quality, like it features hot chicks. Any show with Pam Anderson would be a 4.
3-- Only worth watching if the only alternative is infommercials. Fishing shows are 3.
2-- About the same as a good infommercial. QVC is a 2.
1-- Infommercials, unless they are The Knife Collector Show. They sell swords!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Deal or No Deal

I usually review shows NOT on major networks, but this show deserves a review. It is hosted by Howie Mandel, the germophobe. You won't see anyone hugging or kissing the host. He won't even shake hands with them. He does this knuckle-punch thing.
The show has a lot going for it. It features really big prize money. Each episode has a top prize of $1,000,000, and special ones have been as high as $6 million. No one has ever won that much, but they have had episodes where players won many hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Premise is very simple: 26 cases, each with a dollar amount from 1 penny up to a million bucks. Player chooses one case. Then, by opening the others, has to try to figure out how much is in their own. Along the way, the villian, "the banker" offers them money for their case. The amount he offers is based upon their odds of having a big prize amount.
For example, suppose at the end of the game, there are 2 cases left, the player's and one of the others. And every amount has been shown except the million and a dollar. The banker would offer maybe $500,000. (it's not always so cut and dried, but that is more or less how the odds are determined.)
The player has the option to either take the money or keep the case.
The game can get very exciting. I've seen players turn down huge, life changing amounts of cash to get zonked and wind up with almost nothing.
I've also seen the players at some point in the game sell their case, and get a huge return when the case only contained a few bucks. It's about 99.9997851% pure dumb luck.
And, of course, it features 26 really hot women dressed in classy formal attire.
It takes about 15 minutes to discover all the nuances of the game, and after that you realize that it is fun, nothing more. This ain't Jeopardy. It's not even a dumbed-down version of Wheel of Fortune. Any booger eating moron can become a millionaire. The skills can be learned in about 5 minutes or less.

I love this show.

I rate it a 9, just because it is so exciting and because Layla, case girl number 13, is a smoking hot honey.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Rooting for the bully

The Yankees won their 9th straight pennant last night, and as a Yankee fan, it is pretty much old hat. SSDD. But, I always hear and read from fans of other teams snarky comments about the payroll, etc. The Yankees do have an unfair advantage because they have the highest payroll, by far.
So, what is the answer? The Yankees have invested vast sums of money into the team. Boss George spends every penny he can to make the team better. I remember years ago, when he wanted to get Tommy John in pinstripes, he took John on a whirlwind tour of NYC that was not really done much before that. Today, it is standard procedure, but George was the first one to really "court" free agents like Reggie and Tommy John.
The first big free agent, Jim "Catfish" Hunter signed with the Yankees because George saw the advantages of free agency and took advantage of them. George understands that victories=money. You can walk into any city in America and find Yankees fans. The franchise is the most famous in the world, which means you can walk into almost any country and find Yankees fans buying Yankees hats, shirts, and everything else. I wonder how many Kansas City Royals hats were sold in Japan last year?
I'm not only rooting for the same team I've supported for many years, but I'm helping to share the American ideal whereby hard work and smart business pratices are rewarded.
Kind of makes you want to wave an American flag while wearing an A-Rod jersey, doesn't it?

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Day of Solemn Remembrance

September 11, 2001.

Much has been written about it. But no matter how much I read or watch, the pain never seems to dull.

On that day, a good friend of mine (A PA Cop) was in the Towers and tried to help others. If you see the most recent movie (I don't remember the name, because I won't go to see it) they mention my buddy's name (Jimmy) as one of the guys who was trapped and they were trying to get to him. They never did get to him in time. He was a highly decorated member of the Port Authority Police force and my daughter is a good friend of his son.

At my job (I'm a tutor) I had a brother and sister who lost their Dad in the attack. I didn't know them before the loss, but I met them afterwards. They were both perpetually sad, it seemed. They never expressed it openly, but I never saw them smile. Their dad wasn't one of the heroes, but instead was a victim. He was a guy trying to make a better life for his family. He was at a business card exchange when the planes hit. He was just going about his daily life, doing what he could to support his family.

I can't imagine how bad it must be for the kids and other family members who survived. Not only did they lose a loved one, but they are constantly reminded of it and today must be one of the worst days of the year. My buddy's kid is most likely going to be at some ceremony today, I'm sure. I hope this helps him heal in some way. I hope all the children and family members find peace.

Greg The Bunny

Greg the Bunny is a series of shorts that appear on IFC. There does not appear to be any set schedule, nor any set lenghth of the vignettes. Most are loosely based upon scenes from famous movies. The original show has a history ( that is available on DVD.
But before you sit down with the kids to watch a cute show with puppets, be forewarned: This ain't Jim Henson's Muppets.

In a recent episode, Greg, a puppet with a touch of autism (their description, not mine)wanted to get back together with his friends from their old show. They are going to do a Greg the Bunny reunion special. Greg and his best bud, a Gorilla puppet named Warren, head to Vegas to meet up with Count Blah. Blah is similar to the Count from Sesame Street, but in the context of the show, he is the Count's bitter rival. Blah now works in a lounge act in Vegas.

When they get to Vegas, Warren starts to gamble (yes he has some "problems") and smoke cigars and gets drunk at the blackjack table. He loses all their money. Greg then sits in and proceeds to win that back plus enough to make them rich. Greg is like Rain Man in that he is a mathematical genius when it comes to playing blackjack. With their big winnings, Warren convinces innocent Greg to hire some hookers. Warren accidently kills one of the hookers, and the show ends with Greg and Warren in prison in orange jumpsuits.

If your sense of humor is is warped enough to laugh at drunken, smoking, cursing, womanizing puppets, you'll love Greg the Bunny.

I rate it a very strong 9.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Tax relief services

I've been seeing commercials on TV offering tax relief for people who owe at least $10,000 or more to the IRS. I'm not a big fan of taxes, and I believe our tax structure is set up rather unfairly. But I'm not interested in that debate today.

Everyone should pay their fair share. I realize it's only a commercial, but one example shows a professional (appears to be a dentist) who owed $250,000 and settled for $60,000. He stated that he was glad that he didn't lose his practice. I realize that this example they gave was probably not the norm, but it must be a possibility that someone who owed that much money would try to settle.

