Friday, June 30, 2006

Superman has me Super-pissed.

That's Brandon Routh - the new Superman. Routh is the latest to don the cape and fire up the superpowers on the big screen portraying Clark Kent. And while you may be tempted to spend your hard earned cash on this movie, I ask you to save your money.

My request has nothing to do with this caped crusader's acting skills or even the plot. I'm steamed over the removal of a key word in the basic mantra of Superman. "Truth, Justice and the American Way" has been replaced by "truth, justice and all that stuff."


Stop right there. Just stop it. Superman was created by two Americans in 1932. Shuster and Siegel's Superman was not just a Superhero from Krypton... He was a metaphor for America and our basic beliefs. AND HE STILL IS! Superman was an alien, a refugee from a place that was imploding/exploding and he came to middle America to live the great American dream. AND HE DID! So why water it down? Let Frank Langella utter the phrase that we all know - Truth Justice and the AMERICAN WAY.

If the "haters" in other countries don't like it - edit in the new, watered down, wimpy version. Leave my Superman alone.

Tomorrow is the first day of July and the beginning of a very important month and the kick off of the 4th of July Weekend. A very important weekend for all Americans - even Superman.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"A Star Is Torn" or "There's Room On The View"

Star Jones - Lawyer. And now unemployed talk show co-host.

For years I have marveled at this woman.

She seemed to have been plucked from obscurity and thrust into the spotlight of fame and fortune on ABC's "The View." Prior to 1997, how many of us knew there was a Star named Jones? I'm wagering that outside of immediate family and law school classmates, the name Star Jones was only used by the occasional drag performer.

But there was a pre-View life. In 1994 she burst on to the screen in "Jones & Jury", a one-season show featuring the courtroom wisdom of Star Jones.

But let's get back to what we all know about her.

She was the subject of ridicule on SNL and mentioned in almost every gossip column. Her marriage to Al Reynolds was compared to Liza Minelli and David Gest's sham of a romance. The wedding had everything except a pay per view option. And yet her climb appeared to continue unchecked.

Until last Fall when we all reached critical mass on Ms. Jones-Reynolds... After the wedding, there was the honeymoon and the dramatic weight loss and the book which was supposed to reveal all but refused to really outline how the dramatic weight loss happened... AND then there was the surgical emergency which almost took her from us... This Star almost flamed out. (allegedly)

Yesterday she stopped the show and told us that it was, in fact, over. This Fall, we would all have to continue without Star.

24 hours later we all got the real news from a real newsperson. Barbara Walters stopped the show AGAIN and told the people tuned in to "The View" her side of the Star Jones story. And I have a tendency to believe Barbara over Star.

Was I sick of Star Jones and her endless prattling on about herself? YES.

Was I amazed that NY State Attorney General Elliott Spitzer had not investigated her for payola during the run-up to her nuptials? YES YES YES.

And am I happy to see her go? Of course. But I would have preferred to have it all happen in true World Wrestling Federation style...

How cool would it have been to start the Fall season of the show with all the remaining women on the couch, introducing Rosie O'Donnell as the new ringleader... And Rosie to lay claim to her new title by grabbing Star by the hair weave and dragging her kicking and screaming from the studio onto the streets of the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Nice image huh?

Enjoy the silence - I have a feeling she'll be back before we even have a chance to miss her.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


This portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt was reportedly purchased for the record setting amount $135 million by cosmetics magnate Ronald S. Lauder for the Neue Galerie in New York City. $135 million dollars.


And so, we're on to the subject of art. The subject of is so, well, subjective. Often I have seen what sells for tens of millions of dollars and wondered - WHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA? And then I rationalize the reality by saying to myself, "if dozens of people will bid millions of dollars for the right to own THAT, it MUST be art... RIGHT?"

And then comes a wonderful story out of London. Torn from the latest issue of "The Week"

"A top art gallery in Britain displayed a block of slate topped by a
small piece of wood as a work of art, unaware that it was merely the
plinth for a missing sculpture. The Royal Academy in London later
admitted that it was confused because the plinth and sculpture - a
human head by artist David Hensel - were sent to the museum
separately. 'Given their separate submission, the two parts were
judged independently,' museum officials said. 'The head was
rejected. The base was thought to have merit and accepted.'"

$135 million dollars... my ass.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sunday's thoughts - kinda like Sunday Dinner.

