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Wednesday, July 29, 2009



I was walking back to Grand Central the other day and wandered into this huge crowd in Midtown- I mistakenly thought it was the unemployment line, and even though I am employed at the moment I figured I would hang out there for awhile, and when by the time I was unemployed I would have a good spot in the line. Then all of a sudden I hear a really loud Paul McCartney song and I think, “DAMN- PAUL MCCARTNEY is out of a job!” And he probably has no marketable skills to fall back on. My dad used to cringe when I told him that I wanted to be a drummer. He wanted me to make sure I kept up my math skills so I would have something “to fall back on.” If I ever had to fall back on my math skills, I would end up squishing them, if there even is more than one of them.

But it turned out the whole thing had nothing to do with unemployment- McCartney was doing a free mini-concert for the Letterman Show on top of the “Late Night” Marquis. For an older gentleman he sounded pretty damned good. I was only close enough to make out what instrument he was playing- he still plays that Hofner Beatle Bass. I had a friend who had one once, and it’s very light, which is good, because if you’re in a band with McCartney you are going to get hit in the head with it. Why? Because he’s left handed. George Harrison always stood to his left so he wouldn’t get brained by him, and Lennon stood way to the side to avoid the whole lot of them.

Anyway, I was amazed by how fresh the music still sounded. He played “Get Back,” “Coming Up,” “Let Me Roll It To You,” “Band On The Run, “Helter Skelter” and “Back In The USSR.” Even the lyrics still seemed relevant. For instance, in “Get Back:” “Sweet Loretta Martin thought she was a woman, but she was another man.” This kind of thing still happens today, and it’s just as confusing. Loretta Martin, whoever that is, didn’t end up to be a man, but ANOTHER man. Weird, that. And okay the USSR as we know it does not exist anymore, but certainly the CCCP is probably still over there, whatever that is. There must be something over there because tennis players keep showing up with unpronounceable names. Anyway it was a good concert featuring actual music.

Incidentally, Paul McCartney is involved with charities for land mines and seal slaughtering. I’m not sure if he is for them or against them, but if you mention to him that you slaughter seals with a land mine I bet he would punch you right in the face.


I went to Maine last week and was truly impressed with what a polite state it was. Every intersection I came to, people were prepared to let me go first, especially if I was not in a car. If you come to a four way stop and you are able to read lips, the conversation goes like this:

“You first…”
“No- you go ahead.”
“That’s okay- I don’t have much planned for today.”
“Not for nothing but I don’t either- if I get through this intersection I’ll be happy.”
“I’m going to do the puzzle for a little while so you go ahead.”
“That’s a good idea- do you know a three letter word for a sea eagle?”
“Well there’s ‘erne’ but that’s four letters, although you can leave off the last ‘e’ and no one is really going mind that much.”

That goes on for a half-hour until you both go at the same time and crash into each other.

In New York, we still adhere to traditional values also, such as letting a girl exit the elevator first. Only in New York, it’s mostly because we want to check out her ass. Even if she is buried in the back of the cab behind a UPS guy with a hand truck full of boxes of paper, we will sit there and wait until everyone moves around like a Rubik’s cube so she can get out. That reminds me of something else- why does every ship captain insist that we save women and children first? Is that so the human race can continue? If the whole planet has only women and children who is going to kill all the spiders? The whole food chain will end up being readjusted with spiders on the top, and then humans, then apes, then fruits, and finally Good Humor bars. I think I might be mixing the food chain up with the food pyramid, but it seems to work out my way also.

Incidentally, according to the USDA, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter count as 1 ounce of lean meat. So if you are out at a restaurant, and you don’t want to eat red meat, instead of a 16 oz. steak, you can order a 32-tablespoon peanut butter sandwich.

Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.

Monday, July 20, 2009



My friend Glenn took me skeet shooting last weekend. Is there anything more fun than shooting something that can’t shoot you back? You walk around to different stations, and shoot at “clay pigeons” that they catapult into the air from all directions like little Frisbees. So you follow these targets along the sights of the barrel and shoot at them. It turns out that in my case a clay pigeon is a little small. Something along the lines of a “clay ostrich” would work better for me- any flightless bird would help. They are hard to hit, especially the ones that travel from side to side. My technique, which is hard to pull off believably, was to wait until just before it hit a tree and broke, and fire at it, then pop the casings and blow into the chamber. If anyone had a problem with that they kept it to themselves, because I reloaded quickly and affected a kind of psychotic look, as if I didn’t know quite where I was, like maybe Peter Falk on Demerol.

