Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It's not the end of the world... but if you squint you can see it from here.

Today a "Slim-Fast" TV ad appeared on my screen with a Rolling Stones track playing while shots of plus-sized models dancing was intercut with shots of giagantic cans of Slim-Fast flashed on the screen. The song - Time Is On My Side -

"Time Is On My Side" has always held a warm place in my vinyl collection... it's on the "Hot Rocks" album I first bought in 1972 (it was a greatest hits thing... and a must-have for all real rock and roll afficianados) BUT a "SLIM FAST" commercial???

I forgave the Stones for selling "Start Me Up" to the Microsoft Accountants for 12 million dollars because it launched a piece of technology (flawed, but it was technology). Selling a drink that makes your digestive track kick into overdrive and purge the system so Oprah can lose 63lbs of fat is just not rock and roll.

Shame on you Sir Mick... and you too Keith.

Monday, February 27, 2006

schadenfreude, say it with me... "schadenfreude"

Excellent word for the day.

(from our friends at wikipedia) Schadenfreude is a German term meaning "pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune".

Today I experienced a super-sized, turbo-charged, Big Gulp of Schadenfreude.

It was barely three months ago when the word came down from on high, David Lee Roth, aka Diamond Dave, aka David "Weave" Roth was stepping out of his temp job as a NYC paramedic to assume the spot occupied for the past decade plus by Howard Stern, self-appointed King of All Media. (We all know that title genuinely belongs to Rupert Murdoch, but I digress.)

Stern, well past his heyday, decided to step away that which made him both rich and famous and venture into what he calls the "future of broadcasting" - satellite radio. No one should ever slam Howard for cashing in. After all, there is no maximum wage here in this great country, he is quite welcome to make as much money as he possibly can. God Bless him for doing so.

This entry is about the hideously stupid decision to cast David Lee Roth as the replacement for Howard. Granted he was only given access to a portion of Howard's empire, but that portion included the NYC radio station once known as "K-Rock" now called "Free FM."

What in the wild wild world of sports were the suits at CBS Radio thinking?

David Lee Roth? Once a huge star as a rock and roller singer for Van Halen. Never a broadcaster. A man about whom much has been speculated, but little is really known. Quite the opposite of Howard.

David Lee Roth? Unknown quantity. Untested. Inexperienced.

But that did not stop Infinity/CBS Radio from hiring him, purchasing hundreds of thousands of dollars in promotional support for him and giving him unfettered access to the millions of listeners who had developed a dependency for a product so strong that one expected a government warning to accompany it.

Many of us tuned in for week one and brushed off DLR's rough edges and discomfort to rough edges and discomfort.

Then came weeks 2,3,4 and 5... with little or no improvement. Just a tabloid truckload of rumours about how unhappy the staff is and how CBS Radio was already planning on making a change. If, as a listener, you made it into that February, I'm guessing you have "Poundcake", "Panama", and "Hot For Teacher" on your iPod.

Today came the very first proof of what we already knew. 2/27/06 was ratings day, judgment day, a day when you could probably hear Celine Dion singing that song from the giant sinking boat movie just outside the K-Rock/Free FM studios.

The radio ratings were published and (according to www.drudgreport.com) Diamond Dave is more like Cubic Zirconia Dave. Where Howard had a 7.9 rating, David Lee Roth came in with a first report card of a 1.7. There are other tales of even worse devastation in specific key demographics like the coveted 18-34 yr olds.

Oddly enough, just seven weeks into his first big radio gig, David Lee Roth started a weeklong vacation today.

For the sake of great radio, let's all hope CBS Radio has the smarts to make it a much longer, more permanent vacation.

And until they can find a suitable replacement, why not bring in Sammy Hagar... he knows how to follow Dave. And he certainly couldn't do any worse.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Don't even think about stealing this idea. (it's copyrighted and registered with the Writer's Guild of America)

I know there's a baby boom here in NYC, but there is also a GIANT STROLLER BOOM which should have all of us concerned.

After spending countless hours dodging the massive strollers now hogging the pavement on Manhattan's sidewalks, I have surrendered... I am defeated.

Please. Go ahead, parade your miracle offspring around the city in giant prams driven by nannies with exotic accents. Block the aisles in the already cramped Manhattan supermarkets with Kenworth-sized baby carriages. Clog the entrances and exits to all things once thought easily accessible with your sidewalk Hummers. I can spot a trend spiraling out of control as easily as the next marketing genius... And I intend to make a small, wait... A very large fortune on this one.

The sweat shops in China are already abuzz with the preliminary plans for all types of stroller add-ons.

Land Rover will be the first stop for my cross-platform pitch. The "Sidewalk Rover" will be a transformer-type of device... When you arrive to pick up nanny & child at the mall, simply lift the seat out of the pram and buckle it into your massive Land Rover. VOILA! A car seat! The carriage folds and stows in the back section of the Land Rover... right next to the three week supply of emergency food and water under the third row seat... where your child care provider sits.

We also have plans to manufacture and develop

Chrome "spinners" for the young Federline-Spears fans...

Sirius and XM will "want in" on this bonanza as well... We must develop a stroller satellite radio hookup and a show to support it!

Don't forget our friend at APPLE --- with their iPod Nano - check that - iPod Nanny - pockets for all of the baby cruisers.

There will be local Stroller Shows - bigger than custom car shows - full of competitions and awards. Searches for classic strollers to be made over and "pimped" into insane 2006 sidewalk sleds.

Of course it all comes together on a celebrity-mom hosted weekly show called "Pimp My Pram". (hopefully seen on Oxygen or one of those other women's networks)

Are you people with me?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Dancing With The Olympic Stars on Exile Island?

Perhaps I'm asking too much here. (But I'm a dreamer, deal with it.) Does everything I like have to be on the tube at the same time? It just strikes me as odd that all of the really interesting events on television happen on the same nights, at the same time.

