Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Time to update our calendar

Our current calendar is based upon both the ancient Roman's of the first century and Pope Gregory's adjustments from the 1500's.
It's time to update it, making it more in line with our modern day life. A few good options are available.
My first is to make every month 30 days long. What do we do with the extra 5 or, during leap year, 6 extra days? Simple. We add them on to December. I constantly hear that the Holidays are wonderful, but they are so short. Well, now the week between Christmas and New Year's is 12 or 13 days. Plenty of time to see family, or for those who like to use the Holidays to get away, enough time to visit both sets of relatives. And for the traditionalist, that stupid 12 days of Christmas song can be completed during the actual Holiday season. No more of that embarassing situation when one shows up unexpectedely on January 3 with 10 lords a leaping. These extra days may confuse Dick Clark at first, but at this point in his life, I think he basically is confused every day. As long as Ryan Seacrest shows up on December 35th, New Year's Eve will be rocking on schedule.
My second option is to go totally modern, and have a metric calendar.
10 days in a week. Sure, that will seem a little odd at first, but we will be able to adjust. Back when Pope Gregory switched over to the new calendar in the late 16th century, he just advanced the calendar forward almost 2 weeks in one day. Nothing catastrophic happened. To have these metric calendars, I have to eliminate 2 months and alter a third. Not really that hard to do. First, I'll eliminate September. That month traditionally is annoying anyway. Kids hate it because it is back to school month. Adults hate it because it symbolizes the end of the lazy days of summer. So, September is gone. April only has one pseudo-holiday, April Fools Day. This kind of a stupid day anyway, so no worries that we are losing a tradition that anyone really likes. Plus, April Fools day pisses me off for personal reasons. And April is a messed up month anyway. It's usually not that warm, and in the Northeast, we can have a surprise snowstorm. April is out of here.
For our short 5 day month, I propose we keep February. February is cold and dreary, so it is perfect that it be a short month. And it is chock full of Holidays like Washington's and Lincoln's Birthdays, Groundhog's Day, and Valentine's Day. For all intents and purposes, everyone can take off the entire month of February.

We have to add a few days into the week, though.
Since everybody really likes Fridays, we should have 2 of them.
What to name the other two?
One could simply be named Personalday, and it is part of the 4 day weekend. We all love personal days. And who doesn't appreciate it when a personal day is part of a long weekend?
I propose we sell the naming rights to the other one. It could change every few years. This year, it may be Viagraday, next year it could be Geicoday.
So here is my proposed week: Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Wednesday, Thursday, Traditional Friday, Personalday, Saturday, Viagraday, Sunday.
It works for me.

Monday, February 26, 2007

24-- A TV Sherpa's eye view

Tonight is another big episode of 24. I don't usually examine non-cable TV, but I am just so jazzed about 24. I'm not sure what year (season, day?) it is on (maybe the 4th?) and it may seem old hat. Jack saves the world. Then Jack saves the world again, then, next season, Jack saves the world. What is he going to do this year? Early guess is that he is going to save the world somehow. And, every year he either gets killed, or comes close to it. He has fought terrorists, the Chinese government, drug runners, and even more terrorists funded by the Russian Communists. He has been attacked by various assassins and hit squads, yet Jack always manages to escape. I don't know how they do it, but the writers manage to keep the show exciting for me. Just when I think nothing new can happen, bam! a whole new direction opens up. Jack's family, his brother and father, are now part of the plot. And Jack opened up a fresh can of whoopass on his brother to get him to talk. Jack even killed one of his best friends during one episode. Jack can fly helicopters and planes, and he is skilled in every weapon along with the ability to disarm every bomb he has ever encountered. Ok, once he had a dirty bomb that he couldn't disarm, so he took it on a small plane and was willing to sacrifice himself by flying into an unpopulated area and exploding it so now one else got hurt. Jack has seen his wife killed, and any women who come into his life are quickly made into targets, so he is a loner.Jack has neither eaten nor gone to the bathroom in any 24 hour period! That is a man focused on his mission.When he calls the President, he gets right through. So far, 24 has assassinated one president and is preparing to off another. They have impeached and removed from office a third president. Intrigue and dirty dealing all around all the way up to the White House and beyond.
Jack has been an enemy of the state, a captive of the Chinese government, and a hero to us all.24 is one of my favorite shows of all time. It is exciting and unusually unpredicatable.I rate it 9.837

