Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Al Franken Wins! (finally!)

Democrat Al Franken claims victory in Minnesota over incumbent Republican Norm Coleman. READ MORE....

Click for facts about Senator-elect Franken.

He's good enough...he's smart enough....and doggone it! People like him!
And God spoke to him.....personally!

Led Zeppelin- GET THE LED OUT!

Shame on me!

This blog has been operating since last winter and I have yet to do entries on several of the giants of the Rock Era....among them, Led Zeppelin.

I'll do a full bio some rainy day....till then, LET'S GET THE LED OUT!

"The cool and groovy Led Zeppelin"

Here's the cool and groovy official website for Led Zeppelin

On Michael Jackson; What Would George (Carlin) Do....or Say?

"When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front-row seat.".....George Carlin

George its been just over a year, and you to have left us too soon.I would have loved to get your take on Sarah Palin, Barack Obama's election, Bernie Madoff, the Wall Street crash, and what's happening in Iran.

And above all, you'd have some classic observations about the aftermath of the death of Michael Jackson. Jackson might be gone, but the sideshow is in full swing. We've heard allegations that his children are not really his, that he never adopted any of them, that former wife Debbie Rowe was not the real mother of his two oldest chldren, that there is a will, that there is NOT a will, that there may be multiple wills, that a mysterious cloud formation over New York City on Saturday was actually the spirit of Michael Jackson (see home video below), and of 24/7 coverage of all things Jackson, with the tabloid media having THE story of this young century....

Paging George Carlin! Man, you woulda loved this stuff!

What would George say about Jackson's upcoming tribute a funeral? Maybe something like this...."I’m always relieved when someone is delivering a eulogy and I realize I’m listening to it."

Or maybe he would comment on Jackson's legacy, and the meaning of life..."Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they changed it."

And more than likely someone like the Reverend Al Sharpton or Reverend Jesse Jackson will talk about God and His meaning in Michael Jackson's life...Gerge Carlin would have put it another way...."Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man…living in the sky, who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer and burn and scream until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you and he needs money."

Is there a heaven, is there a hell.....and where the hell will Michael be going? "Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck."

And George's comforting words about death...“Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time.”

Let's let the man speak for himself, from his final HBO special, taped shortly before his own death....George Carlin on death and dying.

Contains Mature Content- Parents Are Your Kids Logged in Here?

Just think what could have been. George Carlin on the death and deification of the King of Pop. If he only could have had another 18 months or so. It would have been worth the ticket price to freak show.

US Troops Hand Back Control of Cities To Iraqi Government Forces

US forces officially gave back control of Iraq's cities to government forces today, more than six years after former President George W. Bush declared "mission accomplished" in Iraq.

While the transition began a car bomb in Kirkuk killed at least 32 people and wounded about 100 additional victims.

Read more....

Its Over by Level 42.

John Cremeans; Home Shopping Pioneer Leaves HSN

John Cremeans, the longest tenured male host in home shopping, has left HSN after nearly nineteen years at the Tampa Bay based network. Altogether Cremeans has nearly 25 years hosting in the home shopping industry. His final show was on June 27th.

Read more.

Below, a promo from CremeansMedia.

Best of luck to "The Doctor of Shopology"- its kind of like being "Doctor Who". He'll regenerate into a new character before your very eyes.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Are There Such Things As Atheist Missionaries?

Something strange happened on TWITTER last night. WCBS posted a TWEET about the high number of celebrity deaths so far in 2009. I "RT'ed" the following.

"@wcbstv Many beloved celebs have sadly passed on in 09. Ann Coulter still lives. Where's the justice? Enuff to turn me into an atheist again"

I meant it tongue in cheek. It was a joke.

But within 12 hours two atheists started following me on TWITTER! One guy seemed cool and interesting, and had alot of irons in the fire- I started following him in return. The other I just let ride- this follower seemed like an organizer or something for an atheist group. But it set me to thinking....

Can a person or person who doesn't believe in God or religion be a missionary? I think I found out the answer to that one. You can believe or you can not believe. But if you choose to not believe, therefore you have chosen to believe in non-belief.

Don't worry. "Who's on first?" will not be the followup to this entry.

For the record, as noted in my profile, I'm a "cafeteria Catholic", and proud of it. The William Donohues ( The Catholic League) of the world will attack people like me because we don't accept the whole dogmatic menu we are force fed from the time we can pee without supervision. Those people can't accept that there are others in their Church who want to take it to the 21st century; it currently lies somewhere in the late 19th, having accepted (in some cases reluctantly) that along the way the church (and its leaders) just may have gotten a few things wrong. Let me change that- they got ALOT wrong; celibacy, divorce, birth control, its treatment of Jews, gays, intellectuals, and so called "heretics"....there's not enough space here to challenge the system chapter and verse- and I do have other things to do this evening.

Atheism...its an interesting concept. But its not for me.

I mean, who's name will I take in vain the next time I accidentally smash my thumb while hammering nails?

"Fill in the blank?"


Update! About 3 hours later.

