Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The World According To Palin (and McCain), Pt 2

In the "you gotta see it to believe it" department, we have Senator McCain running to the rescue of Sarah Palin in an interview with CBS's Katie Couric. The poor thing was a victim of "gotcha" journalism, you see.

Check it out!

And by the way.....more fun as Tina Fey reprises Sarah Palin on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE!.

With art imitating life so accurately I don't know if I should keep laughing, or start getting really scared.

Monday, September 29, 2008

12 Votes

As I said before, I am not an economist. But today a shock went through me as I saw members of a sitting president's own party rebuke him in the (pick one) Wall Street bailout/rescue bill. This 228-205 vote was over the wishes of the White House and the of the Republican Congressional leadership. Senator John McCain suspended his campaign in order to "get it done" for America.

And sadly, it broke down to playing politics.

And the Dow plunged a record 777.68 points....because the House of Representatives did nothing.

There are two ways of handling this crisis- (a) pass the package and attempt to stop the bleeding, to the tune of $700 billion, or (b) do nothing and risk financial collapse not only on Wall Street, but on Main Street, and internationally.

This is the definitions of a Hobson's Choice.

Ali Velshi of CNN compared the situation as to finding out your kid set your house on fire- you get mad at your kid, but first you put out the fire before dealing with your child. We are not dealing with Armageddon, in his words, but its a very bad situation...and it could seem like the end of the world for many hard working Americans.

Conservative commentator David Gergen called the vote reckless and "one of the worst mistakes I have ever seen the Congress make. It was shockingly irresponsible".

Yet another CNBC commentator compared the vote to "fiddling while Rome burned"

Politicians were being politicians and doing the only thing they know how to do...that is, finding ways to get re-elected no matter what the ultimate cost to the majority would be. And the members of God's Own Party seemed to be more Darwinist than any would seemingly admit publicly....they truly do believe in "survival of the fittest".

Forget "what Jesus would do".

Tell us what Lyndon Johnson would have done.

My guess is...it wouldn't have been pretty.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Remembering Paul Newman

I never met Paul Newman, but I did brush by him in a concession line at an auto race in Watkins Glen, New York in the early 1980's. My brother took the picture above as Mr. Newman was leaving the area, ice cream cone in hand; don't ask me what flavor ice cream he had- I was so surprised to see him I never noticed.

And besides, he stood in line like the rest of us, no star treatment- he was a regular guy. There was no entourage, no hangers on, no goons brushing people away. He was just a guy from Ohio who happened to make movies for a living.

And this guy from Ohio who spent most of life in Connecticut made a surprising amount of westerns- he was Billy The Kid in The Left Handed Gun, the title character in The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, the white man raised by Apaches in Hombre, the charismatic cad in the modern day western Hud, and of course Robert Leroy Parker,nee Butch Cassidy, in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

He became boxer Rocky Graziano, fictional detective Lew Harper, con artist Henry Gondorff, General Leslie Groves, and of course, pool shark Eddie Felson in both The Hustler and The Color of Money. He won an Oscar for his portrayal of the aging, wiser Eddie 25 years after his first turn.

The list of roles Newman had in a career that spanned more than 50 years was interesting in its variety, and contained realatively few clunkers. Newman rose above pedestrian material and made even the most mediocre movies worth seeing.

He was a humanitarian who raised $200 million from sales of his Newman's Own popcorn, sauces, and salad dressings, and founded the Hole In The Wall Camp for seriously ill children. And as great as his film career was, and as iconic a figure he became in life, it is his legacy as a philanthropist that will be remembered by future generations. He did it without fanfare and flashbulbs.

Because that was his way.

Someone very special has left us- and the world is a little better because of his 83 years spent with us.

Goodbye.....and God bless.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The World According To Palin, Part 1

I finally got a chance to look at Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric. Yes, the same Katie Couric who once shook up H.Ross Perot with her Grand Inquisitor form of questioning. You can see the interview (from CBS) by clicking here

Well...... at least I THINK it was Sarah Palin...it could've been Tina Fey...or possibly that news anchor (who received hate mail from crazies) in Maine who looks like La Governor; I wonder if that news anchor can see Canada from her house? Could that qualify her as our next Ambassador to Canada? Does she even speak Canadian????

