Monday, July 30, 2012

"...'Weekend At Bernie's' Lovers Need Not Apply..."

This site doesn't, as a rule, do movie reviews.

First, to each their own.

Second, opinions are, as the oldie but goodie goes, like ***holes...everybody has one and each one is different.

So, this piece isn't meant to be a review.

For all the aforementioned reasons.

Not to mention I haven't seen the movie.

All I've seen is the trailer.

Which I offer here for your perusal.

As I said, this is not a review.

That said, I respectfully offer an opinion.

Based on the trailer, my guess is that this will be a very talked about film.

Whether it is "critically" lauded remains to be seen.

Not that that matters, of course.

And audience acceptance is, of course, also a matter of speculation at this moment.

The movie could be heralded as "the" film of 2012.

Much as "The Matrix" was heralded in its time.

Or it could be pilloried as an overblown, crushingly disappointing case of motion picture masturbation.

Much as "The Matrix Revolutions" was in its time.

All of that considered and notwithstanding, here's the only thing I'm really sure of at this point.

If your sensibilites are such that you find "Jersey Shore" a "must see" each week and are faithfully committed to "Keeping Up With The Kardashians", then don't waste your time on "Cloud Atlas".

Because, trust me, you won't come within a country mile of getting it.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

"...When The Chafing Dish Calls The Chicken Pot Black..."

Haven't stepped in a good steamy pile for awhile....

To wit....

My own theology makes me a subscriber, in large measure, to the school of live and let live, located on the corner of mind my own business and do unto others, in the little house made of glass where I usually refrain from stone casting.

As a result, I simply don't believe that homosexuals are going to be cast down with the sodomites and burn in eternal damnation.

Personally, I'm inclined to think that their predispostion to worshipping Liza Minelli and/or Michael Buble' is punishment enough, but that's another blog for another day.

And, without intending to invoke the tired, cliche, insincere "some of my best friends are" clause, the truth is that some of my best friends are gay.

Loving, caring, beautiful people who honor me with their friendship and that I am proud to know and proud to call friend.

Now, enough of the lovin', let's get down to brass tacks.

Or copper. Brass is so tacky and just doesn't have the same sheen, don't you think?

If the owner of Chick Fil A wants to be opposed to gay marriage, its his right and privilege as a human being to do so.

And if gays want to opt for taking a pass on the poultry in response to that opposition, then ditto.

But all this raging, angry bitch slapping bitching from the gay community is, at the rock bottom core of it, nothing more than the very same intolerance that they are angrily bitch slapping bitching about.

And, not for nothin', but here's something the more militant would, in my humble o, be well served to consider.

One of the reasons that the more unenlightened heterosexuals oppose you is because they are afraid of you.

And one of the reasons they are afraid of you is because you too often go way beyond the pale when it comes to standing up for your rights.

To the point of trying to cram it down their throats.

So to speak.

Unasked, I respectfully offer, to all gays reading this piece, the following solution to the whole batter fried broohaha.

Be who you are. Be proud of who you are. Live and let live.

And if you feel like you can't, in good conscience, patronize a retail establishment that doesn't hold with your particular values....

...then don't buy the damn chicken.

But, seriously, girls, quit yer bitchin'.

It's really not one of your more attractive qualities.

And don't tar me with the brush that equates eating Chick Fil A with being unsupportive of the gay community.

Let alone feather me.

Because it doesn't come close to setting you apart.

It makes you exactly like one of them.

"...In Honor Of An Outstanding Career...Give Or Take..."

On the face of it, this seems like a multi-layered, not so easily resolved question.

Not so much.

New York (CNN) -- Built into the by-laws of most sports Halls of Fame is something called a "character clause."

It's a loosely-defined metric meant to gauge whether a potential Hall of Famers' off-the-field conduct should prevent an athlete or coach from being honored.

The rules use words like integrity, sportsmanship and community to determine whether a sportsman or woman can be inducted into the prestigious club.

But once that tribute is bestowed and a Hall of Famer made, can it be rescinded and undone?

"It would be unprecedented," said Brad Horn, a spokesman for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

"I suppose they could," added Rick Leddy of the body that governs the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

That question is now being tossed around about the late Joe Paterno, a college football Hall of Famer since 2007.

