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Friday, March 24, 2017

Rant #1,869: Let's Work

OK, I am going to admit something to you that I haven't talked about lately.

I do exercise.

Yes, I really do.

The last time I went to my doctor--very early this year--he told me that the results of my physical were really good.

I was happy about that.

Everything that was supposed to be at a certain level was at or below that level, my heart was fine, my blood pressure was excellent, my cholesterol--which I have to look at closely because I am borderline higher than normal--was lower than it had been, my circulation was good, and generally, for a guy pushing 60, I was in good shape.

However, my weight was still a bit out of whack. And I knew it was going to be that way, because quite frankly, I like to eat.

I eat when I am happy, I eat when I am sad. I eat when I am elated, and I eat when I am frustrated, which, of course, I am now with my job prospects.

I don't know if I overeat, but I do eat, and sitting all day at my job does not help.

Being that as it is, my doctor said that I should do some moderate exercise at least five days a week, like walking up and down the stairs and doing a few pushups.

With his blessing, I decided to do just that.

I walk up and down the stairs here at the stairs at home 10 times--which equals out to 20 times up and down the stairs, since we are talking about up as well as down.

Then right after I do that, I do five pushups. I am sure I don't do them correctly, but after getting pooped out from walking up and down the stairs at a vigorous pace, I give as good as I can possibly do.

All of this takes around five to 10 minutes, and rather than do it five days a week, I do it seven days a week.

During the workweek, I do it in the morning before I leave for work, and after I write this column and read the newspaper.

On the weekend, I do it when I can based on what we are doing. I often do it in the afternoon or perhaps in the late morning if I can find the time.

I have been doing this on a daily basis now, and I would be lying to you if I told you that I feel good physically doing it.

Mentally, yes, I feel good, but physically, my legs ache when I do this, in particular my left leg and knee.

It goes away in a few minutes, but it does ache when I am doing my stair climbing.

I have noticed that I am a bit stronger in the lower part of my body, which I guess is good.

Honestly, I have never been against exercising; I have simply been against exercising for me.

I find it boring, and I still do.

But if the doctor tells me to do it, I will, and I have for the past couple of months.

I don't think my waistline is any slimmer, and I still eat, a lot of times too much over frustration.

That is the area I really need to improve in, but I give no guarantees about that.

It appears that eating is my refuge.

I would not call myself fat, or even pleasingly plump, but yes, I do need to lose a few pounds.

So for the time being, I will continue to walk up and down the stairs and do my pushups, but happily, the stairs are not by the refrigerator.

Speak to you again on Monday, and have a good weekend.

Classic Rant #523 (June 10, 2011): Crazy From the Heat

It's only June 10. The summer is officially 11 days away.

It's hot, and lots of New Yorkers are being effected by the heat.

The Weiner thing remains hot. Now we hear that his constituents don't want him to resign.

Man, are New York City voters the dumbest in the nation? Remember, these same voters put Michael Bloomberg in the mayor's office for three terms, and now, all of a sudden, they complain about him. What about his previous two terms?

Maybe it is the heat. Yesterday, it pushed 100 degrees with like 101 percent humidity here.

People do get crazy from the heat. I guess Weiner's constituents have already reached that point.

Or they just adore his body parts.

It was so hot in New York yesterday ...

"How hot was it?"

It was so hot that a free concert by the Black Eyed Peas was cancelled--and people complained about it.

With violent thunderstorms hitting all points of New York, the show was cancelled. It was supposed to have drawn upwards of 60,000 people.

Although there was a threat of thunder and lightning, as well as violent winds, people complained when the show was cancelled due to the weather.

I guess those people are the same people who think Weiner should stay in office.

Yes, people do get crazy from the heat, and perhaps no one gets crazier than New Yorkers.

I don't know why, but they do.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Rant #1,868: Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours

Vending machines are incredible creations.

Basically, they are robots that deliver various foods and other products simply by accepting our cash, and then giving us what we want.

There are vending machines of every make and model. There are machines that deliver candy and snacks, and there are others that deliver even full dinners.

There are vending machines of yore, that you don't see anymore, that vend cigarettes and cups of soda that used to seemingly always turn upside down, with the soda going all over the place.

But now, I have found the ultimate vending machine, a huge contraption that delivers as All-American a product as one could find.


That's right, automobiles, wheels, crates, whatever you want to call them, there is now a vending machine that vends cars to the public.

And where else to find this thing but in Texas, where it appears that everything really is bigger.

Houston is home to the nation's--and probably the world's--largest, fully automated, coin-operated vending machine, which stands eight stories and holds up to 30 cars in four delivery bays.

And the company that created and runs this thing is known as Carvana, which markets its product as "a better way to buy a car."

I don't know about that, but it is pretty interesting.

Cars are purchased online, and when buyers click the "buy" button, they have a choice: either have the car delivered directly to them or pick it up at the vending machine.

