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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Rant #2,002: Sleep Walk

Well, my old friend insomnia has returned to my body.

This sickness that I still have in me is now keeping me up, and as I write this, it is about 1 a.m. or so, and I can't get back to sleep.

Even with all the pills I have been taking, I was so stopped up that one bad set of coughs woke me up from whatever slumber I was in, and I am sorry to say, woke me up for good, apparently.

Yesterday, I was clearly the poster boy for whatever malady I have, and boy, was it embarrassing.

I had a funeral to go to, and my wife and I went.

Earlier in the week, I didn't think I would make the funeral, but yes, I was getting better, so I decided to go to the funeral, and I felt fine as I got up yesterday and prepared to go.

We went, and the ceremony began.

We were sitting in a row in the chapel of the funeral home that was full, and I was on the outside of the row, and it ended up being the perfect placement for me.

Within minutes of the start of the ceremony, I started to hack and cough, and I couldn't stop myself.

I proceeded to run out of the chapel as fast as I could, still hacking and coughing.

I know I created a little scene, but heck, I could not stay in there while I was in such a state.

I ran out, went into the funeral home's hallway, and then outside, where I could get some air.

I took a few deep breaths as I was still hacking and coughing, and after about 10 minutes--an approximate, it felt like 10 hours, to be honest with you--I settled down.

I went to sit in my car, and then the service was over, and we planned to go the cemetery to further pay our respects.

The cemetery was a good drive away from the funeral home, and we followed the other cars with our emergency lights on as part of a small cavalcade of those going to the cemetery.

In the middle of this drive, I started to cough again, and started to cough again so ferociously that my wife said I turned all colors, including red and blue. I could not catch my breath at all, but somehow, I was still able to proceed driving.

That lasted a few minutes--a white guy turning red and blue, at least I was patriotic while I was choking--but my wife said it wasn't pretty, and believe me, it didn't feel pretty either.

But finally that ended, and we went to the cemetery, participated in that ceremony, and went on our way.

I had one or two minor coughing fits throughout the rest of the day, and honestly, physically, I do not feel sick, or at least like I have fever.

I don't feel 100 percent yet, and it was a lazy Sunday, and I know I took a nap or two during the course of the day, and I know that I went to bed early on Sunday night.

And as I said, I was in the course of sleep when I coughed, and coughed good, enough to wake me up, throw off my rhythm, and here I am, at this hour, typing this story of woe out because I cannot go back to sleep.

One funny thing happened during this entire episode yesterday.

As we arrived at the cemetery, through the hacking, my wife said that she thought I received a text message on my phone, and honestly, I don't know how she heard it through the noise, but she was right, I did receive a text message, and as we waited for the ceremony to begin, I took out my phone and saw who sent me the message.

It was none other than Jerry Mathers, the Beaver, who I contacted for the story I wrote in Friday's Rant, about the whereabouts of one Karen Sue Trent, the actress that played Penny Woods on "Leave It To Beaver."

Alas, he wrote to me that he didn't know what had happened to her either.

My wife shook her head as I replied to him, thanking him for getting back to me even if he didn't have any information on her.

"The Beav" and "the hack"--strange bedfellows that somehow came together, and I wish that they came together in such a way that I can get back to sleep, but I don't know if that is going to happen right now.

I will finish typing this, and try, try again to get back to sleep.

Let's see what happens.

Classic Rant #656 (January 16, 2012): The Way It Used To Be

I have ranted against current TV offerings on many, many occasions on this blog, and I am going to do it again today.

This time, I am going to describe how it used to be on television, versus how it is today.

Today, you have everything basically out in the open on network TV, less nudity, of course.

Any topic is open for discussion, and, of course, that means that sexual talk is right out in the open, even during supposedly family time, at 8 p.m.

Everything can be spoken about related to sex, and I mean everything.

No, you still can't say the F-bomb, but I think we are coming closer to the day when you will be able to say that too.

Now that I have set the table, let's look back 40 years ago and how the situation of "sex" was handled.

I am going to base my observation on a popular, ground-breaking network television sitcom of that day, and one episode where, if the same story was developed today on a current show, you can only imagine what would have went on.