You'll never guess what made Keith Olbermann's WORST PERSON(S) IN THE WORLD tonight....how about "atheist missionaries" (of sorts) at #3....and Boss Limbaugh at #2, and "Joe the Plumber" as The Worst....why doesn't somebody have the decency to tell that bozo that his 15 minutes were up last November- PLEASE!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rock And Roll: Baba O'riley

Click the link below to see the great John Entwistle from THE WHO isolated and playing his bass lines from BABA O'Riley.....a magnificent rock treasure.

From Rock and Roll Today

Rock And Roll: Baba O'riley

Jon Bon Jovi and Andy Madadian - STAND BY ME (For Iran)

Maybe the most fortunate thing to happen to the Iranian regime this past week was Michael Jackson's untimely death- it took the focus away of the brutality they've dealt out to suppress the demonstrations that continue on the streets of Tehran and other cities and towns.

But Jon Bon Jovi continues to bring the struggle of Iran's masses to the rest of the world. Jon and Richie Sambora teamed with Iranian star Andy Madadian to record a new version of the old Ben E. King hit Stand By Me

More on the song here.

Visit the Bon Jovi Official Website.

"Pitchman" Billy Mays Found Dead

Billy Mays with designer Kim Parrish at the PITCHMEN premiere party

Bearded and outgoing TV pitchman BILLY MAYS was found dead at his home in Tampa this morning. Mays was 50 years old.

More on Billy Mays from the Associated Press.

Click here for a May 13 blog entry recounting Billy's adventures ordering breakfast at McDonald's.

Rest in peace Billy...and say hi to Ed McMahon.

Pitchmen Premiere Party

Click here for a blooper reel from PITCHMEN, featuring Billy and Anthony "Sully" Sullivan.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson- More Thoughts

Its been roughly 48 hours after the Michael Jackson was pronounced dead in Los Angeles. His autopsy showed no apparent wrong doing was involved with his fatal cardiac arrest, but final results may not be known for several weeks (when a toxicology report is completed). The Jackson family wishes to have a second autopsy, and they are now in possession of Jackson's body.

According to MSNBC's Courtney Hazlett at least part of Jackson's upcoming "show will go on".

And the tributes go on; the 24 hour news channels, VH1 CLASSIC, FUSE. His boyhood home in Gary, Ind, has become a shrine overnight.

And this....

The above video was posted two years ago, but the prisoners of that same cell block are reprising the THRILLER dance, according to several sources, including New York's DAILY NEWS.

And last night I went to enjoy an evening of minor league baseball, the TRENTON THUNDER hosting the READING PHILS. Unfortunately the weather didn't co-operate; initially there was a rain delay of about an hour, followed by a second stoppage in the middle of the second inning (at about 9:25PM) that caused a suspension of play after a second thunderstorm hit. Game over until today.

But during the two long rain delays the PA guys put on a very impressive collection of Michael Jackson tunes, spanning his career from I WANT YOU BACK with the Jackson Five through the solo hits from OFF THE WALL, THRILLER, and BAD....and even old geezers like me were bopping and dancing in the rain.

Nice job guys.

And after all the weirdness of his final decades Michael Jackson had gone full circle with his death. He had become cool again.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson- His Legacy

Above; Michael Jackson as he began preparation for his 2009 shows in London for his comeback tour. All 50 shows were sold out.

Some of the older people will ask "why all of this fuss about an entertainer's death?" Some under the age of twenty-five may ask the same thing- they only remember the garish freak show Michael Jackson's life became in the last two decades of his life; the 1993 civil suit alleging Jackson's molestation of 13 year old Jordy Chandler, the admission that he often shared his bed with young boys, a sensational 2005 criminal trial alleging Jackson's molestation of young boys (he was found not guilty on all counts).

There was the quicky marriage and divorce of Lisa Marie Presley (1994-96); the quicky marriage (and divorce) to Debbie Rowe (1996-99); the birth of his children and the dangling of infant son Michael II from a Berlin balcony, and his plastic surgeries, the skin lightening makeup, and the wearing surgical masks routinely. And the unchecked spending; the King of Pop made millions and spent the vast majority of it in a heartbeat.

And after the excellence of OFF THE WALL (1979), THRILLER (1982), and the success of BAD (1987) and DANGEROUS (1991) he released INVINCIBLE (2001) which sold 8 million copies but is generally regarded as a commercial failure and an artistic bomb.

One can't talk about the life and legacy of of Michael Jackson without mentioning those sad last decades. But for a period spanning four earlier decades, from 1969 to 1991, Michael Jackson emerged as a teeny bop idol and morphed into the most influential artist alive. The 1980's can truly be defined as The Michael Jackson Decade, much like the 1950's and the 1960's could be called the Presley and Beatles Decades, respectively.

Musically, I'm a rocker. In the 1980's I was more into Van Halen, Yes, Genesis, Fleetwood Mac, The Police, and Springsteen than Michael Jackson and his music. But I could not, nor would I ever, try to diminish or play down the talent and influence he had in the the world of pop music. The 1980's belonged to Jackson, and his influence is felt today in Usher, Justin Timberlake, and scores of other young performers. There was an artistry in the man that was unparalleled- he produced two nearly perfect albums in OFF THE WALL and THRILLER, and his collaboration with Quincy Jones was the most successful marriage of producer and artist since George Martin and The Beatles.

