Monday, March 31, 2008

It's Opening Day

Finally. The Yankees were rained out, but that makes me pretty happy. They play tomorrow, which is my birthday (yeah, what a surprise, April Fool's Day) and I'll be in Atlantic City wearing my birthday present. A Joba Chamberlain shirt. Yeah, it's kind of wacky wearing a shirt with another guy's name on it, but it's not like I'm wearing Joba's bowling shirt because we're going steady.
Since it's opening day, here's my predictions for the division champions

AL East
Do you really need to ask?
Yankees, Yankees, Yankees. Pitching is going to be ok, and they score like a machine.

AL Central
The Tigers and the Indians are the obvious choices. I'm going with the Indians. CC and Carmona are just so dominant.

AL West
It's gonna be the Angels.

Wild card will be the Red Sox

If they can keep those stupid bugs away, Yankees will beat Cleveland for the AL Championship.

NL East
The Mets look good with Santana, as long as they can get one more year out of Pedro. Maine is looking good, too. I predict a big year for him.

NL Central
It's been 100 years since the Cubbies won the Series. This ain't the year, but at least they will take the division.

NL West
Everybody is going with the Rockies or the d'Backs. I'm going against conventional wisdom, and picking the Padres. I'm not sure why, maybe I'm just feeling religious.
The Phils will take the wild card.

The Mets pitching is strong in a short series, so I look for them to return to the Series.

Should be a re-match of the Subway Series of 2000, and while I'm rooting for the Yankees, I'm predicting a Mets win, but I won't be happy about that. It's almost as bad as a Sox win.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Guilty Pleasure

Everyone has them. The little silly thing we do or enjoy that, while not necessarily bad for us, is something that not a lot of people know about us. It's usually something we like to keep secret, too. Or that we only share with a few others. Here's possibly my biggest guilty pleasure: I like Kiddie movies. A lot.

Monsters, Inc. That was a "Date night" flick with the Crotchety Old lady. I promised to take her out to see some romsntic chick flick, and when we got to the theater, I went to get the tickets while she procured the popcorn and Milk Duds. What a surprise!!! The chickflick was sold out Photobucket, but they fortuitously had 2 seats for Monsters, Inc. So we were the only two adults there without kids.

I liked Finding Nemo, Cars, all the Muppet Movies, and most Disney movies. In fact, kiddie movies are perfect for me because I have a short attention span, and hate to think while being entertained. I prefer mindless drivel most of the time.

Last night, we saw what may be one of my all-time favorites: Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The movie was funny, sweet, and in a way, geared towards a more mature audience. Inferences were present throughout to such classic horror movies as Frankenstein, various were-wolf flicks, King Kong, and others. The movie had plenty of little jokes, ones kids would surely miss, but which would make an adult laugh out loud. This is available on DVD, and if you enjoy movies that are just simple entertainment, pure and without those nasty additives that require an in-depth thought process, I highly recommend this film. It's suitable for the entire family, and can be enjoyed by all on many levels.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Man vs Wild

Yeah, I know that is the name of some cable TV program which I've never seen. The premise just seems a little too contrived even for me. And that's saying a lot. I watched a TV show about Cavemen in our midst. I can even sing the theme song from "My Mother, the Car," generally considered to be the worst show of all-time. But I digress. This quote really made me think today:

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less
time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness
and respecting her seniority.

E. B. White

I'm just feeling all warm and fuzzy lately, with a desire to commune with nature. I don't know if it's a result of spring or just advanced cabin fever. I have this overwhelming desire to frolic in the woods. This is kind of strange since I haven't frolicked since 1974, I believe it was early June of that year.