I saw an episode (actually a two-parter) of "That Girl" yesterday. One of the most popular shows of its day, the ABC sitcom starred Marlo Thomas and Ted Bessell, and even though it isn't given credit for it, it was the first network sitcom to show a woman pursuing the "American Dream" on her own.

Sure, she had a boyfriend pushing her to excel, but the character of Ann Marie was very driven to become the best actress she could be.

Anyway, on this episode, boyfriend Donald, a journalist, has been sent to Hollywood on an extended stay to cover Hollywood's current take on morals. He is going to be away from Ann for a month, and Ann doesn't like it.

Donald suggests that Ann go with him, work for him, and look for acting jobs in Tinseltown.

Today, Ann would jump at the chance, and there wouldn't be any discussion of her not going.

But back on TV in 1970, there was plenty of discussion.

Ann dad's objected, not only to her going but to her boyfriend paying her to go with him, giving her a salary where she might be losing a month's salary if she just went with him as his "guest."

Dad figured that the two would shack up in a single room, and Donald paying her almost made his daughter into ... well, you fill in the blank.

The two were determined to go together, and they did.

But dad kept tabs on them, and their hotel living arrangement, even from afar.

There was a mixup in rooms, and dad originally thinking he called his daughter's room, got Donald on the phone. Of course, he was wondering why Donald was in his daughter's room, even when Donald explained that there was a mixup and it was actually his room.

And by the way, the rooms were adjoining, separated only by a door--which Ann assured her father was locked, of course.

There were other mixups during their stay, all of which were cunningly handled by the writers and the actors to play up the comedy of the show.

There was one point in one of the shows where the cleaning lady comes in, and Ann had just finished getting dressed for bed. She was in her night gown, and the cleaning lady--why she was up there at night was probably a plot device--inexplicably opens the door between the two rooms, and Donald gets a glimpse of his girlfriend in her not-revealing-at-all nightgown.

Big mistake. Ann would have none of it, and the door was closed as quickly as it opened.

Here is another one: Donald ordered dinner for him and Ann which was to be brought up to her room, because her room was larger.

Well, Dad caught wind of this too, and Ann, trying to stave off this anger, came up with a plan: they could eat in her room--and eat in his room, too--by putting the table with the food through the connecting door, with Donald sitting on his side, in his room, and Ann sitting on hers, in her room.

That way, she wouldn't offend her father.

As almost a side story to the main story, Ann did get an acting job in a commercial, but her acting job forced her to into dangerous situations that made her uncomfortable, and while she was happy to get the acting job, she was unhappy at having to face danger at every turn.

These two episodes depicted the morals that were allowed on network TV back then.

Both Ann and Donald were in a committed relationship, but Ann had to be chaste at any cost, because these two episodes demonstrated the maximum point that shows could go to during that time in talking about adult male/female relationships.

You can only imagine how this would be handled in today's world of network TV, but looking at this 1970 episode from a 2012 perspective, it was quite refreshing.

Sure, you can say that they were able to do more with this subject that they could have done 20 years earlier in the 1950s, and you would be right.

But there is more to it than that.

Creativity was in place here. When you can't write directly about a subject, and you have to write around it, it certainly makes it more creative, more clever, and creates, like in this sitcom, funny situations.

One of the reasons "That Girl" was a hit when it was was that the writing on the show was superb, and this show truly developed that element of the show. Writers were forced to write around a sticky subject, as the nation's mores were changing.

But they did, and bravo to them. The episodes hold up, in their own way, 40 years after they were originally shown.

Heck, the writers of "Mike and Molly," "The Big Bang Theory," and countless others should really be forced to watch shows from 40 and more years ago to see how such situations were handled.

I am sure that they could learn quite a bit from those old shows, and make their current shows better.

But it won't happen, I know that.

I just wish it would.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Rant #2,001: I Call Your Name

On Wednesday, I did something I haven't done in a while, that is, take the day off from work because of sickness.

I went to the doctor, was diagnosed with an upper respiratory problem, was given two prescriptions for medicine, started taking them, and I feel much better today, and I am back at work, with today being the second day back.

On Wednesday, I went to the doctor in the mid-morning, finally got out of there and received my medicine by late morning, and then basically went home to vegetate.