Witness last Thursday night's clash of the titans. NBC had the Olympic Gold on the line in the much ballyhooed face-off between the best female skaters in the world while over on ABC they were "Dancing With The Stars" in the final dance before Sunday's final episode, and on CBS we had the latest batch of Type A personalities (& tv wannabees) was making alliances and plucking snails off the rocks on "Survivor; Exile Island. " What was America watching? American Idol's first round of popular vote losers! That's correct, and it wasn't even close--- it was a ratings landslide!

Which brings up another and more salient point.

We as a nation, choose to watch our fellow countrymen (and women) get their hearts ripped out and dreams destroyed on national television rather than root our best athletes on to victory.

Perhaps the choice had already been made for us. Most of the other networks and internet providers were in hyperdrive to ruin NBC's ratings with "breaking news" crawls and Olympic updates. I sense something else is at work here. Something bigger than mere competition between media outlets. Boredom.

Just as we said good-bye to outdated sports like Barrel Jumping (yes, we actually had a sport where men were crowned champion of the world because they were able to skate real fast and jump over a bunch of whiskey/wine barrels lined up on the ice), perhaps it's time to move the "Modern" Olympics off to a new territory. Or maybe we just need to let them morph into what people really want to see.

Olympic Idol...

Countries send their best 10,000 or so hopefuls... Randy, Simon, & Paula whittle it down to what they see as the best and then the world gets to vote (don't we all have global long distance by now?).

It's an idea whose time has come. Now, how do I make money off of it? I'll think about that right after barrel-jumping practice. Everything old is new, no?

Friday, February 24, 2006


If I buy a counterfeit watch or movie or designer bag using counterfeit money... Has a crime been committed?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Classic Tale... retold for the first time here.

Before my blog, there was just my e-mail and a few friends who were tortured with/by my world view... As I have been "riding the couch" all week, I could not help but notice the onslaught of commercials from Victoria's Secret... and that reminded me of an experience I had just last Fall... (cue the harp music and step into the time machine)


Last week I attended the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show taping at the Armory on Lexington Avenue with my co-worker, "Goumba Johnny." Many of you would have enjoyed the insanity. The security was tighter than any airport, and rivals that of a Presidential visit!

The attendees, all there by special invite, were grinning like grownup Golden Ticket holders about to enter the lingerie equivalent of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Many of these folks appeared to be Wall Street types -- and since it was 3pm we assumed that the trading floor must have looked as empty as a snow day. The event is not simply a television show taping, there was historical significance to the day, this would be Tyra Banks' last catwalk. All the single names of Supermodeldom were on the bill (well, all those who were brave enough and could still squeeze themselves into the woven dental floss which VS passes as clothing) - Tyra, Naomi, Adriana, Heidi, and Gisele.

Arriving two hours early, we were taken with the other electronic press a large dressing room in the basement of the Armory. The 20 x 30 staging area / (un)dressing room was packed to capacity, filled with swarming media, models and assorted support staff. The Models ("Angels") were moving from hair to eyes to body makeup (nice work if you can get it) to foot preparation and it was difficult for the mind NOT to wander to those tapes we see of preparations given to show dogs at the Westminster Kennel Club. Considering their size and stature, perhaps they looked more like Clydesdales than Collies...

As we were being directed to the media holding area (a small corner in the room, by the coat rack), just past the curling iron lineup and before the hair-extension station there was a small human traffic jam of maybe 8-10 people and in the middle was the recently single Gisele Bunchen. The gridlocked Gisele was apparently not used to waiting for anything and began talking loudly about how "these people needed to go." --- Her tone and volume escalated to near paint-peeling levels... repeating "THESE PEOPLE NEED TO GO! WE CANNOT GET OUR WORK DONE!" I was actually close enough to have been able to smell Leo's cologne (had they still been together) and managed to remark just loudly enough for her to hear, "yeah, need a little space, we're curing cancer here people." Her glare was worth all the hassle of the day. In any case, handlers arrived in seconds and the bottleneck was broken ... the show was saved! Thanks Gisele.

We waited in line behind the ET crew, the Extra crew and a few locals who were all miffed that a radio station would be granted the same access as TV. Johnny spotted the models catering buffet and decided that he would be a food tester, making certain that none of the "Performances" would be spoiled by food-bourne illness. By my count, he consumed more food than the entire stable of Angels. And I'm betting that his food stayed down longer too! There was one nifty little scene - I spied a model pouring herself a nice glass of champagne and then filling a bowl with Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes and milk. This will forever be burned in my brain as the pre-game meal of Supermodels and a vivid reminder of just how different my world is from theirs.

All probing questions had been answered, a few pictures taken (just to prove that we actually DID get backstage) and now we were off to the show. Thanks to an amazing clerical error, John and I were granted seats in Section B (center), Row 1, Seats 1 & 2. We were attending the Superbowl of Lingerie Shows with seats on the 50 yard line ... and pre-game locker room passes!

Our perch on the sidelines was almost too close. We sat less than 10 feet from the edge of the catwalk -- a sixty foot expanse on which the Angels would stride down ... stop ... pose ... spin and walk back. And that's their job! Walk, stop, pose, spin, walk again. Someone else dresses you, does your makeup, picks your clothes... You walk, stop, pose, etc.

During the pre-show build up a crew of broadcast professionals was walking through the cues for the 28 min show. A motorized, computer controlled camera like those which follow Olympic sprinters was being tested back and forth on the runway, three high-tech cameras on cranes were swooping over various sections of the audience, no doubt anticipating some of the reactions from the crowd and there were an additional five or six handheld steady cam operators wandering the room. The tension was palpable.

A hush fell over the crowd as the lights dimmed on the set. We sat in silence and darkness for almost 30 seconds before a single spotlight slowly revealed Chris Botti and his horn, mid-runway. He delivered a spectacular rendition of "Embraceable You" and the fuse was lit on this one.

