Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Stupid Is As Stupid Does, Ms. Red, White And Blue...."

My father will be 82 years old on Thursday, July 30.

And, in past years, I have wondered why it was that he often seemed annoyed.

Back to that in a second.

First, a little news from the vast wasteland we all know as our nation's capital.

(CNN) — The upcoming White House meeting with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and the Cambridge police officer who arrested him earlier this month appears to have touched off a fresh debate all on its own: what kind of beer should be served?

Earlier this week the White House indicated each man would drink the beer of their choice — Bud Light for President Obama, Blue Moon for the police officer, and perhaps Red Stripe or Beck's for Gates.

But one Massachusetts congressman thinks another beer entirely should be served: Boston's own Sam Adams.

In a letter to Obama dated Wednesday, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal strongly urges the president not to drink Budweiser, now owned by a Belgian company. Nor should the White House consider serving Miller or Coors, Neal writes, both owned by a United Kingdom conglomerate.

Instead, the White House should serve the three men — all with ties to Massachusetts — the local favorite, not only because of its popularity in the region but also because it remains the largest American-owned and brewed beer, Neal says.

But Sam Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch told NPR if it was up to him he would make a special beer just for the event.

"I'd make a blend of ingredients from all over the world. Which is certainly what's represented there with the three participants," he said. "I would blend those ingredients together artfully and harmoniously, because that's really what we all hope for."

Does the moronic Congressman Neal need it pointed out to him that beer isn't the purpose of the meeting?

And, yes, I know that "moronic Congressman" is an oxymoron. Thank you for your cards and letters.

This kind of crap is exquisitely symbolic of why most of us have no use at all for politics, in general, and politicans, in particular.

Not to mention that it's damned annoying.


Happy Birthday, Dad.

And my apologies.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

"One Toke...and Twelve Chips...Over The Line, Sweet Jesus..."

Here’s a thing.

An active, at this writing, online poll from

Should marijuana be decriminalized?

Yes 66% 208607

No 18% 57347

Only for medical use 16% 49841

Total Votes: 315795

Clearly the “pot is no worse than liquor” mentality has taken a firm foothold in the general population.

Or’s primary demographic is male, 18-35.

Or a whole lot of not so quick on the draw, older folks think that “de”criminalized means ramping up the penalties.

Most likely people who voted for Goldwater.
And/or McCain/Palin.

Personally, I suspect that the whole thing is rigged, the result of hundreds of thousands of employees of a major manufacturer possibly being led to believe that their jobs are in jeopardy due to lagging sales and desperate to kick those sales back into fifth gear.

Frito Lay.

The makers of Doritos.

Don't bogart that French Onion, dude…

"So, Not Only The Way It IS...But, The Way It WAS, Too..."

A fair amount of discussion, in the wake of Walter Cronkite’s passing, took place on the subject of how he was “forced to retire” at age 65 and make way for Dan Rather.

And while all indications were that Cronkite reacted with class publicly, if not too thrilled privately, with the decision, it turns out that Walter was simply taking his turn in the process.
Here’s an interesting piece that tells the story written by the columnist Bob Greene.

(CNN) -- If you are a person whose life has been a series of constant triumphs, accompanied by the sound of unending cheers -- a life like that of, say, Walter Cronkite -- then this story is not for you.

But if your life has had its share of disappointments and setbacks, you may be interested in the tale of a man by the name of Douglas Edwards.

For some of you, the name may be vaguely familiar. For most of you, it probably means nothing.

Douglas Edwards was the anchorman of CBS' evening news broadcasts for 14 years. He was, in fact, network television's first anchorman; his broadcast -- "Douglas Edwards with the News," it was called -- first aired at the dinner hour on CBS in 1948, and continued until 1962, when Edwards was told he was being replaced by Cronkite.

For those 14 years, during the so-called Golden Age of Television, Edwards' face was the face of CBS News. And CBS was the most prestigious of the three national networks.

So what happened to him?

Chet Huntley and David Brinkley happened to him. NBC's "Huntley-Brinkley Report" became wildly popular with the public; it was clobbering Edwards in the ratings. CBS decided that it had to make a move.

Such decisions are common in television, and in the wider world of business. What is uncommon -- what is a valuable lesson in grace and dignity -- is how Doug Edwards dealt with his demotion.

I sought him out in the early 1980s. More than 18 years had passed since he had been pushed aside.

He was still an employee of CBS. His job was to deliver a one-minute television "newsbreak" each mid-morning. He also was assigned to three brief radio reports a day.

He was as polite a man as I have ever met; we ended up keeping in touch over the years (he died at age 73 in 1990). Whatever bitterness he may have felt about losing the job he cherished, whatever anger he may have harbored toward the people who took it away from him, he chose to keep to himself.

He had the same middle-of-the-country upbringing that Cronkite did; Edwards was born in Ada, Oklahoma, and moved as a teenager with his family to Alabama. His journalistic credentials were impeccable; he worked with Edward R. Murrow on CBS Radio's storied London staff toward the end of World War II, and his interview subjects included Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy. His on-scene reporting of the sinking of the Italian liner Andrea Doria in 1956 received widespread praise, and he was the recipient of a George Foster Peabody Award for his television work.

He told me that after his demotion, he and Cronkite continued to run into each other in the hallways of CBS. Cronkite had become an American institution. Edwards told me there was no awkwardness, that the two of them liked and respected each other.

Cronkite, in his autobiography, confirmed this. He wrote that on a Friday in 1962, a CBS executive told him that he would be taking over the anchor chair on Monday. Edwards' fall was just that abrupt. Cronkite wrote:

"I was advised that Doug had just been told. I went straight to his office to try to assure him that I had not lobbied for his job and that the change had surprised me as much as I assumed it had surprised him. He must have been in shock, but he greeted me without the slightest touch of rancor. We had a short chat and parted with a sincere handshake. In this as in all things, Doug showed class. He was a true gentleman."

Cronkite's rise became the stuff of legend. And there was Doug Edwards, doing those daytime newsbreaks in the same building.

He told me once that he had not given up on getting a bigger job again at the network: "My attitude is, 'Let's play for time here.' I've seen things change."

But they didn't. When Ted Turner launched CNN, Edwards considered asking for work there. When ABC began its "Nightline" program, Edwards held out hope that CBS would try to match it late at night.

"I can do more nighttime television any time they'd like me to," he told me. "I think I do a pretty fair job on the anchor desk. There just aren't that many jobs."

He paused, then said: "Well, maybe I'm living in a fool's paradise. The tendency is to give something like that to younger men. But I'm ready. If the chance came, my wife and I could move back from Connecticut and take an apartment in the city."

It had to have hurt, watching Cronkite, and then Dan Rather, sit, year after year, in the chair that had been his; it had to have made him ache over what might have been. But on his retirement day in 1988, delivering his last daytime newsbreak, Edwards read a few headlines, then paused for the airing of a Doan's Pills commercial. When the live camera came back to him, he could have said anything.

