Saturday, November 25, 2006

Curmudgeon in the Wry 336

Saturday, November 25, 2006---559 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 52 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
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Rave: Hec Ramsey
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Currently reading: “The Innocent Man”---John Grisham
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On the Victrola: Cal Tjader and Stan Getz---“Sextet”---1958.
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Hmmmm: I guess this means that O.J. has stopped his relentless pursuit of the real killers, right?
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Rant: Isn’t it amazing that we just had an election with no major denial to vote complaints or glitches with electronic voting machine….could it possibly be because the dems won most races.
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Quote: “One year we had six guys in jail. Not together, that would have taken too much teamwork.”---Former NY Nets president, Jon Spoelstra.
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Rant: Nike’s latest LeBron family commercial is just plain stupid.
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My take: I know Borat is as trendy as a text message, but just the previews bored me stiff.
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Rave: “Perfect, Once Removed,” is a wonderful memoir By Phillip Hoose about growing up with baseball in the fifties and having Don Larsen as your cousin.
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Rimshot: Charging for air for your tires---now that’s inflation.
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Hmmmm: When watching college football games, ever wonder if there are more state police guarding the head coach than there are on the highways?
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Truism: Add shipping and handling to death and taxes as sure things!
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Rant: Longest time period imaginable: public radio and TV pledge week.
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Truism II: The three largest funerals in the south were for Elvis, Bear Bryant and Huey Long.
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Hmmmm: Is it true that the movie, “Flushed Away” is about the Republicans?
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Just asking: With Jack Palance deceased, is there anyone left in Hollywood who can do a one-handed pushup?
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Rant: With the dems in charge of the House and Senate, get ready to learn Spanish while reading the Quran.
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Pop quiz: Name one enterprise that the federal government has run more efficiently than the private sector. I offer UPS, FedEx, etc. as opposed to the Post Office as but one example.
And we want these bozos in charge of our health care???
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My-oh-my: Wearing the traditional Vietnamese outfit, the presidents of the US, China and Russia looked like something out of the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour.
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Rant: Stock market at an all time high, low interest rates, unemployment at lowest point in decades, economy is sound and growing. Yet Nancy Pelosi wants to take us in a new direction? Go figure?
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Oxymoron: “Law-abiding illegal immigrants.”
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Which came first?: Did rap raise an entire generation of pimps and thugs…or…did an entire generation of pimps and thugs raise rap?
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Rant: I stuck my hand in my pocket looking my wallet yesterday and found Nancy Pelosi’s. Boy, she’s quick.
If the dems are trying suddenly to become civil, they need to send Nancy Pelosi to charm school.
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Hmmm: Now that all of President Bush’s “political capital” is gone, will he declare political bankruptcy?
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Rant: Since the Pilgrims gave thanks to God, will the PC police transform the Thanksgiving turkey into the “autumn fowl?”
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.



Sunday, November 12, 2006

Curmudgeon in the Wry 335

Sunday, November 12, 2006---524 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 52 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
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Rave: Coach K.
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Currently reading: “Wild Fire” by Nelson DeMille.
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Rave: Good for Wal Mart to go back to using Christmas during the Christmas season.
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Rant: One of my neighbors has now reached the five week mark with his Christmas lights.
And, it is still way too early for these radio stations to go all Christmas music, all the time.
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On the Victrola: “Swing” by Rupert Holmes.
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Factoid: Once upon a time Red Auerbach was a color analyst for the University of Rhode Island games.
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Hmmm: John Kerry must have thought he was auditioning for “Jackass Number Two.” I guess liberals just cannot be funny.
Perhaps he meant to say, “Stay in school, study, try to get smart, and if that fails, find some rich women to marry. Worked for me!”
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Rant: Aah, the NBA---where rappers want to be players and players want to be rappers. What a mess.
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Rant: The Knicks owe $49 Million to guys who will not play for them this season. Time for Isiah Thomas to buy a clue.
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Rave: “Hundred Dollar Baby” is Robert B. Parker’s 34th Spenser novel---consider that number for a while. Thirty-four Spensers plus 21 other novels, sort make him a one man writing franchise.
Hell, I know people who have not read 34 books in their life time.
“Hundred Dollar Baby” is great escapist reading…taking no more than a weekend.
Fast paced and breezy, chock full of snappy and witty dialogue; it is a relaxed read.
A minimum of Susan and Pearl the wonder dog enhance the reading enjoyment factor.
If you are looking for a brisk, lighthearted read with colorful characters with a plot peopled by high priced call girls, some mob figures from Boston and New York, smart cops and a scam artist with an intriguing con, you cannot go wrong here.
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Hmmmm: “Lost” is “Gilligan’s Island” on meth.
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Rant: There should be a standard for all the credit card swipers we encounter at super-markets, etc. Is it to the right or left, magnetic strip up or down?
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Just Wondering: Maybe I missed it, but has anyone explained why Tony La Russa wears sunglasses for night games? Other than to make himself look really dorky.
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Rant: Is true that if you dial 1-800-NITWIT, Terrell Owens will answer?
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Truism: Political campaign season occurring the Halloween season makes sense since the pols get dressed up and pretend to be someone they are not.
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Just wondering again: Does anyone with a remote actually watch political campaign ads? If so, why?
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Hmmmm: If you have to go to the grocery story for a flu shot, does that mean you have to go to the doctor’s office for groceries?
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.






Sunday, October 22, 2006

"The Wrong Man" by John Katzenbach

It is difficult to imagine a creepier or more venal villain than the lurid Michael O’Connell in John Katzenbach’s hypnotic tale, “The Wrong Man.”
It is a terrifyingly gripping story of an ultimate stalker’s proactive journey to possess Ashley Freeman, a grad student with whom he had a one-night stand.
O’Connell is a petty criminal who has made himself a computer mastermind---he is a relentless psychopath.
Ashley’s father is college professor---her mother a real estate lawyer, divorced and living with her female partner (a soccer coach at a private school.) These four intelligent people appear no match for the obsessions of O’Connell.
Reasoning, bribery, the force of an ethically compromised PI, and an attempt to secrete Ashley fail to halt the fanatical efforts of O’Connell. He seems unstoppable.
Leaving no trace, O’Connell has the professor accused of plagiarism, the lawyer charged with commingling of funds, the soccer coach thought to have made advances on a student and Ashley fired for E*Mails she never sent…their lives in turmoil.
O’Connell proves to them that he is in control.
Mr. Katzenbach paints a terrifying doom-laden atmosphere, and you just know that someone other than the stalker is going to die.
A plan to turn the strengths of O’Connell against him is the last gasp of Ashley’s extended family. It is an elaborate scheme that relies on precise timing…designed to provide iron clad alibis for all four.
“The Wrong Man” is a very scary narrative that keeps your anxiety level pegging the needle.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"Echo Park" by Michael Connelly

“Echo Park,” the latest Harry Bosch novel from Michael Connelly is quite spectacular.

LAPD Detective Bosch is now working cold cases as a member of the Open-Unsolved Unit with his partner Kiz Rider.

In 1993, Bosch worked the Marie Gesto case, where she walked out of a supermarket and disappeared. Her car and cloths were found, but the body never turned up.

Bosch never let go of the case in the thirteen intervening years.

A captured serial killer strikes a deal with the DA. To avoid the death penalty he will own up to several other killings---including Marie Gesto.

Now Bosch must make certain the killer (Raynard Waits) is not conning the DA. Waits’s name never came up in Bosch’s original investigation---in fact, Bosch had a suspect that he still believes could have done it.

Even after Waits leads the DA’s team to the buried body, Bosch is still skeptical.

The well-executed plot is so first-rate and too intricate to reveal any more.

As thought provoking and unsettling as the plot is, it is the well-formed characters with multifaceted personas that are driving forces of the novel.

Mr. Connelly makes the characters authentic…you feel a bona fide attachment to them. He makes you invest in them and truly care for them.

There is a section devoted to the “field trip” to uncover Marie Gesto’s body that is as powerful, emotional and riveting as anything I have ever read. When the “field trip” concluded, I was exhausted…but could not stop reading.

The police procedural aspect is interwoven with LA politics creating an added layer of tension.

Michael Connelly is the master of hiding the telling clues in plain sight. His style deftly entrances you. At the dénouement you have the wonderful “oh wow” moment.

As usual, the Connelly novel is one to read more than once.