But in the morning, before I had my doctor's appointment, I watched some TV that I usually don't have time to watch, and one of the shows was one of my favorites of all time, "Leave It To Beaver." That show has always clicked with me as a boy's eye view of the world, circa late 1950s to early 1960s, and I have seen every episode dozens of times, and still laugh out loud like I was watching the show for the first time.

Anyway, on the episode I watched was a guest star who actually was on the show off and on for about three years, a young, pretty actress by the name of Karen Sue Trent. She played Penny Woods, the perfect female foil for Beaver as he was getting older and starting to discover the opposite sex.

They both hated each other, said so to each others' faces, but secretly, they kind of liked each other.

Anyway, the Penny Woods character was an antagonist to the Beav, inciting him to do stupid things and behave stupidly in her presence.

She replaced Judi Weil, who played Beaver's first female antagonist, Judy Hensler, for a few seasons of the show, when the leading actors were young. I think they wanted a more "mature" antagonist, and Trent was it.

Although her role was featured in just 14 episodes, it was a pivotal one, as Theodore Cleaver morphed from a little boy to a young man in front of our eyes.

Jerry Mathers, as we all know, was the Beaver, and he has had an interesting career both inside and outside of show business, and you can easily check it out on Wikipedia or using any of the search engines you normally use.

But what ever happened to Karen Sue Trent?

When I was feeling better, I decided to do a search for her, and while I did not come up with much, what I came up with was very interesting indeed.

She was born March 14, 1948 in an undetermined location.

In 1954, at the age of six, she appeared in her first, and what appears to be her only film, "Garden of Eden."

This was an, at the time, notorious movie about naturists, or nudists. This was way before nudity was allowed in general movie releases, but at the time, there were plenty of these types of films being made, and evidently, shown somewhere throughout the country.

This one was all the more notorious because it was actually part of a famous court case which led to a law being written related to the use of nudity in movies. In Excelsior Pictures vs. the New York Board of Regents, the New York State Board of Appeals ruled that onscreen nudity was not obscene, and underground film producers used this case as an opening to include nudity in numerous films after that, although mainstream Hollywood did not necessarily jump on board with this until the late 1960s.

Anyway, in the film, Trent plays Joan Latimore, a young girl who enjoys playing with her friends in the nudist colony in the buff. It is her insistence to do so that allows her mother, Susan, played by Jamie O'Hara, to adopt the naturalist lifestyle after first being hesitant to do so.

Trent is seen from the top up in frontal scenes, and to this day she is the only child actress to have a major role in a naturist film.

Her "Leave It To Beaver" role came slightly later, and in the interim and afterward, Trent was on a slew of TV shows, including "Wagon Train," "Shirley Temple's Storybook," and "Death Valley Days."

But pretty much after "Beaver" went off the air in 1962 or so, Trent may have left the business, because after 1962, there is nothing that I could find that talked about what she did from 1962 to the present time.

By 1962, she was 14 years old, and presumably, if she did leave the business, she must have gone to high school and perhaps afterward, college.

Maybe she had another career, got married, started a family, raised children, and later, became a grandmother, but there is no record of her anywhere that I could find after 1962.

Really hunting for any information on her, I found one reference, that the referencer admitted could not be substantiated, that she worked as a topless dancer for a spell, but again, this may have been hearsay, and not truth.

There are plenty of photos of her as a kid, but I found two that said they were her as an adult, but again, this could have been her or another Karen Sue Trent, and actually, the photos looked like another actress with a similar name, Karen Black, so I won't post them here.

So at this point, I have hit a complete dead end.

Her name is not unique to her, and there are several Karen Sue Trents who are on the Internet. I read another reference to her where the referencer said he had called a few Karen Sue Trents in the Los Angeles phone book several years ago and came up completely empty in trying to find her.

So right now, Karen Sue Trent has vanished off the face of the earth, and maybe that was by design. Maybe she had had enough of the business, and had moved on with her life.

I would like to think that, but I am still wondering why there are no references to her at all after 1962.

Like I said, maybe she likes it that way, but unfortunately, it led me nowhere.

So when I see her again on "Leave It To Beaver," I will once again ask the question, "Whatever happened to her?" and I guess I will have to move on.

