Monday, November 30, 2009

Quick Hits For November 30; Stop Tailing Tiger, And Other Assorted Rants and Raves



Once again I'm (a) too lazy or (b) too brain locked to spend a lot of time writing something coherent and substantive, so I'm going to resort to my old fallback, QUICK HITS.

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!!!

(1). Tiger Woods- Too bad about the accident. And I really don't give a damn about the other stuff; was it a domestic dispute, why he won't talk to the cops, was he fooling around with a female diversion in New York.

I don't care. Talk about the "silly season", as a certain college football head coach put it.

(2). Charlie Weis and Notre Dame- Once again America's premiere Catholic University, which stresses moral integrity and doing the right thing, shows how its really done. Its win more and win bigger, or your out. Not that this is a surprise; Weis' tenure was dead after he lost to Navy earlier this month- the following losses to Pitt, UCONN, and Stanford just made the firing a little more expedient. I'm not shedding any tears for this one ( as you'll see in the next segment). I'm not a Charlie Weis fan or a Notre Dame fan....but notice how they treated a loyal alum who just wanted to succeed on his dream job. Quite frankly, anybody who leaves a high profile Division One college job for ND next stop should be the funny farm- you'd have to be a complete whack to make the move.


(3)More Notre Dame Kudos to ESPN's Kirk Herbtreit who finally told it like it is on last Saturday's COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMEDAY. Herbie asked, "Why do people still care about Notre Dame"....and added that the program has been irrelevant since 1993. I agree- Notre Dame has not been a true player on the national stage since today's incoming freshmen were in preschool. Notre Dame demands and gets special handling from the media and the public, and they get it- and they don't deserve it. I said it before in another post, and I'll repeat it here- Notre Dame football is like Old World aristocracy. The Irish and their fans live off of memories of The Glory Days, off of the accomplishments of previous generations. There has not been one Notre Dame team to warrant the attention they demand since the tenure of Lou Holtz, which ended in 1996. Notre Dame has their own television network (NBC) broadcasting their games and shilling for them. They have an abysmally unfair arrangement with the Big East in which they are in the conference for all sports except football, where they maintain their independence. Yet, Notre Dame is included with the Big East when eligibility for the Gator Bowl is concerned- they can take a spot guaranteed to the Big East under certain conditions. They won't join the Big East for football, and yet- I'm doing this from memory- they have lost the last three games they've played against Big East members; Last year against Syracuse, and this year versus Pitt and UCONN. Don't even get me started on the BCS which continues to give the weight of one of the six power conferences when determining BCS bowl eligibility. This is a total joke and a travesty. Its time to bring them into the 21st century, at long last. They don't deserve or warrant special handling, and haven't since the beginning of the Clinton administration. If they want a BCS bid, let them have to win one in a conference just like other member schools do, or like the Boise States and TCU's have to, as an at large with no more kid gloves. I'm not speaking out of jealousy, I'm talking about fairness here.

4. Afghanistan Tomorrow night President Obama will unveil his Afghan strategy. And this has me scared to death. How long does he think we can withstand an open ended war after eight plus years of American presence? We keep asking the same people to do the same job year after year...less than one percent of the American public is affected by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. "Stop loss" keeps troops on active duty after their term is up. We've never fought a war this long using troops in this manner. Maybe its time for America and and Americans to reconsider the cost of war, and the fairness to those who will be involved and of their families. If a war is to be fought, the American public must be willing to go forth and sacrifice even more- if you support a war be prepared to pay more taxes or even see a draft reinstated. If you can't go for that, and your representatives won't go for it, then maybe it would be expedient to find an alternative to armed conflict.

5. "Good Will to ALL Men....and Women" Yesterday in The Home News Tribune I saw an article that said Catholic churches in New Jersey were sent a letter by the state's bishops asking the faithful to pray for our members of the State Senate and General Assembly to oppose a bill to allow gay marriage in New Jersey. At mass yesterday, it was not read, but maybe it will be in the future. It is interesting...the Church will not marry a Catholic and a member of another faith unless certain things are agreed to. That being the case, they could just refuse to sanction same sex marriage because it is against Church rules. Since the Church doesn't believe a Catholic's marriage in a ceremony outside of the Church is valid anyway, then I ask this.....what's your beef? They don't believe a civil ceremony is valid under the eyes of God, so doesn't it logically render their opposition as a moot point? Sadly, the Catholic Church has gotten on the same side as those on the far, far right on this one.

Maybe I won't be so blown away by the crassness of this hypocrisy if the Church did admit that "higher ups" did know more than they admitted during the priest sexual abuse scandal. Frankly, I find it very hard to believe that so few knew so little about something so widespread that hurt so many.....where was the leadership and the accountability? Part of the Church's response was to deny the priesthood to anyone who was homosexual, and not acknowledging the difference between homosexuality and pedophilia. The Church hierarchy got their convenient scapegoat.

And don't dare to try to tell them otherwise....because (God knows)...they know best.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

12 Hours Later (Plus)..... Rutgers Football, The Big East, More Thanksgiving Leftovers, and Some Bowl Projections



This is part of my on going look at the 2009 Rutgers football season. Its much delayed (with a house full of people this weekend) but here's a look at the penultimate week of the Big East Season .