Now, here's my point: how did he owe so much?

I could see someone owning $10,000. They made a miscalculation with a large inheritance, or some other such mess. It can happen. But here's where I have a problem. Why is it settled and forgiven? Shouldn't they also have a re-payment plan? You can't owe 10's of 1000's of dollars unless you made and most likely will continue to make, 10's of 1000's of dollars. A working schlub like myself doesn't get a chance to settle for less that what we owe. The government gets its cut up front, before I get my pay. It's taken out before I get the chance to screw up. So why are others given the chance, and not only forgiven for the mistake, but seemingly rewarded? Just a bit more of the inequity of our system. The wealthy get an opportunity to take advantage of the system while the guys in the middle continue to get slapped around.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

If you can't drive it, park it

It seems as if every day, I find another reason not to go out on the highways of my beloved state of NJ. I don't expect everyone to have the driving abilities of professional NASCAR driver. But, when I am behind a car and the lane has a green arrow pointing the way the driver in front wants to go, why, oh why, can't he or she GO? Is it the first time they have ever seen one of these arrows? Did they get their license within the last 15 minutes? Did they just arrive from Lithuania? How freakin' hard is it to turn on a green arrow?

OK, now I'm on a roll. I drive the speed limit. I don't need an SUV driven by someone who can barely see over the freakin' steering wheel to be up my ass. What is up with that?

Mom and a 3 year-old need a friggin' assault vehicle to pick up the dry cleaning and a Happy Meal? What are they expecting to encounter on the highway-- the Iraqi equivalent of the 81st Airborne? The Terminator? Godzilla?
And I will bet dollars to donuts that Mom can't park the behemouth. I've been in parking lots and seen first hand Soccer Mom trying to turn a Suburban around and get it into a parking space. The USS Intrepid had fewer problems docking in its NYC port. And, on the off chance Soccer Mom is able to turn the beast around and head towards a parking space, does she understand that those white lines serve a purpose? They aren't to decorate the lot. The idea is to park between the lines. And not just any random combination of lines. Pick two and try to stay between them. I realize that this is asking a lot, but maybe even park evenly so that another car can fit into the space next to Soccer Mom without fear that when Soccer Mom returns, she will open the door of her assualt vehicle and scrape the crap out of the car next to her?

I'd also be really pleased if the jerks driving pickups with crap in the back like rocks and sand would at least make an attempt to cover the stuff so it doesn't blow all over the place while they drive mindlessly down the highway.

And I haven't even gotten into the jerks who drive along the shoulder or pass in nonexistant lanes. Just because you can squeeze through, that doesn't make it a 4 lane road. Get a friggin' clue.

I'm done. I feel better.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Toolbelt Diva

In the continuing series to help everyone become a better TV watcher, today I review Toolbelt Diva. This show is so much more than This Old House hosted by a hot chick. And the Diva herself is the best place to start. She reminds me of Fran Drescher, as she is good looking and has that New Yawk accent. But that is where the similarity ends. The Diva is either an ex-contractor, or she at least does a really great job impersonating one. She does appear to know her stuff.
The premise of the show is that the Diva shows up at someone's home and helps the homeowner do some sort of household repair. It may be a job like replacing the glass shower door (my favorite episode--more about that later) or putting in a new sidewalk.
The angle of the show is that the Diva guides the homeowner through the process. She demonstrates the technique, and the homeonwer then sweats right alongside the Diva. They do the teardown together, go to Home Depot, and then come back and do the repair/replacement. Along the way, the Diva may show what some tool does, or show some tip if you would like to try the home repair yourself. The Diva also itemizes the cost of the job. The show appears to be very informative.
But for those of us who can barely tell a screwdriver from a hammer, and have no desire to learn, the show is still pretty good. Most episodes feature attractive single women. In my favorite episode, the shower door one, a really well built blonde installs a shower glass door with the Diva's help. They both get sweaty, and for some reason, and believe me I'm not complaining, the busty blonde bounces in her tub.
This show is very hard to rate because the episodes are so inconsistent. The aforementioned shower door episode is a solid 8. But some other episodes could only be a 5.
So, if forced to come up with just one number, I'd have to rate this show a 6.7.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Meerkat Manor

In a continuing series to help you watch television, and expose everyone to shows not normally seen, it's Meerkat Manor on Animal Planet. The new episodes air on Friday at 8:00 p.m. but that is irrelevant. Most of the shows are the same.
As part of a university study (who funds these guys and why do they do it?) cameras were set up to do a long term study of meerkats. A meerkat, for those of the more Disneyfied, is the animal in The Lion King known as Timon. If the meerkats in the Manor were as entertaining as Timon, then the show would be infinitely more watchable. They are mostly assigned names of classical composers like Beethoven, but they basically all look and act the same. The show is pitched as a reality show with real meerkats, but it is boring beyond belief.
If you can catch an episode where the meerkats fight another group for dominance, then, my friend, you have seen the best of Meerkat Manor. The late Marlon Perkins would have turned it into one very interesting episode of Wild Kingdom. The less than brilliant programming geniuses at Animal Planet turned it into a series. One that is boring at best.

On my 1-10 scale, I give it a very charitable 3.

Maybe I should explain my rating scale.

10--a prime show. The Sopranos or 24 would rate a 10.
9-- definately worth watching. Think South Park or Seinfeld re-runs. Not as funny as the first time, but still great TV fare.
8-- Pretty darn good stuff. If you can't be home, you'd consider setting up the VCR. Some solid 8's would be Earl, or Everybody Hates Chris.
7-- Not quite good enough to tape. But you can look forward to watching. The Office is the first show that comes to mind as a 7.
6-- Now we get into the shows that are ok, but only a first choice if other shows are re-runs. You won't mind watching a 6 at a different time. Britcoms are 6's.
5-- Think of a movie you liked, but have seen a dozen times or more. You'd choose the movie over the program, then the program is a 5. Mash and almost everything on TVLAND has become a 5.
4-- Crappy show, but with some redeeming quality, like it features hot chicks. Any show with Pam Anderson would be a 4.
3-- Only worth watching if the only alternative is infommercials. Fishing shows are 3.
2-- About the same as a good infommercial. QVC is a 2.
1-- Infommercials, unless they are The Knife Collector Show. They sell swords!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Scandanavian Cooking

In my continuing mission to help alert others to the many fine TV shows not normally seen, I am reviewing Scandanavian Cooking. Now this show may actually be called New Scandanavian Cooking. But I am sure that there is no confusion as I doubt anyone ever watched Old Scandanavian Cooking.