And yes, this is a vending machine. It can only be activated by using an oversized "coin," which like in other vending machines, it inserted into a slot in the machine.

Once the coin is inserted, the car is retrieved for them, moving through the vending machine much like a can of soda is delivered in a more traditional vending machine.

Actually, this concept has been around a while, with the first machine actually operating in Nashville, Tenn., one that is five stories high and can hold up to 20 cars.

Honestly, beyond the unique delivery of the car, I don't see the benefit of getting your car this way, but for the truly adventurous, I guess this gives them an extra thrill.

I don't know where vending machines can go from here, but in due time, I am sure some enterprising company will develop such a machine to deliver even something more magnanimous ...

How about insert your coin and get a full-function house delivered right into your hands?

Classic Rant #522 (June 9, 2011): Weiner Roasts, Scandal Toasts

Yes, it is back to the Weiner roast.

A lewd photo that is allegedly that of Rep. Anthony Weiner has surfaced, and Democrats and Republicans are basically agreeing for the first time in memory: this guy has got to go.

But he steadfastly refuses to resign.

Now, we hear that Weiner's wife is pregnant.

It all brings up the title of the old Clash song: "Should I Stay or Should I Go."

I am sure Mrs. Weiner is pondering this subject as I type this. Is it better to be with or, or be without him, especially since an innocent child is going to be thrown into the mix?

I am not defending Weiner, but it is almost hilarious how when a man is down like this, all these people come out of the woodwork to chastise him.

Some of his Facebook and Twitter friends have surfaced, but the latest one is perhaps the saddest.

A woman he formerly dated for a brief period--and who has stayed in touch with him as a friend (and I mean a real friend, not an electronic one)--has come out of whatever hole she was in and said how disappointed she was in him.

She has gone into somewhat lurid detail about various things he might have said and done, while in the same breath praising him for always being there, helping her parents in times of need, helping her when she needed assistance, etc.

With friends like this, do you really need enemies?

Weiner has now become "Entertainment Tonight" fodder, and I am sure this is turning on a lot of potential future Facebook friends of his. I can't see any other reason for this to be happening.

Weiner is supposedly going to do some damage control. I heard a report this morning that he was going to hire a team to repair his image.

Heck, Bill Clinton--who did far worse than Weiner, and he was the President, yet--has survived, because he has tapped into people's selective memories.

Why can't Weiner do the same?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rant #1,867: Palisades Park

Chuck Barris, the creator of numerous game shows, hit songwriter, star of "The Gong Show," and supposed American spy during the Cold War, died yesterday.

He was 88 years old.

It is hard to pin down just exactly what Barris was, because as you can see, he wore so many hats.

Although he was probably most famous as the host of "The Gong Show"--most obituaries list him as its sole creator, which is incorrect--he personified what television was in the 1960s and early 1970s, at least on the game show level.

His most famous shows under the Chuck Barris Productions monicker--"The Newlywed Game" and "The Dating Game"--could only have been created in the 1960s, when you had to talk around certain subjects, not talk directly about them, and the main subject on these shows was, ta da, sex.

Today, you can speak about just about anything on TV, but back then, with the censors hounding your every move, TV had to be more creative, and on these two shows in particular, sex had to be handled very carefully. Thus, the term "making whoopee" became a popular phrase all over again, in particular, on "The Newlywed Game," even more ubiquitous than Bob Eubanks' "hurry please" phrase to meandering brides and grooms.

And Jim Lange on "The Dating Game" had to be something of a cop when things were moving in a more sordid direction on that show.

These shows were so popular that not only did they have five-days-a-week versions on daytime TV, but they also had nighttime versions and syndicated versions.

With numerous revivals and replays of the original shows, both of Barris' most famous game shows will probably last forever on TV.

And then we have "The Gong Show" ...

This show was actually the creation of Chris Beard, one of the writers on "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In," who took the show's "New Talent" segment--whose most famous participant was Tiny Tim--and expanded that segment to a half hour show.

Originally featuring another host--I believe his name, if memory serves me correctly, was John Barbour--Barris wanted a true comedic feel for the show, thought his original choice as host was too stiff, and took on the reins himself--and made the show one of the funniest, off the wall shows in TV history.

It also ran afoul of the censors quite often for what it did show as opposed to what it couldn't show, made national stars of Gene Gene the Dancing Machine and Jaye P. Morgan (all over again for her), and not only had an impressive daytime and syndicated run, but also spawned a film.

But Barris was more than just a producer of popular game shows, not all of which became iconic--remember "The Generation Gap"?--he was also a one-shot songwriter who had a hit with his self-written "Palisades Park" tune, with Freddy Cannon scoring one of the biggest hits of his career with the song about the New Jersey amusement park--and he was also a spy ...

Or he at least wanted you to believe that.

In his book and the subsequent movie of "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," he claimed that all during his years of TV success, he was a CIA assassin.