Its been a couple of days since the last Rutgers football game, a 20-14 win over Louisville, the final game of Cardinals coach Steve Kragethorpe's tenure. The details of the game are familiar now- Rutgers went out to a 28-7 lead, bogged down a bit in the second half, but came alive in the 4th quarter behind Mohamed Sanu's 148 yards and his second TD from the Wild Cat formation.

I could go through the rehash, but anyone who's been following this knows what's up, and if you don't check out this link to Brian Bennett's Big East Blog on ESPN.com .

All that's left now is placement in the bowl picture with the last three games in the Big East football season coming up this weekend.

Pitt (9-2 5-1 Big East), who were upset at West Virginia on Friday 19-16, will meet Cincinnati (11-0, 6-0 Big East) for what is in essence the Big East Championship game on Saturday at 12:00noon. At the same time West Virginia (8-3, 4-2 Big East) goes to Piscataway to meet Rutgers (8-3, 3-3 Big East).

And in East Hartford (6-5, 2-4 Big East) host the flailing South Florida Bulls (7-4, 3-3 Big East) in a night contest.

There are six teams that are bowl eligible, and six bowl tie ins for the Big East.

Here's a scenario or two- Cincinnati beats Pitt, West Virginia beats Rutgers, and UCONN- USF a tossup. Cincinnati would go to the Sugar Bowl, West Virginia (tie breaker on Pitt) goes to the Gator, Pitt goes to the Meineke, Rutgers to St.Petersburg, South Florida to The International, UCONN to Papa John's.

If Pitt wins, and West Virginia wins, Pitt goes to the Sugar and Cincinnati to the Gator, WVU to the Meineke (again), the other three remain the same.

If Pitt wins and Rutgers wins, Pitt to Sugar, Cincy to Gator, RU (tie breaker on WVU) to Meineke, WVU to Papa John's, USF and UCONN to International and Papa John's , respectively.

If Cincy wins and Rutgers wins, its Cincy to Sugar, Pitt to Gator and all else would be the same as above.

Then again...I could be wrong.

This and that- Al Groh is out at Virginia, expect Temple's Al Golden to get that call. Charlie Weis is probably boxing his stuff at South Bend. I wonder how much of a distraction the Notre Dame rumors will be for Brian Kelly and Cincinnati as they prepare for the biggest game of the Big East year, though it is slightly tarnished by Pitt's loss to West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl.

And what about RU product Kenny Britt's game winning TD catch for the Titan's today in Tennessee's 20-17 win over Arizona with 00:00 on the clock? Way to go KB!

Friday, November 27, 2009

"When Black Friday Comes"....I'll Be Cleaning Up The Thanksgiving Mess

I hope all of you crazies who decided to brave the stores on this Friday after Thanksgiving had a sweet old time and got your precious bargains, because its people like me who have to clean up the mess after Thanksgiving dinner....and as in "Alice's Restaurant" take out the heavy volume of garbage.

(Unlike the song I didn't have any confrontations with law enforcement...however, there's still time.)

That's OK....I stayed close to the fridge, there was a lot of leftovers, and even more football (which I forced myself to watch).

So I'll be back in the AM with my "12 Hours Later" series about Rutgers Football 2009, and talk about more stuff, like Pitt's stunning loss to West Virginia tonight in the 102nd "Backyard Brawl".

I've got sort through a cyber stack of 45 emails....seeya later!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!



I'm just taking a minute to wish all of this blog's readers, fans, and visitors a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

I'll be back with more mindboggling musings in a day or so. But look for me tomorrow at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC.

I'll be one of the guys holding the ropes for the "Balloon Boy" balloon. On a given signal we'll release the ropes and watch the balloon fly away- and every reporter in the United States will follow the story like a bunch of idiots.

Seeya!!!

"Hugh Jee"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Bohemian Rhapsody " by The Muppets




It was a trending topic on TWITTER. After seeing it you'll know why....BRILLIANT!!!

Here's BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, as performed by the Muppets!

Be sure to turn Arlo -and other music- off before clicking on!

"Alice's Restaurant"- Arlo Guthrie's Thanksgiving Classic



It was 44 years ago or maybe 44 years ago on Thanksgiving that Arlo Guthrie went to visit his friends Alice and Ray in their restaurant, but that wasn't the name of the restaurant, its just the name of the song.....and Arlo went on tell the story of his post Thanksgiving feast act of kindness- taking the trash to a city dump and how he was arrested for littering and how it affected his status with Uncle Sam and the draft during those days of the Vietnam War and....whew!  I need to catch my breath! 


Arlo Guthrie's 18 minute musical monologue has the distinction of being the definitive Thanksgiving song- and I don't mean this in a backhanded way, but its by default. Name other song about Thanksgiving....times up! "Turkey Trot" by Little Eva doesn't count.

Arlo is the son of folk legend Woody Guthrie, and claims to have once had a babysitter named Bob Dylan when he was a kid. The story began in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in 1965 when Arlo visited friends Alice and Ray Brock in their home, a deconsecrated church- the Thanksgiving dinner took place at the Brock's home, not at the restaurant they ran, THE BACK ROOM REST in Stockbridge, six miles away.


Arlo recorded the LP ALICE'S RESTAURANT in 1967, and it became an instant FM radio classic at the time. Director Arthur Penn, fresh from his BONNIE AND CLYDE success in 1967, adapted the song into a film in 1969, starring Arlo, Pat Quinn, and the late James Broderick, Matthew Broderick's father. The film had cameos by Pete Seeger, Lee Hays (a member of THE WEAVERS, blacklisted in the 1950's), and William Obanhein, aka "Officer Obie", the arresting officer in Arlo's case.