Anyhow....after seeing Governor Palin's performance I was reminded of an old song from a favorite artist. Click When The Spell Is Broken for a listen.

Quick Hits

(1) "Think about how stupid the average person is- and half the people are even stupider than that"- George Carlin. And given the closeness of the race to the White House I'd say that old George is having a laugh right now from the Great Beyond he never believed in.

(2) John McCain, who has not been present for a roll call vote in the Senate since April 2008, suspended his Presidential campaign in order to help fix the Wall Street crisis on September 24.... but not until he made a side trip to New York for an interview with Katie Couric at CBS, blowing off an appearance on David Letterman in the process (McCain's spokesman said he hadn't the time to do Dave's show). The only problem was McCain's news interview was being taped at the same time Letterman's show was being taped....and Dave was watching McCain getting made up on a monitor. Dave was not pleased. In fact, he brought in MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, a McCain nemesis, as a substitute. See the vid! Dave Rips McCain!

(3) Oh, about the pretty girl pictured above....its a sneaky way of getting you to read this stuff! But (somewhat) seriously, the lady's name is Diana Perkovic, and she is one reason for not blowing past HSN while you are channel surfing. Obviously, it ain't Grandma's home shopping channel anymore.

Diana's bio

(4) Speaking of home shopping channels; today QVC is having its "Countdown to Christmas". Only 3 months until December 25. Actually they started counting down to Christmas on July 25. The only thing that bugs me more than merchandisers who start Christmas season right after the 4th of July are the people who actually start Christmas shopping in July, August, and September! And I'm sick of these people making me feel guilty about my procrastination. I really will do something about it....maybe next week.

(5) Conservative critic and gadfly Ann Coulter has been strangely quiet for the past few months- she hasn't caused outrage in so long I actually kind of miss her. Maybe the Republican Party is paying her to keep quiet, or maybe the poor thing flew her broom into a building or something worse. But she'll be back; because like athlete's foot, yeast infections, and jock itch she remains irritating- and she never quite goes away.

(6) Essence Carson of the New York Liberty has had a fine rookie WNBA season, but in Monday's elimination game against the Connecticut Sun she really defined her season and became a pro's-pro. She scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half, and took the team on her back during a third quarter when nobody else on the Liberty could buy a bucket. The 66-62 win on the Sun's home floor was the Liberty's first series win since 2004, and things look great for this Rutgers grad and her teammates, the youngest team in the WNBA. There's more story here on ESPN's website.

(7) As for Rutgers, now 0-3, the second half meltdown against Navy was totally mind blowing. Much has been said already about the inconsistent offense and porous secondary. In all its been a disappointing season so far. But most troubling was the incident at the end of the game, with the game at 23-21 Navy, and RU quarterback Mike Teel throwing a game ending interception- and then Teel threw a punch at teammate Glen Lee, who came to console him. Teel, a 5th year senior, is a team captain. And yes it was a twenty something showing his immaturity- but he has to be not only a better quarterback, but a better man. He is a leader, and the younger players take their cues from him.

(8) In contrast, has there ever been a classier player in recent years in New York than Derek Jeter? He defines what a captain should be, and Jeter has never embarrassed himself or his team during his career. His speech at the end of the last game in the current Yankee Stadium was brief but eloquent in his praise of the fans. The love affair between Jeter and New York goes on, despite a season that can be regarded in Yankeeland as a failure.

(9) Former New York Giant and broadcaster Dick Lynch- RIP. He will be missed.

And finally.....

(10) New Jersey without THE STAR-LEDGER? Its as Jersey as Springsteen, pork roll, and THE SOPRANOS. Say it ain't so.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

FEAR AND LOATHING; Of Wall Street from Main Street

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing- after they've tried everything else"- Winston Churchill

I never claimed to be an economist- in fact the "dismal science" tends to make my eyes glaze over faster than the Saturday mornings spent as a ten year old in religious instructions with Dominican nuns ever did.

But the numbers are so very staggering; a $700 billion bailout of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Bothers, and American International Group will cost every American $2,333 each.