Sunday, February 25, 2007

World Championship Fishing Shows

I just typed what was probably the most fantastic blog entry ever. I fully expected it to result in a 3 book deal, an appearance on Letterman, and possibly an HBO movie. Unfortunately, I hit some stupid button on my computer, and it disappearred into wherever that stuff goes. Sort of the cyber ether, I guess. Instead of having the opportunity to read what would have been a truly classic blog post, an actual life-altering experience, I'm left with this claptrap for your perusal.
I will now don my garb as the TV Sherpa, and proceed:
Usually, fishing shows are pretty low rated with me. They are perfect for when I wake up early Sunday morning and the only other choices are either infommercials or preachers. I do like some preachers like Joel Osteen and pastor Ted. Most of the rest seem to be too phoney and always looking for cash. And infommercials? How many times do I need to learn about some ladder? I get it. I'm only 6 feet tall, can probably reach to about 8 feet, and sometimes I need to get to places higher than that. Do I need a half-hour show to explain the advantages of such a tool?
As stated previously, most fishing shows are basically dreck. In almost any other time slot, I would only view them during commercials while watching a much better show. But Sunday mornings, they are basically the only show in town. Today, however was the undisputed king of all fishing shows. It is the Citgo Bassmasters Tournament, or some such equally pompous title. I am really into this.

I have my favorite fisherman, Mike Iaconelli (Ike.) Ike is just a maniac, and yes, he is an Italian-American from Jersey. Extreme bass fishing seems to be an oxymoron, but Ike does kick it up to notches unknown in bass fishing. I've seen him screaming at fish, other fisherman, and just in general. I wasn't sure why, but they showed a clip of him jumping in the water after a fish. It's just Ike being Ike, I guess.
The weird part of me enjoying fishing shows is that I don't like fishing. I don't like fish or to eat fish. I don't like the outdoors. I don't like looking at guys butt cracks while they are fishing.
This must be one of the many things that make me the bizarre dude that I am.

I rate the Citgo Tournament 4.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Peeling Onions Part 4

In a continuing series of crap that comprises my inner most being, I thought I would write about why I am so angry. Yeah, I know nearly everything that has happened in my life has turned me into a bitter, middle-aged guy, but I thought I would explore it a little deeper today.
I was looking at a picture of me as a kid. I was maybe 4 in the photo, and I had a look that sort of was happy and hopeful.

What the hell happened?

Was there one event that turned me from a happy kid, looking to a future filled with promise into a cranky coot just hanging around and waiting to die? I did have the one bad summer as previously described, but it takes more than one bad summer to create a train wreck of a life.
No, it wasn't one event, but instead it was a series of things that turned me into the mess that is banging away on the keyboard today. I know that self-esteem is one of the buzzwords when one talks of raising children. It seems that so many parents go the other way. Johnny poops, and it becomes just short of a Mardi Gras festival.
I sure didn't grow up in this environment. Looking back on it, it appears that I disappointed my parents on a regular basis. At least that is the way they acted. If I took a test and got a 99, well, why didn't I work a bit harder and get that 100? If my report card was 6 A's and a B, well, what the hell happened? Your cousin got all A's.
When I graduated from grammar school, I was 2nd in the class of about 30. No too shabby. WRONG. I was told that I embarassed the family. How could I do such a thing. As I type this, it hurts again. Thinking about it, I should have come to the realization that my parents were jerks at times, and this was one of those times.
Instead, I did something different. In my young mind, I made a decision. I wasn't even going to try any more. I was going to do just enough to get by. Since I went to a private school that was very highly rated, and very competitive, I was going to aim for a B. It was second best, and good enough. I knew that most likely, I couldn't be first (250 or so guys in my class) so I decided, hell with it. I would do enough to make it look like I was trying, but not so much that I would aim for the top and fail. Everybody accepted that I was just so-so, I got my B's and all was well. I didn't really have to work hard to get the B's so that was fine with me, too. No hard work, and no parental guilt. A win-win situation all around.
This is kind of funny. I was not one of the top students, and we all took the SAT's. The teacher went around the room and everyone said their score. I was in the slacker group, but I killed on the SAT test. It was around 1200 total (back then, this was definately in the elite catagory.)
One of the guys in my class got so pissed. He said that I was lying, because there was no way I scored higher than him. I told him I guess I was just smarter than him. He didn't like that at all. But it did make me laugh. The guy started getting angry, so the teacher made me show him my test scores (even he didn't believe it.)
Anyway, most of the guys were going to take it again, so I did too. They got even more pissed because while nearly everyone's scores went up, mine went up even more. I thought the guy's head was going to explode, then. His final words to me were along the lines that I must be a good guesser because I was obviously his intellectual inferior. Or did he say I was a friggin moron? I don't remember exactly.
Back to the slacker period in my life. Because I was so afraid of failure (failure being anything but the best) it made me not try. I was a perfectionist. This is kind of funny, but I have since learned that perfectionists are among the least perfect people. Rather than fail (that is, not be perfect) we don't even try. When I do something, it is usually perfect (at least in my demented mind) or I don't do it at all. Talk about a crippling feeling. This is worse than any of the crippling diseases I have since been afflicted with. In fact, looking back on the diseases, most are lifestyle ones. And because I couldn't eat or exercise perfectly, I didn't do it. Good enough just was not an option.
I'm so beat from writing this, that for today, I'll settle for "good enough."