But I digress. While there appear to be many hosts of the show, Tina Nordstrom is the best. She is a pretty blonde Swedish woman. Actually, she is more than pretty. She is downright HOT!
The recipes are only half the show.

When she is making a delicacy like (I swear I'm not making this up) smoked eel and eggs, Tina will go out eel fishing first. She'll catch a few eels with the other fisherman. For the sake of TV, she will then go to the smokehouse and get some smoked eels. It would take too long to smoke eels herself, but I am sure she is quite capable of doing that. I mean when she wanted some boar meat, she went out and hunted wild boar. This is a lady who is, to say the least, adventurous.

Then, for reasons only known to the show's producers and Ikea, Tina will build her prep area. If she needs a sink and countertop, she'll build it out of modular units. They fast forward ala Benny Hill and she quickly builds whatever structure she needs. She does her cooking outdoors. If it is winter (I think it is nearly always winter in Scandanavia) she will cook in the middle of a snowstorm and then eat her meal out there.
Part of the show is financed by Scandanavian travel and tourist bureaus, so they show a lot of the countryside. Apparently, the countryside is snow-covered most of the time. During its 15 minutes of summer, she does go out and have a picnic, or something summery to enjoy the Scandanavian summer. But these episodes are rare, as summer is so short in whatever the hell country she is visiting.
She uses ingredients that are nearly impossible to find outside of Scandanavia (where can one find lingonberries and clownberries?) and doesn't give any alternatives. So, if you want to try these recipes at home, good luck. The meals also run heavy towards fish as this appears to be the principle ingredients of every Scandanavian dish, even desserts. They also love dried cod. She must have 50 recipes for dried cod. Occasionally, she will use meat, but even then it is bizarre. One dish used reindeer or something like that. Like I'm going to find that at Stop and Shop.
I do recommend the show. Not for the recipes, but because the countryside is beautiful, and Tina is quite the show hostess.

I give it a 7.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

King of Cars

I spend approximately 90% of my waking hours watching TV.

I'm watching it now. I have it on as I fall asleep at night, and flip it on first thing in the morning.

Do you know what's on the i network at 3:00 a.m.?

I do.

You probably didn't even know that there is an i network.

Due to my tremendous expertise as a TV watcher, I am doing a major public service. In addition to my political rantings and offering insights into Yankees baseball, I will provide reviews on TV shows. I especially like the shows that almost no one knows are on. The cable channels. Not the good channels like Comedy Central and Food Network, but the ones like A&E, Bravo, and W, and Crt.

My first review is for the King of Cars.

This show is on A&E on various days and nights. I usually watch it on Tuesday nights at 10:00 p.m. EST. That's the double episode night. Twice the cars. Twice the fun.
The show is a little hard to understand. It is even harder to understand why I like it.
The show starts with a kickass theme song. Kind of like a Rap style, with some really good old style MTV video. Think Sharp Dressed Man video combined with Buster Rhymes lyrics.

"They dooz it large" is one of the themes of the show. It takes place at a Dodge dealership in Vegas. This is the largest Dodge dealer in the world. The dealership owner is Chopper or Chop. A stout gentleman who "chops" car prices to make the deal. The dealership uses various promotions to bring in the customers, but the highlight is an infommercial they broadcast on local TV. Many of the salesmen play characters in the infommercial such as the "Blue Genie," or Bob the Builder. But this has little to do with the show. The show is about the daily lives of a car dealership, I think. It's really hard to tell what the hell it's about. One episode may be helping get the "Blue Genie" a girlfriend. The next may be about laying off some salesguys because business is slow. They have dunk tanks, gongs, and who knows what else. It is definately entertaining, but I'll be damned if I know why. It must just be because Chop is a dynamic guy. He doesn't get a lot of air time, but when he is on, I can't wait to see what he will do next. He is one very creative dude. On a scale of 1-10, I give it a solid 8.

By the way, the Knife Collectors Show is on i at 3:00 a.m.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sports Talk-Yankees win again

It does all come down to money, mostly. The highest spending teams are in playoff contention, but it is not a steadfast rule of thumb.
The Cubs have the 5th highest payroll, and have one of the worst records.
The Diamondbacks are one of the lowest spending teams, and they are right in the mix.
As usual, it comes down to...
preparation, and a hell of a lot of luck.
A high payroll can cover up mistakes, but bad luck- injuries, accidents and such, will wreak havoc with any team.

A good farm system can mean more than mega bucks, also.

Look at Oakland. They are competing because they get good young players, who usually make much less than the veterans teams like the Yankees field. The last great Yankees run, from 1996 through 2000-4 Championships in 5 years had a core group of home grown talent.

Melky Cabrera may be the beginning of another talent explosion in the Bronx.
Hughes is at AA, and nearly ready to come up.

Yankees may be getting ready to go on another run.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Men want to have fun, and women want to walk that fun into the woods and shoot it.

I just heard this quote again from a new show on Fox with Brad Garrett, and it still makes me laugh. The show may wind up being funny.

Ok, Cablevision-I got the message

I have been a Cablevision customer for many years. It's not like I have a lot of choices-it's either cable or a dish. Cable has to advertise to keep up their advantage. Ok. It sucks that they advertise on cable channels (which means I already have cable) because I am paying for the channel already, and I don't need to be reminded that I'm paying for them to advertise to me.
What really bugs me is that cable commercials are possibly the dumbest commercials ever made.
Years ago, they had a Dennis Miller wannabe yelling at his mother. And he yelled at some garden gnomes. The executives at Cablevision called them "edgy."

I know because I was there.

I called them f'ing moronic, which partially explains why I no longer work at Cablevision.