A Television Legend has passed. By now you've seen the endless tributes to Aaron Spelling - Producer Extraordinaire - the man who introduced us to the concept of "Extra Cheese" on the TV... And then continued to deliver it beautifully for decades, he was also the guy who took his mega millions and built a house so big it can be seen from space.

Aaron Spelling is gone. He passed shortly after suffering a stroke. For the sake of his family and his dignity, I am happy to see that he did not have to slowly melt away.

Can there be a good side to losing a legend like Aaron Spelling? Perhaps.

This morning, the headline on one entertainment website read, "Tori Spelling never has to work again!" And all I could think of was, "Thank God."

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Today's paper had the good news for a courier from Moonachie, NJ. Pat Philbin managed to beat out 12 others who were hoping to be named the New Jersey Turnpike Regional Hot Dog Eating Champion. Mr. Philbin, in what was reported to be a "machine-like" performance, sucked down 22 hot dogs and will now move on to the World Cup of Competitive Eating - The Nathan's Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Competition held every July 4th since 1916.

America is rounding the corner on our 230th birthday and as we approach the 4th of July and all of it's usual revelry and feasting my mind immediately wonders if "THIS WILL BE OUR YEAR?"

Perhaps 2006 will be the year we win back the Mustard Yellow Belt at the Coney Island hot dog eating contest.

For the past five years the venerable Kobayashi of Japan has out-scarfed everyone to achieve legendary status in this marquee event in the ever-expanding world of competitive eating.

For those who avoided the news last year, 27yr old Kobayashi downed a mere 49 hotdogs in 12 minutes - missing his own record of 53 1/2 set in the 2004 contest - but still enough to easily best American challengers Steve Kiner and the 105lb Sonya Thomas who set an American record consuming 37 hotdogs in the same 12 minute period. Ms. Thomas has promised to work on her speed and ultimately unseat the champ. Last December in Atlantic City, N.J., she finished off 89 meatballs -- about six pounds' worth -- in 12 minutes. And in August, she won a lobster-eating contest in Maine by consuming 38 of the creatures in 12 minutes.

My stomach starts to hurt when I consider these folks shoving massive amounts of food down their throats and NOBODY GETS UPSET ABOUT IT? Where is the outrage over the wasted food? Where is the concern for the health of these people once the glow of the Competitive Eating Spotlight fades?

And how do their families explain these careers? At least magicians and ventriloquists, long since considered to be some of the most embarrassing vocations, can now point to competitive eaters and say, "At least I'm not doing THAT for a living."

Can you imagine a worse occupation for your mom or dad to have, especially when the teacher invites parents to school on career day?

Additionally, consider how much time and money is spent every single day dealing with the problems created by BAD EATING HABITS! We are bombarded daily about the obesity epidemic among children, the looming diabetes crisis which will cripple and blind many Americans before eventually killing them. Wanna bet that bad eating habits kills more people than handguns and cars combined?

So I say - no mas! Let Kobayashi take the Mustard Belt back home and keep it there... for once, let's promote something that might achieve a positive result.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Pressure Is A Privilege

Quote of the day as far as I am concerned. Tennis great Tim Gullickson shared this nugget with my brother and I have been haunted by it all day.

Pressure is a privilege.

Think about it. There is a certain, unique strength to that statement. If you never encounter pressure, you obviously are not in a situation that is testing you. Getting into the big game is what so many crave, but most crumble under the pressure - the pressure that is the privilege of getting there.

Welcome the Pressure - it's a sign that you're finally in the Big Game.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


We've all seen them... they are a sure sign that the end is near. I'm not talking about 50ft long SUVs with 24in. rims taking the kids to school. This one is really bugging me. Television in the elevators.

Do we need to know the weather in Ohio when we're just going to the 15th floor? NO - we need to know the weather on the 15th floor and that's about it.


Personally I blame the muzak people - they invaded a perfectly good place to meet and talk to other people and forced bad music on us ... now we must endure television. This will only lead to shorter programs -- can you imagine people riding the elevator to catch up on news or sports or weather??? (oh, I may unable to stop this one) However, if it is inevitable -- perhaps we can cash in on it - Elevator Shopping Channel? Elevator Soaps?

I need to call my agent.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Another Myth CRUSHED.

At least we have this one in print. That most venerable publication, Reader's Digest has named New York City as the most polite city in the world.


New York City is THE MOST POLITE CITY in the world.

