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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rant #1,851: Laugh

I am very stressed out right now.

There are just so many things going on that are out of my control--see yesterday's Rant for one example--that when I come home from work, all I want to do is eat dinner and go to sleep.

Of course, that isn't entirely possible.

The TV is on, and that magical invention has given me some solace for my entire nearly 60 year existence.

I have always been a fan of TV--my mother says that when I was a toddler, I would jump up and down in the crib when she had on "American Bandstand"--and over the next many decades of my existence, I have always turned to television to not only entertain me, but also to make things right in my world.

Lately, when I have come home from work and eaten dinner, yes, the news is on the TV in our living room, and I do listen to what is going on in our world.

But once I am done, it is off to the bedroom, where part of my preparation for my later sleep is watching at least a few minutes of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In," the groundbreaking 1967-1973 NBC show that the Decades channel is running twice a night.

I rarely get to see the second showing, but the first one--which begins at 6 p.m. EST--at least gets a few minutes glance each weeknight.

It truly was a groundbreaking show, read the audience well, and became a fixture on Monday night in the late 1960s to early 1970s.

With a talented cast of comics, actors and dancers who were all on the cusp of stardom before appearing on this show--and some of whom became huge stars because of their exposure on the show--"Laugh-In" ended up killing the variety show as we know it, and enabled a program like "Saturday Night Live" to exist.

I also relax by listening to records--yes, the vinyl kind--and part of that relaxation is digitizing the huge stock load of records that I have. It is time consuming but oh so relaxing, at least to me.

So how do I bring together my love of "Laugh-In" and my love of records?

It is pretty simple, because "Laugh-In" spawned a cottage industry of show-related recordings, several made by the cast members themselves and others made by performers not associated with the show, but who were looking to cash in on the show's popularity.

That is why there are numerous recordings and versions of "Here Comes the Judge," which became a standard skit in the early years of the show, with chitlin' comedian Pigmeat Markham leading the charge.

He had his own hit single "Here Comes the Judge," which reached No. 19 in 1968, but there are at least a few other versions of this song that I know about, by such performers as Shorty Long (his single went to No. 8 in 1968); the Magistrates (!); the Buena Vistas; and Pete Rodriguez. I am sure there were others.

Markham was one of three cast members who had hit singles related to their appearance on the show. Late in the show's run, Jud Strunk had "Daisy a Day," which reached No. 14 in early 1973, when the show was on its last legs.

But, of course, the biggest hit to come from the show was by Tiny Tim, who warbled "Tip-Toe Thru' the Tulips With Me" to No. 17 in 1968. He made a tremendous impression on the viewing public, and enjoyed a long and interesting recording career based on his appearances on the show.

The highest charting album related to the show by one of its performers was by Lily Tomlin, whose "This Is a Recording" reached No. 15 in 1971, and she put out other LPs including her characters from the show.

Other cast members recorded albums and singles which made little impression on the charts, including Judy Carne, Gary Owens, Goldie Hawn, Joanne Worley, Donna Jean Young and Arte Johnson and Ruth Buzzi.

And there were two cast albums generated by the popularity of "Laugh-In." One featured the entire cast--including Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, who had released a couple of comedy albums on their own prior to "Laugh-In"--the other the entire cast less Rowan and Martin.

There are probably dozens of other "Laugh-In" related and inspired-by recordings, and I am still digging them up as we speak.

By the way, Decades is now showing the rarely seen fifth season of the show--with some new cast members, including the show's first child performer, Moosie Dreier--and I have great hopes that they will show the completely forgotten and never seen since it first aired sixth season, with Strunk, Young and an entirely new cast but including Rowan, Martin, Owens and Buzzi.

Let's see if they get that far, but right now, I am enjoying the ride, both TV-wise and recording-wise.

Classic Rant #505 (May 16, 2011): Mystery Solved

I am sure you heard about a former Playboy Playmate of the Month who was found dead in her dilapidated apartment a few weeks ago.

Evidently, she had been dead for a year or so, but no one noticed until recently, when mail started to pile up at her door.

Now we have learned that Vickers, an actress in several classic B-movie horror films, died of natural causes "due to arterial sclerotic cardiovascular disease," or heart disease caused by a hardening of the arteries, according to the Los Angeles Coroner's Office.

Vickers, who was in her 80s, had left a space heater on, and evidently had a heart attack when she died. The space heater continued to run for the past year without interruption.

But for a year, she had no visitors, no family, nobody, who tried to visit her or at least check in on her.

When police finally investigated her disappearance, they found a woman who was as far away from the glitz and glamor of Hollywood as one could be. She was a virtual recluse, her apartment was filled with boxes and was in disrepair ... it was pretty much a mess.

But 50 years ago, this girl was as hot as hot could be.

Vickers was nothing more than a B-movie actress, at best, during her time in the limelight. She used her good looks--she could have been Marilyn Monroe's sister--to become a model, posing for Playboy in 1959.

Her good looks got her into a few lower-level films, including 1958's "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" and 1959's "Attack of the Giant Leeches."

For a young kid who watched "Chiller Theater" and "Creature Features," she was one of the female stars that I recognized as a young child.

She also had bit parts in major movies, including "Sunset Boulevard" and "Hud."

Her last feature role was in a 1990 horror called "Evil Spirits."

She also did loads of commercials, and was the White Rain girl in a series of mid-1950s TV ads.

Vickers also was a singer, releasing at least one album.

She married twice, but both marriages did not last very long. She also reportedly had a long-term romance with actor Jim Hutton.

Whatever happened to her throughout the remainder of her life, what a sad end to an interesting story.

And what is ironic is that at the time of her death, she was writing her autobiography. What stage that work was in is unknown, but however far she got with it, it might be an interesting read.

R.I.P. Yvette Vickers.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Rant #1,850: Wishing and Hoping

I recently received a phone call that picked up my spirits a bit.

The call came out of the blue, it came on my cell phone, and I actually had a job interview! I set up the appointment and thought about the possibility of landing a new job.

So I prepared myself for my first real, one on one interview that I had since I have been looking for a job, probably about three months and 150 resumes into it.

I have had one or two phone interviews, but this is the first actual, one on one interview that I had.

The day came, and I got dressed for the occasion, and drove to the appointed place for the interview, an office building about 20 minutes away from my home.

I got there a little early, so I sat in my car, listening to the radio.

Then it was time to go, and I made my way to building.

I looked at the building register to make sure about where I was going, and lo and behold, the company I was going to was not on the register.

