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Friday, March 31, 2017

Rant #1,874: I'm a Writer



Happy Friday, March 31, 2017.

This is the last day of March, the 90th day on the 2017 calendar.

It is also the day before April Fool's Day on April 1.

A few years ago, you might remember that I pulled the ultimate April Fool's Day stunt, as I told my millions of readers that I would not be writing this column anymore.

Well, not only don't I have millions of readers, but I obviously didn't give up this column, and in a few weeks we will be reaching 1,900 posts.

I had no idea what to write about today to celebrate April Fool's Day, but thinking hard enough, I thought that I would do something a little off the wall.

So here, to the tune of the Beatles' "I'm a Loser," is my Rant for today.

"I'm a writer
I'm a writer
And that's just what I appear to be


Of all the tales I have written on this blog
There are no posts that I have made me agog
Everything I write, I write with some fun
I like to write, and I am never done

I'm a writer
I'm a writer
And that's just what I appear to be

Although I laugh and I act like a clown
Sometimes my words are quite profound
I write about this, and I write about that
At times I am like a dog chasing a cat


I'm a writer
I'm a writer
And that's just what I appear to be

I don't know what tomorrow will bring
What have I done to deserve such a thing?
And so it's true, pride does come before a fall
But I will tell you that I will never lose it all

I'm a writer
I'm a writer
And that's just what I appear to be."

Yes, no matter what is happening, I am a writer, and writers do sometimes appear to be tortured souls, even on my level.

But I fight to not let it get to me.

Like in another Beatles song ...

"O-bl-di, O-bla-dah, life goes on … "

Have a good April Fool's Day, and have a good weekend.

I will speak to you again on Monday.

Classic Rant #528 (June 17, 2011): Looking Back



Several stories that were covered at this blog earlier this week had followup stories later in the week, so it is only fitting that we put an exclamation point on these stories as we close out the week.

Anthony Weiner Resigns: It couldn't have ended any other way. Sure, nothing that Weiner did was exactly illegal, but it was kind of letchy.

Looked at as a laughing stock, Weiner took his time to make his decision. Funny thing, he is still technically in office until his fellow pols actually put it into the record that he has resigned, and that won't take place before Tuesday.

What is his future? I was surprised to see that he is not a lawyer, so he can't fall back on that. He is a fine speaker, and perhaps he could end up on radio or TV as a commentator. He originally wanted to be a weatherman, so maybe that would be a route for him. Also, can you see him pairing with fellow disgraced ex-pol Elliot Spitzer on TV? That would really be sex and politics!

Hef's Former Future Wife Wanted More: Yes, that bimbo who was going to marry Hugh Hefner, but who backed out at the last second, is not only supposedly seeing someone else, she also wanted more money out of her future husband.

Reports are that she wanted more of a weekly allowance, and she also wanted Hefner to set her up in a musical career, I guess much like he did for former lover Barbi Benton in the 1970s.

Hefner balked at both of her dreams, and she basically hit the road.

But the latest Playboy cover, with her on it, was at the presses. What to do? Hefner, and/or his staff, came up with a good idea--put a sticker over most of her reading "Runaway Bride."

So he gets the last laugh after all, in a marriage that would have been a sham anyway.

WWE Superstar Suffers Concussion: WWE Superstar Randy Orton suffered a concussion a few days ago, and his appearance at the pay-per-view "Capital Punishment" is in doubt--or is it?

Orton legitimately couldn't wrestle on the most recent WWE shows, but he is still slated to perform on this Sunday's pay-per-view show.

I guess this rant really isn't about Randy Orton, per se, it is more about concussions. We are just learning how severe the most mild concussion can be. This is an injury not to be taken as lightly as it has in the past. This is a brain injury, although lots of people forget that.

In the past, it would have been a given that Orton would wrestle on the pay-per-view event, but now, with more understanding about this injury, his participation is in doubt--although he is still being pushed as a participant.

Orton, one of the most popular wrestlers in the WWE Universe, should take a pass. He is still a young guy, and has a fantastic future ahead of him. Why jeopardize that for this one event? Take the time off that is necessary and then come back.

Yankees Visit Wrigley Field This Weekend: For just the second time since the 1930s, the Yankees visit Wrigley Field this weekend to take on the Cubs. Two of the three games are on national TV, while today's afternoon contest is on the YES network and I believe the nationally carried WGN.

The Yankees have won six of their last seven games after a humiliating three-game sweep by the Red Sox. The Cubs, as usual, are going nowhere fast.

The Yankees should pummel the hapless Cubs, but baseball is a funny game. What looks good on paper doesn't actually happen.

Being a Yankees fan, I want a sweep, but you never know. If the Yankees can continue to play like they did in the latter stages of their just concluded homestand, this shouldn't be much of a matchup.

We shall see what happens.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Rant #1,873: Over and Over



I feel like a rat in a cage.

I do the same things over and over each day--each workday, primarily, although there are aspects of this during the weekend too--and I seem to be on a never-ending treadmill.

I guess we are all guilty of this, doing things over and over again during the week to get us prepared for our workday, but at times, doesn't it really get to you?

Don't you ever want to veer off course every once in a while?

Here is what I do during the week, and I don't move too far away from this regimen during the work week.

1) Get up at 3:30 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.
2) Go to the bathroom.
3) Take a shower (admittedly, a few times a week I do shave, so that would be added to this pattern on those days where I need to remove my whiskers.)
4) Get dressed.
5) Put on my tie (I do this four times a week; I don't have to wear a tie on Friday, thank goodness!)
6) Put the TV on.
7) Put my lunch in my bag.
8) Take the dishes out of the dishwasher and put them away.
9) Take out a bowl and spoon for myself for breakfast (I do this for my son, too, and set his place for when he gets up later in the morning.)
10) Pour myself a bowl of cereal and milk and eat breakfast.
11) Put the bowl and spoon in the dishwasher when I am done.
12) Turn on the computer, and begin writing the column.
13) Finish writing, and go outside to retrieve the newspaper.
14) Read the newspaper.
15) When finished, go back on the computer and look for the latest job openings.
16) When done, shut the computer off.
17) Do my exercises (as described last week).
18) Finish my exercises.
19) Sit on the couch and watch TV.
20) Gather my things, kiss my wife and still sleeping son, and leave for work.

How exciting!

I go through pretty much this same routine five days a week, and yes, it does get boring.

