Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Curmudgeon in the Wry 554


Wednesday, October 23, 2013---1037 Words---Average Reading Time: 3 Minutes, 37 Seconds. (A pointless waste of time---time frittered away)
Offending readers and hindering productivity one issue at a time since 2001.
Continuing to call them as I see them.
Virtually free of original ideas. 
Warning: Contains unsound bites from the apple of life.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
If you want this in a different language…move to a country that speaks it!
Gluten Free.
Completely biased.
Don’t forget to floss.
Low carb.
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Rave: Brit Hume.
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Reading: Scott Turow’s “Identical.”
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On the Hi Fi: “Sweetheart of the Rodeo”---The Byrds.
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Under rated: Yvonne De Carlo.
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By Jove: The Washington Redskins are going to change their name because of all the hatred, violence, and hostility associated with it. From now on they will be known simply as the Redskins.
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TV Time Out: “Revenge” is getting less and less compelling for me. It’s a show about terrible people doing worse things to other terrible people. “Revenge” has done almost nothing to make any of these people likable. Thus far, I've been happy to see all written-out-cast-members disappear.
Must say that Nolan’s mug-shot t-shirt was a winner.
I prefer the Hamptons of “Royal Pains.”
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Thought for the day: Good intel is important; good luck is critical.
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Quote: “Democrats sold Barack Obama to the American public, which is an even more amazing feat, considering his complete lack of relevant experience and questionable (at best) loyalty to the values and institutions of this country.”—Renowned economist Thomas Sowell.
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Didjaknow: According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s iPhone is by far the most profitable product in the world.
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TV Time Out II: The second half of season four for “Covert Affairs” opened up numerous possibilities. Six episodes for Annie Walker to take down Henry Wilcox. Annie has evolved as a spy and being off the grid opens up her playbook. She’ll need a lot of trick plays, as Henry is a master chess player.
The first episode moved at lightning speed…the next five should be one helluva ride.
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Rant: Now that the shut down is over all the government employees who were doing nothing can go back to work and do nothing again.
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Hmmm: Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
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Didjaknow: Sammy Cahn won four Oscars and was nominated for 26, the most of any songwriter.
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TV Time Out III: It was a long wait for the start of season five of “White Collar”---but worth it. It’s a wonderful caper-oriented, con man show with that magnificent “Ocean’s 11” (the original) feel.
This season Neal and Mozzie (the man with the plan) will have to pull off various criminal activities for the Dutchman under the noses of Peter Burke, Neal’s new handler and the FBI. It’s going to be big fun.
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Quote: “But if you think for half a second, that the liberals will ever send the National Guard into the hood to separate the black and Latino gangbangers from their artillery, you’re clearly non compos mentis.”—Burt Prelutsky.
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Didjaknow: In 35 states welfare payments exceed minimum wage. In Hawaii a thug collect the equivalent of a $60,000-a-year salary just for breathing. Breeding pays extra.
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Truism: If your punter is having a career day, chances are the team isn’t.
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TV Time Out IV: “Blue Bloods” maintains its high standard. Bebe Neurwirth should be perfect as Frank’s adversary in her role as an inspector general. She can do bitchy with charm and a smile as well as anyone.
Last Friday’s show did a spectacular job showing the stress that cops are tasked with on a daily basis. Cops deserve an enormous amount of respect. They run to danger…we run from danger.
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Pop Quiz: What is the difference between a Congress on vacation and one hard at work?
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Quote: “Facts do not speak for themselves.”—Economist Alfred Marshall. Attention congressional Republicans.
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Didjaknow: “The Kiss,” starring a 19-year-old Lew Ayers and 22-year-old Greta Garbo was the final silent film made by MGM. 
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Quote: “Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but democrats believe every day in April 15.”—Ronald Reagan.
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TV Time Out V: “The Blacklist” is stellar drama filled with misdirection…intense and suspenseful. Even when you are expecting the unexpected, you are shocked anyway. The villains are exceptional. It is truly a solid hour of network TV entertainment.
Red’s use of and concern for Agent Keene is just one of the worthy long story arcs.
Monday’s car chase scene was as good as they get on the tube.
Who does the apple eater work for? Whose passport was in the box?
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Quiz answer: Trick question…there is no such thing as a Congress hard at work.
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Rant: Imagine a nine-inning 1-0 baseball game taking 3 hours, 56 minutes. That’s what happened in game one of the ALCS.
Thirty years ago, when the Orioles clinched the World Series over the Phillies, the game was completed in a nifty 2 hours and 21 minutes.
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Quote: “There are no hundred percent heroes.”— Travis McGee, “Cinnamon Skin”, 1982, by John D. MacDonald.
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TV Time Out OT: Any time “Person of Interest” gives us a lot of Shaw, I’m thrilled. She’s a terrific character.
“Pa3roBop” was a helluva an episode---deepening Shaw’s story and the HR menace. Except for Fusco, all the players converged and had lots to do.
Jen was wonderful and stole a lot of scene.
Reese’s fight with HR’s Simmons was spectacular…Carter turned the tables on her weaselly partner…Finch got to do mucho techno feats and display his knowledge of chemistry.
Shaw waking up to Root with a Taser---did not see that coming.
This show is in high gear.  
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Final Thought: Bob Costas is a useful idiot and girly man. Stick to sports Bob. If you want to talk politically correct politics…get a slot on PMSDNC.
Oh…and Bob, quit dying your hair…you are fooling no one.
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If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you can’t, thank the teacher’s union.
If you are reading it in English, thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville---Practice Has Started Edition