Curmudgeon in the Wry 333

Wednesday, October 11, 2006---737 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 22 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
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Rave: Gloria deHaven
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Currently reading: “The Wrong Man” by John Katzanbach.
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Rimshot: The new book on podiatry? Nothing but footnotes!
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On the Victrola: “The Black Velvet Band”---Illinois Jacquet.
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Rant: Immediately after I delete the SPAM in my inbox I delete any and all “forwarded” messages.
If you think it is worth passing along…it is worth taking a couple of seconds to cut and paste…and taking a visit to Mr. Ed’s Simple E-Mail Bracket Stripper. Mr. Ed removes all those unsightly and annoying >>>>>marks.
It takes a minimum of time and effort to send a presentable E-Mail!!!
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Guilty pleasure: Les Brown Jr. and Deana Martin in the Morning on Music of Your Life.
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Hmmmmmmmmm: Too bad Mark Foley isn’t married. His wife would now be qualified to be a senator from New York.
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Rave: Great to see Peter Gammons back on ESPN…comeback of the year!
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Quote: “Barbra Streisand is so horrible, that if she did not exist, the Republican Party would invent her.”---Tucker Carlson, 10.10.06 on MSNBC.
One of the best lines of this or any year…she is such a cow.
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Rave: “Echo Park,” the latest Harry Bosch novel from Michael Connelly is quite spectacular.
LAPD Detective Bosch is now working cold cases as a member of the Open-Unsolved Unit with his partner Kiz Rider.
In 1993, Bosch worked the Marie Gesto case, where she walked out of a supermarket and disappeared. Her car and cloths were found, but the body never turned up.
Bosch never let go of the case in the thirteen intervening years.
A captured serial killer strikes a deal with the DA. To avoid the death penalty he will own up to several other killings---including Marie Gesto.
Now Bosch must make certain the killer (Raynard Waits) is not conning the DA. Waits’s name never came up in Bosch’s original investigation---in fact, Bosch had a suspect that he still believes could have done it.
Even after Waits leads the DA’s team to the buried body, Bosch is still skeptical.
The well-executed plot is so first-rate and too intricate to reveal any more.
As thought provoking and unsettling as the plot is, it is the well-formed characters with multifaceted personas that are driving forces of the novel.
Mr. Connelly makes the characters authentic…you feel a bona fide attachment to them. He makes you invest in them and truly care for them.
There is a section devoted to the “field trip” to uncover Marie Gesto’s body that is as powerful, emotional and riveting as anything I have ever read. When the “field trip” concluded, I was exhausted…but could not stop reading.
The police procedural aspect is interwoven with LA politics creating an added layer of tension.
Michael Connelly is the master of hiding the telling clues in plain sight. His style deftly entrances you. At the dénouement you have the wonderful “oh wow” moment.
As usual, the Connelly novel is one to read more than once.
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Rant: According to Good Housekeeping’s testing lab Martha Stewart's Everyday Egyptian towels shrink almost six inches after repeated washes.
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Rave: Great to have two innings of Ernie Harwell during last Friday’s playoff game…was nowhere near enough!
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Rant: Shaquille O'Neal leads the chorus of complaints from players about the new non-leather, microfiber composite ball the NBA is using this season. He calls it a "toy-store" ball. It's easy to see how a player with Shaq's exquisite shooting touch would be affected by a change in basketballs.
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Rave: Getting a great report after the colonoscopy.
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Rave: My favorite Halloween costume seen displayed this year: An orange jumpsuit entitled “Felon.”
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Hmmm: Today is the first day of the rest of your life. But so was yesterday, and look how you messed that up.
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Truism: Ahmadinejad and Chavez: The Axis of Idiots.
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Rant: What would old Sam Walton think if he knew you went into his store and none of the help could speak English or help you find what you’re looking for?
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Curmudgeon in the Wry 332

Tuesday, September 26, 2006---571 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 47 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
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Rave: Kim Novak
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Currently reading: “The Hostage” by W.E.B. Griffin.
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On the Victrola: “The Hawk in Paris” by Coleman Hawkins. (1956)
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Quote: “Football is violence punctuated by committee meetings.”---George Will.
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Rave: I really enjoyed the second episode of “Studio 60 on Sunset Strip.” I know where I will be Mondays at 10 PM until college basketball gets back on the tube.
Shame on me for missing the pilot!
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Rant: It is a sad commentary on the times when “Jackass #2” is #1 at the box office. Louis B. Meyer is turning in his grave.
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Rant: Another Hollywood remake gets flushed as “All the King’s Men” opens at #7 with a meager $3.8 million take.
When will Hollywood learn the value of an original idea? If you remake it, it must have added value…it must be better than the original.
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Speaking of remakes: Coming soon to theater near you is the 2006 version of “Twelve Angry Men.”
There are not twelve actors in Hollywood today as good as the least talented of the original twelve jurors!
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Hmmmm: This year’s MTV Video Music Awards show ratings were down by 28%!
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Idle thought: Why is it that, when teams predict how soon an injured football player will return, estimates range from two to four, or four to six weeks? You almost never hear of a guy coming back in three to five weeks. Why is that?
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Quote: “Just because you mumble, doesn’t mean you are Marlon Brando.”---Otto Penzler.
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Rave: Diana Krall’s “From This Moment On” salutes the timeless standards.From the Gershwins to Johnny Mercer---Jobim to Irving Berlin---Cole Porter to Rodgers and Hart, the selections in this collection are flawless.She makes the songs her own with her stylish simplicity, sophistication, elegance and grace.Ms. Krall’s élan and confidence give the songs a freshness that makes you feel that you are hearing them for the first time.In fact, “From This Moment On” by Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer’s “Day In, Day Out” and “Exactly Like You” by McHugh and Fields sound like they were written especially for her.Never did I think anyone could co-own (or even sublet) “Come Dance With Me” from Frank Sinatra, but Diana Krall does something extra-special with it.A compilation of “whoop dee doo” songs performed in a polished and refined manner.It is quite possible that Diana Krall is the Ella Fitzgerald of our day.
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Pop quiz: Did you realize that eight of the 12 Major League Soccer teams participate in the playoffs? No need to answer if you didn't even know there was an MLS.
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Rant: The PC book says that we can’t just profile spinach. We have to pull all vegetables off the shelves
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Quote: “The daily point spreads printed in most newspapers testify to the ubiquity of gambling, and, vociferously as the N.F.L. and the N.C.A.A. oppose gambling, they also owe a great deal of their popularity to it.”---James Surowiecki in The New Yorker Magazine.
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"From This Moment On" by Diana Krall

Diana Krall’s “From This Moment On” salutes the timeless standards.

From the Gershwins to Johnny Mercer---Jobim to Irving Berlin---Cole Porter to Rodgers and Hart, the selections in this collection are flawless.

She makes the songs her own with her stylish simplicity, sophistication, elegance and grace.

Ms. Krall’s élan and confidence give the songs a freshness that makes you feel that you are hearing them for the first time.

In fact, “From This Moment On” by Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer’s “Day In, Day Out” and “Exactly Like You” by McHugh and Fields sound like they were written especially for her.

Never did I think anyone could co-own (or even sublet) “Come Dance With Me” from Frank Sinatra, but Diana Krall does something extra-special with it.

A compilation of “whoop dee doo” songs performed in a polished and refined manner.

It is quite possible that Diana Krall is the Ella Fitzgerald of our day.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Curmudgeon in the Wry 330

Thursday, September 14, 2006---751 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 27 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
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Rave: Robert Ryan.
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Currently reading: “Protocol for a Kidnapping” by Ross Thomas. (1971)
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On the Victrola: Coral Gables High Class of ‘56/Mellow 50’s Memories, a Chuck Thagard collection.
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Rave: The Nike TV spot featuring U.S. Open champion Maria Sharapova and the “I Feel Pretty” soundtrack is just spectacular. Extremely creative advertising!
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More US Open: The 1984 US Open semi-finals between John McEnroe and Pat Cash was the last time wooden rackets were used by both contestants in a major professional tournament.
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Rave: In the preface to Tom Callahan’s, “Johnny U---The Life and Times of John Unitas,” Unitas and Sonny Jurgensen are reminiscing about the NFL of the 1950’s and 1960’s. “I think you almost had to know all of us to know any of us,” was Johnny’s summation of those who played the game in those glory years.
And, that is how Mr. Callahan spools out this superb biography…with stories told by team mates from high school, college and the pros; coaches he played for and against; opponents who could not help but admire him; football front office types; sports writers, friends and family.
As with many who are emblematic of a time, place, and culture, the total (book) is greater than the sum of its parts.
In those days the game belonged to the players---the quarterbacks called the plays and truly were field generals. They did not need a consortium of coaches acting as consultants to tell them what to do.
Back then, the game had both character and characters (face it, not even Hollywood could make up an Alex Hawkins or Joe Nameth).
Mr. Callahan brings these wonderful characters to life utilizing their convergence with Johnny U as the palette to paint the story of #19.
How many stories elicited an out loud “wow!” from me I cannot count. There are stories that made me laugh so long my side hurt. There are stories that brought a grin, stories that put a lump in my throat and those that brought tears (often, those ironic tears of joy).
Throughout the book, I could see the twinkle in Johnny U’s eyes that he was so famous for…that is how expressively the book is written.
In fact, it reads like a novel, flowing from story to story at a comfortable pace…with the occasional two-minute-drill acceleration.
Not only was Unitas a great quarterback and teammate, he was a steadfast friend, devoted father and reliable husband. His influence on football, Baltimore and those around him is immeasurable.
As the narrative says, when Johnny U died, big Jim Parker cried and said, “It was the first time that I wasn’t there to protect him.”
“ ‘When she (his wife) told me John was dead, I couldn’t say anything. I just sat down,’ said Gino Marchetti. He’d have cried if he wasn’t Gino Marchetti.”
I am grateful that Tom Callahan gave me a chance to remember those times I can never forget.
Moreover, you do not have to be a refugee from the “Diner Guys” era to appreciate this one. It stands on its own as a paean to a legend in black high tops.
Read this book!
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Problem solved: Katie could end her newscast with: “I’m not really a journalist. I just play one on TV.”
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Lastly: Enough of this Katie Couric nonsense. She reads the news. She doesn't make the news. She doesn't analyze the news. She doesn't comment on it. She reads it. This is a major cultural event? Wow.
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Sorry, can’t resist another shot: From all the clips I have seen on the cable networks and photos, it appears that Katie Couric and Tammy Faye Bakker share the same eye make-up person.
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Rave: In thirteen seasons with the Baltimore Colts, Raymond Berry caught 631 passes for 9,275 yards and 68 touchdowns---and fumbled exactly one time. Pretty amazing!
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Rave: Twelve players and three coaches from 1958 NFL Championship Game (Colts 23-Giants 17 in the first overtime) have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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Pop quiz: Quickly now---name fifteen players from last year’s Super Bowl.
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Modern Times by Bob Dylan

I have no idea where Bob Dylan will rank in the Top Ten list of pop culture icons of the past fifty years…but I am confident he will make the short list. Singer, songwriter, poet, rebel (remember the 1965 Newport Folk Festival), innovator are just a few of the descriptions one could ascribe to Mr. Dylan.