But at least on the weekend, I do veer off a little bit.

I get up later in the morning, I don't eat cereal, and I go about my various chores, including food shopping on Saturday.

I do my exercises when I have the time.

I take my son to his bowling league on Saturday.

I take my son to work on Sunday, and later, pick him up.

I relax a bit.

And then I start it up all over again.

It is boring, but I think that to a certain extent, we all get into this rut.

And that is why vacations are so looked forward to, and so welcome.

I have put in for my vacation; I got arguments from my work, but supposedly, everything is copacetic with it now.

It might be my last work vacation for a while, or at least at this place, but I am looking forward to it ...

If for nothing else than to get out of this rut that I am in.

It will be a week or so off from the same old same old.

And then, after I return and the vacation is over, I will be back on the treadmill.

"I said over and over and over again ...

This dance was gonna be a drag."

And it is.

Classic Rant #527 (June 16, 2017): Women Taking Off



Women were once relegated to the chores of homemaker. They cooked, they cleaned, they reared the children.

And for most of them, that was it.

If they worked out of the home, it was a part time job or a job they took until they got married. Then, they became the dutiful wife, doing what her husband wanted.

Remember, even Lucy Ricardo on "I Love Lucy" used to say "Yes sir" to her husband Ricky when he barked out an order (which she usually didn't follow, but that's another story).

In the 1960s, many women started to feel that being a homemaker wasn't what they wanted. They wanted to go into careers like men, they wanted to hold higher positions than secretary or girl Friday.

And things changed. While there is nothing wrong with being a homemaker, women have more choices today.

One of the pioneers of that movement skyward did something extraordinary today, and certainly extraordinary since she did it way back in 1963, when the women's movement was just beginning.

And no, she wasn't from this country.

Today is the 48th anniversary of Valentina Tereshkova's launch into space. She was the first woman to go into orbit.

Yes, she was Russian, and the Soviet Union was in a space race with the U.S. at this time.

They bested us several times, being the first to send a human being into space and later sending a woman into space.

Of course, we were the first--and still the only--country to put men on the moon, so we ultimately won the race, but Tereshkova's feat did more than that. It gave women another foothold on what they could do, rather than what they couldn't do.

In fact, Tereshkova has been able to do it all during her lifetime. The now 74 year old married at least twice--once to a fellow cosmonaut--had a daughter, who became the first person be parented by two astronauts, and became a political figure in the Soviet Union.

Of course, there have been many changes since 1963. Women are in all echelons of business, and yes, many women do choose to be stay at home moms, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.

But they have choices now that they didn't have in 1963, and Tereshkova's feat opened the door for a lot of this.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Rant #1,872: Mad About This



I love to discover new things, picking up on things that I didn't know existed until I have discovered them.

So is the situation I faced when I discovered that the venerable Mad Magazine actually had a stage show based on its off the wall humor.

When I was collecting comic books as a kid, Mad was kind of an off the track magazine for me, one that I would buy occasionally.

When I bought it, I thought I was getting to be older. It was almost like sneaking Playboy Magazine into the house years later, but as a kid, who knew from that?

I knew that Mad Magazine was a bit racier than Superman or World's Finest, that is what I knew.

And it also cost more, and that is why I probably didn't buy more Mads.

Anyway, in my research for related recordings to "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In," I kind of stumbled upon the soundtrack to "The Mad Show," an off-Broadway show that ran in the mid 1960s for some 800 performances.

I thought I might have heard about this show way back when, but honestly, Broadway and off-Broadway didn't do much for me back then, and still doesn't, but anyway, I had heard that Joanne Worley was in the show, so ...

Yes, I found that it existed, and I pieced together the entire soundtrack from various sources on YouTube, and Voila!. I had the full soundtrack in place.

Of course, a soundtrack can't fully replicate what you see on stage, but based on that soundtrack, I found that "The Mad Show" was a very, very funny show, and certainly a template that the producers of "Laugh-In" used for their own show.

There is lots of off-the-wall humor in "The Mad Show," lots of double entendres and very funny satirical moments, much like was found a little later on "Laugh-In."

And there is Joanne Worley, as I mentioned, who was one of the cast members of the show. You can clearly see the beginnings of her characters on "Laugh-In" on this show, the loud, boisterous and very funny lady who made "chicken joke" a national catchphrase.

In the show, the pianist, who was played by Joe Raposo, who later went on to some fame as the composer of much of the music heard on "Sesame Street," gets beaten to death in each show by a rubber chicken.

Now, I don't know if that was applied by Worley, but certainly, that was the template that "Laugh-In" used with its chicken jokes and Worley's link to that catchphrase.

In "The Mad Show," there are jokes about the current taboos of the time, football, the relationships between kids and their parents, war, and, of course, sex. And it all is handled in such a lightweight style that you never flinch when these punches are delivered.

It is kind of a PG version of what could be said and done today if the show were staged in 2017 rather than in 1966.

Oh, and I forgot the rest of the cast, which included Richard Libertini, Linda Lavin and Paul Sand, actors who would become ubiquitous on TV through the late 1960s and into the 1980s.

And most importantly, I laughed at what I heard on the soundtrack. It was pretty funny, and very cleverly done.

Now that I know the show existed, and there is a legitimate soundtrack out there, I would love to add it to my collection. This was certainly the true, honest to goodness template for "Laugh-In," and I would love to have it in my collection, on LP or as I discovered, on CD, a format it was released in a few years back.

And I would love to see the show actually being executed. It must have been a hoot!

Classic Rant #526 (June 15, 2011): Bunny Stop



In the world that we live in today, a momentous decision was made yesterday that is sure to change mankind forever.

When it came across the airwaves and the Internet, people literally stopped what they were doing. They had to so they could take it all in, and figure out how this decision will impact their lives.

What decision am I talking about?

The decision by Crystal Harris not to marry Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.

"The wedding is off," Hefner, 84, tweeted yesterday. "Crystal has had a change of heart."

Harris, 24, was set to marry Hefner on Saturday. It would have been her first marriage and his third.

Reports are that a heated weekend telephone argument between the two lovebirds led Harris to call the whole thing off, so if you bought anything for them, I guess you are going to have to return it.

Harris, on her website, also announced to the world that the marriage was off.

And it wasn't Hefner who was the one who was found to be not forward this time; Harris has been seeing Dr. Phil McGraw's son, Jordan McGraw.

Yes, and she had been seeing him all the while she was slated to marry Hefner.