Arlo is still performing after all these years, and is a proud progressive activist (God bless him). You can find out more about Arlo, including his upcoming shows and activities by clicking here.

For those who are interested, click here for ALICE'S RESTAURANT'S LYRICS.

For even more information on the story of Alice's Restaurant, visit this entry by Dennis Volkert for GateHouse News Service.

Happy Thanksgiving! (Cartoons at MSNBC.com)



At MSNBC.com Daryl Cagle's cartoons....he leads off with one that a poster on TWITTER had commented "Lou Dobbs would be proud of the Indians in this Thanksgiving Day cartoon".

I never knew Lou Dobbs was a member of the Nauset Nation.

(Click the link below)


Happy Thanksgiving!

Food, Family, Football.....and Anxiety- Its Thanksgiving 2009.....Almost!


An artist's rendition of the First Thanksgiving. The Indians should have known something was up when they were relegated to The Kiddie Table.

I got some good news the other day...my Thanksgiving guest list just doubled. It was going to be my Mom, my Dad, my cousin and me.....and my brother called and he'll be here along with my sister-in-law, my nephew, and my niece and her husband.

So....I'm cooking for nine this year. And the planning stage went into full tilt yesterday. Scrap the fancy cranberries with nuts and mandarin oranges and go with plain old cranberries, fancier schmancier veggies will now be plain old green beans, get butter instead of margarine....and be sure to get at least one more case of Yuengling, all in the interest of getting stuff on the menu that everybody will actually like. Hey, I know my family.

(And while I'm at it...do check out that Yuengling Brewery Website- you have to be over 21 to enter. Do they have pictures of hot naked female brewmasters there or something?)

So I bought the 21 pound turkey yesterday, and the stuffing mix, jumbo shrimp to snack on while we watch Detroit get clocked by Green Bay. And it will get worse before it gets better. The Oakland Raiders visit the Dallas Cowboys next; I guess that one's the CBS game at 4:00PM. The best part about that start time is that we'll miss this game because will be eating dinner, and its just as well. I don't think I could handle three hours of "who's worse to work for, Al Davis or Jerry Jones?". The night game, Giants at Broncos, is the only game I really care about this Thanksgiving.

But that's in a couple of days...today its getting the house in order and making sure we have anything else necessary for Thanksgiving dinner, tomorrow its about getting the desserts and starting the food prep for Thursday...not to mention cleaning out the fridge to make room for all of the leftovers. And storage containers...I need to have tops that match the containers lined up and ready to go. I can't handle playing mix and match when I've been eating and drinking all day and have to play that game. Its like algebra- keep like things together.

Ice....big bags of ice. Beer, soda, and wine go in the ice chest(s), to preserve room for the leftovers.

So, my loyal readers. If you're coming here to read my opinion of the latest in current events, politics, pop culture, music, or sports....faggeddabouttit! It's not going to get back to "normal" around here until Sunday at the earliest....whatever normal is.

And then Monday I can start making myself crazy because Christmas is less than a month away.

Monday, November 23, 2009

SC gov faces 37 charges he broke state ethics laws | General News | Comcast.net


Mark Sanford?

You mean the South Carolina Governor who took a walk on the Appalachian Trail, and ended up in Argentina....or something like that?

I wonder who's having the worse weekend, Mark Sanford or Mark Sanchez?

Below, the latest.........

READ MORE....from | General News | Comcast.net

Sunday, November 22, 2009

12 Hours Later (Plus)..... Rutgers Football; Its Time- For The Second Time




This is part of my ongoing series reviewing the 2009 Rutgers Football season. Today we'll look at yesterday's loss to the Syracuse Orange, 31-13

I've been a Rutgers football fan for many years, attending my first game back in elementary school in the 1960's. And I've attended games spanning five decades. The reason I'm telling you this is to show that I've been around for awhile and just didn't jump on the bandwagon when Jeremy Ito hit that game winning field goal to beat Louisville in 2006. I've seen dramatic wins, a lot of losses, spent afternoon on the road following the team, and have missed maybe three home games in the last 20 years. With a certain amount of shame, I'll admit now, I ducked out of my aunt's wake to listen to Rutgers getting pasted by Miami way back in 1998.

Yes, I bleed Scarlet, even though I am not an alum.

This is a piece that actually troubles me to write, but I feel I have a responsibility to do so. And I'm not going to sugar coat my feelings about the 31-13 road loss of then #25 Rutgers Scarlet Knights to a last place Syracuse team.

This was an unfathomable, incomprehensible, mind boggling loss, one that any deserving ranked team should never have suffered. It follows a familiar pattern of Thursday night wins over ranked opponents being followed on the Saturday that follows nine days later with an embarrassing double digit loss, Its happened during the 2006, 2007, and now the 2009 seasons. You can read the stats here if you like. Its pretty ugly from the RU side of it. I won't go into the minutiae of it- but Syracuse, statistically one of the worst offensive teams in the country, was able to dominate Rutgers from start to finish with twice as many first downs and three times the total yardage. Rutgers quarterback Tom Savage was sacked an incredible nine times. The offense was bad, the defense was worse, and only the special teams seemed to have shown up at the Carrier Dome.