I wish I had the time to dig further on her, but unfortunately, I don't.

The interesting thing is that she will always be a young lady, etched in time on that timeless show, never to age, never to change.

I guess that is a "freeze-frame" moment lots of kid actors have to endure, and some do it pretty well, and some don't.

Karen Sue Trent? Who knows.

Have a good weekend. I will speak to you again on Monday.

Classic Rant #655 (January 13, 2012): Nothing Much Today

I have to admit, I am usually not at a loss for words, but today I am.

There really isn't too much to report on today.

My life did not change when Kristy McNichol announced that she is a lesbian.

Didn't people kinda know about this already, or at least surmised that she was gay?

And she has been a non-entity for such a long time that I don't really think people care at this point.

Heather Locklear's story is a bit worse.

I heard this morning that she was in the hospital for an undisclosed ailment, and then later, I heard that it may have to do with mixing pills and booze.

What an idiot.

The Knicks have been playing well, but they lost last night, and much worse, let's hope that don't lose Carmelo Anthony for any extended period.

He was taken out of last night's game with a sprained ankle, but that appears to be it.

I have completely lost interest in the Republicans who have the eye on the big prize.

I have come to the conclusion that if any one of these guys runs, they are going to get stomped by President Obama.

Is this the best the Republicans have to offer?

And as for that quote from Mrs. Obama about being "an angry black woman," stop with the racial stuff, please.

Americans look at her husband as our President, not our "black" President, and we don't look at her as anything but our First Lady.

Enough with the racial stuff ... we should have passed that by when we elected her husband to the Presidency.

I don't know what else to say today. As I said, there isn't much happening that I care to report on.

But I am sure that next week, there will be much, much more to speak about.

I am not off on Martin Luther King Day, although I kind of wish I was.

I don't want to miss all the sales that will be offered by stores on that day.

I guess that day is no different from President's Day, as it's nothing but a sales day now.

Or for me, a work day.

See you next week.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Rant #2,000: 2,000 Miles From Home

Yes, this is the 2,000th post to appear on the Ranting and Raving site.

Actually, it is the official 2000th post on this site, and its predecessor site, the one that was hacked several months ago.

One day, probably in the distant future, the entire cadre of posts will be here, on one single site, but for right now, let's just say that a good portion of the posts from the two sites are here.

The first posts--yes, two of them, were on May 4, 2009, and here and there, there have been some extra posts put up, so the number of posts--or Rants--is over 2,000, but we will use 2,000 as a nice round number.

More than eight years have passed since I put up the first post, and looking back, creating this blog is one of the best things I ever did.

I have told the story numerous times.

At work, I have to write what I have to write to accommodate the world that I cover and get paid to cover.

Here, I get my juices flowing again.

I can write about anything I want to write about, and while I don't get paid for it, I do get the satisfaction of getting my thoughts out to whoever wants to read what I have to say.

Nobody has to agree with me, and that is fine. I learn a lot from the disagreements.

As long as they don't get chippy--and yes, many of the disagreements do get a bit heated--I am fine with your reactions, whether positive of negative.

I have written on so many topics over the past eight years that I probably do, at times, repeat myself, but I try not to do that.

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know where I stand on a lot of issues, both important issues and non-important ones.

It is a fun thing to have my own personal, electronic soap box to vent my frustrations, and I am glad that people are actually reading what I write.

No, I don't have a large bunch of people coming here on a daily basis--I am barely in the search engines, if I am at all--but I do publicize the site through Facebook.

And with the built-in barometers that Google provide, I pretty much know who is visiting the site, the length of time they spend here, and also pretty much where visitors are looking into what I say, by state and country.

And yes, while most people visiting here are from the U.S., the blog does have readers from elsewhere around the world.

And thanks to you, my readers, who come here if not every day, than at least when the topic interests you, and spend a few minutes here.

Sure, I know you rock your head and roll your eyes at times at what I have to say, but if I can elicit some reaction to what I put here, that is fine.

So all in all, the Ranting and Raving Blog--both of them--has been a great experience for me, and I hope a good experience for you too.

Onward and upward from here. I figure we will hit 3,000 by about 2022 or so, and by then I will be 65 years young, and the blog will be celebrating its bar mitzvah year.