It seems like the old days (only better) with the release of “Modern Times”---a Dylan release again is an event. Once more, no matter how many times you play it---ODing on it is not an option.

What I do not comprehend is how an album by a music icon that debuts at Number One (currently atop the Amazon.com as well) has only one format taking ownership.

According to my friend Mike Lyons, the erudite editor of the well researched and thoughtful column “The Forest” at triplearadio.com there are only two terrestrial stations airing the record in the Sunshine State.


Nationwide, only the TripleA format is claiming this incredible album as their own.

Good for the TripleA format!

In our current youth obsessed culture, when an album by a 65-year-old white guy begins its life cycle at the top of the pops, it is not merely members of the AARP voting with their wallets in the ballot box of the marketplace.

“Because something is happening hereBut you don't know what it isDo you, Mister Jones?”

Were I a radio programmer in any format other than oldies, big band, jazz or classical, I would do my damnest to find at least one track to sublet from the TripleA format.

As usual, his lyrics have meaning…the musicianship is top notch…and there is a wide choice of tempo available.

In addition, how many listeners out there have not heard of Bob Dylan? Those that may have missed the memo due to extreme youth have the Apple iPod TV spot and XM Satellite to bring them up to date.

Admittedly, I have always believed that shorter records make longer play lists…but, never can I remember hearing so many five-plus-minute songs that “feel” like they clock in at a tidy 2:39.

If I had to find a negative….it would be the lack of lyrics included.

“You don't need a weather manTo know which way the wind blows”

Friday, September 08, 2006

Curmudgeon in the Wry 329

Friday, September 08, 2006---769 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 27 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave:
Adolphe Menjou
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Currently reading: “The Procane Chronicle” by Ross Thomas (1971)
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On the Victrola: Bob Dylan’s “Modern Times”---easy to hear why this one debuted at #1. Just !@#$%&* wonderful!!!
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Rave: If you purchase and donate a pound of coffee to the troops at Starbucks, your drink is free. Gets my vote!
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Rave: Turner Classic Movies’ tribute to Glenn Ford on Sunday (9/10) will show a half dozen Glenn Ford films including a great Western with Randolph Scott (The Desperados”).
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Rave: Andre Agassi's swan song at the U.S. Open was magnificent theater, and his Thursday night match against 21-year-old Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus was as good as any sporting event I've seen in a long time.
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Rant: Judging from the clips I have seen on the Imus in the Morning show, it appears to me that Katie Couric cornered the market on Botox before her debut on CBS.
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Rave: The Bob Dylan
“Modern Times” iPod television spot is quite a treat.
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Guilty Pleasure: The “Beat the Press” segment on the Tucker Carlson Show…especially when he nails Nancy Grace. Of course, she is so hideous----and such an easy and obvious target, it is like shooting fish in a barrel. To his credit, he does not skewer her every day….though well he could.
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Rave: Major Sean Drummond is a nonconformist, cynical and self-deprecating JAG lawyer…a wonderful character with wit, charm, smarts.
Before JAG, he was a member of super secret covert “outfit” in the US intelligence community.
In Brian Haig’s “Secret Sanction” Drummond is assigned to what appears to be a straightforward case. Someone has committed a massacre of 35 Serbian troops who were led by a brutal, sadistic warlord.
The army brass fears this will get attention on a par with Vietnam’s My Lai massacre.
Once in Tuzla Air Base in Bosnia-Herzegovina, what appears to be a giant cover-up/conspiracy greets Drummond and his legal team.
NSA, CIA, Green Berets, Drummond’s mentor (two star general Clapper) and on up to the Commander-in-Chief are possible members of the whitewash.
The pace is fast, the dialogue electric, the characters real and fully fleshed out. It is muscular legal thriller…perhaps John Grisham in army fatigues.
Each clue unearthed leads to another seeming dead end…but Drummond is relentless in finding out what really took place.
The journey to the dénouement is a breathtaking voyage and the ending will take you by surprise.
A winner on many levels!
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Rave: The AMC special
"Bond Girls Are Forever" was just great. 007 is as recognizable a pop culture icon as there is and the Bond Girls were a major part of the experience.
It is hard to imagine that it was 44 years ago that Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder first stepped out the gleaming Bahamian waters in that wonderful bikini with her conch shells. She and Honor Blackman remain my favorite Bond Girls.
And, there has only been one true James Bond----and that is Sean, Sean Connery.
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Rant: Shouting into your cell phone is unnecessary. It’s a TELEphone, not a MEGAphone.
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Rave: Every time I see a
Steve McQueen movie, not only do I marvel at what a great actor he was, but that he the classic scene stealer. And, he did it in such subtle ways.
Jackie Gleason, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Yul Brenner, Faye Dunaway, Richard Attenborough and a host of others, all had their pockets picked by McQueen’s shrewdness.
And, the movies were always the better for it!
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Truism: You don’t have to be older to dislike hip hop. However, minimal intelligence, taste and self-respect are prerequisites.
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Rant: Katie Couric had all that time to get ready and still couldn’t figure out how to say good night.
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Hmmmm: The great irony of the U.S. loss to Greece in the World Basketball Tournament is that the American players put on a dunking exhibition before the game, while at the other end of the gym the Greek players were shooting free throws.
Then the U.S. team shot 59 percent from the free-throw line.
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Truism II: Mark Twain thought polygamists were being rather selfish until he saw their wives. Then he realized they were doing mankind a favor.
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.
Thunder on.

Curmudgeon in the Wry 329

Friday, September 08, 2006---769 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 27 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave:
Adolphe Menjou
+++++++
Currently reading: “The Procane Chronicle” by Ross Thomas (1971)
+++++++
On the Victrola: Bob Dylan’s “Modern Times”---easy to hear why this one debuted at #1. Just !@#$%&* wonderful!!!
+++++++
Rave: If you purchase and donate a pound of coffee to the troops at Starbucks, your drink is free. Gets my vote!
+++++++
Rave: Turner Classic Movies’ tribute to Glenn Ford on Sunday (9/10) will show a half dozen Glenn Ford films including a great Western with Randolph Scott (The Desperados”).
+++++++
Rave: Andre Agassi's swan song at the U.S. Open was magnificent theater, and his Thursday night match against 21-year-old Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus was as good as any sporting event I've seen in a long time.
+++++++
Rant: Judging from the clips I have seen on the Imus in the Morning show, it appears to me that Katie Couric cornered the market on Botox before her debut on CBS.
+++++++
Rave: The Bob Dylan
“Modern Times” iPod television spot is quite a treat.
+++++++
Guilty Pleasure: The “Beat the Press” segment on the Tucker Carlson Show…especially when he nails Nancy Grace. Of course, she is so hideous----and such an easy and obvious target, it is like shooting fish in a barrel. To his credit, he does not skewer her every day….though well he could.
+++++++
Rave: Major Sean Drummond is a nonconformist, cynical and self-deprecating JAG lawyer…a wonderful character with wit, charm, smarts.
Before JAG, he was a member of super secret covert “outfit” in the US intelligence community.
In Brian Haig’s “Secret Sanction” Drummond is assigned to what appears to be a straightforward case. Someone has committed a massacre of 35 Serbian troops who were led by a brutal, sadistic warlord.
The army brass fears this will get attention on a par with Vietnam’s My Lai massacre.
Once in Tuzla Air Base in Bosnia-Herzegovina, what appears to be a giant cover-up/conspiracy greets Drummond and his legal team.
NSA, CIA, Green Berets, Drummond’s mentor (two star general Clapper) and on up to the Commander-in-Chief are possible members of the whitewash.
The pace is fast, the dialogue electric, the characters real and fully fleshed out. It is muscular legal thriller…perhaps John Grisham in army fatigues.
Each clue unearthed leads to another seeming dead end…but Drummond is relentless in finding out what really took place.
The journey to the dénouement is a breathtaking voyage and the ending will take you by surprise.
A winner on many levels!
+++++++
Rave: The AMC special
"Bond Girls Are Forever" was just great. 007 is as recognizable a pop culture icon as there is and the Bond Girls were a major part of the experience.
It is hard to imagine that it was 44 years ago that Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder first stepped out the gleaming Bahamian waters in that wonderful bikini with her conch shells. She and Honor Blackman remain my favorite Bond Girls.
And, there has only been one true James Bond----and that is Sean, Sean Connery.
+++++++
Rant: Shouting into your cell phone is unnecessary. It’s a TELEphone, not a MEGAphone.
+++++++
Rave: Every time I see a
Steve McQueen movie, not only do I marvel at what a great actor he was, but that he the classic scene stealer. And, he did it in such subtle ways.
Jackie Gleason, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Yul Brenner, Faye Dunaway, Richard Attenborough and a host of others, all had their pockets picked by McQueen’s shrewdness.
And, the movies were always the better for it!
+++++++
Truism: You don’t have to be older to dislike hip hop. However, minimal intelligence, taste and self-respect are prerequisites.
+++++++
Rant: Katie Couric had all that time to get ready and still couldn’t figure out how to say good night.
+++++++
Hmmmm: The great irony of the U.S. loss to Greece in the World Basketball Tournament is that the American players put on a dunking exhibition before the game, while at the other end of the gym the Greek players were shooting free throws.
Then the U.S. team shot 59 percent from the free-throw line.
+++++++
Truism II: Mark Twain thought polygamists were being rather selfish until he saw their wives. Then he realized they were doing mankind a favor.
+++++++
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.
Thunder on.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Curmudgeon in the Wry 328

