Friday, July 31, 2009

The Price of No (Part 2)



This video should be required viewing for John Boehner, John McCain, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal....and Chris Christie, conservatives in religion but true Darwinists when it concerns economics. Their assertion- the Federal stimulus doesn't work, or won't work, or we shouldn't be taking money from Washington- and to hell with the hardship encountered by the working families of New Jersey and the rest of America.

But we're Americans..... and we should be made of better stuff.

Thanks to "The 4400" & Other Stuff



They were strangers on their own planet, entering a world like the one they knew, but decidedly different. They were being watched, counted and analyzed by a distant all seeing pair of eyes, who's intent was not known. They came from many countries- 73 in fact. There was just over forty-four hundred of them. The common denominator was they all spoke or understood some English, at the very least.....and all logged onto Useless Trivia and Mindless Rants.

Ladies and gentleman....I'm talking about YOU. Forty-four hundred readers checked out this blog during July, most of whom were here for the first time. This was the first month this blog has had a FLAG COUNTER operating, and I was very surprised that so many people from so many countries do check in.

And I thank you.

By the way....if you're a fan of The 4400, the late lamented TV series on the USA network, give their website a look.

This and That...

In addition to the new banner for the old bloggerooni, I finally broke down and installed a DROP DOWN menu for the labels . Over 500 posts since last September, and the situation was getting out of control. Its located under the DIGG display on the left hand margin.

Tomorrow will be so long, good bye, and farewell to my old blog TOO OLD TO ROCK AND ROLL, TOO YOUNG TO DIE. All of the posts have been imported to this blog. A new label, MUSIC AND MUSICIANS has over 100 posts attached to it.

Not much else....except one small item that's been troubling me.

Why the hell are there interstate highways in Hawaii?

Yep, You're In The Right Place- Time For a New Banner

To the readers who've been here a few times, the change is obvious....gone (but not forgotten) is the banner with Groucho, Lennon, Carlin, and Maher. I was mulling the change for awhile, and today seemed like a good time to get rid of 11 months worth of pic I accumulated for this blog that were clogging up and slowing down my computer.

I had hundreds, maybe close to a thousand photos...and it was time to put some of them back into service for a last hurrah.

Change is good. Maybe that's why I'm a Democrat.

I'll be back with more enlightening stuff sometime this evening.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

NETWORK; The Fiction of 1976 Becomes the Reality of 2009



Yesterday I wrote an opinion piece about Glenn Beck, who during an appearance on Fox and Friends told the viewers that- in his opinion- the President of the United States was a racist. I strongly disagreed, and said - in MY opinion- that Mr. Beck was either an idiot or a race baiting opportunist. And I blew off any third option.

Its 24 hours later, and I've reconsidered....there is a third possibility regarding Beck. He might possibly be going insane. After all, as Jon Stewart pointed out on the DAILY SHOW, Beck told the Fox and Friends audience that Barack Obama hated white people....and then 75 seconds later he changed that to he doesn't hate ALL white people. This was possibly the shortest backtrack in the history of broadcasting, just a little more than one minute.

Then today while watching CNN Jack Cafferty told viewers that former CBS anchor Dan Rather wants Mr. Obama to establish a commission on public media because the news media has fallen to the level of dumbed down info-tainment. Below, a quote from Rather.

"A truly free and independent press is the red beating heart of democracy and freedom. This is not something just for journalists to be concerned about, and the loss of jobs and the loss of newspapers, and the diminution of the American press’ traditional role of being the watchdog on power. This is something every citizen should be concerned about"


His point is well taken....but government in a democracy can't get involved in media, because then media would cease to have credibility, and would soon be seen as a rubberstamp of the government.

The stuff that we see on air in 2009 was prophesied in the classic film Network 33 years ago. In 1976 this movie was a satire of what was happening to TV news. But the fictional script by the great Paddy Chayefsky has become a reality in 2009; Chayefsky foretold the culture of "info-tainment" before there was such a concept. In the movie a deranged news anchor named Howard Beale (Academy Award winner Peter Finch) becomes a national sensation after having meltdowns on live TV. Soon he becomes a cult figure, with veritable circus going on around him, and ratings going through the roof. But then Beale tells his followers to turn of their TV's, and do something else. And Howard Beale becomes a liability to the network; "The Suits" decide to to take drastic action.









All broadcast news organizations are to blame for what has happened to their product. But even more so, we ourselves are guilty. We should demand more than attractive talking heads, most of whom couldn't tell you if Bangladesh was a country or a meal in an Asian restaurant, covering news that should be important to us. We should demand truth and not opinion- especially when it comes from those who promise to "let us decide". The fictional Howard Beale could have given the same speech (from the second clip) in 2009 and been correct on all points.

It is odd....everyone knew Beale was crazy in NETWORK. Fewer have caught on to the insanity wrought by some of today's crop of broadcast...."journalists".

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

OPINION- Mr. Beck, Its Just A Matter of Respect


Opinion

Many years ago a former President of the United States gave a speech at a university. After he finished he stayed around and had a question and answer session with the students. One young man stood up when called on, and began a tirade against the man who was then the Chief Executive. The ex-President stopped the student....and then he spoke to him.

The former president scolded the student for his lack of respect towards the man who then held the highest office in the land. "Respect the office" he told the student. You may dislike the President, even hate the person holding the office- but always show respect.

The student sat down, humbled. The former President later found out the student's name, and sent him a handwritten letter. He was sorry to have dressed the kid down in front of the assembled crowd, and the former President knew what the impact of being verbally thrashed by an ex-President would have on the young guy.