But Jackson was more than a music icon; he became a figure as important in American race relations as Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, or Oprah Winfrey. He wasn't regarded by most as an African-American entertainer but as an American superstar. His celebrity transcended race. And much as Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, Jackson broke another hurdle; he became the first black artist to have his videos shown on what was then an all white MTV.

Many young people born in the 1980's or later would be shocked if they could get into a time machine and go back to 1981 and watch MTV at that time. It was Duran Duran, David Bowie, The Go Go's , Hall and Oates, The Motels, and the Cars; it was whites only. With the exception of J.J. Jackson there were no black Vee-Jays; sex symbol to be "Downtown" Julie Brown would show up in the middle of the decade of the Eighties.

Michael Jackson and THRILLER changed all of that- he sang with Paul McCartney on "Say, Say, Say", and Eddie Van Halen played the guitar intro to "Beat It". His album produced seven Top Ten singles (out of nine tracks) and eventually sold 50 million copies worldwide. Michael Jackson's videos became a fixture in the regular video rotation on MTV; his success opened the door to Prince and Lionel Ritchie, and eventually to rappers, starting with Run-DMC and Tone Loc.

The release of the mini-movie video for the song Thriller was an event that was debuted on HBO, with a documentary film on the making of the Thriller video following it up. No video in the history of music was so anticipated, watched, or praised; it was directed by A-list Hollywood director John Landis.

Jackson co-wrote We Are The World (with Lionel Ritchie), and was a driving force in assembling the dozens of artists who performed on the song and in the video, and in the orgainization of USA FOR AFRICA in 1985.

Along the way Jackson won 13 GRAMMY AWARDS.

Jackson didn't just open the door a little more for artists of color to mainstream America- he smashed the door into splinters and ground it to sawdust.

If he never did another thing after the success of THRILLER, it would have been enough to make Jackson an icon for the ages.

Much like John Lennon and Marilyn Monroe, I think I'll always remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news of Michael Jackson's death. I know I'm not alone.

And that is probably the measure of who is and who is not a cultural icon.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Useless Trivia and Mindless Rants: Michael and Farrah- THE DAY THE ICONS DIED

Click below for more on the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett.

Useless Trivia and Mindless Rants: Michael and Farrah- THE DAY THE ICONS DIED

Michael and Farrah- THE DAY THE ICONS DIED

We Americans casually toss the term "icon" around rather loosely. Here today, gone tomorrow pop princesses and so called "reality TV" stars are sometimes referred to as "iconic". The truth is, there are relatively few icons; Sinatra, Presley, the Beatles; Dempsey, Louis, Ali; Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle; Swanson, Harlow, and Monroe. Those are some of the figures that defined a genre and an era.

Today we lost two true icons.

Earlier today the valiant Farrah Fawcett lost her battle to cancer at the age of 62. We had expected Farrah's death, she had been battling the disease for years. Once upon a time, Ms. Fawcett was the most famous female star in the world. The year 1976 was not just the America's Bicentennial; it was The Year of Farrah. She became a star on the TV series CHARLIE'S ANGELS, along with Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson. But it was Farrah, with her luxurious blond hair, luminous smile, and sky blue eyes, who became the symbol of an era. She was part of the Seventies lexicon as much as disco, Peter Frampton, Springsteen, and Pet Rocks....and you could debate that her poster, pictured above, was THE iconic vision of the 1970's. That image was inescapable; teenage boys, Army barracks, college dorms, locker rooms across America and the world all were home to Farrah's image. Women worldwide copied her hairstyle, and there wasn't a week that passed without a story about her in the tabloids. Possibly the modern era of celebrity journalism began with the Farrah phenomenon of 1976. In my opinion, she was the first TRUE television created sex symbol. There were others before, like Barbara Eden and Elizabeth Montgomery, who found a level of stardom (and sex symbol status) on TV. But no one, before or since, hit it out of the ballpark the way Farrah Fawcett did. If you're of a certain age, you'll know what I mean. If you're very young, or past retirement age, I hope I can give you some sense of what this beautiful soul was all about.

More on the life of Farrah Fawcett.

And very shockingly, as I type this, more details are emerging about the death of The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, just a short time ago in Los Angeles at the age of 50. We do know that he was rushed to the UCLA Medical Center at about 3;30 PM EDT, not breathing, in what has been called in media reports as cardiac arrest. Initially the LOS ANGELES TIMES reported that Jackson was in a coma, and then about an hour ago The Times reported Jackson's death.

As I type this, there has been no press conference called by the Medical Center, the Jackson family, or by a designated spokesperson. At 4:46PM PDT the LA coroner announced the death of Michael Jackson.

This was a sad and unexpected end to a life that stellar but bizarre, with unmatched highs and controversial detours, many of which were fueled by his personal life. Jackson was so many things to his fans, who spanned several generations. Little Michael, the lead singer of the Jackson Five, with hits like I Want You Back, ABC, and I'll Be There. He ventured into movies (THE WIZ). And then came is association with Quincy Jones and his landmark albums Off The Wall and the greatest selling record of all time, Thriller. The album, the videos, the MOON WALK, the THRILLER video, the VICTORY tour with the reunited Jacksons, the one glove, WE ARE THE WORLD; he was the biggest star in the world, and possibly the most talented man alive.