This is what Douglas Edwards said:

"A deep bow of gratitude, love and respect to the men and women of CBS News and to the company for which they stand. To you out there, thank you for honoring me with your presence in our audience, and most of all for your voices -- your most sweet voices."

Given that what happened to Douglas Edwards is pretty much what eventually happened to Walter Cronkite, it might not be a stretch to say that Walter invented not only a catch phrase with his trademark signoff, but provided a little foretelling that, sooner or later, everybody gets to the head of any line they stand in.

“And that’s the way it is…”

"The Key Is To Make Cootchie Coo More Fun Than Gucci..."

Here’s a little something that we of the Y chromosome club have long suspected, but n’er dare hope…

In the first three months of 2007, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, approximately one in three visitors to adult entertainment Web sites was female; during the same period, nearly 13 million American women were checking out porn online at least once each month.

Theresa Flynt, vice president of marketing for Hustler video, says that women account for 56 percent of business at her company's video stores. "And the female audience is increasing," she adds. "Women are buying more porn." (They're creating more of it, too: Female director Candida Royalle's hard-core erotic videos, made expressly for women viewers, sell at the rate of approximately 10,000 copies a month.)

Now, while this might seem to be cause for some celebration on the face of it, guys, let’s take a little lookie see between the lines.

“…One in three porn site visitors are female…’

Which, my Louisiana taught math skills tell me, means that two out of three still don’t have the time or desire to log on for log viewing.

…”the female audience is increasing…”

The knee jerk reaction to that, gentlemen, would obviously be that women are getting freer, hipper, less inhibited and less concerned about mommy and daddy’s values and more ready than ever to join men in experiencing the experience of watching others experiencing each other.

On the other hand, it could mean that women have finally reached the end of their patience when it comes to telling us, showing us, even drawing us a damn picture of what they desire/want/need and have moved along to the world of pre-recorded satisfaction courtesy of one DVD and four D batteries.

“…erotic videos made expressly for women viewers sell at the rate of approximately 10,000 copies a month…”

First, dudes, re-read the “knee jerk” paragraph and do the math.

If you still can’t quite come to the inevitable, albeit disheartening conclusion, try this on:

I’ll bet my scratchy VHS copy of “The Sopornos” against your scratchy VHS copy of “Sperms Of Endearment” that these “erotic videos made expressly for women” are also “expressly made WITH women” with nary a whiff of testosterone to be found.

In other words, fellas, the ladies have finally decided that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

And by yourself.

Or at least with those who understand that foreplay isn’t a golf term and know how to play well with others.

A lot of guys will read the story about the surge in women’s viewing of porn and feel like they’ve made some headway.

Yes, I’m fully aware of every single double entendre’ in that last sentence and I affirm that I am not trying to be clever by inserting them.

Did it again...damn...

Guys, let me just offer you five cents worth of free opinion based on more than four decades of trying to learn how to find the right button, or buttons to push, let alone push them.

Contrary to the stereotypical mythology, women have always been as interested in passionate, fulfilling, peel the wallpaper sex as men.

But unlike men, who are hardwired to shoot first and ask questions later, women, by and large, require, and deserve for that matter, a partner who sees and, more importantly, hears the real, live, thinking person attached to the body parts. A partner who can read the signs, translate the sounds and interpret the body language and move or not move in whatever direction those signs, sounds and language indicate.

Maybe my Y had a little extra X splashed on it when it was doled out, but I have never understood how man, a creature who can stand on a football field in front of 50,000 screaming, beer soaked onlookers and read, with almost pinpoint precision, not only what the defense is doing at that second but anticipate what they will do in the next 60-90 seconds at any given moment in the process and adjust and/or react accordingly but can’t begin to decipher the signals that the woman lying next to him is sending out, often at a level that makes those football game air horns sound like a Tupperware burp.

Guys, do yourselves a favor and don’t bring up, let alone show, the news about female porn viewers to your partner.

Because there’s a pretty good chance that if you throw out a “…you SEE?” in her direction what you’re gonna get back is “uh-huh….do YOU?”

Instead of going on the offense, take a little time to learn to read the defense.

And if it turns out that she actually does find the idea of a little on screen action something that would enhance your sharing, then knock yourself out.

Cause, not for nothing, but don’t buy the old wives tale about women not being as prone to being stimulated visually as are men.

Women are absolutely subject to intense visual stimulation.

Walk with her past a shoe store.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"It Was The THIRD Time This Week I Heard "What The Hell Has Obama Done?" That Triggered This Brief Rant..."

First of all, full disclosure...

I have made no secret of the fact that I never liked George W. Bush.

And, for whatever reasons, for now, I like Barack Obama.

Having said that...

The American voters gave George W. Bush eight years to bloat the deficit, shred the economy and alienate almost every other nation on the planet Earth.

Regardless of political or personal preference, it doesn't seem unreasonable to say that Obama deserves more than seven months to make any kind of headway in repairing that damage.

That's it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"Could Be Worse...They Could Say "Wow, You're 720 Months Old..."

Got another birthday coming up in a month, give or take.

No milestone in particular unless, of course, getting through twelve more months in the Kafka meets Monty Python skit without end we call this mortal life should be considered a milestone.

The next milestone is about twenty-four months away.

Actually, twenty-five, give or take.

Sixty. Sixty-reeno. The big six zero.

And like many who have gone before me and, trust me, many of you who are coming up along behind me, I have confirmed something for myself that I always suspected.

There is no intelligent answer to the question, “how does it feel to be sixty?”

Because, my fellow travelers, age has no feeling.

I don’t feel 57.

Probably because there really is no legitimate point of reference.

Feeling, not to put too eggheady a point on it, is really all about comparison.

We know that we feel good, for example, because we sometimes feel bad.

And the opposite of feeling bad is feeling good.

Without feeling like shit once in a while, we would never know that we were feeling good.

And that would be too bad.

So, I don’t know how it feels to be 57 because I never really got a handle on how it felt to be 56 and I have nothing to compare it to.

Ergo, it seems likely that I wont know how it feels to be sixty.

So, don’t ask, okay?

Unless you want to hear an out loud version of that really wordy twisted logic thing you just ploughed through here and risk the overwhelming urge to never ask another question as long as you live.

And that would make me feel really bad.

Now, if you should want to know what I think about being sixty, that’s a whole different tube of Ben-Gay.

To wit:

I think being sixty is better than having the plug pulled at 59.

I think being sixty gives me the right to be, and act, young at heart while reserving the right to ask what the hell is wrong with young people today?

I think being sixty entitles me to a wee spot of commendation for having survived to date in this Kafka meets Monty Python skit I mentioned earlier.

I think being sixty will alleviate any mixed feeling I have about thinking that sixty year old women are hot.

I think being sixty means I should never again be expected to watch The Hallmark Channel, The Romance Channel or Lifetime ever again. Ever.

I think being sixty means that the DMV should just give me a driver for life license because I’ve stood in enough damn lines already.

I think being sixty means that I will continue to have a totally open mind about the music that young folks enjoy but should entitle me to smash the boom box or car stereo with a ballpeen hammer if they play that music too loud.