Officials at the professional basketball, football, baseball and collegiate basketball and football Halls of Fame say it's never happened before.

While governing-bodies may use the clause to keep out candidates, once inducted, a Hall of Famer's status is historically safe.

But this week's "unprecedented" NCAA sanctions against Penn State for its handling of a child sex abuse scandal threaten to shake that very bedrock and raise questions of whether Paterno will be removed from its ranks.

"The question is 'What do you want your Hall (of Fame) to stand for?' " said Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples, a college football writer.

"Is there a character component to it?"

An internal review found the former head coach could have stopped Jerry Sandusky's sexual attacks against young boys had he done more, and that he may have known more than what he initially told the grand jury.

Vestiges of the Paterno legacy, once an enduring symbol of integrity, have since vanished amid the scandal.

Within a two-day span this week, his famous bronze statue in front Beaver Stadium was hauled down, as was his record atop major college football's all-time wins list.

The NCAA wiped more than a decade's worth of Penn State wins from the record books, slapped the school with a four-year postseason ban and imposed a $60 million sanction after investigators blamed top university leaders, including Paterno, for their "total and consistent disregard" of victims while a sexual predator lurked on campus.

"This egregious behavior not only goes against our rules and constitution, but also against our values," said Ed Ray, Oregon State president and chairman of the NCAA's executive committee.

Paterno's official record moved from 409 wins to 298, dropping to him to 12th on the NCAA college football coaching list, while also vacating six bowl wins and two conference championships.

The College Football Hall of Fame board has not indicated its thinking on Paterno in the wake of the scandal or the release of the findings.

"We're very aware of all of this," said Steve Hatchell, president and CEO of the National Football Foundation, the Hall's governing body.

"Our group is very methodical," he said, when asked if the group was considering Paterno's removal, adding that board members are expected to meet in early October.

"Everything's taken into consideration."

In 2007, the group inducted a still actively coaching Paterno alongside Florida State's Bobby Bowden, amending rules that required a candidate to be retired to qualify.

The Hall currently says in his biography, "No coach has been as synonymous with one school as has Penn State's Joe Paterno."

"More important than all of the wins and titles he has accumulated may be his legacy with the influence he has had on his players, Penn State Students and alumni," it reads.

In 1992 and 2006, the foundation awarded him the Distinguished American and the Gold Medal awards.

Although the board hasn't indicated its thinking, students at Penn State now offer mixed impressions about the prospect of yet another trace of their former coach wiped from the public sphere.

"I don't think they should remove him (from the Hall of Fame)," said Tierra Brisco, a 21-year-old Penn State senior.

"Well, I don't know," she then wavered. "That's a touchy subject. He built up our school. He was a philanthropist and he did a lot for us. ... But he should have done more."

The issue has again put front and center the question of whether sports figures, often lauded as heroes, should be judged in the annals of sports history by way of their off-the-field conduct.

In Major League Baseball, sports writers with the Baseball Writers Association of America vote not only for athletic prowess, but also on a player's "integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s)."

Banned from baseball amid World Series fixing and gambling scandals, White Sox great "Shoeless Joe" Jackson and the league's all-time hits leader Pete Rose are barred from even being considered.

But at the National Football League, voters decide based solely on what happened on the field.

"People asked us during the O.J. Simpson trial, that if he were convicted, would he be kicked out?" said Joe Horrigan, a vice president for communications at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

"The answer is simple: No."

Players and coaches' behavior outside-the-lines doesn't change what got them inducted, Horrigan explained.

In college, the rules are different.

While football coaches must boast at least a 60% winning percentage and have coached for a minimum of 10 years and 100 games, candidates must also demonstrate a laudable "post-football record as a citizen."

"He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and his fellow man with love of his country," according National Football Foundation website.

Those standards for years kept out Billy Cannon, a 1959 Heisman Trophy-winner from Louisiana State University, who was nominated in 1983 before his arrest and confession to a $6 million counterfeiting scheme.

The scandal rocked LSU and prompted the foundation to rescind his membership bid before induction.

But a quarter of a century later, the former running back-turned dentist was offered a second chance and formally inducted in 2008.

Others like ex-New York Giants star Lawrence Taylor, a Chapel Hill stand-out who last year pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct, have not gained entry to the club despite appearing on the ballot.