Nevertheless, The Old Man is feeling pretty good. Life's sweet nectar flows into every pore of his being. I'd start quoting poetry, but the only line I know is from Jabberwocky:
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

For some reason, that just seems to fit today. Photobucket

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Peaceable Kingdom

I have seen pictures in biblical scenes with the lion laying with the lamb. I've always used the expression "fought like cats and dogs." Certain animals are just "natural enemies."
But, I know a lady who works in animal rescue. She goes by the online name "Snickerdoodles."
She rescues animals, both wild and tame, and rehabilitates them. What is truly remarkable, is that many of them spend considerable time in her home.

Just looking at some of these photos totally amazed me.
Cats sleeping fitfully next to dogs; birds nuzzling cats; bunnies running free.

It just makes me wonder about the human condition. With love and proper care, such as food and health care, these "enemies" are able to coexist. I wonder why humans, the highest order of animal, hasn't figured this out yet?

By the way, this is a picture of Katy. She was a rescue from New Orleans. Most folks would say it's hard to find anything good that came out of Hurricane Katrina, but Katy and Snickers may not share that opinion. Katy is a sweetheart, just look at her face. You'll find plenty of pictures of her posted at my board, and at ebay's Soapbox. She likes to get dressed up and celebrate all the Holidays. A true party animal. And she gets along with all the cats and other critters. If possible, open your heart and rescue an animal today. So many need homes, and would love to become a part of your family like Katy.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Opening Day is coming soon

Opening Day for the Yankees is just a few days away. This is my favorite time of year. Hope springs eternal as the Yankees have not yet lost a game, and they have a chance to win 162 games. I know it won’t happen. In fact, the greatest teams in history lost 50 games or so in the year they established themselves with great seasons. Losing 1 out of 3 games will make for a record setting season.
The game has changed a lot since I was a kid. In fact, it’s not the same game it was 20 years ago. It’s become totally different as a starter pitches 6 innings in a game. When Gossage was the dominant closer in baseball, a closer usually pitched 2 innings or more to earn his save. Now, Rivera, Papelbon, and most closers are one inning or so. Starting pitchers, who as recently as the 80’s, used to pride themselves on finishing what they started. I remember when I was a kid, a starter pitched 40 games, and went 300 innings. Today, that is unheard of. Middle relievers were guys who either were washed up starters, or rookies just trying to impress. Today, they are an integral part of the game, and considered nearly as important as having a good starter and closer. Back in the 70’s, Wilbur Wood, a knuckleball specialist, even started both games in a doubleheader. He relieved a few games in between starts. As Casey Stengal said, “You can look it up.” Teams had a “Big Four” and a spot starter for doubleheaders.
Now we have 5 starters and several middle relievers and at least one closer.
By the way, what ever happened to the double header? Nothing was better than to go to the ballpark for a double dip on Sundays. But big money contracts have made the freebie game a thing of the past. The day-night double header just isn’t the same. I used to enjoy the strategy a manager had to use to be prepared to play two. Couldn’t burn out the staff in game one, and had to decide which catcher to use to best advantage to win them both.
Just one more thing given up for money.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but
rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.

Hugh Downs

Why are all those who tell us the secret to happiness are wildly successful? It's never Bernie, the schmoe who works in customer service and gets yelled at all day? It's always some famous person who has led, more or less, a charmed life. I know money doesn't make one happy, but the lack of it sure can make one miserable.

I wonder what is the source of happiness? Where does contentment come from? Is it from having just enough, or the ability to do what one wishes?

My contention is that real contentment in life comes from the ability to make a difference; to feel useful. Whether one wishes to make life better for one's family or to change the world, usefullness is the key to happiness. Anyone can make money, a lot of it, but the richest men who ever walked the planet became philanthropic in their old age. Rockefeller, Carnegie-- the lot of them, they all became very charitable men in their old age.

In Carnegie's own words "The man who dies leaving behind him millions of available wealth, which was his to administer during life, will pass away "unwept, unhonored and unsung".... Of such of these the public verdict will then be: "The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced."