I remember flippantly saying back in the 1970's that his career would be over once his voice changed. By 1984 I changed my tune- all my life I was of the belief that Sammy Davis, Jr. was the greatest entertainer in the world. Sometime while watching the video for BEAT IT, with its guitar intro by Eddie Van Halen, I came to the conclusion that the title belt was passed on and claimed by Michael.

He was special.

He was the greatest of his time.

I won't dwell on the negatives of his later life. As Shakespeare said, the good is oft interred with their bones.

Lets just take a few minutes, or hours, to dwell and celebrate his legend.

Click here for a Michael Jackson slideshow.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

BOB DYLAN- "Its Alright Ma ( I'm Only Bleeding)

I'm back!

And this following song is dedicated to the brave protesters on the streets of Iran's cities.

Don't let the hip hop intro fool you. Its Bob Dylan's music set to a very creative concept video.

Bob Dylan is touring this year with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp with a series of concerts in minor league baseball parks (they'll be down the road from me in Lakewood, NJ on July 23). Check the Bob Dylan website for more info.

Making A Difference- The Women of Iran

A report from MSNBC.

And another by Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic's DAILY DISH, with links to an interview about the situation in Iran with Leslie Stahl and Christiane Ahmanpour.

Late addition (June 25). This entry from CNN"s Anderson Cooper from his AC 360 blog.

Going South (and then some)- Mark Sanford

I'll fess up...when the news broke about South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's 5 day adventure with his mistress in Argentina when the world was told he was "hiking on the Appalachian Trail" I whooped it up a bit. On TWITTER I posted;

"Party of Family Values (aka God's Own Party) strikes again. Why am I not shocked at this latest hypocrisy? Welcome 2 the sideshow!

And then after watching his press conference, and listening to several commentators I updated my "tweet".

McGreevey-Spitzer- Edwards-Clinton; Perhaps I was a little too harsh pointing a finger at Gov Sanford and the GOP. We Dems have baggage too.


But at least we don't preach "Moral Superiority" 2 the extent the GOP does. We've accepted we're going 2 hell anyway cuz James Dobson sez so

And that's it....at least the Governor didn't drag his estranged wife on to the podium with him as his Apology Tour embarks to media stops throughout the cable universe and cyberspace. And he did admit his dalliance with his Argentinian friend, just as a statement from his wife was explaining their "trial separation"was hitting the airwaves.

The American people can forgive a politician who cheats on his/her spouse. What they won't forgive is someone who runs out of their job under phony pretenses. Not even his lieutenant governor had any clue where Sanford was. Rush Limbaugh lamented that Sanford "could have been (their) JFK".

Its not going to happen.

Odds our he won't even finish the summer as South Carolina's governor.

Another Shakespearean tragedy, American Style, played out before our eyes.

And so it goes.


Below, the text of an email I received this morning from The First Lady of the United States

"Hugh Jee" --

National and community service has been a cornerstone of my life, as I know it has been for many Americans. And with the daily struggles now confronting so many families, it's especially important for us to reach out to one another and offer a helping hand.

I've just launched United We Serve, a national initiative to tackle our toughest problems by working hand-in-hand in communities across the country. We aim to make a real difference right now and bring more and more Americans into a tradition of life-long service to make an even greater difference down the road.

I'd like to invite you to be a part of it by joining Organizing for America's National Health Care Day of Service this weekend. You can join up with other local OFA supporters to help improve health care services in your community and make a difference as we work to reform America's health care system.

Sign up now to participate in a National Health Care Day of Service event this Saturday, June 27th.

Attend a National Health Care Day of Service event

There's an old Thomas Edison quote I've always liked: "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." It's no secret that our country faces some enormous challenges right now, and meeting them will take a lot of hard work. But in that work lies an equally great opportunity -- a chance to serve. And I do believe the chance to serve is a precious gift indeed.

Service has played a transformative role in my life -- bringing me tremendous joy and helping me find the path that led to where I am today. As a parent, I believe service is a great way to demonstrate values and to teach our children firsthand what it means to commit to a purpose beyond ourselves.

It should be a part of everyone's life. From the moment someone can walk to the day they leave this planet, service should be a part of how we give back, how we say thank you, how we express our gratitude for the lives that we've been given.

So I'm deeply honored for this chance to support our United We Serve initiative and Organizing for America, and I hope you'll be able to participate this weekend. Please sign up now to volunteer at a local event:


Thank you,

First Lady Michelle Obama


Paid for by Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee -- 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

This email was sent to:

To unsubscribe, go to: http://my.barackobama.com/unsubscribe

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Citizen Tube

Citizen Tube is a service of YouTube that brings the latest videos posted by citizen journalists in Iran.

To INVINCIBLE by Pat Benatar.

Quick Hits For June 23, 2009

Its going to take a couple of days to get back into the flow of writing blog entries on a daily basis after a somewhat lengthy vacation. But the best way to do so is to go back to an old reliable feature around here....its time for some "Quick Hits".