Meanwhile, Sandusky -- a former assistant coach who continues to maintain his innocence -- awaits sentencing for sexually abusing minors over a 15-year period.

Some of the abuse occurred in the same campus building where Paterno worked, according to the findings of former FBI Director Louis Freeh and his team of investigators.

The Freeh report drew criticism for its lack of access to critical witnesses, including Paterno, who died in January.

His family also reminded the public that "Paterno has never had a hearing," and that tearing down his statute would "not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky's horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State Community."

But the report -- albeit limited in scope -- shed new light on the scandal and raised questions about whether Paterno's marred legacy will affect his spot among gridiron greats.

Nicknamed "JoePa," fans adored him for a storied coaching career that brought Penn State football to national prominence.

But the university's board of trustees fired Paterno in November 2011 following a 46-year career because his "decision to do his minimum legal duty and not to do more to follow up constituted a failure of leadership."

Paterno reported to his superiors a child sex abuse incident in a university shower that involved Sandusky in 2001, but did not inform police.

His ouster prompted student riots, overturning a news van and clashing with police, who used tear gas to break up throngs of angry protesters.

Since then, material reminders of that legacy have faded.

At State College, the name of a popular football camp-out is now called "Nittanyville," rather than "Paternoville," and a famous local mural no longer shows a halo painted above the image of the school's former head coach.

But it's unclear whether Paterno's place in the Hall of Fame will go the way of his famed 900-pound bronze statute removed from the university earlier this week, a structure that once exuded a sense of permanence that greeted fans at Penn State.

Any good stock broker will tell you that the key to successful buying and selling is keeping emotion out of it.

Cue that "meltdown" scene in "Wall Street" when Bud Fox tells Gordon Gekko "remember, Gordon, you taught me to keep personal feelings out of it".

Admittedly, and inevitably, putting feelings aside when it comes to sports, let alone college sports, is tantamount to paying no attention to the five hundred pound canary sitting on a perch in the corner.

That said...

Given the information that has come to light as regards his participation, or lack of, in dealing with Jerry Sandusky, the question of Joe Paterno deserving, or not, a place in the Hall of Fame is pretty much easily answered by employing a simple criteria.

If membership in that Hall Of Fame is solely symbolic of an indivdual's accomplishments, primarily statistical, during the course of their professional career, then Paterno earned it, deserved it and deserves to stay.

If, on the other hand, membership in that Hall Of Fame is a recognition of statistical achievement, combined with exemplary success in setting a high standard for not only performance, but attitude, contribution and, most applicable here, principle, not to mention extraordinary effort and success at being a role model, then any reasonable assessment would indicate that Paterno's plaque be put in that same U Stor It his statue now calls home.

Despite what the passionate JoePa-ists would like us to think, entry to the Hall Of Fame is not a one way only laundry chute.

It is, in fact, a door that can, if not easily, then, at least, if necessary, swing both ways.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"...Protecting Your Rights.....Doing What's Right.....You See, They're Not Necessarily The Same Thing..."

Certain things are involuntary.

When someone swings something in our direction, we instinctively react by flinching.

When someone or something assaults our psyche, we instinctively react by a different kind of flinching.

Knee jerking.

The knee jerk reaction to the horrific assault on our psyches in Colorado is yet another popping off of the lid on the jar labeled "Gun Control Debate".

Any reasonable person can see merit on both sides of the almost cliche' argument between those who believe stricter gun control laws would prevent future slaughters and those who believe otherwise and, moreover, stand firm and tall against any infringement on their rights to bear arms.

As seems so often to be the case these days, I find myself pretty firm and tall in the middle.

Those who idealistically, and, yes, naively, believe that more regulation will generate more protection are, obviously, both idealistic and naive.

It brings back into fashion that oldie but goodie "when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns."

On the other hand, though, those whose knee jerks suffciently to result in a full throated defense of the romantic, traditional, but equally naive "constitutional right to bear arms" are, obviously, romantic, traditional and, yes, naive.

Let me offer up a boiled down to basics perspective here.

Given that Americans continue to believe that their individual "rights" are sacrosanct, even at the expense of common sense and given that the NRA/gun lobby in this country virtually assures that any effort, commonly sensible or not, to curtail the manufacture and sale of guns in this country will be, forgive, shot down from the get go, it's a fool's errand to suggest, let alone, promote any serious kind of additional restriction on hand guns and/or rifles, the kind of weapons that reasonable people could argue have practical civilian uses, such as home protection, hunting, etc.