I checked my email for the message that was sent by the recruiter who set up the interview, and it said that I need to go to room 207. I looked up the room on the register, and it was a law office. As I am sure you know, sometimes different companies are under one umbrella title, so I didn't think anything of it, and proceeded to the elevator to go to room 207 and meet the person who I was scheduled to speak to about the position.

I go into the elevator, press "2," and the door closes.

I think the elevator is moving, but it was taking an awful long time to get from "1" to "2."

I start to wonder what is going on.

I press "2" again, but nothing happens. I can't feel if I am moving or not.

I press it again, and the door finally opens, and I step out of the elevator.

I assumed I was on the second floor, but I look around, and there doesn't appear to be any offices on this floor.

I see two men smoking cigarettes in a passageway leading to an elevated garage, and I ask them how I get to the second floor.

They tell me to take the elevator to the second floor, meaning that my couple of minutes in the elevator did not take me anywhere, and I was stuck in the elevator, only to get the door open and stepping out into the same floor I originally disembarked from!

I felt so embarrassed, if there was a hole, I would have crawled into it.

I went back into the elevator, and this time, it did not stick. It actually took me to the second floor!

(Note: That was the first time I was stuck in an elevator in probably 50 years, since being in an elevator that stopped between floors in my old Rochdale Village, New York, neighborhood. Risking being dismembered, I remember prying the door open with my hands, seeing it was stuck between two floors, and crawling out of it to one of the floors. Looking back, that was a stupid thing to do, but you don't think when you are in this situation and you are eight or nine years old.)

I finally reach the floor, go to the office, tell the person at the front desk that I am there, and wait to be interviewed by the person that I was scheduled with.

I am sitting there for a few minutes, look at my watch a few times as I gripped my resume and a copy of the trade magazine I work for, and then I see someone come into the office on my left side.

It is a co-worker of mine, who evidently also applied for the same job!

It could have been an embarrassing moment, but quite frankly, it wasn't. It is real out in the open that all my fellow co-workers need to look for jobs, and since this guy does basically what I do at work, him applying for the same job that I did really wasn't something out of the ordinary.

A tall, young man comes out of the offices, and says, "OK, I will speak with you about the position (meaning me), and Joely will speak with you (meaning my co-worker)."

The problem was that I was supposed to meet with Joely. That is what the recruiter primed me for, made sure I confirmed, and it was the person that I actually did some Internet research on to find out about.

But no Joely for me.

The fellow, a tall guy probably half my age, takes me into a room, an active room where there is a copy machine and people are literally running in and out of.

He grabs a chair, and tells me to sit down, I give him my resume and magazine, and we started to talk.

"Well, I see that you have been with your present company for about 10 years," he says to me.

"No I haven't. I have been there about 21 years," I reply. This is the second time that this has happened to me during an interview, where the interviewer cannot add 1996, when I started with my current job, to the present time. It leads me to believe that millennials have no idea how to add ... and this is the guy interviewing me for a position?

He tells me scant little about the position, which is for a "content writer," other than it is for a "start-up company," which basically means they are looking for the biggest bang for a lesser buck.

The interview ends after about six or seven minutes, and he says while the salary for the position is flexible, "I don't know if you are in their salary range." This is after he goes back and forth not telling me how much the job pays.

I then say to him, "Look, I am sure you can get a $25,000 a year person to fill the job that will give you $25,000 worth of work. But if you hire me, I am a $xxxxx person who will give you $xxxxx worth of work."

I shake his hand as I leave, and I do leave the magazine with him as a courtesy. We being to walk, he backtracks, takes the magazine, and hands it to me as I exit.

I will never hear from this place again.

The recruiter contacted me, I told her this same story (less getting stuck in the elevator), and I have not heard back from her either.

To say you are going to meet with someone, and find out that she is there but isn't meeting with you, is bad interview etiquette.

To ask me in to interview for a job where the salary is probably, maybe, half of what I am currently making is even worse, a waste of both my time and the perspective company's time.

I later compared notes with my co-worker, and he had much the same experience.

So yes, Friday was a waste of time, and now I have to go back to the drudgery of my current job.

I don't like wasting days off like I did, but I guess all of these negative experiences will eventually lead to something positive, just one step in the right direction.

Or at least I have to believe that, just to keep a positive attitude.

Quite frankly, inwardly, I kind of know I am going down with the ship at my work.

I see the iceberg, but like the Titanic, I can't really do anything about it. I am too close to it.

Well, back to work!

Another fun day awaits me, and heck, I can't wait for it to unfold!

Classic Rant #504 (May 13, 2011): Friday the 13th Idiocy

You just knew it had to be Friday the 13th.

I tried to get into this blog this morning, only to be met with a message telling me that Google's blogs were down.

Not only that, but my Rant of yesterday--against smoking--also bit the dust.

I don't have a copy of it, so if you didn't see it yesterday, you aren't going to see it today.

Maybe there's also a full moon out, I don't know.

But losing a Rant also ticks me off.

I spend time thinking these things through, and when one bites the dust--because of some other entity's stupidity--I don't really like it too much.

It is kind of ironic, though. The Rant had to do with smoking, a practice that kills thousands of people every year.

And now, my smoking Rant was killed.

Very sad. I will never put up a #503 Rant ever again in honor of this worthy Rant that isn't around anymore.

Anyway, it is Friday the 13th, the day the movie series was named after.

I hope to continue to have a fairly decent day (other than the lost Rant).

But I remember on one Friday the 13th, about seven years ago, we had something of a "job massacre" at my work.

My managing editor was fired, and several other people lost their jobs, if I remember correctly.

It was an awful day at work; the one day seemingly lasted about five days. I couldn't wait to get out of there and get back home that day.

But Friday the 13th is lucky for some people, I guess.

Like the people who created the Friday the 13th movie franchise.

They can thank their lucky stars about Friday the 13th, because it has made them millions.

Me, this Friday the 13th is just another day.

Two days from now, my daughter will celebrate her 23rd birthday.

Other than that, this day means nothing to me.

It's just another day in paradise, if you know what I mean.

(And this dumbness got me away from giving a "shout out" to my daughter, who turns 23 on Sunday. Happy Birthday ... and many more!!!!!)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Rant #1,849: Naked Eye

The weather is beautiful in my neck of the woods, resembling April, and certainly not February.

I know other parts of the country are getting hit hard by rain and tornadoes, but here in the East, this is the mildest February I can ever remember.