That is one thing that Hefner cannot tolerate: a woman going behind his back for love.

Back in the 1950s, his first wife cheated on him, and he has said that this was one of the most, if not the most, devastating thing that ever happened to him.

As the story goes, to atone for her misdeed, the then Mrs. Hefner allowed her husband to cheat on her, and he did it multiple times, leading to the end of their marriage in the late 1950s.

Sure, Hefner has a double standard. He can do what he wants to do, but if a woman shows him up ... well, look out.

That might have been the case this time too, although Harris was the one who called off the wedding, further showing up Hefner.

It is probably better off.

Why a 24 year old would want to marry an 84 year old is beyond me.

And don't tell me it has nothing to do with money--you just know it does.

The guy is worth his weight in gold. All the girl has to do is be with him for X amount of years, and she stands to get plenty.

I am sure there was a prenuptial agreement, but believe me, she wouldn't be left out in the fog with that, either.

And you just know there will be another woman for Hefner. Even if it is a sham, he will have his choice of women who could be his daughter, granddaughter, or even great granddaughter.

I mean, they must find that sailor hat he wears at least a little sexy.

To many of us, Hefner looks more like a letch than ever, an old pervert who pinches women's bottoms because he thinks they like it.

I hear women ringing the bells of his mansion right now, lining up to be his next squeeze.

Who will it be?

Hopefully not my daughter.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Rant #1,871: Daydream Deceiver



Today is an anniversary, of sorts, in my life.

The problem is that I don't know if I should celebrate this day, or cry.

Twenty-one years ago today, on March 28, 1996, I began working in my current place of business.

I was 38 years old, going on 39, had been out of work for three or four months, and had worked at a job where I was making $7 and hour, because that was all I could get.

The guy who hired me at that job said that he didn't want to hire me, because I was over-qualified for the position, and he only hired me because I assured him that I would stay at that job no matter what.

I lied.

When my current job came up, and I interviewed for it, and eventually got the job, I told my employer, and he was none too happy.

Tough tomatoes.

So I started a new chapter in my life 21 years ago today, and I remember the first thing I did was a transcription of some speech.

In those days, we were still using tape, so I had to transcribe using a tape player that had a earphone that went into my ear so I could listen.

Well, I transcribed that speech, and got an ear infection in the process, the first and only one I have ever had in my life.

So began my time at this job.

I was also still delivering newspapers as an adult deliverer, doing it overnight, but after nearly falling asleep twice at my new job, I gave that up exactly one month after beginning my new job.

Looking back, it has been an interesting 21 years.

How I have lasted this long there is a question for the ages, but I somehow have, and I don't question the reasons why anymore.

Was it perhaps that when I signed on here, I was so desperate and they knew it?

I was making $7 an hour at the other job, and at the new job, I was making nothing, too, but at least it was a better nothing than at the previous job.

I give myself credit. I worked hard over the years, and I doubled my salary at this job.

But to bring things to a current perspective, the problem right now is that after spending more than a third of my life at this place, things are falling apart there.

I have not had a raise in 10 years, and one day, I expect the door to be bolted shut, and that will be the end of my time at this place of employment.

The day is certainly coming, whether it is today, tomorrow, next month or next year, but it is hard to ascertain exactly when this will happen, or if I will even be there when it does.

I have given my job search a maximum effort, but it has proven to be among the most frustrating things I have ever done.

I can't get even a bite, and after applying for probably 200 jobs over the past five months, I have nothing, and I mean nothing, to show for it.

Yes, I do get down at times, but the good thing is that even though I don't get a single "benefit" from my current job anymore--no health insurance, no 401K, nothing--I get something that is even bigger than any of those benefits from them ... I get a paycheck every two weeks.

I can't tell you how reassuring that is. If I didn't have that, I would be really sunk, and having been there and done that in the past, I don't ever want to go back there again.

So all in all, while the situation is bad, it is not yet dire, and hopefully, it won't ever get to that point.

I will keep looking, and keep hoping that the next resume I send out hits the bull's eye.

Yes, it might be a daydream, and I might be deceiving myself, but at least I have a job while looking for one.

So, happy 21st anniversary to me ...

I guess.

And don't send any gifts unless you have a new job for me, gift wrapped.

That is truly the thing I am most concerned about right now, getting out of here before my ship hits the iceberg.

And yes, although I don't see light at the end of the tunnel, I do see that iceberg, and it is getting closer by the second.

Classic Rant #525 (June 14, 2011): Wrestling With My Conscience



Yes, I know professional wrestling is phony.

The injuries aren't, the unexpected happenings brought on by the human condition aren't, but the outcome of just about every match is.

But I still go to see pro wrestling when it hits my area, and it did last night.

The WWE, the 21st century version of the circus, put on a special, three-hour show last night at Nassau Coliseum, which is in my own backyard here on Long Island. My son is a huge wrestling fan, so we bought tickets months ago and the big night came yesterday.

Of course, I had a busy day at work, so as I entered the arena, I felt like I needed to take a nap.

We tried to go to our seats, but the doors that we would use to enter were blocked off. We walked some more, and more doors were blocked.

Finally, we walked in, but were several sections away from where we should have been.

We asked an usher about this, and he directed us to another usher who was holding tickets.

"You really lucked out tonight," the usher said. "The WWE extended the stage and backstage area, so I have to give you new tickets."

This had never happened to us before, but it was fine with me. A ticket upgrade--who would have thought it?

Our original seats were in nosebleed land, in the corner and all the way up in God's country. The new seats were several sections away, at the far end of the ring at an angle. Although we were still high up, we were in the first row of our section, and my seat actually abutted the stairs, so I could stretch out when I wanted to.

What a luxury during a three-hour wrestling show!

We bought food and drinks and settled in.

It was a good, not great show, and there were some decent bouts. And yes, when the girls came on, most of the audience went to the bathroom. The girls' matches in the WWE are horrible, and real short. Perfect for a quick you know what.

Anyway, after more than three hours of this--the WWE always adds some extra matches at the beginning and end of the night--we were done, drove home and were in bed before midnight.

The WWE puts on a great show, a very family friendly show for a wrestling show. No blood, no guts, no cussing, although the crowd was rowdier than I've seen lately at these things.

And yes, we will go again the next time they come to Long Island. It's fun, there is nothing to put you on the edge of your seat, but my son--and I guess me too--loves it.