The holiday themed set was now bathed in lights and sound... 30ft tall teddy bears flanked the stage and a gigantic pink and lavendar box was slowly opening to reveal the Angels... 10 women dressed in enough fabric to possibly make one blouse for a three year old... and the wings, what is the deal with the wings? It did not really matter, just makes me laugh. One after the other, most with strides like Lipizzaner Stallions, they stepped out of the box and down the catwalk to the pumping beat of dance music. We clapped, we stared - ok we gawked and we made jokes like 13yr old boys might do when they catch a neighbor girl in her underwear.

Round one was done and the lights dimmed a bit as the stage rotated to display a huge ornament which was slowly rotating to expose a tuxedo'd Seal reclining inside. He stepped out of the ornament, mic in hand and ready to sing. At that moment I remember thinking - "he could be the first black James Bond." Seal sang his hit CRAZY as his wife, Heidi Klum took the stage just 8 weeks after giving birth to their child. How nice... a family values moment at the underwear show. Heidi was given a thunderous round of applause. She was followed by the rest of the Angels... Seal finished and disappeared again in his ornament/lounger.

The pop sounds of Bow Wow Wow's "I Want Candy" began to fill the arena and once again the stage revolved to reveal a small forest of candy canes through which the girls were forced to navigate before getting to their familiar straight path of 60 feet... Finally, I thought to myself, a genuine challenge! It was touch and go for one of the nameless youngsters who lost a 6in spiked heel somewhere in the "woods" - but she managed to complete the 120ft distance - pretending that her left foot was still strapped into those torture shoes.

Again there was a tempo change and scenery meant to transport us to Moscow's Red Square was flown in... Glasnost indeed! Were we going to see Victoria's Secret Police? Nah... just a little variety and I'm guessing an effort to make some of the girls feel a little less homesick. Another parade up and down the catwalk, but this time the Eastern European flavor gave the girls a little more goose in their step.

Another hush fell over the stage as silence and darkness tipped us off that something big was going to happen. We heard downstairs that Ricky Martin was the surprise guest ... and since it ruined the surprise for us, I am ruining it for you too. Puerto Rico's favorite son magically appeared on stage with his own gaggle of dancers, performing "Drop It On Me" as the real supermodels took a much-deserved smoke/purge break backstage and changed into their costumes for the finale.

In the pause that followed Ricky Martin's performance, I realized that we were 22 minutes into the show and not a scripted word had been spoken... (no intros, no welcomes, no billboarding of the models or the singers, nada) I was developing a genuine concern for the future of writers - like my wife. Could the bra and panty show become a trend as big as reality tv and threaten the future of writers on television? This must be stopped! Something must be done! Then WHAMMO! All the lights were back up, the music taken to the next level and the Angels appeared for their final walk ... and they were all dressed in bows. Get it... PRESENTS. They were now changed from Angels to holiday gifts.

Tyra took command of this last round by appearing with some kind of carved, five foot long staff. It made no sense for her to be carrying a staff, unless this was the Victoria's Secret Scepter or a ceremonial cane they hand out to all models on their "last walk." She pranced one last time down the catwalk ... like a Jeff Gordon victory lap at Talledega. There she was, surrounded by the Angels ... all in various stages of undress, smiling and waving from the edges candy cane forest. Then suddenly, almost as abruptly as it started, it was all over. The girls, the glitter, the music -- all gone. We were hustled off into the chilly rain on a late November afternoon in NYC. I clutched my press kit and digital camera, securing the indisputable evidence of my afternoon. This was not a hallucination.

Out-sprinting a woman twenty years my senior and jumping into what may have been the last available cab within miles I took comfort that the past three hours inside the NY Armory had not been wasted. There was a lesson to be learned. This historic building which has housed countless soldiers and stored their supplies of guns, ammo, food, and no doubt clothing, was finally fulfilling it's dual purpose potential, servicing the good citizens of New York City and the country by hosting a high-tech, televised underwear show.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Wireless Web To Save The World? (I hope so)

Every single day another major metropolitan area announces an "initiative" to provide free wireless internet service (WI-FI) to their entire City. Recently Philadelphia and Chicago have told their citizens that they intend to bathe every street in free internet signals.

So, let's get this right, free wireless internet is going to save us all? GOFIGYA!.

If you think about it, the best thing the web has going for it is a total LACK of government involvement. Aside from Al Gore's fathering of the Internet, the best thing about the digital universe is the paucity of politicians.

The internet has revolutionized communication, commerce and even dating... And it's done it all WITHOUT the benefit of government oversight. Well, Spud, that express train to prosperity and innovation is apparently about to come to a screeching halt.

The equation is simple - take something successful, add in one part government and you've got a recipe for ruin.

How can I be so certain? We've only got about 230 years of background information on this one. If you want something to stop developing and fester like a open sore... Let the politicians take control. Should you need further examples, take a scan of our nation's annual budget. Our Federal budget reads like an encyclopedia of stupid spending and runaway waste. Keep your earmarking, entitlement hands off my internet!

Aside from the fears we all have of govt oversight of the Web... Can you imagine what will happen when the Internet is available virtually everywhere? The computer companies will develop more portable devices so you and I can get online EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE. People in cars, on buses, or walking the streets will be spending less time paying attention to driving while talking on their cell phones... and why? They'll be busy logging on to sites like this one and I can't handle being responsible for any more problems than I'm already creating.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Forget the U.S. Ports, who is running Chuck E. Cheese?

This past weekend (President's Weekend for those keeping score) was filled with stories crowing about how our President is screwing up by greenlighting a deal with some Arab Company from the UAE to run the major U.S. shipping ports. I'd love to spin out of control on this one and tell you all that I've meditated on the subject and have a perfect solution, but I don't.

I'm not good with it. In fact I was even more concerned when Jimmy Carter gave it the thumbs up. BUT there are more important issues facing us today.

I'm talking about children's birthday parties.

When did a child's birthday become an event requiring mom and dad dip into the 401k plan for a loan to pay for the goodie bags given to your kid's friends???