We had that one spate of snow, and since then, the temperatures have pretty much consistently been in the mid 40s to the high 60s.

It is warm, and I don't know if this has anything to do with global warming, but when I see it is in the mid to high 60s and February isn't even done yet, well, something is amiss.

It is affecting my allergies big time. I haven't had a major problem just yet, but with things blooming two months before they should have, you just know that allergy sufferers are going to be suffering when it is in the 60s in February.

And the birds are out, returned from their winter vacation weeks earlier than normal, and they are making their mark on these parts, and my car has been the recipient of their damage--and this is just February yet.

Look, we still have to get through the remainder of this month, the entirety of March, and the first half of April in order to be "safe" as far as snowstorms and cold weather go, but except for that brief snow skirmish earlier this month, we are getting closer to being there each and every day of warmer weather.

There are warm weather signs, though.

Spring training has commenced in both Florida and Arizona. No matter what Major League Baseball team you root for--or even if you aren't a baseball fan--the coming together of "The Boys of Summer" signals, without a shadow of a doubt, that not only is warm weather coming, but summer is too.

And with summer comes lighter clothing, and for guys, at least, it means the girl-watching season is in full bloom.

Leave it to the Internet to make a non-story into a leading story, but it seems Monster Beverages--yes, the energy drink company--and NASCAR--yes, the auto racing conglomeration that is so popular in some parts of this country--are in trouble with many racing fans, not because of the races they are involved with, but because of the way they are promoting these races.

In these politically correct times, what one wears seems to be a constant bone of contention, in particular what women wear and don't wear. Heck, if you want to believe the Internet, culture clashes have sprung up related to what women wear to work, on the beach, to high school proms, and just when they are caring for their families.

The latest skirmish I am referring to is that supposedly, many people are upset that NASCAR is using scantily clad models provided by Monster to promote their races.

The climax of this whole thing is that the so-called "Monster Girls" who appeared at "Clash at Daytona," a NASCAR event that was held this past Sunday, drew the uproar of so many people, and these people posted all over the Internet to spew their ire at how the women were dressed.

I have provided a photo of the women, and to me, while they certainly aren't dressed for a 9 to 5 work job, are they dressed any better--or worse--than models used by the racing community to promote their product for generations?

They used to use models in bikinis; now they use them in corsets. Why are people so upset?

Have we, as a society, gotten so PC that we can't get over the fact that this is the way racing events have been promoted for generations?

Again going with the PC link, and not to be political here, but some people claim that the only reason that there is any uproar is that Monster is using not just caucasian models to promote these events, but also women of color, which, not knowing much about NASCAR, perhaps is something new on their docket.

I don't know if that this is where all of this anger is coming from, but if it is, heck, a pretty lady is a pretty lady, whether she is white, black, yellow or purple.

Who cares?

I don't believe it is that, I just believe we have become so politically correct that we can accept a Hollywood actress at an awards show with three quarters of her chest exposed, we can accept young women going to high school in much the same attire as a free speech issue--because they are simply showing their right to bear, well bare ... you know what I mean--but we cannot accept models doing what they are being paid to do--model and promote the product--like they have done for years and years and years.

So stupid, so PC, and as usual, a tempest in a teapot.

The day I stop looking at a woman who is showing too much is the day I am in the ground.

And yes, my interest in NASCAR remains nil, but the girls are nice to look at.

Speak to you again on Monday. Have a good weekend.

Classic Rant #503 (May 12, 2011): Up In Smoke

According to an Associated Press story, Chief Executive Louis C. Camilleri of cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc. told a nurse handling cancer patients that while cigarettes are harmful and addictive, it is not that hard to break the habit and quit.

In addition, Camilleri also said that the tobacco industry doesn't get enough credit for the efforts it makes to ensure that there is effective worldwide regulation of a product that is both harmful and addictive. He added that there are more previous smokers in America today than current smokers.

Camilleri is himself a smoker, and reportedly only quit once, for three months when he had a bad cold.

Obviously, this guy lives on another planet. Tobacco use is perhaps the most addictive habit of all, and the hardest to break.

We have all seen people smoking, often chain smoking, and we grieve for those people, especially loved ones.

The habit often begins in young adulthood, and carries over to adulthood.

Sure, some people can smoke and never get hit by it.

But so many people get cancer from it.

And on a lesser level, it is a somewhat disgusting habit. No matter how much perfume or after shave someone uses, you know that they are a smoker.

The residue clings to the body. There is always a stench around these people.

Just look at their faces. They are always yellowish or full of lines.

That is what smoking does to you.

Perhaps I am prejudiced. My grandfather was a heavy smoker. He went from cigarettes to pipes to cigars in one fell swoop.

He couldn't help himself. He was an addict, plain and simple.

And when he did stop, it was way too late.

My grandfather lived until he was 74 I think. My grandmother, his wife and a non-smoker, lived into her late 80s. My mother, their child, just turned 80. Using these basic statistics, I think smoking robbed probably at least 10 years off my grandfather's life.

He never saw my sister and I graduate high school and college, and he never saw us become parents ourselves, so he never experienced being a great grandparent.

That is what he robbed himself of by smoking.

This dummy from Philip Morris has no understanding of this at all.

And with cigarettes going for double figures pure pack, I am sure he is counting the cash in his wallet, and at the same time lighting up.

I wonder how his grandchildren feel about this, and how they would feel if their grandfather got really sick from these cancer sticks.

I really wonder ... .

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rant #1,848: A Rage To Live

On the weekend, my wife and I search Netflix and other sources for movies to watch.

Saturday and Sunday used to be big TV evenings in days of yore, but now, they simply aren't.

Saturdays, in particular, are sort of the black hole of the TV schedule, with so many people not viewing that the networks and local stations basically just fill out the schedule on that evening with whatever is available.

Like I said, it wasn't always this way, but it sure is now.

Thus, my wife and I search for movies to watch, and not necessarily current blockbusters. The movies today simply do not have the pizzazz that movies of earlier eras had, and when you watch the older movies, even the lesser ones, you see that today, moviemaking seemingly has become way too easy. You get more when you work within a certain group of parameters, and films up to 1968 or so had to work within those boundaries.

Thus, we found one of those types of movies that kind of hit the boundaries of its time but never went over them with a film that we watched called "A Rage to Live." It is based on the novel of the same name and starred the always stunning Suzanne Pleshette as the fim's star, a woman who tries valiantly, but cannot satisfy her urges with just one man.