It also brings me closer to my son, so that's truly the best thing about it.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Rant #1,870: School Is Out



Was your bracket busted?

This is all I am hearing right now, and it all has to do with the NCAA basketball tournament to see what team wins the national championship.

It is all about "March Madness," and quite frankly, anybody who participates in this nonsense is mad, has lost their minds, and need a hobby.

The problem is that there are millions of people who are doing this, and I guess I am in the minority here in my thinking.

But you know what? I have to stand up for what I think is right, and betting on kids as young as 17 to win a championship is wrong, wrong, wrong.

These are kids. The focus is on winning, it is not on anything to do with the schools they are representing, which the last time I looked, were educational institutions.

That's right. They are places people go to learn things, not to necessarily play basketball.

Look, the whole system is wrong, period, but the NCAA gets away with it because they are the behemoth in the room. They can basically do anything they want, are just about self policed, and really, does this organization exist for the betterment of these kids?

No, it all boils down to greed, and anyone who does not admit that is a fool.

Whether basketball or football--the two biggest college sports overseen by this group--it is a money issue, with millions spread around all over the place related to the respective sports' championship tournaments.

Yes, the NCAA does police itself, and occasionally finds schools in violation of their code of standards, a group of rules that is so thin that it is regularly skirted.

But to me, betting money on kids to win a tournament is just such a wrong thing to do.

And it is openly played out across all media--heck, President Obama had his own bracket which he proudly hailed every year he was in office,

This is not political what I am saying here, but President Trump admitted he is not a fan of college basketball, so he declined to publicize his own presidential bracket.

Good of him, and I wish it filtered down to others who should know better.

But it hasn't, and it won't.

CBS, the station that has the most money invested in this tournament, has their news anchors talk about this as much as they talk about the real news of the day.

Advertisers grapple for commercial time on these broadcasts, and there are numerous commercial sponsors involved in promoting the tournament.

And yes, the general public buys into this as they buy into other things that they should really stay away from.

Again, we should all know better. These are kids. They are not professionals. They are supposedly in college to get an education.

For every college basketball player who eventually moves onto the pros, there are probably at least a 1,000 who don't, and not only don't many of them not have the skills to play a higher level of basketball, they don't have the educational skills to make it in life.

Yes, these are arguments that have gone on for decades, but I only bring it up again because the hype surrounding this tournament this year is worse than I can ever remember it.

And now that your bracket is probably busted, think about what you have been involved with, who you have been betting on.

Would you want your kid to have so much pressure put on his or her shoulders at such a young age?

Maybe next year, the nation will come to its senses, but somehow, I doubt it.

Classic Rant #524 (June 13, 2011): Take Me Out To the Ball Game



On Saturday, my family and I took in a ballgame at Yankee Stadium, or what they call Yankee Stadium nowadays.

I can't help it; to me, it is not the real Yankee Stadium. But I have to get used to it. I am sure to some, Madison Square Garden is not the real Madison Square Garden, either (in its fourth incarnation and being rejiggered as we speak).

Anyway, the Yankees played the Indians, and the Yankees won 4-0 behind three home runs: Alex Rodriguez, Mark Texeira, and Curtis Granderson.

We sat in the rightfield stands. It's the first time I have had seats in the outfield in years.

It gives you a different perspective, and since we were almost arm's length from the foul pole, it really gives you a different dimension of where you are and what you are watching.

Rather than watching the fielders from the front, you are watching them from the back. The batter faces you.

It is a little different than what I am used to, but even though it was raining and cloudy and damp the entire game, it made for an entertaining afternoon.

Ageless wonder Bartolo Colon won the game, breezing through six and two-thirds innings. He injured himself running to first base on a play, and he is now on the Disabled List. Hopefully, we haven't see the last of him. He brought a breath of fresh air to what has been to this point a stale season.

Derek Jeter continues on his quest for 3,000 hits. He might just reach the plateau on the homestand, but he didn't get a hit in this game. (He currently needs seven more hits after getting two in yesterday's 9-1 Yankees' triumph.)

And yes, I came somewhat close to finally getting a ball once again. This time, Granderson's homerun came five rows in front of where we were sitting. I mean, you could actually see the rotation of the ball.

And my family did get on camera, barely, when they showed the fan who nabbed the ball. And he made a fine catch, and he deserved the ball as a souvenir he will never forget.

But alas, my nearly 50 year quest to get a ball remains just that. I have been close on dozens of occasions, but I have never snared a ball.

Maybe next time--we are going again on June 25.

But since we are sitting in God's Country for that game, I doubt it.

The quest continues ...

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.

Cars.

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--

Almost.

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.

Classic Rant #520 (June 7, 2011): Weiner Cooked


In a press conference that resembled a roast, Rep. Anthony Weiner admitted to posting and sending suggestive photos and messages from his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

This became massive page one news not just in New York, but around the country.

How could a legislator destroy his career with this obsession?

Many people are book smart, and Weiner certainly is one of those people.

But often, when people are book smart, they are lacking in other areas.

This guy has no common sense at all, and I mean none.

Here is a relatively young guy, in his 40s, sending around pictures and messages that maybe a 14-year old would dabble in.

It's bad enough when a 40-something guy does this, but it is much, much worse when he is a legislator, voted in by the constituency to uphold the law.

And to lie about it for days, well, we have had plenty of lying politicians--do we need another one?

Weiner shot himself in the foot by doing these things.

He was a rising star in the Democratic Party, and was likely going to run for the mayor of New York City once Mayor Bloomberg's tyrannical run is over.

He was also becoming better known on the national stage, as the was vociferous in his approval of the Obama health care program, and on other national matters.

Now, because of his electronic addiction, he probably will simply be labeled as another politician who crashed under the weight of his own demons.

And we have had so many of them lately. Look at John Edwards. And how about Bill Clinton and Ah-nold?

Weiner should have known better. On top of everything else, he is a newlywed.

Go figure.

He will now be investigated for any misuse of power while sending pictures of himself around to some of his "friends." If he used any government-issued devices while doing this, he could be censured.

But what of his constituents? Do they want a guy like this representing them?

He is now a national joke, a punchline to comedians' one liners.

I would think the people that voted him into office would attempt to move him out of that office.

Weiner vows to stay on and not resign.

Would you want this guy representing you?