The best thing about the college basketball off season…is that it ends.
Vandy will have just nine players on scholarship this season.
Duke’s John Scheyer holds the ACC record for most minutes played in a season.
Pitt and Virginia Tech play 12 of their first 16 games at home.
Don’t sleep on Harvard. They could have the finest team in Ivy League history, as five players have all-conference potential.
NC State lost last year’s top four scorers…five of their top six.
LSU was 19-12 last year…four starters return.
UNC’s P.J. Hairston’s “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” essay should be a real page turner.
Notre Dame is #9 in all-time wins…in basketball! How about that! Just a single Final Four appearance.
The Irish return four starters from a 25-win team.
Everyone except Ramon Galloway returns at La Salle.
All five top-scorers return for UVA.
40% of the new ACC are private schools…a significantly higher percentage than all other power conferences.
It’s early…but so far the best name in college basketball goes to Drexel’s Bruiser Flint.
BC returns all five starters. Last season, they lost seven ACC games by fewer than five points…three by just a point.
Boise State returns eight of its top nine scorers…and are the lone NCAA Tournament team from last season to return all five starters.
Eight of UNC’s top 10 scorers are back.
Not so fast: When Kentucky and Michigan State tip off, Sparty will take the floor with eight upperclassmen and five sophomores. UK has a pair of seniors who will see little floor time.
One more thing: Notre Dame has a 117-9 (.929) record at home since 2006-07, which ranks as the nation’s second-best home winning percentage behind only Kansas (.960).
Congratulations! You made it to the end -- celebrate by watching some basketball in November.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Curmudgeon in the Wry 553

Sunday, October 13, 2013---694 Words---Average Reading Time: 2 Minutes, 33 Seconds. (A pointless waste of time---time frittered away)