Progress, not perfection.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I'm So Bored

While I am recovering from last month's operation, I have gotten very little done. Ok, I joined MySpace, and I have been blogging. Not exactly making me eligible for a lifetime achievement award. I also hang out at Again, it is fun, but I'm getting pretty bored with that, too.
Lately, I have been thinking about my two lives. Or would it be lifes? Either way, I have a real life (RL or RW depending on which nomenclature one prefers) and a cyber life. Both are equally real to me. And that may or may not be a problem depending on what particular point of view one takes. I know of some people who refer to cyber friends as "pretend" friends. If one can't touch them or see them, then they don't exist. That is not exactly true, because I believe in a lot of things I can't see or feel. I believe in oxygen, and I believe in qualities such as love and hatred. Ok, cyber friends are real friends. I can count on them to cheer me up, or help me through rough times. Anything a RL friend can do, almost, a cyber friend can.

So where is this essayette going?

I have no idea. I'm just so friggin bored. I'm just thinking of concepts. One that really interests me is reality. Deepak Chopra said that we each have our own reality. My reality, that is, the way I view things is based solely upon my personal values, my education, my history, and of course, my concept of things as they are and should be. Maybe I've been listening to a lot of 70's music lately. That has me thinking in such conceptual fashion. Maybe I'm just so damned bored that nothing is interesting to me. I don't even feel like taking on the mantle of TV sherpa today. And, most surprising of all, I have not turned on the TV other than to watch the news this morning.

I feel like I want to make a major change in my life. It is frustrating because I couldn't if I wanted to do so. Add to that I have no idea what I even want to do, and the frustration increases exponentially. I don't know how to get to where I want to go, because I have no idea where I even want to go. It's tough to draw a map when one doesn't know the destination. I spoke to someone on the phone today, and he told me his goals. And I was so jealous. I would love to have a goal. Yeah, I know, getting healthy is a great goal for me. Losing weight would be another. But these are not satisfying to me. I don't even know why or why not. I just know that they don't do it for me. Not today.

I'd like to think that if I just took a break from everything, I could come back refreshed. But how can I take a break from doing nothing?

My head hurts as my blood pressure is hitting record highs. I have no idea why. I fully expect my brain to explode and to have blood spurt out of my ears. Cool visual, but it would probably hurt a lot.

Oh well, back to my incredibly boring existence. *heavy sigh*

Monday, February 19, 2007

I love Commercials, Too

I've mentioned in the past that I do like commercials. Part of it may be due to my short attention span. But I like to think part of it also is because I can appreciate the creativity that goes into a 30 or 60 second spot, an entertainment vignette, if you will.
I saw a commercial this morning that had what may be the funniest tagline ever. It was for a home pregnancy test, and the tag was, and I am paraphasing, "The most advanced equipment that you can pee on." I may have to see this commercial again to get the tag exact, but they definately mentioned "pee on." That is pretty darn funny to me.
I also really enjoy the Geico commercials with the cavemen. The Gecko is a good spokesman, but the cavemen really crack me up. I wonder if any other company ever used such a diverse advertising campaign running concurrently? Usually, one ends and another begins, but not with Geico. I can see cavemen, and in the next commercial, a gecko. The newest caveman commercial has them at a party. They discuss why one has gone to Geico and therefore shows no loyalty to his fellow cavemen. Pretty funny. I also like that the cavemen are, for lack of a better term, metrosexuals.
My favorite commercial right now, though, may be the WaMu bank ones. The series uses a "Bankers Pen," a think tank as it were of bankers. They travel, well, in a pen as a group. They may all be in the hospital, or at a pool, or wherever. They are all in the pen, though. The latest has them on top of a building threatening mass suicide unless WaMu eliminates their free checking. A funny concept, and the little commercials are well written.
I'll may be back later.