Some food for thought.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's beyond words

Florida high school senior Stephanie Kuleba had everything going for her -- she was the well-liked captain of her varsity cheerleading team at West Boca High School, and she had been accepted to the University of Florida, where she hoped to study medicine...According to just released data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 348,000 breast augmentation procedures were performed in 2007, a 64 percent increase from 2000....

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported that between 2002 and 2003, the number of women and girls younger than 18 who got breast implants nearly tripled, from 3,872 to 11,326. ...

Doctors also say they are seeing more parents giving their teens the gift of new breasts or other cosmetic surgery for milestones like birthdays or graduations.

"I've seen an increase in teens having plastic surgery, and certainly for graduation," said Dr. Stephen T. Greenberg, a New York plastic surgeon and the author of "A Little Nip, A Little Tuck."
Oy vey. I just don't get it. What message are we giving to young women that so many need to undergo such extreme measures? Obviously we reinforce in them that breast size (any physical trait, really) is more important than it should be. Is this a reflection of our society that demands instant gratification, whereby a person undergoes butchering (ooops, I mean gastric bypass) rather than a sensible way to get one's weight under control? By the way, the medical community lies about mortality rates in most surgeries. They claim gastric bypass is lower than 5%, when it is probably closer to 10% or more for men. Just from personal experience, I know 9people who had the operation. 2 died, and 2 gained their weight back. And one has been so sick in the 5 years since her operation she almost wishes she died. Not exactly a scientific sample, but sure doesn't convince me that the doctors are telling everyone the truth.
I'm willing to bet it's the same with breast augmentation surgery. I'm sure they sold Stephanie Kubela and her parents on the safety of the operation. So, a young woman with the promise of a great life before her, died from complications of an operation she did not need.

It's beyond words.

Monday, March 24, 2008

It's all about the Benjamins

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I just found this classic blog from Sunday, 10 April 2005

As NJ gets deeper in debt, and faces tax and toll increases, this just seems so timely.


Jon Corzine is running for Governor of NJ this year.

He bought the Senate seat for $66,000,000 a few years ago. I wonder what the governorship will cost him?

Anyway, I read in the Ledger today that he contributed over $800,000 to one PAC in 2001. The guy (Norcross)who controls that PAC is in big trouble for some illegal crap, so Corzine stated that he will not contribute any more cash to this PAC.

Of course, over the last 3 years, Corzine has contributed $270,000 to PAC's that benefit Norcross.
It's a joke.

And the punchline is taxpayers ultimately foot the bill when corruption rears its ugly head.

I'm not against government spending. It's a necessity. But waste is another thing.

Again, according to today's Ledger, since 1997, the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance, has spent $5,000,000 on travel expenses. That's 3/4 of a million per year. This includes sending 9 employees to a conference in Anchorage, Alaska.

Anybody else surprised our state is bankrupt?

And now, the final indignity.

My beloved Giants want to build a new stadium.

Cost to NJ?


And, the government is opposed to it.

They claim it's because they will lose the money they make leasing out the current stadium for concerts. Typically short sighted.
Or lies.

You decide.

A new stadium will generate jobs, and bring pride to Jersey. The stadium will be bigger (currently Giants tickets are sold out for many years in advance) and should bring in much revenue in sales tax. What will we lose?

The Meadowlands maroons want to build a shopping center, not a stadium.


We need another mall like Rt. 1 needs more potholes.

Classic blog

I've been blogging for a few years, so I decided to post a classic rant from three years ago. It's still relevant.

Sunday, 20 March 2005
Why I hate the FDA and FTC-a few more reasons
Now Playing: That 70's Show
Topic: Political Rant
News Note:
The Congressman who was chairman of the committee that regulates prescription drugs has retired.

Billy Tauzin, former Congressman from La., the co-sponsor of the Medicare Bill that is causing so many problems for poor people (especially seniors and the disabled) has left Congress to enter private industry.

He has accepted a $2,000,000 per year position as president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Is anybody else surprised that the person responsible for record drug company profits gets rewarded with a nice little job like that?