Begrudgingly, so be it.

That said, here's a thing.

Assault weapons, such as the AR 15 that James Holmes chose as his opening act and that were banned until the recent expiration of that ban, have one, singular purpose and function.

To fire as many bullets as quickly as possible.

Less a weapon, more a killing machine.

And effective as all giddyup as Holmes and his fellow infamous wack jobs have so tragically proven.

So, hype, flag waving hysterics, political and/or corporate agendas and full throated advocacy of "rights" notwithstanding, what reasonable person could stand against a resumption of the ban on those assault weapons?

The key word there, of course, is reasonable.

But here's the calm, considered opinion of an every day American citizen who believes passionately in individual liberty and would defend, to the death, your rights to same.

Let's stop wasting time suggesting, let alone actually debating, any additional legislation as regards hand guns and/or rifles.

And lets's all agree to join together in a resumption of the ban on assault weapons.

As far as "rights" go on that one, by the way?

I'd offer that your right to freely purchase a weapon that exists for no other reason than its ability to kill dozens of people in a matter of seconds is trumped by my family's right to be protected from somene as bat shit crazy as James Holmes...and as dumb fuck stupid as you.

And if you fall into the latter category and still resist any infringement of your "rights", try this...

Picture the cutest child in your family.

Picture them lying on a slab in the morgue with a bullet in their head.

Are you horrified?

I should think so.

Are you offended?

My apologies.

Do you finally get it?

For the love of God...and that kid...I sincerely hope so.

Monday, July 23, 2012

"...And There's Some Court Thing Or Something Going On In, Uh...Colorado, I Think....But, Really, Do You Think Randy Will Stay?..."

Further proof of how we've lost our bearings.

Perusing today's spectacular headline news....

American Idol isn't giving up its diva power, with Mariah Carey landing as a judge as Jennifer Lopez departs.

Female 'Idol' contestants have been channeling Mariah Carey for years, so it's only fitting that the octave-defying diva is the talent show's newest judge.

Sponsored LinksCarey will join the judging panel for Season 12, Fox programming chief Kevin Reilly said Monday, confirming a deal with the pop and R&B star to a national gathering of television critics.

...when both CNN and Yahoo! both let this "breaking news" pop up in the middle of my perusal...

(CNN) -- Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, died Monday after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, her company said. She was 61.

"Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, commitment, and love. Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless," read a statement on the website of Sally Ride Science, a company she started to help teach students -- particularly young women and girls -- about science, math and technology

I know, right?

When, oh, when are we ever going to get our priorities right again???

Makes one weep for all of mankind.

Oh...and who do you think the THIRD judge will be?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"...And, Of Course, There's That Whole Penn State, State Pen Thing..."

Breaking news.

"...Penn State will remove statue of former coach Joe Paterno from outside stadium and place it in storage..."

This will, of course, reignite the debate.

Here's two cents.

Given what's known, removal is the reasonable thing to do.

That said, further denigration of the man and his memory is unseemly and unneccesary.

As is further celebration of them.


Here's a little irony.

Same thing happened to Jerry Sandusky.

Except his storage comes with three squares and a bunk.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

"...Three Names...No Waiting..."

Three little words.

Not so fast.

Not those three.

(Reuters) - The family of suspected gunman James Eagan Holmes said on Friday their hearts go out to those involved in the Colorado movie shooting and asked for their privacy to be respected.

Twelve people were killed and 59 injured early on Friday when a gunman in a gas mask hurled a gas canister into the midnight showing of the new "Batman" movie in Aurora, a Denver suburb, and started shooting.

The 24-year-old suspect, who was taken into custody, was in the process of withdrawing from the graduate program in neurosciences at the University of Colorado Denver, a school spokesman said.

In San Diego, where Holmes' parents live, police Lieutenant Andra Brown read a statement from the family.

"Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time," it said.

"Our family is cooperating with authorities in both San Diego, California and Aurora, Colorado. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy."

Brown said Holmes had graduated from high school in San Diego but did not specify which school he attended.

Frankly, it took almost twenty four hours longer than I thought it would.