While following the game I started to think that maybe the premise of The Prisoner was taking place- a separate reality where people and things are the same yet different in a corner of a dreamer's subconscious. If that were the case "the dreamer" was wearing Syracuse Orange and RU was in for a few hours of torment in the Village otherwise called the Carrier Dome.

This was not the team that destroyed South Florida, so I thought....and it wasn't. But who were these guys?

Now naysayers and critics will start yelling "fraud". I won't, because any program that keeps going to bowl games and winning them while graduating their players is NOT a fraud. But its getting harder for even the most supportive fans to keep arguing their case to the critics. And frankly, its getting redundant.

Every Rutgers fan should be happy to have Greg Schiano as our coach. He took a program that was in the tank and rebuilt it the right way, without recruiting violations and with a minimum of off the field embarrassments. He recruits good kids who play hard and get their degrees. The fanbase has grown, and much of New Jersey has embraced Rutgers as New Jersey's College Football Team.

When Coach Schiano took over the program in 2001 the Rutgers Touchdown Club gave its members long sleeved tee shirts that had two words printed on the back.....It's Time.

It was time for the losing to stop, for the culture to turn around, for New Jersey to get its college football team, for the world to see Rutgers in a new light. Coach Schiano said he wanted to win a national Championship at Rutgers.

In 2001 we fans thought about first things first- it was more important for Rutgers to win a Big East Conference game. Things were so bad at Rutgers in 2001 that RU was in the midst of a eight game Big East losing streak that extended back to a 24-21 win over Syracuse in 1999. They lost the next game to Miami, and continued to go 0-7 in conference 2000. When Schiano took over Rutgers wouldn't win a conference game in 2001 or 2002, going 0-14 in the Big East. In 2003 RU lost to Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Pitt. They had a 25 game conference losing streak going to then conference member Temple on October 25- Rutgers won that game at The Linc, 30-14. Think about it- a 25 game conference losing streak that spanned five seasons, two decades, and two millennium ended only a little more than six years ago.

Respectability as a program came that year and in 2004, though both were losing years. The turnaround began -and "the Chop" was born in 2005 with a 7-5 record and the first bowl appearance in in 27 years. Three more bowls followed, as will another after the 2009 season.

But once again...Its Time.

Rutgers is in a mode now of taking two steps forward and one back. The bowl appearances, the Thursday night wins, the 50,000 seat expanded stadium, the buzz on campus and in the state are great....but the program is treading water.

The goal for Rutgers is to be one of the elite programs. Elite programs don't have hangover losses after significant wins. Consider this- what do you think the likelihood Ohio State following up a win at Penn State with a loss at Indiana would be? Or maybe perhaps Florida smacking down LSU and getting beat at Vandy?

Slim and none. And that's what many prognosticators said about a Syracuse win over Rutgers. They saw RU as ready for Prime Time, that the arrival that was hinted at was finally here. They were wrong, we were wrong...and, sad to say, Rutgers was not worthy of a Top 25 ranking.

And because of this shocking loss, they probably won't see the Top 25 again in 2009. And probably deservedly so.

Rutgers has made great strides in the past decade, but now It Time once again. Its time to make the move and be a challenger to the Big East title, and not be eliminated from contention by Halloween. Its time to follow up big wins with wins over teams they are supposed to beat. Its time to reach and fulfill the promise they have hinted at over the past four years. Its time to shut the critics up once and for all. Its time for the fans to demand more...support the team and its Coach, but not be satisfied.

Its time for the Rutgers program to emerge from adolescence and hang out with the Big Boys. There is not a reason in the world for them not to be.

Everyone....Its time..

Some notes on other games Kudos go out to UCONN after their 33-30 double OT win over Notre Dame yesterday. It was the most significant win in the history of the program, and for all intents and purposes knocked Notre Dame out of contention from Gator Bowl consideration, and will probably go to the second place Big East team, which could be Cincinnati, Pitt, or even West Virginia. UCONN has had five losses by a total of 15 points, while the Irish have now lost three in a row, and back to back losses to Big East teams.

The win was for Jasper Howard, the slain defensive back was lost his life hours after UCONN's win against Louisville.

The question of whether Notre Dame will retain head coach Charlie Weis has yet to be determined.. My guess is that next week's game at Stanford would be his last.

And I wonder this out loud....how long will the rest of college football allow Notre Dame to be treated as a separate but equal partner in the BCS when they have not been relevant in the national discussion since the era of Lou Holtz, which ended in 1996? Notre Dame in the 21st century is like old world aristocracy, living off the reputation and accomplishments of their distinguished ancestors. And how long will it take before the Notre Dame administration comes clean and has to make a decision- are they serious about winning a national title as an independent where they make a fortune through TV and other revenues that they don't have to share with a conference? Or should they break down and join a conference where they can play their way to a conference title and a BCS bid? Do they want a return to football glory and a shot at a national title, or do they just going to keep the money, live off of past glory, and continue this tiresome kabuki dance they've been doing for a generation now?

Also yesterday- BJ Daniels and USF bounced back with a 34-22 win over Louisville after losing to Rutgers 31-0 a week ago last Thursday. Maybe they can win out the last two games, against Miami and Connecticut, and finish the regular season with nine wins. Rutgers fans should be thankful for USF; without them RU would be known as the most unpredictable team in the conference.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pressing Issues: A Mad Man's Greatest Hits

If you're a fan of MAD MEN you'll love this. Roger Sterling's BEST ONE LINERS, from Greg Mitchell's PRESSING ISSUES blog.

