Friday, December 28, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 377

Friday, December 28, 2007---566 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 57 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers and hindering productivity one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
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Rave: Dick Powell.
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On the Hi Fi: Oscar Peterson and Dizzy Gillespie in London, 1974.
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Reading: “Where the Truth Lies” by Rupert Holmes.
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Quote: “Santa Claus is real. We’re not!”—Dennis Miller.
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Rave: There are countless hilarious laugh-til-you-hurt moments on the Dennis Miller Radio Show. In addition, it is chock full of witty, acerbic, and intelligent political and pop culture discourse.
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Rant: Tattoos are hideous.
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Didjaknow: The funny bone is neither. It is the ulna nerve, made famous in song and story by Jim Palmer, number 22 in your program and #1 in my mind.
Spanish moss is neither.
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Rave: Starting on January 13th CBS will broadcast the six-hour miniseries “Comanche Moon.”
It is based on Larry McMurtry’s prequel to “Lonesome Dove” with a wonderful cast featuring Val Kilmer.
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Bumper Sticker of the Week: To err is human, to forgive divine. Neither is Marine Corps policy.
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Rave: The year-end feature “TCM Remembers” is wonderful (as usual). The clips are terrific and the choreography with the music is astounding.
When you watch the clip, it is easy to see why Harold Robbins referred to Hollywood as “The Dream Merchants.”
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Truism: Hard as I try, it still takes me 45 minutes to swim a half hour.
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Just asking: Don’t you wish you had invented the refrigerator magnet?
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Quote: “Political Correctness…the art of camouflaging truth to protect the psyches of the silly.”
-Kathleen Parker
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Good travel tips: “In the airport security line, a dozen businessmen will move thru security much faster than two families with kids or a group of senior citizens. One baby carriage equals four typical passengers.”---Frank Luntz in Business Week.
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From the Mark Steyn archive: Viagraccino is the latest Starbucks flavor of the day. One cup and you will be up all night. The US has more women with breast implants than any other country. Also more women happy to tell you they have implants. Mark’s conclusion---a society where artificially aroused men pursue artificially enhanced women.
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A No Charge Tip: It is far easier to back into a parking place, than to back out of one. That is why cops always back in. Barney Fife was the only cop who failed to back in.
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Another Truism: A man’s dog should never be smaller than his briefcase.
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Rave: The 1992 series, “The Real West” currently shown on The History Channel is top drawer…made even better by the voice over work by Kenny Rogers. His voice is absolutely perfect and adds a lot to the series.
The clips, old photos and artwork are a real treat. This one hits on all cylinders.
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Rant: Most women who wear Capri pants shouldn’t…same thing for men in bicycle pants.
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Yet another truism: There is no such thing as a single call to a government agency.
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Quote: “I’m just like everybody else. I want to be a nonconformist too.”---Lenny Bruce.
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Factoid: Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner are the only two American authors to win both the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes.
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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, December 18, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 376

Tuesday, December 18, 2007---521 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 42 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers and hindering productivity one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
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Rave: Brit Hume
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On the Hi Fi: Michael Bublé, Self-Titled.
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Reading: “Luck Be a Lady, Don’t Die”—the second wonderful Rat Pack novel by Robert Randisi.
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Must see TV: Basketball--Thursday, December 20 at 7 PM, #7 Duke and #9 Pitt at Madison Square Garden (ESPN). Saturday, December 22nd at noon, #4 Georgetown at #2 Memphis on ESPN. At 6:30 #5 Texas at #10 Michigan State on espn2.
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Quote: “A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.”-- G Gordon Liddy
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Smooth move: Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl says he is installing more zone defense to prepare for next season's extension of the college three-point line.
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This Just In: News you can’t use---The new AMERICAN GLADIATORS have just been announced. They are Fury, Helga, Justice, Mayhem, Militia, Stealth, Titan, Tor, Venom, Wolf, Crush, Siren, and Sanjaya.
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Rave: I, for one, like the new Georgetown home white basketball uniforms. Always thought the home grays were pretty dull. And, while it is early and I will change my mind many times; right now Georgetown is my pick to win the NCAA Championship come that first weekend in April.
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Rant: From the department of double standards. College coaches can switch colleges and begin coaching and recruiting immediately after the press conference, if not sooner. However, when a student athlete transfers he/she must sit out a season. There is something intrinsically iniquitous about that. A great injustice to the student athlete.
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A couple of quotes: “The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half inch eraser---in case you thought optimism was dead.”—Robert Brault.
“An optimist is someone who thinks the future is uncertain.”—Anon.
“An optimist is one who believes marriage is a gamble.”—Laurence J. Peters.
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Rave: The UPS “white board” TV ad campaign.
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Rant: During his press conference on Thursday, December 13th, Bud Selig looked so clueless; one could almost feel sorry for him. However, he has been a do-nothing de facto head of baseball from day one…so having any sympathy for him means the terrorists have won. You put a used car salesman in charge of MLB---you get what you deserve.
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Rave: Why was I not surprised by any of those named in the Mitchell steroid report?
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Truism: Jose Canseco was not lying when he wrote his book. I do not want to glorify the guy, but he did a lot more than Bud Selig to raise awareness of steroids in baseball.
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Rant: Memo to the Milwaukee Brewers----Eric Gagne is not he answer, no matter what the question is.
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Rave: Among my favorite things that make their appearance at Christmas: Pfeffernüsse, marzipan, eggnog, the Starbucks cranberry bliss bar.
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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, December 12, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 375

Wednesday, December 12, 2007---654 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 42 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
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Rave: Laura Ingraham
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On the Hi Fi: Miles Davis, “The Jazz Biography.”
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Reading: “Stripped” by Brian Freeman.
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Didjaknow: That between 1853 and 1870, Charles Dickens gave more than 400 readings across the US and Europe. The first author book tour!
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Rave: I am looking forward to the movie version of James Lee Burke’s “In the Electric with Confederate Dead.” Tommy Lee Jones will play Detective Dave Robicheaux.
Levon Helm, Ned Beatty and John Goodman are in the cast as well.
Coming in 2008.
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Rave: The Frank Sinatra postage stamp coming this spring. Ring a ding ding!
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My two cents: If you believe one word that comes out of the mouth of Barry Bonds, be certain to schedule the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus for a Christmas visit. Oh yes, Bonds was against the war before he was for it.
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Rave: Even with my inferior eyesight, there is a huge difference with HD TV---especially when watching Duke Basketball.
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Rant: Drivers who pull into the right lane when the sign says-“right lane ends” and then expect to be let right back in ahead of you. No way do I ever let them in.
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Rave: Bombing at the box office are the latest round of anti-patriotic movies (“Lions for Lambs,” “Rendition” and “In the Valley of Elah”) so happily touted by the Hollywood elite.
I, myself am hopeful these same Hollywood elites have misjudged the wishes of the American voter with their support of left wing candidates.
If they missed the mark in their area of expertise, there is reason to be encouraged that they are just as far off base in their political picks.
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In the true spirit of Christmas: When you bump into a cop, soldier, marine, EMT or other first responder be certain to thank them for all they do to keep you out of harm’s way.
Never forget: you run from danger, they run to danger and the ACLU causes danger.
These are the folks that keep you safe, not left wing organizations like the ACLU.
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Rant: The use of “X” as a substitute for Christ in Christmas is just a repulsive display of slothful behavior. How can any thinking person be this lazy? Inexcusable.
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Quote: In the wake of Steelers safety Anthony Smith's "guarantee" that Pittsburgh will beat the undefeated Patriots, quarterback Tom Brady replied: "Well done is always better than well said." Cool, isn't he.
Anthony Smith is just another sports nitwit saying something stupid, nothing more.
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Rant: The ’72 Dolphins should worry less about the Pats and more about the fact the franchise has become a scorched earth zone
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Quote: “There's nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”---Anon.
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Rave: The “Pinheads and Patriots” feature on Bill O’Reilly’s Factor.
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Rave: You have to love Wagner basketball coach Mike Deane, who wears a seat belt to keep him on the bench.
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Truism: The new Hell is a rappers’ oldies show.
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Rant: Unveiling its new logos, updated versions of "W&M," the College of William and Mary is moving forward after a contentious episode with the NCAA that still burns me up, and I didn't even attend the school. Whoever ruled that the old logo - two green-and-gold feathers - was "hostile and abusive" to Indians obviously isn't smart enough to attend W&M.
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Just checking: Everybody understands, right, that every bowl game but one is an exhibition.
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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, December 07, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 374