And I was more than a little surprised when the "suspect's" name first came to

James Holmes.


Something missing here, kids.

Something that appears, literally without fail, in any and all reports of any kind of shooting, most often, sadly, of the mass killing kind.

The middle name.

There's something about infamy, especially infamy of any or all caliber types, that seems to dictate that the suspect/perp, et al will be immediately and forever identified with his or her full name.

I'm not sure when that custom became customary (I'm sure a quick Google/Wikipedia romp would clear that fog, but breakfast is waiting and I've got things to do today), but, for me, childhood reading and/or experience taught me that infamous assassins were always indentified with a triple monniker.

John Wilkes Booth.

Lee Harvey Oswald.

Sirhan Bishara Sirhan.

James Earl Ray.

When it came to Presidential killers, as a matter of fact, even the wanna be's got the three title treatment.

Sara Jane Moore.

And nicknames were added, as necessary to complete the trifecta.

Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme.

Soon, even the more mundane, less historic, yet equally heinous wack jobs were good for three.

John Wayne Gacy.

And let's not forget some of the other oldies but goodies.

Mark David Chapman.

Osama Bin Laden.

Personally I suspect it all got started with one of the most famous of the infamous.

Jack The Ripper.

Although the whole thing may simply have resulted from some young, careless cub reporter failing to realize that "The" was, in fact, not a name.

Regardless of origin, the three name assignment has become traditional. And even allowing for the fact that the middle name may be included so as to spare, for example, hard working, everyday good guy James Ray from being confused with rifle totin, redneck assassin James Earl Ray, the point is still pointless.

Like there's not hundreds, even thousands of hard working, everyday good guys named James Earl Ray out there.

So, custom considered, imagine my surprise when an entire news saturated day passed with only James Holmes being pegged as the perp.

And imagine my smug head nod when, finally, this morning, I came across the aforementioned AP story that has now put everything right again.

James Eagan Holmes.

Because that middle name seems to matter.

Although I can't, for the life of me, imagine why.

Just ask one of the good guy James Earl Rays.

About still being confused with the rifle totin, redneck assassin James Earl Ray.

Who, by the way...

killed Martin Luther King.

Now what's that all about?

Makes no damn sense.

Or my name isn't Scott Edward Phelps.

"...Where There's Smoke..."

This take on the Colorado killings was, of course, inevitable.

Parallels between Batman film and the shooting
By The Associated Press | Associated Press – 10 hrs ago.

In "The Dark Knight Rises," a masked villain leads a murderous crew into a packed football stadium and wages an attack involving guns and explosives. It's just one of the more haunting scenes in what was one of the most anticipated movies in years.

There is no confirmed evidence so far that the motives of the assailant in the Aurora, Colo., killings on Friday had any specific link to "The Dark Knight Rises." New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said he was told the gunman had painted his hair red and called himself the Joker, but Aurora police would not confirm that.

It's not clear why the shooter chose to enter the movie theater at 12:30 a.m., not far into the midnight screening that marked the film's opening day. Several survivors remarked on their initial confusion as the attack unfolded at seeing a masked figure silhouetted in a gaseous haze and the sounds of real gunshots mingling with the film soundtrack.

In superhero movies, violent attacks on the public by villains are key components of many plots, including "The Avengers" and "The Amazing Spider-man," both in theaters now. By Hollywood standards, the Batman movies are more grim than bloody. The Christopher Nolan-directed "Dark Knight" trilogy has been more dark than that of typical superhero films, taking a cue from the comic book series published by DC Comics, including "Detective Comics" and writer Frank Miller's gritty 1986 take on the character, "Batman: The Dark Knight."

There are general parallels to the Colorado shooting, "The Dark Knight" and the comic book character:

— Bruce Wayne's drive to become Batman arose from witnessing the deaths of his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, at the hands of small-time criminal Joe Chill, who shot and killed them after they had left a theater.

— A part of the Batman video game called "Arkham City" takes place in an abandoned movie theater (The Monarch, outside of which Bruce Wayne's parents were killed).

— In the "Dark Knight" graphic novel by Miller, the Joker slaughters the audience of a television talk show with gas.

— In the same book, a beleaguered man shoots up a porn theater after being fired from his job, killing three people with a handgun.