You are supposed to lead the target as you aim, and fire just ahead of it. I couldn’t master that, and so I just used the “Superman” technique (anyone who watched Superman on TV knows): You empty the whole chamber at Superman, as he smiles smugly at you, and when there is no ammo left you throw the gun at him as a diversion and run like hell. This worked for awhile but I got tired of looking for the shotgun in the woods.

In life I always aim high, and I think I killed some real pigeons. Incidentally, aside from firing pellets known as “shot,” the shotgun can also fire a solid projectile known as a “slug.” This form of ammunition is especially feared, since if you have ever worked in a garden, you know that if you get one on you it’s gross.


They just had the annual “Running of the Bulls” in Pamplona, Spain. This yearly event coincides, strangely enough, with the annual “Running even faster of a Bunch of Drunken Idiots,” also in Pamplona, and on the SAME street! What a scheduling SNAFU that is!

This is exactly the kind of thing that I can see myself getting caught in while I am late for a concert or something on vacation. There I am, in a rental car, and I see that traffic is going NOWHERE, so I pull off onto a sidestreet, and all these crazy-looking numbnutzes go running by, but at least they are moving in the direction I want to go, and they are going pretty fast, like 20- 25 miles per hour. I think to myself, damn these guys can run fast! So I fall in right behind them at a safe distance, and I hear this rumbling. I assume it’s coming from the rental car, so I do what I always do when I hear a noise coming from my car engine, and I turn the radio up loud. But the rumbling gets louder also, and I look in the rear view mirror and see about 45 bulls following my car. My first reaction is DAMN- I should have gotten that supplemental insurance that I always waive… They start passing me and rubbing against my car, and I am getting hoofmarks on my fender and snot-stains everywhere. They are smelly, so I have the owner’s manual out trying to find out where the “air recirc.” button is on the rental car. And I realize you are supposed to keep at least one bull-length between you and the bull ahead of you, but it’s impossible to keep track, the whole thing happens so fast, and no one is using turn signals at all. Then rubbernecking forces traffic to a halt, and I seize my opportunity, get out of the car, lasso the nearest bull and put him on his back tying up 3 out of 4 legs in the traditional rodeo style. Of course in my case, he takes that 4th foot and kicks me to kingdom come.

As you watch it on TV, what’s amazing is that the drunken idiots, if the bull closest to them is ignoring him, will try to goad the bull a little bit- a little trash-talking if you will. The opportunity for bullshit is at its all-time high. Usually the bull will just ignore him or kill him- there are very few options in between. Sometimes the guy will touch the bull, or slap at him, knowing that the bull is not in any mood for silly games. What is unclear is what the bulls are running from in the first place? And to the idiot who left the door open, I have one question: “Do you live in a BARN?”

Incidentally, since 1910, 15 people have been killed during the running of the bulls, some seriously.

Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009



We were watching the Home Run Derby last night on ESPN- we figured it might be a fun way to kill an hour or so, but it turns out that this thing can kill about 4 hours at a clip. It goes for 17 or 18 rounds, the not-quite-the-best home run hitters in the game going head-to-head (the real sluggers want no part of this). After the first 11 or 12 rounds, the players are dying to get out of this thing. When nobody hit a home run in one round, they had a “bat-off” where the worst of the bunch competed just to get into the next round, and man did they look crestfallen to have to go through it again.

In a regular baseball game, the most fun and exciting thing that can happen is that someone hits a home run. In the Home Run Derby, you are rooting for just about anything else. A pop fly that hits a bird, a fight in the stands, even a squirrel would perk things up. After a while we started focusing on the little kids that run down the balls that aren’t home runs (a surprisingly large number of them). Every time a fly ball was hit these little weasels would scatter like roaches when the lights come on. “Holy crap! There’s a ball coming this way! Let’s get the hell out of here!” Couldn’t little league teams or schools nominate the best fielders on their squads to participate, so that we could see some good plays out there? Think it over, MLB. The only good catch you’re likely to see is one that bounces off another kid’s head.