My memory is ripe with a Kodak moments from the old neighborhood... We'd all get invited to a neighbor's house for cake, ice cream and the requisite ripping open of dime store purchased gifts. If you were lucky... And that was a mighty big IF, you went home with a squirt gun or a slinky. BUT a GOODIE BAG? Shut up!

To hear parents talk, if they don't provide each little guest with a sack of trinkets equal to the cost of their child's gift, the families face exile from the country club, the PTA and just about every other social activity in their child's world. It's worse than the entitlement programs that have our politicians quaking in their boots.

Who are we celebrating? How about the birthday boy or girl? Can you imagine the pressure on these children at school?

Let's get back to making birthday cakes and celebrating the kids not the guests!

G'night mom, and thanks for all the fantastic and very real parties!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Too Many Awards... Too Little Time. . .

Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, People's Choice, American Music Awards, Sundance, Screen Actors Guild, Writers Guild, Directors Guild, BAFTA, and on and on and on. There is even an Emmy Award for the best Awards Show!!!

We need an Awards Show intervention in America! Lock the doors, unplug the TVs and let's have a frank discussion about America's addiction to handing out statues honoring the best of ANYTHING.

It seems as if you cannot swing a cat without hitting a celebrity who is either en route or just coming home from an awards ceremony. (Someone alert the PETA people that my use of the expression "swing a cat" is just that, an expression.)

ENOUGH ALREADY! If we removed all the awards insanity, we would all have a significant amount of time available to actually create entertainment that people would enjoy.

I realize that killing the entire Awards Show business would also kill the "Goodie Bag" business... the insane practice of gifting those who win/hand out the awards with bags filled with free stuff. And isn't it amazing that people who earn millions of dollars a year are so crazed to be given a bag full of stuff they could easily afford to purchase?

I also realize that killing the Awards shows would put Joan & Melissa Rivers on unemployment, but wouldn't we all pitch in a few extra dollars to make that happen?

There are risks involved with making these brave moves. And they won't please everyone. As I said before, something would have to fill those hours... yet when last I checked, there were hundreds of unused TV pilots that never get a shot. Pick 20 of them these pilots and replace the Awards shows and endless red carpet preshows. I'll bet half of these shows are better than what NBC passed as comedy with JOEY?

So let's be brave, lose the awards shows. Just stick a fork in them... and move on.

BTW, if you are voting for Best Blog... I appreciate all those who appreciate great writing.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The bumper sticker read "God needed a driver..."

The above photo was not taken by me... but it has been seen by millions all over the internet and it seemed appropriate that we all take a good long look at this picture as today marks the official opening of the NASCAR season with the Daytona 500.

It's been five years and a day since #3 checked out... and I don't really want to inflame the Nascar Dads (or Moms, or kids for that matter) but can we give it a rest for God's sake??? Should you need any more evidence that we're spending entirely too much time and money on worshipping a guy who made a living by SPEEDING... read this little piece copied from the Earnhardt family website:

"Dale Earnhardt fans can cruise along the Dale Trail tour starting in mid- to late September. That's when the self-guided tour of the late NASCAR star and Kannapolis native's old haunts will debut, said Cabarrus County tourism officials who helped create the project."

THE DALE TRAIL? Just when you think there might be hope for the South to shake all the Elvis-trailer-park-slept-with momma-til-he-was-15-years-old stuff... Somebody creates The Dale Trail.

Fact. Race car driving is not a sport. Not anymore. It's more of a game - on par with today's Playstation games. Today's Daytona 500 is 800 left turns... with no speed limits. It's unlimted gas, tires, and a motor club that doesn't just show up when your car catches on fire... they put out the fire - rebuild it and push start you back into the race.

And really, thanks to Earnhardt's tragic death, technology will actually prevent many others from suffering the same fate... which actually makes the whole Nascar thing even less of a sport.


The race coverage was on NBC today from 1pm to 6:30pm. Over five hours of this...

Save me, save all of us, move NASCAR to SPIKE or ESPN 19.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Powerball is tonite... needless to say, I did not win the MegaMillions. A small share of the 365 million will have to do.

"Try to enjoy your time here."

Friday, February 17, 2006

Powerball, MegaMillions... yeah, I'm in.

Tonite and tomorrow we'll have a couple of drawings for over half a BILLION dollars. And despite the odds, I'm in.

NY's Lottery is part of a multi-state event called MegaMillions and tonite's drawing is worth 145 million (pre-tax, annuity) dollars. And then, on Saturday night the 27 state Powerball numbers will roll with a 365 million dollar payday awaiting.

We did the office pool thing for the past two weeks... a total of 300 dollars invested with a return (so far) of 38 dollars. I rationalize that with the fact that the monies are going to support the school systems... as well as the third world countries where the ultimate winners and their families reside. But I digress.

Just in case this is my final post (if we win, you'll not hear from me again), I want to thank all of the loyal readers (mostly family members) of this blog. Your smiles are the reason I persist.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

I knew there was a great reason for NOT adding HBO to my cable package… it’s Bryant Gumbel!

Let’s review Mr. Gumbel’s statements from his program “Real Sports” on HBO.
"Finally, tonight, the Winter Games.
Count me among those who don’t like them and won’t watch them ... Because they’re so trying, maybe over the next three weeks we should all try too. Like, try not to be incredulous when someone attempts to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks who never heard of skating or skiing. So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention. Try not to point out that something’s not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what’s called a kiss-and-cry area, while some panel of subjective judges decides who won ... So if only to hasten the arrival of the day they’re done, when we can move on to March Madness — for God’s sake, let the games begin."


So much to address, I barely can contain myself.

Gumbel playing the race card? Who knew he was black?

His argument about the ancient Greeks never hearing of skating or skiing is laughable. Does he believe that we should be adhering to the rules, regulations and traditions of ancient Greece in order to hold an Olympic competition? OK fine – we can do that - everybody competes nude. And ladies… sorry, but Mr. GRUMBLE over there in the corner doesn’t think it’s OLYMPIC for you to compete. Oh yeah… a few more little issues if we want to “keep it real” for the Olympics – All the competitors must speak Greek, and not only are women not allowed to compete, if they are caught watching the Games, they are thrown off a cliff.