He can't even control himself.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Rant #1,865: Rock and Roll Music



"Another way to say 'rock and roll' is to say 'Chuck Berry.'"--John Lennon

I know I probably did not get his quote exactly right, but even in paraphrasing in what he said, I think Lennon was spot-on when it came to Chuck Berry and his contributions to what became known as rock and roll music.

Berry died this weekend at age 90.

If Elvis Presley was rock and roll's first bonafide star, Berry was its first bonafide songwriter.

His best known hits, including "Maybelline," "Johnny B. Goode," and "Rock and Roll Music," truly were the seminal songs that rock and roll built its foundation on, and while numerous clashes with the law kind of derailed his career from being an even greater one, those tunes were the foundation by which others built their own musical legacy.

"Chuck's Children," as they became known to be, including such stars as the Beatles, Beach Boys and Rolling Stones, and they took what he gave them and expanded upon those building blocks into something even he probably could not have foreseen.

Presley was its first star, but Berry wielded much more influence on the music he helped to create by being a songwriter.

And he also wielded influence as a performer. Although certainly not as charismatic as Presley, who can argue that his duckwalk set the standard for all rock and roll performers from that point to eternity?

Berry's chart career began in 1955 and lasted until 1972. During that period, he placed 27 songs on Billboard's Hot 100, and two singles placed on the Bubbling Under chart.

As well as the aforementioned songs, his hits--among the building blocks of rock and roll--included "Roll Over Beethoven," "School Day," "Sweet Little Sixteen," and "Carol."

He also has nine albums on Billboard's albums chart, with only one LP, the "London Sessions" collection, breaking the Top 10.

In fact, Berry had just one number one hit--the double entendre-filled "My Ding-A-Ling," which hit the top spot during the height of the rock and roll revival era, in 1972.

But his influence was still being felt to this day, with every rock and roller of any note knowing Berry's catalog of hits inside and out.

A movie about his career, "Hail, Hail Rock and Roll," was released in the 1980s, and portrayed him as a surly person, hard to get along with and one who believed all of his press clippings, and wanted you to believe them too.

Whether it was a fair portrayal or not, it kind of defined Berry for the rest of his life, one where he worked well through his 60s, 70s, 80s and through his 90th year.

Recently he proclaimed that he would be releasing his first album in about 30 years this year, with little other details about the recording.

If it does get released, it will now be done posthumously, because the real king of rock and roll is gone.

"Hail, Hail Rock and Roll"--R.I.P., Chuck Berry. You done good.

Classic Rant #519 (June 6, 2011): Sweet 18



Today is my 18th wedding anniversary.

I don't take such celebrations lightly, but today is a work day, and my wife is working late, so I won't see her until past 8:30 p.m. tonight.

We did go out with our son to Chinese food on Saturday night. It wasn't that great, but I guess it could have been worse.

What can you do?

I remember the day very vividly, June 6, 1993. It was windy as all hell, and we had an outdoor ceremony. Everything was blowing over, and I thought the kids that were there--my two nephews at the time, and my daughter--would blow away.

My soon-to-be wife was radiant. She wore the most beautiful wedding gown. She was smashing, to say the least.

All of our families and friends were there, including my mother-in-law, who was gravely ill. She lived to see her daughter married, and she had a great time for the short period she was there. She passed away just a few weeks later.

I was very excited to get married, and remember, this was my second--and I avowed my last--time. I thought I finally found the right girl to marry, and I was right. Eighteen years is a long time, but it is just one-third of my life and my wife's life, just to put it into perspective.

I really wish I would have met her earlier--even a year earlier. But the past 18 years have been the happiest of my life.

We have had an excellent marriage. We are pretty much on the same page on most things, although we differ on others, which makes it interesting.

She is a moody person, wearing her feelings on her sleeve, while I basically go with the flow, although I do get upset at times.

She likes spicier food, I like food that is delicately seasoned.

She likes an occasional beer, I like lemonade (and before my operation, soda).

She hates basketball, I love the game.

I also turned a former Mets fan into a Yankees lifer. She finally turned the corner when she became a Scott Brosius fan, and she has never looked back.

And we produced a son who is going through lots of growing pains as a teenager. But he will turn out all right.

She is the stepmother to my daughter from my first marriage. Although my wife doesn't get to be a stepmother very often, when my daughter is back home, she fills the role as best she can.

The bottom line is that I love my wife, I really do. She is intriguing, perplexing, mysterious and interesting, and the bottom line is that I am nuts for her.

We met on a blind date set up by one of those old fashioned dating services, pre-Internet or electronic dating. They basically asked me "what" I wanted, and they delivered.

She is half Italian, on her mother's side. She looks like Adrienne Barbeau, sort of, but she really doesn't, but that is how she described herself to me on the phone when we first chatted before we met.

Lucky me. Yes, I am a real lucky guy.

Nothing against anyone else, but I have the best wife in the world, bar none.

I love my wife, and I can't wait for the next 18 years ... or even the next 180.

It should be fun.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Rant #1,864: Celebrate!



Today is a very special day for the Irish, and actually, everyone is Irish today.

It is St. Patrick's Day, and it is on a Friday, which I think makes it extra special for those who imbibe as part of their celebration.

It is a fun holiday, but it is a holiday that has had its ups and downs over the years.

Here is my March 17, 2011 Rant about the holiday. I said it well then, and although I have edited some things here, I couldn't really say it any better than I did back then, so here it is once again

"Today, March 17, is St. Patrick's Day.

It's a real big deal in New York City, always was, always will be.

The parade is the big deal, and every politician worth his salt will be a participant in this parade, no matter what their political or ethnic affiliation is.

Today, everybody is Irish.

However, in some years, the parade has been used as a political tool, banning some from marching the parade.

I know that gays are banned from marching in the parade if they are affiliated and representing a gay faction.

That being said, the parade has turned into a lovefest between New York City and its deep Irish heritage,

But let me tell you, it wasn't always that way.

I can remember in the 1970s and early 1980s, the parade--and the entire holiday--got completely out of hand due to over imbibing and drug use.

I remember the days when I worked in Manhattan, that you really were taking your life in your hands on this day.

Using the Long Island Railroad to get to work, the ticket takers were drinking from morning to night, and they were allowing anybody to drink wherever they wanted on the train, even in sections where you weren't supposed to drink and smoke. On this day, the train smelled like a sewer.

Once you got into Manhattan, you had to push your way through hordes of people starting to line up for the parade, many of whom began drinking at 8 a.m. or earlier in the morning. I worked right off Fifth Avenue on 40th Street, and take it from me, between the beer and the pot, it was a mess.