I think being sixty will make me glad I’m not Ringo…I mean he’s almost, like, seventy, for Christ’s sake.

I think being sixty means I should be able to publicly state my preference for Adam Lambert over Kris Allen without having to explain said preference.

I think being sixty should mean that those thirty year olds who thought I was an old fart when I was forty should be bringing the “please forgive’s” to the table now that they are fifty.

I think being sixty means that sixty should be the new twenty. I’ll concede the right to wear the Speedo, though.

I think being sixty will confound a lot of expectations from people who were convinced that somebody was going to kill me some day for being such a smart ass.

I think being sixty should entitle me to label Joan Rivers for the no talent shrew that she is, something I’ve known, by the way, since I was around thirty-two.

I think being sixty wont slow down my sex drive at all, but that I should be given all due respect and consideration when the hoped for one hundred and twenty minutes turns out to be only ninety…or eleven.

I think being sixty means that Ann Coulter should just shut the hell up. Oh, it has nothing to do with my age, I just feel like I should be able to cash in a chip or two, you know?

I think being sixty means that I still have time to do the rights I should have been doing all along.

I think being sixty means I should probably step up the pace of doing those do right things a little bit.

I think being sixty should give me the right to wear Mentholatum as a cologne if I damn well feel like it.


I think being sixty means the answer to who gets the remote should be a given.

Obviously, I don’t know how much might, or might not, actually happen.

And, yes, I am aware that I’m speculating on something that isn’t set to happen for another two years, give or take.

But I have no idea what kind of shape my memory and/or faculties will be in two years from now.

And I would hate to have people think that I was some doddering old fart when they ask me how it feels to be sixty.

Lord knows how that would feel.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

"This Just In...Sasha Kicks Malia's Sand Castle All To Hell...And We've Got The Story..."

If you’ve never seen the classic western movie, “Shane”, then the next line will make no sense, per se’, to you.

“Shane…come back…..Shane…”

The line popped into my head, with a minor variation to be disclosed in just a minute or two, when I came across this “story” featured as a “top of the news” link on the home page of the zany comedy troupe known as

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The first family is heading to Massachusetts next month for some rest and relaxation.

White House aides said President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia will spend the final week of August together in Martha's Vineyard, a favored vacation spot for then-President Bill Clinton and his family in the '90s.

The aides confirmed on Friday what had been rumored for months but had been kept under wraps for security and other reasons, including the fact that vacation plans are very sensitive in the middle of a painful recession.

Aides have privately held open the possibility that Michelle Obama and the girls may arrive at the vacation spot a few days earlier while the president works on a variety of issues, including his push for health reform.

I can’t begin to tell you how exquisitely appropriate, not to mention ironic, it is that this little piece of “need to know” information is being hyped on the very same home page that still has the passing of Walter Cronkite listed in that same top of the news pile.

And still at the top of that pile, no less.

Because history will validate that there was probably no other professional journalist in our lifetimes who knew better the difference between should care and who cares than Mr. C.

I totally get that the advent of twenty-four seven on air/online news service has created a monster than needs to be fed more often than Audrey, Jr., resulting in just about piece of anything that comes down the pike/wire service worth consideration as an “item”.

The legendary late Mr. Cronkite and his peers had “only” to fill a thirty minute newscast once per weekday.

But, still…

The First Family’s family truckster destination is listed only three stories after the passing of a news icon and just before the space shuttle’s record setting rendezvous with the space station.

Thank God Barack and Michelle and the girls didn’t head out for Wallyworld with Aunt Edna strapped to the roof of the car or we’d be in for minute-by-minute updates.

I’m all about communication.

And I passionately believe that knowledge is power.

But, to paraphrase Forest, Forest Gump…

“I am not a smart man…but I know what news is…”

So did Mr. Cronkite.

“Walter…come back…Walter…”

"Hey, Supper's On!...Get The Lobster Bibs!..."

Lots of folks loves them some country.

Over the past few years, with the rise of such singers as Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and, of course, Taylor Swift, country music has become as popular in some major radio markets as rock stations.

In a lot of radio markets, as a matter of fact, country is numero uno.

That be “nuuhmber wunn, ya’ll…”

I likes me some country, too.

But not for the reason you might automatically assume.

In fact, there are three.

Reasons, that is, (black gold, Texas T…)

First, I get paid to offer up country music to folks on a daily basis on the old FM, there.

Second, it’s not really country music a lot of the time.

And third...

It’s just damn funny, hoss.
We’ll git back to that in a minit…

First things first.

I do a morning radio show locally in the country format and am currently working on a country music program that will feature great music, interesting stories and “not just the same old” that my homies and I hope to have available to a radio, computer and Ipod near you, no matter where you are, in the near future.

And, in the category of grandpa’s old maxim “find something you love to do, get somebody to pay you to do it and you’ll never have to go to work a day in your life”, I appreciate that country music is paying the old rent and car note, etc.

About that “not really country music” thing?

Well, I sincerely don’t think it a diss to offer up that Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and the ubiquitous Ms. Swift, et al, aren’t exactly “country’ in either the conventional, or stereotypical, perception of a “country singer”.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but, put Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline and Taylor Swift in a portrait, title it “The Legends of Country Music”…

…and then let’s play “What’s Wrong with This Picture?”

Taylor Swift is about as “country” as I am.

So is Carrie Underwood.

Now, I’ll grant you it’s a stretch but I could be convinced that Keith Urban is a country singer.

The country is Australia.


Oh…and let us not leave out the current “king of country music”, the uber-ubiqutious Kenny Chesney whose songs are becoming increasingly more in tune with the tiki bars that dot the shore line of the Caribbean waters where he parks his yacht/sailboat home than they are the honky tonk bars of Nashville, Tennessee.

None of this is intended as criticism or even critique.

It’s simply a matter of definition.

Carrie and Taylor and Keith (oh, my…) are simply representative of what country music has become in the last few years.

Pop music.

Add steel guitars and fiddles (and let’s make those steel drums a little louder in the mix, please) where appropriate.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

And the “reasons why” could be a whole other essay here.

Suffice to say that country sounds more pop all the time for a simple reason.

The lines between certain musical styles are getting more and more faint as time passes.

And I say, “vive le lack of difference, mon ami…”

We arrive now, though, at the third of my three personal reasons for enjoying the genre’

It’s just damn funny.
Well, it’s funny to me.

Why, you ask?

Thanks for asking.

Because “fish out of water” is a time tested premise for comedy.

And the pond of country music is stocked to the banks with fishes out of water.

But the really cool thing is that it’s a twofer.

Not only do we have pop singers writing and singing pop songs that are labeled country.

We have “country singers”, in the old fashioned sense, singing of the more traditional values of down home, sittin on the back porch, fried chicken on Sunday after church America.

While they hope to sell enough of those down home songs to be able to afford a yacht/sailboat home in the Carribean next door to the Ches…

Again, I say more power to em’.

Getting rich and living large is still the American dream.