Wake up, ego maniac! Everything changes, grows, develops… well, apparently everything except you.

I give the IOC credit for looking into new sports and adding competitions like mogul skiing and the exciting half-pipe events. They are sports and quite popular around the world. Perhaps we should also NOT televise the Games, after all, television was not invented until 2600 years the first Games at Olympia.

Then there are Mr. Gumbel’s comments about “a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention” --- so asinine, so hideous, so baseline stupid that they really requires no commentary. (But here goes nothing.) If the presence of black people is what is required for anything in this world to pass the GUMBEL SNIFF TEST for equality and diversity, I’d like to see the membership diversity numbers on your country club in Connecticut, Mr. Gumbel.

Your attack on figure skating is also beyond hilarious. Bruce Jenner, (Olympic gold medal decathlete) a recent evictee from FOX TV’s Skating with Celebrities can testify to the amount of athleticism required to perform a four minute routine on ice. On a semi-related note, figure skating is about the only place that gay athletes are given any major tv time or credibility, and now you want that venue removed from the Olympics? Not very accepting of others are you Mr. Gumbel?

And what’s wrong with the “kiss n cry” area in figure skating? Are emotions forbidden in the Gumbel World of Sports? You also seem to have a problem with judges. How are these professionals any different from the referees in basketball (the sport you apparently are dying to see after the Olympics wrap up in a few weeks)? Skating judges & skiing judges spend years honing their craft and earning the right to be big stage, just as referees spend decades working their way from hack leagues to college to the NBA. Both are skilled students of their sports. They learn the rules and pass judgment, either in the form of a foul called or scoring a performance.

Look, Bryant… I feel a special kinship with you. We both grew up in Chicago, both made it in NYC in the media biz, both enjoy golf to the point of almost obsessing, but it all ends there. Is this really about the Olympics being less than what you expected? I suspect not.

Rest easy BG, your beloved NCAA Basketball Tournament is just around the corner. “March Madness” will be upon us soon enough. Yes, we’ll have endless hours of daytime television pre-empted so some network can cover college basketball’s annual tournament of tournaments. It’s a massive time-waster as far as I am concerned. (At least we get to hear the word Gonzaga uttered several times during the tourney… that always makes me smile.)

Back to NCAA Basketball and it’s March Madness. Do you really support this over the Olympics? Basketball has for the past decade (the post-Jordan era) produced some of the most morally bankrupt thug-celebrities this side of the rap music world. On the other hand, many Olympic champions go on to long successful careers in diverse fields. They do much more than sell shoes, soft drinks or computer games to an ever-expanding group of young illiterates who idolize them.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Blizzard on Sunday, SPF 16 Needed on Wednesday

The above photo was snapped on Sunday afternoon. My neighbor was busy digging out his car (or what he hoped was his car) when I walked past and made a pithy comment about checking the plate before continuing. He snapped a quick reply, but then did brush off the front plate a few seconds later, just to be certain.

Today... Wednesday... just 72 hours after the storm that broke all records for one-day snowfall in NYC (26.9 inches in 24 hours) we hit 52 degrees and the city became one massive puddle.

Sunday the temps are headed south again... it's going to drop into the 20s.

Warm - cold - warm - cold... add in some snow and then salt - this is one gigantic petri dish begging to incubate some sort of superflu. Does anyone else sense an impending thinning of the herd?

I'm off to the drug store to load up on Airborne and Echinacea.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

White House Declares Open Season On Lawyers? Not Yet. . .

Feb 14, 2006 Happy Valentines Day...

I grew up in Chicago where Valentines Day always had two meanings... and apparently Vice President Dick Cheney celebrated as some of the Chicago Mob would have done in days gone by.

OK OK, stop ringing the “Bad Taste Bell” and give me a break. I know that Harry Whittington (Cheney's victim/friend) had a minor heart attack today - and hope he recovers fully and very soon.

Let’s not make any more of this than is really necessary. This is not about the GOP Gang settling a score with the Legal Gang. The unfortunate accident has more to do with guns in the hands of people over 70 years of age than anything else.

Simma down. Order a shirt from my website. And go kiss your loved one on this Valentines Day.

Monday, February 13, 2006

My Olympic Dreams Are Melting, Thanks NBC

The Olympics are in Torino, Italy or Turin, Italy... somewhere in Northern Italy, but after just three days of competition I’m just about to take a hard left turn into “I don’t care-land.”

The opening ceremonies were the usual flag-waving, three hour pageant and parade of those who have spent the past four years working at Home Depot as they prepare to compete... NBC presented it to us on Friday night, all on tape-delay thanks to the six hour time difference between NYC and Italy. HONESTLY... were they worried that something bizarre might happen and we wouldn’t be handle it?

Memo to NBC - Just show the Olympics LIVE and make people find them! We all need a good excuse to sneak away from work to spy our favorite sports on ice.

Do those pudding-brained executives at NBC really think we’re all avoiding the scores or results in order to gather round the flat-screen at night and watch Jim Lampley and Bob Costas present their canned version of the days’ events???

I challenge you to avoid seeing the results during the day!

Every other network or internet provider is working overtime to spoil NBC’s secrets of who won and who crashed... Don’t believe me? Just log on to your AOL account or Yahoo or Google and see if you can keep your Olympic innocence.

I’d like to stick around and rant a little more, but Hannah’s a few minutes away from leading an American sweep in the half-pipe... Oh, you didn’t know?

My bad.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

1000 Days To Waste... Count'em with me!

Do the math with me, it’s an even 1000 days until we go back to the polls and select the next President of the United States.