Friday, December 07, 2007---609 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 2 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
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Rave: Glenn Beck
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On the Hi Fi: Cannot get Dean Martin’s “Forever Cool” off the turntable. Just lotsa fun listening.
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Reading: “Stripped” by Brian Freeman.
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Rant: Forwarded messages!!! Whenever I see a “Fwd” or “Fw” in the subject line of my inbox, I delete it immediately.
Forwarding a message without cleaning it up and eliminating the “>” symbols is not just the height of sloth and laziness---it is an insult to those you are sending it along to.
The least you could do is fake sincerity and erase the “Fwd” or “Fw” notation before hitting the send icon.
If you wish to leave the apathetic category, you could go to http://www.mistered.us/stripper/index.shtml and clean up the message.
Mister Ed is a great site that enables you to send out a message in a presentable format.
You use spell check to appear smarter than you are…add Mister Ed to your repertoire and be seen as even brainier.
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Quote: Paraphrasing Shelby Steele on Laura Ingraham’s 12/5/007 show---“Sharpton and Jackson make Barack Obama look good.”
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Pop quiz: Name last year's Heisman Trophy winner.
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Trust me: Men do not want gifts they have to assemble.
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Rant: Sean Taylor’s funeral: proof again that Jesse Jackson will go anywhere there is a camera. What in the world was that moron doing there?
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Rave: I am looking forward to: “Charlie Wilson’s War” starring Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman and upcoming books by Robert Randisi (12/10). Michael McGarrity (12/27), John Grisham (1/29), G.M. Ford {2/1}, T. Jefferson Parker (2/5), James W. Hall [2/5], James O. Born [2/14], Laura Lippman [3/1].
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Major league rave: The first day’s guest list on the return of Imus in the Morning: Doris Kearns Goodwin, John McCain, James Carville, Mary Matalin, Chris Dodd and Levon Helm---Mike Huckabee on day two. Loyalty is a wonderful thing. Sure gives McCain and Huckabee a leg up on getting my vote.
Loyalty goes both ways as Charles McCord, Lou Ruffino, Rob Bartlett and my particular favorite, Bernard McGuirk all return as part of team Imus.
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Rant: Global warming activist are the new Scientologists.
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Hmmm: Is it true that from now on, road tests to get a driver’s license will be conducted with the driver talking on a cell phone?
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Factoid: Lefty Driesell is the only college basketball coach to win 100 games at four schools.
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Rant: Idiots in the checkout line, who wait until the cashier finishes totaling the purchases before digging through her purse for her credit card, checkbook or ID. And this is in the “10 items or less” lane.
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Duh!: Subprime means high risk. Why is everyone so surprised?
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Rant: Why do viewers watch people on a reality TV show that they would not sit next to in a bar?
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Truism: After losing 33 of their last 34 games, Duke has an opening for a new head football coach.
Somebody will take that coaching job and, when he does, he should be named the Optimist Club Man of the Year.
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Truism: The surprising thing is not that Evel Knievel died recently. The surprising thing is he made it to 69 years old
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Truism: Hillary Clinton is Nurse Ratchet’s evil twin.
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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, November 29, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 373

Thursday, November 29, 2007---479 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 42 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
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Rave: Count Basie
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On the Hi Fi: Dean Martin’s aptly titled, “Forever Cool.” The duets with Martina McBride, Paris Bennet and Shelby Lynn with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are the highest of highlights for me.
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Reading: “Stripped” by Brian Freeman.
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Wonder of wonders: Barry Bonds indicted. Boy, I sure didn’t see THAT coming.
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Rant: When Hillary smiles, she looks just like the Grinch.
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Quote: “Coach Belichick doesn’t put us on the field to punt.”---Tom Brady.
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Eyesore: The Buffalo Bills uniforms invented ugly.
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Odds are: If you took the turkey and the points last Thursday, you lost.
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Rave: It was fifty years ago this Christmas season that “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms debuted. I can remember exactly where I was the first time I heard it.
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Ever notice: In the movies, all grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French bread.
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Rant: Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton led the kangaroo court, declaring the innocent Duke lacrosse guilty (within minutes of hearing about the false accusations). They also formed the lynch mob that ran Imus out.
I cannot help but notice their deafening silence on Michael Vick, O.J. Simpson and Barry Bonds.
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Rave: Some movies get better and better with each viewing, no matter how many times you see them.
A few that fill that bill for me: “The Maltese Falcon,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Guns of Navarone,” “Magnificent Seven,” “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” “Band of Brothers,” “Stagecoach,” all seven Randolph Scott/Bud Boetticher collaborations filmed in the late 1950’s, “The Thin Man,” “Hoosiers,” “Double Indemnity,” “The Cowboys.”
What titles are on your short list?
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Here’s a thought: I think we should declare a holiday when only government workers report to work.
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Rant: If people had to pass an IQ test to breathe, most would simply choke to death
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Hmmm: Dennis Rodman says he is interested in coaching in the WNBA. Is that because he misses wearing the dress?
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Rimshot: Is the Ottoman Empire a furniture store?
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Rant: That sound you hear is the people jumping on the Celtics’ bandwagon.
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Factoid: Since game four of the 2004 ALCS, Alex Rodriguez has come to plate in the post season 27 with men on base (38 total) and gone a perfect oh for 27.
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Quote: “Never judge a book by its movie.”---J.W. Eagan.
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Bumper sticker of the year: “National Sarcasm Society, Like We Need Your Support!”
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Hmmm: Is it true that Shaq has more commercials than rebounds this season?
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Just asking: How’s David Beckham doing?
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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, November 16, 2007

Duke Women At USF

The St. Pete Times Forum is a major league facility...certainly good sightlines in the lower level. The parking garage ($10) is a short walk from the Forum...no further than the end of Card Gym lot to Cameron. There is a mega Marriott in walking distance, if the Final Four is in your plans.

I had great seats in the 4th row behind the Duke bench...seated next to me was Mark Stein (Duke, 1997), head of the Duke Club in Tampa. He organized the turnout that looked to be a couple of hundred and the Coach P meet and greet after the victory.

The second game was Tennessee and Oklahoma---and it might as well have been a Tennessee home game. There was a sea of orange in every section. Their roar when Tennessee took the floor for warm-ups was intense. They are great fans and deserve all the respect and accolades that can be given.

The first site to greet me was Abby Waner on crutches and in a boot. The add thing to me was she wore a high heel on the other foot. Whenever I have been on crutches, the doc has told me the uninjured leg has to do all the work and needs to be stable.

There was a lot to like in this game. The Denver game sounded very lackadaisical and sluggish to me. This one showed off the speed---especially Jasmine. Most surprising to me is the speed that Joy and Krystal get down the floor for bigs. They have far, far greater mobility than Bales.

Krystal had a nice personal cheering section from Orlando. Too bad she got two fouls almost immediately after being subbed in and had to sit the rest of the first half. When she played, she was a force---at least a half dozen blocks---a couple which were thunderous.

Jasmine had a handful of steals, assists and blocks from the smallest player on the floor, and did not the same mistake twice.

Chante and Ketura seemed to be dominant on the boards. Brittany had a few assists...a couple that were eye popping.

For most of the first half our free throw attempts were atrocious...then we started a run of never missing. Chante was particularly deadly from the line---may not have missed any of her attempts.

USF played all 40 minutes and was very physical. They had two centers listed at 6'3" who both fouled out by the first half of the second period.

Brittany went out with a cut to eye area from an elbow. At the second half 8 minute timeout, Wanisha was in obvious pain and called a trainer over and spent the rest of the game with ice on her hand.

Coach P was most gracious at the meet and greet. About 50 in attendance.

She is a good salesman...and just might fill Cameron on a regular basis. She knows the average attendance figures for all the elite programs, and stressed that for Duke to get to the Tennessee/U-Conn level we need eight to nine thousand a night in Cameron. She will go door-to-door to sell them. Somehow she needs to get the students to take the lead in that quest---in my opinion.

Said Abby has a high ankle sprain and will be out at least thru the Paradise Jam...was most enthusiastic about the recruits for next year...praised the girls as special people...could not say enough nice things about the assistants and staff.

Strength and conditioning continue to be in her mantra. She said we will continue to see an emphasis on post play. With four bigs and a couple who can play big, she plans to exploit that area.

Still says point will be by committee. Does not want to rely on only one player in case of injury---wants to keep as many people involved as possible.

With a two-hour drive home, I left with about 5 minutes to go in the first half of the Tennessee/Oklahoma game.

Watching Candice Parker go against Courtney Paris is like watching beauty and the beast...a cement mixer vs. a Corvette.

Paris is a wide load who can bully her way into position regularly...no finesse, just brute strength. She picked up a couple of quick fouls and was replaced by Abi Olajuwon...just as tall at 6'4" and even wider.

Candice is simply poetry in motion. I think she is the first player I have seen listed in the program's position column as F/C/G. An amazing athlete.

Go Duke!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 372

Saturday, November 10, 2007---603 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 12 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
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Rave: Van Morrison
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On the Hi Fi: Eagles—“Long Road Out of Eden.”---“Busy Being Fabulous” and “No More Cloudy Days” are my faves.
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Reading: Clive Cussler’s “The Chase.”
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Hmmm: When TV writers go on strike, do they carry blank picket signs?
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Slogan: Looks like Hillary has adopted a new policy on the campaign highway, “Even if You Ask, I Will Not Tell.”
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Rant: Joni Mitchell smoking on camera during her CBS Sunday Morning interview. And, shame on CBS for allowing it.
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Rave: I have had nothing but outstanding results with every used bookseller I have ordered from on Amazon.com. When asked for comments, I have always put, “exceeded expectations.”
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Hmmm: Seems like the saucer is no longer a part of the coffee drinking experience.
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Input requested: Am yet to use an ink jet refill service---just wondered if any reader had capsule review of one.
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Quote: “Can’t we put the off back in off-season? Please.”---Frank Deford.
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Rave: If you are a fan of the outstanding novels of Nelson DeMille, there are a few movies on the way.
“The Gold Coast” is filming.
Columbia owns the movie rights to “Plum Island”---a John Corey novel---and it is a maybe.
Columbia also has the rights to “Lion’s Game.” It is in development for a five-part TV mini-series. Goodson-Toddman is working with Columbia to make it happen.
The rights to “The Charm School” (my particular favorite DeMille novel), is in active development by Bristol Bay Entertainment. Frank Marshall (“Seabiscuit”) is slated to produce and direct.
“Up Country,” a Paul Brenner novel, is with Paramount---Mace Neufeld producing.
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Rant: John Travolta is first choice to play Paul Brenner. He is a terrible choice unless he can lose about a hundred pounds, Brenner is a fit soldier.
Even worse is the choice of Alec Baldwin to play John Sutter in “The Gold Coast.”
Both are 180 degrees off the characters on the printed page.
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Rave: Brett Favre plays football the way we would want to play it---still.
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Rant: All this hand wringing and gnashing of teeth about the writers in Hollywood going on strike. All say collective “woe is me” about the talk show hosts. This would never have bothered the truly creative talents like Dick Cavett, Jack Paar, Steve Allen, Jackie Gleason, Dave Garroway and their ilk. Today, maybe Dennis Miller has the chops to do his own writing.
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More strike: As long as the strike continues, there is no place for news for a generation. Actually, you could have fooled me---who knew they still had writers in Hollywood?
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Quote II: “If my books had been any worse, I should not have been invited to Hollywood, and if they had been any better, I should not have come.”---Raymond Chandler (Philip Marlow’s creator).
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Hmmm: When at the movies or sporting event, which armrest is yours?
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Quote III: “Movie agents are never more important than the talent, never have been and never will be. Agents just live longer.”—William Goldman.
Same could be said about sports agents.
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Department of Redundancy Department: Frozen solid, pizza pie, exact same, front windshield.
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Hmmm: How can those “one day sales” last all weekend?
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Rant: If I never saw Tom Cruise again in a movie, it would be all right.
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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, November 03, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 371

