Monday, April 23, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 348

Monday, April 23, 2007---588 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 48 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
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Rave: Joanne P. McCallie
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Rant: I saw a bumper sticker that said, “Annoy a Republican, think for yourself.”
To balance that, I am getting one that says, “Annoy a Democrat, support yourself.”
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Rave: I still enjoy watching “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.” I still remember my initial viewing with great clarity.
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Quote: One of the things we keep hearing about is how fewer African-Americans make it to the majors these days. But, that is obscured by the larger truth that there are also fewer Caucasians making it. There are simply fewer Americans, white or black, in the majors now.”---Frank Deford.
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Hmmmm: The Lottery is a tax for the math challenged.
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Just asking: Is there a gizmo that can wear out batteries faster than the battery-operated toothbrush?
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Truism: When you get on the scales at the doctor’s office with your shoes on, you know you do not care anymore.
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Truism II: On Opening Day in Boston, some parking lots around Fenway Park were getting $100.
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Hmmm: Does the NFL now stand for National Felony League?
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Rave: In my Top Ten TV series music: M Squad, Route 66 and Peter Gunn…the Song from Maverick is easily my favorite lyric.
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Hmmmm: You know things have changed in the NBA when the Celtics, Knicks and Sixers all stink…and two college freshmen are considered franchise saviors.
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Just asking again: Is there any truth to the rumor that the reading level in West Virginia will drop a notch now that Bob Huggins is the new basketball coach?
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R.I.P.: Kurt Vonnegut, who once said that your whole life is like junior high school---it never changes.
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Believe it or don’t: Didjaknow that back in 1963, Hillary Clinton (then Hillary Rodham) was a “Goldwater Girl”---and, as a freshman at Wellesley, headed the Young Republicans.
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For sure: There is no doubt that A-Rod has the title of Mr. April just about wrapped up. However, he is just one slump away from being booed at Yankee Stadium.
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Rave: Our long national nightmare is over. Sanjaya is gone.
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Quote II: “On the sports calendar, the last big thing is quickly replaced by the next thing.”--- Bob Molinaro, Virginian-Pilot.
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My take: I slow down in a work zone as soon as I see someone actually working in one.
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My take II: Political correctness, and our inability to speak the truth, is slowly killing this country.
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True story: Years ago, when he was teaching creative writing, Robert B. Parker (creator of the Spenser series) had a student who asked if it was okay to write about life. Mr. Parker replied, “As opposed to what?”
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Tip top tip: Those cloth shoe mitts that hotels provide make excellent eyeglass cleaners---as one ought never to clean eyeglasses with any product made from a tree.
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Another tip: Those plastic sleeves used on your newspaper make a terrific condom for your wet umbrella.
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Rave: Even after all these years, “Seinfeld” is still the funniest show on TV.
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Truism III: Artificial intelligence cannot offset natural stupidity.
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Quote III: “You are careful because you see the bad possibilities in everybody.”---Anon.
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Truism IV: Eating a salad while driving is much harder than it looks.
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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, April 18, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 347