The current one features some old guy sitting in his yard. He laughs as he tells about his neighbor who spent 50 grand to fix up house and then put on a satellite dish. His comment is "It looks like a space station!"

A 12" dish makes a rather large suburban house look like a space station?

What planet has the copy writer been living on? Has the writer ever seen a dish, or for that matter a space station?

I realize he's attempting to use hyperbole, but it's past that and just become really incredibly stupid.

I wonder if anyone has made a decision to try or to keep cable based upon these idiotic commercials? If so, I would love to know who these people are.

I have a load of useless crap I'd like to sell to them.

You want to keep me happy as a customer? How about lowering your rates, or at least offer me something besides 112 infomercials on off hours and weekends.

"Little Giant" isn't a friggin' show, dammit.

Friday, August 11, 2006

40 Million Dollar Slaves

The book Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete by William C. Rhoden has certainly received some press lately.
Mr. Rhoden was interviewed on Colbert Report among other places.
He makes a case that today's black athlete, while compensated quite generously for his efforts, is just as a slave because the black community does not own the teams who hire the players. I plan to read the book because his comments appear to be so ludicous that I want to know more. I just can't comprehend how someone who makes millions could possibly be considered a slave on any level. Isn't nearly everyone a slave to his employer?
Whether my boss is black, white, or green, I have little to no input in business decisions. I get nothing extra for going above and beyond when I work. My pay is not need based, but simply the amount that it will take to keep me employed. They know fully well that I am only a small cog in a big wheel. If I leave, I will be replaced. I may be missed by some for a short time, but business will proceed as usual.
And I will work until either I am able to save enough money that I can live out my days (highly unlikely at this point in time) or until I collapse at the plow.
If that isn't the modern day description of a slave, what is?

He's back


Evander Holyfield, that's who.

At the age of 43, he is back in the ring. Evander, former heavyweight champ has a fight later this month, and he has his sights set on the title.

I doubt he needs the cash. So why would a 43 year old man willingly get beaten up? I'm sure he believes that he still has the skills so that he doesn't get hurt too badly.

All I can assume is that he is going through some sort of mid-life crisis. At 43 he is relatively young, and probably is bored.

If it were me, I'd develop some other interests. Life is just full of options. Why just keep pursuing the same one? It's not like he never achieved his dream. He was the champion of the world. And he held the title for a while.

This is truly puzzling. I'm sure he will be releasing some incredibly lame excuse for getting back into the squared circle.

My top choices for the lame excuse Evander will use:
1. The division needs a great champion. I saw no one else was around.
2. I'm still in great shape.
3. I missed the competition.
4. I wanted to prove that I still have the skills
5. yadda, yadda, yadda.

It's funny how some athletes know when to hang 'em up, and others just hang on until we just can't take them anymore.

I know my respect for Holyfield as an athlete will not change based upon how he does at age 43. I highly doubt that he can ever achieve the greatness that he once exhibited. At best, he can only be a shadow of himself. Even George Foreman, the most well known of these comeback athletes, was not nearly the boxer he was in the old days. The "new" George is fun, but the old one was one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of boxing gloves.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Winning Ugly

Randy Johnson and the Yankees were on their way to a laugher, and then all hell broke loose.

They barely squeaked out a 7-6 win.

But I'll take it. A win is a win.

And I'd rather win an ugly one than lose a beautiful game.

You're welcome, Bosux fans.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What are they doing in them?

I saw on the news yesterday that 24,000 kids per year are injured in shopping carts.

24,000? What in hell are the kids doing?

I mean, put the kid in the little seat part, put the potato chips and canned tuna in the other, and push the cart to the checkout.

It seems pretty simple to me.

Shopping carts have to be redesigned because we need to cater to the lowest common denominator, I guess.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

What happened to big business?

Big business is no longer in touch with the average American. Many years ago, Henry Ford believed that the most important person was the working man. His car had to be cheap enough that every person who worked could afford one. And, he paid his employees enough that they would be able to afford his car, also. Before Henry, only the wealthy owned cars. To Henry, it was important that every working person participate in the Great American Experiment. I know in later years he did some questionable things and had some friends who were truly suspect, but in the early days, he had a better idea.
Big business has gotten away from that. It no longer considers the needs of its workers, those people who made it great. Instead it is beholden to stockholders who are only interested in the bottom line. Period. This is a foolish thinking. It is very shortsighted thinking also.
I know that America has become a service economy. And yet I put forth that this is not in our best long term interests. Production in America means jobs in many sectors. Construction. Direct manufacturing. And of course all the ancilliary jobs that go with them. It also keeps more money in our economy. Trade deficits are rarely beneficial.
Whether they are businesses related to the workers such as delis and the like, goods made here do provide decent jobs. And I know that this is overlooked, but some of the people who would get work in a factory may not be suited for other jobs in a service economy. Not everyone has the desire to get a college degree. Not everyone can, or wants to be a salesperson or truck driver. Believe it or not, some people enjoy working with their hands and get satisfaction from being part of a team that produces a product.
Big business has become so profit driven that they have forgotten the common man. And the common man is the one who buys the product. As jobs disappear, so goes the opportunity for the common man to purchase products.
By outsourcing manufacturing, big business can increase profits, but in the long run, they may be destroying the basis that made them successful.

Talk about out of touch

Nothing shows the absolute contempt that big business has for the avwerage American than the way Con Ed handled the recent blackout in the borough of Queens, NYC.
In the middle of one gawdawful heat wave, the people (anywhere from a few thousand to 100,000 or more depending on whose estimate you use) were without electricity for 10 days. Some may have been out even longer as blackouts continue but on a much more limited basis.
Con Ed has decided that up to $500 will go to people who put in claims for lost food that was in storage. Businesses will get $7000. How they came up with these amounts, I have no idea. I'm sure that it will cover the real losses of food that most people had. If they had more, well, I guess Con Ed's attitude is "Tough Shit."
So far, so good. At least they have made an attempt to recognize that people had real losses, and the amount is at least a start. The flower shop, deli, luncheonette or whatever can at least have some cash to get going. If the losses were greater, I'm sure that down the road some legal action or insurance may get them their fair amount of compensation.
But here is where the contempt kicks in.
Con Ed announced that they will compensate the good people of Queens for their pain and suffering. For 10 days without electricity during one nasty heat wave, Con Ed will give every customer.....