Two days ago former President Clinton told a national TV audience that if nothing is done the price of each foreclosed home will be $250,000 to the taxpayers. New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg warned that inaction by Congress would result in more foreclosures, rows of vacant homes, and the destruction of entire neighborhoods.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson warned of dire consequences unless Congress acts now. The reaction of some in Congress, both Democrat and Republican, is this; the same Bush administration that got it wrong about Iraq and the WMD's, that got it wrong about the conduct of the war and Iraq's occupation, that bungled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and did nothing when gas prices rose to more than $4.00 a gallon now wants to be taken seriously is this crisis. Senator Jon Testor, a Montana Democrat, wanted to know, "Why one week (to pass the bill)?". Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas reacted that it took the Good Lord more time to create the earth than the time allocated for Congress to rescue Wall Street.

Democrats- and many Republicans- want some form of protection for home owners facing foreclosure. In addition, most Democrats and many Republicans demand a ceiling on salaries and bonuses by officers of the affected companies. The Bush administration resists this ceiling. Democratic Sen Chris Dodd said this is "unacceptable".

Conservative Republicans see the bailout as irresponsible and contrary to their philosophy- though most concede that the era of deregulation is over. Republican Senator Mel Martinez of Florida declared, "There will be oversight".

In the 1980's President Reagan, the head of government in the United States of America, told us that "government is the problem". Thus began the era of "Distrust the Washington Insiders" that exists to this day. And ironically, it is the Washington insiders who are being called on to make possibly the most significant and far reaching decision of the last 40 years.

And "just do it" in seven days or less.

Contrary to what President Reagan said, "government" is not the problem. Bad government....ineffective government...dysfunctional government...is the problem.

Both Senator McCain and Senator Obama have said that to do nothing is not an option. However, Senator McCain has issued a plan on what he would do; Senator Obama has chosen to let Congress to do its job- for in reality neither Obama or McCain can do anything in this crisis except act as the titular leaders of their parties in finding some sort of common ground.

Hopefully the politics will stay home in this process....but it probably won't.

We have an imperfect system of government. Most of the time its system of checks and balances works to limit what one branch of government can or cannot do...unless one branch turns over the the keys to the car without knowing where "junior" is driving (see "The Patriot Act").

A parliamentary system in which the head of government is the head of the majority party is great for efficiency- laws get passed and things get done. But when things get done the wrong way (in that system) it sometimes takes a "vote of confidence" from the constituency to insure that government should remain in power. We may have congressional gridlock; those countries sometimes have a governmental revolving door.

Maybe we as a people will get lucky in this crisis. Perhaps Congress will do the right thing and do what would be of the most benefit for the majority...as unlikely as that seems.

Maybe it is time that "Putting People First" should be more than just a slogan.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Panic in Piscataway?

Let's begin with stating the obvious, but remembering the bigger pictere. Last night Rutgers was embarrassed on national TV by North Carolina, 44-12. Yesterday was the seventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks. The pain has never left us. We all know someone, or at least know someone who knew someone, who died on that terrible day.

And as I type this Hurricane Ike is poised to strike the Texas Gulf Coast. It should make landfall at or near Galveston, a city that lost 8,000 citizens in the Labor Day Hurricane of 1900. A sea wall was built to protect the city from future storms. At this time, it appears the sea wall will be useless against Ike; only half of Galveston's population heeded the order to evacuate.

RU getting pasted by Carolina only reinforces this thought; in the long run football is only a game.

But On The Banks Of The Old Raritan football has become a big game with big stakes involving big money, big media, big expectations, big risks, and big rewards.

And last night Rutgers came up remarkably small. The Red Team could not find upstream in any way, shape, or form.

Let's look at this cliche by cliche.

"The biggest improvement a football team makes is between its first and second game"

If anything, the team took several steps backwards. At least in the Fresno State loss the defense played very well in the first half. Against UNC Rutgers defense appeared to be the ones stuck in tar, not the 'Heels. Rutgers was torched at the rate of 9.6 yards per throw, 15.8 yards per reception. Carolina had big plays on offense that smoked the RU defense. And UNC's D' forced 4 interceptions for 154 yards in returns for one TD, and set up short field scores for the Tarheels.