After that nasty loss to Syracuse I needed the laugh!

Pressing Issues: A Mad Man's Greatest Hits

Ouch! Knightmare In The Afternoon- Rutgers Falls To Syracuse 31-13

Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano put it this way in his post game press conference...."We didn't play well, we didn't coach well- and that's on me....my hat's off to Syracuse".

Rutgers was ranked #25 in the AP poll, 7-3 overall and 2-2 in the Big East. The Syracuse Orange came into the game at 3-7, 0-5 in conference. Rutgers was an eight point favorite.

An injury ravaged Syracuse ran the ball down Rutgers throats, and sacked Rutgers quarterback Tom Savage nine times in a 31-13 upset.

Ladies and gents, it was so bad that I decided at halftime to go to 5:30 Saturday night Mass. I could pray for Divine intervention and for mercy from the media hounds and critics of my beloved team....I know, the Man Upstairs has more important things to do than worry about point spreads.

To be honest, I had a lot of apprehension about this game. Rutgers historically has a problem after big Thursday night wins. In 2006 Rutgers beat #3 Louisville 28-25 on a Thursday night; the next Saturday following the Saturday bye they lost at Cincinnati 30-11. In 2007 RU defeated #2 USF 30-27 on a Thursday night, only to get spanked the following Saturday by West Virginia 31-3 (wearing horrible black jerseys at home to boot).

And this month RU beat # 24 USF on a Thursday night 31-0, only to lay an egg the next Saturday. What made this one so painful is that RU's loss was to a regional rival....and was the only conference win this year for the Orange, who have already been eliminated from bowl contention.

I'll be back tomorrow with my regular "12 Hours Later" feature to look at this surprising but predictable loss, and I'll talk some more about the Big East landscape, including that big win by UCONN over Notre Dame in overtime.

What's In A Name -"So Where's All The Trivia and The Crazy Rants?"

Some people may log on to this blog in search of obscure facts about individuals, places, and things, and are disappointed to see that there just ain't all the trivia they were expecting. So much for truth in advertising.

Others may visit, looking for Dennis Miller style angry monologues loaded with obscure cultural references that need annotations at every juncture. They too find that its lacking in the "rants" presented in the title of this blog.

So what gives? This is a blog that has minimal rants (usually involving political figures) and marginal trivia. So why the name?

The answer is....I didn't know where it came from. Until early this morning, that is. You see when I decided to start blogging I neglected to have a name for this bit of cyberspace. When I was asked to present a URL for this blog by GOOGLE my mind went blank. The first -and only- thing that popped into my mind was "Useless Trivia and Mindless Rants", kind of a backhanded poke at the pretentiousness and pompousness of blogging and bloggers- myself included. Because blogging itself can be an exercise in vanity, for better or worse. We're trying to show the rest of the world how smart we are- sometimes we get it right, other times we're lost. Admittedly.

The fact that I'm writing this and sharing with you is my admission of guilt.

Anyway....about this blog's name. I couldn't sleep last night so I popped on the TV and went to the ON DEMAND menu. IFC had the documentary about the history of MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS, featuring the surviving Pythons (John Cleese, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, and Michael Palin). I had watched chapter one previously and clicked on chapter two. The episode opened with the day the Pythons went into BBC headquarters in 1969 and talked about doing a show with the suits. The BBC brass gave them 13 shows initially- but when they asked the guys what was the name of the show they had none.

After throwing around some off the cuff names, they settled on Monty Python's Flying Circus. The name amused them, but made no sense- and it stuck. Some early audiences consisting mainly of elderly pensioners actually thought they were going to a circus- and they couldn't comprehend what they were seeing.

While watching the Python history my Inner Voice started babbling to me (again!).... the name "Monty Python's Flying Circus" was the inspiration for the name "Useless Trivia and Mindless Rants" .....but I didn't consciously know it until about 3:00 am this morning, after 801 previous posts and close to 15 months in the blogesphere.

Either that Inner Voice was right or else the old Ian Hunter album "You're Never Alone with A Schizophrenic" was more accurate than I had imagined.

So there you have it...the REAL reason for the name of this blog.

I'll see you later...."WE" must go food shopping.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Quick Hits For November 20, 2009; Ms. "O" Says She's Done, Craziness at "The Q" and Other Fun Stuff


Its Friday and time to throw some stories and links at you that may be of interest. from the sublime to the ridiculous, and all points in between, with some QUICK HITS

(1). To those of you who may have been asleep for the past twenty five years and have some catching up to do, you'd better hurry- Oprah Winfrey will be giving up her daily talk show in 2011 after a quarter of a century. She is expected to make the announcement today (Friday 11/20/09) on her show.

I've said in other entries we throw the term "icon" around too loosely- very often it is used regarding a person or thing that is trendy, one which appears to have staying power but often doesn't. There are few true icons, symbolic of an era in our history or pop culture; Lincoln, Elvis, The Babe....both first and last names are not necessary, one will suffice.