— "The Dark Knight Rises" features at least two scenes where unsuspecting people are attacked in a public venue: the stock exchange and a football stadium.

Prurient trivia aside, what is equally inevitable as experts and laymen alike fumble in their attempts to piece together the shards of this nightmare, hoping that the resulting mosaic will resemble something even close to decipherable, let alone understandable, is the discussion/debate on the effect that cultural violence has on those who are already predisposed to shatter our reality, be it violence in video games, TV shows, movies or anywhere/everywhere else that violence seems to appear in our lives for no better reason than it simply appears.

Sensitive souls who acutely feel and/or empathize with the loved ones of the victims of this carnage will, understandably, be able to see a cause and effect so obvious it will mystify them that others can't quite picture it.

Others, whose own gimbels work to keep them on an even keel somewhere between moral outrage and personal freedom, will offer that this shooting could have just as easily have happened at, for example, a Linday Lohan, as opposed to Batman, movie. (Although film purists would likely counter that, in that case, the shooter would most likely simply have turned the gun on himself to end the misery.)

And, then, there are the political agendists who will take whatever stand on whatever side of the issue they perceive will bring them the most button pushes, lever flips or chad pops come November.

Discounting the third because it comes saturated in self interest, I honestly find myself walking around in a neutral zone, of sorts, between the first two, my soul sufficiently sensitive and my other senses sufficiently inflamed by this assault on our humanity as to have a very clear picture of two plus two equalling four, while my fair play/not so fast meter clicks as a reminder that two plus two, more often than we would like to accept, does not, in fact, always sum up the same.

As the old saying maddeningly goes, we will, in the end, never really know.

We will never really know what possessed a seemingly bright, seemingly educated human being to cross the line from scholar to sociopath, from son to serpent, from man to monster.

One of the more insidious things about insanity is that, for all the blinding light the fire of mental illness casts on us, it leaves us, at the same time, in the dark as to where it came from, what caused it, what sparked it in the first place.

And while the knee jerk of angrily pointing a finger at the violence so readily available for the witnessing on the street, on the news, on TV, online and on movie screens is tempting, if only to give us the momentary illusion that, at least, there's something we can do about that which we can do nothing about, we know, when the tears end and the bodies are buried and the wheel starts turning again, that we simply will never know what lit the fire that made this man burn so many lives to the ground.

At the same time, along with the horrific images and heartbreaking stories pouring out of Aurora, one thought continues to haunt me this morning.

We know that movies don't cause insanity.

Just as we know that gasoline doesn't cause fires.

But we all know what gasoline does to the slightest hint of a flame already burning.

Friday, July 20, 2012

"...And 'Bat Shit Crazy' Isn't Even Close To Funny, Either...."

The loss of life and injury of others in Colorado is, to any reasonable human being, horrific.

And the insanity that manifested itself in that killing and injury, frankly, requires no other explanation than it is what it is.


That said, I think it important to offer what I shared on the air this morning as we talked about this incident.

At this moment, CNN and other media outlets are "headlining" the story in, give or take a varation, pretty much the same fashion.


While intending to neither defend or denigrate the film, the simple truth is that this crime against us is a massacre.

It is NOT, however, a BATMAN MOVIE massacre.

It could have just as easily, sadly, happened in a grocery store or sports arena or church or even a parking lot in Arizona where a talented member of Congress was greeting her constituents.

Insanity doesn't distinguish between time, place and/or opportunity.

That's why we call it insanity.

Adding "drama" to a story of this intensity is not only journalistically invalid and irresponsible, it is an emotional, even spiritual, obscenity inflicted on the loved ones of the victims.

"News" outlets who keep dealing the "Dark Knight" card are an embarrassment to the concept of legitimate journalism and should, by any reasonable interpretation, be deeply ashamed of themselves.

Bet the farm thety won't be.

And that, along with the carnage, is insanity.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

"...In My Day, TV Signed Off Every Night And We Hated That....Today?...Might Not Be Such A Bad Idea...."

Two sad things here.

NEW YORK (AP) — Don Brinkley, a noted television writer and the stepfather of supermodel and actress Christie Brinkley, has died. He was 91.

A spokeswoman for Brinkley said her stepfather died on Saturday in Sag Harbor, N.Y.

Don Brinkley was a television writer and producer whose career spanned more than 50 years.