I have a lot of TV to watch today.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Spring Training Report

While winter continues to freeze pipes in Dowtown New Jersey, my New York Yankees are in sunny Florida preparing to take on the pretenders to the throne that is rightfully theirs.
I just read some news about our knights in pinstripes, and I feel really good about the upcoming season.
Carl Pavano, who has not pitched since June 2005, is finally looking to make his triumphant return to the mound. According to coach Ron Guidry (who I met a few years ago) "He's in real good shape, he's in a real good frame of mind, and that's a plus." Pavano is throwing his slider, and looks to be on the track to finally taking his place in the rotation.
meanwhile, Kei Igawa is experiencing a little bit of culture shock. New York isn't exactly like Japan. But he has a good attitude and is learning English so he can communicate easily with his teammates.
Moose is looking good. He is in the twilight of his career, but he wants to go out with a winning team, and really wants to get his ring this year, along with a 20 win season. He has come close a few times, notching 19 with the Birds twice and 18 with the Bombers twice. With the lineup he has behind him this year, he has a chance, He just has to stay healthy.
But there is some bad news on the front. Bernie is not in camp. And, the team is offering a minor league contract. What the hell is up with that? They spend money like drunken sailors, and here, one of the true gentlemen in the game, a guy who ranks as one of the greatest Yankees of all-time, they are going the cheap route. It makes no sense. The guy is a fan favorite. He needs to end his career where he started, with the Yankees.
For most of his career he has been the number 2 centerfielder in the AL, just a few clicks behind Junior. Bernie may be on the fence as far as the HoF, but he is pretty close.
A .297 lifetime average, nearly 300 homeruns, and 450 doubles to go along with his 4 rings puts Bernie in elite company. It's time for George to step in and pay the man.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I'm in a Weird Mood Today

I just can't seem to get focused. My mind is racing like I'm on a mental Autobahn and I'm doing about 175 MPH. And the road is all turns.
Focus, big guy, focus. I don't want to turn this entry into a Larry King-like series of non-sequiters. Ok, who have I talked to lately that gave me tremendous insight?
I exchanged e-mails yesterday with a friend who is a fan of my rambling thoughts and all around superfluous scribblings. She said that a lot of what I have written has mirrored much of her life. Not that she was hospitalized and getting wedgies, but the more serious stuff. This made me really feel good. Not that she personally also had to endure pain and anguish, but that others do. Sometimes it is easy to get lost in my personal "stuff" so much so that I often fail to realize that it is a big world, and many are going through trials and tribulations just as I am. Maybe they don't get the medical wedgies, but they do have other mountains to climb. While some mountains may be physical, and others mental, they can all be just as steep.
If I think that I can't do something, then I can't do it.
Yesterday, I was watching Oprah (my testosterone levels have gone down a bit with age) and her guest said something profound. He said that trying is failure with dignity. If I say I'll try to do something, and fail, it's ok, because I at least tried. And the focus in on the positive in that a failure who didn't try is worse than one who did.
But the results are the same.
So, rather than take the try and fail route, I guess I have to take the try and then try again method. A positive mental outlook usually pisses me off, so this may be more difficult than I thought.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Peeling Onions Part 3