How did they come to their conclusions? RD sent folks around the world to watch and experience life in the biggest cities on the planet. They rated the locals on simple courtesies and graciousness. I am proud to say that the city I inhabit proved what I have been preaching for decades, New York City is THE nicest place in the world.

Perhaps the folks at Disney should consider adding a theme park to midtown Manhattan? The subway is already a great roller coaster and a bargain at two bucks a ride.

The politeness survey results:
1 New York, USA
2 Zurich, Switzerland
3 Toronto, Canada
4 Berlin, Germany
5 San Paulo, Brazil
6 Zagreb, Croatia
7 Auckland, New Zealand
8 Warsaw, Poland
9 Mexico City, Mexico
10 Stockholm, Sweden

Ps. New York City is the only American city on the list.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


OK, It's finally Father's Day - so spend a few minutes thinking about what it would have been like to raise another YOU - How many of us would have taken the little versions of ourselves and left us in the snow or at the bus station??? Now go tell the Big Guy you love him and appreciate everything he did for you.

This is my dad being macho in the summer of 1948. Cool, huh?

A few more great Dad-ism sent from all around the world - Really - these came from all over -

"Leave me alone."

"Lefty loosey - righty tighty"

"Hey, there'll be another season next year."

"If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well."

"Keep your chin up; I know you did your best."

" You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose."

And my very favorite - again from my dad - "Home is the only place in the world that when you HAVE to go there, they HAVE to let you in."

Celebrate Fathers - start with your own!

Saturday's Dad-isms, with a retail sponsor!

OK, OK - last warning - tomorrow is Father's Day and you have no excuse for missing it.

Today's Fatherly Wisdom is courtesy of MACY'S department store - they have decorated their bags with wonderful things that "Dad always said" -

Winners never quit.

Be nice to your brother. (I have four, so I always wondered which one I was supposed to favor?)

You get what you pay for.

Turn down that racket.

Money doesn't grow on trees.

Keep your eye on the ball.

and my personal favorite,

Don't worry, I've got you.

Who knew MACY'S cared so much about MY dad?

Tomorrow's the day - Dad's. Get on it.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Bring the tie AND the jacket, you never know."

Fatherly Wisdom Week continues here on the Stuntbrain Blog - and today has a couple of beauties.

My dad has always preached the gospel of being over-dressed for every situation. Bring a tie, bring a jacket, put a better shirt on over that t-shirt. To a 13yr old this advice may sound irritating and boring - but HE WAS RIGHT!

If you wear a tie and jacket to any event and upon arrival you discover that the gig is casual - all you have to do is lose the tie and jacket and you're in there! BUT if you show up casually attired and everyone else if dressed - you are STUFFED!

Simple - but effective rule - You can always dress down - but once you arrive somewhere, it's pretty damn hard to dress up.

Nugget #2 comes from my father-in-law, John Swajeski, who told his daughter (my bride) "Your ability, is your security." He was teaching his children something powerful and important. In this day of crumbling confidence, it's important to give kids a foundation on which to build. No matter what skill one learns, by growing that skill, you increase your security, and ultimately your value to yourself and your employer.

Get those last minute cards in the mail today people!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wisdom Without Words

(this blog was meant to be here on Tuesday - it sat in my draft folder, sorry)

As we remember the dads and all of the gifts they give us in this life, I'm reminded that much of my father's wisdom is not always voiced, but given to me in the form of examples.

My dad lives to learn. He has never stopped learning. And because of that, I hope I never stop seeking knowledge.

When I was wrasslin' basic geometry in High School, he was teaching himself how to program a small hand-held HP calculator. Many late nights with the manual and lots of trial and error (there was no calling to the tech support group in India back then). My dad was one of the first people to demonstrate to me that you need to constantly improve and maintain your skills to maintain your position in your chosen profession.

Did he need to be a computer whiz to keep his job? Probably not. But in the early 1970s he recognized that the digital revolution was coming at us full speed and one had better get on board or risk being passed by it - or worse - run over!

There was never a big speech about staying on top of technology... just a front-row seat to see a man who has always worked on bettering himself, and thus preventing obsolescence from setting up camp in his world.

He's still pushing himself today. Learning to deal with the iPods, the wireless networks, and those ever-present cel phones.
Pushing himself and leading those around him. Nice lesson, Big Guy - I got it... thanks.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday - More Daddly Wisdom

The Dad Advice Keeps Rolling In! (Thanks to all of you - keep it coming.)