The 1965 film, with the screenplay written by John T. Kelley and directed by Walter Grauman, portrays Pleshette as the teenage child of a wealthy family, Her father has died, and presumably looking for that father figure in her life, she is coerced into "necking" with a host of men, and finds that she actually likes it.

Fighting the then current social mores, she gains the reputation as the "rich whore" until she meets a straight college guy, played by Bradford Dillman. He has a strict hands-off policy, and they fall in love. She confesses her past ills, and while he has to think about it for a short while, he decides to put her past indiscretions out of her mind and proposes marriage.

All goes well for the couple. He has a successful business, she acts the role of the staid wife and mother, joining women's clubs while raising their son.

But then, while construction ensues at their farm, she meets up with Ben Gazzara, who plays grungy, dirty and exciting Roger Bannon, who she had known earlier as the child of her housekeeper and now, as the owner of the construction company doing the work.

One thing leads to another, and Pleshette goes back to her old ways, having a steamy affair with Bannon.

I won't give the rest of the movie away, but things do not turn out too well for Pleshette, as the invisible scarlet letter she has been wearing since she was a teenager ends up doing her in.

Yes, the movie reflects the times, when women were supposed to be chaste, staid and saving themselves for marriage.

The movie also rams right into the boundaries of films at the time, delving into her need for passion, but never stepping over the line.

Like she told her mother, all she did was "necked" with the many men she was with.

Yup, and if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you somewhere.

I love movies that operated within those parameters, never crossing the line but getting their point across perfectly. You don't have to show everything--whether literally or figuratively--to make your point, and the point was made very well in this film.

I kind of stumbled upon it because I recently bought the soundtrack LP for the film--featuring the title song by Ferrante and Teicher and all other music by Nelson Riddle--at my local record store. It seemed intriguing, I found the film at YouTube and the rest is history.

Sure, the movie kind of veers into soap opera territory, and with a fine cast--also including Peter Graves--it was kind of irresistible.

Incredibly, the movie was nominated for an Academy Award for best costumes in a black and white film, an award it lost to a British film called "Darling." Yes, they did have such an award, as many films still were shot in black and white in 1965.

We forget just how good an actress Pleshette actually was. Yes, we mainly remember her from "The Bob Newhart Show," but she had been in dozens of films before hitting TV paydirt with this show. Whether it is "The Birds" or "If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium" or this film, she and celluloid really were a match made in heaven. She was really, really good as an actress and really, really nice to look at, too.

Anyway, I would give this one a try. You can see it at

Classic Rant #502 (May 11, 2011): Good For the Island

Today, a proposal will be launched to revitalize the hub of Nassau County, Long Island, the major strip of land that is the site of the Nassau Coliseum.

After long delay, a proposal, which will eventually be voted on by the public, is on the table. This proposal will include a new arena, a minor league baseball stadium and other improvements.

It will cost millions, and the public will be able to vote on its worthiness in a special election during the summer.

Even though it will most probably raise taxes, I have to be all for it.

Without it, the Coliseum will never be redeveloped, the New York Islanders NHL hockey team will move, and this major strip of land will be wasted on things like a casino and low-income housing--or perhaps even worse, completely lay barren, not generating much revenue.

The proposal will create jobs, especially in the construction industry, and probably longer term jobs in the Coliseum and the new ballpark.

Sure, it's probably not the perfect solution for this expanse of land, but it is far better than the alternative.

Way back when, I said that the then-burgeoning Lighthouse proposal--which would have been privately financed--should be passed. In that long-ago Rant, I figured that that proposal--which would have also brought a huge amount of retail to the area--would be better than the alternative.

But those behind that proposal were ill-prepared to answer questions surrounding this idea, and the proposal ended up falling flat.

I am sure those behind the newest proposal are better prepared, and will have all the answers that need to be addressed.

I say go for it. Again, it is not perfect, but looking at the alternative, would you rather have a revamped site or a site that falls into further disrepair, generating nothing but negativity?

When the vote comes, I hope those in Nassau County vote YES for the proposal.

I really do.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Rant #1,847: Too Much Talk

The use of the phrase "we agree to disagree" on Facebook or anywhere where there is electronic discourse is a way for people to respectfully reach a point in a discussion where both sides have made there points, neither side is going to budge, and it is a polite way to move on without causing any great damage.

However, I have found that some people believe employing the phrase is a copout.

Others, like myself, feel it is a viable phrase to use when you reach an impasse, when two people are trying to prove their point and there is nowhere else to go with the discussion.

I have been attacked right here on this blog for using the phrase when myself and another person were at loggerheads, and just in case you missed it, I am going to post right here my retort to someone who believes I employed the phrase basically when I could not intelligently answer another person when trying to prove a point:

"Absolutely untrue. I use it when we are at an impasse. Believe what you want to believe, but this is the truth. I wish more people would use it, actually. We are not going to change each other's minds, so why pursue the same tired explanations? 

"Rather than say "F-off," another phrase which has been used by certain people when I say something--including the person you are trying to defend right here--I feel I have gone the high road with all of this. 

"You can accept that explanation or not; it is not going to change my day, nor my use of the phrase that upsets you so much.

"When two people are at loggerheads and a discussion goes on and on and on and on to no one's satisfaction, I feel it is the appropriate phrase to use, if for nothing else than to simply give the other person at least an inkling that it is time to move onto something else."

And yes, that is what I believe, 100 percent believe.

We have become such an angry culture, always trying to prove a point, and we do it endlessly.

Yes, I have done it too.

But I don't do it anymore.

I reach a point, and then I think it is better for all parties to simply end it, and to move on to something else.

This anger cannot be constructive.

I think we all need to take a collective deep breath, and look at whatever is bothering us and not ignore it, but simply count to 10, or even 20.

Me too.

That does not mean we cannot have an adult conversation about various topics.

But once it gets to the "F-off" stage, I think the limit has been reached.

And if you still do not agree with what I am saying, well, I guess we do agree to disagree.

Let's end it at that.

Classic Rant #501 (May 10, 2011): Houston, We Have a Problem

Whitney Houston, the once golden-voiced diva who sold millions of records during her heyday in the 1980s, and who has battled drug addiction for years, has entered rehab once again.

She is reportedly in a drug and alcohol treatment rehab program at an undisclosed location. She can leave the facility, but only with a monitor.