Friday, September 01, 2006---701 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 21 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: Clair Trevor
+++++++
Currently reading: “The Canary Murder Case” by S.S. Van Dine (1927)
+++++++
On the Victrola: “The Hawk in Paris”---Coleman Hawkins. Sounds as contemporary today as when it was recorded fifty years ago.
+++++++
Rant: Every time I see someone with a tattoo, I want to ask, “Just how drunk were you?”
+++++++
Hmmm: Will the Bush administration get the blame for Pluto’s loss of planet status?
+++++++
Wannabet: Wonder how long before the phony Ramsey confession becomes a completely original episode of Law & Order?
+++++++
Hmmmm: You stand a better chance at seeing a music video on the Food Network than you do on MTV.
+++++++
Rave: Everything that occurs in “The Night Gardener” by George Pelecanos has a consequence and affects the perspective of the novel’s multitude of characters.
Washington D.C. is a major character…not the city seen by tourists, politicos and lobbyists…rather the city where the murder of a drug dealer is known as a “society cleanse.” Mr. Pelecanos transports the reader to this authentic and shocking kingdom of street crime.
At the core of the story are three D.C. cops and the cases that trigger their lives to intersect.
In 1985, T.C. Cook was a legend in the homicide division, while Gus Ramone and Dan “Doc” Holiday were rookie beat cops.
Cook was lead detective on a serial murder case involving three teens who were murdered in various city community gardens. The cases were never closed…the killings stopped.
In 2005, Cook has retired and had a stroke…Doc Holiday has a limo service (he left the force just before an internal affairs investigation)…Gus Ramone is a solid family man and homicide Detective Sgt.
The three are reunited while trying to solve a present day killing with possible links to the three unsolved from 1985 that continue to haunt them.
The three have separate motives. Solving the case would mean redemption for the alcoholic Holiday. For Cook, apprehending the killer will end his obsession so he can rest in peace. For Ramone, it is all part of the job…and it is personal, as his fourteen-year-old son knew the 2005 victim.
This is a panoramic novel, with a sizeable cast amid a tangle of subplots. The reader immediately becomes caught up in the sequence of events and Mr. Pelecanos challenges you to pay attention. And, the rewards are great.
More a novel about crime than a crime novel per se, you will become more interested in learning how the case will alter the lives of the trio of cops than how they will solve the crime.
“The Night Gardener” is a compelling and powerful novel whose characters come alive via revealing details. The absorbing plot of parallel stories of working cops and career criminals will lead you in unexpected directions.
To detail any more of the story line would deprive readers of the shock of discovery.
At the conclusion, you may feel the need for a standing ovation.
+++++++
Hmmmm: Never did I think there could be anyone on this planet that could possibly creep out Michael Jackson…then along comes John Mark Karr. Is this a great country or what?
+++++++
Rant: Did John Mark Karr also get frequent-flier miles?
+++++++
Rant: The cable news networks certainly use a tremendous amount of airtime to tell us there is nothing new in the John Karr-JonBenet Ramsey case.
+++++++
Didjaknow: Perry Mason’s creator, Erle Stanley Gardner, wrote at least 4,000 words every day…that is well over a million words a year. Estimates say his books have sold in excess of 300 million copies.
+++++++
Advice at no charge: Never attend the “first annual” anything.
+++++++
Hmmmm: The Yankees’ five-game sweep of the Red Sox in mid-August must have felt very gratifying for New York fans who have stuck with their little team through thick and thick.
+++++++
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

George Pelecanos--"The Night Gardener"

Everything that occurs in “The Night Gardener” by George Pelecanos has a consequence and affects the perspective of the novel’s multitude of characters.

Washington D.C. is a major character…not the city seen by tourists, politicos and lobbyists…rather the city where the murder of a drug dealer is known as a “society cleanse.” Mr. Pelecanos transports the reader to this authentic and shocking kingdom of street crime.

At the core of the story are three D.C. cops and the cases that trigger their lives to intersect.

In 1985, T.C. Cook was a legend in the homicide division, while Gus Ramone and Dan “Doc” Holiday were rookie beat cops.

Cook was lead detective on a serial murder case involving three teens who were murdered in various city community gardens. The cases were never closed…the killings stopped.

In 2005, Cook has retired and had a stroke…Doc Holiday has a limo service (he left the force just before an internal affairs investigation)…Gus Ramone is a solid family man and homicide Detective Sgt.

The three are reunited while trying to solve a present day killing with possible links to the three unsolved from 1985 that continue to haunt them.

The three have separate motives. Solving the case would mean redemption for the alcoholic Holiday. For Cook, apprehending the killer will end his obsession so he can rest in peace. For Ramone, it is all part of the job…and it is personal, as his fourteen-year-old son knew the 2005 victim.

This is a panoramic novel, with a sizeable cast amid a tangle of subplots. The reader immediately becomes caught up in the sequence of events and Mr. Pelecanos challenges you to pay attention. And, the rewards are great.

More a novel about crime than a crime novel per se, you will become more interested in learning how the case will alter the lives of the trio of cops than how they will solve the crime.

“The Night Gardener” is a compelling and powerful novel whose characters come alive via revealing details. The absorbing plot of parallel stories of working cops and career criminals will lead you in unexpected directions.

To detail any more of the story line would deprive readers of the shock of discovery.

At the conclusion, you may feel the need for a standing ovation.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Ross Thomas---"Cast a Yellow Shadow"

The DNA of Ross Thomas’ novels contains unpredictability, witty urbane dialogue, inventive plotting, intricate double (and triple) dealing and a rogue’s gallery of quirky characters.

“Cast a Yellow Shadow” (1967) is the second in his Mac and Padillo series featuring two guys who just want to operate a nice bar and grill after WWII.

Nevertheless, the saloon keepers are caught up in political skullduggery because of Padillo’s enforced activities for the CIA.

Mac’s wife has been kidnapped to ensure that Padillo will assassinate a South African prime minister.

The other side is offering cash for Padillo not to pull the trigger.

For a couple of old soldiers of fortune, this mess should be no problem---except that whether Padillo does the shooting or not, Mac’s wife is going to die.

Padillo enlists the aid of a trio of foreign double agents he has tuned and Mac gets some helpers from the local criminal element.

The scheme is hatched to free Mac’s wife and the chase is on as clever devious people try to outfox one another. Who will pull the double cross, who will stay loyal?

Like crossword puzzle fans, readers will delight at how neatly all the pieces fit.

Ross Thomas: always surprising, always entertaining!