I read this story many years ago, in PLAIN SPEAKING; THE ORAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY of HARRY TRUMAN. Mr. Truman declined to name the President, the student, or the university...that's how old school he was. What was said in the heat of the moment was said, done, and moved on. There was no further need for more anger, embarrassment, or bad feelings. Real men move on.

And real men show respect when respect is due.

I tell this story because of the recent appearance by right wing pundit Glenn Beck on Fox and Friends, when he told the world that President Barack Obama is a racist. See below.



It doesn't matter that Barack Obama is bi-racial, or that he was raised by his white grandparents. Beck went on national TV, and told the viewers that the Chief Executive of the United States is a racist. Somewhere Harry S. Truman was spinning in his grave; he knew a loudmouth idiot that needed to be sent to the woodshed when he saw one.

We'll assume that Beck is, indeed, an idiot; the other option is that he's a race baiting opportunist. There is no "choice C" in this question.

In March 2003, while the IRAQ WAR was about to commence, The Dixie Chicks were performing in London. Lead singer Natalie Maines told the crowd "we don't want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas"- the Chicks are native Texans; President George W. Bush was a longtime resident and former Texas governor.

We all remembered what happened next....there were canceled concerts, mass burning of DIXIE CHICKS CD's, banning of their music on country radio stations throughout the Bible Belt and Far West, there was hate mail....and there were death threats. The group's career was derailed, but not destroyed....however, it would never be quite the same.

When asked about Glenn Beck's comments, Fox News Channel claimed this was Beck's position, not their's. And they did nothing to their employee.

Sadly, after all that has been accomplished in recent years, one thing remains unchanged....its still about race.

And its about race baiting and playing to people's basest fears. Its unfortunate that so many of the Party of Lincoln, and their allies, have chosen this path. A once great party should be made of better stuff.

The GOP and the Politics of Fear and Division



The story so far; candidate Obama "palled around" with terrorists, was a member of a radical racist church, was a closet Muslim, was a (pick one) socialist, communist, or fascist. As President Barack Obama would take away all of your guns, tax the nation into bankruptcy, and turn the American heathcare system into a government run entity dominated by pencil pushing bureaucrats. Birthers say he was born in Kenya, "teabaggers" believe they are the Sons of Liberty (Mark II) fighting a political battle against the reincarnated George III.

And now, we have a new wrinkle....President Obama and his socialist allies are effectively going to select- or allow- the elderly to die. Hey friends, it has to be true- congressmen are saying it. Republican Representatives Virginia Foxx, Paul Broun, and talking heads Rush (Boss) Limbaugh and ex-GOP Senator Fred Thompson are spreading this whopper.

Below, more from THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW.



Virginia Foxx...the name is familiar....oh yeah....THAT Virginia Foxx...the representative who lobbied against THE MATTHEW SHEPARD HATE CRIMES BILL on the House Floor. In case you've forgotten, Shepard was a young gay man who was tortured and murdered by a couple of thugs in Wyoming several years ago.

Here's what Virginia Foxx had to say, with Matthew Shepard's mother sitting in the House Gallery.

Geddy Lee Turns 56 Today


Gary Lee Weinrib, better known as Geddy Lee, bassist, keyboardist, and vocalist with the legendary Canadian rock band Rush celebrates birthday #56 today.

Rush was founded in 1968, and since 1974 the lineup has consisted of Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer Neil Peart. More on the band can be found at the Rush Official Website.





Bill Kristol on THE DAILY SHOW


Bill Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard appears on the The Daily Show with host Jon Stewart.

The video shows the entire uncut and uncensored interview, now famous for Kristol's assertion that the American people do not deserve the same quality healthcare as the American military. Also, comments on Sarah Palin, and much more.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bill Kristol Extended Interview
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

Did Beck Call Obama A Racist?



Various reports yesterday have said that during an appearance on Fox and Friends FOX conservative commentator called Barack Obama, the President of the United States, "a racist".

I report...here's the video....you decide.




Here's a related story from The Chicago Tribune.

"Uncle Junior" is the Tour Guide



Add actor Dominic Chianese to the list ofTV personalities who are "branching out". The man who played Uncle Junior on The Sopranos is now a tour guide in New York City, taking groups to "The Old Neighborhood".

Here's the audio link from Stitcher News .

Note- if he wants to take you across the GW bridge for a tour of the Meadowlands or even The Pine Barrens, maybe you should bail....

Here's a brief look at the fictional Corrado "Junior" Soprano from HBO.

Kim Parrish- TV Host and Designer Turns Children's Author



Kim Parrish, former Miss West Virginia, former QVC host, current fashion designer (appearing on HSN in the United States and QVC in the UK), President of Miss America's Outstanding Teen, and the subject of a profile and updates on this blog for her work (in our Making A Difference series) has added yet another line to her resume; co-author of a childrens's book.

Along with co author Deb Landry and illustrator Christine St. Cyr, Ms. Parrish has written The Snapdragon Princess. The book launch will be on Saturday August 1, 2009.

READ MORE.......





And even more information is available on FACEBOOK.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday Afternoon In The Park

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Enough of the politics and the bloodsport for one day, at least. I took my camera and tripod, and took a long walk in the park on this hot July day, until the rains came. Above, a Monarch butterfly, probably getting ready for the long trip back to Mexico. Below, some creatures and fauna, on an afternoon well spent






Monday, July 27, 2009

"Birther" Lunatic Fringe; Is It Taking Over The GOP?



The so-called "birther" movement, consisting of extremists who believe that President Barack Obama is not an American citizen even when presented with a photocopy of his birth certificate and birth announcement in a Honolulu newspaper, have become a potent enough force to have gained a foothold of sorts with a substantial group of Republican members of the Mouse of Representatives.