Lots of people thought that something was awry as far back as 2009. Houston, supposedly clean--released an album--the name of which I can't remember--and it played to mainly negative reviews, but more importantly, most people not only questioned the quality of the material, but the quality of her voice.

Her voice, once considered by many to be as velvety smooth as silk, had become wretched, evidently wracked by many years of abuse, including of the drug and alcohol kind.

On her tour to promote the album, she cancelled numerous dates due to illness, and negative reviews also impacted the tour.

Now we pretty much know what was going on--not that we didn't figure that this was what was happening.

Personally, I have never been a fan of Houston. She was the first of what I call the shriekers or screechers, who don't necessarily sing, more than shriek or screech. They may have good voices, but you would never know it by the way they handle a song, warbling rather than singing, using vocal gymnastics more than actual technique.

But you can't argue her popularity as one of the most popular singers in the world for a number of years.

Her success opened the floodgates for similar screechers, including Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera.

What can I say? I just don't like these types of singers.

But Houston was plenty popular. She sold millions of records--including "I Will Always Love You," the Dolly Parton song that is one of the biggest sellers in history--she acted, she was ubiquitous in every form of media for a while.

Her high profile marriage to Bobby Brown kept her, and him, in the headlines for years, mostly for negatives rather than positives.

And the descent has been precipitous.

My, how the mighty have fallen.

When I heard about Houston, I also heard that the Ah-nold and Maria Shriver marriage may be kaput.

Sometimes, you reach the top of the mountain, but even though you've hit the summit, the top is too steep.

I think that that is what happened to Houston, to Ah-nold and his wife, and to so many others.

Gravity sets in, and maybe a little reality too.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Rant #1,846: Never Judge a Book By the Cover

How was your President's Day weekend?

Mine was fine.

I did absolutely nothing.

I did the few chores I had to do this weekend, and when they were done, I basically planted myself in front of the TV and did what I traditionally do when I have a lazy day: watch a few movies.

I certainly did not go out and protest like others did, making yesterday into "Not My President's Day."

I don't know who wasted the time off more: myself or the protestors, who at this point have become caricatures of themselves, so angry yet so vapid.

This week, I hope to put to rest any problems I have had about the money in my former 401K plan. A bank official said that my money should be in my new IRA by Thursday at the latest, and he will call me when the money is in there.

Now, if I don't get the call, and the money is not in there by Thursday, then I have to go to the next step, but let's just say that right now, I am positive that this situation will be resolved by Thursday.

Then, I have to deal with a profit sharing account from my work, and I hope that that doesn't become the fiasco that this situation became.

I am ready to give my work the benefit of the doubt. I just want my money where it should be. I have already gone out of my way to make this right; I would expect my work would do the same for me.

(Based on past experience, I am taking a pollyanna-ish attitude on the whole thing, but also at this point, what more can I do?)

One minor news item broke over the past couple of days that really did not get much coverage, nor did it deserve any more than it received.

According to sources, Playboy Magazine has gone back to some nudity in the pages of its magazine, or at least it soon will be going this way.

You might remember that in an act of desperation to try to save the magazine from extinction, its publishers decided about a year ago to drop the nudity to try to get new ad revenue from advertisers who would never have their ads in a skin mag,

While the process worked to an extent, it did not satisfy founder Hugh Hefner's son, Cooper, who had been the magazine's creative director since November. He had voiced his opposition to the no-nudity policy since he took on this role, and whether he was creative director or mail room clerk, since he is a Hefner, people had to listen to what he said.

Although he admitted that the way the magazine had portrayed female nudity was dated, he said that the magazine would be "taking its identity back" by reinstalling nudity in its pages.

No, there won't be any full frontal nudity in its pages, but there will be breasts and butts, which for the past year were covered up.

Yes, the magazine will pretty much return to its roots, where the showing or full fontal nudity was pretty much verboten until the late 1960s.

And yes, many staffers who were hired in the wake of the nudity ban were leaving the publication, and time will tell if many advertisers will stick around, too.

And there is one last item that fits the title of today's Rant, another one that barely made the news, but is something I would like to talk about here.

George "The Animal" Steele, one of the most popular wrestlers of the 1960s and 1970s, died the other day after a long period of failing health.

Steele took the theatrical side of wrestling to another level. With his huge size, and his ultra hairy body (but not on his head), the wrestler behaved like a crazed individual when he was in the ring, even going as far as eating the turnbuckles and gyrating as if he wasn't in possession of his body.

It was all a show, and Steele--who was actually a gym teacher with a master's degree in education--knew it, and milked it as much as he possibly could.

He was also a gifted wrestler, and he became among the most popular wrestlers of his time period, paving the way for others who portrayed themselves as somewhat "left of center" to compete at this level.

So, the theme of today, and what I leave you with here, is never to judge a book by the cover, even if you are actually talking about an actual book.

All I am saying is give things a chance.

Classic Rant #500 (May 9, 2011): Today Is the Day

Today is my 500th official post on this blog.

I think I actually have a couple more than 500, but as far as official posts, this is a milestone for me.

When I first started this blog, I decided that if everyone else could do something like this, why couldn't I?

I have been a writer for decades, but always writing about things other people--namely my employers--wanted me to write about.

But here, I can write about just about anything I want to write about.

Having this freedom keeps the energy flowing. When you are constantly writing about things that others want you to write about, you can get stale and boring, especially if it is the same thing over and over, which is my circumstance.

Well, that is not true here.

I have written about President Obama, the New York Yankees, hating to wear a tie, and numerous other topics that interest me.

Today, May 9, is, coincidentally, also a major milestone in my life, as it was the day I was bar mitzvahed. Today is the 41st anniversary of that day.

I have written extensively about it before here, so I won't go that deep into it again, but looking back, am I the same person that I was at 13 as I am at 54?

I think that I am, pretty much. I still believe in the same things, although from an adult viewpoint.

The things that I believed were wrong then I still believe are wrong, and the things that I believed were right then are still OK with me.

But again, I am an adult now, rather than a kid, so my perspective has changed on some things.

You can't be a kid your whole life, so your viewpoints on some things have to change.

For instance, I doubt I worried about the price of gas back then, but today, my perspective is a different one.

Back then, the snow didn't bother me; now, I hate the snow with a passion.

In 1970, I couldn't have imagined that I would have married, and took the plunge twice.

Nor could I have imagined that I would have two kids, a boy and a girl.

I am sure I thought that when I got older, I would get married and have kids, but certainly, your dreams at 13 are not your dreams at 54.