3 dollars.

Three ($3.00, 3, tres, tre, III) American dollars.

That's no typo.

I'm not saying that any amount of money is appropriate to cover the pain and suffering of those families. And I'm not saying that they should receive anything. But 3 bucks is more than a slap in the face. It's the knee in the groin of compensation awards.

How out of touch with reality do the execs at Con Ed have to be to think that $3.00 is going to make anyone happy? Sure, maybe the guy panhandling on the corner may like to get 3 bucks, but a regular working person with a family?

That sums up much of what is wrong with America today.

More to follow in another rant.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Where have the Conservatives Gone?

I have noticed recently a large group of individuals who refer to themselves as "Conservatives." I find this very disturbing because they are anything but.
Neo-Con seems to be the term that is hung on them, and to be honest, I'm not very happy with that moniker either.
To me, a Conservative is one who believes in many of the traditional values as set forth in the Constitution. These values would be:
1. Respect for the law.
2. Respect for your fellow man.
3. A responsible government, particularly in fiscal matters.
4. An informed electorate that participates in the process.

I don't see any of this from the Neo-Cons. I see spending like a drunken liberal on a major bender. Our next generation will be hit with a debt that will absolutely strangle them. I see laws bent to fit the occasion. Lies and more lies. Big business running rampant. And I see citizens who do not even bother to get their sorry asses to the polls once every 4 years. Mid-term elections get even less participation.
And before anyone blames a Republican or a Democrat for this mess, go look in a mirror. Do you vote?
If you don't even bother to read about the candidates before an election, that doesn't count. If you are blindly pulling a lever because your Daddy always used to pull that same lever, then you are part of the problem.
When an incumbent has an almost certain chance of re-election based upon little more than that he is already in office-then the fault is the voter who allows a politician to turn a service into a career.
And yes, an elected official is a public servant. That is, they provide a service.

When was the last time you held the person in office accountable?

Get involved. Don't let any of these radicals from the far right or the far left turn our country into a cesspool.
Read a book. Subscribe to the Sunday paper and read more than the sports and comics. Go to an online news source.
Watch BBC news on TV, not infotainment as presented by Fox and CNN.
We need real consrvatives, people who love this country to put a stop to the Neo-Cons and the Ultra-Liberals.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

That's why they make minimum wage.

Once again, raising the minimum wage is being discussed.

I think it is high enough.

Here's my reasoning:

All my friends, just about, started working at minimum wage, or at the least, an amount that was very small.
What did they do?

Every one did something different.

Some furthered their education by going to college. Others worked hard and moved up in the company. And still others, improved their skills and sought another company that would compensate them more equitably.

Not one remained stagnant and waited for the minimum wage to be raised.

So, why is that the apparent method in favor today?

I worked with a woman who made a little more than minimum wage. The company offers college reimbursement, and a chance to move up in the company. A degree pays about double what she makes.

In the 10 years that she has been in the company, she has done nothing to improve her skills. And she expects a raise when minimum wage goes up.

Does anyone realize that is not the way it works? Sure, my grandfather had a chance to work for one company and maybe get a raise just by being there, but that business style is out of fashion.

Why don't the minimum wage bleeding hearts wake up and live in the 21st century? Minimum wage is not enough, but it is not meant to be a lifelong goal. It is a step along the way.

Today, I went to the MickeyD's drive thru.

I ordered an iced coffee with no sugar, a cheeseburger, and apple slices.

I got chicken, fries, and coffee with sugar.

And those employees are worth more than minimum wage? They are barely worth that.

Dog Days

It's hard to blog about anything but the weather.

The heat index is way over a hundred today.

My air conditioner is running full blast and this dump is still hot as Hades.

I'm blogging in my underwear, and it's still too hot here.

I really feel for the people in Queens who went without electric for a week and a half.

Quick baseball update.

Heard an interview with Sheffield today. He said all the right things. He may be back in a month or so. Look out the rest of the AL.

If he comes back on Sept 1, I predict the Yankees will run the table.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Baseball Gene

The preponderance of Jr.'s in the game today makes me wonder about whether the ability to play the game is inherent in one's genes.
Think of all the families such as the Boone's (3 generations totalling 4 players) the Griffey's, Bonds', Barfields', Fielders', Mathews' and who knows how many more.

It makes me wonder about the nature vs nurture question. Does the son of a major leaguer have an advantage due to his genes, or is it because Dad can pave the way by showing Jr. just what to do to make the majors?

Couple that with teams would probably look closer at the son of a star player than at some nobody.

But, by the same token, shouldn't there be a bunch of Mantles and DiMaggios running around?

What about Hank Aaron? Both he and his brother made it to the show, and neither had a kid (or grandkid) in the game.
Seems like somebody should be doing a thesis on this.

By the way, Yankees traded for Abreu and Lidle today.

Where in hell did that come from?

I had a good day. Took my honey to the movies to see Clerks 2 and she loved it. It was my second time, and I could watch it again. It is that funny.
I had a very nice dinner, and all is well with the world.
Then out of the blue, I get this overwhelming wave of, I don't know, incredible sadness. I had thoughts of suicide, and just felt hopeless and full of despair.
I have no idea where that came from.
So, I came on to blog about it. It seems to help when I blog about this, so I am.
I wish I knew where this crap came from, though. It isn't like it builds up, it just appears. Seems to linger for a few days, then it goes away.
I probably need drugs, but I won't take them, so no point in seeing a doctor.

I think I'll blog a little about baseball in a few minutes.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Last night I watched a new reality show on TV. Ok, I hate most reality TV. I do like the Amazing Race because it shows a lot of the world, including things few people would get to see otherwise. And, of course, Last Comic Standing is great because it is a lot of standup, which I like.
But American Idol, Survivor, So you think you can dance, and the untold scores of other shows-well, I don't care and I don't even tune in to see how much I hate them.
Last night, Stan "The Man" Lee, launched his show, "So You Want to Be a Superhero!"
I tuned in because it looked to be so crazy, I thought I might like it.
I loved it. It is insane. Ok, the show isn't insane, but the people on it are.