His credits included such 1950s and 1960s staples as "Wanted: Dead or Alive," ''The Untouchables," ''Ben Casey," ''Rawhide," ''The Fugitive," ''The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and "Medical Center."

In 1988, he was honored by the Museum of Broadcasting in New York.

He also was a journalist for CBS Radio News.

Admittedly, any piece written on the subject of television tempts the writer to take the obvious and, frankly, lazy tack of how the quality of one generation's work far surpasses the quality of subsequent generation's work.

The hidden subtext in almost any piece like that is, simply, "in my day....".

Attempting, at least, in some small measure to resist going there, I'll simply offer that one need only check out any of the aforementioned programs that Don Brinkley worked on (via Hulu, YouTube, etc) to see that the values portrayed, and the manner in which they were portrayed, are radically different from the values and portrayal of same in today's television presentations.

Whether you think that's good or bad depends entirely on your personal theology.

One man's meat and all that.

As for me, I'll spare you the long harangue that, subtextually, preaches " my day.." and simply offer this.

Television, regardless of personal tastes and preferences, is, arguably, very often simply a reflection of the values held by those during the times in which they live.

Two sad things here.

The Brinkley family's loss is certainly the other one.

"...And It's Way Cool That She Doesn't Spell Connor With A 'K'...."

Please enjoy this very inspiring story and, then, I'll be right back to tell you what's wrong with the world.

Hollywood, Florida (CNN) -- Connor Boss, the first legally blind contestant to compete for Miss Florida USA, was a top five finalist at the pageant Saturday but fell short of the title.

The crown went to Michelle Aguirre, Miss Broward County Fair USA.

But Boss, 18, who was diagnosed 10 year ago with a hereditary eye disease, isn't likely to lose too much sleep.

Before the contest, she said the older she gets the less importance she places on winning the crown.

"I've come to learn that it's not even about winning the pageants," she said. "I'm so glad that my story can be shared and that at least if I can inspire one person, I feel like I've won already."

It was a message she echoed during the interview portion of the competition Saturday night in response to what she would like to accomplish in the next year.

"I hope that I could inspire others that anything is possible. You can accomplish whatever you set your mind to, and I hope that they can really learn from my story and take that and apply it to their own lives," she said.

Ten years ago, Boss was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, a hereditary eye disease that caused her vision to get progressively worse.

"It affects my retina and my central vision, so my peripheral vision is intact," said Boss. "When I'm looking at people, I try and look around. People take me as being rude but it's hard for me to focus straight forward."

Focusing is not a problem for Boss when it comes to her goals. Boss, a freshman at Florida State University, graduated from high school with a 4.2 grade point average.

"All of her tests ended up being read to her, even the SAT and ACT for college were read to her," said her mother, Traci Boss. It was not only academia where Boss excelled; she was her high school senior class president and captain of the cheerleading squad.

During pageants, Boss is treated just like all the other contestants, but she must rely on her other senses to compensate for her poor eyesight.

In rehearsal, Boss pays close attention to where she needs to be on stage and how to get there.

"She'll actually say 'four steps here, step down four steps, step down,' " explained Miss Florida USA Executive Producer Grant Gravitt. "She'll memorize it."

Humor is also an important outlet for Boss when dealing with her disease.

"I find a lot of humor in it, the stupid stuff that I do, like running into things, tripping all the time over things that I cannot see," she said.

Although Boss is good at laughing off her missteps, she works very hard to avoid them, especially when she is on stage.

"I think she's different than any other girl but not because of her blindness," said Gravitt. "I just think that she's an awesome young lady that is really coming into the prime of her own."

And now...what's wrong with the world...

The reality show, fashion line, fragrance, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah don't have the name "Boss" on them

They have the name "Kardashian".

Saturday, July 14, 2012


This is, obviously, tragic.

And, at the same time...

A surfer was bitten in half in a savage shark attack off Australia's west coast Saturday, witnesses and officials said, the fifth such fatality in the region in less than a year.

The man was surfing near Wedge Island, north of Perth, on Saturday morning with a friend when he was mauled by the shark, suffering severe and extensive injuries.

A man jet-skiing near the surfers said it was a gruesome scene, with "half a torso" all that remained of the victim.