The fact that "birthers" are even getting lip service from ANY elected member of Congress, from any side of the aisle, should be cause for concern.

Here's two segments from MSNBC, from COUNTDOWN and THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW








Read more from The Huffington Post......

Also....these guys, the birthers, have set up a website.....birthers.org. Its page rank is a notch below the page rank of this blog.

I'm running neck and neck against a couple of thousand whack jobs.

I don't feel so good about that.

But I feel even worse about those gutless Republican Congressmen who lack the courage to stand up to the loonies in the fringes of their own party.

No sense of decency...no sense of shame.

Seeya! Sarah Palin Moves On....and on.....and on



From Countdown, with Lawrence O'Donnell subbing for Keith Olbermann. Shannyn Moore, blogger and radio personality from Alaska, comments.



More With Bill Maher


Bill Maher visits CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer....and he says his usual provocative (and mostly right on) stuff.





It was interesting to see the reaction of those who emailed CNN when Bill called America a "stupid country". There's that word again. Let's put it this way. We're a big country....and the bigger the country one lives in, the chances are there will be bigger numbers of really stupid people . Yes, they'll be smart, folks, and some geniuses. But face it, we've got more than our share of idiots.

Do you want proof? OK....log onto TWITTER, and just check out the trending topics.

I rest my case.

Quick Hits For July 27, 2009


(1). I just saw something that was both bizarre and tragic on TWITTER. I'll withhold the names of the individuals involved....I think in this case its the right thing to do. A young man TWITTERED a prominent young woman, a famous GOP'er, with a message that seemed like a suicide attempt was pending. The young woman took the time to call local authorities- it was the right and responsible course of action. Later the guy tweeted her back, saying that he was OK and was going to get some long term help.
I was just thinking that this might be the tip of the iceberg; that there might be lonely and troubled people out there reaching out to celebrities as a last cry for help, using TWITTER as their vehicle. This time, it did have a happy ending.

(2) Its "goodbye" for and from Sarah Palin....well, not really. She has her book deal, and I wouldn't be surprised that she'll go on her merry little way taking pot shots at celebrities and the "mainstream media", at least in the forseeable future. Forget that she has become a celebrity, and is America's #1 Reality Star....and that in a few more months she'll in all likelihood join FOX NEWS as an on camera personality or consultant and become part of the mainstream media she so despises.

The power of the almighty dollar.

(3) As promised, here's some short comments about Torchwood; Children of Earth. In a nutshell, this miniseries was some of the best science fiction I've ever seen. But it was more than Sc-fi; it was political commentary, and it was human triumph and tragedy shown on an epic scale.



I only saw a few episodes of the first two seasons of TORCHWOOD, and to be candid, I could take it or leave it. But when this third season, reworked as a five episode mini series, played last week on BBC AMERICA I became hooked. It was arresting in its pace, and I couldn't wait to see the next episode. This miniseries out 24'ed 24.. They took a fantastic premise and made it believable; what if the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1920 was the work of aliens flexing their muscles? And what if an alien emissary demanding 10% of all the children of Earth be given to him ore else the planet would be destroyed by an even more deadly virus? But more frightening than the alien menace was the reaction of democratically elected officials to the crisis, with their devolution into neo-facists, debating the selection the "less desirable" from the future leaders of the planet. John Barrowman and Eve Myles were great in their roles as Captain Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper, but Peter Capaldi stole the show for me in portrayal of the loyal, weak, and tragic John Frobisher. If you haven't sen the mini series, it will out on DVD and Blue-Ray this week, and it is available also on BBC AMERICA ON DEMAND. Check out the official website for more information, background, and videos.

(4) A thumbs up to THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL for replaying the eight part Cronkite Remembers, a min-series from the late 1990s. All of episodes were shown on Sunday, and then repeated,16 hours of Walter Cronkite telling his view of the story of the 20th century. He was the voice that guided generations of Americans through the turbulence of the Sixties and the Seventies....and he's irreplaceable.

(5) A thumbs down ...to The History Channel. MONSTERQUEST... ICE ROAD TRUCKERS....UFO HUNTERS....now Pawn Stars? Granted, this might be of interest to some people. But its not history. None of these quasi-reality/history shows are. True, THE HISTORY CHANNEL used to get the rep of being "all WWII, all of the time". But what they're doing now is playing DOWN to the audience instead of trying to elevate the discussion. Let the dumbing down of America proceed.

(6) Professor Gates...Sgt Crowley...President Obama...let 'em all get into a small room, have that Blue Moon, Corona, or Sam Adams Summer Ale, and move on. Health care is stalled in the Senate and the side show continues. I will admit; its a refreshing change of pace to have a President who will admit mistakes.

(7) The Yankees went 9-1 during a ten game homestand. All seems right in Yankeeland. Now its on to Tampa Bay, and those battlin' Rays- a very good team playing in the most unsightly ballpark in the majors.

(8,9, and 10) It was, it is, and it will be hot, hazy, and humid in this last week of July. Just writing about beer in the previous post has made me thirsty. I'm outta here!

"Hugh Jee"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Classic "NEW RULES" With BILL MAHER


On the July 24th edition of HBO'Real Time host Bill Maher had a classic NEW RULES.

One particular CNN host seemed to take some umbrage with Bill Friday night on TWITTER, when Bill took on the news media. I can't say I agree with the protester.

Take a peek (FOR MATURE AUDIENCES).



The news media has had two huge changes in the past 30 years. First, programs like 60 Minutes showed that news based shows in primetime can draw large audiences, and they can make money....lots and lots of it. Secondly, the creation of the three major 24 hour news channels gave news broadcasts a profit motive...news to entertain dressed up as news to inform.