Have I fulfilled all the dreams I had way back when?

Probably not, but who has?

But it has been a good, decent life. There are still things I would like to do, and maybe I will do them.

And one of those things is write a No. 501 rant and rave, which I will do tomorrow.

See you then.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Rant #1,845: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

On Monday, we celebrate Presidents Day, the day we honor our commander in chiefs from all eras, from George Washington to Donald Trump, everyone in between.

It is really a day that we honor the office of the presidency, and what it means to us as a nation.

When I was a kid, since Washington and Lincoln--two of our most important presidents--were born in the same month, we used to have two holidays, one for each of their birthdays.

I don't know how many years ago we combined them into one, single holiday, but it has been some time, that I do know.

So Presidents Day it is, and most importantly, it is a day of respect, a day that we look at all of our presidents, and the office that they have held, and give it the platitudes that it deserves ...

Even if we don't like a particular president.

So with so much venom thrown Trump's way by some, we honor the office on that day, but I don't think those dumping on him are going to give up their day off from work in protest of him being our commander in chief.

Heck, it isn't the American way, is it, even with all the crabbing?

I happen to have the day off from work that day, or, I should say I think I do. There is such turmoil at my workplace now that it has put the doubt in my mind, but we have had the day off every year since I have been there--going on 21 years--so I figure we have the day off this year too.

Whatever the case, if I have to, I will simply take the day off. My work can live without me that day.

My son just happens to be off that day, but my wife has to work.

Funny, her place gives her off on Martin Luther King Day, her bank is closed that day, but it is open on Presidents Day.

Go figure.

Oh, I did already.

The PC Police, even without their fearless leader in power anymore, still hangs over us.

Not to lessen the importance of Dr. King, but to have off on that day and not on Presidents Day reeks of political correctness, but heck, it is going to take years to outdo what has already been done.

One step at a time.

And while we are talking about respect, or the lack thereof, let me talk about my workplace again, which is as dysfunctional as it possibly can be.

Related to yesterday's Rant, I was told by the chief operating officer of my company that the company holding my former 401K plan monies rejected the new IRA that I set up with another bank because, well, they didn't accept that fact that it was an IRA that could accept electronic fund transfers.

With me in his office, the COO actually called my bank to make sure of the veracity of my claim, that the account was what I said it was. Evidently, the company sitting on my money did not recognize the account number that I gave as being legitimate, one that they could use to transfer my money to a valid account.

The bank assured the COO that everything was A-OK, and I was left feeling that if there was a hole to crawl in, I would have availed myself of it.

When I left work yesterday--I had to leave 45 minutes early to take my son to his work meeting 40 miles away from my house--I still did not know what was going on with my money.

I got home, and there was a call on my answering machine, from the bank holding my IRA.

I called them three times, I got disconnected three times. I slammed down the phone, and prepared to take my son to his meeting.

Then, with one foot out the door, the phone rang, and I picked it up, and it was the bank.

They told me that they were having phone problems, could not get incoming calls, and that they just wanted to tell me that earlier in the day, everything was straightened out, and that the money would be placed in my new IRA in the coming days.

They told me that the situation was rectified by mid-afternoon.

Funny, nobody told me at my work that everything was fine, and I went home thinking my money was still in limbo.

Nobody said a thing to me about the problem being taken care of.

So, whether talking about Presidents Day or my money, it all comes down to a matter of respect.

I cannot believe that some people today can be so disrespectful to the office of the president and to our president himself, and I cannot believe that my workplace continues to carry an attitude that if it does not impact the company specifically, and only impacts an employee specifically, it is not important.

It is a matter of respect, and has only led to turmoil, both on the national stage and at my workplace.


It seems such a simple concept, but evidently, it is as difficult for some people to practice as it is for some people to say, "I'm sorry."

Have a good weekend, and speak to you again on Tuesday.

Rant #499 (May 6, 2011): Trumped President

Now that President Obama is surely soaring in the polls after the death of Osama bin Laden, it is time for reasonable people to take a stand.

Say no to Donald Trump for president!

A new poll reports that most New Yorkers don't like the idea of a Trump presidential run.

The NY1-YNN/Marist Poll says that 75 percent of votes in New York disapprove of Trump running for the highest position in our country, while 24 percent favor the real estate magnate/reality TV star.

And what is most interesting, among Republicans--the line he would probably run on--two thirds of voters oppose such a run.

And who do voters want to run against President Obama? Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani leads former New York Governor George Pataki and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, as well as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Honestly, unless a better candidate comes out of the woodwork for the Republicans, I think that President Obama will win in a landslide.

Trump is an absolutely horrible candidate, and his candidacy, if he, in fact, would like to run, has been soured beyond repair by his current attacks on the President's birthplace and school records. He looks like an oaf, and is acting like one.

Guiliani might be a viable candidate, but he has to put his personal life out of the picture, as would Trump if he ran. Both of their personal lives have been at best messy.

The former Governor of New York State is not that well known outside of New York, and since he has been out of office, he has kept a very low profile, so low that he is out of the minds of voters.

New Jersey Governor Christie is a neophyte on the national scene. Perhaps somewhere down the road, but not now.

And Mayor Bloomberg? Don't get me started on him. He is probably the worse candidate out of the entire lot.

Can anyone beat Obama? Certainly not Sarah Palin, who curiously, is keeping a very low profile now. However, she is a skanky as they come, a close second to Bloomberg as the worst possible candidate that the Republicans can put up against the President.

I just don't know who else might want to run, but right now, even though Obama hasn't been a great president, there is no one even near him on the Republican side.

I will bet you, though, that Mickey Mouse will garner plenty of votes this time around, as the character always does. This is how some people show their opposition to the major candidates, and if they want to vote that way, more power to them.

I think that they think the choice is actually no choice.

And the scary thing is that they may actually be right.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rant #1,844: Working in the Coal Mine

“In our society ... those who are in reality superior in intelligence can be accepted by their fellows only if they pretend they are not.”
          — Marya Mannes, writer and broadcast commentator

As many of you know, the company I have worked for for the past nearly 21 years is teetering on oblivion. A few months back, they canceled our 401K plan, and we had to fill out a ton of paperwork so that the money would eventually be sent our way, to respective IRA plans or other financial plans each of us have set up to handle the money.

Evidently, my company had some type of agreement with the company overseeing our 401K—not the company where are accounts were, but a third-party facilitator—that after an undetermined period of time—at least to us workers—the money would be transferred over to our respective accounts.