I've been doing a lot of thinking and talking to friends lately about that bad summer. It all comes down to support. I know that so many of us, particularly men, have it deeply ingrained that we are independent and strong. When I was younger, I was pretty strong physically, and felt that I needed to be so mentally as well. I had never been given support as a child, and never realized it was missing. That make many others strong and independent. It made me weak and afraid of failure. I guess I do usually do the opposite of what I should. One buddy of mine tells me I should use the Costanza method. Remember George from Seinfeld? As soon as he started doing the opposite of what he thought he should do, things went his way.
Whatever I think, just do the opposite. Not such a bad idea, considering how things usually work out for me.
Back to that bad summer. I was getting ready to enter college and I was scared. I had absolutely no reason to fear the academics because I was pretty smart, if I do say so myself. But the fear was put in me by my father. I was warned that I better not fail. I would make him look bad, and that was punishable by, who knows, maybe death, dismemberment, castration? I sure as hell did not want to find out. I chose my career path based upon one high school class elective. I realized that I was going to hate that career. So, I was stuck. I had to either follow through with something that would make me miserable (and be a failure) or to drop out. I chose the path of least resistance. And from that point onward, my life continued to go out of control. I had trouble having healthy relationships with the opposite sex because I was so messed up myself. I really can't get into that aspect of my life today, because it is too overwhelming. Just one part of the onion that ain't getting peeled for a while.
Another friend (bear in mind, anyone who talks to me eventually may wind up in this blog, albeit anonymously) recently told me that she was surprised at the courage I have to put this crap out here. I don't know if it courage or not. I just figure my life is such a train wreck, it can't get any worse. And keeping it bottled up is just making me more mentally sick. So, basically, everyone reading this is providing me therapuetic counseling. I feel like I owe you all something. My thanks is all you'll get, though.
Unless you take Paypal.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I just need to write

I'm not sure why, but some days I just need to write. I don't always know what is going to come out. Sometimes I start with an agenda, sometimes not. I may just talk to a friend, or have myself stimulated in some other way (that sounds dirty, but it isn't.) I just like to write.
I rarely go to the movies. I have a very short attention span, and I really have a difficult time focusing for 90-120 minutes. If a movie is really, really interesting to me, I can get through it, but I have fallen asleep in theaters many times. When I watch movies at home, I usually fall asleep, too, but at least it doesn't cost 10 bucks. That's why when I discuss a movie with someone, I either don't know how they ended, or I missed a big part of the plot. If I like a movie, I watch it numerous times, and I eventually do get to see every part.
One exception, of course are really funny comedies. Two from last year, which are actually the only two movies I have seen in a theater in the last few years, were Borat and Clerks 2 (twice.) A good friend of mine loaned me his DVD player and I will return it to him when I can walk well enough. But, in the meantime, I am enjoying watching Clerks and Clerks 2 about once a week each. Is there such a thing as the "Tao of Silent Bob?"
I'm more a sitcom guy. Give me 22 minutes of solid entertainment in a 30 minute block, and I'm one happy dude. I like the commercial breaks. They give me a chance to, I don't know exactly what I do, but I like the little break. And a well crafted commercial, is like a bonus. It is like an extra bit of entertainment, kind of like when you get that toy with your Happy Meal. I even look forward to certain ones. Right now, the Taco Bell lions crack me up. And, of course, the Geico Cave Men are hysterical, even if they have been on a few times too many. One series of commercials that irritate me are the cable ones. Ok, I'm watching cable TV, do I really need a commercial for cable TV while I'm using the product? And worse, I'm paying to watch TV, which means I'm paying to watch a commercial encouraging me to kepp paying to watch the commercial?
By the way, Reno 911, one of my favorite shows, is now a movie. I doubt I'll go to see it, even though it looks really funny. It will probably be on some movie channel in less than a year, so I can wait it out. It takes a lot for me to get my butt out to a movie.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Peeling Onions, part 2