Curmudgeon in the Wry 327

Friday, August 25, 2006---699 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 21 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: Gabby Hayes
+++++++
Currently reading: “The Night Gardener” by George Pelecanos. Beyond excellent….exceeding even my high expectations.
+++++++
On the Victrola: “Got Nothing But Song” from the Starbucks Hear Music series. A wonderful collection of great jazz vocalists from Billie Holiday to Chet Baker to Ella. Superb!
+++++++
Rant: There needs to be a law preventing cable channels from running commercials at the same time.
+++++++
What’s wrong with this picture: A suspected murderer flies home first class from Thailand at government expense, sans handcuffs, dining on roast duck, fried prawns and drinking champagne. Tell me this is a gag!
+++++++
Department of redundancy department: Meaningless NFL preseason game, unconfirmed rumor and free gift.
+++++++
Rave: The DNA of Ross Thomas’ novels contains unpredictability, witty urbane dialogue, inventive plotting, intricate double (and triple) dealing and a rogue’s gallery of quirky characters.
“Cast a Yellow Shadow” (1967) is the second in his Mac and Padillo series featuring two guys who just want to operate a nice bar and grill after their cold war time. Nevertheless, the saloon keepers are caught up in political skullduggery because of Padillo’s enforced activities for the CIA.
Mac’s wife has been kidnapped to ensure that Padillo will assassinate a South African prime minister.
The other side is offering cash for Padillo not to pull the trigger.
For a couple of old soldiers of fortune, this mess should be no problem---except that whether Padillo does the shooting or not, Mac’s wife is going to die.
Padillo enlists the aid of a trio of foreign double agents he has tuned and Mac gets some helpers from the local criminal element.
The scheme is hatched to free Mac’s wife and the chase is on as clever devious people try to outfox one another. Who will pull the double cross, who will stay loyal?
Like crossword puzzle fans, readers will delight at how neatly all the pieces fit.
Ross Thomas: always surprising, always entertaining!
+++++++
Q & A: What is worse than watching a meaningless NFL preseason game? A preseason game that goes into overtime.
+++++++
Just asking: What do you suppose the Las Vegas over/under on Paris Hilton’s declaration to remain celibate for a year is?
+++++++
Rant: I just read that Jerry Springer and Emmitt Smith will compete in the third season of TV's "Dancing with the Stars." Amazing. Who knew there was a first and second season?
+++++++
Hmmmm: While driving down the road, I see a sign that reads, “Watch for hidden driveway.” But I can never find it.
+++++++
Rave: Count me in as one who is ecstatic about the service from the used book sellers on Amazon.com. Finally got discouraged trying to locate the seven out-of-prints by Ross Thomas I was lacking.
So, I ordered them plus a 1927 S.S. Van Dine “Philo Vance” novel---using seven different vendors.
My comment on each was “exceeded expectations.”
And, some have been known to find me hard to please!
+++++++
Rant: Apparently, there is less guilt involved in throwing your trash into your truck bed and having it blow out, than throwing it out your truck window.
+++++++
Truism: The hotter the car, the more pathetic the old guy driving it. And, the longer the comb-over.
+++++++
Truism II: Congressmen continue to appear on “The Colbert Report,” convinced they
will be the first not to look foolish. So far, none has succeeded.
+++++++
Rave: There is nothing better in baseball than a 1-0 game.
+++++++
Hmmmm: There are nights when I am almost certain I could get a job in the Texas Rangers’ bullpen.
+++++++
Rant: When news people announce a “deadly murder-suicide”, is that to distinguish it from all other kinds?
+++++++
Numbers game: “The Catcher In the Rye” still sells over 200,000 copies annually…”To Kill a Mockingbird” does six figure business as well.
+++++++
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.









Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Long Live the King

Twenty-nine years ago this afternoon Elvis left the building for the last time.
I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I learned the news...as clearly as I remember when I heard JFK had been shot.
I remember the first Elvis record I bought....the EP for "Love Me Tender."
The three shows he did for Ed Sullivan (for the unheard of sum of $50,000) are etched in my memory. It was a seminal moment in American pop culture.
52 Million people watched the third show in 1957---1/3 of the available audience!
I cannot forget joining in the applause at the end of "King Creole" at the Carefree Theater in West Palm Beach during the 4th of July holiday in 1958.
When I learned the movie was based on "A Stone for Danny Fisher" by Harold Robbins, I read all his books.
Elvis did as much to alter the landscape of popular music as Frank Sinatra did preceding him and the Beatles who followed.
Certainly once there was Elvis, my time spent listening to Top 40 radio took a quantum leap.
If there had been no Elvis, I doubt I would have taken my path to the record business.
Quote: "Before Elvis there was nothing."---John Lennon
Elvis my have left the building, but we will always have the memories.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Curmudgeon in the Wry 326

Sunday, August 13, 2006---640 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 21 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: Jack Elam
+++++++
Currently reading: Daniel Judson’s “The Darkest Place”.
+++++++
On the Victrola: “Stepping Out of A Dream” by Nat King Cole…another in the Starbucks Hear Music series.
+++++++
Rant: I would love to have watched the PBS special on Walter Cronkite a couple of weeks back, had anyone rather than Katie Couric been the host. Well, maybe not everyone…Bryant Gumble, Chris Berman, Joe Buck, Martha Stewart, Rick Sutcliffe, Oprah, Deborah Norville, Tim McCarver and John Kruk {among others} would have prompted me to eschew the show as well.
+++++++
Rant: Skip Carey, Dwight Jaynes agree that poker may be fun, but it is not a sport.
+++++++
Rant: One reason so many people don’t use turn signals is the blinker switch is operated by the same hand that’s holding the cell phone.
+++++++
Rave: Bravo to Marriott for going 100% smoke-free in all their US properties. That sets quite a standard.
+++++++
Rave: The basic tenet of Daniel Silva’s “The Messenger” is that Saudi petrodollars are financing Islamic Fascist Terrorism…not much of a stretch for me.
Abdul Aziz al-Bakari is the Saudi billionaire bankrolling the terrorists in this fascinating, intelligent, stylish and well-researched tale of international intrigue.
A plot to assassinate the Pope and destroy the Vatican leaves 700 murdered and St. Peter’s Basilica badly damaged…the Pope spared due to the efforts of Gabriel Allon (Israeli intelligence officer, assassin and patriot).
An attack upon Allon’s mentor and celebrated Israeli spymaster follows.
Allon organizes a team to locate the former Saudi intelligence agent responsible (Shafiq). Shafiq is well protected and secreted deep among the layers of al-Bakari’s vast financial empire.
Intense preparation, timely CIA support, and shrewdness, ingenuity: all are necessary to place a mole inside the world of al-Bakari---nicknamed Jihad, Inc.
The entire cast of abhorrent villains and dedicated good guys are fully portrayed and come to life on the pages. The locations truly matter to the story and the deft plotting grabs you from page one.
“The messenger” will keep you up, make you think and entertain you…quite a trifecta.
A magnificent novel…not to be missed.
+++++++
Rant: There should be a warning sticker on all cell phones that says, “You may think you’re talking normally when you’re not.”
+++++++
Hmmmm: I love Michelle Wie, but I think she needs to beat the girls before trying to beat the guys.
+++++++
Truism: Never trust a beauty shop that has no mirrors.
+++++++
Truism II: Ahhh, Florida in the summer, where parking in the shade is an art form.
+++++++
Rant: Baseball players who wear their pants down to their shoes.
+++++++
Rave: The US Post Office has outdone themselves with two recent commemoration stamp issues. The DC Comics Superheroes set and the Baseball Sluggers collection (Mel Ott, Roy Campanella, Hank Greenberg and Mickey Mantle) and an eye to behold. They are truly attention getters and mood elevators. Bravo!
+++++++
Rave: The new format for the Tucker Carlson show on MSNBC. Only wish there was a repeat later in the evening.
+++++++
Hmmm: Am I the only one who notices that the small SUVs and hatchbacks look a lot like the old Gremlins and Pacers we made fun of so long ago?
+++++++
Quote: “The most talented quarterback in the ACC wears No. 3 for Duke _ for the Blue Devils' basketball team.”--- Caulton Tudor. That would be point guard Greg Paulus, the nation's No. 1 rated high school quarterback in the class of 2005.
+++++++
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.









Daniel Silva's "The Messenger"

The basic tenet of Daniel Silva’s “The Messenger” is that Saudi petrodollars are financing Islamic Fascist Terrorism…not much of a stretch for me.

Abdul Aziz al-Bakari is the Saudi billionaire bankrolling the terrorists in this fascinating, intelligent, stylish and well-researched tale of international intrigue.

A plot to assassinate the Pope and destroy the Vatican leaves 700 murdered and St. Peter’s Basilica badly damaged…the Pope spared due to the efforts of Gabriel Allon (Israeli intelligence officer, assassin and patriot).

An attack upon Allon’s mentor and celebrated Israeli spymaster follows.

Allon organizes a team to locate the former Saudi intelligence agent responsible (Shafiq). Shafiq is well protected and secreted deep among the layers of al-Bakari’s vast financial empire.

Intense preparation, timely CIA support, and shrewdness, ingenuity: all are necessary to place a mole inside the world of al-Bakari---nicknamed Jihad, Inc.

The entire cast of abhorrent villains and dedicated good guys are fully portrayed and come to life on the pages.

The locations truly matter to the story and the deft plotting grabs you from page one.

“The messenger” will keep you up, make you think and entertain you…quite a trifecta.

A magnificent novel…not to be missed.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Curmudgeon in the Wry 325

Sunday, July 23, 2006---511 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 51 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: Randolph Scott
+++++++
Currently reading: “If You Can’t Be Good” (1973) by Ross Thomas…wish I had discovered him decades ago. His novels read as contemporary as if this were just completed with the exception of the technology. Human nature, deception, deceit, political corruption, covert ops, duplicity and guile are timeless subjects---and he nails them.
+++++++
On the Victrola: The Miles Davis Collection, 1954-1959---part of the Starbucks Hear Music series. “Bag’s Groove” and “Milestones” are particular faves.
+++++++
Rant: In a way, Terrell Owens is right to blame the media for his tarnished image. If print and electronic outlets hadn't faithfully reported his asinine comments the last couple years, fewer people would know what a jerk he is.
+++++++
Truism: A proportionate response never won a fight.
+++++++
In Passing: Mickey Spillane was a huge influence and had great impact on America’s post World War II pop culture.
His 53 books sold over 200 million copies.
At one time he had six of top fifteen selling detective novels in the 20th Century.
Ayn Rand said he was her favorite novelist since Victor Hugo.
His Mike Hammer inspired three TV shows…two starring Stacey Keach as Hammer.
His “Kiss Me Deadly” was made into a movie in 1955---it remains one the most powerful film noir classics of all time.
All this from the man who parodied himself during sixteen years of Miller Lite commercials.
We may have lost Mickey Spillane…but Mike Hammer lives on.
+++++++
Just asking: Whose hair was Tim McCarver wearing while broadcasting the All Star Game? You would think that someone making his kind of money with a make-up assistant would be able to get the hair color correct.
+++++++
Rant: Somebody please tell me how I am better off because the New York Times exposed the secret monitoring of money traffic.
+++++++
Great Business Names Spotted: “The Fur Seasons”---a dog boarding service. “The Sod Father”---a landscaping operation.
+++++++
Money matters: Signing football coach Bobby Petrino to a new contract, Louisville got it backwards by offering him a $10,000 bonus if half his players graduate. Shouldn't Petrino be asked to give back $10,000 if at least 50 percent of his athletes don't leave with diplomas?
+++++++
My two cents: The Cadillac XLR looks like it is trying too hard.
+++++++
Rant: I hope my TV mute button doesn’t wear out until after the election.
+++++++
Me thinks: We have become so politically correct that we’ve lost our common sense and our sense of humor.
+++++++
Rant: The ESPYs---another TV show of contrived excitement. I missed it. By choice.
+++++++
Suggestion box: There should be a bumper sticker that says, "Hang Up And Drive."
+++++++
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Curmudgeon in the Wry 324