The late Walter Cronkite said it was his job to tell the audience the news they needed to know, not what they wanted to hear about. He was appalled by some of things going on in the news media....and we should be as well.

Not to mention being appalled by what HMO, insurances companies, hospitals, and "war profiteers" have done and continue to do.

Bill turns plays it for laughs...but its some serious stuff.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Davinia Palmer (former QVC Host) Sighting- Well, Sort Of


Since my blogger pal Queen Bea has decided to take a hiatus, and I'm "up to here" with talking or hearing about (pick one)... health care reform, Gates/Crowley, Sarah Palin's exit (hasta la vista, baby), the New Jersey governor's race, the New Jersey Big Bust of 40 something elected officials ( is this Groundhog Day?- I think I've seen this before), the death of a talking chihuahua, and the collapse of the New York Mets- I thought I'd share something with you guys that is usually in "QB"s domain.

There has been a cyber sighting (well, of sorts) of former QVC host Davinia Palmer. And you thought this was a political blog!

It seems that her former website has been taken down, and according to the pop up its under reconstruction.

Additionally, She's posted the following showreel on YouTube.



I personally want to thank Davinia Palmer for her time as a QVC host. Watching her for several weeks and listening to the nuances of her Welsh accent made it much easier for me to understand what the hell Eve Myles was saying on Torchwood; The Children of Earth, as well as the rest of the cast, in a story that was based in Cardiff, Wales (as opposed to the Cardiff Giant...but that's another blog entry). Otherwise I would have need to see some subtitles as in Ashes To Ashes (what did Gene just say to Ray-mon-do?).

(By the way....the TORCHWOOD mini-series was amazing. Real sci-fi for adults, with ominous political twists and alot of tragedy. A full review is on the way).

Anyway...the lovely Ms. Palmer appears to be poised to hosting again in the US and/or UK. If I see anything else online or accidentally run into her at STARBUCKS, you guys will be the first to know.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Time.com Poll- Jon Stewart Is The Most Trusted Newscaster In America



Maybe it says something about the state of broadcast news. The star of Comedy Central's The Daily Show has been voted in a Time.com poll as "the most trusted newscaster in America".

Jon Stewart got 44% of the vote, beating out NBC's Brian Williiams (29%), ABC's Charlie Gibson (19%), and CBS's Katie Couric (7%) in a poll that asked "Now that Walter Cronkite has passed on, who is America's most trusted newscaster?".

Of course, it was an unscientific poll, with around 9,000 people voting.

Which was Stewart's strongest state?

Giveup?

Utah! No, that's no mistake. Jon got 59% of the vote, followed by Williams as a distant second (26%).

Fake news rules!

Read More.........

Goodbye Gidget



I know I'm forgetting something.......with the Henry Louis Gates/ Sergeant Crowley Affair, Health Care Reform, the Sotomayor confirmation, the increased attacks from "birthers", and the death of Walter Cronkite, I've missed talking about the death of another icon.

Gidget, the Taco Bell chihuahua, died on Tuesday at the age of 15.

Gone but not forgotten.

Because her work lives on! (That's right...the baritone voiced Gidget was a she. And Lassie was a he. Talk about two dogs with individual identity crises!)









Gidget had canine fans as well...here TYLER meets a Gidget "replicant" (yeah, its a BLADERUNNER reference. Ever see a unicorn?)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"The American People Love To Be Humbugged"; The Incredible Story of THE CARDIFF GIANT



While writing a previous entry about the "birther" movemement I kept having the same recurrent thought; that there is a segment of the American population who will believe even the most ridiculous or improbable scenario. Birthers believe that Barack Obama was not American born, but is indeed Kenyan. When confronted with pictures of his birth certificate, with the raised seal, and with copies of his birth announcement from a local paper from Honolulu these people continue to say that both are frauds, hoaxes, and these documents are forgeries. They somehow forget that if these were truly forgeries, don't you think that (A) Hillary Clinton or (B) John McCain would have found out and used that to derail The Obama Express?

I personally think that birthers are of the same mentality who think WWE wrestling isn't scrpted, that its on the up and up. They're not alone. We have conspiracy theorists involving the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing, Elvis Presley's death, Jim Morrison and Andy Kaufman faking their demise...and the granddaddy of 'em all, the JFK assassination

There's something in human nature....and in our American character....that really wants to believe in nonsense. Birthers are an example, so are the "Dittoheads" of Mr.Limbaugh. And its not a new phenomenon. PT Barnum figured it out a long time ago. Barnum once said, "The American people love to be humbugged". This was reportedly said when he was trying to sell the American people that his Cardiff Giant was the REAL Cardiff Giant, not the one that was being displayed in Syracuse, NY. Everyone knew that the Cardiff Giant was a hoax, a fake...but Barnum had people spending good money to see that he had the one and only AUTHENTIC fake. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll backtrack, and tell you the story.

It was October 16, 1869. On William A. Newell's farm in Cardiff, NY two workers were digging a well when they struck something hard. They dug up what appeared to be a 12 foot tall statue of a man....or was it a statue? Newell declared that The Giant was a petrified man. Soon he erected a tent around The Giant, and charged at first 25 cents a head to see the Cardiff Giant. Genesis 6:4 said, "There were giants in the earth in those days." And Newell played that hand in promoting The Giant- he was part of a race that walked the earth, because the Bible said so. The crowds were at first hundreds, and then thousands, as the God fearing folks from even hundreds of miles away heard the news and had to see the Cardiff Giant.

And of course, Mr. Newell doubled the admission price to fifty cents per person.