For those too lazy to wade through the past couple of days of blogs - we're ramping up to Father's Day and as such, we are saluting our fathers by listing all of the terrific advice they've given us through the years.

From my friend JTC - "Hug 'em while you got 'em. " Because the period of time your kids are at home is a blink of an eye. (even as a non-father, I can appreciate that one.

"Bring the car home with an empty gas tank tonight, and you won't be driving it again." - - - Courtesy of Steve, my friend who always seems to have more than a half tank of gas.

And another gem from my own dad - "If a deal sounds too good to be true, count how many people live between you and the deal. The more people there are, the worse the deal becomes." (I know it's a little complicated, but it's a great one.)

Send yours today!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Father's Day Advice - from my friend Vinnie

Six shopping days remain until father's Day and you best get to steppin'.

The initial blog has stirred something in all of you, I know. AND it actually inspired three of you to send in your best/favorite bits of advice from your fathers.

I hope to include more and more each day;

Vinnie from Long Island, NY says his father dropped this chestnut on him at a very early age; "When choosing who to marry, between a good looker and a good cooker, pick the good cooker. A woman loses her looks over the years but never forgets how to cook." (Those of you who know Vinnie - are smiling right now. Although he may have some 'splaining to do when he gets home tonight.)

JR from NJ says his father told him; "Don't try to do everything yourself."

And another gem from my dad; "Take all you want, BUT eat all you take." This little comment has many applications and I did not realize that until later in life. Originally it was spoken to us as the family (9 children mind you) attacked an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord. My father is quite mindful of how much we have here in the US of A, but never wants us to waste anything.

Send me your dad's advice!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

One week until Father's Day!

My parents - on their wedding day over 50 years ago! Amazing, no? Yes... they are.

Consider yourselves warned. Father's Day is next Sunday 6-18-06. Don't screw it up. Remember the guy who is half the reason you are here and 100% of the cause of which sex you are. (Hello? High School Biology class - "the male carries the determining factor!")

So here on the stuntbrain blog we celebrate dads - not for a day - but for an entire week.

Each day I will be doing my usual blog, but starting the page with a quote from my dad - F. Gregory Opelka - my #1 hero.

Today's quote from The Big Guy:

"The man who knows HOW will always have a job, but the man who knows WHY will always be his boss."

( I believe I was seven years old when he first popped that one on me, but it rings true every single day of my life.)

If you have a dad-ism you'd like to share, please e-mail it here to I'll post them for the world to see.

Thanks - and think about your dad - he's probably a pretty cool guy, I know mine is.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Satan Gets A Reality Show - on channel 666!

Are we that bored? Do we really have nothing going on this summer? A date on a calendar is once again transforming, bending, twisting, interrupting people's lives! We survived the Millennium Bug, why? BECAUSE NOTHING HAPPENED - we'll survive this too.

For the record - Today June 6th, 2006 - THE SIXTH DAY OF THE SIXTH MONTH OF THE SIXTH YEAR OF THE 21ST CENTURY. The day when nothing will happen, nothing out of the ordinary. Oh sure, people will be murdered by loved ones, get hired and fired from work, and any number of "everyday" occurrences - but NOT because the numbers lined up on a Christian calendar I can assure you:

There will be no river of fire replacing the Hudson.

Snakes will not flow from the faucets.

And the skies will not darken and swirl with a cloudy whirlpool that opens to reveal a gateway to a Hell worse than any Tom Arnold TV show.

How do I know this?

Simple. I opened the windows this morning and listened to the birds sing for a good half hour. And we all know from watching movies that any time an Apocalypse is on the agenda, the animals get ominously quiet and leave. They have a deal with God, especially the birds. So, singing birds = no impending doom.

There will be an endless parade of stories about the subject. Women not wanting to give birth today, etc. To those fools I say - HAH! This would be the ONE day to have your child. Think of the attention you would get from the medical staff - and not just those checking the kid for horns! If nobody wants to have a child today - delivery rooms may be empty as hell (pardon the comedy) and empty delivery rooms mean more doctors and nurses per baby!

On the news tonite we'll also see people buying clever t-shirts, partying in cities like Hell, Michigan, and every office has one person who will pull out the Halloween horns and walk around the workplace speaking like Linda Blair just before she taught the world about projectile vomiting.

Enjoy this 6th day of June! Celebrate the wonders of your life! Wait a minute, the birds have stopped singing - Ok, they're back... Whew. For a minute there, I thought I was going to have to re-write this whole column, now THAT would have been hell.