Wednesday, July 12, 2006---619 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 11 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: Steve McQueen
+++++++
Currently reading: “Prayers for the Assassin” by Robert Ferrigno. Good stuff!
+++++++
In the CD tray: West Coast Jazz Box Set, Disk 1. Love the Chet Baker tunes.
+++++++
Rimshot: Now that Anaheim's NHL team is known simply as the Ducks, the franchise has reduced by half a stupid nickname. Why did it take the team all these years to figure out that "Mighty" isn't all it's quacked up to be?
+++++++
Rave: The latest Imus mantra: “We’re not happy until you’re not happy.”
+++++++
Hmmmm: Is it true that Al Gore thinks that the Heat winning the NBA title and the Hurricanes capturing the Stanley Cup is just further proof of global warming?
+++++++
Rave: Laura Lippman’s ninth Tess Monaghan novel, “No Good Deeds”, is an assured polished work.
It is finely crafted suspense populated with realistic characters that are worth caring about.
PI Tess Monaghan lands a consulting job with her former employer, Baltimore’s Beacon Light.
The murder of a Federal prosecutor grabs Tess’s attention. It starts out as an abstract example for journalistic investigation…but grows into much more.
Chance steps in when Tess’s boy friend brings a scam artist/street kid home…the initial good deed. It turns out the kid (Lloyd Jupiter) is a link in the murder chain.
Wise enough to know he needs to remain invisible, Lloyd disappears.
During Tess’s odyssey of discovery, much seems amiss with the official investigation. Protecting her source (Lloyd), Tess gives the paper as much as she knows…another good deed. This places Tess, her boy friend and Lloyd in jeopardy.
In peril from whom is the question.
Tess’s life is turned upside down by rogue agents from the FBI and DEA abetted by an ambitious Assistant US Attorney…revealing a wholly amoral world.
The tension builds steadily as the plot strands start to entwine in this notable and provocative novel.
“No Good Deeds” is entertaining and disturbing. Laura Lippman captures the allure of Baltimore in convincing fashion.
It starts strong and holds your attention.
Laura Lippman is the real deal…she writes with poise and flair…must reading!!!
+++++++
Quote: “Nostalgia is the realization that things weren't as unbearable as they seemed at the time.” – Anon.
+++++++
Rave: Love the TV spot for baseball’s All Star Game…the Steel City hard hat theme and graphics make it my favorite MLB pitch since “Chicks dig the long ball.”
+++++++
Rant: With the advent of inter-league play, the All Star Game seems rather redundant to me. An unnecessary exhibition game. However, not as tedious as the Home Run Derby.
+++++++
Rave: AMC’s original western, “Broken Trail” was quite a treat. The usual stellar performance from Robert Duvall led the way. Thomas Church’s acting was a hugely pleasant surprise to me. Even with all the commercials, I will watch it again and again.
+++++++
Department of redundancy department: Exact replica, two-way dialog, UPC code, it’s raining outside, same exact.
+++++++
Rant: I see that Home Depot is thinking of adding fast food to its stores. Will customers be expected to hunt for the ingredients and cook for themselves?
+++++++
Rave: Is there a whiter white than a major league baseball team’s home uniform?
+++++++
Hmmmm: How the heck did we get the contraction “won’t” from “will not”?
+++++++
Quote: “Politicians will act rationally only when other alternatives are exhausted.”—John Reynolds, Jr.
+++++++
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

"No Good Deeds" by Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman’s ninth Tess Monaghan novel, “No Good Deeds”, is an assured polished work.

It is finely crafted suspense populated with realistic characters that are worth caring about.

PI Tess Monaghan lands a consulting job with her former employer, Baltimore’s Beacon Light.

The murder of a Federal prosecutor grabs Tess’s attention. It starts out as an abstract example for journalistic investigation…but grows into much more.

Chance steps in when Tess’s boy friend brings a scam artist/street kid home…the initial good deed. It turns out the kid (Lloyd Jupiter) is a link in the murder chain.

Wise enough to know he needs to remain invisible, Lloyd disappears.

During Tess’s odyssey of discovery, much seems amiss with the official investigation.

Protecting her source (Lloyd), Tess gives the paper as much as she knows…another good deed. This places Tess, her boy friend and Lloyd in jeopardy.

In peril from who is the question.

Tess’s life is turned upside down by rogue agents from the FBI and DEA abetted by an ambitious Assistant US Attorney…revealing a wholly amoral world.

The tension builds steadily as the plot strands start to entwine in this notable and provocative novel.

“No Good Deeds” is entertaining and disturbing. Laura Lippman captures the allure of Baltimore in convincing fashion.

It starts strong and holds your attention.

Laura Lippman is the real deal…she writes with poise and flair…must reading!!!

Curmudgeon in the Wry 323

Wednesday, June 28, 2006---749 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 4 seconds (time well spent)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas
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Rave: Cal Tjader
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TV timeout: ESPN canceled the "Bonds on Bonds" reality show. Because it was unwatchable? Or to make room for more paintball tournaments?
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Hmmmm: Are Panasonic, Sharp and Samsung stereo-types?
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Spell-check: The winning word in the National Spelling Bee was "ursprache." That's a German word meaning parent language. For sportswriters, the hardest word to spell each year is "Krzyzewski" - Polish for college basketball.
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Truism: Roger Clemens has had more comebacks than Cher.
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Your tax dollars at work: It costs 1.23 cents to manufacture a penny. The price hike is blamed on rising metals, manufacturing and transportation costs. Looks like a good opportunity to ditch the penny. Besides, the savings are needed to produce the nickel, which now costs 5.73 cents to manufacture.
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TV Guide: Clicking around the cablesphere recently, I stopped on Bravo, where James Lipton was interviewing Tim Allen of "Home Improvement" fame. It appeared to be an actual episode of Inside the Actors Studio. With Tim Allen? Either the show has run out of actors to invite or I stumbled across a Saturday Night Live skit.
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Summer Reading Recommendations: “Deadman’s Bluff” and “Deadman’s Poker” by Jim Swain. Tony Valentine returns in a two book story arc…a mobster’s cleaver cheating scam is afoot at the world’s richest poker tournament in Las Vegas.
“Baltimore Noir” edited by Laura Lippman contains sixteen wonderful mystery themed short stories set in Baltimore and the suburbs. Great stuff!!!
“Escape Clause” by Jim Born is the third in the series featuring South Florida FDLE agent Bill Tasker. Superb characters and a knotty plot make this one a sure keeper.
C.J. Box scores again with “In Plain Sight.” Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett and his family are threatened by a revenge seeking psycho, while Joe is investigating the suspicious disappearance of a local matriarch. I read C.J. Box’s novels as fast as any writer out there. If he were a baseball pitcher, he would be called sneaky-fast. Highest possible recommendation.
Robert B. Parker teams Paradise PD Chief Jesse Stone with Boston PD Sonny Randall in “Blue Screen” and the result is superb. Includes a couple of trips to LA for sleuthing---so we get a peek at Jesse’s back-story. Contains all the Parkers charm without the tedious Susan Silverman in the Spenser novels. However, Sunny has a ubiquitous dog every bit as annoying as Spenser’s Pearl.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”---Sir Richard Steele
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Fair’s fair: Those who question W’s ability to find Osama in the mountains of Afghanistan need to remember that Clinton never found Eric Robert Rudolph in the mountains of North Carolina.
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Drive time: The shortest distance between two points is probably under construction.
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Hmmm: One question about the reelection of New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin: What do you have to do to not get reelected in New Orleans?
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Screenings: Calling “Nacho Libre,” the new film starring Jack Black in tights, a wrestling comedy is sort of redundant. All professional wrestling is comedy, isn’t it?
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Rant: One invention that was severely underrated was the phone booth. Being forced to listen to someone else’s inane cell phone conversation is torture.
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Just asking: Wonder how crowded our hospital emergency rooms would be if we didn’t have 12 million illegal aliens using them as their primary health care?
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Hmmmm: With phone booths gone, where does Superman change his clothes these days?
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Speaking of ESPN: Just when we thought there was nothing on the World Wide Leader wackier than paintball tournaments, the network introduces dominos. Just letting you know, in case you want to be the first on your block to start a dominos rotisserie league.
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Rant: When did you have to start checking your IQ at the door when you go to the movies?
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Factoid: Bacteria will not grow on a copper surface.
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Hmmmm: You can call Jose Canseco a lot of things. But you can't call him wrong on baseball's steroid scandal.
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Quote: “A rumor without a leg to stand on will get around some other way.” -- John Tudor
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Curmudgeon in the Wry 322