(1) Because of my vacation, and my self imposed isolation, I didn't follow the drama in Tehran as much as most. But just listening to some of the horror stories from Iran its clearly gone from being a police state to a police state running a reign of terror. Technology and citizen journalists are making it clear to the oppressors- you can try to crush the protesters, but the whole world is watching. You can't kill them all; the Soviets and the Chinese tried that, and ultimately the Soviet Union fell, and the Chinese had to shed some of their more repressive practices. I believe this is the beginning of the end for the Iranian's iron fisted rulers....it may take awhile, but the iconic image of a beautiful young woman dying in the street from gunshot wounds so cruelly inflicted by a government sniper will be what Paul Revere's print of the Boston Massacre was to our American Revolution. My hopes and prayers go out to those brave protesters in Iran.

(2) Sad news about Ed McMahon. He has been ill for several years and had his home foreclosed a few years ago. Hopefully he and Johnny can have a few belts in that great celestial gin mill that I hope to see one day, but only if they have Sam Adams.

(3) I love New Jersey, but I am convinced that we do have more idiots on our roads then any other state. It stands to reason, since New Jersey is the most densely populated state that we have more dummies on the road then other states...and you notice it as soon as you cross the bridges (as I did yesterday) from neighboring states. We've got some certified crazies, passing on the shoulder of I-78 at 70 MPH... I'd go into details, but dealing with them turned my brain to mush.

(4) The picture above is from Pickle Bill's on Lake Erie, near Mentor Ohio, where I had two great meals on my vacation. Consider this a shameless plug for a restaurant I really liked, with great seafood, service, an eclectic atmosphere, and buckets of beer. Its summer...boats, babes, and beer. Its all you really need.

(5) And speaking of beautiful babes.... readers of this blog know I enjoy the subculture of the home shopping networks, and last month I was jokingly lamenting the marriage of HSN's Lynn Murphy (blaming her nuptials for my writers block)....well, Ms. Murphy was indeed a beautiful bride. And for those of you who want a link to some pictures of the ceremony (and the bride and groom) here's a link to Tim Boyles' Photography Blog.

Does she have the bluest eyes on the planet or what?


And congrats!

Yeah, I know.....pretty weak blog entry for my return after 11 days....but I haven't even unpacked yet, 24 hours later. Some sleep would help as well. Later!


My first post returning from my vacation is a sad one.

The picture above and the story below tells the tale better than I ever could.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


This will probably be my last post for about ten days BECAUSE....I'll be away, chillin' for a few days, and bike riding, and boating.

And drinking beer and eating a zillion hot wings.

I might be back after commandeering a stray computer....

And then again....maybe I won't!

I'll send you a post card!


Guard Dies After Holocaust Museum Shootout - ABC News

Commentary and Opinion

This is a post I really wish I did not have to write. A tragedy happened in Washington; a racist malcontent named James von Brunn, age 88, walked into the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC and opened fire mortally wounding security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns. Officer Johns was just doing his job when von Brunn made this the worst, and then last, day of his life.

The shooter, who's name I'll not mention again because the thought him sickens me, is a neo-Nazi who blamed all of the world's troubles on a "international Jewish conspiracy", and lumped people of color, gays, and other so called enemies as co-conspirators in this run towards world domination. When I think about Dr. Tiller's murder a few weeks ago, and the police shootings involving right wing extremists, it makes me fearful, for the nation and for the safety of our President. The election of Barack Obama is the worst nightmare for these fascists; its become their selling point in their hate mongering.

And even more disturbing than the whackos of the extreme right is the rhetoric we hear daily. Didn't right leaning actor Jon Voight refer to President Obama as a "false prophet" and the "tyranny" of the Obama administration? We expect that kind of talk from extremists and right wing talk shows, but when an Oscar winning actor speaks in those terms, doesn't just add to the divisions we have in our nation? It doesn't help.

And those on the left who will report and rip Republicans and their cronies at every opportunity, often with diatribes of four letter words- how does that resolve anything? Keep throwing bombs, and they'll keep throwing bigger ones in your direction.

Many years ago when I was in elementary school I went to a small town in Arkansas with my Grandfather on a business trip; this was the summer of 1963. In the motel we were staying in- which was "whites only", as were most of the restaurants- we watched a TV news broadcast from Memphis. On that day there was a lady reading an opinion piece regarding the local elections in Mississippi. She was from The White Citizens Council- in her piece she referred to "the tyranny of the Kennedys". I never forgot that, 46 years later. JFK was assassinated a few months later.

The words I heard Jon Voight speak the other day echoed those same sentiments. And a shooter today acted out in proxy.

Yes, I am fearful for my nation...and for my President.

Below, the story from ABC NEWS.

Guard Dies After Holocaust Museum Shootout - ABC News

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

David Carradine- Lighter Moments from 2006

While the showbiz world is still reeling from the death of actor David Carradine last week, here's Carradine in a clip from WGN (Chicago) where he does the best he can with some pretty lame material in what was a pretty unfunny comedy segment- until the last five seconds or so.

He was a pretty good sport about it.

RIP, David.


Just a little bit of Sheryl Crow with an unplugged version of SOAK UP THE SUN.......and I'm going to do some of that myself.

Here's the Sheryl Crow official website for all of ya!

This is my last post to this blog for a couple of weeks....I'm going to soak up some sun (with sunscreen, of course, SPF 30).

Monday, June 8, 2009

North Korea Sentences Two US Journalists To 12 Years Hard Labor

American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling were sentenced to 12 years hard labor in a North Korea work camp. These camps are similar to the brutal Soviet gulags of the Stalin regime. The two were sentenced for allegedly crossing the North Korean border illegally and for unspecified "hostile acts" against the North Korean people.