A group of Syracuse businessmen saw a cash cow when they saw one. They bought the Cardiff Giant from Newell for $37,500. This was probably more money than farmer Newell could expect to earn in a lifetime. The new owners moved the Cardiff Giant to downtown Syracuse, and raised the price of admission again. Business boomed downtown, and all was well...at least for awhile.

Since the Giant was moved to a larger city and gained more notoriety, new questions arose about what the Cardiff Giant really was. A paleontologist from Yale, Othniel C. Marsh, decided to check it out. And to be brief...it "hit the fan".

Marsh noted that there were fresh chisel marks on the 12 foot stone man. This "petrified man" was actually only a few months old, probably cut from local rock in one of the area's quarries.

The news of this hoax broke....and a tobacconist from Binghamton named George Hull decided to come clean and tell the truth; for $2,600 he had a crude statue of a giant cut from stone....with the help and collusion of his cousin, William Newell....and then buried on Newell's farm. Hull was an atheist who got into an argument with a fundamentalist preacher who believed that every word in the Bible must be taken literally- even the passage about "giants" who once walked the earth. So Hull decided to show just how easy it is to fool Americans, particularly those who were entrenched in biblical dogma. And he wanted to make a few bucks on the hoax.

Now with the exposure of the fraud, the story should be over. But to borrow a line from a certain TV football analyst....not so fast, my friend.

The whole world knew the Cardiff Giant was a fake; but the crowds kept coming to downtown Syracuse to see it- and paying money to do so.

Its at this point that Phineas T. Barnum came into the picture. PT's American Museum in New York City had recently burned to the ground, and he needed to get some new exhibits for his next venture. He was a showman who displayed many "curiosities", more than a few of dubious origin. Barnum offered to buy the Cardiff Giant for $60,000. The owners of The Giant refused Barnum's offer.

After he was rebuffed in his attempt to buy The Cardiff Giant, Barnum decided to build his own replica of The Giant. Then he placed ads in various newspapers stating that his Cardiff Giant was the REAL Cardiff Giant In other words, his fake Giant was the REAL fake Giant, and the Syracuse fake Giant was a "fake" fake Giant.

When the owners of the Syracuse Cardiff Giant heard this development, one of them said, "Well, I guess there's a sucker born every minute". That quote is usually erroneously attributed to PT Barnum. The Syracuse group tried to sue Barnum, but the presiding judge threw the case out of court.

And still....people came to see the Cardiff Giant(s)....even to this day. Barnum's version is now at Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum near Detroit, while Hull's "original" is at The Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, NY.

Credits; much of the information for this entry came from The Museum of Hoaxes.. In addition the book Finding Oz by Evan I Schwartz was an inspiration to examine the topic. His book on the life of L. Frank Baum and the creation of The Wizard of Oz is great read, and a fantastic look at life in the 19th century, and how Baum's characters and stories were created and came to life. Check out the website...you won't want to leave it.

Announcing The Merger of TOO OLD TO ROCK AND ROLL- TOO YOUNG TO DIE with UT&MR



Last February I started a classic rock blog, TOO OLD TOO ROCK AND ROLL- TOO YOUNG TO DIE as a companion blog to UT&MR. It was fun and it gave me a chance to give a history lesson about some of the acts from the "Classic Rock Era", however you wish to define it, as well as tell stories about my experiences as a concert goer and fan in that era.

Recently I've had a change in my personal situation- nothing serious or drastic, but just time consuming enough to make running two blogs concurrently a little much. As you can see, much of the material I write is original content; this blog alone has had over 400 entries posted in ten months. An additional 95 entries were posted in "2O2R&R-2Y2D"- and increasingly the content at "2O2R&R-2Y2D" began to shrink and become more infrequent in recent weeks.

In a nutshell, my creativity was becoming taxed. I love my music blog, but any reputation as far as an online voice and opinion maker is tied to UT&MR.

So the choice was a no brainer. Yesterday I imported all of the blog entries from "2O2R&R-2Y2D" over to UT&MR- ALL blog posts, pictures, videos, and comments, all now appearing on this site in the order in which they had originally appeared at "2O2R&R-2Y2D".

I intend to close "2O2R&R-2Y2D" and will probably delete it at the end of the month. I'll continue to write about music and about classic rock on these pages, because...."hey hey, my my....rock n' roll will never die".

Thanks for your time, and for your readership.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

GOP's Chris Christie On Fixing New Jersey's Economy



Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Chris Christie On Fixing New Jersey's Economy

Thank goodness for Harry and his magic wand!
Because Christie has yet to tell us just how he's going to do it.




And that's the way I see it.

Happy Birthday Cleveland!


It was 203 years ago today (July 22, 1796) that a brigadier general in the Connecticut militia would found a city on Lake Erie that bears his name. After the American Revolution, Connecticut claimed territorial rights in the Northwest Territory, part of which is now the state of Ohio. Parts of Connecticut had been devastated by the Revolution; British and Tory brigades, some led by the traitor Benedict Arnold, burned down homes and towns that were suspected of being patriot strongholds. These settlers moved to Northeastern Ohio- to this day the area is sometimes referred to as The Fire Lands.

The Connecticut Western Reserve was its formal name, more commonly known as the Western Reserve. The general and his party surveyed the area and set up a new town where the Cuyahoga River met Lake Erie. The general was Moses Cleaveland, and the town was named after him...."Cleaveland".


But a funny thing happened to Moses Cleaveland's new town. There was a spelling error on the original map of the village. And it was mistakenly known from that day forward as Cleveland.

That spelling error could be called the original "Mistake on the Lake".

But I'm not going to go into the usual litany of Cleveland jokes, and you've heard them all. For a guy from New Jersey to make jokes about Cleveland would be like Burt Reynolds making fun of William Shatner's hairpiece.