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Laughter is the best medicine according to a popular belief. A study by a team of University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers, led by Dr. Michael Miller, has recently shown for the first time that laughter is linked to healthy function of blood vessels. Miller said that the most significant study finding was that "people with heart disease responded less humorously to everyday life situations." They generally laughed less, even in positive situations, and they displayed more anger and hostility.

Recently I was speaking on the telephone with a friend of mine concerning laughter.
We both would rather have a good laugh than fight. Yet, it seems many others prefer fighting. I don’t mean the occasional spirited debate, but instead, battling and sniping at one another just for the rush. My buddy shared a very interesting anecdote. His parents had been in one of Hitler’s Concentration Camps and obviously suffered abuse beyond comprehension. Sometimes the depths of man’s inhumanity to man just boggles one’s mind. But what my friend’s Mom remembers is that the survivors were the ones who laughed. She said she could almost tell who was going to die because they were the morose ones. Quiet, almost accepting death as an inevitable outcome of their situation.

But the ones who laughed, yes even laughed at the fact they were little more than skin and bones, they lived and they were the ones who made it out alive.

I’ve seen various techniques where people just laugh for the heck of it as part of their fitness regiment, and who knows if that works. As for me, just photoshop a geek in a compromising situation, and I’m laughing until I cry.

So, for today, find something to make you chuckle. Hell, chortle if you want. If I were a real doctor, and not just playing one on the internet, I’d suggest you take two hearty guffaws, rest, and get plenty of fluids.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Some odds and ends

I got this whole Larry King vibe going on today.

Why do so many insist in saying the Lord’s Prayer using Elizabethan English? Once, someone told me it’s because of the continuity; that is, they were able to pray the same way their ancestors did. I guess it depends on who your ancestors were. Some of mine barely spoke English, and I doubt they were conversant in Olde English. It’s just stupid.

I just saw some chocolate shop in Soho is selling chocolate covered bacon.
Just when you thought you saw it all. I guess they go with chocolate Easter eggs.

Barry Bonds still doesn’t have a job in the majors. I wonder if he were a different type of person, would there be a team willing to take him on? A bad attitude along with declining skills may just be the formula for his retirement. But before anyone feels sorry for him, he has had a long career and made many millions of dollars.

Vicodin is my favorite prescription drug. It has replaced Percosets in getting rid of my pain. I fully understand how someone could get addicted to them.

Game shows have changed so much over the years. Jeopardy required skill, even Wheel of Fortune required a little bit of puzzle solving ability (though not much.) Today’s popular game shows? Deal or no Deal. I like it, but it’s a guessing game. And when one gets to the point they have limited safety, they take the deal. Ok. I get it. DOND is pretty much just gambling, hosted by a comedian and pretty models.

Are You Smater Than a 5th Grader is Jeopardy for morons. The Price is Right is starting to look more like a challenge each day. Plinko rocks.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Redneck Wedding

The writer’s strike is finally over, and something good did come out of it. Due to incredible boredom, I searched the other 180+ channels on my TV for something different. Reruns aren’t anathema to me. As a matter of course, I can watch the same Simpsons episodes over and over, and even can find comfort in them. Same thing with Futurama and Family Guy. But many of today’s shows I can barely tolerate more than once. Go figure.
But I digress.
I have started watching CMT, and have found a few shows that are incredibly entertaining.
My Redneck Wedding has to be one of the most bizarre shows on TV. As you can probably guess from the title, rednecks get married and have the most "unusual" weddings. Whether they feature a trellis made out of beer cans or mud wrestling, these weddings are not for the feint of heart. The bride is more likely to arrive via ATV or horseback than limo.
And because the bride and groom want their guests to have a good time, they arrange special events. I thought long and hard to try to remember anything at a traditional wedding besides dancing. A redneck wedding apparently includes everything from a demolition derby to mattress surfing to dining on squirrel, wild boar, and whatever else runs through the nearby woods. And mass quantities of beer are consumed, naturally.
In keeping with our Redneck expectations, the gifts exchanged between the bride and groom are equally, for lack of a better term, non-traditional.
Could be a pink rifle, or something obtained by dumpster diving.
You can’t make this stuff up.
I usually rate these shows based upon my 1-10 scale. This show was hard to rate. But using my scientifically designed scale, it comes in at a solid 6.2