Saturday, June 03, 2006---669 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 4 seconds (time well spent)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas
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Rave: “Little Star” by The Elegants.
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Rant: You know we are living in the Twilight Zone when Johnny Damon is on Martha Stewart’s hideous TV show. What’s next---creating soufflés with Emeril?
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This just in: Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison has entered the NBA draft, giving up his final year of college eligibility---however, his mustache retains two years of high school eligibility.
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For the record: I am about as interested in your mock NBA draft as I am in your Rotisserie team!
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Rant: Marion Barry was re-elected in Washington, D.C. Bill Campbell was re-elected in Atlanta. Now Ray Nagin has been re-elected in New Orleans. Forget voter ID. We need voter IQ
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If only: All the TV shows are ending the season with someone getting shot, killed or kidnapped. Any chance of that happening with Chris Berman, Martha Stewart, Dr. Phil, Regis or Kelly?
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Taxes at work: While alarming, the biggest shock in the missing Veterans Administration data mess is that a government employee actually took work home.
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Truism: I saw the Dixie Chicks on “60 Minutes.” You can love ‘em or hate ‘em for their politics or their music. But one thing is certain: they do really bad interviews.
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Rant: People in public greatly overestimate my interest in their cell phone conversations.
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Get over it: The Da Vinci Code is a work of fiction, nothing more. So spare me the controversy.
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Rave: Jonathon King’s fifth novel (first stand-alone), “Eye of Vengeance” is a riveting read and ought to be an Edgar nominee…it is that good. Mr. King maintains his high standards.
Employing an economical cast of characters and utilizing lean prose, this hard-boiled narrative is compelling reading from cover to cover.
Nick Mullins is a veteran reporter who covers the South Florida crime beat.
Nick is searching for clues to what he suspects are connections between a serial sniper and some of his in depth profile stories.
About halfway thru the book Nick and the readers learn who the sniper is---“Eye of Vengeance” is more about the why, rather than the usual whodunit.
Nick has ghosts from his past that haunt him as he attempts to connect all the dots.
Throughout the book, bad things happen to bad men---and you find yourself cheering for the lesser of the evil doers. There is no shortage of action and no dull moments.
A very absorbing novel.
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Rant: The people in New Orleans ask for help and then re-elect Ray Nagin? What is wrong with this picture? (Better to live below sea level and have people think you’re stupid than to re-elect Ray Nagin and remove all doubt.)
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Hmmm: Congress is upset that one of its own members’ offices was searched. But none of them seem upset by the fact the guy is accused of taking a $100,000 bribe.
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Rant: It in unconscionable to me that companies allow employees to have smoke breaks to pursue their repulsive habit….but staff members who want to spend an hour in healthy activities at the gym must do so on their own time.
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Hmmmm: If bankers can count, how come they have eight windows and only four tellers?
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Rant: When former Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson was making those 233 calls to recruits that violated NCAA rules, he was president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Indiana, his new employer, must be proud.
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You can look it up: Al Gore and his entourage took five cars to travel the 500 yards from the hotel to the screening of his global warming movie in Cannes. Do as I say, not as I do.
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Curmudgeon in the Wry 321

Thursday, May 25, 2006---537 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 4 seconds (time well spent)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
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Rave:
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Rant: On the clock. How long does it take to complete the NFL draft's first round, about six hours? That's just too much Chris Berman. Six minutes is too much Berman. In reality, six seconds is more than enough to last a lifetime.
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Truism: The world will run out of oil before it runs out of groupies.
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Hmmmm: At what point did a bunch of gun-toting thugs become an “entourage” instead of a gang? I missed the memo.
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Truism II: Friends don’t let friends sear Speedos. Ever! Case closed!!
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Rant: The real Mission Impossible III is whether we ever again look at Tom Cruise and not see a smarmy, self-absorbed Hollywood jerk.
In a perfect world, we would never have heard of the increasingly annoying Tom Cruise, never mind the endless drivel about his new kid.
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Bottom line: A dozen major league players are making more money this season than the Florida Marlins are spending on their entire roster.
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Joseph Finder is at the top of his game with his new business thriller, “Killer Instinct.”
Entronics salesman Jason Steadman is busy multitasking on his commute home when he drives into a ditch.
Jason assists the tow-truck driver, Kurt Semko (an ex-Special Forces soldier); in getting a security job at Entronics.
Then the rollercoaster ride begins…proving once again, that no good deed goes unpunished.
Kurt uses his Special Forces Operations skills to perform various acts of skullduggery that advance Jason’s career.
Strange things happen to those (both inside and outside of the company) who appear to
hinder Jason’s sales goals.
Jason learns that business is war when people turn up dead.
And, he wants out…but there is no escape from his fiendish benefactor. Jason is ensnared in the life Kurt has set up for him.
Jason must figure a way to outmaneuver his malicious patron.
He employs double-crosses, duplicity, corporate politics, deceptions and corruption as he attempts to take his life back.
Joseph Finder is a wonderful storyteller. “Killer Instinct” keeps you glued to the page. It is a remarkable tale of how an ordinary individual manages to extricate himself from a dilemma of substantial proportions after he is pushed to extremes.
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Rimshot: What tribe does a “Chief Meteorologist” lead?
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Rant: I think I stopped caring about The Boston marathon when the Kenyans started treating it as if it were their invitational meet…or maybe it was when I could not name an American contender anymore (the days of “Boston” Bill Rogers are long gone…or maybe it was when I could not remember who won a half hour after it was over…or, all of the above.
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Rave: Funny sports headline from The Onion, the fake news site on the Web: Roger Clemens' Family Offers Him One-Year, $10 Million Contract
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Rant: The USA was once the “home of the free”---now it is the “home of the freeloaders.”
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.



Friday, May 12, 2006

"Killer Instinct" by Joseph Finder

Joseph Finder is at the top of his game with his new business thriller, “Killer Instinct.”

Entronics salesman Jason Steadman is busy multitasking on his commute home when he drives into a ditch.

Jason assists the tow-truck driver, Kurt Semko (an ex-Special Forces soldier), in getting a security job at Entronics.

Then the rollercoaster ride begins…proving once again, that no good deed goes unpunished.

Kurt uses his Special Forces Operations skills to perform various acts of skullduggery that advance Jason’s career.

Strange things happen to those (both inside and outside of the company) who appear to be hindering Jason’s sales goals.

Jason learns that business is war when people turn up dead.

And, he wants out…but there is no escape from his fiendish benefactor. Jason is ensnared in the life Kurt has set up for him.

Jason must figure a way to outmaneuver his malicious patron.

Jason employs double-crosses, duplicity, corporate politics, deceptions and corruption as he attempts to take his life back.

Joseph Finder is a wonderful storyteller. “Killer Instinct” keeps you glued to the page. It is a remarkable tale of how an ordinary individual manages to extricate himself from a dilemma of substantial proportions after he is pushed to extremes.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Curmudgeon in the Wry 320

Monday, April 10, 2006---621 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 4 seconds (time well spent)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
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Rave: Miles Davis
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Rave: DUKE’s women’s lacrosse. Saw them beat the #1 Northwestern girls and the #10 Notre Dame team over the weekend. The players on all three teams can fly.
And, love the T-shirt---“Chicks with Sticks.”
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Rant: I get furious when I get the recording, “Press one for English.” Hey, this is the USA! Learn the language and the customs if you are staying!
With all the government bending to accommodate them, why do I feel that there is a great deal of irony in the term “illegal immigrant?” The key word is “illegal” after all.
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Hmmm: The term “French worker” is a misnomer. After all, they were rioting to preserve a 35 hour workweek, five weeks of vacation annually and lifetime job security.
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Rave: Robert Crais is a member of the LA mystery writer’s varsity.
His latest, “The Two Minute Rule,” is as good as anything he has written.
The two-minute rule is the bank robber’s truism: get in, get the money and get out in less than two minutes.
Max Holman had succeeded heeding this axiom until he stopped to give CPR to a bank customer having a heart attack. That sent him away for ten years.
After finishing his stretch, his only real goal is to reconcile with his estranged son---now a family man and rookie cop (everything Max was not).
Hours prior to his release, Max is informed his son and three other LA cops were gunned down while having a mysterious meeting in the middle of the night.
Now Max wants to learn how his son died, and how he lived.
LAPD stonewalls Max. They allege the shooter was a gang member out for revenge, who conveniently committed suicide. The story does not ring true.
The only person Max trusts to help him find the truth is Katherine Pollard, the FBI agent who arrested him.
Against her better judgment, now ex-agent Pollard, agrees to assist. Once in, her “thrill of the hunt” juices kick in…she is hooked.
Skirting the law at every turn, they uncover a police conspiracy---or is it an investigation within the official investigation. Are Max’s son and the other cops dirty?
This odd couple pairing rings true as each responds to the core of integrity they see in the other.
The plotting is superior and the characters grip you early and hold you close right to the phenomenal conclusion. With each twist, you will pick someone else as your chief suspect.
To tell more would be a crime and ruin an exceptionally intriguing plot.
There is truly nothing as righteous as a good mystery.
Like Michael Connelly, Robert Crais elevates crime fiction.
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Rimshot: Is the person who puts a dent in a Hummer called a humdinger?
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Rant: Why is it that people do not know how to count to four at a four-way stop?
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Hmmm: Why do all those pandas pandas have double double names names?
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Rant: In a half-century CBS News has gone from Edward R. Murrow to Katie Couric. Maybe that is all we have to know.
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Meaningless Factoid: The Red Sox have the highest prices in MLB for the ninth season in a row.
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Just wondering: Does it seem to you that Hillary Clinton has been for president forever?
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R.I.P.: Gene Pitney, one of the truly distinctive in the golden era of rock ‘n’ Roll.
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.