And maybe it’s my own tongue stuck firmly in my cheek way of seeing things, but I find it funnier’n all git out.

Alan Jackson, for example, is a “down home, country boy” kind of singer who has had enormous success with songs extolling the virtues of the “country” life.

And he does live near Nashville.

I promise you, though, he does not live in a simple, country house with a back porch where they can smell the fried chicken after church.

Unless it’s the back porch that has climate control, state of the art media equipment and the smell of chicken is coming from the airplane hangar sized kitchen where the household staff is whippin up the vittles.

Randy Travis made a gazillion dollars singing of basic country values and traditions.

He and his manager wife have lived large in Hawaii for years.

And Justin Moore, one of the new guys whose latest video I have included here?

Well, just listen to the very catchy song, especially the lyrics.

And then trust me when I tell you that if Justin hits it really big, he’s not gonna limit spending the millions to having that screen door fixed on the house he grew up in.

Bet the farm.

I’ve heard it said, often, that country music is American music.

I couldn’t agree more.

Because having a good idea, working hard to make that idea work and then getting rich as a result is as American as Mama’s fresh baked apple pie.

Now being served up on the deck as we drop anchor off the coast of Martinique.

But just for a spell…ya’ll.

Friday, July 17, 2009

"...A Few Words On Walter..."

As is usually the case when a celebrity dies, the words will be flowing like wine for awhile.

I’m guessing that since Walter Cronkite lived to be 92, died peacefully in his sleep and was neither addicted to prescription medications or suspected of sleeping with little boys, the aforementioned “awhile” will be a day or two.

Unless it turns out that he had a girlfriend hidden in Argentina.

I doubt it.

In that day or two, though, a career of seventy plus years will be dissected, analyzed, interpreted and explained by both those who knew him and those who simply cant resist dissecting, analyzing, interpreting and explaining however and whenever the opportunity arises.

I’m certainly not the former.

And have no desire to be the latter.

What I would offer is, simply, this…

The “end of an era” that the more poetic types will refer to in connection with Cronkite’s passing is, I think, the passing of someone who treated the traditions of journalism with respect and was first, foremost and always more committed to the integrity of the information and the validity of the reporting than whatever celebrity value may have resulted from being that reporter.

The reason that Walter Cronkite was a news business superstar is that he couldn’t have cared less about being a star.

And “ the most trusted man in America” was trusted because his agenda was obvious to one and all.

He had no agenda.

Except to keep us informed to the best of his considerable abilities.

We admired him because he spent his working life shining a light on things he believed we needed and/or deserved to know, instead of trying to shine a bit of that light on himself.

The smartly tailored, perfectly coiffed “news readers” of this era, who spend as much time on the phone with their agents as they do with their sources, should take a refresher course in the fundamentals of journalism.

Starting with the Book Of Walter.

Maybe that’s not the way it is.

But that’s the way it should be.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"G.I. Joe...Say Hello to Nosmo King..."

It might not seem like it, but part of the reason I write these pieces is to enlighten, inform and, dare I say, educate.

Okay, a small part.

The main reason is to show off my hopefully satiric, inevitably sarcastic, wit.

Kind of like the kid we all knew in sixth grade who sat in the back of the class and made fart noises with his armpit.

Every now and again, though, the genuine opportunity to offer knowledge about a subject presents itself, unexpectedly, in the material I’m sharing.

Think DaVinci Code and add wisenheimer.

Here’s the subject.

The possibly unexpected knowledge follows.

WASHINGTON (CNN) --A new study commissioned by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs recommends a complete ban on tobacco, which would end tobacco sales on military bases and prohibit smoking by anyone in uniform, not even combat troops in the thick of battle.

According to the study, tobacco use impairs military readiness in the short term. Over the long term, it can cause serious health problems, including lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. The study also says smokeless tobacco use can lead to oral and pancreatic cancer.

The Defense Department's top health officials are studying the report's suggestions and will make recommendations to the Pentagon's policy team and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
The study recommends phasing out tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars over a five- to 10-year period.

However, the suggested ban does not sit well with many in uniform, including retired Gen. Russel Honore, best known for coordinating military relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina-affected areas with an ever-present stogie. He said soldiers at war need to puff.

"When you're tired and you've been going days on end with minimum sleep, and you are not getting the proper meals on time, that hit of tobacco can make a difference," said Honore, who was in charge of the Army's training programs before he retired.

Other soldiers questioned whether this was a good time to stamp out smoking, given the Army's concern with a high suicide rate.

"For some, unfortunately, they feel that smoking is their stress relief. Well if you take it away, what is the replacement?" said Sgt. 1st Class Gary Johnson.

The Pentagon supports the goal of a tobacco-free military, said spokeswoman Cynthia Smith.
"However, achieving that goal will depend on coincident reductions of tobacco use in the civilian population," she said.

Dr. Ken Kizer, the author of the study, found that civilians don't smoke as much as soldiers. One in three active duty soldiers smoke, he said, adding that among the general population, that number is less than one in five.

The Pentagon banned smoking in buildings on bases years ago. It has counselors on call to help service members quit. But while local governments have heavily taxed tobacco, the commissaries often sell it at deeply discounted prices.

"The military sends very mixed signals," Kizer said. "This is what's confusing to people."
The study found that profits from those tobacco sales -- $80 million to $90 million -- often pay for recreation and family programs on base.

I promised you a little knowledge and I’m man of my word, various marital vows notwithstanding.

But, first, with your kind indulgence, one little sprinkle of my trademark hopefully satiric, inevitably sarcastic wit.

Ban tobacco use among our troops because it can cause serious health problems?

Well, God forbid we should allow anything that puts our sons and daughters and brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers in harm’s way.

Like smoking.

Or getting blown up by IED’s in the middle of the Middle East middle of nowhere.

Thank you.
I’ll be here all week.

Now, the little knowledge I promised you.

If you’ve never seen the film “Saving Private Ryan” and are planning to some day, what follows is a baby spoiler alert, so be forewarned.

There is a running gag throughout the film in which a young novice to the unit repeatedly hears the grizzled veterans use the acronym FUBAR, a common term amongst those grizzled veterans back in the day and to this day, a tongue in cheek reference to the results of any situation designed, planned and/or implemented by military management.

The payoff for the gag comes late in the movie when, after a number of said situations occur, the novice finally sees the light go on and de-codes the code.

Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.


It’s a cute moment in an otherwise not altogether cute movie.

Any one who has done military service, especially those of our troops who have served in battle areas, will no doubt share with one another a shake of the head laugh as the word goes up and down the ranks about this latest “fixing of something that ain’t broke” offered up by the geniuses who work nine to five in that funny shaped building in the District of Columbia.

Sir, thank you for saving us from the evils of tobacco as we walk the streets of Baghdad, rifles in hand, looking for wack jobs strapped with explosives hoping to check us both out through the express lane to Allah, SIR!

The gracious view would be that the non-com who thought up this whole stamp out the smokes concept had the best of intentions.

Or too much time on his or her hands.