Saturday, November 03, 2007---515 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 53 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
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Rave: Steely Dan
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On the Hi Fi: Miles Davis, “The Jazz Biography.”
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Reading: “Protect and Defend” by Vince Flynn.
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Factoid: According to delanceyplace.com, Chuck Berry learned to write narrative songs by listening to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights.
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Rant: I am certainly a member of the anti-Barry Bonds contingent---however, those most vocal Bonds’ detractors are going to make this jerk a sympathetic figure if they do not tone it down.
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Admit it: You always try to figure out the message when you spot a vanity plate…and are frustrated when you fail to “get it.”
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Rant: In today’s politically correct world, moonshiners would be referred to as undocumented distilleries.
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Hmmm: Why is it that there are no plastic bags open from the end on the first try? And why do Ziploc bags come out of the box closed?
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Rant: A week or so ago we had United Nations Day. I celebrated by sending a stern letter to someone.
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Rim shot: An agnostic-dyslexic with insomnia lays awake at night pondering whether or not a dog exists.
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Hmmmm: I never got the whole Croc thing from day one…still don’t. Then again, a lot eludes me these days.
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Truism: Driving or waiting to check out at any store---if you change lanes the other one will always start to move faster.
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Rant: Since giving us the Statue of Liberty in 1886, the French have given us nothing else of value.
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In you’re scoring at home: Red Sox starting pitcher, Dice-K has two RBIs in World Series competition, compared to A-Rod’s zero.
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Rave: Joe Torre will have the last laugh on the Brothers Steinbrenner.
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Hmmmm: Hollywood used to glorify cowboys. Now it glorifies gangsters.
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Give me a break: All those teams whining about the Patriots rolling up the score---too bad! Try stopping them…if you cannot…keep quiet about it.
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Retraction: Last issue I was critical of Hillary Clinton’s double speak. I guess it was my conservative nature. Her obfuscations are more like triple talk with a fancy dance on top.
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Quote: “Political correctness has gone beyond anything benign. The victims are the victimizers now because they have everyone’s sympathy from the get-go.”—Debrah Correll.
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Rant: With his boorish “state of me” address during the World Series, Alex Rodriguez retires the trophy as the planet’s most self-absorbed athletic diva. His agent, Scott Boras, joins my personal axis of evil along with Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Nancy Pelosi.
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Eye sore: The Oregon Ducks have an electrifying football team…a national title contender. But, who designed those uniforms--- Kermit the Frog?
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Hmmm: Why is it that slim chance and fat chance are the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites.
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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, November 01, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 370

Thursday, November 01, 2007---602 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 5 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
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Rave: Miles Davis.
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On the Hi Fi: John Fogerty’s “Revival.”
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Reading: Vince Flynn’s excellent new one, “Protect and Defend.”
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Rave: John Fogerty’s “Revival” sounds like music Sun Records would be making today if Sam Phillips was still cutting tracks.
There is a lot to like on this CD.
“Gunslinger” is just about the best song I have heard this year.
Some astute Nashville country singer could have a huge hit covering “Broken Down Cowboy”---an exceptional song that speaks volumes.
As a sixties rocker, he has the obligatory song bashing President Bush. However, the wordsmithing of “Long Dark Night” is so quick and witty, that it offends me (a Goldwater Republican) not a whit. It is easy to appreciate.
His paean to all things Britney, Lindsay, Paris and the like (“It Ain’t Right”) is a lively satire that gives you ear-to-ear grins.
“I Can’t Take It No More” is the mandatory antiwar song---a 21st century update of “Fortunate Son” from the Viet Nam War. Since he was making music in San Francisco during the war, one could say he was just as fortunate as those of us ensconced in institutions of higher learning during that war. Therefore, I will give him a push on it.
There is not a clunker on the disc. The musicianship is first rate. The vocals are strong and the lyrics are not to be faulted.
Perhaps the best part is how quickly you find yourself singing along with the songs.
Only a pair of tunes exceed four minutes---so this is not some artist indulgence.
It is just a big pleasure. Welcome back, Mr. Fogerty.
+++++++
Hmmmm: I driving on the hiways and byways---tooling along at 5-10 mph over the speed limit in the “slow lane” and still get the tail-gaters and my doors blown off.
+++++++
Rave: The Dalai Lama impressed me as the most honest preacher I have seen. When someone asked him a question, he actually answered, “I don’t know.”
Most unlike the world famous Hillary double speak.
+++++++
Rant: Churches holding “fall festivals” in their parking lot on or about October 31st are still celebrating Halloween. It just more bogus PC crapola.
+++++++
Factoid:
+++++++
Most disturbing: Braille instructions on a diaper-changing table located in the men’s room of a restaurant.
+++++++
Rant: It would be a true public service if there was a “none of the above” lever to pull in the upcoming primaries and general elections.
+++++++
Rave: After age 55, happy hour is a good nap.
+++++++
Hmmmm: What do you suppose the “Thirty Years War” and the “Hundred Years War” were called while they were still going on?
+++++++
Truism: If you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there.
+++++++
Rant: The Democrats in their majority in both houses are absolutely terrific at passing a bunch of non-binding resolution---as opposed to real legislation. Sorta like kissing your sister.
+++++++
Hmmmm: The problem with bucket seats is that not everyone has the same size bucket.
+++++++
Truism: You have been using your computer excessively much when you expect spell-check to appear on handwritten notes.
+++++++
Rant: Companies that provide return envelopes that are about 1/8 of an inch too small to hold their very own bill stub that has “do not fold” stamped on it.
+++++++
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.









John Fogerty---"Revival"

John Fogerty’s “Revival” sounds like music Sun Records would be making today if Sam Phillips was still cutting tracks.

There is a lot to like on this CD.

“Gunslinger” is just about the best song I have heard this year.

Some astute Nashville country singer could have a huge hit covering “Broken Down Cowboy”---an exceptional song that speaks volumes.

As a sixties rocker, he has the obligatory song bashing President Bush. However, the wordsmithing of “Long Dark Night” is so quick and witty, that it offends me (a Goldwater Republican) not a whit. It is easy to appreciate.

His paean to all things Britney, Lindsey, Paris and the like (“It Ain’t Right”) is a lively satire that gives you ear-to-ear grins.

“I Can’t Take It No More” is the mandatory antiwar song---a 21st century update of 1969’s
“Fortunate Son” from the Viet Nam War. Since he was making music in San Francisco during the war, one could say he was just as fortunate as those of us ensconced in institutions of higher learning during that war. Therefore, I will give him a push on it.

There is not a clunker on the disc. The musicianship is first rate. The vocals are strong and the lyrics are not to be faulted.

Perhaps the best part is how quickly you find yourself singing along with the songs.

Only a pair of tunes exceed four minutes---so this is not some artist indulgence.

It is just a big pleasure. Welcome back, Mr. Fogerty.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 369