The Rutgers offense actually gained more yards that UNC, 383 to 374....time of possession was close to even, UNC leading 30:35 to 29:25...and RU still lost by 32 points.

The ugliest stats of all; Turnovers Rutgers 4 (all interceptions), UNC 0; 3rd Down Conversions UNC 8-16, Rutgers 0 for 9(!!!).

"Its all about senior leadership"

Really? Mike Teel, 3 INT's...with his 1st TD pass of the year coming in the 8th quarter of the year. TE Kevin Brock dropping a pass on the UNC 6 yard line that could have set up a first and goal; DB Courtney Greene was the Invisible Man. CB Jason McCourty was toast, because he was burnt so many times. All Big East receiver Tiquan Underwood made a bonehead play on the opening kickoff of the second half by stepping out of bounds on the two yard line.

The list of miscues and bad play is too long and extensive to go into....it will only produce a worse migraine.

"The loss of Ray Rice to the NFL is the reason for the debacle".

Ray Rice could of helped in the run game, but even so RU had a respectable 140 rushing yards at 4.8 a carry, with red shirt freshman Jourdan Brooks beginning to emerge with a very respectable 42 yards on seven carries (6.0 average). Mason Robinson did run for 82 yards on 16 carries, with a long of 25; but he is not an every down back. He has breakaway speed, but always seems to go down on the first hit.

"Bench Teel and play Jabu Lovelace at QB"

It will do nothing to improve the offense. Lovelace has yet to prove he can play quarterback at the college level. Last night; three passes, no completions, no touch on the ball, and one INT.

"Most of this is on the coaches" or my favorite, "We were out coached."

Wrong- its about execution...and to borrow the line from the late great Coach John McKay, if we're talking about execution, this team certainly deserves it. Its not the play calling...its the mental mistakes and physical miscues. Its too easy to blame the coaches when a bunch of 18, 19, and 20 year olds screw up.

The Navy game could tell the tale for the rest of the season. If the ship isn't righted in Annapolis, the good will and momentum of the past three winning seasons and bowl appearances will be out the window....and the villagers will be storming the message boards with even more verbal pitchforks.

Greg Schiano just might have the biggest challenge of his coaching career in the next couple of weeks. He finally got Rutgers to a point of unprecedented success.

And now he has to find some guys who will fight to restore and maintain that success.

And they have to do it right now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

On The Video Bar; FAIRPORT CONVENTION- The Legacy of a Band (featuring Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson, Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, and Dave Swarbrick)

On the video bar you can see performances by the seminal British folk rock group FAIRPORT CONVENTION, as well as those by original lead guitarist RICHARD THOMPSON, by Fairport's fiddler extraordinaire DAVE SWARBRICK, by the band's founder SIMON NICOL, and by Fairport's lead vocalist in the early days, the late SANDY DENNY (1947-1978).

Also presented are performances by groups and artists influenced by Fairport.

FAIRPORT CONVENTION exists to this day, led by founding member Simon Nicol and longtime bassist Dave Pegg (who also played bass with Jethro Tull during much of the last two decades).

Here's the link to their official website


A BRIEF HISTORY OF FAIRPORT (According to "Rock Family Trees" by Pete Frame)

FAIRPORT CONVENTION was formed in November 1967. The first lineup consisted of Judy Dyble ( vocals and autoharp), Ian Mathews (vocals), Richard Thompson (lead guitar and vocals), Simon Nicol (guitar and vocals), Ashley Hutchings (bass), and Martin Lamble ( drums).

Albums recorded during this time were FAIRPORT CONVENTION (June 1968) and WHAT WE DID ON OUR HOLIDAYS (Jan 1969)

In May of 1968 Sandy Denny replaced Dyble as vocalist, and Ian Mathews left in January 1969. Drummer Lamble died in an auto accident in June of 1969 and was replaced by Dave Mattacks. For the album UNHALFBRICKING (July 1969) fiddler Dave Swarbrick came in as a session player, and eventually joined fulltime for the album LIEGE AND LIEF (December 1969) . Swarbrick remained a fixture in the band until leaving in 1985.