When I get depressed, I do one of two things; I either hide out and ignore everything, or I write like a man possessed. Right now, I'm in the writing phase. This is actually good, because that usually gets me out of my funk.
It's funny how I'll see something and that will just inspire me to start writing. I was on my favorite chatboard, and one thread asked "If You Could Change One Thing..." and I thought, Holy Friggin crap!.-- how can I just change one thing? I've made so many wrong turns in my life that one would think that by now, I would be going in the right direction. Even 3 left turns make a right, so how many wrong turns do I have to make?
And what was that one wrong turn I made that first set me on the path to disaster? I don't know why it is important, but I needed to know. I spent some time in therapy, and even more in self-help groups, and I still never determined what the hell happened.
I have joked with friends about "One Bad Summer" as the point that set me on the downslide. It really is true. I was in pretty good shape physically. I wasn't an athlete, but I was far from the doughy lump of flesh that I am today. I could bench a few hundred pounds, and play a decent game of tennis. I had an ok summer job, and looked forward to the future.
And then it happened. That bad summer. I don't even know how or why, but I became totally overwhelmed with everything. For the first time in my life, I was afraid. I had never experienced fear before.
I used to drive my car like a maniac. The speed limit on my street was 25, and I routinely drove 100 MPH on it late at night. I had no fear of an accident.
I worked late at night in neighborhoods where I was taking my life into my hands. Not afraid. I just did it.
I had some jerk stalk me along with his friends with malicious intentions. Nope, didn't bother me. In fact, I actually went after him one day.
So, what was this terrible fear?
I was afraid of failure. I was going into college, and I was afraid that I couldn't cut it. I had nothing to base this on, as I did ok in a very competitive high school, and scored very well on the SAT's. In fact, I had succeeded at nearly everything I ever tried. Apparently, all the crap that had been dumped on me all my life just welled up and poured out as fear.
My father was about the least supportive person I ever could imagine, and yet, I had this inate desire to please him. The one person I should have ignored, I gave so much power to. And here I am, these so many years later, continuing to do so.
I'm not sure how to get out of this, but I do feel energized that now, I can see where I made a wrong turn (followed by dozens of others.) It is said that if a man has knowledge, he has power. I believe that I now have the power to make changes. I just hope that I have the courage and conviction to follow through.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I have read many times that the reason we often get stuck in life is that we can't forgive those who have hurt us in the past. After all, the one who hurt us either isn't aware, or doesn't care about it, so why give them the power to control us?
This makes sense, and I try to forgive those from my past.
Just today, I started to forgive an ex-boss. It started out like this:
Marie, I forgive you.

But then it quickly became:
Marie, I forgive you even though you are a worthless miserable piece of excrement and I hope that you are dead by now, so that you are deep within the bowels of hell. You made me feel awful on a daily basis and partly because of your evil nature, my life sucks. I hope nothing good ever happens to you or anyone in your family or anyone in your life. May you suffer 10 times what I did for 10 times as long.

I think I need to work on my forgiveness skills a bit more.

Pitchers and catchers, please report to Legends Field

Today my beloved Yankees are preparing to fire the opening salvo in their assault on the National Championship. Pitchers and catchers are due in Legends Field. I sit here in the utter gray-ness of a New Jersey winter, looking out my window at the bleak surroundings. But, I do not despair because even at this very moment, the boys of summer are in Florida making preparations to return the championship trophy back to where it belongs, back to the House That Ruth Built. The absolute Mecca of major league baseball, Yankees Stadium in The South Bronx.
I'm pretty excited about this. Easy to tell, huh?
The Yankees have been the one constant in my life. From the first game I attended back in the days of Mantle and Maris, through the dissapointments of the 60's and early 70's (Michael to Clark to Cater--double play!!) right through to the monster teams of the late 90's led by Jeter and company, I have always looked at spring not as a renewal of the earth, but as a renewal of baseball, as a renewal of life itself.
My best times were spent either watching the Yankees, or talking about the Yankees, or reading about the Yankees, or...this could go on for a while, so I'll just stop here. I belong to the Official Yankees Fan Club, I have stickers and flags on my vehicles, anywhere you turn, there is some Yankees related icon in my home. I'm wearing a Yankees shirt while I type this.
I have a statue of St. Thurman Munson that I look at every day. As soon as I can, I'm packing it and sending it to a friend who is going to give it a good home. I'm just afraid that if something happens to me, the statue will wind up at a yard sale and be sold for a quarter. Kind of sad to think that one of my favorite things will be just penny ante trash to others.
Maybe that's why I have been so melancholy lately. No sports to take my mind off my incredibly dull existence. The stupid Giants had a mediocre season that ended too soon. The Super Bowl is done and gone. Basketball and hockey? Bleeeeh.
But today, pitchers and catchers report.

Today is the beginning. Today is the rebirth.
Today is the first day of 2007.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Showbiz India or Hurray for Bollywood