Saturday, October 27, 2007---571 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 52 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: Coleman Hawkins
+++++++
On the Hi Fi: Riverside Jazz, yet another terrific Starbucks collection including Coltane, Byrd, Monk and Milt Jackson.
+++++++
Reading: “Down River” by John Hart (2007).
+++++++
Didjaknow: The New England Patriots are the only NFL team to have beaten the point spread every week this season. Pretty amazing with the enormous number of points they give each game.
+++++++
Rave: Chuck Thagard reminded me that part of magic of those Ricky Nelson hits was the guitar playing of James Burton.
Burton and Ricky were both teens at the start---so they were truly singing to their generation.
Burton was house guitarist for the Louisiana Hayride at sixteen, led Elvis Presley’s band in the ‘70s and played lead guitar on Gram Parsons’ pair of solo LPs
+++++++
Factoid: An Associated Press survey learned that 34% of Americans believe in ghosts.
+++++++
Rave: When it comes to the funny papers, I guess I am a traditionalist. My reads include Blondie, Mallard Fillmore, Garfield, Shoe, Dilbert, Sally Forth, Funky Winkerbean, Luanne, Non Sequitur, Dennis the Menace, BC, Wizard of Id, Hi and Lois and Beetle Bailey.
+++++++
Hmmmm: Remember when Halloween was strictly for kids?
+++++++
Truism: You do not have to be the author of “Moneyball” to recognize that the Red Sox are not going to have to wait an additional 86 years to win another World Series.
+++++++
Factoid II: The NY Yankees lead the free world in World Series titles with 26. Who is second?
The St. Louis Cardinals with ten.
+++++++
Rave: Seldom do I sing the praises of “Things University of North Carolina”, but kudos to Professor C.A. Tuggle.
He is the faculty advisor to grad student Carla Babb, whose video project got John Edwards all upset.
Edwards wanted the video removed from You Tube since was not kind to his make believe populist beliefs.
The professor told them to take a hike. He noted that before the Edwards camp made a mountain out of a molehill, the video project would probably have an audience of 2,000. Now millions will see it…and more people will learn that his behavior is still in $400 haircut category.
The only thing worse than a socialist, is a whining socialist----come on down John Edwards.
+++++++
Speaking of politicians: When you watch elected officials at the national, state and local levels it seems like Groundhog Day.
+++++++
Rant: So Hank Steinbrenner huffs and puffs and asks the question, “Where was Joe Torre’s career in 1995 when my dad hired him?”
This begs the question, where was Hank’s career before Papa George brought him into the family business?
+++++++
Quote: “The World Series crowd is peppered with high rolling, front running ‘event’ people.”---Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe.
+++++++
Remember when: Journalism was actually about the news. Murrow and the “Murrow boys” taught and understood that “everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts.” They and those they influenced found out who, where, what, when and why.
+++++++
Hmmmm: Isn’t “young Republican” a contradiction in terms?
+++++++
Rimshot: Why does cargo move by ship, but shipments go by trucks?
+++++++
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, October 24, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 368

Wednesday, October 24, 2007---478 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 44 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: The Boston Red Sox.
+++++++
On the Hi Fi: Best of Ricky Nelson. “Poor Little Fool” (1958) is still my favorite. And, I sure do miss those two and a half minute songs. Shorter records make longer play lists.
+++++++
Reading: Ken Follett’s “Lie Down with Lions.” (1986)
+++++++
Curiouser and curiouser: Last issue it was noted that Kenny Lofton and Tim Stoddard are the only two athletes to play in both the Final Four and World Series. Turns out they both attended the same high school in East Chicago, Indiana.
+++++++
Rave: Listening to Jon Miller and Joe Morgan on ESPN Radio and turning off the sound of the monotonous Joe Buck and the tedious Tim McCarver on Fox TV is the only way to enjoy the World Series.
+++++++
Rave: We all realize that Manny is as goofy as the day is long, but not only is he a great hitter---he may be the most disciplined hitter playing today. However, his nickname will never be Manny Ballgame.
+++++++
Rant: If you are old enough to remember Groucho Marx, you realize the current crop of comedians are just faking it.
+++++++
TV Time Out: This is the 60th anniversary of the initial televised World Series game. For that Yankee/Brooklyn Dodgers series, TV used exactly one camera. This year Fox is using 24 cameras---22 seem to be for crown and dugout shots.
++++++
Factoid: More people died from the influenza pandemic of 1918 than in all of World War One.
+++++++
Rant: Why is it that people whose seats are farthest from the aisle are the last to arrive at sporting events?
+++++++
Hmmm: Whoever has the concession for those orange barrels used by highway transportation departments has to be approaching Bill gates as America’s wealthiest billionaire.
+++++++
Didjaknow: Billionaire T. Boone Pickens donated $265 million to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University---earmarked solely for the athletic program.
+++++++
Colorblind: The “green card” all those illegal immigrants try to filch is actually pinkish in color.
+++++++
Duly noted: Jason Kidd’s recent troubles allege that a woman charged him with harassing and groping her at a “trendy” Manhattan nightclub. I guess Kidd would feel true remorse if he had to defend himself versus charges that he appeared at an untrendy nightclub.
+++++++
Hmmm: Why do steam irons have a permanent press setting? And, how did they describe counter-clockwise prior to the invention of the clock?
+++++++
Utopia for liberals: One-third of the population on welfare, one-third working for the government and the other third paying all the bills.
+++++++
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, October 23, 2007

Gone, Baby, Gone---Book and Movie

It has been five years since I read Dennis Lehane’s intense “Gone, Baby, Gone.”
I had forgotten what a complex and riveting story he created. It is the fourth in his five book series featuring Boston PIs Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro.
Now I will go back and reread the other four.
Being the Lehane fan, I am. I approached the movie with a skeptical attitude.
Director Ben Affleck has made a number of poor career decisions, but bring this book to the silver screen was not one of them.
The movie does not deliver the complete promise of the book, but it has many redeeming qualities.
For one thing, Affleck does not create composite characters. He remains true to the story’s timeline…all though he compresses the time to solve the case significantly.
And, he eschews the current annoying Hollywood mantra of one big explosion every ten minutes.
His brother, Casey, shines as Patrick Kenzie and Ed Harris delivers his usual gripping performance.
Michelle Monaghan remains in the shadows as Angie, not the wise cracking, skilled and attention-grabbing partner she is in the book. Amy Ryan is spectacular as the partying unfit mother whose child is abducted.
Morgan Freeman’s role is as abbreviated in the flick as in the book, but played to the hilt.
It probably is more entertaining if you didn’t read book…but not to read Dennis Lehane is to deprive yourself of many hours of enjoyment.

Curmudgeon in the Wry 367

Tuesday, October 23, 2007---769 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 47 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: Robert Duvall
+++++++
On the Hi Fi: “Got Nothing But Song”---A wonderful Starbucks collection featuring such jazz vocalists as Nina Simone, Chet Baker, Mose Allison, Blossom Dearie and more.
+++++++
Reading: Ross McDonald’s Lew Archer novel from 1973, “Sleeping Beauty.”
Paul Newman’s character in 1966’s “Harper” was based on Lew Archer.
+++++++
My-Oh-My: Josh Beckett just stands there and says, “See if you can hit this” in October the way Bob Gibson did in 1964. He is also Kenny Chesney’s doppelganger.
+++++++
My-Oh-My II: What do think? Is it about time we learned the names of the Colorado Rockies’ players.
+++++++
My-Oh-My III: As the Joe Torre era in New York ends, he leaves with four World Series rings, and the respect of the baseball world. There are worse legacies.
+++++++
Rant: Terry Francona should be fired if he puts Eric Gagne in any game, except for mop up duty.
+++++++
Rave: It has been five years since I read Dennis Lehane’s intense “Gone, Baby, Gone.”
I had forgotten what a complex and riveting story he created. It is the fourth in his five book series featuring Boston PIs Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro.
Now I will go back and reread the other four.
Being the Lehane fan, I am. I approached the movie with a skeptical attitude.
Director Ben Affleck has made a number of poor career decisions, but bring this book to the silver screen was not one of them.
The movie does not deliver the complete promise of the book, but it has many redeeming qualities.
For one thing, Affleck does not create composite characters. He remains true to the story’s timeline…all though he compresses the time to solve the case significantly.
And, he eschews the current annoying Hollywood mantra of one big explosion every ten minutes.
His brother, Casey, shines as Patrick Kenzie and Ed Harris delivers his usual gripping performance.
Michelle Monaghan remains in the shadows as Angie, not the wise cracking, skilled and attention-grabbing partner she is in the book. Amy Ryan is spectacular as the partying unfit mother whose child is abducted.
Morgan Freeman’s role is as abbreviated in the flick as in the book, but played to the hilt.
It probably is more entertaining if you didn’t read book…but not to read Dennis Lehane is to deprive yourself of many hours of enjoyment.
+++++++
Pop Quiz: Recite the first five letters of the Greek alphabet.
+++++++
Rant: Nancy Grace is repulsive!
+++++++
Pop Quiz II: Name the first five books of the Old Testament. Now, the New Testament.
+++++++
Rant: Will someone please tell Greenspan and Carter that neither is any longer in office?
+++++++
Rave: If someone came up with an automobile horn that sounded like squealing tires, maybe other drivers would pay attention.
+++++++
Pop Quiz III: Name the first five elements in the Periodic Table of the Elements.
+++++++
Truism: It is worthy of note---how short an hour-long TV show is when you fast-forward through the commercials.
+++++++
Factoid: Tim Stoddard (NC State & Baltimore Orioles) and Kenny Lofton (Arizona & Cleveland Indians) are the only two athletes to play in both the Final Four and World Series.
+++++++
Hmmmm: Could the New England Patriots be the ’27 Yankees in shoulder pads?
+++++++
Pop Quiz IV: Recite The Lord’s Prayer. For extra credit, The Apostle’s Creed.
+++++++
Rant: The cause of global warming is Al Gore’s hot air. Lest we forget, he could not carry his home state of Tennessee during the 2000 election…and that Yasser Arafat also won the Nobel peace prize.
+++++++
Further thoughts on meetings and committees: “Not even computers will replace committees, because committees buy computers.”---Edward Shepherd Mead.
“You’ll find in no park or city a monument to a committee.”---Victoria Pasternak.
“Committee: a group of the unfit, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary.”---Stewart Harrol.
+++++++
Pop Quiz V: Recite the opening line of the Gettysburg Address. Extra credit for Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights.
+++++++
Rimshot: I know I am in my own little world, but that’s okay---they know me here.
+++++++
Rant: When Rudy Giuliani “took” that lame cell phone call from his wife during a recent speech, I immediately thought it was Bob Newhart running for president.
+++++++
Rimshot II: Do department heads at the CDC hold regularly scheduled staph meetings?
+++++++
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, October 06, 2007

"Midnight Rambler" by James Swain

Novels of child abduction and pedophiles are not my cup of latte. Were I not a huge fan of Jim Swain’s spectacularly entertaining Tony Valentine novels, I never would have tried “Midnight Rambler.”