Can you believe it? The remainder of this year, all of 2007 and most of 2008... 1000 days and already, each week we’re being bombarded with hours and hours of precious news time speculating on who will be the next occupant of the White House. This concerns me on many levels.

I’ve already accepted the fact that the halls of Congress are filled with hundreds of the most evil people on the planet (and five or six really good ones), but we the voters have to look in the mirror and take credit for creating these monsters. Yes, WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR TED KENNEDY AND TOM DELAY... the fact that politicians suck is our fault.

Those serving in the Senate & House (with the miniscule exception of the few who were appointed to fill spots due to death, mid-term defections to other jobs, or prison) were voted into office by you and me. If they did not perform as expected and we re-elected them - WHO IS AT FAULT HERE? (”fool me once... shame on you, fool me twice... I’m an idiot who deserves to have his/her taxes raised to pay for ridiculous, ineffective social programs that do nothing.)

And now, 1000 days out from a Presidential election we begin the monitoring, the campaigning, the speculating. What do you think would happen at YOUR job or MY JOB if we spent almost three years trying... wait, CAMPAIGNING to get a better gig??? I can tell you what would happen... you and I would have 999 days to find a new gig without the hassle of getting paid! Our butts would be fired within minutes of our bosses catching wind of of grand plans to upgrade our employment.

Here’s an idea - why don’t those who want to be President prove their worth to us by doing the best work they can, IN THE JOB WE ELECTED THEM TO DO! I know it’s a radical proposition, but it is exactly how I am judged by the people who determine if my next step will be up or down.

So, for the next 1000 days I’m watching Senators Warner, Clinton, and McCain - and anyone else who wants the gig. I will make my decision based upon real work... and maybe, just maybe the Presidential Jeopardy idea I pitched in this very blog about two weeks back.


Saturday, February 11, 2006


As an early adopter I have a warm place in my heart for technology and those who choose to use it to makes their lives and their work more efficient. But cell phones are ruining our lives and making us less productive.

For almost 20 years I have owned and used cell phones, and at this very moment my primary telephone is a cellular phone. However I find that I use it less and less each day. It’s a tool I use to make my world more efficient, not a time filler. The rest of the world appears to be taking a different approach to cell phone use. At present cell phones have become one of the most offensive pieces of technology.

You cannot walk the streets without dodging people who seem to be in a trance as they speak on their handheld phones. AND their conversations are never about anything vital – I know – you can hear every word they say from a block away.

Cell phones were created for emergency situations. And yet, my postman has a cell, the woman next to me on the treadmill has a cell, the woman checking me out at the grocery store has a cell phone – AND THEY ALL USE THEM –ALL THE TIME!

Would you feel comfortable with a surgeon who answered a cell phone as he was operating on you? And what kind of education would your child be receiving from a teacher who takes and places cell phone calls during classes? (What kind of education would the same child be getting if he or she is making calls in those same classes???)

I was trying to buy groceries and get home before the BLIZZARD OF 2006 hits NYC, but the woman scanning my food was busy on her cell phone - AS I WAS TRYING TO CHECK OUT! She was also unhappy about my thoughts on this subject. I tried to call her boss and lodge a complaint, but they told me he was on a call... probably a cell phone call.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Katie Couric gets her Italian delivery... and BlameStorming in not just for Congress

In our house we love the Olympics. We root for America. We marvel at the dedication and athleticism of those who dedicate their lives to one sport... especially when the sport involves sitting on a tiny piece of fiberglass as it flys down an icy track at 60+ mph.

God has a sense of humour.

Witness Katie Couric getting a special delivery from the birds over Torino. She asked for some hand sanitizer and Matt Lauer had a little too much fun with it.

The East Coast is in the grip of it's first winter storm of the season and that can only mean one thing. PANIC. People are obsessed with finally having a little snow or an actual winter experience this year. Every five minutes the television beeps and the latest threat from Mother Nature crawls across the screen... I'd like to say more, BUT I really feel the need to stock up on batteries, toilet paper, milk, eggs, and bread. We call that the storm diet... milk, eggs and bread.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Curious George Author's Curious Murder

From the wires... just days short of the major release of CURIOUS GEORGE - the animated movie - Two men have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Alan J. Shalleck, 76, who co-wrote "Curious George" books and helped bring the very curious little monkey to television.

Rex Spears Ditto, 29, and Vincent Puglisi, 54, were arrested shortly before midnight on Wednesday and confessed to a home invasion, murder and robbery of Shalleck, Sgt. Gladys Cannon of the Boynton Beach police said on Thursday.

Shalleck's bloodied body was discovered on Tuesday under a pile of plastic garbage bags in a driveway at Royal Manor Estates by a maintenance supervisor who went to haul away what appeared to be a pile of trash, police said.

It just ain't right... and I will resist the urge to make jokes about the man in the yellow hat.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


For weeks I have made a serious effort to NOT use this blog as an expression of my political opinions... my life is about laughter and love. BUT, the Universe is apparently not that concerned with MY wants or desires.

Yesterday, some fools chose to use the solemn event of Mrs. King's funeral to take shots at President Bush.

These people are my brothers. Fellow Americans... and in one case a President I actually voted for!

To transform the funeral of a great and peaceful woman like Mrs. King into a bully pulpit for partisan political purposes is the lowest act I have witnessed in months, maybe even years.

Trying to throw political paint on President Bush, Jimmy Carter made references to the govt wiretapping of Dr. King and his wife... without telling those listening that it was Robert F. Kennedy who ordered the wire tap! RFK - a member of the Kennedy family and leader of the Democrats! Shame on you Jimmy Carter! I liked you a lot better when you were building houses for the homeless. It is moments like this which remind me of your Presidency... the high unemployment, gas shortages complete with "even-odd" rationing, interest rates over 20%, and the Iranian hostage crisis. Not exactly America's "salad days."