Once the parade started, you had to be really careful. I remember that I couldn't even walk out of my building, because of all the public drunkenness that was displayed by both men and women. I recall that one time, I tried to get out of the building, but a young girl was throwing up her guts on the sidewalk right in front of my building's door, blocking my path with her body and her excrement. I stayed in for lunch that day.

My father, as a New York City medallion cab driver, hated to work on this day. He picked up so many drunks, his cab smelled like a bar, and I remember him telling me that one time, a parade reveler jumped on top of the hood of his car as he was waiting at a light near the parade route.

But over the last 30 years, the city has cleaned up the parade, figuratively and literally. You don't see the scenes I described anymore. People are generally well behaved.

So stay sober this St. Patrick's Day. You will enjoy the festivities more with a clear head."

This year, the main thing that the city has to deal with is the snow that was left over from the storm earlier this week.

They have been working day and night to clean up that mess from the parade route, and I am sure by this hour, everything is clear.

Have a happy and safe day, please. Have a good weekend. Speak to you again on Monday.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Classic Rant #518 (June 3, 2011): Taylor/Burton On Big Screen?


The fascination the world continues to have about the love affair between actors Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton might find its way onto the big screen.

Reports are that a movie based on the book "Furious Love", about the twosome's love affairs, marriages, and divorces, might be in the works. Martin Scorcese is supposedly involved in this possible project.

Heaven knows what sense making a movie of this stuff makes for Paramount, which hopes to have this film under its monicker, but speculation is already rampant about who will portray the luscious Taylor and the boozing Burton.

All the studio has to do is to come to me. I can help them out with some suggestions. Here are the positives and negatives of these suggestions:

Natalie Portman: A fine actress, but way too skinny--and young--to play Taylor.

Angelina Jolie: See above.

Brad Pitt: Might be a decent choice, but he would have to wear lots of makeup to approximate Burton.

George Clooney: Another decent choice, but he is way better looking than Burton ever was.

Tom Cruise: No way. The guy can't act, never could, and his last couple of movie bombs show that he may be on the short side of his career right now.

Pamela Anderson: No, sorry, too phony and no talent at all (no, not even there--they're fake!).

Jennifer Anniston: The most overrated actress in Hollywood. She's too skinny, too.

Ah-Nold: The former governor would have to trade his Austrian accent for a British one. He may have had the lines that made Maria and that other woman swoon, but it won't work here.

Anthony Weiner: Way too skinny, and it isn't proven yet whether he has some problems that go way beyond his congressional district.

Jane Lynch: A good actress, but she is, well, too ... manly? Nah, she wouldn't be a good Burton either.

Beyonce: What did Michael Jackson use to make his skin color look lighter? Nah, it won't work here.

Donald Trump: I can't image it, and he would have to do something with his hair.

Derek Jeter: I think Minka Kelly might mind.

Minka Kelly: I think Derek Jeter would mind, especially if he wasn't cast as Burton.

My wife and I: Nope. She could definitely pull off Taylor--she has the look and the build--but me, nope, I don't have the hair and I don't drink, slap around my wife, or fool around with other women.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless ...

Rant #1,863: Tuesday, Bloody Tuesday

Yes, Tuesday was a real humdinger, as we were promised over a foot of snow and ended getting about a half foot of slush.

But at the very least, many of us did not have to go to work that day, so I guess you have to take the good with the bad.

Me, I did my due diligence--yes, I shoveled and cleaned up what I could--and then I went back to my comfy bedroom to watch television.

As I often do when I have some free time--usually on the weekend--I watch some movies from the 1940s to the 1970s, the era that I like the most for celluloid treats.

To me, after that span, movies became the same thing over and over again, with a lack of creativity covered over with gobs of special effects and little more.

(No, not every movie from the 1980s, 1990s and the 2000s has been bad, but due to a number of factors, I really have kind of lost my interest in current films.)

And I prefer what used to be called "grindhouse" movies, films that would generally fill out the bottom of the bill in double feature houses and lesser movie theaters, as well as drive-ins.

I just find these films so fascinating, because of their story matter--often as turgid as can be--and what they showed versus what they did not show, depending on the era.

The first film I watched is a Herschel Gordon Lewis film, and although many of you won't have the slightest idea who he was, he was the master of the D-movie, films which promised that you would see things in these movies that you wouldn't see in mainstream fare.



"The Gore Gore Girls" was the name of one of his last films and if it was his final film, Lewis went out with a bang … or a chop, or a tenderizer, pick your poison.

It concerns a bunch of strippers who are getting offed by a crazed killer. A smooth private detective is hired to investigate the case, and he pairs with a comely, and sexually charged, newspaper reporter to uncover just whodunit.

A bunch of no-name actors populate the film, there isn't much nudity but plenty of bloodshed--including the ripping open of heads, backsides and elsewhere with blood spurting all over the place--and one name attraction is in the film, none other than Henny Youngman! He plays the owner of the strip joints where the dancers are being removed, one by one.

The film has sort of a trick ending, but if you listen closely, you will figure out who the killer is pretty much halfway into the movie.

Yes, this movie is pure trash, but for a 1970s splatter movie--it was actually released in 1972, but looks like it could have been actually shot a year or two or three earlier--it never takes itself too seriously, and is at times as comedic as it is hard to stomach.

The other is a much, much better movie from an earlier time period, where you really could not show very much of anything, but the suggestion was surely there, and almost as vivid as seeing the acts themselves, due to strong writing and acting.



Yes, this is another grindhouse film called "The Sadist," starring one of the great non-stars of that era, Arch Hall Jr. This actor/musician was in a number of films financed by his father, trying to make him into the latest heartthrob teen sensation. The ploy never worked, but this film might be the best of the movies trying to accomplish this.

Based on actual events--the saga of Charles Starkweather, who went on a killing spree with his girlfriend just because of the kicks he got from murdering people--the story has been remade at least twice since the 1963 original film, in "Badlands" and later in "Natural Born Killers," but neither of these was better than "The Sadist."

Hall plays the young "sadist" who gets his kicks from knocking people off, and he and his somewhat mute girlfriend meet upon three teachers--one women, two men--whose car breaks down on some back road as they are traveling to see the Dodgers play the Reds at Dodger Stadium.