“Midnight Rambler” is a stand-alone thriller, and perhaps is Jim’s strongest novel to date.

Jack Carpenter was a Broward County PD missing child specialist. Now he is living over a bar in Dania, barely able to pay the rent.

He lost his badge and his marriage during the apprehension and conviction of Simon Skell, a notorious serial killer.

When Skell’s lawyer orchestrates a release on a technicality, Jack is obliged to reconfirm the case or else all he lost will be for naught.

Skell is a fearsome adversary. He manages to run a bunch of hooligans on the outside from his jail cell. This ring preys on the vulnerable women, obtaining crucial info in a most ingenious and insidious manner. It is an odd coupling: a venal radio talk show host, the sinister CEO of a communication company and two sordid, reprehensible Cubans posing as cable installers.

Part of their conspiracy is to discredit Jack completely.

One of Jack’s few allies is a stripper who the gang kidnaps.

As Jack competes against the ticking clock to prevent her death, for each insightful piece of the puzzle he uncovers, he runs up upon an equally imposing dead end. The frustration amplifies the suspense and tension.

The procedural aspects are absolutely credible, the action is taut, the dialogue convincing and the characters are terrifyingly real.

You know these types of lawbreakers exist. They are your worse nightmare and will make you sleep with a light on for a while.

Do not miss this book.

Curmudgeon in the Wry 365

Saturday, October 06, 2007---818 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 57 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: Chet Baker
+++++++
On the Victrola: “The Very Best of Diana Krall”
+++++++
Reading: “The Blade Itself” by Marcus Sakey.
+++++++
Rant: Those Frank Caliendo TV promos during the TBS Division Series broadcasts are relentlessly effective. We have now been warned to stay as far away from the show as possible.
+++++++
Quote: “Three announcers in a sports booth is one too many.”---Frank Deford.
+++++++
Rant: One would have hoped that TBS would have adhered to Frank’s advice for the MLB Division Series. Their Braves broadcasts have been among the finest of any sport. In addition, they always had two announcers…both were equally adroit at play by play and analysis.
+++++++
Rant: Speaking of the Braves TBS announcers---why are they not doing the majority of the announcing? Their work is so far superior to the clowns boring us to death thus far.
+++++++
Rant: During the first Indians/Yankees game, Lebron James (once again) showed off his Cro-Magnum IQ. How pathetic to wear the Yankee cap when you are an Ohio boy and a high profile athlete in Cleveland!!! Better to wear no hat while in a Cleveland venue.
+++++++
Rave: To TBS roving announcer Craig Sager for calling James a front-runner on national TV.
+++++++
Nuts: The Cubs folded like a cheap card table. So much for my hopes for a Red Sox/Cubs World Series.
+++++++
Rave: Nothing could be fina…than to be in Carolina…and see the Red Sox up two games to none and the Yankees down zero and two.
+++++++
Even Sweeter: Seeing Alex Rodriguez oh-for-the-division series. I say that knowing we could turn it around and carry the Yankees to three victories in the blink of an eye.
+++++++
Rave: Novels of child abduction and pedophiles are not my cup of latte. Were I not a huge fan of Jim Swain’s spectacularly entertaining Tony Valentine novels, I never would have tried “Midnight Rambler.”
“Midnight Rambler” is a stand-alone thriller, and perhaps is Jim’s strongest novel to date.
Jack Carpenter was a Broward County PD missing child specialist. Now he is living over a bar in Dania, barely able to pay the rent.
He lost his badge and his marriage during the apprehension and conviction of Simon Skell, a notorious serial killer.
When Skell’s lawyer orchestrates a release on a technicality, Jack is obliged to reconfirm the case or else all he lost will be for naught.
Skell is a fearsome adversary. He manages to run a bunch of hooligans on the outside from his jail cell. This ring preys on the vulnerable women, obtaining crucial info in a most ingenious and insidious manner. It is an odd coupling: a venal radio talk show host, the sinister CEO of a communication company and two sordid, reprehensible Cubans posing as cable installers.
Part of their conspiracy is to discredit Jack completely.
One of Jack’s few allies is a stripper who the gang kidnaps.
As Jack competes against the ticking clock to prevent her death, for each insightful piece of the puzzle he uncovers, he runs up upon an equally imposing dead end. The frustration amplifies the suspense and tension.
The procedural aspects are absolutely credible, the action is taut, the dialogue convincing and the characters are terrifyingly real.
You know these types of lawbreakers exist. They are your worse nightmare and will make you sleep with a light on for a while.
Do not miss this book.
+++++++
Tis true: Most times, I have a difficult time knowing when to use insure or ensure as well as affect and effect. However, I do know that there is no such word as irregardless, that “same exact” is the most irritating redundancy in the English language and that “hopefully” is likely the most misused English word.
+++++++
One to ponder: If it is not the height of irony, it is at least perfect symmetry that both the launch of Sputnik and the first episode of “Leave It to Beaver” occurred on October 4, 1957---fifty years ago.
+++++++
Hmmm: Soy sauce is salty…soymilk is sweet…soybeans are crunchy…tofu is spongy---pretty weird, is it not?
+++++++
Truism: Home Depot is so understaffed; it gives new meaning to the term “self service.”
+++++++
Another truism: Baseball games lasting four plus hours. I do not even want to be with myself for four hours.
+++++++
Yet another truism: The Mets, the high sex appeal choice to make it to the World Series, went down faster than the Titanic.
+++++++
Rave: It would appear that the Rockies are Destiny’s Team this season.
+++++++
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, October 03, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 364

Wednesday, October 03, 2007---518 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 57 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: “The War” by Ken Burns on PBS.
+++++++
On the Victrola: “Poetics of Sound”---a Starbucks collection of Miles Davis, vintage 1954-1959.
+++++++
Reading: Jim Swain’s “Midnight Rambler.”
+++++++
Rave: Overall, I give “The War” high marks. Ken Burns did live up to his promise of showing film clips and photos not seen previously…a few repeats snuck in, but it was a treat to see all the new (to me) footage.
The concept of telling the story from four towns was a distinctive touch. Katharine Phillips from Mobile was a spectacular representative for the home front.
I was struck by how many of the witnesses constantly referred to the troops as “our boys.” In the main, there were just boys who grew up fast and led this nation to victory and, upon returning, guided the country into an era of unmatched prosperity that is still with us today.
We could have German or Japanese as the language of the USA today, were it not for their leadership, sacrifice, selflessness and initiative.
If I had to quibble, it would be about the music. I think more period music would have augmented the narrative---more Dorsey, Miller, Goodman, Shaw, Andrew Sisters, Mills Brothers, Duke Ellington, etc.
The original music composed by Wynton Marsalis was (at times) maudlin and dreary. There are any number of melancholy jazz pieces by the likes of Benny Carter, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, etc. that could have conveyed the mood with a more hopeful sound.
+++++++
Truism: The following sentence - "Michael Vick is stupider than we thought" - has no expiration date.
+++++++
Rant: For most of us, the U in ESPNU stands for unavailable.
+++++++
Truism: Exercise is a miracle drug.
+++++++
Truism II: Junk is something you have kept around for years, only to toss it one week before you need it.
+++++++
Hmmmm: What is with these “next generation” claims on various products? If they are truly “next generation,” why are here now?
+++++++
Rant: If I hear the term “carbon footprint” one more time, I am going to scream.
+++++++
Rave: Having the entire schedule of the MLB Division Series on TBS, baseball fans are spared some of the worst announcers in the game on Fox and ESPN. Most of the TBS is pretty darn good or at least benign. We will not be insulted by the likes of Berman, Sutcliffe, Buck and McCarver. However, we do miss out on Jon Miller.
+++++++
Rant: The TBS feature of Cal Ripken swinging at the virtual pitch is truly weak…in fact; the word pathetic comes to mind.
+++++++
Please explain: What is the value of a helicopter traffic report done by a reporter that speaks faster than the speed of light?
+++++++
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 25, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 363