Below, the story from Brian Williams, Andrea Mitchell, and NBC NIGHTLY NEWS

Poco- Through The Years

I felt it was time for just a little bit of magic in the country and some pickin' and grinnin'...it was time for some more Poco. A brief history can be found on this blog page, and even more history courtesy of wikepedia (hey stop groaning...this article is pretty accurate), and even more on the Poco official website.

I would also like to make a public correction- in a previous post I said that founding member George Grantham was still part of the band, and sadly that is not the case. Grantham suffered a stroke in 2004 and his recovery has been slow. George Lawrence is now Poco's drummer. Jack Sundrud (bass and vocals), guitarist/vocalist Paul Cotton, and founder Rusty Young (vocals/guitar/dobro/steel/banjo/mandolin) are the current lineup.

There looks to be three special dates in August in this year's tour. On August 21 (Bethel, New York), August 22 (Holmdel, New Jersey), and August 23 (Jones Beach, New York) Poco will share the bill with founding member Richie Furay, and with founding member Jim Messina, touring with LOGGINS AND MESSINA.

Here's some videos featuring, in no particular order Furay, Messina, Grantham, Schmit, Meisner, Cotton, Sundrud, and Young.

Check here for more tour dates

Television's King Lear - CBS News

From CBS SUNDAY MORNING; a look at the legend of Norman Lear, how he changed TV comedy forever, and his life and activism today. An amusing thought...what would Archie Bunker think about Barack Obama?

It would be priceless.

Television's King Lear - CBS News

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Jersey Allstars Win Game; Organizers Lose Crowd

Opinion and Commentary
Sunday I went to a high school all star game at Rutgers Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey with my father, who is 82 years young. I've been a Rutgers season ticket holder since 1990, my Dad much longer than that. We wanted to get a look at the ongoing expansion project at Rutgers, in which the stadium is being enlarged from 42,000 to about 53,000, with most of the construction going on in what was the once open south end zone, which has been filled in to create a classic football bowl shaped stadium. Also, we wanted to see some of RU's heralded recruits. The game pitted New Jersey All-Stars vs Northeastern All-Stars; their players came from Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and Virginia. We saw license plates in the Scarlet parking lot by the West Gate from as far away as Maine and North Carolina.

We did get a look at some players we'll being seeing alot of over the next few years at Rutgers; wide receiver Qaron Pratt from Palmyra, NJ., defensive end Mike Larrow from Union, cornerback Logan Ryan from Eastern High, Virginia's DeAntwan Williams, a running back, and several more stars.

Ultimately it was Notre Dame recruit Carlo Calabrese and Florida bound Josh Evans who won the game for the Jersey boys, when with seconds to go, Calabrese intercepted a pass and lateraled to Evans, who ran it in for a touchdown for the Phil Simms coached Jersey Stars who beat Joe Theismann's Northeastern Stars 13-7. You can read more details of the game here.

It should have been an ending that resulted in pandemonium in the stadium, which had a record crowd of 11,000+ for the game. But many of the fans had left for home already. I for one left at halftime.

On a day in which the heat index topped the 90 degree mark, the powers that be decided to seat the entire crowd on the side of the field that had no shade, the east stands of Rutgers Stadium. There was no protection from the blazing sun for the very young, for the elderly, for partially disabled, or for severely disabled patrons, although dozens of handicapped seats were available and unused in the stadium.

But I'll get to that part of the story shortly.

Fans are led and seated in the east side of the stadium. Note that the back rows are taped off because of the ongoing construction in those sections Click on image for expanded view.

The 12th Annual New Jersey- Northeast All-Star Classic was originally a game that pitted high school football all-stars from New Jersey vs. all-stars from New York. Over the years it has been held in New Jersey at Rutgers Stadium on several occasions, as well as at locations in New York state. The participants have been a "who's who" of high school football in the region, many of whom are now NFL players or recent draftees; Ray Rice, Brian Leonard, Knowshon Moreno, Shonn Greene, and David Tyree are just a few of those players.

As said before, Sunday's game was played at Rutgers Stadium, which is still undergoing renovation, and the project is scheduled for completion for the season's first game in September. Fans for The Classic paid their $8 parking fee, and were directed into the SCARLET LOT, which is on the West Side of the Stadium. We arrived about 45 minutes before game time, parked next to one of the numerous construction vehicles that were on the far southern end of the lot, found some shade, and drank a soda or two in a "mini tailgate" party for two.

When game time approached we made are way to the box office at the West Gate; but when we got their it was closed. We walked towards the North Gate, the current Main Entrance to the Stadium. At game time, the temperature was in the upper 80's and there was a mostly cloudless sky.

My Dad is 82, is in general good health, but has slowed down considerably in recent years. It was a long walk on a very warm, becoming borderline hot day. I would stop every few steps so he could keep up with me on the long walk to the stadium entrance. Yes, its not a long walk for a college student- it is a bit of a challenge for an octogenarian.