Oprah is among that elite, not just because of her place in television history but what she has meant to our culture and to her greater history as a nation. In the 1980's THE COSBY SHOW gave us a middle class African American family that became THE ideal American family of the era. And Oprah Winfrey came on the scene to become America's talk show host. Ms. Winfrey zoomed to the top and has stayed there for 23 years. She broke down barriers in this nation, and became a figure as important in our racial history as Jackie Robinson, Paul Robeson, or Bill Cosby. She came to us when a generation came of age in which color didn't matter anymore, and in doing so she became possibly the most influential person in the United States, and an international mega personality symbolic of an era....in other words, an icon.

For more on this story, click here.

(2). Great moments in TV censorship- Lucy and Desi can't say the word "pregnant" when "Lucy Ricardo" is carrying "Little Ricki"; Mary Tyler Moore's "Mary Richards" character is changed to single woman from divorcee shortly before production starts on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW because CBS was afraid America would reject a divorced woman. MASH takes place in a battlefield hospital with thousands of casualties- but no blood; in ALL IN THE FAMILY the Bunkers couldn't say the word or show a toilet, but we could always hear Archie flushing whenever Mike was looking for him; Barbara Eden couldn't show her naval in I DREAM OF JEANNIE; and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE- the list is too long. There have been chapters of books devoted to the battles SNL's writers and performers have had with NBC's standards and practices people.

And now its time to add another chapter to The Pantheon of Censorship. Its from our Jersey Girl pal Linda Moss on her Homeshoppingista blog. This one involves the folks at QVC. Linda reports that during the NARS cosmetics launch on QVC show host Lisa Robertson was forbidden to say out loud the name of one of the line's blushes.

The name of the product was ORGASM.

To add to the craziness she also reports that the word ORGASM was allowed on the screen, but could not be spoken out loud.

Then there was the fallout from the viewers, with some very interesting stuff happening on the QVC forums....

You can read more about at homeshoppingista.com.



(3). More from Miss Moss. Some have wondered "whatever happened to Judy Crowell?" Judy was a former QVC host who moved on to rival HSN with husband Paul Deasy to rival HSN a few years ago, and then both left HSN a few years ago. Linda is reporting that Judy will be debuting the Judy Crowell Collection fashion line of ShopNBC in the near future. Husband Paul Deasy has already made the move to the Minnesota based electronic retailer with a jewelry line. Check Linda's story by clicking here, and click here for more on Paul and Judy at PaulDeasy.com.

(4) From the world of sports, a sad story. Stefanie Spielman, wife of former NFL and Ohio State star Chris Spielman, has died at age 42, losing 12 year battle against breast cancer. She was thirty years old and pregnant when first diagnosed with the disease in 1998. I remember reading her story years ago, and that Chris left the NFL to stay home to care for her and their kids, and how he shaved his head when Stefanie's hair fell out after chemo.

The irony of her death coming on the heals of this week's mammography controversy involving new guidelines isn't lost on me. Her death was not in vain. Maybe her's is a cautionary tale that all women are vulnerable, not merely those of a certain age.

My condolences go out to the Spielman family.

(5). Just one more item in a parting shot this morning. I wonder if John McCain can relate to Mary Shelly's fictional Dr. Victor Frankenstein just a little more. Both gave birth to an out of control creature- the doctor's became the subject of countless movies, the Senator's is now on a nationwide book tour....and I'm not talking about Meghan.



"Its alive!!!!"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Dial 800".....Our Eight Hundreth Post!



800 posts on this blog!

Simply amazing....and I really didn't think I had it in me- and I still don't.

I just want to take a minute to thank all who have taken time to visit blog, readers from over 100 nations, and a special thanks to those who have offered their comments and their feedback, and to all who have mentioned this blog on their websites or publications.

In the coming weeks I might not be publishing as much as I normally do- I like to add two or three items a day, but I'll be scaling that back just a bit in coming weeks. The holidays are beginning, time will become more precious.....and I have the possibility of jury duty looming in December (yeah, you're right- bad timing, it really sucks).

And actually, I do need to take a short slow down. When you start writing an entry and you go back to proof read, and not only have a zillion spelling errors but the absence of subjects and predicates in the sentences- well, you may need to take a break from writing for awhile.

But then again....tomorrow I just might have changed my mind.

(BTW....the hairy "800"- like an "800 pound gorilla? Get it?)

Thanks again everyone for your support!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More GOP Reaction To Terrorist Trials in NYC (So What Did You Expect?)


Do you remember John Shadegg?

You know- the Arizona Republican who dangled Baby Maddie as a stage prop on the floor of the United States House of Representatives during the House debate on the health care reform bill?

Well, this might be old news by now, but Mr. Shadegg decided to attack the decision to try five terror suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other 9/11 suspects in lower Manhattan.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said the city of New York can handle the security....but here's a look at what Shadegg said to earn a spot on Keith Olbermann's WORST PERSONS IN THE WORLD last night.



(Notice that the O'Reilly guy mangaed to take the two top slots last night).

To be fair, Shadegg did offer an apology to Bloomberg yesterday, but not until he was smacked down by by House Democrats and rebuked by some New York Republicans for his loose cannon tactics.

But it gets worse from the GOP'ers.

Texas Republican Louie Gohmert glibly told FOX NEWS that trying terrorists in Mew York could be a job creator, according to nydailynews.com.



After eight imprisoning these guys for six years or more, isn't it time to bring them to trial in the state where they took the lives of more than 2,000 innocent victims?