Yes, there's too much snow....and as my brother (who's lived in the area for about 10 years) has said there are only two seasons in Cleveland; winter and "Orange Barrel Season", when highway repaving begins and never seemingly ends. And yes, the Cuyahoga River did catch fire; but because of that misfortune we now have Burning River Pale Ale.



Cleveland gave us Larry Doby and Jim Brown, the Cleveland Clinic, and The Drew Carey Show



And Cleveland is where Alan Freed gave birth to the term rock n' roll back in the 1950's; its where the Rock an Roll Hall of Fame is located. And Joe Walsh and the James Gang got started in Cleveland.

And who could forget Ian Hunter with this?


Ian...you used the "F- bomb"!

And as for hot wings...forget Buffalo! Cleveland is the hot wing capital of the United States! Check out the Winking Lizard, with its dozen of different wing recipes, and DOZENS of bottled and draft beers to wash it all down.



And I have yet to mention King James...and new arrival Shaquille!




For today, let's forget about the problems of a troubled city. We come to praise Cleveland, not to trash it.

But....203 years old. Maybe its time for just a bit of a facelift?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Everybody''s In Show Biz, Everybody's A Star"


I was just at another site before and read a short exchange between posters about who or what constitutes "celebrity". I forget who said it, but years ago someone described Zsa Zsa Gabor as the ultimate celebrity- someone who "was famous for being famous". There really is karma in the universe; Zsa Zsa was once married to Conrad Hilton, Paris's grandfather.

Apples don't fall far from the trees, do they?

To make a long story short, the nature of celebrity has changed so radically with the 1,000 channel TV universe, reality shows, and the internet. We have stars on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter. And the true prophet, Andy Warhol, was right...we're all going to be famous for 15 minutes.




I kept thinking about an old song by the Kinks. Here it is set to a montage of some of the greats from Hollywood's Golden Age.



I get tired of ranting about politics, current events, and futile attempts to save the human race. Nobody's listening to me; you guys are all watching BIG BROTHER!

Oh well. I'm going to have a beer or three.

Enjoy the video!

Birther Mania (With "Mania" Being The Operative Word"



To the one or two of you who might have been living in a cave since last September, or if you are from a foreign country....meet the "birthers".

Birthers are a bunch of fringe lunatics that keep repeating the mantra that President Barack Obama is not an American citizen, but is instead a citizen of Kenya and ineligible for the Presidency of the United States. There has been a well funded movement that has bought billboard space demanding that the President produce a birth certificate, which they claim does not exist.

OK...I'll bite. If he doesn't have a birth certificate, then what is this below?



Next up, we have a town hall meeting with Republican Mike Castle of Delaware.....and the meeting is taken over by birthers. See the video below.



Read more from THE WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT....

In a book I'm reading there was a quote from Phineas T. Barnum...."Americans love a humbug".
PT, you "got it right more than 100 years ago.

What 2 Do On A Rainy Day? Its Time 4 TWANTS!



I know...I must have too much time on my hands.

But the other day I was thinking about some notable reactions I had to certain posts on TWITTER, as well as some celebrity TWEETS of note. There is no word yet for a "Twitter Rant", so I just invented one.

Now and forever may they be known as TWANTS.

Lets begin.

Here's a couple from me.

Hugh_Jee@DittoWatch Repeating the same idiocy isn't going to turn it into genius. Doing the same thing repeatedly & expecting new result= insanity.
(In response to a post from DittoWatch about Rush Limbaugh and his regurgitation of the same crap daily again and again and again).

Hugh_Jee@politicususa Joe the Plumber- Keeps gettin' dumber- I'm getting numb(er)- He's such a bummer- He's back in his Hummer- his Mindless summer.
(To Politicususa- upon hearing the latest bit of inane rambling of Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher)

From blogger Mario Piperni Some gun people are crazy. Period. http://is.gd/1CIXd
(Now that's being direct and to the point- and way under 145 characters!)

From Scott M (justmy2_cents) It's one thing to accept, and possibly forgive Chris Brown. Quite another to give the guy any respect or support in the future.
(In response to Brown's mea culpa video concerning his beating of girlfriend Rihanna)

From Empty Skirt Thanks to Sarah Palin, the definition of "empty skirt" has been officially entered into the Urban DIctionary: http://bit.ly/empty-skirt
(As implied, EMPTY SKIRT is the female version of an "empty suit", inspired by and dedicated to the soon to be former governor of Alaska.)

From Shannyn Moore RT @OTOOLEFAN: Republicans opposed social security, civil rights, Medicare, & now a public option. Party of Lincoln, my ass!
(Shannyn Moore is a blogger and radio personality from Alaska, who in recent weeks has become notable to media in the Lower 48 because of her writings and opinions about Sarah Palin)

From CNN's Rick Sanchez afghanistan is hot zone today. we got atia and nick covering from region. why did abducted soldier leave compound? don't get it, but asking
(Interestingly, this TWEET was from July 2, the story and controversy of why the soldier walked away has gained momentum in the last 24 hours).

From WCBS 2 (NYC) meteorologist Megan Glaros Boarding flight to Chitown and thinking about all the germs circulating. Eeeek!
(One word for you young lady...."DRIVE"!)

From writer and blogger Russell Twyce @robstrump Take my advice, and don't take my advice. :-)
(Interesting stuff from an interesting guy. I don't always agree with him but its always a fun... and controversial... read).

OK...just one more from me (because I'm getting tired of typing and I want some lunch). Sorry, but I'm going to cheat...here's another one from me.

Hugh_JeeShould TV Detective Adrian MONK join TWITTER, or would he be too paranoid about people following him?