Then there is the pitcher. My theory is that there is a pitcher in every minor league system that it’s impossible to get rid of because of the Union. A guy with marginal talent, who keeps fleecing the refrigerator of Evian, spits sunflower seeds all over the place, and always leaves the toilet seat down. At this time of year, the manager calls him into the office and says, “Kid, you’re going to the bigs. You’re pitching in the ALL-STAR BREAK!” And the kid grabs about 20 waters and gets on the bus, and pitches his heart out. The next day, the manager calls him back and says, “Kid? I’ve got some bad news for you: You gave up 233 homers last night, and we’re going to have to ship you down to 1/3-A ball. Here’s some Evian water- it looks like you may be choking on a seed.”

Incidentally, the teams to host the All-Star game most often are the Indians and Pirates, with five times each. And by the way, it is politically incorrect to use the term “pirate.” Instead, the phrase, “Native Somalian” should be used.


I saw the Jonas Brothers on Regis and Kellie Lee the other day, and found the experience very strange. First of all, what a coincidence that all of their names are “Jonas.” Secondly, at the end of every note, the Jonas who was singing at the time squeaked like a faulty clarinet. It seemed obvious that he was either doing it on purpose, or had not soaked his reed enough.

It also was painfully apparent that the band does not drink nearly enough beer, although they did not look old enough to buy it themselves. I can offer a few tips on that from experience. When I was in college I think the minimum drinking age was 11 or 12- you would take a six-pack with you to your driver’s license test, and give one to the guy grading you. But times have changed- no more drinking and driving, or you would never be able to text a coherent sentence while operating the turn signal with your knee.

Anyway, the Jonases seem to already have a wealth of life experience, judging from their song lyrics. And it is these pithy croonings that lead me to believe that they may be taking themselves too seriously, and I think seven or eight beers apiece, administered by a qualified professional, could help.

They also seem to have mastered the art of looking like they are lip-syncing, even when they are actually singing, so that you can never tell the difference. It’s like watching a Godzilla movie. It’s daunting what you have to know how to do these days in order to succeed in a band: dancing, posing, hair & make-up… Actually playing is not really necessary, since there is a full band of adults behind them, who definitely look old enough to buy beer.

Incidentally, the Jonas Brothers appeared in Washington to sing the National Anthem for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. Better that than to throw out the first pitch, or worse, catch it.

Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009



Last weekend they celebrated the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s famous speech delivered at Yankee Stadium by having people at each stadium read his famous words. 70 years doesn’t seem like a very round number to me. What I think happened is that some people wanted to celebrate the 68th anniversary, and others wanted the 72nd anniversary, and they compromised.

The original speech was delivered only to the fans, not to the media. He mentions how lucky he is to have played in front of them, and he lists his owners and some of his teammates by name, and says he was fortunate just to have associated with them. Then he goes on to include his mother-in-law, and how nice she is to side with him in squabbles with his wife. This is where things go south. I can’t imagine him being the luckiest man on the face of the Earth the next day, when the wife has had a chance to let that sink in a little…

This guy played 2,130 straight games without complaining. Anything less than his own disease named after him probably would not have gotten him out of the lineup. I would like to have a disease named after me, but I don’t want to actually HAVE the disease. Maybe if I could discover it in someone else who I don’t like? I don’t need to be the luckiest man on the face of the Earth- it’s fine with me if I just have acid reflux and a sore knee, and I place in the top 20.

Incidentally, there is no gift listed on the modern or traditional gift table for 70 years. I guess if you live that long and are still drawing breath, you can use it to blow out the candles on the anniversary cake.


Last weekend we were fortunate enough to celebrate the 4th of July in the town that hosted General George Washington’s headquarters during the last years of the Revolutionary War, Newburgh, New York. No matter how old you are, fireworks displays are still satisfying, at least until you get back to your car and go, “Holy crap! It’s going to take at least an hour to get out of here!” We have not gone to a fireworks display in the last 20 years that did not include a bicycle or a motorcycle- two wheels is the only way to fly in Independence Day traffic. This year we added a new dimension to traffic avoidance, and motored up to the Newburgh Yacht Club on our yacht, the ScapeBoat.