We paid for our tickets and were directed into the stadium. We were led to the left side of the stadium as we entered- these are the East stands. We had hoped to be able to sit on the West side because in the late afternoon the seats are in the shade; it was shortly before 3:00PM, EDT>

We followed the crowd into the East stands. A security person allowed my Dad to sit in one of the few handicapped seats available; it had a back, rather than the backless aluminum bleachers. We were sitting in full sun, as was every one of the more than 10,000 people in attendance.

You'll note in the picture above there was scaffolding and yellow construction tape along the back walls and rows of the seating area, directly under what is Premium Seating and The President's Suite. Where there was some minimal shelter from the sun's rays, and additional handicapped seating there was rendered unavailable. We looked across the way to the unoccupied West stands, there was abundant shade and dozens of additional seats for the handicapped, and wondered why this seemingly poor decision was made- and who was culpable.

The stands on the west side where no construction is going on, is adjacent to the Scarlet parking lot (where most people are parked), is in the shade, and has several dozen seats for the handicapped or physically disabled is unoccupied and roped off from the public. Click photo for expanded view.

I was concerned for my father's well being, so I made sure he had his sunscreen on, and got some Gatorade and some bottled water to keep both of us properly hydrated. Next to me a young woman pulled in with a baby carriage, desperately trying to get her infant into an angle that offered some shade from a now blazing sun. I had a stadium seat in which I had a rain poncho, which I offered to her to protect her baby from the sun; she thanked me, but decided to retreat to the inside of the stadium, where she couldn't see the game, but her baby would be safer.

In a space several feet away there was a disabled man in a motorized wheelchair, wearing a Navy veteran teeshirt; he appeared to be at least 80 years old, a World War II vet like my father. He too was uncomfortable not being able to sit in the shade. In front of us a family with several children and friends sat down; among them was an elderly couple. Soon a security guard came over and told the younger people that they had to vacate the bleacher seats in the end zone, and move towards the middle, though there were few seats available together at this point. When the guard was asked "why?" he answered that those seats, which were bleachers with no backs, approachable by going down steps, and were in full summer sun, were being reserved for the handicapped.

It made no sense at all. Zero. Nada.

After first refusing to leave eventually the group moved to the East stands; only the two elderly members of their party remained.

Across the way we could see the shady West stands, with literally dozens of available seats for the handicapped, the elderly, and the physically challenged. We wanted to know why the decision was made to crowd the fans into a small area that was bordered by areas under construction, where there was more limited seating when thousands of seats in a more fan friendly were roped off and went unused.

After some pressing, we got our answer.

A bleacher area in the North end zone. Security members told families to vacate these backless bleachers, and that they were being reserved for the handicapped and the disabled. Click photo for expanded view.

Rutgers University's stadium and security were used to hold the game; the university itself was not a sponsor of the event. The NJ-Northeast All-Star Classic ran the game, with the TV coverage being from Channel 9, MyNine from New York. Rutgers President, Richard McCormick, and its athletic director, Tim Pernetti, had nothing directly to do with the game. If there's an analogy, its like a VFW hall being rented out for a wedding reception, birthday party, or bar mitzvah. But this was Rutgers' turf; and if there were problems of any sort, it reflects on the university and its athletic department, rightly or wrongly, fairly or unfairly.

The older man in the motorized wheelchair to my right asked one of the security guards why East stands where used instead of the more comfortable and accessible West stands. Here's what he was told by the security man- and I heard it myself.

It was MyNine's call.

They wanted the crowd shots in the East stands. To do this they made all paying customers walk around to the other side of the facility from the closest parking lot, herded them into a small section bordered by scaffolding and roped off by yellow tape, denying more comfortable seating to those who physically needed it because they wanted some better crowd shots.

When I heard that explanation I was livid. In same area with me were my father and several members of the Greatest Generation. The previous day, June 6, President Barack Obama praised that generation in his speech from Normandy. The next day, June 7th, a TV production crew used members of that Greatest Generation as stage props- its as simple as that. None of the game's organizers thought about the safety and comfort of ALL of the fans; the very old, the very young, or the disabled. This was a high school all-star football game with TV calling all of the shots, and no one challenging any of the calls they made.

Rutgers University was the least culpable in this problem- their security people could have used better discretion in serving those who need their help- would it have really been an enormous problem to allow those people to sit on the other side? Probably not. But their hands, for the most part, were probably tied.

A MyNine camera man in the end zone of Rutgers Stadium.

We never made it to halftime. It was too uncomfortable for my father to sit that long in an unprotected area. We picked up are stuff, and left with a minute to go in the first half, and the score about to be tied at seven a piece. We walked into the concession areas in the stadium hallways- we saw large families with small children sitting on the floor, many of whom were crying. You preach to children to protect themselves from the sun's rays, and to stay hydrated, and then they're allowed to be exposed to these hazards- because Channel 9 needs better crowd shots.

The two of us walked back to the car, and cranked up the AC. It was 87 degrees outside, and probably much hotter in the stadium with all of the concrete and the aluminum seats. When we got home we watched the rest of the game on TV. When Josh Evans ran the ball into the end zone for the winning TD, most of the crowd had left- there was most certainly less than half of the announced crowd still in the stadium. I wonder how many left because of the slow pace of the game, or how many left because of the physical discomfort felt from being allowed to fry like bacon in that hot sun?