Tuesday, September 25, 2007---672 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 17 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: Lyle Lovett
+++++++
On the Victrola: Benny Carter’s “All of Me”---features four cuts from the “M Squad” soundtrack, including three composed by Mr. Carter.
+++++++
Reading: “Playing for Pizza” by John Grisham.
+++++++
Rave: Finally discovered John Dunning with his initial Cliff Janeway novel, “Booked to Die.” It was written in 1992, and the plot, characters and pacing are all spot on…the lack of cell phones is about the only thing that dates it.
Janeway is an ex-cop, now a bookseller.
What may seem an unexciting premise for a whodunit is quite the opposite…with one of the finest surprise endings I have encountered.
Then I rediscovered Lawrence Block. His Edgar winning “A Dance at the Slaughterhouse” is superlative. (Also written in 1992)
Scudder, also an ex-cop, works as an unlicensed PI in NYC. He and his cop contact know who the guilty parties are in a pair of intertwining cases…but cannot get the necessary evidence to get the DA to prosecute.
Matt has no compunction about coloring outside the lines. His searches, inquiries and analysis take him to many of NYC’s seedier parts.
Realistic deductions that keep you entertained all the way. You know who is guilty, but the ride to find out how to get justice is wonderful
+++++++
Rant: More pathetic than O.J. Simpson is cable's saturated coverage of his latest legal troubles.
+++++++
Didjaknow: “Anatomy of a Murder” was nominated for seven Oscars in 1959, including two in the Best Supporting Actor category (George C. Scott and Arthur O’Connell). It won none.
Of course, 1959 was a remarkable year for films including “Some Like It Hot,” “North by Northwest,” “Diary of Anne Frank,” “Room at the Top,” “Compulsion,” “Rio Bravo” and “Pillow Talk.”
“Ben-Hur” was Best Picture and Charlton Heston was Best Actor---and there was nary a big bang explosion every ten minutes.
Sure was a better output from Hollywood than we get today!
+++++++
Quote: “Coincidence is God trying to maintain His anonymity.”---Matt Scudder in “Dance at the Slaughterhouse.”
+++++++
Factoid: According to Mark Pennin in his book, “Microtrends”: Kids born to women over 40 are 128% more likely to be lefties than those born to women in their 20’s.
+++++++
Hmmm: The PGA will soon start testing golfers for performance-enhancing drugs. Everyone but John Daly, who will be tested for donuts.
+++++++
Rave: Roberta Flack is the only female vocalist with a #1 hit on the pop charts over three consecutive years…”Killing Me Softly,” “Feel Like Making Love” and “The First Time.”
+++++++
Remember when: The Celtics were the best team in basketball…no one had ever heard of pitch counts…very few kids played one sport year round…nobody had ever heard of performance-enhancing drugs or a luxury box…there was no sports talk radio…no one had a clue what on-base percentage was…tennis players used wooden rackets…tennis players wore white…kids played pickup games in neighborhoods…there were zero TV sideline reporters…there were no hockey teams in the south…there were Sunday doubleheaders in baseball…the World Series was played in the afternoon, and everyone ran home from school to catch the final innings…there was no union in baseball…MLB had just 16 teams…baseball gloves were not big enough to catch basketballs…pitchers got only three days of rest (and completed their games)?
+++++++
Didjaknow: Catfish Hunter was the last pitcher to win 20 games five years in a row (1971-1975). You will not see that again.
+++++++
Hmmm: How glad are the Seattle SuperSonics that they drafted Kevin Durant?
+++++++
Who Knew: Alan Greenspan says that he wooed his wife with an essay on the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Now, that is what I call kinky.
+++++++
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, September 22, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 362

Saturday, September 22, 2007---6:13 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 7 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: Duke volleyball!
+++++++
On the Victrola: Lyle Lovett and His Large Band---“It’s Not Big It’s Large.”
+++++++
Reading: “Booked to Die”---John Dunning.
+++++++
Rave: “Burn Notice” is the “Rockford Files” of today…outstanding combination of action and humor.
+++++++
TV Time Out: It was great to see “Broken Trail” and The PBS Tony Bennett Special win some of the Emmy Awards.
Of all the winners, those were the only shows that I saw during the year.
+++++++
Must See TV: “The War” from ken Burns starts tomorrow night…not to be missed.
+++++++
Rant: In the September issue of Forbes Life, I learn that the knit tie is back in fashion after 25 years. I must have missed that memo in 1982.
+++++++
Memo to O.J.: “Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is just an advertising slogan, big guy.
+++++++
Didjaknow: Jules Verne was a stockbroker before he became a best selling author. His initial book was published in 1863. “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “Around the World in Eighty Days” have never been out of print.
+++++++
Hmmm: Where does bin Laden find Just for Men?
+++++++
Good advice: Never try to outwit your cat!
+++++++
Rave: Every detail counts in Stephen Hunter’s magnificent “The 47th Samurai.”
It is a taut thriller with punch featuring Vietnam War Marine Master Sniper, Bob Lee Swagger, a man of muscular elegance.
This unique protagonist has finally found some peace with his family in Crazy Horse, Idaho.
This all changes when Philip Yano tracks him down and the past and present collide. Bob and Philip’s fathers fought one another on Iwo Jima sixty year before. Earl Swagger survived, and acquired Yano’s battle sword.
The two former military men bond and Bob pledges to track down the sword.
When Bob presents the sword to Philip, they learn it is not typical WWII issue. It is, in fact, a celebrated shin-shinto katana altered for WWII use. It is a priceless Japanese relic, an object d’art…worth killing for.
Philip and his family are murdered for it…only the youngest daughter survives. She is placed in an orphanage.
Bob vows to unearth the killers, no matter the cost…a quest of revenge and retribution.
His adversaries are ruthless…members of Japan’s Yukaza, 8-9-3 Gang---up to the higher levels of the government.
Bob does pick up two superb allies in Japan… a drug-taking editor of an indie newspaper who senses a huge scoop and a covert CIA agent whose reluctance is gradually overcome.
The superior plotting, solid story telling and fascinating character studies will leave you sleep deprived.
Mr. Hunter is a master at choreographing violence with skill and grace.
It is an addictive read with a most powerful conclusion…one of the finest novels of the year.
+++++++
Rimshot: If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?
+++++++
Truism: A flashlight is a container for dead batteries.
+++++++
Rant: Public conversations have gotten louder since cell phones were created.
+++++++
Crunching the numbers: If you had any faith in football polls to begin with, Michigan ranked as #5 to start the season ought to dissuade you of that belief.
+++++++
Rant: Just because the mortgage lenders give you a mortgage does not mean you have to take it. You know if you can afford something or not.
+++++++
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, September 15, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 361

Saturday, September 15, 2007---674 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 21 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: Pied Pipers
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On the Victrola: “Martinis with Mancini”
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Reading: “The 47th Samurai” by Stephen Hunter
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Rave: What were the odds back in 1957 when Paul Anka hit the charts with “Diana” that he would still be performing today?
+++++++
Quote: “If there wasn’t cheating in sports there wouldn’t be referees.”---Bill Reynolds, Providence Journal.
+++++++
Quote II: “We do not ask our professional coaches to be role models. We do not ask them to be virtuous. We don’t ask them to do the right thing. We ask them to win games. Nothing else. To believe anything else is to believe in fairy tales.”--- Bill Reynolds, Providence Journal.
+++++++
Rant: Long pointy shoes as a fashion statement elude me. Then again, most fashion statements elude me.
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Quote: “It isn't fun to be forced to have fun.”---Matt Labash in The Weekly Standard.
+++++++
Rant: Remember when people used to close themselves up in a tiny little booth to make a private call in public? What happened?
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Hmmmm: How come Tarzan never has a beard?
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For what it’s worth: David Beckham is the Y2K of American sport. Truly much ado about nothing.
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Rant: Yes, Hollywood had a $4 billion summer, and what makes me feel better is that I did not spend one thin dime to see the junk that came out.
+++++++
Rave: The special on Tony Bennett that PBS ran in their American Masters series on 9/12 was extremely well done, most entertaining, a complete joy. Produced by Clint Eastwood.
Locally, in the shadow of Cameron Indoor Stadium, the PBS station ran a feature on the recording of The Tony Bennett Duets album. Enormously engrossing and I thought Diana Krall was the highlight, followed by Michael Buble and The Dixie Chicks.
+++++++
Didjaknow: Tony Bennett was one of the guests on the inaugural Johnny Carson Show in 1962. Also on the bill were Joan Crawford, Groucho Marx, Mel Brooks and Rudy Vallee.
+++++++
Rant: At the rate they are recalling toys from China, parents will have to give their kids books this Christmas.
+++++++
My two cents: The western is arguably the most American of genres. Therefore, I find it most ironic that the two leading actors in the remake of “3:10 to Yuma” are a Brit and an Aussie.
Christian Bale and Russell Crowe both turned in decent performances---but I thought Ben Foster as Charlie Prince, Peter Fonda as a grizzled bounty hunter and Logan Lerman as 14-year-old Will Evans stole the show.
In fact, the movie would have been better served had Fonda played either Ben Wade or Dan Evans.
It is more agreeable if one views it as a stand alone western and not a remake.
The original spent the majority of the film with farmer Dan Evans guarding outlaw Ben Wade in the hotel room in Contention waiting for the train.
The current flick chronicles the time from the final Wade gang robbery to his capture and the trip to Contention…almost a prequel.
On the journey Evans and crew, face efforts at escape, an Apache raid and a rogue posse.
There is much action; most of it superfluous …but that is today’s Hollywood pandering to the “at least one big bang every ten minutes” hypothesis.
The film is much longer and far less suspenseful than the original.
The finale requires a copious amount of suspension of disbelief.
Overall, it is okay entertainment, not great. Worth the matinee price.
I give it 3 curmudgeons (out of five).
“Open Range” (2003) and “Broken Trail” (2006) are both superior to “Yuma.”
+++++++
Must see TV: Only one more new episode of “Burn Notice”---this coming Thursday the 20th on the USA Network at 10PM.
+++++++
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 11, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 360