Classic Rant #654 (January 12, 2012): Wrestling With My Problems

Just a week ago, I was in a pretty big pickle with jury duty. I didn't know where I was going to be for the next month, and I didn't know what was going on with my place of work related to the time I was going to have to take off to serve on a jury.

Everything was a mess.

But a few months back, I bought Impact Wrestling (formerly TNA) tickets for myself and my son to see professional wrestling at the NYCB Theater in Westbury (formerly the Westbury Music Fair), and looking back, it served as the perfect antidote to what was ailing me.

It was fun. Period.

The newly renamed Impact Wrestling, doesn't, well, have the same impact on professional wrestling as WWE does, and they know it. The WWE controls probably 95 percent of the wrestling here, and the other 5 percent is divided up between other pro organizations, including Impact.

But since Impact only probably has about 2 percent of the pie, what impact does it have?

The organization has been around for about 10 years or so, started as an alternative to the 365 days/24 hours a day rigors of the WWE.

Impact is a bit different. It has a home base at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., and although there is some traveling involved--they often do house shows and pay per views away from their home base--about 75 percent of the action takes place in Orlando. Thus, the participants aren't always on as they are with the WWE. There is at least a little wiggle room.

On this occasion, they traveled to Long Island for a house show, and the two-hour event featured the usual professional wrestling stuff, like yelling and screaming, prancing, and egging on the crowd, and it also featured a lot of fine wrestling.

Sure, a lot of it is orchestrated, but these athletes do know what they are doing.

Impact Wrestling has inherited a lot of big names from the WWE, including Kurt Angle, Rick Flair and Gail Kim, but it has made its mark by creating its own stars, like Bobby Roode, Velvet Sky and A.J. Styles.

Most of the main roster was there, the bouts were generally of shorter duration, and the crowd--the place was about 75 percent full--seemed to enjoy the goings on.

I know my son and I did too.

And we saw history. Referee Earl Hebner refereed his 100,000th match in his career that night.

For me, for at least two hours, it took my mind entirely off of my jury duty troubles.

And more importantly, it was a bonding occasion between my son and I. He is now 16, and getting older by the day.

I cherish these moments when he and I can get out and witness a sporting event or a concert, and it serves to make us a bit closer.

So thanks, Impact Wrestling. You did your job that night.

Come again.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Rant #1,999: 1999

Well, we are just one Rant away from the magic 2,000 posts level, and I guess it's time to party like it's 1999.

There were some interesting things that happened in that year--was it the last year of the 20th century or was it simply the year before Y2K?--including that the world's population reached 6 billion people during 1999.

My wife and I had nothing to do with that, as we had our son in 1995.

The euro was introduced in 11 countries on January 1 of that year, and Ford also purchased Volvo during 1999.

I don't know what those two facts have to do with each other, but I bet they probably had a lot to do with each other--did Ford spend dollars or euros in the purchase?

President Bill Clinton was acquitted of perjury and obstruction of justice, and "SpongeBob SquarePants" premiered during that year.

There must be some connection between the two, but I have no idea what it is.

The Columbine High School massacre also happened during 1999, and no, I won't be making any snide comments about that horrible incident.

And no, Prince's single and album of the same name were NOT released during 1999, but actually 17 years earlier in 1982.

But you just know that "1999" got lots of extra airplay in 1999, because the song just fit the year so snugly.

I was 42 in 1999, and yes, it seems like eons ago, and yes, it really was eons ago. My daughter was 11 years old in 1999, my son was four during the year, and my wife was---- (not going there).

Heck, 1999 was 18 years ago! That's a long time ago, and just think, high school seniors who graduated in June of 2017 were born in 1999!

That makes me feel kind of old, because I graduated high school in 1975.

Why are there no songs called "1975?"

I think because our focus was on 1976, our Bicentennial, and 1975 was simply the year before that, a mere footnote to our country's 200th anniversary.

Back to 1999 ...

Honestly, I really don't have much more to say about the year in question than I have already said.

So onward and upward to 2,000--2,000 Rants that is.

That is an accomplishment, and I will highlight that accomplishment tomorrow.

It's like celebrating a birthday or anniversary, but without the gifts.