From what I understand, Tuesday was the day the money was transferred over, but there was a problem with my account. The IRA that I had set up for just this purpose—and had been putting money into over the past several weeks—would not accept an ACH money transfer, so my money could not be sent to the account.

I was told by my employer that I would have to set up the account so that it could accept a transfer of this sort, and at lunchtime yesterday, I went to the bank to have this done.

Little did I know what I was in for.

I was told by my bank that they could not accept ACH money transfers, and that either a check would have to be mailed directly to me or to the bank in order for the money transfer to be made.

I called my work via my cell phone about this, and they told me in no uncertain terms that the money had to be transferred electronically, and there was no further discussion on this, case closed.

However, it says right on the paperwork that I filled out that the money owed us could be transferred either electronically or via paper check.

I brought this up to them, they would not listen, told me to find another bank, and the CEO of our company hung up on me.

I went from bank to bank, and many banks only accept paper bank transfers, and will not accept any other type of transfer into a personal IRA.

Finally, I found a bank that accepted electronic transfers, and I was basically forced to set up an IRA there, even though I have no other accounts with this bank.

I came back to work, and had to fill out more paperwork related to my new IRA at the bank, and I again brought up that the original paperwork stated that paper checks could be cut for such transfers.

I was told the subject was non-negotiable, and our accountant actually walked away from me when I brought this up to her.

I was not nasty, I was not yelling at them, but they put me through the ringer, once again—you might remember my health insurance problem with them—and they forced me to go to a bank that I have no business with and create an account that up until today, I had no idea that I needed.

They have lied to me constantly about matters that they feel do not involve them—yes, the health insurance problem again (which only took a modification to change, finally put in place after 21 years of asking them to drop me from the plan), put off when they would talk about my vacation (I put in for my vacation a month ago, and I am still waiting for an answer), and now this—and really, I do not feel comfortable working in this place at all.

They are completely impossible to work for and with, and I know that I deserve better … and I am working toward that goal, but it is not easy.

I have been yelled at, been treated like I should be happy that they didn’t fire me as we have downsized to next to nothing, and they really feel so big about it. They are little fishes in an even smaller pond, one that is nearly barren of water.

Right now, I just have to dog paddle in that small pond until I find something else. What else can I do?

Classic Rant #498 (May 5, 2011): Thanks Jackie

Jackie Cooper passed away a few days ago. He was 88 and died of old age.

A few months ago, in Rant #333, I gave a pretty decent overview of Cooper's wide ranging career, tied into his birthday. He was an actor, a producer, a director, a writer, an executive, and one of the best remembered and most beloved of the Our Gang alumni.

He basically did it all.

And in a break from tradition, I am going to rerun that Rant right here.

I thought I said it well then, and I don't think I can improve upon it, so here goes:

Jackie Cooper is 88 years old today.

I know that some of you may not know who Jackie Cooper is, but to my generation, this guy was certainly one of our earliest stars, the guy we watched on TV every day as a member of the Little Rascals in the Our Gang comedies.

Sure, those short films were made decades before we were born, and weren't even new when many of our parents were born. But to a kid like me, Jackie Cooper was it.

He starred in the series during the first series of talkies. The Our Gang comedies began in the 1920s as silent features, but by 1930, when sound was being added to film, the Hal Roach Studios followed suit, and gave a voice to those kids that the kids of the 1920s adored.

Cooper was in the series with the first group of kids that became recognizable on TV years later: Farina Hoskins, Chubby Chaney, and although not a kid, who can forget the shorts with Miss Crabtree, the comely teacher who Cooper and all the other boys were in love with?

When TV was searching for material to put on the air to satiate little kids during the medium's earliest days, they dug up the Rascals, and in the 1950s, they were resurrected for a new generation of kids like me. Although not much seen on the air since the 1980s, their films are readily available on home video, and I have to say, when I watch one, I still laugh until I cry.

Spanky, Alfalfa and the others would soon join the series, but those films with Cooper are truly special, showing a youthful innocence that is almost foreign on screen today.

And Cooper was extremely talented, Oscar nominated as a kid for his role in the film "Skippy." He went on to an interesting career as an adult, starring in movies and television shows (remember "The People's Choice" with the talking dog?) through the 1960s. He also became a studio executive with Screen Gems in the mid 1960s, and his battles with one act that came his way, the Monkees, are legendary.

He also starred in the Superman movies of the 1970s and 1980s as Perry White. And he also became a well regarded director.

Although the Our Gang or Little Rascals "curse" is often over-stated, Cooper skirted well beyond any supposed curse and became a versatile "Jackie" of all trades in Hollywood.

There aren't too many of the Rascals left: Cooper, Dickie Moore, Jean Darling, and Robert Blake are just a few of the handful of those kid actors who are still around today.

But Jackie Cooper was probably the best of them all, and today, I want to wish him a happy birthday, and many, many more!

Unfortunately, there won't be any more birthdays for Jackie Cooper, but his work lives on, for many more generations to enjoy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Rant #1,843: Sing a Simple Song

I don't watch the Grammy Awards telecast.

I can barely remember the last one I watched. I think it was the one that Sylvester Stewart, a/k/a Sly Stewart from Sly and the Family Stone, appeared very briefly on a few years ago.

He had a white mohawk and looked like he had was done for before he started.

I think that was the last one I watched, so it has been some time since viewing one.

And I did not watch the latest edition of this brown-nosing music event, either.

But I found a little tidbit of something interesting related to the Grammy Awards, so I figured I would share it with you.

Legendary guitarist Carlos Santana, who has won a few Grammy Awards himself, actually had the audacity to say to Australian journalists that Beyonce did not deserve to win the Grammys she was up for over Adele because "she is not a singer."

He finally said something that I do believe many of us already believe, but when it comes out of Santana's mouth, people listen.

He went on to say, "With all respect to our sister Beyonce, Beyonce is very beautiful to look at and it's more like modeling kind of music--music to model a dress--she's not a singer, singer, with all respect to her."

Listen, it is not just Beyonce. Singers today probably can warble, but they don't really sing, in particular I am talking about female singers.

They do a lot of vocal gymnastics, but do they really sing, and can you actually call them singers?

It is all style over substance today.

With all the talk of equality, when a female singer comes out showing half her body to the audience with low cut outfits, she is not showing off her voice, she is showing off her body.

But look, it is her body, and if she wants to give the world a peak at what her significant other sees at regular intervals, heck, that is her choice.

