Monday, January 31, 2005

Curmudgeon in the Wry 286

Monday, January 31, 2005—528 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 38 seconds
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Rave: Billy Williams Quartet
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Hmmm: You can learn a lot about a person by whether they preferred Mary Ann or Ginger.
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Rant: When did wearing a tee shirt under a golf shirt become a fashion statement?
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Rave: The Mountain Dew “Spy Versus Spy” ad campaign is creative and fun to watch.
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Admit it: You could not change a tire if your life depended on it. And, when was the last time you checked the pressure on your spare tire?
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Speaking of sports: The University of Miami’s Rick Barry is the only player to lead the NCAA, ABA and NBA in scoring. He averaged 30 points a game at U of M before the three point shot.
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Rant: I am repulsed by the French, Barbara Boxer, Chris Berman, Ted Kennedy, Deion Sanders, Bryant Gumble.
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Rave: Parking meters that accept credit cards.
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Life’s mysteries: At American racetracks the horses run counterclockwise---at British racetracks they run clockwise.
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Life’s mysteries II: The stripes on British men’s ties go from upper left to lower right---American designed ties the stripes go from upper right to lower left.
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Rave: “Crime Beat” is a must for all Michael Connelly fans and pretty much an essential book for any fan of the crime fiction genre.
It is collection of newspaper articles written when Mr. Connelly was a crime beat reporter at The Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel and LA Times. He is as good a reporter as he is a crime fiction writer.
Certainly being based in South Florida and Los Angeles he had plenty of crime to write about.
In the articles you can see his eye for detail that makes his fiction so addictive.
His stories contain the required who, what, where, when, why and how, but he always captured the story behind the story.
His powers of observation and compassion light up each story. It is amazing to see people he interviews who are tangentially associated with the crime, but whose account greatly augment the finished story.
Mr. Connelly takes you into the crime. The stories illustrate how difficult solving a crime can be. It astonished me to learn just how many high profile crimes go unsolved…and how many criminals get off due to lack of evidence.
The book is conveniently divided into three sections: The Cops, The Killers, and The Cases.
My personal favorite is the one about Vic Weiss.
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Rant: The FAA is truly nuts if it allows cell phone use during airline flights. At least Amtrak allows you to switch cars if the idiots in your car are bellowing too loudly. On planes they should allow cell phone use in the baggage compartment only.
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Rave: The automated postage machine for packages at the local post office.
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Free advice: Use those US Airways frequent flier miles ASAP.
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Truism: If a cat wishes to be picked up, it weighs five pounds. If is does not want to be picked up, it weighs twenty pounds.
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Don’t forget to floss.
That is all.
As you were.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Curmudgeon in the Wry 285

Sunday, January 30, 2005—516 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 58 seconds
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Rave: Hampton Hawes
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Admit it: Even though you may have contributed money, you got sick of the tsunami coverage long before it was over.
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Irony: Americans sending millions of dollars to rebuild the Asian factories that are putting them out of work.
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Truism: You know a man is lost when he turns down the volume on the car radio
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Rant: Try driving behind people who fail to brush the snow from the top of their SUVs.
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Guilty Pleasure: I could watch westerns all day long…even mediocre ones.
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I admit it: I do not have broadband and I still manage to live.
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Rave: James W. Hall has set the bar very high for mystery/thrillers coming out this year with “Forests of the Night.”
It is sophisticated suspense at the highest level…distinguished writing…powerful prose.
The first rate story line is concise and examines corruption, wantonness and depravity in man. The villains are beyond salvation and vicious in the way they go about their hideous acts. The last time the criminal element was so chilling was in “Dirty White Boys” by Stephen Hunter. These thugs make your skin crawl and sleep with the light on…because you know they truly exist.
The past and present collide…going back 160 years to a deathly pact made between the government and a Cherokee patriot over “The Trail of Tears.”
A present day descendent (Jacob Panther) swoops down upon a dedicated Coral Gables cop (Charlotte Monroe), her high profile lawyer husband and their schizophrenic teenaged daughter, altering the lives of all as the startling revelations unfold.
Panther has assassinated a businessman in Miami and when he takes off for North Carolina, the daughter follows and aids his flight.
The Monroes head to North Carolina and are confronted by evil incarnate in the form of a stonewalling sheriff; his father, a corrupt congressman and the congressman’s reclusive brother. Their attempts to locate and rescue their daughter are challenged at every level.
To say anymore would give away too much.
The twists are magnificent and lead to breath-taking finish.
The villain’s identity is divulged with about a hundred pages to go…and that only makes you turn the pages faster.
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Hmmm: You always hear about organ donors but there's nary a mention of piano donors.
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Under rated: Ben Johnson, Dennis Quaid.
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Over rated: Deborah Norville, Star Jones.
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Rant: Bosses who barge into meetings and say, “Can I have this room?”
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Rave: Great interview with Larry Bird in current issue of GQ. Sample: “A wristband should not be worn on your biceps. It should be on your wrist. A headband should be on your forehead, not on the top of your head, cocked back.”
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Rant: The baggy shorts worn in both men’s and women’s basketball.
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Rant: I loathe the alternate possession rule in college hoops. It usually punishes good defense. I loved the old jump ball.
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Born this day:
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Don’t forget to floss.
That is all.
As you were.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Curmudgeon in the Wry 285