Offending readers and hindering productivity one issue at a time since 2001.
Continuing to call them as I see them.
Virtually free of original ideas. 
Warning: Contains unsound bites from the apple of life.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
If you want this in a different language…move to a country that speaks it!
Gluten Free.
Completely biased.
Don’t forget to floss.
Low carb.
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Rave: Richard Carlson
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Reading: The most excellent “State vs. Lassiter” by Paul Levine. 
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On the Hi Fi: “The Black Velvet Band” by Illinois Jacquet
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Under rated: Elisha Cook Jr
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Book BIZ: Having never read anything by Tom Clancy, I asked my Bookie pals for a recommendation after his passing.
Raconteur and Renaissance Man, Joe O’Donnell posited “Rainbow Six.”
It clocks in at over 900 pages…at my age, that seems like a lifetime commitment.  
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TV Time Out: “White Collar” {9 PM} and “Covert Affairs” [10 PM] return to USA Network Thursday {10/17}.
“Major Crimes” returns to TNT at 9 PM on November 25th
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Thought For The Day: Expect a swift cancellation for “Ironside.” Getting all politically correct and making him black was just silly. Additionally, Raymond Burr completely defined that role.
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Didjaknow: ABC axed “Lucky 7” after two episodes. Me neither. I never even knew it was on the air.
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True or False: Guys insult one another all the time…but don’t mean it. Women complement each other all the time, but don’t mean it.
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Truism: Being needy is not the same as being deserving.
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TV Time Out II: “Blue Bloods” continues to excel. Friday’s show had many an unexpected twist. Many great moments throughout the episode. It is wonderful to see a show where taking personal responsibility for the consequences on your actions is celebrated.
Plus, any show whose lead character has this quote is AOK with me…”Balls is knowing the cost and going ahead anyway.”
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Hmmm: Why do soft breads get hard when they go stale and hard crackers get softer when they get stale?
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Wise men say: Seek counsel from elderly surgeons. You figure to get honest advice from a guy who is too old to be paying for his kids’ orthodontia and college tuition.
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Didjaknow: The Houston/Galveston area is larger than Connecticut
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Guess Work: Rotating bald tires is a huge activity that changes nothing.
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Pop Quiz: What is the USA’s southernmost state?
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Numbers Game: Just 22% of Americans over 18 exercise enough to earn any health benefits.
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Truism: No one was ever sorry they got it in writing.
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Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere must be happy.
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Rim Shot: Keep your bagels safe...put locks on them.
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Pop Quiz Answer: Hawaii.
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True or False II: It is a lot more difficult to find somebody you would like to wake up with, than it is to find someone you would like to sleep with.
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Truism: It takes mega-talent to be able to see and describe the not so obvious.
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According to the US Patent Office: Muslims have never been granted a patent. That means they probably never invented anything. That’s a good way to continue living in the past.
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Hmmm: Where do all the missing pens go?
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True or False: Mistakes are the fountain of knowledge.
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Truism: To men, gourmet cooking is microwaving something that comes in two bags.
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Management 101: In its simplest terms…the prime function of a leader is to keep hope alive.
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True or False: Given the choice, men would rather see a woman they know nude, that an angel from Victoria’s Secret whom they don’t know. True say I.
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Final Thought: None of the four teams I was cheering for in the Divisional Series are still playing.
As a fan of the Rays, it was most distressing to watch them give away game four…and I wanted Brad Pitt’s team to clean Detroit’s clock.
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If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you can’t, thank the teacher’s union.
If you are reading it in English, thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Jake Lassiter and Virgil Flowers

Started "State vs. Lassiter" by Paul Levine last night. It's been too long since Jake Lassiter led us through Coconut Grove and the Miami legal system. It's a breezy treat so far. Levine puts the Magic back in the Magic City.

Next up is the latest Virgil Flowers adventure from John Sandford..."Storm Front." Virgil is an exciting character and this one pits him against some extremists from Palestine, Syria and Egypt.

What are you reading???