Tuesday, September 11, 2007---573 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 47 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: Santo and Johnny
+++++++
On the Victrola: RCA Victor Jazz/The First Half Century: The Twenties Through the Sixties.
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Reading: “Out of Sight” by Elmore Leonard (1996)---rereading actually. It is the book that introduces Karen Sisco, and was a wonderful TV show that was cancelled way too soon.
+++++++
Rave: So glad to see that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is competing in the next "Dancing with the Stars." It might help him overcome his shyness.
+++++++
Rant: In a world that made more sense, the first college football rankings would not be released until the first week of October
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Didjaknow: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers first danced together on screen doing “The Carioca” in 1933’s “Flying Down to Rio.”
+++++++
Hmmmm: I noticed that Alberto Gonzales timed his resignation to coincide with Jon Stewert’s vacation.
+++++++
Rave: Britney Spears still look better than 99% of the women in America.
+++++++
Rant: If the feds are going to bail out people who can’t afford to pay their mortgages, would someone please notify me ahead of time so I can go buy a house I can’t afford?
++++++++
Hmmmm: What is so practical about a practical joke?
++++++++
Rant: Remember when tennis players all wore white? Now they wear anything but. In fact, half the men at the US Open looked like they were auditioning for the Village People.
++++++++
Rant & Rave: I really enjoyed the US Open tennis I saw on USA Network and CBS. There are a number of exciting players in both the men’s and women’s divisions. I love John McEnroe’s commentary and his American Express ad was a treat.
Great to see Venus and Serena more or less healthy and playing the majors this season. They have the best pair of smiles in sports.
However, Serena’s “she made a lot of lucky shots” sour comment after losing to Justine Henin in the quarterfinals was rather boorish and classless---and has no basis in fact.
No one wins seven majors with lucky shots. Justine is a remarkable athlete who was overwhelming in the Open.
My question is where does someone 5’6” get that much power? She is a great champion.
+++++++
More US Open: Watching on TV it is not difficult to determine the advertiser’s target audience. Almost every commercial was for something I could not afford.
+++++++
Hmmm: Is it true that if J.D. Drew does not start hitting, the Red Sox are going to put him on the “3:10 to Yuma?” At the moment, he is hitting more like Nancy Drew.
+++++++
Follow the money: You want to sit behind home plate for the MLB post season? $350 a shot for the first round, $400 for the ALCS and $450 will get you a ducat for the World Series.
+++++++
Hmmm: Why do more people find Jesus more often in the courtroom and prison than in church?
+++++++
Rant: People who feel they must carry on a cell phone conversation in their car should be mandated by law to drive in the right-hand lane. Then the rest of us with a brain can go around them.
+++++++
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, September 02, 2007

Flying, Huck, Ben and Anka BIZ

The last time I flew was 1999, so I can honestly say that I have not flown in this century.
Don't miss it one bit. It was the worst part of promotion. Flying was no fun then...I can only imagine how unpleasant it is today.

Huck's line was a good one. However, I agree with Ben Stein. It sure sounds like entrapment to me.
I know zero about Craig...but am not a fan of entrapment.

I was unaware that Paul Anka wrote the music for "The Longest Day" or the Carson Show.
In 1978 or 1979 I had dinner with him and a PD from Tampa. The PD brought his wife and I brought my girl friend. Paul Anka charmed them beyond words.
"Diana" is still my favorite Anka song.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 359

Saturday, September 01, 2007---744 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 27 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: Roy Barcroft
+++++++
On the Victrola: “The Measure of Monk” by Thelonious Monk (Yet another Starbucks collection).
+++++++
Reading: James Crumley’s “Bordersnakes.”
+++++++
Rave: “Leave It to Beaver” is celebrating its 50th anniversary. You can vote for your favorite episode at tvland.com.
+++++++
Rant: The power of the media lies in its inherent ability to make us obsess over stories we would have otherwise ignored.
+++++++
TV Time Out: Overall, I give “The Bronx is Burning” a mid to low “B.” On the whole, it lacked the high heat.
I thought the early episodes (before Son of Sam was caught) were stronger---mainly as the cops were magnificent and there less Mickey Rivers in the last three installments.
Erik Jensen, who played Thurman Munson was outstanding---as was John Turturro as Billy Martin.
+++++++
Hmmm: Guess which will get you a fine: watering your lawn or paying an illegal alien to mow it?
+++++++
Innocent: August 29th marked the 40th anniversary of the final episode of “The Fugitive” starring David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble.
When it originally aired, it was the highest rated show in TV history with 45.9% of US households tuned in. It is the only TV show aired prior to 1970 still in the Top 20.
David Janssen was one of those rare actors who had three hit television shows. Richard Diamond, Private Detective (1957-1960) and Harry-O in the mid-1970’s(very under-appreciated) were the other two.
+++++++
Rave: No publication does a more entertaining job with abbreviations, nicknames and acronyms than Daily Variety. My current fave is “spesh” for special.
+++++++
Rant: One in five Americans cannot find the U.S. on a map, but 20 million Mexicans can.
+++++++
TV Timeout II: If you get RFD-TV, you can catch “The Imus Ranch Special” on Labor Day.
+++++++
Lou Boldt and John LaMoia of the Crimes Against Person squad of the Seattle PD are the leads in Ridley Peason’s “The First Victim.”
A container filled will illegal Chinese aliens goes overboard in Puget Sound, resulting in three deaths. The illegals are headed for either sweatshops or prostitution.
A Chinese/American TV investigative reporter goes undercover to locate the sweatshop. When she is captured, the station’s anchor (Stevie McNeal, the reporter’s sister by adoption), takes a personal interest.
She arouses the ire of the criminals and interferes with the police work. When things get very sticky, she joins the SPD effort.
The Chinese Triad, slimy INS agents, ships, containers, rendezvous, fake ID's, graveyards, brothels and sweatshops, the media, agency turf wars, SPD politics and an information leak all conspire in the SPD’s mission to out think the villains.
The characters, both good guys and bad guys are credible throughout, the pace is resolute and determined (mirroring the police procedures), local color drops you into the Puget Sound area and the dialogue is realistic.
Good plot, sturdy story telling and absorbing character studies.
Maybe a little too much time spent on Boldt and McNeal’s introspections on their family lives that fail to advance the plot---but that is a small objection.
+++++++
Ratings game: MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” is a distant third in its time slot in the cable news game. Fox News Channel’s “Big Story with John Gibson” leads the way.
+++++++
Factoid: Before Trigger and Roy Rogers hooked up in 1938, Trigger was ridden by Maid Marian (Oliva de Havilland) in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).
+++++++
Rant: We don’t need to teach Spanish in pre-schools. What we need to do is stop coddling those immigrants who don’t take the time and effort to learn English
+++++++
Didjaknow: Puget Sound is North America’s largest estuary, has unusual and unpredictable tides and currents, and produces some of the fastest surface currents in the western United States.
+++++++
Quote: “Friends don’t let friends become US Attorney General, ineptly.”---Dennis Miller.
+++++++
Rant: Okay…I am driving along and I see a dozen city workers standing around a new section of sidewalk watching the concrete dry. And, we wonder why we cannot get decent raises for cops, firefighters and teachers.
+++++++
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Ridley Pearson's "The First Victim"

Lou Boldt and John LaMoia of the Crimes Against Person squad of the Seattle PD are the leads in Ridley Peason’s “The First Victim.”

A container filled will illegal Chinese aliens goes overboard in Puget Sound, resulting in three deaths. The illegals are headed for either sweatshops or prostitution.

A Chinese/American TV investigative reporter goes undercover to locate the sweatshop. When she is captured, the station’s anchor (Stevie McNeal, the reporter’s sister by adoption), takes a personal interest.

She arouses the ire of the criminals and interferes with the police work. When things get very sticky, she joins the SPD effort.

The Chinese Triad, slimy INS agents, ships, containers, rendezvous, fake ID's, graveyards, brothels and sweatshops, the media, agency turf wars, SPD politics and an information leak all conspire in the SPD’s mission to out think the villains.

The characters, both good guys and bad guys are credible throughout, the pace is resolute and determined (mirroring the police procedures), local color drops you into the Puget Sound area and the dialogue is realistic.

Good plot, sturdy story telling and absorbing character studies.

Maybe a little too much time spent on Boldt and McNeal’s introspections on their family lives that fail to advance the plot---but that is a small objection.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"Eye of the Needle" Review

Ken Follett is among the best at writing thrillers that hook you and never let you go.

In interviews, he acknowledged that “Eye of the Needle” was his breakthrough novel. It surely deserves all the praise it has received.

In 1940, the The Abwehr, (German Intelligence), has planted their finest agent in Great Britain---code name “The Needle.” Using the name Henry Faber, he works as a railway clerk and attempts to be invisible.

Using his bicycle for transportation, he observes all the war preparations and anything that would be helpful for the German bombers.

As the war progresses, Faber continues his adroit undercover work---radioing the info back to The Fatherland.

Meanwhile the Allies are utilizing a disinformation campaign designed to convince the Germans that the European Invasion (D-Day) will take place at Pas de Calais. Ships and tanks that are merely rubber and timber, barracks that were a movie set, etc. were utilized to persuade the enemy that Patton had a huge Army ready to invade.

Double agents that MI5 had turned churned out radio reports furthering the deception.

If the Germans learn of the great ruse, thousands could be lost. The Needle chances upon the phony barracks and tanks and knows this info must be delivered in person to the Fuhrer.

However, he has to eliminate some Allied soldiers who spot him as he leaves the fake army base. Their discovery leads to cat and mouse chase.

His escape via U-Boat 505 off the North Sea coast is hampered by a violent squall grounding all sea and air transportation. Faber is shipwrecked on a remote rock island with four inhabitants. There he must perpetuate his counterfeit persona until the weather clears.

Meanwhile, MI5 is closing in while working on the scant clues Faber leaves in his wake. They too are hampered by the weather.

The novel moves at a measured pace that heightens the suspense with each turn of the page. Faber is great villain whose cunning keeps him a step ahead MI5. The crew from MI5 are dogged in their pursuit and thorough in the procedural methodology. It is a remarkable match up.

Using an economical cast, all the characters are fully fleshed out. You know everyone quite well.

While the last 48 hours before the weather clears are intensely gripping, the entire narrative is mesmerizing and attention grabbing. This is a breathtaking “what if” take on an important slice of history.