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 DVR. 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!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


The Crotchety Old Lady has been out of work for the last few weeks due to surgery. So I begrudgingly have turned over the remote to her during the day. My day is now filled with such testosterone sapping TV fare as soap operas and Oprah.
I can’t get into the soaps because it seems every single one has the following script:
Chase has an affair with Veronica, but hopes that Michael, his half-brother doesn't find out. Great mental anguish ensues. But, of course, Michael has been having an affair with Celeste, while Conchetta, the poor but honest maid (who naturally does not know she is the illegitimate love child of Chase's Dad, Devon) falls in love with Michael's business rival. Then, Bram, a devilishly charming, filthy rich businessman from some country where they speak English, either Oz or Fiji, constructs a plan to win the heart of Veronica.
Sure, some of the names are changed around, but they always use proper names or some uncommon name like Logan or Ridge. Every once in a while a Rick or Johnny sneaks in, but one will never find a Dave on a soap opera. Soaps are also great for characters named Lucky, Sonny, or some other name that hasn’t been heard since the late 70’s. Personally, I’ve never known anyone with such a moniker, but apparently, these are pretty common in soaps.
My daily soap marathon ends just in time for Oprah. I don’t get Oprah. She has some decent guests, but she may have the most annoying delivery on television. Much of the time, she sounds like a game show host on steroids as she yells out the guest’s name or some gift for the audience. I’m sure she is a nice lady, but do I really need to hear her yell out DOCTOR OZ!!! She must be doing something right, as she makes a bazillion dollars and has launched a few very successful shows, produced movies, and publishes a magazine. I should only be so successful.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring training time

I've been watching the Yankees on YES, and they are looking ready for a great season. The young pitchers seem to be maturing at just the right time, and the older guys like Moose and Pettitte are pitching like they did a few years ago. Wang has the most wins over the last 2 years in the AL, and I have no reason to think he won't crack the 20-win mark this year. Joba was supposed to be a starter, but I'm not sure he is ready for that role.

As far as the regular lineup, it's hard to find any weak spot. In no particular order:
Cano is coming off a terrific sophomore season, and should be even better this year.
Jeter is once again ready to do what he does best--win. I'm looking for a big year from the Captain. A-Rod even made him the earlky season favorite for the MVP award.
And speaking of MVP, can A-Rod repeat his MVP season of 2007? Can I get a hell, yeah? He is just reaching his prime, and may be even better this year.
Melky just gets better every year. While he may not be a power hitter in the Yankees centerfield tradition of Mantle and DiMaggio, he plays a great defense, and his arm has earned respect around the league.
Damon looks to be over his nagging injuries from last year, and gives the Yankees a lead off batter with pop and speed. Rickey Henderson without the attitude.
Godzilla should be back with his usual dependable play and decent power, along with the clutch hitting that has become synonymous with the name Matsui.
Abreau at 34 should give us the OBP and keen eye that drives opposing pitchers crazy.
Even the bench looks strong with Duncan and Betemit.
My only concerns are Giambi and Posada. They are both coming off decent seasons, but 36 year-old catchers can be injury prone. And Giambi, although he looks pretty good, is coming off a year in which he only played 83 games.
I'd love to say I'm looking at a team like the '98 squad, but sadly, not. I expect the team to challenge for the division, probably even win it. But this year, the playoffs will be different. I expect to sweep through them like a hot knife through butter. This team is built for the playoffs. Just as long as those freakin' bugs don't show up in Cleveland. Photobucket