Either way, it’s a FUBAR waiting to happen.

Something else I imagine our troops will be thinking about this latest mangled management attempt at management.

It’s just another day in the military service of the good old U.S. of A.

They created a code for that a long time ago, too.

One you’ve probably used a million times in your everyday civilian life.

You likely used it when whatever it was you had planned, professionally or personally, hit some snag.

In your case, it was most likely considered an anomaly, a fluke or an unexpected speed bump on your particular boulevard of dreams.

In the service, it takes on a slightly different meaning.

It’s a slang term that translates, roughly, “business as usual.”, as in, for example, the case of military management lobbying to ban tobacco because it presents a danger to troops who are already only one trigger pull or remote detonation away from a burial service with full military honors.


Situation Normal.

All Fucked Up.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Like Tina Turner Said...We Don't Need Another Hero..."

Steve McNair has totally pissed me off.

Because his troubles aside, well, okay, he got killed, but it’s a fine line, I really don’t appreciate being made to feel like I’ve turned into my father.

HATTIESBURG, Mississippi (CNN) -- Thousands gathered Saturday for the funeral of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair, who was killed a week ago.

"Steve was like a hero to me and heroes are not supposed to die," Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young told the crowd, his voice cracking.

"He inspired me," Young said of his longtime mentor. "He has helped me on every decision I have made."

McNair's casket -- sitting front and center at the University of Southern Mississippi's Reed Green Coliseum -- was draped with flowers. Adjacent to it was a large photograph of the slain quarterback, one of many. A floral wreath framed a No. 9 jersey.

Among those in the audience were former NFL quarterback Brett Favre, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.

Mississippi's Oak Grove High School football team, for which Steve McNair Jr. plays, was also there, dressed in their game jerseys.

"We are here to celebrate a king," Lewis told the crowd.

Titans coach Craig Johnson and McNair's coach at Alcorn State University, Cardell Jones, also spoke.

"Mississippi has lost a tremendous legend," Jones said.

Police in Nashville, Tennessee, said McNair, a 36-year-old married father of four children, was killed by his mistress on July 4 in what they have classified as a murder-suicide.

Sahel Kazemi, 20, first shot McNair in his right temple, then fired three more shots at close range, most likely while he slept in his condo in downtown Nashville, police said.

The young woman then sat on the couch next to his body and killed herself so that she would fall into his lap, police said.

I was only halfway through the news report before I knew exactly what my father would be saying.

Because I was saying it myself.

Are you fucking kidding me?

“…Celebrate a king?”

“…Heroes aren’t supposed to die?

This married father of four was shot to death by his mistress.

Reportedly because the mistress found out he was fooling around on her.

And this weeping and wailing at the loss of a “tremendous legend” has put me pedal to the metal in old guy mode, a condition most often presenting with the telltale use of the opening line…

“The problem with the world today…”

It’s not for me to judge Steve McNair’s life or lifestyle.

Lord knows I’ve got enough work to do keeping my own karma above the water line.

But I’m not about to shed a tear or bend a knee in sorrowful worship of a guy who not only let everybody, including himself ,down but managed to get himself killed doing it.

And this “hero” left behind four children who have to grow up knowing that their daddy died because he was cheating on the woman he was cheating on their mother with.

A high school team all dressed up in their jerseys?

Celebs and sports stars all banding together to grieve the loss of a “king”?


Steve McNair is dead.

But he wasn’t assassinated in the service of his country, for Christ’s sake.

He was murdered for cheating on his mistress.

Hero, my ass.

Man, that sounded just like my dad.

Thanks a lot, Steve.

"The Logic Is Not Only Flimsy...It's Actually 'Wafffffer Theen' ..."

Every place I’ve ever lived has had a “…but, at least, there’s -------------“.

When I lived in New Orleans, it was “man, it’s always humid here and the mosquitoes are the size of cargo planes…but at least there’s shrimp po-boys…”.

In Delaware, it was “man, some people around here are so obtuse, that the area is nicknamed Lower, Slower Delaware, but at least there’s no sales tax and a cool beach within easy driving distance…”

I’ve been in Mississippi for a little over a year now.

Still looking for the “at least there’s…”

I mean, come on, they don’t even have a damn Dunkin Donuts, for crying out loud.

Which is ironic, considering that one claim to fame the state does have is that they are number one in the nation in adult obesity, child obesity and heart disease.

Good news for the pound challenged, though.

CNN) -- The little number on the tag on a pair of pants that indicates size can mean a lot to a person, and retailers know it.

That's why, in recent years, as the American population has become generally more overweight, brands from the luxury names to the mass retail chains have scaled down the size labels on their clothing.

"You may actually be a size 14 and, according to whatever particular store you're in, you come out a size 10," said Natalie Nixon, associate professor of fashion industry management at Philadelphia University. "It's definitely to make the consumer feel good."

As I was reading this little item, I was reminded of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry got busted for altering the size label on his 30-inch waist jeans to a 29 because he didn’t want to face the fact he had to wear 30’s.

All things being equal and relative, I would consider 30’s a victory over carbs that I’m not likely to achieve again in this lifetime.

And while I suppose I have to lend some voice to the argument that it’s unethical for clothing manufacturers to deceive us, I, frankly, like the simple ingenuity of solving the problem of getting too big for our pants by simply changing the number.

Don’t raise the bridge, Grandpa used to say, just lower the river.

I’m actually kind of pissed that I didn’t think of the idea years ago myself.

If I had, I imagine it would have come just about the time I bought my first digital read out bathroom scale and realized the advantage it gave me over the old fashioned number and needle type.

That you could step on the thing, watch the number start to climb and then…when it reached your ideal, as opposed to actual, weight…you just jumped off.

Now, thanks to the clothing makers, I no longer have to risk spraining an ankle getting to my desired weight.

I can just celebrate that I’m able to fit comfortably into 30-inch jeans.

Says so right here on the label.

"Well, Michael...Turns Out It Still DOES Matter If You're Black Or White..."

Today, kids, I thought it would be fun to take a little ride on the Wayback machine to a place where ignorance was in full flower and bigotry and stupidity stumbled hand in hand along the path of history.

So, join me, if you will, on a journey to yesterday.

No, really, I actually mean yesterday.

Like, as in the day before today.

HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- The president of The Valley Swim Club on Friday strongly denied charges of racism after his club canceled the swimming privileges of a nearby day care center whose children are predominantly African-American.

"It was never our intention to offend anyone," said John Duesler. "This thing has been blown out of proportion."

Duesler said his club -- which he called "very diverse" -- invited camps in the Philadelphia area to use his facility because of the number of pools in the region closed due to budget cuts this summer. He said he underestimated the amount of children who would participate, and the club's capacity to take on the groups was not up to the task.

"It was a safety issue," he said.

The Creative Steps Day Care children -- who are in kindergarten through seventh grade -- went to The Valley Swim Club in Huntingdon Valley on June 29 after the center's director, Alethea Wright, had contracted to use the club once a week.