They go looking for help with their car--the fuel pump has died--and they basically roll into this abandoned service station. No one is around, and things immediately look amiss. One thing leads to another, and they meet up with Hall and his girlfriend, and all hell breaks loose for the next 90 minutes, as the older teacher is murdered, along with two police officers, after the shooter had already shot the owners of the service station.

The two teachers who are left try everything they can do to get loose, but nothing works.

I won't give away the ending, and I won't snake around it either. It is pretty neat.

A standout in the film is the female teacher, played by Helen Hovey. She is prim and proper in the film, but looking at her some 50 years later, she could have been a Playboy model. She has that look and figure, and actually did a fine job acting in this film.

Doing a little research on her, this was her only film, which she disavowed any knowledge of when, right after the shooting of the movie, she found God. She supposedly never talked about the film, except to those close to her, and even then, she knocked it and wished she wasn't in it and that it would just go away.

And Hall is superb as the young killer. I will bet he could have become a star in the later 1960s if he would have remained as an actor--as an antihero, in the Peter Fonda/Dennis Hopper vein--but he found other callings, including writing.

Sure, it is slow in spots, and yes, there are plenty of insinuations rather than actually seeing what they are speaking about, but all in all, this film was a great surprise.

So with two films under my belt on that dreary Tuesday, I consider the day not one that was wasted at all.

Classic Rant #517 (June 2, 2011): Calling a Weiner and Weiner


Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) has found himself in a pickle of a scandal here in New York.

The politician--who had been a rising star in the Democratic Party and had his sights on running for New York City mayor as a stepping stone to higher office--has been accused of sending a lewd photo, via his Twitter account, to a college student in Seattle.

However, he denies sending the photo, saying someone hacked into his Twitter account and did the dirty work. He also denies knowing the woman he supposedly sent the photo to.

Now, more is coming out about this case, as Weiner admits that he doesn't know if the photo is of himself. "You know, I can't say with certitude," he told reporters yesterday. "Certitude?"

It is quite possible that he did get hacked. But where did the hackee get this photo, if it is, for certain, of Weiner?

And why is Weiner taking such pictures anyway, if it is him?

Weiner has painted himself as an outspoken Democrat, ranting and raving about various policies affecting New York City. He is well known on the political scene here.

He recently raised some eyebrows when he, a Jew, married a Muslim woman who is an aide to Sen. Hilary Clinton. How could a Jew marry a Muslim? Was this a true marriage, or a marriage of convenience?

That is really no one's business, but an elected politician sending a college student probably half his age a lewd photo via the Internet is everyone's business.

I am willing to give some slack to Weiner. When he was a toddler, he lived in my old neighborhood, Rochdale Village. I will give slack to anybody who went through that experience.

But what happens if Weiner actually did send the photo? What does that say about his moral character?

And how can he say that he doesn't know if the photo is of him?

If Weiner did, in fact, send the photo, he should really come clean about it. The longer any doubt persists, the more damaging it will be to him.

And if he did send it, his political aspirations may have come to a halt.

But that might not be so bad for him. He can still make tons of money--look at what happened to New York's former governor, Elliot Spitzer, who did far worse than anything Weiner might have done, by engaging prostitutes on taxpayer's time and money.

He is now doing well as a talk show personality, and he has even talked of getting into the political arena once again.

So, if Weiner sent the photo, he should come clean now.

His name has already replaced Spitzer's as a catchphrase in these parts.

Be a winner, Weiner, and do what is right.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Rant #1,862: Buchemia, the Magic Country



The snow has come and gone, and I guess we had what amounted to a free pass yesterday.

I shoveled the walk, dug out my car, and yes, when I was at my computer, I continued to look for a new job.

The job search is going absolutely nowhere, and yes, I am a bit down that it hasn't led to at least some possibilities.

But the talk of snow in the previous Rant has led me to think back several decades, to when I was a kid and I loved the snow, to times that I really relish and will never forget, times that I think about to bring me up when I am down.

I am thinking about all the fun times I had growing up in Rochdale Village, South Jamaica, Queens, a stomping ground to top all stomping grounds in my life.

My mind wandered lately, and I got to think of my last days there, and I thought, for the first time in many a day, about something called "Buchemia."

There was some talk about this on Facebook recently, but I thought today--with all the snow around--would be a nice time to introduce many of you to what Buchemia actually was, as I remember it--and I probably forgot a lot of stuff attached to it too.

If I remember correctly, Buchemia was a mythical kingdom that I thought up--perhaps with the help of others--related to Barry B., a classmate in eighth grade when I was going to I.S. 72, what would today be called a middle school but back then was the neighborhood's junior high school. I don't recall why I was influenced by him to create such a mythical kingdom, but I give him the credit for sparking my mind to create this thing.

In the mythical land of Buchemia resided a being called Flinky. I am sure that this was somehow influenced by Gumby, but again, I don't remember the whole thing about either Buchemia or Flinky.

We had certain classes, and certainly during lunchtime, when the whole lot of us were together, and I guess we were bored stiff, and we used to waste good lined writing paper drawing pictures of Buchemia and Flinky.

We had a Buchemian president, vice president, and all the other top governmental officials, which were, of course, us, all the participants in the creation of Buchemia. One day you could be the president, the next day the vice president, etc. It was a very fluid experience.

But we drew up pictures of Buchemia, including the map of the land of our creation, and heaven knows where those picture are today. If I could find them, that would be some hoot to look at 45-plus years since we created them.

And the national anthem of Buchemia was the old Sunmaid Raisins theme song: "Sunmaid Raisins, Sunmaid Raisins, for the fastest energy, in the west" is how I think it went, or something like it.

And that is pretty much all I remember about Buchemia.

I do remember that it was fun to do, and we used to pass around what we had done with it in the middle of class and during lunch break.

I guess it was a way for bored minds to keep everything moving inside of our heads during down time, but it was fun.

I think Buchemia died when we graduated I.S. 72 and went our separate ways, but one of my Facebook friends--a member of our group way back when--brought it up a few weeks ago on the social media site, and it was something I had not thought about for decades … and as I said, I cannot remember too much about it other than what I told you.

Kids have such fertile imaginations, and the group I hung out with certainly fit that description to a T. We were all pretty bright, and the things we thought up were pretty brilliant and interesting, too.

I just wish I could remember more about Buchemia, and perhaps one day, I will hunt around for anything I can find about this mythical country that we created.

Boy, it would be so much fun to find even one piece of paper where we devoted some time to Buchemia.