Yes, there were some extenuating circumstances- the construction project did limit the seating for the game. In another year there may not have been a problem.

But better foresight should have been exercised by all of the parties involved for the safety and the comfort of the fans, particularly for the most vulnerable among us.

I wish The Classic every success in the future. But I for one have seen my first and last New Jersey-Northeast All-Star Classic.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Kinks- LOLA

Posting this for no special reason...except I was playing it about an hour ago and thought about how great the Kinks' version was. So I put down the guitar and went back to the old 'puter.

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday night.

"I met her in a club down in old Soho
Where you drink champagne and it tastes like
coca-cola c.o.l.a. cola

She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice
she said Lola L.o.l.a. Lola
La La La La Lola

Well, I'm not the world's most physical guy,
But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine
oh my Lola, la-la la-la Lola
Well, I'm not dumb, but I can't understand
Why she walked like a woman and talked like a man
oh my Lola, la-la la-la Lola
La-la la-la Lola

Well we drank champagne and danced all night
under electric candlelight
She picked me up and sat me on her knees
said good boy, won't you come home with me ?

Well, I'm not the world's most passionate guy,
But when I looked in her eyes, well, I almost fell for my Lola
la-la la-la Lola,
La-la la-la Lola

Lola, la-la la-la Lola
la-la la-la Lola

I pushed her away
I walked to the door
I fell to the floor,
I got down on my knees
well I looked at her and she at me.

That's the way, that I want it to stay
And I always wanted it to be that way for my Lola
la-la la-la Lola,
Girls will be boys and boys will be girls,
It's a mixed up, mauled up, shook up world except for Lola
la-la la-la Lola

Well, I left home just a week before
and I'd never ever kissed a woman before
But Lola's mine and took me by the hand
Said good boy gonna make you a man !"

Well, I'm not the world's most masculine man,
But I know what I am I'm glad I'm a man and so is Lola
la-la la-la Lola,
La-la la-la Lola
la-la la-la Lola

Lola, la-la la-la Lo-la, la-la la-la Lo-la,
Lola, la-la la-la Lo-la."

D-Day; When The Tide of History Turned

General Dwight D. Eisenhower addresses paratroopers before the Normandy invasion.

As I type these words many of the world's leaders have gathered in Normandy to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. On the stormy morning of June 6, 1944 thousands of American, British, Canadian, Free French, Polish, and other allied forces crossed the English Channel and stormed the beaches of Normandy to begin the final liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany.

That morning General Dwight D. Eisenhower sent the following message to the brave men who were about to storm the beaches and to be dropped behind enemy lines.

"Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking."

Had this invasion failed, Eisenhower had an alternate message, one that was thankfully never delivered. Nazi Germany would have been defeated eventually even if the D-Day invasion had failed; the Soviets were pushing the Germans back through Eastern Europe. Germany couldn't possibly survive this onslaught. But Stalin's troops probably wouldn't have stopped in Germany; they could have continued on into Italy, Greece, even into Belgium, the Netherlands, or into France.

Not only did D-Day's success insure the defeat of Nazi Germany, but it probably saved Western Europe from the threat of Soviet conquest as well. D-Day's success, and the sacrifice of those who fought and who died, helped shape the face of modern Europe, and the world we live in today. This is something that must not ever be forgotten by those living today, and by future generations.

For more information, check the US ARMY's web page on D-Day, PBS"s feature onThe American Experience, and MSNBC's story on the long forgotten Operation Tiger.

If you have a chance, visit and talk to the members of that GREATEST GENERATION while they are still with us. This afternoon I'm going to do that; I'll be spending the day with my Dad.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Useless Trivia and Mindless Rants: "Jon, This Is Jon....Oh, You've Met!" Bon Jovi Campaigns For Corzine

Jon Bon Jovi campaigns for New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine's re-election campaign.
Click the link for a video from a portion of the event.
Useless Trivia and Mindless Rants: "Jon, This Is Jon....Oh, You've Met!" Bon Jovi Campaigns For Corzine

"Jon, This Is Jon....Oh, You've Met!" Bon Jovi Campaigns For Corzine

Jon Bon Jovi campaigns for New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine in an event at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

Let's just say...this was NOT a typical Bon Jovi audience.

Hero Store Clerk Busted For Selling Drug Paraphernalia

You've heard the story about the convenience store clerk who foiled a robbery attempt, and compassionately gave the would-be robber a 40bucks and a loaf of bread and sent him on his way, refusing to press charges?

Well...that same clerk was busted a couple of days later for selling drug paraphernalia.

What a country!

Elie Wiesel Speaks At Buchenwald

Noted lecturer, author, and teacher Elie Wiesel
speaks at what was the Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald after a tour of the camp with President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Wiesel was a prisoner at Buchenwald, who survived and was liberated by American forces on April 11, 1945, mere weeks before the surrender of the Third Reich.

How can anyone listen to his words, and deny that the horror of The Holocaust never happened?

For more information on Elie Wiesel and his work, see The Elie Wiesel Foundation For Humanity.

Jon Stewart on President Obama's Mideast Trip

Once again we're shown the best way to handle the commentary of the extreme right (did anybody say "FOX NEWS"?).

Don't call them names.

Laugh at them. Way to go, Jon!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
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