Curmudgeon in the Wry 319

Monday, April 10, 2006---594 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 2 seconds (time well spent)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
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Rave: Willie Nelson.
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Mea Culpa: I am on record as saying that Florida, Tennessee and Ohio State were the three most over rated teams in the NCAA tournament. Two out three!
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Rave: The DUKE Women’s Basketball Team. ..Win or lose in the Final Four in Boston. As a season ticket holder, I think that they are playing their best basketball since mid-January.
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Hmmmm: Does the Department of Corrections allow inmates to watch “Prison Break”?
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Rant: Do I have this right? Barry Bonds says he is not going to read “Game of Shadows,” but he is going to sue the writers for what is in it.
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Hmmm: Robinson Cano is the only Yankee starting pitcher under thirty.
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However: Sharon Stone proves you can be over thirty and still play, right?
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Truism: The Knicks would have been no better than a twelve seed in the NCAA tournament.
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What a joke: George Marshall is the definitive baseball insider (a director for the Red Sox). Does anyone really think he is going to investigate that Bud Selig horrid stewardship of the game?
This is all spin and damage control.
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Rave: Floridian Florence Horvath’s body washes ashore in the harbor of Paradise, Massachusetts to open up Robert B. Parker’s fifth Jesse Stone novel, “Sea Change.”
The town is jammed with yacht and sailboat racing fans, partiers and participants.
Paradise’s Race Week, ironically lasts an entire month giving Police Chief Stone plenty of time to ferret out the person or persons responsible for Florence’s death.
The chief is a former burned out LA cop, highly qualified, extremely motivated and enjoying his new surroundings. His staff is experienced and competent…and he can count on the Captain of the State Police to supply what his office lacks.
Florence liked kinky sex and video tapes and that revelation leads Stone to any number of suspects who are all “guilty of something.” The two prime suspects are at least good for statutory rape. The strange combination of money and corruption is a key to the clarification of the murder.
Florence’s daffy twin sisters arrive on the scene and muddy the waters…but through an excellent Ft. Lauderdale detective Stone pieces the fragments of the puzzle into a complete picture.
Fast paced, written in a simple and tight prose with a succinct plot, this could be the best entry thus far in the Jesse Stone series.
A most entertaining weekend read!
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Rant: Maybe the cell phone companies should drop video from their phones and replace it with a turn signal activator.
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Truism II: Luggage gets better treatment from airlines these days than passengers.
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Imagine that: For a group that claims it doesn’t care what Middle America thinks about their films, Hollywood sure does grumble when box office receipts are down.
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Just asking: In what conference is the University of Phoenix and what is their mascot?
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Perplexing: Did a higher power create evolution, or did evolution just evolve?
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Hmmmm: Any truth to the rumor that our baseball players are going to start defecting to Cuba to play against the real players?
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Rant: There is no more annoying TV commercial than those two clowns standing in the water singing gibberish for Applebee’s.
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.









Sunday, March 26, 2006

Curmudgeon in the Wry 318

Wednesday, March 22, 2006---625 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 5 seconds (time well spent)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
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Rave: Van Morrison
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Rant: Cue the violins: It doesn't get much better than NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue describing the owners' impasse with the NFL Players Association as "about as dire as dire can be." This sort of melodramatic language results from taking yourself too seriously, something pro football is prone to do.
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Factoid: Bobby Knight and Florida’s Billy Donovan are the only two men (past 50 years) to both play and coach in the Final Four.
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Line of the week: From New York Times restaurant reviewer Joe Sharkey---“Makes hunger an attractive alternative.”
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Rant: Sure am glad the NFL labor battle between billionaires and millionaires got worked out!
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Rave: The soundtrack CD from “Good Night and Good Luck.”
Diane Reeves delivers vocals that are smoky, satiny and sultry. Brings the movie right back for you and has you looking for a night club with no cover, no minimum. Enjoyment plus!
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Final Four Factoid: Only four college players have been to four Final Fours---Clay Buckley, Greg Koubek, Christian Laettner and Brian Davis. DUKE grads all!
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Truism: There is such a thing as a quiet leaf blower. It is calling it a rake.
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Truism II: The definition of confidence is working the Sudoku puzzle with a pen.
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Truism III: Dilbert is not a comic strip. It’s a documentary.
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Rave: To David Wells for speaking out against Barry Bonds.
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Rant: Best Oscar for “It’s Hard for a Pimp”---Rogers and Hammerstein are turning in their graves.
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Rave: So, the Final Four is coming up the first weekend in April---and you say your brackets are in shambles.
Well, you can find great solace and enjoyment in
John Feinstein’s paean to March Madness, “Last Dance, Behind the Scenes at the Final Four.”
Since he has been going to the Final Four since 1978 (before it went to 64 teams), he has plenty of wonderful tales to tell.
The focal point is 2005’s North Carolina, Illinois, Michigan State and Louisville tournament.
However, he strays and presents a lot of magnificent history in the form of back-stories. Therefore, it not a play-by-play type of book---rather it reads like a novel.
He presents insights into the teams, the selection committee, players past and present, coaches, the officials, the fans and the legends.
It is all told in a relaxed, lyrical anecdotal fashion that is so easy to read that you never realize how much you learning.
Totally absorbing, and perfect for this time of year---or any time of year.
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Hmmmm: I have never really understood the whole Sarah Jessica Parker phenomenon, but then again a lot of things get be me nowadays. Reality TV being another.
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Consider this: For the guilty, a dumb jury is better than a brilliant lawyer.
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Rant: You know we are all swimming in a cultural sewer, when pimps are now being portrayed as sympathetic figures.
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My-oh-my: The Associated Press reports that actor Mel Gibson is shipping an eight-lane bowling alley to his private island in the Fiji archipelago. Bowling, fine. But eight lanes for an island inhabited mostly by turtles?
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Hmmmm: You know you have heard a lot of music when you realize that Neil Young is sixty.
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Rant: How many eyewitnesses does it take before someone doesn’t “allegedly” do something, like the UNC graduate student that plowed through a crowd of people with his SUV?
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.
http://kenvandurand.blogspot.com/

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Curmudgeon in the Wry 317

Sunday, March 05, 2006---564 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 52 seconds (time well spent)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
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Rave: Jay Bilas
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Movie Magic: “The Magnificent Seven” is a great western motion picture---arguably the film that launched Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn to stardom.
In the movie, James Coburn’s character, Britt, had exactly eleven lines---including, “You lost” and “Three.” Now that’s pithy.
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Rave: The next best thing to reading Michael Connelly is rereading him!
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Rant: Someone should make Simon Cowell sing, instead of being simply obnoxious.
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Big yawn: World Baseball Classic---I have less than zero interest in this boondoggle.
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My take: The Blue Jays are still the Blue Jays until they prove otherwise.
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Hmmmm: If the NHL takes two weeks off, does anyone miss it?
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Rant: The only thing wrong with the catfight between Trump and Martha Stewart over her horrid TV show is that there is nobody to cheer for.
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Rave: The good news is a year from now no one's going to remember Bode Miller.
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Rant: Is it true that when the groundhog saw his shadow it meant seven more months of Barry Bonds?
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Rave: Two thumbs up for “Turning Angel” by Greg Iles.
Prosecutor/novelist Penn Cage returns from my favorite Iles book, “The Quiet Game” as the protagonist.
Penn has left the legal life to spend time with his daughter in his hometown of Natchez. And, he has renewed his boyhood friendship with Dr. Drew Elliot, a prominent member of the Natchez gentry.
Both are attending a board meeting of the elite private school, St. Stephens Prep when the meeting is interrupted with news that star senior student on her way to Harvard (Kate Townsend) has been found murdered.
Kate was the poster child for perfection. However, the investigation shows Kate was buying drugs from an infamous dealer, posing for kinky photos and having an affair with a married man (Dr. Drew Elliot).
Dr. Elliot informs Penn of the affair, claim innocence in the murder and gets Penn back into the legal game to defend him. The price of defending his friend could affect Penn’s run for mayor and makes him a target for the real killer.
There is no shortage of homegrown suspects as well as a few outsiders and a particularly venal blackmailer.
It is a fast moving plot with a rapid pulse. The reader is enveloped by the conspiracies and small town intrigue. There is ample action as we learn just who did what to whom, and why.
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Hmmmm: My dentist told me to only floss the teeth I want to keep.
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Rant: You know that words hive become merely props when “illegal aliens” are now referred to as “undocumented.”
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Three Point Play: The feel-good story of the year is 5-foot-6 Jason McElwain, who has autism, and was put into a high school basketball game in upstate New York as a reward for being the team manager. He hit six of 10 3-point shots in four minutes. Stranger than fiction? Even stranger than that.
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Rant: The male “American Idol” contestants should get their own show called “American Ugly.”
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.