Alright, enough of this.

Outta here!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Remembering Apollo 11



The Summer of 1969 has been chronicled in song in print. As far as significant news stories, there have been few three month periods to rival it. The Beatles were still Number #1 on the record charts, but a new supergroup called Crosby, Stills, and Nash emerged that year to rival them. Hurricane Camille smashed into the Gulf Coast, with devastating winds and rains that were a precursor to Katrina 36 years later.

Senator Ted Kennedy drove off of a bridge in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts, killing young female passenger Mary Jo Kopechne, forever derailing Kennedy's presidential hopes. In California, a cult led by madman Charles Manson murdered actress Sharon Tate and her friends in the home Tate shared with husband Roman Polansky, and then they killed an older couple in the area, Leno LaBianca and wife Rosemary. August brought "three days of fun and music" and 400,000 people to the village of Bethel, New York, for the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair. And the war in Viet Nam dragged on.

But on July 20th, perhaps the greatest story of the 20th century unfolded before our very eyes- man conquered the confines of earth, and took his first steps on the moon.

I wish I could offer some kind of profound insight about the Apollo 11 landing, something unique and unheard. But so many other have done so already. And to be candid, I really didn't appreciate the moment 40 years ago as probably should have. I was a typical teenager at the time, and yes, the first man on the moon was a big story....but like most teenagers I was preoccupied with teenage things. So kids, don't tell me I "don't understand, because I was your age once my self...and I could be just as dumb (some of the time).

Anyway...I grew up with the space program and space exploration, from the Soviet launch of Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin orbiting the earth a few years later, followed by the Americans playing catchup, with Alan Shepperd and Gus Grissom's sub-orbital flights, followed by John Glenn's becoming the first Mercury astronaut to orbit the earth. More Mercury launches, followed by the Gemini project, and then Apollo. It happened in rapid succession, and despite some problems, and loss of Grissom and two others in a fire during simulation, I always had the feeling that it was a foregone conclusion; we American's would have a man on the moon by the end of the 1960's. A generation before we set out to harness the power of the atom, we fought two wars on three continents and won, we had the highest standard of living in the world, and we were the cultural and intellectual center of the known universe. Yes, the country did seem to becoming unhinged in the late 1960's. But we were Americans; and landing on the moon was almost the logical extension of 19th century Manifest Destiny. We were Americans. We set out to do it. And we would.

And we did. I wasn't surprised....I was elated that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were successful, and were able to accomplish their mission, and along with Michael Collins were able to return to the earth safely. But deep in my bones I felt they would do it and be successful. Let the speechlessness belong to my Dad's generation- and to Mr. Cronkite.

It was a simpler time in many ways, but it was harsh as well. Young people today just want to hear about how great the music was of the 1960's was, and ask if all the drugs were really that good. The answer is "yes" and "yes".....but if you were a young man in that era there was the constant fear of going to your mailbox, and finding out that you were being inducted into the United States Army in two weeks.

To this day, I hate the sight of mailboxes.

I saw Buzz Aldrin on CNN today...he still looks great, a little grayer but healthy. and later I saw a clip that included Aldrin with Armstrong and Collins. It is remarkable that all three are still with us after 40 years.

And God bless, and thank you gentlemen.

But sadly, it would have been nicer if Walter Cronkite was able to be with us for one more go round. Miss you already, Uncle Walter.

Erin Andrews nude videotape being shopped around - Kansas City Star



My first reaction to this....what kind of dirtbag would try to do this, and is this clown so dumb that he thought he could pull it off without getting pinched?

Second...this is going to cost that hotel or even individuals employed by the hotel $$$millions. And deservedly so.

Third...I feel for Erin (an ESPN sideline reporter and personality) on having her privacy violated by such a low life. To her lawyers... go get him.

Read more in the link below.

Erin Andrews nude videotape being shopped around - Kansas City Star

Shared via AddThis

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Welcome New Visitors To This Blog!

Just taking a moment to thank the 1,565 new visitors to this blog this month (so far) from 62 countries, the latest being from Ecuador and Kuwait.

Its great to have you here....

And enjoy this Sunday, and the rest of your weekend.

"Hugh Jee"

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jesus (Montero) Saves Trenton ( Well, Sort Of)!



I've been going to Trenton Thunder games now since the franchise was born in 1994. As far as games I've seen, the total is well into the hundreds. The players- there have been many forgettable ones, and more than a few stars in the making.

Among the keepers; Tony Clark, Nomar Garciaparra, Joba Chamberlain, and Phil Hughes. And tonight in a 6-5 Thunder win over the Portland Sea Dogs, I'll add this name to watch; 19 year old catcher Jesus Montero. The teen aged Venezuelan is rated as the best catching prospect in the New York Yankees' system, and one of the top 50 prospects in all of minor league baseball.

First I'll give you the bad news; he had two passed balls in the game. One came in the 2nd inning after Portland's Lars Anderson struck out, and then reached base safely on the passed ball. He ended up stranded there. However, in the 8th Portland DH Jon Still doubled, then taken out for pinch runner Reid Engel. Engel moved to third on a ground out, and scored on Montero's second passed ball of the game. That tied the score at 5-5.

The reason it tied the score leads to the good news about Jesus Montero; the kid can hit in the clutch. In the seventh Trenton trailed 4-0. Three walks by Portland pitchers loaded the bases. In the middle of this Portland managed to get two outs. Montero had a 3-2 count on him and the bags filled, and then with a crack of the bat he tied the score at four-all. The ball cleared right center above the yellow home run line...GRAND SLAM. Trenton added another run in the inning to give them a short lived 5-4 lead.