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Curmudgeon in the Wry 552



Thursday, October 10, 2013---851 Words---Average Reading Time: 2 Minutes, 49 Seconds. (A pointless waste of time---time frittered away)
Offending readers and hindering productivity one issue at a time since 2001.
Continuing to call them as I see them.
Virtually free of original ideas. 
Warning: Contains unsound bites from the apple of life.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
If you want this in a different language…move to a country that speaks it!
Gluten Free.
Completely biased.
Don’t forget to floss.
Low carb.
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Reading: “The Quest” by Nelson DeMille.
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On the Hi Fi: “Frenesi” by Artie Shaw  {My hero for being married to both Ava Gardner and Lana Turner…though not at the same time.}
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Under rated: Beulah Bondi.
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You Know You’re Old: If you bought recapped tires.
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Rave: If Gloria Grahame is in it…I’m watching it.
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TV Time Out: “Blue Bloods” keeps raising the bar. Each episode is well scripted, entertaining and moving. Doubt anyone expected the ending with the Lieutenant’s ill wife.
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Didjaknow: During her 13 years as a judge on D.C.’s Court of Appeals, Ruth Bader Ginsberg hired 57 clerks, interns and/or secretaries…not one was black---in D.C. I guess liberals never feel they have to put their convictions where their mouths are.
0-57…even the Houston Astros have a better average than that.
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Rave: If you have any doubt that anyone was better than Jean Harlow at playing brassy comic leads…all you need do is watch “Libeled Lady” or “Dinner at Eight.”
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Thought For The Day: We're always hearing about how Social Security is going to run out of money.
How come we never hear about Welfare running out of money?
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TV Time Out: Three shows in, “The Blacklist” has become must see TV. Ray Reddington, played by James Spader, has the potential to become one of network TV’s more memorable characters.
What do you figure the six digits (042983) on Wujing’s payment to Reddington mean…date, locker combination, password?
Secrets, lies and mysteries surround the main players. With each answer, new questions arise.
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Shut down: With the government shut down, I felt emboldened enough to rip the “do not remove” tag from my mattress.
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Didjaknow: In the past eight seasons just three MLB teams have won 100 regular season games.
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Rave: Jake Brigance, the hero from John Grisham’s debut novel {“A Time to Kill”} returns in Grisham’s upcoming “Sycamore Row.”
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Rant: What’s with all these idiots who still have yet to figure out that a baseball cap has a brim to shade their eyes, not the back of their heads. 
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TV Time Out III: The two-hour finale of “Low Winter Sun” was certainly bleak, dreary and full of despair. Who knows if it gets renewed? If cancelled, I cannot think of one member of the dour cast that I will miss.
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Didjaknow: There are 17 former Red Sox playing for either the Dodgers, Pirates, Rays, Athletics or Tigers in the post season.
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Rave: Dennis Eckersley is easily the highlight of the various broadcast teams that TBS has assembled. I wish he, Buck Martinez and Don Orsillo were the lead team throughout the post season.
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Let’s face it: If you don’t have a rooting interest in a team playing in the MLB playoffs…it is damn near impossible to sit through the games. Baseball is probably the most regional of the pro sports.
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TV Time Out IV: “Person of Interest” continues to surprise me with twists, feints and gambits I never see coming. POI makes excellent use of bringing characters back for cameos that make sense and tighten the overall story arc.
Sarah Shahi’s Sam Shaw is rapidly closing in on Rachel Zane of “Suits” as my favorite TV character.
Amy Acker is brilliant as the somewhat-unhinged Root. The scene when she put her finger to her lips to make certain her shrink, Dr. Carmichael, said not a word…as she shot Hersh without looking was diabolically exceptional.
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Way Back Machine: Thursday, October 3rd marked the anniversary of Bobby Thompson’s homer that defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1951 playoff. It was poetically called, “The shot heard ‘round the world.” If it happened today it would most likely be called, “The walk-off homer heard ‘round the world.” Doesn’t have the same ring…does it?
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Rant: Every time the fool at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue gives a speech, I feel like a James Bond martini---shaken, but never stirred.
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Rave: Cheerleaders are never out of season.
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Quote: “So,” he asked, “you’re not trendy?”
“I’m a carnivore among vegans, a brew and burger guy in a Chardonnay and pate world”
“In other words, a throwback?”
“If that’s what you call someone with old friends, old habits and old values.”
Protagonist, Jake Lassiter in Paul Levine’s latest novel, “State vs. Lassiter.
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Final Thought: When a president keeps his college applications and grades under lock and key, how can anyone believe he is being forthright on anything?
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If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you can’t, thank the teacher’s union.
If you are reading it in English, thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Curmudgeon in the Wry 551