During their first visit, some children said they heard club members asking why African-American children were there. One youngster told a Philadelphia television station a woman there said she feared the children "might do something" to her child.

Days later, the day care center's $1,950 check was returned without explanation, Wright said.
She was dismissive of Duesler's comments Friday.

"He knows what happened at the pool that day," Wright told CNN in a telephone interview. "I was embarrassed and humiliated."

She called it an "unfortunate situation," adding, "I know what happened; the members know what happened and a higher power knows what happened." Watch the club president say racism is not at play »

After news reports of the incident, the office of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pennsylvania) said Specter sent a letter to the club president asking him to reinstate the contract with Creative Steps, saying, "I think that you would agree that there is no place for racism in America today."

Duesler said he appreciates the senator's concern, but the club's board has yet to make a decision of how it will proceed.

"If we're going to revise our policies here, we need to make it so for all the camps," he said. "I just don't think we're prepared for that."

Duesler earlier in the week told two Philadelphia television stations the children had changed "the complexion" and "atmosphere" of the club, a comment that protesters outside the facility Thursday said showed that racism was involved.

Bernice Duesler, John Duesler's wife, called the negative response her husband has faced since the incident "unbearable."

"He's not one of the good guys -- he's one of the great guys," she said, holding back tears. "He doesn't deserve this."

She added, "If there really was a racial issue that happened, my husband and I would be the first one[s] picketing."

Jim Flynn, who said he was one of the club members who made a complaint against the children, told CNN this week it was not racially motivated.

"There were a lot of children in the pool and not enough lifeguards," he said. "As general members we were not told that they were coming. If we knew, we could decide to not come when the pool was crowded or come anyway. We could have had an option."

He also said invitations to two other day care centers, neither of which contained minority children, had previously been withdrawn.

Here’s the reason the “excuse”, such as it is, won’t wash.

Or swim, as the case may be.

If you contract with a group of people to have them come to your house, for example, doesn’t it seem like common sense that you would ask, somewhere in the process, “…uh, how many people are we talking about exactly?… "

In the light of common sense, the whole “we underestimated” thing is exposed for what it is.

A poor effort to distract and divert attention from the real reason the kids were sent packing.

Or as the more equestrian minded among us might say…


That said, my personal take is that it’s missing the target, not to mention the point, to tar and feather this Duesler guy.

Anyone who has spent time around the “weekend at the Hamptons” types knows that when you work for rich people, you pretty much do what rich people tell you to do.

Or you don’t work for rich people very long.

And it’s all well and good to offer up that if Mr. Duesler is “not the good guy, but the great guy” that his wife testifies him to be, he should have done a Norma Rae and stood on the diving board with a piece of cardboard that read “NO RACISM” as the kids were being shown the door.

Or the drain, as the case may be.

But we don’t live in a world that fades to black at the end of each dramatic moment leaving the hero in a limbo that we assume to be a happy ever after.

We live in a world where taking a stand can very easily instantly result in standing in line.

The unemployment line.

Knowing no more than I can glean from the coverage, here’s what I’m thinking.

The affluent got one look at the Afros, the self righteous indignation lit up like a designer Hibachi on the balcony of a Philly penthouse condo and the word came down, lightning fast, from on high that there were simply too many black kids in the pool for it to be safe.

Too many was defined at the moment, I would imagine, as…one.

Duesler did what Dueslers do.

Walk the minefield of trying to be true to his moral and Christian values while saving his ass with the bosses.

Do I think, if all the facts we’re getting are legit, that the “board” of this “club” is made of up of some pretty reprehensible human beings?


Do I blame Duesler for trying to hang on to his gig by fronting for these pampered paragons of higher society and offering up what anybody with a whit of sense knows is the aforementioned pony droppings?

Not so much, no.

I think we all imagine that if faced with the choice of standing up for something or losing our livelihood, we’d stand up fast and hard and, job be damned, let justice be done though the heavens fall.

We all want to believe that we’re Norma Raes.

In the real world, we’re more likely Dueslers.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Okay, Okay, It Really Was Fun For Awhile, But....:

You might find it surprising, given my usual slant, but I actually come from a long line of conservative Republicans.

Grandpa was a dyed in the wool Orange Country Republican type.

And while the older I get, the more I find myself leaning a little bit more right than left each day, I still tend to line up on the Democratic side of any question.

That tendancy certainly isnt slowed when I read things like this:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Four days after Sarah Palin announced that she will step down later this month as governor of Alaska, a new national poll by USA Today/Gallup indicates that seven in 10 Americans say Palin's decision had no affect on their opinion of her.

More than seven in 10 Republicans said they would be likely to vote for Palin for the presidency.

Okay, let's talk like grown ups for just a minute.

Forget all the hype and hooplah.

Anyone, after listening to and observing Palin's style and/or behavior for the past year or so and especially in the last week or two, who for a single second even entertains the idea of voting for her for president is showing a lack of common sense, let alone judgement, that can only be called staggering.

That aside...

If Sarah Palin is honestly, sincerely and inevitably the very best that the Republican Party has to offer this country, then they need to find the elephant a home, board up the building and convert from a political party to a Scientology chapter.

Then, at least, this phenomenal worship of this lightweight blonde in disguise would make sense.

I honestly think even Grandpa would be sayin' "...sayonara, Sarah....".

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"Til Death Do Us Part...For The Time Being..."

In the grand scheme of things, this is really nobody else’s business.

But we don’t live in the grand scheme of things in this world, do we?

Gov. Mark Sanford will return to South Carolina on Sunday after spending two days with his wife and four boys in Florida, according to his office.

Sanford departed Columbia on Friday.

The visit marked the first time Sanford has seen his wife in person since he revealed to the Associated Press that his mistress is a “soul mate” and that he had “crossed lines” with other women.

Jenny Sanford released a statement Thursday calling Sanford’s actions “inexcusable,” but she left the door open to reconciling with her husband.

“The real issue now is one of forgiveness,” she said. “I am willing to forgive Mark for his actions.”

Couple of thoughts.

Several, truth be told.

First, I respect Jenny’s willingness to have an open mind and open heart.

Second, she’s twice the politician her philandering husband is…notice the “I am willing…” thing…willing aint doing…the jury is still out on that one, bad boy.

Third…for those who suddenly can’t get Tammy Wynette out of their heads, keep in mind that the lyric is “Stand BY Your Man” not “Stand WITH or NEXT TO or even BEHIND Your Man”…in any case of betrayal and broken trust, an escape clause is prudent.

Not that she needs it or cares, nor should she, but I wish her well in the coming days.

And in the end, all I can personally hope for, is that she’ll offer the answer to the question I know the news gang is just dying to ask her…

“Mrs Sanford…what did Michael Jackson mean to you…?”

"Maybe The Gore's Should Have Named Him 'Jor-Al'...."

Here’s a thing.

Check out this poll currently being conducted online.

Will the north pole ice cap melt out this summer?

Yes 36% 78167
No 64% 138392

Total Votes: 216559

Well, there you go.

Something seemed familiar, so I went back into my archives and did a little checking.