For the record, Noah Hall's sac fly in the bottom of the eighth scored Austin Krum for the Trenton win, 6-5.

What did I learn? That Trenton has a young power hitting catcher who could be the eventual replacement for Jorge Posada in The Bronx. He still has to grow defensively....but his bat makes him a hot commodity.

Sidebar. Trenton's starting pitcher was Hawaiian born Kanekoa Texiera. He wears number 50. His theme music during warm ups?

Hawaii Five-0.

Book 'em, Danno!

Cronkite Remembered


From Twitter, Friday July 17th.

Hugh Jee-"walter KRONKITE" a trending topic? Mr.Cronkite looking down now and shaking his head. Online "journalists" who won't even check spelling.

When I wrote my previous entry about the passing of CBS NEWS icon Walter Cronkite at age 92, I didn't think for a second about a title for the piece; it had to be about the death of "the most trusted man in America". That emotion was spontaneous and heartfelt. Because to people of my generation and older, there is the feeling that an old, very wise friend has left us; one who led a fuller life than most anyone could even imagine. And a man who changed broadcast news forever.

He was a print journalist, war correspondent, radio voice, and a pioneer in the new medium of television and broadcast journalism. In the 1950's he hosted a Sunday TV show called YOU ARE THERE, were significant historical events were reported as contemporary news stories, with modern reporters like Roger Mudd and Mike Wallace interviewing people like Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee, and Joan of Arc. There was a version of the CBS MORNING NEWS where Cronkite had a puppet for a co-host- that was probably a response to NBC's TODAY SHOW with Dave Garroway; among Garroway's co-hosts was a chimp named J. Fred Muggs.

Walter Cronkite also did news special broadcasts and political conventions, and in 1962 he replaced Douglas Edwards on the 15 minute CBS EVENING NEWS. In the New York area it followed local news at 7:15 Monday thru Friday.

In September 1963 the CBS EVENING NEWS became television's first half hour news broadcast. It was a different universe then. There were three networks in most major markets, and perhaps several independent TV stations. There was no cable, and not even UHF at the time. Network news was still the little brother of print journalism. A story may be given a few minutes on the evening news, but most people would wait until the next day to read about it extensively in their morning newspapers.

Several years ago PBS had a special about the day modern news broadcasting as we know it was born. That day was November 22, 1963- the day President Kennedy was shot in Dallas. Televisions across America, and the world, were locked on to the coverage, which was unprecedented at the time. It continued almost nonstop for days, all live and enabled by the recent launch of TELSTAR, the first communications satellite. And on our TV's Walter Cronkite was there. In a way, he helped to lead the nation through those horrific dark days. We all mourned the loss of our President; and the middle aged Cronkite seemed to lead the procession, from Dallas back to Washington, back to Dallas where alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was murdered by Jack Ruby, live and in glorious black and white on a the following Sunday morning, with the nation watching. Then back to Washington, with the viewing in the Capitol Rotunda, and the procession to Arlington, with the stoicism of Jackie Kennedy and the salute of little John F. Kennedy, Jr.

Cronkite was there for us. Our Uncle Walter.

And Cronkite was there for us when the cities burned in the race riots of 1967, and the murders of RFK and Dr. King in 1968. He told us after the Tet offensive that the Viet Nam War was unwinnable, and urged a negotiated peace. President Lyndon B. Johnson told aid Bill Moyers that "If I lost Cronkite, then I'll lose middle America". The answer- he did lose both. And Johnson was forced to not seek re-election because the war was failing.

Cronkite was in Chicago in 1968 at the Democratic National Convention, which erupted into one physical confrontation after another, both on the street and in the convention center. When CBS newsman Dan Rather was roughed up be security men on the floor of the convention hall, Cronkite remarked "I think we've got a bunch of thugs down there, Dan".

There was that unforgettable moment after the Apollo 11 lunar landing, when the voice of American news became speechless; it was a moment that he found personally embarrassing, but it showed Walter was as human as the rest of us. There was the end of the Viet Nam War, and the return of Americans returning home, and the repatriation of our men who had been taken prisoner- and Cronkite was there.

Apollo 13; Watergate; Nixon's resignation; President Ford's pardon of Nixon; the rise and fall of the Carter Presidency; the Iranian hostage crisis; the Reagan Revolution. The years when Cronkite anchored the CBS EVENING NEWS, 1962-81, might have been the most tumultuous twenty years of the 20th century- and Walter Cronkite was the narrator of that history.

On CNN this morning one of Cronkite's former interns, now at CNN, talked of his boss's need to get it right. The man was one of Cronkite's fact checkers. Walter wanted to be sure that the story was not only accurate, but if there was a person's name associated with it , that the name was spelled correctly and pronounced correctly. It was always about the story, it was always about getting it right. He was truly about getting it fair and balanced; it wasn't a hollow and lame marketing slogan to him. Accuracy was his dogma.

Perhaps that's why I was so incensed when I was on TWITTER last night; too many "TWITTERER's" didn't even have the common sense( or the respect for the man) to check the proper spelling of his name.

Mr. Cronkite was worried about what has happened to broadcast news in the last few decades. Its become a cash cow and money maker, and consequently image has replaced accuracy in reporting, particularly on the 24 hour news networks. Not only do these networks offer "news" they think you want to hear, they don't always tell you the news you NEED to hear. And by aligning themselves with certain political ideologies, the networks get a segment of the population that agrees with them, often excluding and even demonizing those with other views.

The Cronkite Era was different. His voice became the voice of the news, and he usually transcended political ideology. Yes, there were detractors. but for the most part even they had to respect the ethics of a true journalist, and one who's like we will never see again.

Thank you and goodbye, Uncle Walter.

And that's the way it is..........
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