And Stan Lee is still so 1950's corny that it works. I can't explain it. Even the Mrs. loved the show, which is unusual for her to like anything. She's the "Mikey" of TV viewers. How was that for a corny 70's reference?

Anyway, these goofy dozen people have become Superheroes with their own home-made costumes. They have "superpowers" and the winner will star in a movie and their own comic book. They have a "lair" which is in an old warehouse. The show only goes for another 5 weeks, so I'm guessing that they will eliminate 2 per week.

And the characters are pretty lame. A fat, black woman who eats donuts to get her power (I forgot what it was) and Monkey Girl who is kind of hot. She throws bananas at people, I think.

Some other hot chicks and a couple guys who the Mrs. really liked. She said they were good looking, and I have to go with her instincts as I can't tell. That's a story for another blog entry, though.

Anyway, the bottom line is that the show is pretty good. Corny enough to make you wince, but the cast is weird enough to keep you entertained.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

A diverse diversity

I was watching Fox News this morning. I know, it's more like infotainment, but I do like Jodi Applegate and Lucy Noland. So, if I'm getting bits of slanted news, I'd rather get it from really good looking women. That's how I roll.
Anyway, they interviewed a local politician concerning a crime in the community. Apparently, some fake blood was thrown on a building flying an Israeli flag, and a note was left nearby saying it was represenattive of the innocent Lebanese blood being shed. Ok, decent story so far. But then they got the local councilwoman to comment. She obviously had prepared for thids moment on TV. Her statement was that this "was a community of diverse diversity."

She actually thought about it, and that was her statement?

Just out of curiosity, is there any other kind of diversity?

I always had hoped that a community leader was one of the most intelligent people in the community. I truly hope that this particular woman is not one of the most intelligent in her community.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Movie review: Clerks 2

If you are a fan of Kevin Smith movies like Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Dogma, you will absofreakinlutely love this movie.

If not, give it a try anyway.

The movie can be rather ribald at tims, but it is also so funny you may just pee in your pants. I'm sure at times, I let a little bit out.

Jay and Silent Bob, as usual, have a huge role in the movie.

Kevin Smith intersperses some silly dance numbers that are hysterical. And for those unfortunate enough not to live in New Jersey, you do get to see a tiny portion of our state.

Lastly, don't worry if you didn't see Clerks. It isn't a story line that is dependent upon the characters that have been developed. Of course, Jay and Silent Bob are a little bit more enjoyable if you know their characters from past flicks.

The movie is rated R, and mostly it is for language. Not just that the "f" word is liberally sprinkled, but some concepts, such as a "donkey show" are definately not appropriate for younger viewers.

Monday, July 24, 2006

State Police Issues

I read in yesterday's Star Ledger that the NJ Stae Police have made a great effort to make the force more diversified. The problem they have had is that the African American recruits can't pass the written test, the women can't pass the physical, and the Latinos can't pass the background checks.
Now this makes me wonder about a few things.

First, are the tests biased? If so, how?

Second, whom of these minorities are we recruiting? Is it an open call? If so, then maybe we should target African American college graduates, or create a system where top high school kids can get a State Police scholarship.

I hope that the test is never skewed to make it easier for minorities. I want the best and the brightest, not the pretty good, in our State Police force.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

What exactly is a sport, anyway?

ESPN used to be a pretty good channel. It showed alternate baseball teams, so I could watch other games when the Yankees or Mets weren't on. Of course, TBS also showed other teams, but, you get the idea. They also showed football games after enjoying the Giants or suffering with the Jets. Stiil, it was all good.
So many sports like soccer, they needed ESPN2. A slight drop in what I liked to watch, but it was still all good. I like watching the extreme stuff once in a while. Then they started showing classic clips. Gradually, it became classic games. Then they launched a classic sports channel. Ok, now it is becoming a little more difficult to find interesting things to watch. I don't like basketball, auto racing, or soccer. I don't like watching classic games, though I will watch a classic boxing match. Once in a while, bowling is on. I can almost call bowling a sport. But I do sometimes question how someone can be an atlete competing in a sport while smoking and drinking beer.
Now, fast forward to today. What was on ESPN? The Soapbox Derby. It was on for 2 hours. I watched 5 minutes, and I got my fill of Soapbox racing. 5 Minutes was enough to last me the rest of my life. Who the hell watched it for 2 hours?
Coming up is some Poker showdown. Ok, when the hell did poker become a sport?
I guess is was the same time the dominoes championship that was on the other day was declared a sport. The next big thing on ESPN is darts.
Ok, a sport that is also accompanied by smoking and beer. What the hell happened? How did this happen?
I'm waiting for "Sitting on My Ass and Watching TV" to attain the level of professional sports. Then I can add "Athlete" to my resume.

What is up with sports fans?

At this point in the season, A-Rod is struggling. And the fans are booing him unmercilessly.
I don't get that. A-Rod is trying. It's not like he's not hustling, and working his ass off. And yet the fans boo.
I don't get it at all.
I used to work at a job with a boss that was an asshole. No other way to put it. Anything that I did that was not perfect, was subject to intense criticism. It was difficult to perform in that environment. The job was stressful because of the boss. Rather than instilling confidence, she made me doubt myself.
To me, A-Rod is in the same situation. His job is playing baseball. He is trying hard to do his best. Anything short of a homerun, his best, seems to elicit boos from the Yankee faithful. That is stupid. Sure, if he fails to run out a ground ball, scream your head off, but anything else, he should be encouraged.
Think about the outcomes:
A Superstar, having a great year, in a 3 game series, will average one (1) home run in the series, maybe three (3) rbi's, two (2) other hits, and will strike out once or twice. Maybe walk once, and will make 8 other outs. A superstar, going really well, will fail at least 2 out of 3 times.
It just doesn't make sense to "boo" one of our guys. Absolutely nothing positive can come out of it.
It takes a special person to stand in front of 50,000 people and hit a 90 mile per hour ball with movement.
I can guarantee that few of the jerks booing in the stands could hit the ball off a tee with the pressure of TV and all those people screaming.
Why make it harder for our guy? Save your boos for the Red Sox.