According to the most recent stats on the ecomony we have experienced a HUGE job growth since 2003... which was when the President Bush's Tax Cuts sparked a massive upswing in our economic engine. Almost 5 MILLION jobs have been created...5 million job created in 3 years! And they are higher paying jobs too - by the govt stats - this is not a burger-flipping recovery! Unemployment is under 5%... sitting at 4.7% AND unemployment among Black Americans has dropped from 11.7 to 8.9% - ALMOST 3 full points! Latin-American unemployent has dropped under 6%! Have you heard that from the Bush-Bashers? Nope. The nay-sayers are too busy trying to rally support for a cause that has been losing ground for decades.

But enough about serious topics... Madonna's almost ready to kick off the Grammys. Gotta jet.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mrs. King, R.I.P.

Dignity is quite underrated. Dr. King's widow was the picture of dignity.

Remember her. Celebrate her. Honor her.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Once a Month for SNL? Maybe it's a better idea!

So I watched the TIVO version of Saturday Night Live... Steve Martin was hosting, Prince as musical guest and I realized that Lorne Michaels needs to refine his product. This show was terrific! Filled with clever sketches (a few stinkers in there) and many big laughs.

So why does it need to be refined? Why after this week? THIS WEEK IS THE TEMPLATE FOR SUCCESS - It's so simple - there were loads of pre-taped sketches as well as weeks to prepare!

Mr. Michaels, I beg you - forget the 18 or 20 shows you manage to give us from September to May - Just do one a month. Give us twelve great shows and skip the rest. I'd rather tune in once a month and see a show like last Saturday's with Steve Martin than pop in weekly to see if you are in re-runs or worse - attempting to make a lame performer into something they are not and will not ever be - FUNNY.

Saturday Night Live - a monthly special - Somebody get NBC on the phone - this is the stuff that shapes a network!

The other topic du jour. Teen Vogue. Do we really need a magazine called Teen Vogue?

Pre-XL Bowl, I am at the checkout stand, waiting... and the mind wanders to the magazine rack filled with cover stories all claiming to have the latest news about Brad-Angelina-Jennifer-Vince-Tom-Katie and the rest of the "won't work for less than 20 million a picture" crowd... AND WHAT DO I SEE STARING ME IN THE FACE? "TEEN VOGUE"

Vogue is bad enough... ok, I really have no quarter here... no reason to gripe about Vogue's existence. But let's face it. Vogue is here to tell women (and the gay guys who are swallowed up by fashion) what is "In vogue" but how many people can actually afford what is seen on the runways? is it about a fantasy?

TEEN (freakin') VOGUE!

By all means, let's grab the young girls early in life, so we can teach them that rail-thin, beauty-obsessed lives are the only ones worth living.


The idea is as obscene as TEEN PLAYBOY... wait a minute... Stop this right now before someone actually starts a magazine called TEEN PLAYBOY. Sorry I brought up the whole thing.

Waiting in the wings... The Grammys, Valentines Day, and what's really wrong with the U.S. Postal System.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Mick & Keith's AARP Halftime Show and the future

XL = 40... and a boring night.

Mick Jagger just finished what can only be described as one of the most uncomfortable performances I have ever seen. (And I am a fan of the Rolling Stones... having seen them a half-dozen times since 1975.)

62yr old Mick jagger looks to be feeling his age. His strut is painful, his body just bizarre... although those pole-dancing classes appear to be paying dividends. (yeah)

I just noticed it... and I may not be the first person to make this statement, but I believe that Keith Richards was the inspiration for Kramer on Seinfeld. Look at him again. Forget the Johnny Depp "Pirates of the Carribean" thing - he's Kramer!

For the record, ABC and the Dis-Nazis did censor "Start Me Up" and the second song.

Monday promises much more stupidity and fun.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

XL = 40 and other bad examples of cute math.

With just over 24 hours before the start of the prelude to the warm-up show that leads into the pre-game show just before the kick-off of SuperBowl 40 we have officially reached critical mass on the ultimate game. The point at which there is so much analysis, hype, and speculation about what might happen, who has the best commercial, etc. that I am considering going to the movies on Sunday night just to get away from it all. TIVO can do the heavy lifting and allow me to zip past the insanity. Heresy you say? This Superbowl is not really super in my eyes… and it has nothing to do with the teams.

The biggest story about tomorrow’s Big Game – it’s being tape-delayed by ABC.

I’m not just talking about half-time show, the boring mini-concert featuring Grandpa Jagger and his (much slower) Rolling Stones – ABC is delaying the pre-game, the actual game, the half-time and the post-game show! That’s correct Janet, thanks to your star-encrusted nipple’s guest appearance a few years back, the entire show is now sent through a filter of ABC/Disney censors who decide in seconds if anything objectionable is being seen or heard… and they are allowed to delete or mask said content to protect us all.

You should feel safe now.

Godforbid that a kid watching with mom and/or dad should see or hear a football player cursing! I’d wager a Kevin Federline year’s supply of RedBull and cigarettes that the average 10yr old hears more cursing at school before homeroom starts than they would experience during all four quarters of the SuperBowl.

I say to ABC/Disney - Let the SuperBowl be, well Super …

It’s our once-a-year, eat all you can, drink all you can, football party! Honestly folks, the charm of a live sports event is the potential for anything to happen and we all get to see it – unscripted & unedited. And then on Monday morning we are allowed to waste MOUNTAINS of time talking about it with co-workers and friends.

Not this year. Thanks to the tape-delay police at ABC/Disney, I will always wonder what we missed… did a fan give the finger to a camera during a time out? We will never know. Did a macho superstar running back get a case of the jitters and puke on the sidelines after the national anthem? We will never know. Did Mick Jagger pop a hip live on stage swaggering his 62yr old body to “Satisfaction” once too often? We will never know.

“It’s for the sake of the children that we must do this…” say the mouse-eared chowderheads at ABC/Disney… Have they watched their own network? “Desperate Housewives” & “Grey’s Anatomy” are not subjected to the same filtering. And ABC defense/argument about television them during later hours doesn’t wash here… 9 and 10pm ain’t late… AND kids can download them for $1.99 on iTunes anytime of day or night!