Every year there seems to be a new shell that catches your attention- one year it was the one that explodes and then provides its own applause. This year they set off a variety that looked like an impressionist painting of itself. Nice!

There are all kinds of rules that you need to abide by if you are handling the American Flag on the 4th or any other day. For instance you should never fly the American flag on the same staff as another flag. You should never wear flag shorts, or a flag poncho, as Kid Rock once did. Flag underwear you can forget about, and don’t even talk to me about a flag thong. Unless you are Rosie O’donnell you’re only going to get one star and one stripe on it anyway.

You are allowed to burn the flag if it is tattered (not when it touches the ground), or if America takes over your country without asking first.

Using napkins printed like little flags is a violation of the flag code, but making a cake that looks like a flag is not a direct infraction, since there is no mention of the flag as food in the regulations.

There are rules about how to properly fold the flag. When the day is done you are supposed to fold the flag into little triangles until it is the size of a Chiclet, then pop it into your mouth.

Incidentally, only the president can order the U.S. flag to fly at half staff. Now due to budget cuts, if you only have half a staff to work with, you’re on your own.

Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009



So many big players are passing on one after another that it’s impossible for any one of them to enjoy more than a few moments in the spotlight. First it was Ed McMahon, and hearing Johnny Carson and Fred DeCordova weigh in on his life and career was truly amazing, since they are both dead also. Somewhere after McMahon was given credit for Brittney Spears’ success, but right before they got to coverage of the “Alpo years,” Farrah Fawcett died. So the media quickly switched gears, and Ed was left in the dust. We relived Farrah’s breakthrough as a Charlie’s Angel, her iconic poster, and her switch to meaty roles in television and theater where she sought to prove she was more than just a “dumb blonde.” Right before we got to discussing her Letterman appearance, where she sought to prove she was nothing more than a “dumb blonde,” Michael Jackson died. This was certainly expected, since the life expectancy of someone without a working nose is exactly 50 years. But poor Farrah was deprived of a proper remembrance- she was mourned for exactly one morning. We were able to get in enough Michael Jackson coverage to become fully sick of his music once again… Once we covered what an influential artist he was, and just started to get into what a weird person he was, an even LARGER icon left us. Billy Mays has been personally credited with advancing such modern marvels as OxiClean, Kaboom and Mighty Putty. He has also been proven responsible for the invention of a button on post- 2008 television remote controls that mutes the volume by 50 percent. Mays was fondly remembered by his arch-rival, the “Shamwow guy.” After reliving some of his early ads, we were about to revisit some of his meatier roles where he proved he was more than just a “dumb blonde,” when lo and behold, Fred Travalena dies. He was possibly imitating Michael Jackson and Billy Mays at the time of death. Now I think it’s safe to go back to talking about Ed McMahon.

Incidentally, Ms. Fawcett’s real first name was not Farrah; that name was made up by Farrah herself. Her real first name was Ferrah. That name was made up by her mother.


Last weekend the Yankees outscored the Mets 33-3 in the last four games, most of the runs coming on defensive indifference. Even though I am a Yankee fan, I started actually feeling sorry for the Mets. Manuel, the manager, made frequent visits to the mound, sometimes bearing flowers or small gifts, trying to talk the Mets pitching staff down from the ledge. I am not a lip-reader, but at one point I even thought I saw him mouth the words, “Don’t worry, everything happens for a reason…”

It will be nice to watch baseball again without pitchers trying to hit. Every time a Yankee pitcher came to bat it was a goofy adventure. When a professional player is at bat, and other players are peering out of the dugout snickering at him, you know that sports is not being played at its highest level. Here is a guide to broadcasters’ accounts of interleague pitchers trying to hit:

“He had quite a hack at that one…” TRANSLATION: “He struck out with his bat flailing like a cow’s tail at a bee.”

“He really got good wood on that one…” TRANSLATION: “His grounder barely made it to the infielder, who had time to check his emails before throwing him out.”

“Wow, that was a great effort trying to sacrifice bunt…” TRANSLATION: He bunted foul with two strikes and is therefore out.

Incidentally, AL pitchers in 2008 batted .114, with more sacrifices than the Aztec Empire.