Youth may be wasted on the young, but no, I don't consider my youth a waste, not in any way, shape or form.

Long live Buchemia!

Classic Rant #516 (June 1, 2011): That Explains It


You know how you are driving somewhere, minding your own business, when out of nowhere comes a car that is doing one of the following:

a) cutting you off
b) tailgating
c) going from lane to lane with reckless abandon
d) not moving when the light changes
e) either going too fast or going too slow
f) driving in two lanes
g) not using directional blinkers when making turn or moving from lane to lane

Invariably, I find that in today's world, most people who are driving cars that do this are talking on their cell phone while behind the wheel, which in my area, at least, is illegal.

Now I know why these imbeciles are so reckless--their brains are being affected by constant talking on their cell phones.

According to the lead report on CBS Evening News last night and through a news item widely available on the Internet, an international panel of scientists claim cell phones are possible cancer-causing agents, putting them in the same category as the pesticide DDT, gasoline engine exhaust and coffee.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer made its judgment after it reviewed dozens of published studies. The agency is an arm of the World Health Organization, and its assessment now goes to WHO and national health agencies for possible guidance on cell phone use.

Classifying agents as "possibly carcinogenic" doesn't mean they automatically cause cancer and some experts said the ruling shouldn't necessarily change cell phone habits.

In 2010, the results of a large study found no clear link between cell phones and cancer, but some advocacy groups contend the study raised serious concerns because it showed a hint of a possible connection between very heavy phone use and glioma, a rare but often deadly form of brain tumor. However, the numbers of those who suffered this malady were miniscule, and that is where the case was looked upon as invalid.

However, to me, the latest ruling suggests that people using cell phones are already doing damage to their brains.

They don't think correctly, have no conception of what they are doing, and aren't thinking straight.

Yes, I would say their brains are being affected by something, and it certainly isn't common sense.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Rant #1,861: White On White



Yes, the snow is coming down, although not nearly as badly as it was predicted to be falling by all the doomsday weather forecasters.

It is bad enough that my wife and I do not have work today.

My son's place of business is open, but it is bad enough that we cannot get him there, so he is taking an unpaid day off.

I hate the snow, I really do.

You want to know how much I hate the snow?

I hate the snow as much as I hate … chicken.

Yes, that is how much I hate the snow.

What does the snow do? It comes down, sits there, and disrupts everything.

But it does not sit there for long, because I have to shovel the stuff, break my back to remove this stuff, and it is getting harder to do as a get older.

As a kid, snow is something magical, wonderful, and it must be experienced as a kid to fully understand the reasons why young people love the snow.

Building snow men is fun; building piles of snow that you have shoveled off your sidewalk is not fun.

Snow is for kids, as much as Trix cereal is for kids.

Sure, we can eat the cereal, but it is not good for us.

Sure, we can experience the falling snow, but it is not good for us, either.

And to get rid of the snow, we put stuff down on the ground that can't be that good for anything.

The salt, the lye, the other stuff, it eats away at our infrastructure, and when it gets splashed on our cars, it rots the car's framework.

And when snow sits around for awhile, it loses that pretty white luster and turns all kinds of colors, and it is not so pretty to the eye.

The snow also makes people crazy. People run out and buy milk and bread, as if they won't be venturing outside for about a month.

How can the milk and bread placate you during a snowstorm or blizzard?

And people drive crazy in the snow, not understanding that this stuff can cause accidents.

Many people drive with completely reckless abandon; others drive at the speed of a less than brisk walk.

Stay off the roads during a storm, and when you can drive again, really watch what you are doing.

I never could understand that.

In fact, I cannot think of one good thing to say about the snow, and I have thought hard to come up with something.

It simply does not please me at all, so I absolutely hate it when it snows.

The only adults that like the snow are those that have their shoveling done for them, and even these people must have their heads examined.

Unless you are a skier, any sign of snow is a warning from Mother Nature that she is all powerful, and should not be messed with.

I hate the snow. Period.

Classic Rant #515 (May 31, 2011): Busting Up Over Paralegal


Leave it to the New York Daily News to find this story hiding under a rock somewhere ...

A Chicago lawyer is saying his opponent in a small claims case is using his paralegal's large breasts to distract the jury.

Attorney Thomas Gooch, who is representing a car dealership, filed a motion last week asking Judge Anita Rivkin-Carothers to force the opposing lawyer's buxom assistant to sit in the audience, rather than at the plaintiff's table.

Gooch (yes, that is his real last name) said his opposing lawyer, Dmitry N. Feofanov, is using Daniella Attencia to draw the attention (get it Attencia-attention) of the jury away from the proceedings.

Feofanov insists that Attencia is his paralegal, and he needs her for his case.

Gooch, on the other hand, thinks that she is just there to show off her ample bosom, and isn't a paralegal at all.

"Personally, I like large breasts," Gooch was reported to have said. "However, I object to somebody I don't think is a qualified paralegal sitting at the counsel table -- when there's already two lawyers there -- dressed in such a fashion as to call attention to herself."

Feofanov said he's got paperwork to prove she's legit.

Evidently she has been paid as a paralegal before, but Gooch said that even though she has been paid as one, it doesn't make her one.

(The photo I used today is totally unrelated to the story. It is the cleanest photo I could find related to the search "busty lawyer.")

I don't know about this one. Just because a woman has an ample figure, does that preclude her from working on a law team?

On the other hand, if you see how some women dress today--even to work--with their you know whats bouncing and hanging out all over the place--don't you think the woman, or even the lawyer she is working with, know what she is doing?

There are scant few pictures of Attencia on the Web (rats!), so I can't judge for myself.

But again, should a woman's ample figure bar her from court proceedings?

All who believe that probably believe that a woman like this was born to do porno films, and that is it.

On the other hand, if her ample endowments are on display in the court, wouldn't you say that is wrong too?

Personally, I don't want to be Solomon here, making the breast, err, best decision about this woman and why she is in the courtroom.

But I think that Gooch should get her eyes of this woman's breasts and back to his legal briefs. (And keep on his other briefs, while he is at it.)

I'm sure his client would want that from him.

As for Attencia, well, let's see more of her on the Web. Then we can judge for ourselves what's going on.

C'mon, more Attencia on the Web.

Please.

(The latest wrinkle in this case is that Atencia is actually Feofanov's wife! Stay tuned, this might get more interesting!)