Everybody knows how much I love watching TV, but unfortunately, so often it is a vast wasteland. On the weekends, especially during the day, it is nearly impossible to find anything to watch. So, I often look for the really obscure shows, usually in foreign languages. Sabado Gigante is always reliable. I don't speak Spanish well enough to understand everything, but they have enough hot chicks and all around zaniness to keep me interested.
Today, I uncovered an absolute gem, though.
It is on Satuday mornings. Not exactly prime time, but that is what makes it such an undiscovered gem.
After watching it today, I knew I had to review it. Usually I give shows a couple tries before I do so to make sure that it is quality viewing, but this is so good that I would be remiss in my self- appointed duties as pointer outer of TV shows you may have missed. I need a better title. For now, I'll go as "The Channel Sherpa" I guess.
Anyway, the show opens with the theme from the A-Team, along with shots very similar to that classic TV show. Everybody knows the opening is one of my favorite parts of any show. Give me a good opening theme and I'm half-way to TV Nirvana.
Anyway, the program features Bollywood movies and other things Asian Indian. If you have never seen a traditional Bollywood movie, immediately go to Blockbuster and rent a couple. I don't know if they have subtitles or not, but they don't need any. Not that I speak Hindi, but traditional Bollywood movies are visual spectaculars. I think I enjoy them even more because I don't speak the language. The movies almost always seem to start out with a guy noticing a woman. A casual glance across a field, or some such thing. This is usually followed by a song and sensual dance. Then pirates show up, and a huge battle ensues between the star and the pirate leader. Soon after the pirates are dispatched, the viewer will be treated to an extravagent dance number with everybody from the entire movie (including the pirates, sometimes.) I just saw one scene from a movie that had pirates, acrobats, and clowns. Who could ask for more than that in one dance number?
They also highlight many music videos featuring lots of dancing. While a few songs may be in English, many are not. But all are visually stunning. Some may be like MTV (PG-13) but a lot are the old-fashioned type with ornate costumes and graceful movements.
And the one hour episode is just crammed with entertainment value. Today a behind the scenes look at a new Bollywood movie was a focus of a big part of the show. If anyone doesn't understand, or is unaware of the impact of Bollywood, note that a major project co-starring Johnny Depp is in the works. Hugh Grant will also appear in a role with a major
Bollywood star (I missed whether he was in a Bollywood movie, or if the Bollywood star is in a Hollywood flick.)
Commercials are limited, and the long breaks associated with network TV just don't exist.
I love this show, and rate it a very solid 8.8.

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.
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, February 09, 2007

On Commercials

I actually like most commercials. Because I have such a short attention span, they give me a welcome break, and they can be entertaining as well.
One commercial, and it is probably not a national one, is for Chase Bank.
It really annoys the crap out of me. "Roxy" gets her paycheck handed to her in her cubicle. The guy handing out the checks notes her unbridled enthusiasm and asks if it is her first one ever.

Of course it is. So far, so good.

A little theme music from Mary Tyler Moore's Show plays in the background as she races through the rest of her night. She buys a dog, buys dinner for all her friends, then pays some bills, and finally goes to the movies.

Okay, how much does this obviously lower level office worker make?

She had to spend a thousand bucks or more in a couple hours. Where do I get a job like this?

Onions stink, so...

it's time for me to move on. I feel really good today. I went to the doctor and he told me that I am healing much better than he expected. He said it looks like I'm a starfish, like I'm trying to grow a new toe. I doubt that will ever happen, but at least things are looking up.
I've been reading a very inspirational book (Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Now) and it has made me feel a lot better. A good friend suggested that I pick up a copy, and even offered to send me a copy. It was funny that I had a copy sitting here, covered in dust, under the big pile of books that I will get to "someday."
I have thought of going to a shrink, but I had such a bad experience in the past, that I probably won't do it. It wasn't really a bad experience, it was just a waste of time.
I faithfully went for 6 weeks, and at the end, I was declared (because my insurance ran out) mentally well and able to get on with my life. That was over 15 years ago, and since I've been "cured," everything has been just fabulous. I used this word only because I'm trying to get in touch with my more cuddly feminine side.
Okay, I know that my life has just sucked eggs since my "cure," but, for today, I'm trying to fake it until I make it, or in this case fake it and hope for the best.
To get on with my life, I have to get my butt up (metaphorically, as I still can't walk) and start taking the steps to the next stage of my life.
Proof I'm getting better--yesterday, I would have called it my pathetic excuse for a life.
One step at a time.
Maybe in a few weeks, it will be taking steps towards my fabulous, fun-filled future (note the alliteration and the feminine side getting in touch with-it-ness.)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Peeling Onions