Saturday, January 29, 2005—516 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 58 seconds
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Rave: Hampton Hawes
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Admit it: Even though you may have contributed money, you got sick of the tsunami coverage long before it was over.
+++++++
Irony: Americans sending millions of dollars to rebuild the Asian factories that are putting them out of work.
+++++++
Truism: You know a man is lost when he turns down the volume on the car radio
+++++++
Rant: Try driving behind people who fail to brush the snow from the top of their SUVs.
+++++++
Guilty Pleasure: I could watch westerns all day long…even mediocre ones.
+++++++
I admit it: I do not have broadband and I still manage to live.
+++++++
Rave: James W. Hall has set the bar very high for mystery/thrillers coming out this year with “Forests of the Night.”
It is sophisticated suspense at the highest level…distinguished writing…powerful prose.
The first rate story line is concise and examines corruption, wantonness and depravity in man. The villains are beyond salvation and vicious in the way they go about their hideous acts. The last time the criminal element was so chilling was in “Dirty White Boys” by Stephen Hunter. These thugs make your skin crawl and sleep with the light on…because you know they truly exist.
The past and present collide…going back 160 years to a deathly pact made between the government and a Cherokee patriot over “The Trail of Tears.”
A present day descendent (Jacob Panther) swoops down upon a dedicated Coral Gables cop (Charlotte Monroe), her high profile lawyer husband and their schizophrenic teenaged daughter, altering the lives of all as the startling revelations unfold.
Panther has assassinated a businessman in Miami and when he takes off for North Carolina, the daughter follows and aids his flight.
The Monroes head to North Carolina and are confronted by evil incarnate in the form of a stonewalling sheriff; his father, a corrupt congressman and the congressman’s reclusive brother. Their attempts to locate and rescue their daughter are challenged at every level.
To say anymore would give away too much.
The twists are magnificent and lead to breath-taking finish.
The villain’s identity is divulged with about a hundred pages to go…and that only makes you turn the pages faster.
+++++++
Hmmm: You always hear about organ donors but there's nary a mention of piano donors.
+++++++
Under rated: Ben Johnson, Dennis Quaid.
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Over rated: Deborah Norville, Star Jones.
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Rant: Bosses who barge into meetings and say, “Can I have this room?”
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Rave: Great interview with Larry Bird in current issue of GQ. Sample: “A wristband should not be worn on your biceps. It should be on your wrist. A headband should be on your forehead, not on the top of your head, cocked back.”
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Rant: The baggy shorts worn in both men’s and women’s basketball.
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Rant: I loathe the alternate possession rule in college hoops. It usually punishes good defense. I loved the old jump ball.
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Don’t forget to floss.
That is all.
As you were.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Curmudgeon in the Wry 284

Saturday, January 08, 2005—570 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 02 seconds
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Rave: Burt Reynolds
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Rant: According to an NCAA study, 27 of the 56 football programs participating in this season’s bowl games have failed to graduate half their players. Are you like me — surprised it is only 27?
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Under Rated: Mary Astor, M&M’s almonds, Joe Pesci.
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Not blond for nothing: Paris Hilton, interviewing Serena and Venus Williams at a New York fashion show in September, asked, “How many minutes apart were you born?”
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Over rated: Alec Baldwin, Axl Rose, Kid Rock.
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Way over rated: Whoopie Goldberg.
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Rant: Most overused expression thus far in the NCAA Basketball season: “…in among the trees.” These announcers can wear the balls off a pool table.
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Always a high standard: William Holden, Chuck Thagard, Lauren Bacall. Publix, Bill Russell.
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Rave: Ed McBain’s 54th novel in the 87th Precinct series, “Hark,” sees the return of the Deaf Man. He derides the cops vis-à-vis his next crime using various word games---sending Shakespeare quotes, anagrams and palindromes to the attention of Detective Steve Carella.
The Deaf Man was once thought dead…but is back to settle old scores. He is a worthy adversary.
As usual, an 87th Precinct novel is about more than solving a crime. There are many side bars concerning the relationships and interplay of the detectives of the 87th as well as Fat Ollie from the 88th.
“Hark” introduces Melissa Summers, an intelligent hooker who is just as dangerous a foe for the Deaf Man as the 87th’s detective force.
“Hark” engages you with the familiar characters from the big bad city, a clever plot, crisp dialogue and maintains the high Ed McBain standard.
Highly entertaining!
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I miss: Buster Crabbe, Carmen Miranda, gas station attendants, hotel keys.
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Factoid: Artie Shaw’s biggest hit, “Begin the Beguine” (written by Cole Porter) was the “B” side for “Indian Love Call.”
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Rave: Not only was Artie Shaw married to Ava Gardner…he married Lana Turner on their first date.
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Hmmmm: Why is it that no plastic garbage bag will ever open from the end you first try?
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Just asking: So why aren't the cash-rich, oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia pledging money for Indonesian relief?
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Rave: Kevin Spacey channeled Bobby Darin in “Beyond the Sea.” It was enjoyable from the toe-tapping intro to the ending. Kevin Spacey did a great job performing the songs…easy to imagine it was Bobby Darin on the screen.
A great job on recreating the period…almost wished I had saved my sharkskin suits.
Some have said Mr. Spacey is too old to play a character twenty-some years younger than he is. I found no problem with Mr. Spacey’s age. For those of a certain age who were Bobby Darin fans, doctors, cops, athletes and entertainers all seemed older than we were. Today they look like kids. So, the older Spacey was reminiscent of watching a Bobby Darin who was older than I.
It did not pack them in and will probably have a short run…but it was part of the soundtrack of my life.
So, throw away your artificial flowers, snap your fingers and bop on down to the local Bijou and enjoy music.
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Born this day: Elvis, David Bowie, Little Anthony, Shirley Bassey, Charles Osgood, Butterfly McQueen, Yvette Mimieux, Peter Arno.
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That is all.
As you were.