I say yes. We have a Constitution- no matter what O'Reilly says- and its time to do the right thing. To those who are afraid of future terror attacks even if they were to be held by military tribunal down at Gitmo, they would be looking for a soft target anywhere, not exclusively in New York City. That argument doesn't wash.

These men were never a part of a foreign army of combatants. What they are accused of doing were multiple acts of air piracy and murder. They weren't defending another country- what they are accused of was simply murder, many times over. Treat them like any other accused criminal. Military tribunals should be reserved for military personnel, not pirates.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More On The Music On This Blog


Wang Chung; Jack Hues(l) and Nick Feldman(r)

A few weeks ago I added a music player from Playlist.com and wrote a short blog entry about what went into selecting music.

Well...forget what I said in that last entry, because there is little rhyme reason why I add or delete something, other than I like the particular song and think it would fit here, and on some occasions I just want to expose people to an artist or song that has been forgotten or ignored. There's a great deal of really good music and amazing artists who for some reason never find wide acceptance, or have written or performed a great song that for whatever reason fell the the popular cracks.

Most people hear Wang Chung and think about their two US hits from the 1980's, Dance Hall Days and Everybody Have Fun Tonight- you know, "everybody Wang Chung tonight". Many have forgotten that the group also wrote and performed the soundtrack from a classic 1980's crime drama, To Live And Die In LA , directed by William Friedkin and starring William (L) Petersen, John Pankow, and Willem Dafoe and has early career appearances by John Tuturro, Robert Downey, Jr. and Jane Leeves- she doesn't say a word in the film but she does make an impression. I always like the music from the action sequences and thought the theme was a good example of 1980's electronic movie theme music (of anything not composed and sung by Kenny Loggins). I followed that song with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers playing Don't Come around Here No More because (a) I like that song (b) SOUTHERN ACCENTS is a much under- rated Petty album (c)TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA segues nicely into it.

The instrumental Persuasion is included because Richard Thompson has always been a favorite. Sometimes his memorable lyrics and evocative singing makes you forget what an incredible guitarist he is, with a style distinctly his own. There is a rye and wicked sense of humor as well; later on in this playlist there is his version of OOPS I DID IT AGAIN. And for a laugh, look for his version of JANET JACKSON, as he tells the epic story of her Super Bowl wardrobe "malfunction".

Fools Overture by Supertramp leads off because I love the epic scope of it. Its provocative in its nature, referencing the insanity of war and its packaging in patriotism; in the this case the song samples Winston Churchill's famous "never surrender" speech. Whether you go along or not with the song's point of view, it is something unique and memorable. That's why I decided to lead off with it.

One last song i want to talk about, John Prine's humorous The Sins Of Memphisto. Many years ago on the old NASHVILLE NETWORK there was a show called THE AMERICAN MUSIC SHOP that usually included rock, folk, and country acts in various combination. John Prine was featured on one show. He sang SINS OF MEMPHISTO, but first told the story of when he wrote the song and recorded it, no one told him that the name of the fictional devil was "Mephisto" and not "Memphisto"...but the result was so good he never bothered to change the lyric or recording.

Signing off....."Hugh Jee"

Sarah Palin, Chapter 316- Trivia For The Palinistas


When I first saw the link on COMCAST I was elated; Sarah Palin Trivia....she has finally been reduced to a trivia question!!!! Yesterday's news! Marginalized into oblivion!!!!

Not so fast, my friends....

No such luck.

So....with a minimum of fanfare...here is a link to Sarah Palin Trivia on Comcast.net.

After all, check out the name of the blog. I have to include some real mindless trivia in addition to my useless rants....wait a minute- I got that backwards!

Monday, November 16, 2009

SARAH PALIN ON OPRAH!!!!! (And I missed it)



For the multitudes that log on to blog for my keen and witty insights on politics today....I have some disappointing news.

Sarah Palin was on the Oprah show today.....and I missed it because I was busy.

Rather than watch Oprah and the former governor of Alaska I opted to perform a DIY frontal lobotomy on myself.

Sorry this is so brief...I have to run out and buy some EXCEDRIN.

To read about Sarah's appearance with Ms. Winfrey click here.

Thank you very much!!!

Wicker Man, Equalizer actor Edward Woodward dies | Comcast.net


Sad news about Edward Woodward, who once starred in the US TV series THE EQUALIZER, but also starred in two of classic films, the original THE WICKER MAN in the 1970's and the Australian Boer War movie BREAKER MORANT.

WICKER MAN was probably most famous for its horrific ending (no spoiler in case you're one of the few who haven't seen it), and for the beautiful Britt Ekland's dancing in the altogether- not to mention the Swedish beauty's dubbed Scottish accent.



BREAKER MORANT- if my memory serves me correctly- on a recent showing on TMC Robert Osborne's commentary was about how BREAKER MORANT became a bonafide US hit. At first it was shown in big city art houses in the summer of 1980. HEAVEN'S GATE, Michael Cimino's followup to THE DEER HUNTER ended up being an overlong box office bomb, and theater owners wanted something to replace it. Enter the well received BREAKER MORANT, which became a hit in the United States, and brought stardom to Woodward across the pond.

Sadly, he dies violently in that movie as well.

READ MORE....from | Comcast.net

Some Last Words On Sports (Until the Weekend); Coach Stringer, The AP Top 25, and What Was He Thinking?