So let the game roll… unedited & uncensored. Think of all the money you’ll save on the people who were watching so intently… they’re not really creative people anyway and we need them in other places doing more important jobs like scraping the gum off the seats on Space Mountain.

Tomorrow. Hope.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Smell like P. Diddy - Survivor screws up - it's 65 degrees in NYC

P. Diddy, aka Diddy, has decided to release a fragrance and that's good news, for him.

Aside from a few fools who believe they too can live the fabulous life of Sean Combs just by smelling like he does, I cannot for the life of me imagine who will buy this stinkwater. OK, there will be some impulse purchases on the way to bachelor parties, but let's face it, our technology is better served doing the people's business.

Did you see SURVIVOR "Exile Island" last night? This will shock many who know me as a devotee, I did not like it!

The 12th season kicked off and actually LOST to that idiotic Dancing With The Stars in the overnight ratings. I blame the format of four tribes, each consisting of four people... segregated by age and sex... What fool decided to eliminate the sexual tension? What fool wants us to try and recall FOUR tribe names as well the 16 characters??? I was distressed by the new format.

The good news is... CBS realized it and watch for a merge next week.

If the two stories above don't concern you. This one should.

It's Feb 3rd and today's NYC high temp was 65 degrees. 65 degrees!

If that doesn't concern you, perhaps this will. It's a little theory I have been testing over the years. Take the average temperature of the past winter (Dec, Jan & Feb), multiply by 2.5 and that is what your average summer temp will be in June, July, & August. It's been fairly accurate for years. HOWEVER... based on current calculations, we're headed to a summer that will be slightly cooler than a George Foreman Grill. Invest in ice...

Superbowl XL is minutes away... well, two days worth of minutes. Tomorrow we investigate the real possibility that Mick Jagger could die on stage during that halftime show.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Weather Rodents? Paris gets too much Press? Assorted Insanity.

Blame the Germans. Yes the Germans. The entire idiotic concept of Groundhog Day is the fault of the same people who gave us the Porsche and the Benz, and some pretty cool appliances! Go figure. It just proves that old adage, there is not a pearl inside every oyster!

A bunch of superstitious Kraut farmers created this annual ritual of watching a rodent emerge from it's winter rest looking for a shadow as a sign of winter's intent to continue or not. Yeah, that all makes perfect sense to me. Consider the fact that it all takes place in a town called "Gobbler's Knob" is just too ripe for comment on this board. (hey, my parents read this occasionally.)

Ps. Phil (the rodent) is correct in his predictions a blistering 28%. Your average weatherman? 31%. (The noise you're hearing is probably Al Roker exhaling... or panting at the thought of clubbing, cooking and eating a groundhog.)


Bogart did not know how right he was in Casablanca when his character of Rick told Ilsa "We'll always have Paris."

Apparently he meant Paris Hilton. Today's papers give us the great news that Paris fired her PR person because (get this) she was not generating enough press for Ms. Hilton! Have we all fallen into a gigantic pit of insanity? SHE FIRED THE PRESS PERSON BECAUSE PARIS WAS NOT SEEING HER NAME OR FACE OR OTHER OVERLYTANNED BODY PARTS IN THE PAPERS OFTEN ENOUGH?

The biggest joke in all of this is probably the reality that the PR person convinced Paris to fire her and say that it was because she was not getting enough press... Genius. Sheer genius, or "that's hot."

New Orleans took another shot today. A massive, pre-dawn storm rolled through town ripping off roofs and even collapsing some of the buildings still standing in Katrina's wake. That city's Mayor... Ray Nagin made a statement a few weeks ago about "God being mad at America and New Orleans." And then he went on to talk about his hopes that NOLA will once again be a "chocolate city."

I'm not so certain of God's specific anger against America or NOLA... but it seems to me that God is wanting New Orleans to become more of a "chocolate swirl."

Tomorrow. Wear red. Please.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

New Prince song, Idol in Vegas, & State of the Union

Prince is back! (just not all the way back)

The little fella is slated to appear on this weekend's SNL as musical guest (Steve Martin is hosting to hype the new Pink Panther movie). Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of hearing his new song "Black Sweat" and can honestly say that is like nothing else out there. There are flashes of brilliance and Princely music genius, but nothing you will hear on the radio... And then there is the chorus "I'm working up a black sweat" and the line "when I count to three you will scream like a white lady." I wonder what the Sharpton reaction would be if Kid Rock sang the song and flipped the races???

I'm not going to jump on the idiotic merry-go-round and tear apart last night's State of the Union... Although I do think there is a market for a Hillary Clinton Bobblehead Doll!

Yesterday I promised to reveal the changes needed to help us select the best candidates for the President and Vice President of this great country... I know Karl Rove is reading this... so Karl, "you're welcome!"

After suffering through last elections constant bickering over who's smarter... (For the record, Bush had better grades than J.F. Kerry, so stop calling him stupid. The truth only makes YOU look dumb.)

So let's find a candidate who is the smartest... someone who can think on his/her feet and stay cool under pressure. Everyone who wants to the job should be placed into a massive Jeopardy Round-Robin Tournament.


My plan does more than eliminate the mindless and endless primary system which really serves no one. It creates a genuine forum for us to see the candidates without the benefit of spin doctors or covered in the slime from attack ads.

Presidential Jeopardy also allows us to see the candidates answer a slews of questions on a broad variety of topics... World Leaders, The Environment, Economy, etc.

So how does it work? Very simply.

The Democrats have a tourney over the course of two weeks, then GOP does the same, and even an independent week... in case there are any candidates! We boil it down to teams of two... from each group.

The second smartest from each party would be the VP candidate... they play the first round of regular Jeopardy.

The smartest from each party would play Double Jeopardy!

Final Jeopardy would be a question answered by BOTH as a team!

Alex Trebek - names the President! (Now that Alex is an American citizen, I feel comfortable about this.)