Friday, July 21, 2006

I do like a good commercial

I'm not going to say that I like watching the same commercials for the umpteenth time, but I do appreciate some well made commercials. For example, I really like the Banker's Pen commercials for Wamu Bank. Yes, I hate banks and bankers as much as ever, but I like the commercials. They are usually funny, and a few are clever. Super Bowl time does produce some really incredible ones, also. Again, the best ones are unique and as long as they don't get repeated over and over, I accept them as a necessary and sometimes entertaining evil.
On the radio, I absolutely get a kick out of the Budweiser "Real Men of Genius" spots. Again, they can be very humorous "We salute you Mr. giant toilet paper roll inventor," or "Mr. Taco Salad Inventor."
But I need to know who ever came up with the campaign for OnStar on the radio? What the hell is up with those commercials? It's a frantic mother, screaming that her child is locked in the car and the Mom reacts as if the kid was being consumed by a giant squid. I mean, cut me a break, lady. The car has glass windows, so she can see the kid, and if absolutely necessary break the windows to rescue the kid. Ok, I suppose if she doesn't do anything within a few hours, we could have a dangerous situation, but talk about over reactions. Oy vey.
And then you have the idiot in an accident. So your car crashed. Everybody is ok. Instead the person starts crying and carrying on. I don't want to buy OnStar, I want to slap the crap out of the people in the commercials. Is that the reaction OnStar wanted?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Hummer Commercial

The new Hummer commercial is absolutely laughable. The guy is in line, waiting to purchase some Tofu. The next guy in line is buying ribs and large hunks of red meat.
The guy in the commercial then goes out to buy a Hummer. The tagline is along the lines of "Increase your manliness."

Holy crap. What a bunch of BS. I guess it's kind of Freudian, "small" man compensates by buying a big truck.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

It's the beginning of the end for the Sox

The Yankees are just starting to hit their stride. While Godzilla and Sheff are recovering, Bubba and the newest outfielder of the week are filling in admirably.

They are tied in the loss column with the Sox, and with the Yankees superior pitching, they should take the lead within a few weeks, at most.

Yankees will win by 3, unless the Sox collapse will be even worse than I expect.

This will be the year of a Subway Series, and the Yankees will humiliate the Mets in 5 games.

Anybody heading towards Vegas can put money on that today.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I need a job soon

It's looking like I'll have a job for September, I just wish someone would make up their mind soon and offer me a position. It gets frustrating waiting.
But I am going to a party tomorrow. That's a good thing.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A 27th World championship comes to the Bronx

I am absolutely positive that the Yankees will win it all this year. Here's how it will all unfold in the last part of the season:
The Yankees have to make up a three game deficit. No problem. They have 11 games left with the Sox, piece of cake. Just have to win 6 of those. That puts us 2 games out. Somewhere along the way, the Sox are due for a losing streak of a few games and the Yankees are long overdue for a big winning streak. So, the Yankees win the pennant (again.) This Yankees team is just built for the playoffs. They have three strong starters-Randy (My Last Hurrah) Johnson, Mike Mussina, and my favorite "The Wanger." The bullpen will be straightened out by playoff time, Dotal will be back and then the real Mr. October, Derek Jeter, will be hitting his stride. A-Rod will look like the MVP that he is, while Sheff and Godzilla will be smashing the ball like usual.

Get ready for the parade in the Canyon of Heroes.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Yesterday we went to a festival in New Jersey.
We have a bunch of them throughout the summer. But this one was different.
It featured a BBQ contest and music (mostly blues) and it was free (except for the food, of course.) The 2005 festival was featured on the Food Network.
But the surprising part is that it was in Asbury Park. Asbury Park has become a dump, and they are trying to bring it back. The festival is a few blocks away from the shell of what was once a great seashore amusement area. The famous merry go round building is still there, but ready to be torn down. The area looks more like Baghdad than New Jersey, but it is a start.
They are turning to music to save it.
This is not surprising considering the music heritage of the town. This is the home of the Stone Pony one of the legendary music venues in the world. And Bruce immortalized it with his first album "Greetings from Asbury Park." Believe me, it doesn't look like the album cover any more.
The bottom line, though , is this: we had a great time in Asbury Park, and have already bookmarked the website so we don't miss it next

Friday, June 30, 2006

Holy crap. The year is half over. And I haven't done anything yet this year. So what's worse: to realize that you are wasting your life, or to waste your life and not know it?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Could the Yankees have any more injuries? They have lost their left fielder, and their right fielder. Damon, in center, is playing hurt and could use a few games off. Various members of the bullpen have missed games. And Pavano hasn't pitched in two years. Now, Cano is hurt. And the friggin' Sox just keep on winning. Bernie Williams was supposed to be a back up outfielder. Around just to give a rest to the other guys. Now, he's a regular. They just have to stay close enough, then when everyone is back, spank the Sox.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

More dumb news

KFC, whose full name is Kentucky FRIED Chicken is being sued over their use of partially hydrogenated oil in frying their chicken. This is a very unhealthy way to prepare foods. Really? Which idiot just found out that fried foods are bad for one's health? What rock had they been living under? I would love to know which morons have been eating KFC chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy under the assumption that they were putting something healthy in their bodies. Will it never end? This is about as frivolous a lawsuit as I have ever seen.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Hate crimes and other dumb laws

In the local news is some crap about hate crimes.This is possibly the dumbest legislation that we have ever had thrust upon us.Basically, if one beats the crap out of another person, it is assault. But if one is beaten up because of either sexual orientation, color, nationality...whatever, then it becomes a different type of crime. How dumb is that? Now, courts are tied up trying to prove whether a thug beat up a person because of bias or because the criminal is just a sociopath. What is the purpose of this law? Is the assaulted person in more or less pain? It is just a waste of resources. Punish the criminal. Period.Almost every law named for a person is also dumb. Look at Megan's Law. How stupid is that? If a sexual predator is released in my neighborhood, and he is likely to repeat the crime, I am notified. If he is likely to commit a crime against a child, then how about keeping him incarcerated? A person who would purposely hurt an innocent child is not a person deserving freedom. Most of these laws are the result of a knee jerk reaction to some crime that is in the spotlight. It is time to enforce the many laws we have, and not to create additional new laws.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Jersey Shore