Thursday, October 03, 2013---857 Words---Average Reading Time: 3 Minutes, 2 Seconds. (A pointless waste of time---time frittered away)
Offending readers and hindering productivity one issue at a time since 2001.
Chock full of extraneous intensifiers.
If you don’t have more questions than answers, you are not really living.
Continuing to call them as I see them.
Virtually free of original ideas. 
Warning: Contains unsound bites from the apple of life.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
If you want this in a different language…move to a country that speaks it!
Gluten Free.
Providing snap judgments and overreactions.
Filled with random nonsense.
Completely biased.
Don’t forget to floss.
Low carb.
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Rave: Chuck Berry.
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Reading: “The Quest” by Nelson DeMille. This one is a real stiff. 212 Amazon reviewers rated it 2.2 stars on---so it’s not just me.
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On the Hi Fi: Harry Nilsson’s “Personal Best.”
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Under rated: Anita O’Day.
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You Know You’re Old: If you remember thinking that the million bucks Elizabeth Taylor received for “Cleopatra” was too much to pay a movie star. Hell, today, she’d become part owner of the studio.
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TV Time Out: With just the finale left, I have concluded that “Low Winter Sun” suffers from poor writing bogging down some decent actors. The dialogue is loaded with overheated clich├ęs.
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Axiom: Mostly, you want what you can’t have.
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Pop quiz: What three things do Chicago and Washington, D.C. have in common?
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Quiz answer: Both cities are run by dimocrats…they have the strictest anti-gun laws in the country and two of the USA’s highest murder rates.
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FYI: Thugs with illegally purchased {or stolen} firearms committed the majority of the murders. No amount of legislation will prevent that.
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TV Time Out II: After watching the season debut of “Revenge,” I fear it may have drifted toward silly. Early story lines don’t make much sense.
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Just asking: Who was the last President to leave the White House without becoming a millionaire?
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Rave: There ought to be a course you could take on how to handle falling in love. It is both the best and worst thing that will ever happen to you.
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Hmmm: The Redskin’s RGIII is now RG 1 & 3.
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Pop quiz: Most packages say, “Open here.” What’s the protocol if the package says, “open somewhere else?"
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Rave: Baseball was instrumental in my learning geography and math.
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Out sourcing: In the America’s Cup victory, Team USA had an Australian captain and an international crew {one US citizen}.
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TV Time Out III: James Spader is ingeniously cunning, weirdly charming and just big fun to watch on “The Blacklist.” Lots of intrigue on the show.
So far, the early episodes have made some fantastic musical choices…adding the scope and pacing of the show.
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Post-season query: If pitch count is so important, why do pitchers warm up for so long?
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Truism: Just because you don’t want something to be true, doesn’t change a thing.
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Rant: I want to be on the same health plan the fool at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue enjoys…not the crap sandwich he’s feeding thee and me.
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Rave: If Robert Montgomery is in it…I’m watching it.
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Rimshot: I did a theatrical performance about puns…it was play on words.
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Truism: In show biz, timing is everything. No matter how great you may be…if you go a little long, that is all the audience remembers.
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Quote: “Very few people know that the gap between black and white incomes narrowed during the Reagan administration and widened during obama’s administration.”— Prominent Economist, Thomas Sowell.
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TV Time Out IV: It’s just wonderful to experience the Reagan family dinner once again on “Blue Bloods.” I already like Jamie’s new patrol partner.
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Hmmm: A bit of mystery in a woman is sexy…a lot of mystery is scary.
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Truism: As long as the US maintains that human rights are more important than morals or decency, lots of people will continue shooting at us.
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Didjaknow: The difference between a banjo and a lawn mower is that you can tune a lawn mower.
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Department of Redundancy Department: Same exact, cash money, past history, front windshield, twelve noon, scoreless tie, completely naked, totally destroyed, exact same.
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How come: They never spell gullible correctly in the dictionary?
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Hmmm: Does Super Glue stick to Teflon?
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Quote: “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”---John Wooden.
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Just curious: Has any government employee ever heard about multi-tasking…let alone know how to do it?
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Truism: Most women marry a less than perfect man thinking with just a few changes she can make him perfect. Most men marry their perfect woman praying she’ll never change. Generally the opposite happens.
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Final Thought: Situations like the NSA monitoring people’s activity on the Internet, companies tracking the items you purchase or browse, and feeding social media sites with personal info make the world of “Person of Interest” look more and more realistic as time goes on.
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If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you can’t, thank the teacher’s union.
If you are reading it in English, thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