Wednesday, April 18, 2007---797 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 49 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
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Rave: Randy Goodman
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On the Victrola: “Got Nothing but Song”---a Starbucks compilation. Any album that features Mose Allison, Blossom Dearie and Chet Baker gets my vote.
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Reading: “The Motive”---John Lescroart.
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Quote: “As for (the wrongly accused Duke Lacrosse players) David Evans’s news conference statement upon acquittal---‘we’re Just as innocent today as we were back then. Nothing has changed, the facts are the same’---it should be included in any future book of great American speeches.”—Richard Reay, WSJ.
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Rant: I had no problem with Nancy Pelosi going to Syria. It was the return trip that troubled me.
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Hmmmm: We know Ohio State has things in proper perspective when Greg Oden takes only two courses this semester---one of them is “History of Rock and Roll.”
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Rant: If I had to choose between Sharpton, Jackson or Imus to be my moral compass, I would take my chances with Imus.
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Another quote: “Imus did the rest of us no favors by trying to find redemption on Al Sharpton’s radio show, thus helping legitimize Sharpton’s aspiring role as the nation’s offensiveness cop. A notion that is itself offensive, given that he made his chops by falsely accusing an innocent man of rape---something for which he has never apologized---and that his specialty is inflammatory self-aggrandizement.”---Rich Lowry.
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Rant: If Sharpton and Jackson showed the same outrage over black violence, drugs, crime, and out of wedlock births as they do when an inappropriate comment is made, perhaps we would one day see some progress.
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Rave: In “What the Dead Know,” Laura Lippman displays her literary flair and stylistic genius in a tightly woven, hypnotic, highly intelligent adventure.
In 1975, two sisters vanished without a trace from a Baltimore mall. It was a dead end crime---no reliable witnesses, no clues, no leads, no hope.
Thirty years later a hit and run driver (with no ID) claims to be Heather Bethany (one of the sisters).
She has knowledge that only the sisters would have. As the story shifts between the decades, between fact and fiction, between imposter and the genuine article; detective Kevin Infante (a wonderful character) feels something about “Heather’s” story is out of kilter.
The skeptical Infante is unconventional and uses good old-fashioned shoe leather to track down clues, hunches and intuition. His efforts lead him to believe Heather may be one a half dozen identities---or maybe all of them, or none of them.
The three-dimensional characters are caught up in loss, redemption, scrambled identities, in this evocative tale of intrigue.
Filled with pop culture touchstones from the different eras, this powerfully suspenseful crime story, seamlessly spooled out from various points of view will leave you sleep deprived.
Laura Lippman is an uncompromising novelist who is dazzling at hiding clues in plain sight. She creates a morass of deception where the details are as important as the narrative.
“What the Dead Know” is subtle, shrewd and so tightly plotted you cannot afford to skip a page.
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Pop Quiz: If you answered “none of the above” to the question “name the Divinity School that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson graduated from” you were correct.
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Rant: Any team (read Orioles) whose pitching rotation includes Steve Trachsel and Jaret Wright is doomed on Opening Day. Not even Leo can perform a miracle with this staff.
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Yet Another Quote: “Greg Oden doesn’t look a day older than Satchell Paige did when he first pitched in the majors.”--- Peter Vecsey, New York Post writer.
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Rant: I might (stress might) begin to view Sharpton and Jackson a little differently if they apologize to the three innocent Duke Lacrosse players.
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Truism: Golf is better when every big tournament doesn’t turn into the Tiger Invitational. He gets the cover of Sports Illustrated after not winning the Masters---I hope SI at least gave Zach Johnson a free subscription.
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Rave: It is no contest---UCLA had the best cheerleaders at the NCAA Tournament.
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One more quote: “Three crude words from don Imus ruined Rutgers’ season? Nonsense. Because of the national debate over Imus, people who never paid attention to women’s basketball now know that Rutgers finished second at the NCAA tournament. Now, what has to happen before America learns who finished first?”—Bob Molinaro, Virginia Pilot.
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My call: John Kruk is still just as disgusting to me…his wife needs new corrective lenses.
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Rant: If you're an adult male who is overly passionate about "American Idol," you might as well be a figure-skating fan.
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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.

Laura Lippman's "What the Dead Know" Review

In “What the Dead Know,” Laura Lippman displays her literary flair and stylistic genius in a tightly woven, hypnotic, highly intelligent adventure.

In 1975, two sisters vanished without a trace from a Baltimore mall. It was a dead end crime---no reliable witnesses, no clues, no leads, no hope.

Thirty years later a hit and run driver (with no ID) claims to be Heather Bethany (one of the sisters).

She has knowledge that only the sisters would have. As the story shifts between the decades, between fact and fiction, between imposter and the genuine article; detective Kevin Infante (a wonderful character) feels something about “Heather’s” story is out of kilter.

The skeptical Infante is unconventional and uses good old-fashioned shoe leather to track down clues, hunches and intuition. His efforts lead him to believe Heather may be one a half dozen identities---or maybe all of them, or none of them.

The three-dimensional characters are caught up in loss, redemption, scrambled identities, in this evocative tale of intrigue.

Filled with pop culture touchstones from the different eras, this powerfully suspenseful crime story, seamlessly spooled out from various points of view will leave you sleep deprived.

Laura Lippman is an uncompromising novelist who is dazzling at hiding clues in plain sight. She creates a morass of deception where the details are as important as the narrative.

“What the Dead Know” is subtle, shrewd and so tightly plotted you cannot afford to skip a page.