(warning: this is a little deep, not my usual goofy insights. It scares me, and I somewhat know what I’m going to write.)
I was speaking to a friend recently, and he reminded me of a scene from Shrek. Shrek and Donkey were talking, and Shrek told him that Ogres were like onions.
Not that they stink, but that they have many layers. Such is a life. I don’t want to examine mine, but from time to time, I suppose it is a good thing to do.
I have major self-esteem issues. Remember that character Al Franken developed on Saturday Night Live, Stewart Smalley? He looked in the mirror and said, “I’m smart, enough, I’m good enough, and gosh darn it, people like me” or something like that.
I look in the mirror and think, “You stupid fat bastard, you’ve really made a mess of things haven’t you. Again. When the hell are you ever going to grow up? When are you going to get it together?” I’m into self-flagellation without the whips and chains. But this mental crap hurts as much. At times, I think getting my ass kicked may be better. At least it has a beginning and an end.
I hate having these bouts of depression, but not enough that I seek therapy, I guess. I don’t want to take any more pills. I already pop dozens per day for various ailments and diseases.
I try to surround myself with positive people, and that helps, but it seems that every so often, I get into one hell of a funk. I never consider suicide, but sure as hell wouldn’t mind if I die.
I don’t even know what brings these on. I can just be sitting there eating my PB&J, and all of a sudden—BANG!!! I’m overcome with emotion about some crap that happened years ago. I have taken every amateur shrink’s advice. I’ve forgiven everyone who ever hurt me, everyone who has even pissed me off. I watch hours of funny stuff on TV. I engage with people with great senses of humor. I still feel that yesterday was bad, today sucks and tomorrow doesn’t look to be my day either.
A good friend just sent me a note, and reminded me to look at the good things.
Maybe I’ll go find that song, “Always look on the Bright Side of Life” and listen to it a few times.
I know I sure can’t solve my problems today, but writing about them helps.
Thanks for listening, even if this crap just disappears in cyberspace. At least it’s not in my head for the time being.
12 step programs have writing and burning.
I have writing and posting.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I would love to know...

...what is on my permanent record. All of them. Nearly every time you call the cable company, it is recorded and noted on your record. I'm sure that nearly every business you deal with, has some sort of record that you called, along with the response of the representative.
I'm pretty sure most records have me as an annoying customer. I'm polite, but very persistent when I call. For example, a few years ago I called the cable company. I wanted to know why it took so long to get my service. They told me that the work scheduled for winter had to be delayed because it was cold. I reminded the representative that it is cold every winter in New Jersey, so could he please come up with another reason, along with an estimate as to when the work would be completed. He was not happy, and needed to go speak to his supervosor. Eventually, I wound up speaking to the supervisor.
It seems that nearly every time I call any business, I have to speak to the supervisor.
But what I am really interested in reading would be the record of my last hospital stay.
Not so much for my near legendary battles with the dietary department, but for something much more personal.
Because my foot was operated on, I spent a lot of time in bed. I really could do little else.
One problem when one spends so much time laying in bed is that rashes may develop. So, to prevent this, I use baby wipes (Luv's rocks) after using the urinal. So far, so good. But privacy is an issue. I can't get up to pull the curtain, so I do the best I can.
I can go hours without seeing a nurse or aide. But I can guaranfreakintee that the minute I clean up after "going," a nurse will walk in the room. I go maybe 5 times a day, and at least 4 of those, the nurse will walk in. I can ring the call bell for 20 minutes and won't see anyone. Start using a baby wipe on me, and there is Nurse Hottie at the door, and me looking embarassed as can be. Which I suppose makes it even worse. Here I am fighting disease and promoting good health, and all she sees is some middle aged pervert fondling himself. Since it happens practically every time she walks in the room, what do you think is being written on my permanent record?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

USPS Rocks

WTH is up with the post office? I mail a check to the hospital which is about 5 miles or so from my mailbox. A week or so later, I get a letter from one of the main district offices (may have been in Atlanta) and it has a picture of my mail on it. They claim my envelope was destroyed and they forwarded the contents to Atlanta (what's that, about 800+ miles away) so they can take a picture of the contents of my envelope, and mail the picture back to me. What if that was destroyed? Would they take a picture of the picture?
It looks like they are holding my mail for ransom. Or that they are taunting me. What's next, my mail shows up on a milk carton? I wonder why they put in the accompanying note that for my protection, they would take a picture of my mail, and send me the picture, while they destroyed my mail. Was my mail dangerous? Was it the WMD's that the UN had been searching for?
But they did say that they hoped I would continue to use the Post Office for my postal needs.
As opposed to ...