The 1979 Orioles and 2013 Rays


1998 was the debut season for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. It took a number of years before their games were shown in Central Florida on a regular basis.
Their TV announcing team of Dewayne Staats, Brian Anderson and Todd Kalas is entertaining, informative and easy on the ears.
I became a regular viewer…repetition led to familiarity…familiarity led to likeability and I morphed into a Rays fan.

The 2013 version of the Rays reminds me in many ways of my favorite team of all time---the 1979 Baltimore Orioles.
There has been some Rays Magic in many of their victories on their way to the ALDS. Not quite on a par with the 1979 Os, but magic never the less. Like those Orioles, it seems like night in and night out, a different Ray stepped up and got the crucial hit, made the defensive gem or threw the right pitch at the right time.
The Rays have not dominated the way the 102-win Birds did in 1979…but, 92 wins means you are not Forrest Gump.
One through eight, these Rays cannot match that 79 Oriole batting order…but they get the job done. Watching a Zobrist or Loney at-bat is a clinic in preparation and patience. Wil Myers is an old school treat without batting gloves. Evan Longoria personifies the crafty vet who makes each at-bat a quality at-bat. Pitchers earn their pay facing the Rays.
I do not think there is an active MLB player who enjoys playing the game as much as Yunel Escobar. What a joy to watch him play.
These Rays are a far better fielding team, and while their pitching is laudable…it’s not Palmer, Stone, Flanagan, McGregor and Dennis Martinez…but, in this day and age no pitching staff is. However, in relief, Fernando Rodney is the equal of Tim Stoddard in the nail-biting category.
Manager Joe Maddon is Earl Weaver with a laptop and a chardonnay, minus the Raleighs. Earl had his stats with his multicolored Pentels compiled by PR maven Bob Brown using long division…by hand.
Both managers are nonpareil mix and match lineup guys…mostly making all the right moves. While, Maddon does not have the luxury of Roenicke, Lowenstein and Ayala he puts the pieces together magnificently.
The Rays have fun, are loose, enjoy one another and play as a team. In 1979, Orioles owner, Edward Bennett Williams described his team as a “Band of Brothers.” I cannot give that sobriquet to the 2013 Rays…mainly because teams don’t stay together like they used to.
The 1979 Os played at Memorial Stadium…a grand old dame, the house of thrills on 33rd Street, the world’s largest outdoor insane asylum. I loved that place.
For the Rays, it’s The Trop…a dreary dowager, devoid of charm, atmosphere and not made for baseball. Perhaps that is why the Rays are number 30 out of 30 teams in attendance this season.
That’s a crime. Those 79 Birds benefited from the “Oriole Way”---a team concept mindset that started in A ball and was consistent throughout the system.
The current management of the Rays has applied the same theory and put a consistently superior team on the field---in the same division as the big spenders from New York, Boston and Toronto.
The Rays draw 33 1/3% more on the road then they do at home. Shame on Tampa Bay.
I’ll being cheering on the Rays…win or lose; it’s been a great ride this season.