Oh…yeah…here it is…

Will the planet Krypton explode into a gazillion pieces in the next few weeks?

Yes 8% 10248
No 92% 180031

Total Votes: 216559

The more things change…

"...Maaaaarion...Stalkin' Libraraaarians...."

On the weekend we commemorate America’s birthday, no better timing than this…

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former D.C. mayor, now Washington councilman, Marion Barry has been arrested again.

On July 4, the U.S. Park Police arrested Barry and cha
rged him with misdemeanor stalking.

About 8:45 p.m. in Anacostia Park, a Washington woman flagged down a Park Police officer on patrol and pointed to Barry, who was in another car. The woman said Barry was stalking her, Park Police spokesman Sgt. David Schlosser said.

Barry was taken into custody, processed and released, but he must make a court appearance for the charge. A court date has not been set.

Barry's other run-ins with the law have included a federal sting operation in 1990, when he was mayor. Surveillance cameras caught him smoking crack cocaine in a hotel room.

Despite his fall from grace, he was re-elected in 1994 to a four-year term as mayor. In his latest political comeback in 2004, Barry won a seat on the D.C. Council, on which he continues to serve.

Barry was arrested in 2002 when traces of marijuana and cocaine were found in his car after he was stopped in the Buzzard Point area of Southwest D.C. No charges were filed, and Barry claimed that the drugs were planted.

And in 2006, Park Police officers stopped him for driving too slowly, prompting him to accuse authorities of targeting him. Barry had been on probation since 2005 for not filing or paying income taxes for several years.

Last year he again failed to file a tax return, and his probation was extended to May 2011, according to the Washington City Paper.

Marion Barry has always been a guilty pleasure for me.

Because I honestly believe he holds the distinction of being the only guy who represents, at the same time, the best…and the worst about the United States of America.

His behavior clearly suggests that he is a drug addled wack job capable of, when the chips are down and/or the crack pipe comes out, just about anything.

While, at the same time, they just keep electing him to office…over…and over…and over again.

Keep in mind, of course, that when I say “they”, I’m talking about the residents of our nation’s capital.

There’s admittedly got to be a little bit of asterisk there, you know.

Bottom line…

A habitual law breaker is allowed to remain on the streets doing Lord knows what to Lord knows who and Lord only knows what’s next.

That happens a lot in this country.

And that’s the worst about us.

The best?

Hey, man…regardless of race, creed, color, religious affiliation, sexual orientation or reality show preference…if we like you…we really like you.

Is this a great country or what?

Happy birthday, America.

"...Cossssssta Rica, Where The Wind Comes Sweepin Down The Plain..."

You’ve very likely said it to someone in the past few weeks.

Come on, you know you have.

“Wow…they’re really dropping like flies aren’t they…?”

And we ain’t talking from the heat, baby.

God seems to be shuffling celebrity types off the old mortal coil with a little more gusto than usual lately.

In just the last two weeks alone, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Billy Mays, Karl Malden.

And now Steve McNair.

Shot to death.

And not just one shot.

Nope. Multiple gunshots, at least one to the head, as was evident when police found him sitting on his sofa, riddled with bullets, a gun next to the body of his dead female “friend”.

I know all of that because since the moment the bodies were discovered, the details have been on line and on the air in a perpetual flood that we haven’t seen since the likes of…

Well, actually since yesterday when this story usurped the perpetual flood of Michael Jackson details.

At this point, as the funny blokes from Monty Python would say…

And now, for something completely different.

Costa Rica is the coolest place in the world to live.

(CNN) -- Forget Disneyland! Costa Rica is the happiest place in the world, according to an independent research group in Britain with the goal of building a new economy, "centered on people and the environment."

In a report released Saturday, the group ranks nations using the "Happy Planet Index," which seeks countries with the most content people.

"Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction in the world and have the second-highest average life expectancy of the new world (second to Canada)," the organization said in a statement.

The Central American country, tucked between Nicaragua and Panama, touts its lush rain forests and pristine beaches. Its president, Oscar Arias Sanchez, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for trying to help end civil wars in several Central American countries.

This year's survey, which looked at 143 countries, featured Latin American nations in nine of the Top 10 spots.

The runner-up was the Dominican Republic, followed by Jamaica, Guatemala and Vietnam.

Most developed nations lagged in the study.

While Britain ranked 74th, the United States snagged the 114th spot.

The United States was happier 20 years ago than it is today, the report said.


Gotta admit I was caught a little off guard by that news.

If somebody asked me to name the coolest place in the world to live, I’m pretty sure that Costa Rica wouldn’t have popped into my mind.

And Lord knows, things do pop into my mind.

And it’s not that I don’t think Costa Rica is cool.

It’s just that I don’t know that much about it, so it wouldn’t have been on my radar.

But reading this story got me to thinking.

Imagine that.

I don’t really know, beyond a few dry facts, why this country gets the trophy.

But it only stands to reason that:

If Costa Rica is the coolest place in the world to live…

…they probably don’t pay pert near three bucks a gallon for what should cost fifty cents a gallon, tops, just so Costa Rican oil company CEO’s can have marble floors to rest their feet while they sit on the toidy in the morning…

…they probably don’t charge fifteen dollars per suitcase when you fly because their airlines have been badly managed and they need Costa Ricans to pick up the slack for that bad management…oh…the pillows and earphones are likely free, too…

…they can probably buy hot dogs AND buns in packages of eight each. Or ten. Each…

…they probably show each other the courtesy of turning off the damn cell phone when they sit down in the movie theatre…

…they probably don’t know who Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, et al, are…nor would they care if they did…

…they probably are smart enough to know that Adam Lambert is ten times the singer that Kris Allen is and don’t care that he’s only half the man…give or take…

…they probably aren’t losing their young men and women in Iraq…

…they probably didn’t spend five figures yesterday on a fireworks show that lasted twenty minutes, evoked a few mild smatterings of applause and a random ooh or ahh when all of that money could have fed or clothed countless numbers of people who have lost their jobs due to an economy gone to shit…

…they probably don’t care what Michael Jackson meant to Colin Powell…

…they probably don’t care why Sarah Palin resigned as governor of Alaska and aren’t really giving a whole lot of thought to what she’ll do next…

…they probably know that “Miley Stuart” is secretly “Hannah Montana”, but they don’t make a big deal out of it…

…they probably really like Rush Limbaugh…but only because he’s just one very funny dude, not because his point of view is worth two seconds of consideration…

…they probably think Susan Boyle was, in fairness, a stunning singer, but you don’t really deserve to win the whole tomato just by knocking people dead with the same song over and over…

…they probably think Ann Coulter is the Anti-Christ…wait…scratch that…that would make America the coolest place in the world to live…

…they probably don’t care that Mark Sanford has a girlfriend in Argentina…what the hell, he probably has one in Costa Rica, too…

…they don’t spend a lot of time on Twitter, Facebook, My Space, Linkedin, et al…chances are they go outside and actually talk to each other face to face a lot.