"There was just blood everywhere and a massive, massive (great) white shark circling the body," he told ABC television, estimating the fish was four or five metres (13 to 16 feet) long.

"I reached to grab the body and the shark came at me on the jet-ski and tried to knock me off. I did another loop and when I came back to the body the shark took it."

Made infamous by the horror movie "Jaws", great whites are among the largest shark species in the world and can grow up to six metres long (20 feet) and weigh up to two tonnes.

Beach patrol officials confirmed that the attack was fatal, and a large-scale air, coast and sea search was underway for the remains of the victim, who was reported to be in his early 20s.

A police spokesman told AFP: "At this stage no remains have been located."

All beaches in the area were closed until further notice, and fisheries were hunting the shark in order to kill it.

"We'll go right through to nightfall tonight, we will then resume that tomorrow morning and make some decisions tomorrow," a fisheries spokesman said.

It was the fifth fatal shark incident off Western Australia since September -- an unprecedented spate of attacks that sparked calls earlier this year for a cull.

Local marine scientists have described Australia's west coast as the deadliest shark attack zone in the world, and a tagging and tracking programme has been launched in a bid to limit fatalities.

A sea kayaker narrowly escaped the jaws of a great white last month, with a friend managing to pluck him from the water after he was rammed by one of the marine predators off Perth's Mullaloo Beach.

That attack came just hours after another great white, thought to be five metres long, lunged from the water at a crab fisherman at a dive park south of Perth.

Sharks are common in Australian waters but deadly attacks are rare, with only one of the average 15 incidents a year typically proving fatal.

Experts say the average number of attacks in the country has increased in line with population growth and the popularity of water sports.

While even the hint of making light of the loss of someone's loved one, especially in such a horrific way, is a slippery slope, I couldn't help but be reminded, as I read this story, of something that I have shared with both friends and listeners of the radio show throughout the years that I think has some validity.

It occurs to me that an obvious, even glaring, point is never made when stories of fatal shark attacks are offered.

They all, without exception, take place in the ocean.

Here's a thought.

That's where sharks live.

Put another way, if I ever read of a fatal shark attack occuring in the lobby of a Hyatt Regency, then I'm going to be first in a line of many wanting to know what we should do to prevent any further injury or loss of life.

For now, though, it seems obvious what is required to, at least, reduce the chances that such a tragedy will occur again.

In retail, the expression is caveat emptor.

Buyer beware.

In this case, I think a little tweak will bring the point home.

Aequoris natator emptor.

Ocean swimmer beware.

Friday, July 13, 2012

"...Like Pearl Harbor, Nov 22, 1963 and Sept 11, 2001, We'll Always Remember Where We Were When We First Heard The News..."



Jennifer Lopez called in to "On Air With Ryan Seacrest" today to tearfully confirm that she is leaving "American Idol." After two years as a judge on the reality TV show, she said, "The time has come."

The announcement comes just one day after Steven Tyler said that he will not return next season. There have been reports that Randy Jackson is stepping down as a judge, too, and that Mariah Carey is in talks to join as a judge.

J. Lo was conflicted about her decision, telling Seacrest (who hosts "Idol"), "It's been a long thought process. I really have been torn... but even last year, it was super tough to decide. Something has to give. That's where I am right now."

She added, "You know, I was really dreading this phone call with you. I honestly feel that the time has come that I have to get back to doing the other things that I do that I've put on hold because I love 'Idol' so much." She said, "I have to come back to, like ... you have a lot of other responsibilities and things that you do. You have to pay attention to do that, too. I just feel like we had an amazing run."

Seacrest responded, "You've made up your mind. If you are leaving the show, I'm sad, but I understand you've got to do what's best for you and your family."

Lopez added, "It's really going to be hard to go. It's one of those special things."

things worthy of tearful confirmation...

...the lack of proper healthcare for millions of Americans...

...the courage of the girl who lost hands, leg and foot in the zip line/flesh eating bacteria incident...

...that the Penn State hierarchy didn't act in time to save many young boys from being horrifically abused...

...sadness at the passing of such wonderfully iconic role models as Andy Griffith and Ernest Borgnine...

things not worthy of tearful confirmation...

...leaving a gig as host of a TV show to continue a multi million dollar career as singer, dancer and fashion line/fragrance hawker...

Makes you just wanna cry, doesn't it?