But it does not make her a singer, because she is taking the focus off of her voice, and putting it on her bosom.

And with the big production numbers that they use, and with much of their supposed "live" music actually pre-recorded and lip synced to, the focus is clearly off their voices.

I, also, do not consider Beyonce a singer, nor do I consider just about every contemporary female singer a singer.

They all went to the Whitney Houston school of warbling vocal gymnastics, but are they really singers?

I consider Aretha Franklin a singer.

I also consider Petula Clark a singer.

Heck, I can't stomach the thought of her, but I consider Barbra Streisand a singer.

The song was the centerpiece for them; they were the conveyance through which the song was delivered to the audience though their vocal talents.

These others, the Beyonces of the world, the Madonnas of the world, are not singers.

They use vocal gymnastics to give you the impression they are real singers, but please, don't put them in the same league as Franklin, Clark and Streisand.

Look, Beyonce and Madonna fill the bill for what we consider female singers today. They fit the music that they sing, and they have done very well doing just that.

But they aren't female singers in the true sense, at least in my mind.

In my mind, they are pretenders, poseurs, fill in the blanks warblers who really can't sing themselves out of a paper bag.

And it took Carlos Santana to say what a lot of people have thought about Beyonce for a long time, but wouldn't say anything publicly because, well, you don't knock the current queen of music.

But Santana did.

Good for him, although you just know that there will be a backlash, he will say he was misquoted, etc.

I can see it coming.

But stand your ground, Carlos.

You are absolutely right!

Classic Rant #497 (May 4, 2011): Ohio Anniversary

Now that we can move on from the recent headlines, let's look back at a story that made news 41 years ago today.

Where were you when you heard that Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire during an anti-war protest at Kent State University, and killed four students?

I know this incident doesn't set off memories of "where was I?" like the JFK assassination does, but it still is one of the darkest days of the 1970s.

We were deep into a war in Vietnam, and it was becoming increasingly clear we could not win this conflict. Young men were being sacrificed daily, and the country was becoming more and more divided.

Young people thought that they had a voice, and protests around the country against the war were a daily occurrence.

And then we had Kent State. Students gathered there to protest our entrance into Cambodia, but little did they know that this protest would be etched into history.

Years later, it appears that the National Guardsmen may have lost their cool, and started shooting when the crowd that gathered for an anti-war protest became rowdy.

Bullets flew, and four students were killed.

The famous photo of a woman grieving over one of the dead bodies is a footnote to this incident. Evidently, she was not a student, but a prostitute who meandered over the the protests for whatever reason.

This incident supposedly mobilized Americans to protest the war. Schools around the country closed in a silent memorial to those who were slain.

However, polls taken around the country showed how fractured we really were. In those polls, more than 50 percent blamed the Kent State students for the incident.

Ironically, 10 days later, in a similar protest, two students were killed at Jackson State. You don't hear much about this one, except in the black community.

Now, here we are, 41 years later, and we are still involved in wars in distant lands. Young servicemembers are being sacrificed every day, just like they were in 1970.

Is it all worth it?

I don't have an answer, but all I can say is that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Rant #1,842: Love Is Strange

Happy Valentines Day to all!

Get your candy, the flowers, the cards and the jewelry today ... if I sound like a carnival barker, I guess that that is what this holiday has come to.

Buy, buy, buy!

But if that is what it takes to show your love, then so be it.

One of the most romantic things that you can do is to sit down with your loved one and watch a movie, and do I have a Valentines Day movie for you ... and it is all for free on YouTube!

It is called "Spider Baby," and honestly, I just discovered this little gem last week while searching for other things. The title grabbed me, and let me tell you, it gave me more than a kiss on the lips when I watched it with my wife this past Saturday evening after we came home from our pre-Valentines Day dinner that I told you about yesterday.

Maybe a kiss of death?

Anyway, "Spider Baby" is a 1964 film--that because of financing problems, did not come out officially until 1968--starring Lon Chaney Jr., yes, the same actor who portrayed the Wolf Man in so many 1940s and 1950s horror flicks.

It can be accessed at

Chaney plays the chauffeur and the caretaker of the Merrye Family, or the last remnants of the family. He also sings the title song, which should give you a real peak into the weird world you will soon be entering.

Due to interbreeding, the family has a psychological malady named after them, one where the mind, at puberty, actually regresses--in other words, instead of maturing normally, those afflicted with this disease go back to childhood, go back even before that to babyhood, and eventually, the brain basically withers away to nothing.

There are only a few survivors left, and Chaney's character, Bruno, has promised the since-deceased wealthy father of the last remaining younger people afflicted with this disease that he would take care of them forever.

There are three of them, two sisters and one brother.

Enter distant family members, who want to take over conservatorship of the family, for their own nefarious means, and they all come together one day to do just that--or so they think.

Along with the distant relatives are a lawyer and a law assistant, the latter of whom one of the distant relatives falls in love with almost immediately.

All the fun happens after dinner, when the entire brood supposedly retires to rooms in the Merrye mansion.

And it all revolves around a "game" called "Spider," and not only do the people I just described get caught in the Merrye web, but the viewer does, too.

This black and white movie is as macabre as it gets, and you can see where it was quite controversial, even for its time, as it depicts those a little off center in a way that our modern society frowns upon.

That being said, the film has lots to say, but I can't really say more, because it would give away the movie.

I will only say that the film does come to an interesting conclusion, first because of the true anti-hero of the film--Chaney's Bruno--and then it comes to a second conclusion, which is kind of obvious but still fun.

The movie also stars Carol Ohmart, Sid Haig, Beverly Washburn and Jill Banner, and was written and directed by Jack Hill.

The movie has gone under several names, including "The Maddest Story Ever Told," and it was later made into a musical stage show, and there was talk that it would be remade as a film, but that has not yet happened.

The movie has retained a cult following, and a website was created to honor it and its stars, at

This film is both a comedy and a macabre drama all rolled into one. Maybe it would have been better to see it on Halloween than on Valentines Day, but the love that Chaney's Bruno character has for this strange brood shows just how "strange" love can be at times.

I found the film to be the perfect movie to watch when I watched it with my wife, and I really suggest that you give this film a try.

And to hear Chaney warble the title song is worth the price of admission--which, of course, is nothing, as it is on YouTube, ripe for the taking.

So give "Spider Baby" a whirl.

I guarantee it is a film you won't soon forget.

And don't forget the cards, the candy, the flowers and the jewelry, too!