I went to Atlantic City yesterday, and about a 5 minute walk from the casinos stands the AC Art Center or Gallery (I'm not sure of the name,) right next to the Historical Center. Both places were all but empty. The Mrs. and I walked around the Art Gallery yesterday for a while, and it was a nice break from donating our money to Harrah's. They had an exhibit with much of the artwork coming from local schools. It was pretty good work. Highly recommended if you visit the area. We ate at the Showboat's buffet. Not exactly 5 start dining. But it was dirt cheap (17 bucks for the 2 of us-we had a coupon) but the food was so damn bland. It is designed for old people, I guess. Heaven forbid they use some spice besides salt. I had some General Tso's chicken that tasted like breaded chicken covered with some sickeningly sweet sauce. I'm going to write a letter and complain about how mediocre the food is.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Get off my @ss!

When I'm driving, it doesn't matter where or how fast, someone is going to tailgate me. I could be going 25 (legal speed limit) on a city street or doing 70 on the GSP (speed limit 65) and I can guarantee that someone is right on my butt. Saturday morning at 7 a.m., and someone is right behind me. Doesn't anyone keep a safe distance any more? Also, it seems (ok, I'm paranoid) it is always an oversized SUV behind my little Scion. Talking about SUV's, a couple days ago, I was at Home Depot, and some woman was trying to get out of a parking space with her Suburban. Now, a Suburban is one big ol' SUV. And she could not get out of the spot in 5 minutes and numerous attempts. Naturally she wound up blocking the row, so no cars could pass. It was funny watching the cars all beeping at her. Maybe she should get a vehicle she can handle rather than a tank-like truck.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Immigration-oy vey

Why is it so hard to end the immigration situation? Because the powers that be (and no, that doesn't mean the Republicans or Democrats-it's all those bastages) do not want to end it. Could be any one of a dozen reasons, but here is how it could be solved quickly and easily. First, if a child is born here, he or she is not a citizen. That is an archaic law, and has outlived its usefulness. Second, if an employer has illegals, and he or she has not made a reasonable effort to ascertain that the employee(s) were legal, well, the employer should face jail time. Third, an illegal immigrant should be returned to their homeland, immediately. If they are found a second time, return them after a short stint at hard labor. If an immigrant comes back illegally a third time, lifetime incarceration at hard labor. I know it sounds harsh, but I am speaking about illegals. They have no right to come here. They do not operate within our law. That said, it should be easier for immigrants to enter this country legally. Requirements should include, first and foremost, the ability to read and speak English.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Your tax dollars at work?

Gas is around 3 bucks a gallon. NJ is so deep in debt that the sales tax is going to be raised. I can't walk into McDonald's and order a coffee without an interpretor. Young people are dying in Iraq. The list could go on and on. So, what is the NJ legislature debating today? They are deciding what is to be the official dirt of New Jersey. Today, they will probably designate downer soil as our official dirt. Now here is more than you ever wanted to know about Downer Soil:
Downer soil is formed in sandy coastal plains and characterized by a surface layer featuring dark grayish brown, loamy sand. It is often found in woodlands with oaks, hickory and pine trees. The truly sad part is that 20 other states have an official dirt, also. This is why we vote them into office, to do stupid stuff like this?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Remember me?

I live in your neighborhood. I yell at the kids who play ball in front of my house. I complain about the price of everything, and constantly remind everyone that gas used to cost 29 cents a gallon. And, back in my day, kids had respect. Today, my favorite thing to do is sit by the side of the road and yell at cars. They drive too fast, or their radios are too loud. With this internet thing, I can yell at a lot more people, and since most of them have cars, I'm killing two birds with one stone. I expect to do a lot of yelling, so check back in and see what I'm yelling about. Today, I'm just going to list all the things that piss me off. 101 people or things that piss me off (in no particular order) 1. Annoying kids 2.Administration 3.Aluminum foil 4.AOL 5.Al Franken 6.British people 7.Brittany Spears 8.Basketball 9.Bennies (it’s a Jersey thing) 10.Bob Grant 11.Cucumbers 12.CNN 13.Chickpeas 14.College Football 15.Cell phones 16.Cigarette smoke 17.Corporate culture 18.Country music 19.Cold weather 20.Car insurance 21.Crab legs 22.Computers 23.Democrats 24.Drive thru workers who screw up my order 25.Diet soda 26.Eels 27.Eminem 28.Enron 29.Exxon 30.Elbow macaroni 31.E-bay 32.Friends (TV show) 33. Freckles 34.French (the) 35.Frankfurters 36.German potato salad 37.Green ketchup 38.Geese 39.Green jell-o 40.GWB 41.Harry Potter 42.Halloween 43.Hummers (SUV) 44.Humidity 45.Hot weather 46.Iced tea 47.Irons 48.In-laws 49.Jam 50.Kennedys 51.Liberals 52.Liver and onions 53.Liars 54.Lima beans 55.McGreevey 56.Meetings 57.Mayonnaise 58.Michael Jackson 59.Mets (the) 60.My Honey 61.Michael Moore 62.Nuns 63.Opera 64.Onstar commercials 65.Online porn 66.Paulie Shore 67.People who won’t learn English 68.People who beep their horns too soon. 69.People who say catsup instead of ketchup 70.People who say “noodles” when they mean spaghetti 71.People who pay by credit card when the bill is less than $10.00 72.People who get by on their looks 73.People who will count the items listed 74.Pomegranates 75.Pea soup 76.Politicians 77.Quince 78.Republicans 79.Rush Limbaugh 80.Royalty 81.Rap 82.Radishes 83.Salmon 84.Screaming kids 85.Stupid people 86.Single ply toilet tissue 87.Snakes 88.Stray animals 89.Sand 90.SUV’s 91.Taxes 92.Tofu 93.Toll booths 94.Vaseline 95.Vanilla ice cream 96.Water chestnuts 97.Work 98.X-wives 99.Yellow cars 100. Zebras 101. Politicians.