LIEGE AND LIEF was hailed as THE British folk rock album. But there was tension in the Fairport camp, and bassist Hutchings left in November of 1969 to found STEELEYE SPAN (he was replaced by Dave Pegg). Sandy Denny left soon afterwards to form FOTHERINGAY, and for a solo career. She rejoined Fairport in March of 1974, but left again in January 1976. During this period she guested on Led Zeppelin's 4th album, and dueted with Robert Plant on THE BATTLE OF EVERMORE.


Sandy Denny, singer and composer of the classic "Who Knows Where The Time Goes", died of a brain injury sustained by a fall on a flight of steps in April, 1978. She was only 31 years old.

Richard Thompson left the band after recording FULL HOUSE in January 1971. Simon Nicol switched to lead guitar, and the quartet of Nicol, Swarbrick (now a lead vocalist along with Nicol), Pegg, and Mattacks released ANGEL DELIGHT (June 1971) and BABBACOMBE LEE (Nov. 1971). Nicol then left Fairport in November 1971, but returned in 1976 in lineup #15(!).

With Simon Nicol's departure Fairport had lost its last founding member-at least for a few years. The changes that occurred subsequently were fast and furious, and way too numerous to mention here. There were comings and going like a revolving door, and several breakups, suspensions, reunions, and more breakups for Fairport through the next two decades, until stability was restored by the late 1980s. Check their official website for the many lineup changes and musical releases from the mid 1970's to the mid 1980's.


The new century found Fairport in fine form. Concert halls were full and records were selling well. The year 2000 was marked by the very successful 'Y2K' tour and a new studio album, The Wood And The Wire.

Free Reed Records, an independent label, released Fairport Unconventional, a four-CD boxed set of rare and unreleased recordings from the band's 35-year career in 2002.

Fairport Convention won the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2002 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The seminal album Liege And Lief was voted 'Best Folk Album Ever' by Radio 2 listeners. In Summer 2006, Liege And Lief was awarded a Gold Disc for its continuing sales.

Fairport Convention is still one of the busiest bands around. The current line-up of Simon Nicol (lead vocal, rhythm and electric guitars), Dave Pegg (backing vocals, bass guitar, mandolin), Ric Sanders (violin), Chris Leslie (lead vocal, fiddle, bouzouki, mandolin) and Gerry Conway (percussion and drums) still packs venues on its frequent tours.

Each year starts with Fairport covering the length and breadth of Britain on its Winter Tour. In August, the band stages Fairport's Cropredy Convention music festival in Oxfordshire. Most years, there is a tour in the USA and Canada and UK tours by the Fairport Acoustic line-up and by spin-off band The Dylan Project.

Have You Seen The Little Piggies?


You stepped in it, Senator Obama.

In comparing the John McCain's policies to those of The Decider, Barack Obama told a crowd, "You can put lipstick on a pig. Its still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. Its still going to stink in eight years."

Never mind that McCain used the same expression in describing Hillary Clinton's health care plan- the McCain camp has seen this as an attack on GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin.


In an "odd" coincidence New York Governor David Patterson chided Republicans for "mocking" Obama at the Republican Convention. The conventioneers laughed everytime speakers such as Rudy Guliani and Sarah Palin referred to Obama's career as a "community organizer". Patterson said that their reaction to the term was veiled racism.

Here we are, in possibly the most important election in our lifetimes....and it gets down to "In Search of Insults; Is There Intelligent Life Out There Listening?"

Issues....its what this election ought to be about.

Sadly, the chances of that happening are about as likely as watching pigs fly


IMG_0168, originally uploaded by WhoRU08.

On The Casino Pier, Seaside Heights, NJ

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Okay. I caved. I started my very own blog. I need to share my neurotic ( but insightful) take on the world.

You've been warned.

I'll talk about pop culture, and politics, and TV, movies and sports. I like politics, but I have a real hard time liking politicians. And this Sarah Palin lovefest is creepin' me out!

(Sigh) Alright, its time for my first political zinger- it ain't gonna be my last, ladies and gents.


Okay, how is Sarah Palin different from Dick Cheney?

Give up?

Sarah wears lipstick....and hasn't shot anybody in the face- yet.

But like Curly said to the "CITY SLICKERS".....its early.
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