…they don’t think the filing of a will is BREAKING NEWS…

…they don’t really care that David Letterman pissed off Sarah Palin, because they probably think that late night TV hasn’t been worth squat since Johnny Carson retired…

…they probably think that while a former NFL quarterback being shot to death is sad, even tragic, they don’t feel the need to keep hammering Costa Ricans, over and over…and over, with the news that there were multiple gunshots, at least one to the head, as was evident when police found him sitting on his sofa, riddled with bullets, a gun next to the body of his dead female “friend”….


…they probably won’t leave their twenty four/seven coverage of the shooting death of one single human being on the entire planet Earth to resume their twenty four/seven coverage of the drug related death of one single human being on the planet Earth…


They really ARE the coolest place in the world to live.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

"I'd Like To Solve The Puzzle, Pat...M-A-V-E-R-I-C-K..."

Pay no attention to those so-called “political experts.”

At the risk of excessive self-aggrandizing, (and how, I wonder, does one define “excessive”?) allow me to share with you the cause of Sarah Palin’s resignation as Governor of Alaska after only two plus years of a first term.

And I use the word “cause” as opposed to “reason” because I think reason implies she has control over the situation.

Cause, on the other hand, simply explains the end result of forces beyond her control.

Pretty heady shit for a holiday Saturday, huh?

I like to think it’s part of my charm.


She resigned because she was in a place, to put it bluntly, she simply didn’t belong.

And, naysayers say nay as you will, but I’m not talking about her talents, skills or qualifications.

It simply wasn’t a good fit.

Or, more to the point, it simply wasn’t the right spotlight.

I can’t say whether all of this would have happened if she hadn’t been plucked from relative obscurity (with all due respect to Alaska, of course, but being Governor up there is probably somewhere between QVC host and director of the American Red Cross on a national name recognition scale.)

And I won’t say, either.

Which immediately separates me from just about every talking head you’ll see on cable news.

I will say, this, though.

It doesn’t take a Mensa member to see, in hindsight, that she was plucked from that relative obscurity and put into the brightest of lights where, through an almost comedic series of events, she found herself faced with a tsunami of exposure, critique and criticism, some of it unkind, some of it unfair, most of it probably deserved.

Don’t matter, mama.

Fair or un, she simply didn’t belong in that particular spotlight.

And politics has no corner on that particular cultural phenomenon.

Let’s talk Pat Sajak.

The first time I saw Pat was in the mid seventies when he was the witty, charmingly, but subtly sarcastic, weekend weather guy on the NBC affiliate in Nashville.

And much as I love and respect Nashville (and I truly do), I think it fair to say that being the witty, but charmingly, sarcastic weekend weather guy on the NBC affiliate qualifies as relative obscurity.

From there, Sajak and/or TV geeks will recall, he was plucked from that relative obscurity to host his own late night talk show, competing directly with the monolith of American late night television, The Tonight Show.

I don’t recall the exact numbers, but I think Pat’s late night show lasted about three days.

Go quietly into that good night?

Well, as history has shown us, no, not so much.

Because for what seems like a hundred years now, Pat has been the successful and much beloved host of the most successful game show in the history of television…”WHEEL…OF…FORTUNE!!!!!!!!!…”

Obviously, in Pat’s case, it wasn’t a lack of talent, skill or qualification.

It was simply a matter of finding the right fit.

So, for those who are feeling a little weepy this morning because Sarah Palin is saying “adieu” (or whatever it is they say way the hell up there…”bye bye, by golly…”), do not despair.

She’s not going away.

She’s just moving on in search of the right fit.

The political experts are going to bore the living god out of you in the coming weeks with their predictions and assessments.


Don’t have a clue.

Run for the Senate? Maybe. Run for President? Who knows?

Only one thing sure.

Vanna is double checking to make sure that HER contract is air tight in case the producers are thinking a little brunette moose hunter might freshen up the old Wheel stage.

Come to think of it, there’s one other option that might pop up in Sarah’s list of possibles:

Saturday Night Live really hasn’t been worth jack squat since Tina Fey left.

Friday, July 3, 2009

"How Can We Miss You When You Won't Go Away..?"

Not to belabor the point...

But, with all due respect to Michael Jackson and his talent, CNN should take a look at their own online poll to get a read on the need to continue their "all Michael, all the time" blanketing of the week old death of a pop singer.

Are you a Michael Jackson fan?

Yes 44% 86029
No 56% 107566

Total Votes: 193595

I really like Michael's work.

And hope he rests in peace.

But the king is dead.
Long live the king.

"She Knows EXACTLY What She's Doing...EXACTLY...Or...Maybe Not..."

Credit where it’s due.

Sarah Palin is one mavericky little monkey.

Arising from one of those afternoon naps that seems like a wonderful idea at the time, feels like heaven but always ends up making me feel groggier than usual, I flipped on the old cable TV to find the term “BREAKING NEWS” flashing like an old fashioned marquee in the night.

Well, shoot, I says to myself, they must have found yet something else in Michael Jackson’s house.

Like worn out copies of Boy’s Life or something.

But, sweet niblets, I was stunned to find there actually WAS something newsworthy.

Sarah Palin resigning as governor of Alaska.

I watched the video of her little speech explaining why she is quitting.

And, just as it should be after any really well written political speech, I still don’t have a clue as to exactly what she’s thinking.

But, I got a good hot afternoon chuckle out of watching the politicos stumble all over themselves on CNN and MSNBC trying to dissect and interpret what this all means for Palin, for the country, for the Republican Party, ad nauseum.

“Does this mean she is running for president…does this mean she cant run for president…does this mean she cant stand the heat…does this mean she loves family more than fame…is this some clever move to get the media off her case…is she plotting something grand and mysterious…can she win now…should she win now…can she run now…should she run now…?

No real answers were forthcoming since the news is still fresher than those fries at Hardee’s.

Which I realize ain’t sayin all that much.

Here’s the thing.

If her intention is to get the media off her case and fade back into the private world of friends and family, good luck there, Fairbanks Filly.

They’re gonna be on you like white on rice for the foreseeable.

If, on the other hand, your goal was to yet again yank the media’s chain by doing the unexpected, dare I say maverick, thing then mission accomplished, girlfriend.

Either, or any, way, I’d like to, at this point in the plot, thank you.

Thank you for, at least, attempting to portray yourself as someone who puts family above party and self ambition.

But, most of all, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart…

Thank you, thank you, thank you…for giving those cable news lemmings something else to talk about besides Michael Jackson, at last report, still dead after a week and a day.

Even if the distraction only lasted about fifteen minutes by my time keeping.

I mean, hell, they had to get back to…”just ahead…Colin Powell shares what Michael Jackson meant to him…”

Yes, I can turn quite the witty ironic phrase from time to time.

Thank you for noticing.

Truth is, though, that’s exactly what CNN went on to after fifteen with the Palin story.

And now, as I sit here gathering my thoughts and trying to put it all in perspective, only one real nagging question remains.

I wonder what Michael Jackson meant to Sarah Palin.

Time to get back to CNN, I guess.