Most people would write this off as just another "game show moment" from Barris, but this guy was so creative that you almost had to believe him--


Whatever the case, Barris' life was an incredible one, filled with more ups and downs than any roller coaster at "Palisades Park" could ever hope to muster.

He was, at the very least, one of the most creative minds ever to hit the TV medium, and he will be missed.

Classic Rant #521 (June 8, 2011): Today's Your Birthday

Now that the Weiner thing is all over the place, I thought I would break away from that dumbness for a few moments and let you know that two talented people celebrate their birthdays today.

Although the two people are still vibrant today, the only thing they really share is that they came of age--and into our notice--during the 1960s.

Don Grady, the talented kid actor and musician on the "My Three Sons" TV show, and Joan Rivers, the groundbreaking comedienne, both were born on this date, in 1944, and 1933, respectively.

Grady, whose real last name is Agrati, actually came on the scene in the late 1950s as one of the stars of "The Mickey Mouse Club," then segued over to "My Three Sons," one of the most popular TV sitcoms of all time. It ran from 1960 to 1972, first on ABC, then CBS.

Originally, Grady--as Robbie Douglas--played the kid we could most identify with, the middle child who meant well, but always got into trouble.

Then, as the show matured and casting changes came into play, Grady became a straighter arrow, and followed in the footsteps of his dad Steve (Fred MacMurray) as the leader of his own family of three sons (triplets).

After the show, Grady remained active behind the scenes as a composer and singer, and he has put out a number of CDs. He wrote the theme to the long-running Phil Donahue program.

Rivers, who real last name is Molinsky, was one of the trailblazing female comics of her day, along with Phyllis Diller, Totie Fields, and a few others.

She talked about the American experience as the Jewish wife, or the Jewish experience as an American wife. Whatever way it was, it was funny, and her numerous appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" cemented her popularity.

She rose through the ranks, and eventually was one of Johnny Carson's replacement hosts when he took off for vacation, which was pretty often.

She had her own talk show, which rankled Carson, and after the suicide of her husband, she reinvented herself as a fashion chronicler, along with her daughter, Melissa.

Two more disparate personalities you couldn't find, but they do share the same birthday.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Rant #1,866: Look Through Any Window

Once again, people who should know better have been stung by this behemoth called the Internet.

And they call foul yet.

Two female professional wrestlers--who go under the names of Paige and Summer Rae--have had nude photos of themselves put out on the Internet by hackers who knew how to get into their phones and grab these images and videos.

Evidently, they were put up over the weekend, and the ladies are crying foul about how they have been violated by the breech.

In Rae's case, topless images were hacked, but in Paige's case, much more revealing fare was taken off her phone.

Not only do these include fully nude images, but they also include her participating in intimate acts with not only herself but two other male wrestlers, one who is still employed by the company and who goes under the name Xavier Woods. The other wrestler, an ex-WWE grappler and official, rounds out the threesome.

Rae has been a minor attraction in the women's division, while Paige was at one time a major star, a former Diva's champion, but who has fallen on hard times lately, failing two drug tests and mending herself from various injuries.

Where this leaves the two women--and for that matter, former tag team champion Woods--is another matter, as they do have morale clauses in their contracts, but in terms of privacy, when are these people--and others--going to understand that whatever images you have of yourself, once they are on your phone, your tablet or your computer, they are fair game for hackers that know how to get them if they want them?

You might remember that several months ago, there was an even higher profile hack of famous actress' electronic devices, including images of actresses such as Jennifer Lawrence.

They all cried foul, too, but didn't they realize that once you put stuff on the cloud, it is open to anyone and everyone with the know-how to get them?

Look, what a woman--or a man--does in private should be their business. If they want to pose topless, if they want to record sex acts, that is their business, but if you hold this stuff on your phones, or you put it on the cloud, it is easy for the taking.

Don't these people know this already? How could they not?

But once again, those who are involved with this blame the hackers, and claim they were violated.

Yes, they are partially right, the hackers are to blame for leaking this stuff out.

But the women are also to blame, for being stupid about the whole thing.

When you put something on your phone or the cloud, the potential is great that the stuff is going to get out one way or the other.

It is like they put these things up on a public billboard, but didn't expect that people would actually look at the billboard.

How stupid can one be?

Common folk have also been the victim of such hacks, and it seems that people do not learn from the experiences of their predecessors. This thing happens every day, but when it happens to higher profile people--usually women--others take notice.

But sorry, I have to blame the women almost as much as the hackers.

I am not blaming them for what they did, but I am blaming them for their ignorance.

Yes, the Internet remains the wild, wild West, and for these women not to understand that ...

I could say they got what they deserved, but more to the point, I hope that they learn from this experience, that others learn from this experience, and people become more careful with their personal effects in the future.

The sad thing is that that is pretty much a pipe dream.

More people will be victimized by their own ignorance, you can bet the ranch on that.