Since we all know how WWII turned out, the outcome may never be in doubt…but how MI5 closes the trap is a superb ride.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 358

Thursday, August 23, 2007---568 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 57 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: Mary Astor
+++++++
On the Victrola: “The Very Best of Cleo Laine”
+++++++
Reading: “Last to Die” by James Grippando
+++++++
Rave: The TV spots for the US Open featuring a/o invoking the spirit of John McEnroe are a hoot. http://www.usanetwork.com/sports/usopen/
+++++++
Quote: “Al Sharpton frequently appears on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ as the voice of reason, saying people should be regarded as innocent until proven guilty, evidently forgetting his own leap to judgment in the Tawana Brawley case---for which this blowhard has still never apologized.”—Otto Penzler.
In addition, I might add, he has yet to apologize to the Duke Lacrosse players.
+++++++
Rave: “Burn Notice” (USA Network, Thursdays at 10 PM) is easily my favorite weekly TV show. Really displays every positive about Miami. It just sparkles.
Great cast, nifty story arc, snappy dialogue and wonderful camera work.
Very cool in the Karen Sisco mode.
Check it out. USA is good about repeats of each show.
+++++++
Stats: Everyone knows the airlines are FUBAR. According to the Wall Street Journal ridership on the Amtrak passenger rail system is up 6% so far this year, the biggest jump since the late 1970s. On the Acela Express, trains that run at higher speeds between Washington, New York and Boston, the number of riders has surged 20% over the past 10 months. That is enough new passengers to fill 2,000 Boeing 757 jets.
+++++++
Rant: Courting trouble! Did you hear about the Rutgers women's basketball player who is suing Don Imus for libel, slander and defamation? The lawyer for Kia Vaughn says his client just wants to live a normal life. Really? This is not the way to do it.
+++++++
Rave: “Broken Trail” starring Robert Duvall received seven well-deserved Emmy nominations. It is a terrific flick.
+++++++
TV timeout: I cannot help but think Dan Patrick is leaving ESPN, in part, because of the network's growing emphasis on junior-high shtick and assorted other nonsense aimed at the young male demographic living in their parents' basements.
+++++++
TV timeout II: Clint Eastwood produced the “Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends” coming to PBS on September 12th as part of their American Masters series. Clint will interview Tony and jam with him. DVD available on September 25th exclusively at Target.
+++++++
Reality check: Things sure have changed since I went to college 45 years ago. Books cost as much for one semester as what I paid for a whole year’s tuition.
+++++++
The King: I can remember exactly where I was when Elvis died and how I heard the news. And you?
+++++++
Rant: Every time “Bullitt” turns up on the tube, I find myself watching, and perpetually enthralled by the car chase. That car chase makes all the “Die Hards” and their ilk look like amateur hour cartoons.
+++++++
Didjaknow: When Sparky Lyle came in to pitch for the Yankees, Munson would just put down one finger for the slider which was Lyle’s bread & butter pitch. For everybody else, one finger was asking for the fastball…
+++++++
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 19, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 357

Sunday, August 19, 2007---769 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 24 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
+++++++
Rave: Lloyd Corrigan
+++++++
On the Victrola: “Unrehearsed Jazz Perfection”---A Starbucks Collection.
+++++++
Reading: “A Coffin for Dimitrios” by Eric Ambler (1939)
+++++++
Truism: Airlines ranked below the IRS in the University of Michigan’s most recent survey of American customer satisfaction.
+++++++
Rave: The FedEx TV spot where the employee cannot locate China on a map is hysterical.
+++++++
Quote: “The record industry will sue anyone discovered telling friends, acquaintances or associates about new songs, artists or albums.”---The Onion.
+++++++
Rant: I was shopping at Home Depot and I noticed buckets all over the floor catching rainwater leaking from the roof. Wouldn’t you think that they would have something in there to fix that?
+++++++
Rave: Fifteen years after retiring, no one has come close to replacing John McEnroe on the tennis circuit. In addition, he is one helluva an announcer.
+++++++
Rant: In a perfect world, Barroid Bonds would now, just go away.
+++++++
Truism: The next time you cannot figure out your computer, remember that the geeks have won.
+++++++
Rant: I do not know about you, but I can live without any news about the Britney-K-Fed custody battle.
+++++++
Truism: The Red Sox were right on Johnny Damon, now a part-time player in the Bronx.
+++++++
Rant: There are few things more obnoxious than watching some bozo talking on his cell phone at a sporting event
+++++++
Rave: I really am enjoying “The Bronx Is Burning.” ESPN does a great job at repeating the episodes…so no need to tape. Somehow, they manage to get Mickey Rivers (or his wife Mary) to have a huge laugh out loud scene-stealer each week.
AMC’s summer original, “Mad Men” also entertains me. Not at the “Bronx” level…yet I reserve Thursdays at 10 for it. It captures the era perfectly.
TNT’s summer original is the six-hour miniseries version of “The Company.” It is an adaptation of Robert Littell’s novel. All those in the know say it is the definitive book on the CIA. At over 900 pages, I never made the commitment to read it. The series is uneven, but the good sections are outstanding---and I am looking forward to the resolution.
+++++++
Hmmm: You know it is a strange baseball season when Hanley Ramirez has more home runs than Manny Ramirez.
+++++++
Rant: The problem with most summer movies is that you can almost feel your brain atrophying as you watch them.
+++++++.
Rave: Joseph Finder is a craftsman like writer of business thrillers, and his latest, “Power Play,” is a gem.
Jake Landry, a junior exec for Hammond Aerospace, is tapped to attend an upper management retreat, since his boss is overseas on business. The meeting is held at an isolated resort in British Columbia with no wireless, no cell towers, no internet---just bonding and team building.
Jake, sticking out like a sore thumb among the firm’s movers and shakers in full poseur mode, is the one who saves the day when the get-together turns into “Deliverance.”
Five heavily armed thugs invade the resort, take the VPs hostage and demand hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom.
Jake’s native intelligence and dubious background (gun nut father, juvy jail time) casts him as the MacGyver of the group. He utilizes all his shrewdness, cunning and smarts to cause the kidnappers to implode.
Joseph Finder’s thorough research gets thing right. Wire fraud, high performance composites, grenades, firearms and corporate politics in all their intricacies are clarified in an entertaining fashion that advances the plot.
The pacing is intense; the plot moves at warp speed and the details are on the money.
The kidnapping of a group of corporate executives is entirely plausible, and ought to alarm boardrooms everywhere.
“Power Play” is yet another winner from Joseph Finder.
+++++++
Hmmmm: If Hillary could not catch Bill in the act, then how can she catch al Qaeda?
+++++++
Rimshot: Why am I always driving behind either Miss Direction or Mister Turn?
+++++++
Didjaknow: Six actors have won acting awards in both the lead and supporting categories:
Jack Lemmon (1955, 1973) - the first!
Jack Nicholson (1975, 1983, 1997)
Gene Hackman (1971, 1992)
Robert De Niro (1974, 1980)
Kevin Spacey (1995, 1999)
Denzel Washington (1989, 2001)
+++++++
Rant: Why do we care about exhibition football games when we don’t about spring-training baseball games?
+++++++
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, August 18, 2007

"Power Play" by Joseph Finder

Joseph Finder is a craftsman like writer of business thrillers, and his latest, “Power Play,” is a gem.

Jake Landry, a junior exec for Hammond Aerospace, is tapped to attend an upper management retreat, since his boss is overseas on business. The meeting is held at an isolated resort in British Columbia with no wireless, no cell towers, no internet---just bonding and team building.

Jake, sticking out like a sore thumb among the firm’s movers and shakers in full poseur mode, is the one who saves the day when the get-together turns into “Deliverance.”

Five heavily armed thugs invade the resort, take the VPs hostage and demand hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom.

Jake’s native intelligence and dubious background (gun nut father, juvy jail time) casts him as the MacGyver of the group. He utilizes all his shrewdness, cunning and smarts to cause the kidnappers to implode.

Joseph Finder’s thorough research gets thing right. Wire fraud, high performance composites, grenades, firearms and corporate politics in all their intricacies are clarified in an entertaining fashion that advances the plot.

The pacing is intense; the plot moves at warp speed and the details are on the money.

The kidnapping of a group of corporate executives is entirely plausible, and ought to alarm boardrooms and civilians everywhere.

“Power Play” is yet another winner from Joseph Finder.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Daniel Silva Book Signing on 8/11/007

This past Saturday, Daniel Silva gave an author talk and signing before a full house at the Cocoa Beach Public Library.

His latest book, “The Secret Servant” features Israeli Mossad op (assassin)/art restorer, Gabriel Allon, in a hunt for Islamist Terrorists. Like all his books, it is meticulously researched.

It is his fastest seller to date…currently #3 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list.

Mr. Silva was a UPI correspondent in the Middle East (based in Egypt) for a number of years prior to joining CNN. He now writes full time.

He takes the terrorist threat to the free world most seriously.

His talk, like his books, leave you feeling more informed, smarter about the entire terrorism problem and thoroughly entertained.

His research for the book does not leave him optimistic about the possibility of a catastrophic event occurring in England.

The European-born extremists are very dangerous…and a growing threat.

He pointed out that in England and Western Europe the birth rate is below replacement levels for non-Muslims. In fact, Italy is the first nation to have a larger population over 60 than under 20.

The ranks of Muslims are exceeding the replacement level…leading him to liken London to Londonistan. More than 200 active terror cells are being tracked in Great Britain.

His only reservation about our conduct on the war on terror is our outsourcing of torture---mostly to Egypt. He stressed than there is no embellishment in the book about the extreme rendition activities in Egypt.

If you want to be entertained while you learn a great deal about the threats posed by the Global Jihadists, “The Secret Servant” will keep you turning pages until the wee hours of the morning.

After reading it, I am willing to wager that you will go back and read his first nine works.