Rutgers Women's Basketball Coach C. Vivian Stringer with former player Matee Ajavon

Lest regular visitors think that UT&MR has mutated into a fulltime sports and opinion blog, not so fast my, friends....and there I go again with a sports reference. Since a big part of my leisure time involves being a sports fan, and I do talk about what's going on in my life, the past four or five days involved a lot of time in front of a TV, or in a football stadium, and yesterday in a basketball arena.

There's time for politics and other true blood sports later.

A lot of time.

Yesterday I actually broke away from watching the Jets lose to Jacksonville (so what else is new?) to attend a womens's basketball game; #25 Rutgers hosting the #2 team in womens's basketball, the Stanford Cardinal. It was a special day in Piscataway even before tipoff; Rutgers Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer was honored by the athletics department by having a banner hoisted to the rafters at mid court recognizing her induction to the Naismith Hall of Fame. Coach Stringer was already a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Naismith Hall this year along with John Stockton, David "The Admiral" Robinson, and some guy who wore #23 known simply as Mr. Jordan. Coach was also given an award honoring her service to the university by AD Tim Pernetti.

Coach Stringer is one of the most gracious and courageous people anyone could ever hope to meet. We live in an age where the term "icon' is thrown around like a frisbee on summer day; there are few true icons, and fewer icons who are accessible to their public. Coach Stringer is one on that short list. Her biography Standing Tall is an inspiration, and is available at Coach Stringer.com

Actually there were two icons at The RAC yesterday, the other being Stanford's legendary Tara VanDerveer . The game was an 81-66 win for the Stanford Cardinal who simply took control of the game with their size, rebounding, and some deadly three point shooting by JJ Hones (five three's for 15 points). Stanford All-America center Jayne Appel was held to eleven points but had 12 rebounds. More damage was done to RU by Stanford forward Kayla Pedersen's 22 points, and Nnemkadi Ogwumike added 21 more for the Cardinal.

But the most telling stat was rebounding- Stanford held a 43 to 27 advantage; offensive rebounds went to Stanford big time, 24-7. RU was one and done too many times.

Rutgers was led by senior Brittany Ray with 17 points and Rashidat Junaid had 10 for Rutgers. RU has only three seniors, Ray, Junaid, and Myia McCurdy, and no juniors on the squad. Last year's front court of Kia Vaughan and Heather Zurich have departed via graduation to the WNBA and overseas respectively, and All-America Epiphanny Prince decided to forgo her final year of eligibility and play professionally in Russia. This is a very young team that will have to get better to contend in the Big East. Luckily, they have some interesting new talent on the roster. I was very impressed by new post player Monique Oliver, who was not intimidated by being matched up with All American Appel- Oliver scored nine points in her college debut. New guard Erica Wheeler chipped in five points (one three pointer) and new post player Christine Huber only played three minutes but contributed one block.

I haven't talked about the three sophomores yet and that's for a reason. Last year they were part of a five player class that was regarded as the best in women's basketball. Two of those young ladies decided to transfer; the remaining three had flashes of brilliance but for the most part their play last year needed a lot of improvement. The future and present of this program is in the hands of the trio of sophomores April Sykes, Nikki Speed, and Chelsey Lee. If RU is to contend for a Big East title and something more than one and done in the NCAA's in March, these three need to contribute more. Yesterday Lee had three points, five boards, one block; Sykes- eight points, five rebounds, one assist; Speed- no points, one assist, one rebound, two turnovers, and fouled out.

Collectively, they need to do more.

Next up- Tomorrow night versus Kean College.

More Rutgers Women's Basketball here.

RU Football #25 in the AP This was a pleasant surprise. Seeing Rutgers football ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time in more than two years is quite an accomplishment considering how they started the season with the debacle with Cincinnati. This team just kept getting better as the season went on, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, which had to be rebuilt in some of the key skill positions. The defense was always there, and in my eyes what happened against Cincy was kind of an aberration. Could they beat the Bearcats in a rematch? Its hard to say- but I do think RU wouldn't lose by 32 like they did in September.

Does Rutgers deserve to be ranked with the relatively soft out of conference schedule they've played? The bigger question is this- on November 16 of the 2009 season are they one of the 25 best teams in America? Rutgers beat down South Florida 31-0, the same South Florida team that embarrassed the West Virginia Mountaineers in Tampa, and same USF squad that stuck it to Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium. And Rutgers found away to beat a good UCONN team (one that should beat Notre Dame)with 21 ticks left.

So are they- at this moment- one of the 25 best teams in the country? At this moment they are.

But then again, I'm kind of prejudiced.

Bill Belichick, what were you thinking? Finally....I have to get my two cents in on this one. Bill Belichick has forgotten more football than I will ever know. But what are you doing going for it on 4th down on your own 28 with a six point lead two minutes and eight seconds to play?

And the quarterback waiting to come in if you don't make it is Peyton Manning and his Indianapolis Colts?

Punt, punt, punt, punt, punt!!!!

One more time...PUNT!

But I root for the Jets (stop laughing please)- if he didn't have three rings, Biil would be getting totally slaughtered here.

Probably the biggest bonehead move since the Miracle in the Meadowlands (Giants and Eagles) thirty years ago.

Amen!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

College Football for Saturday November 14; From the Sublime To The Ridiculous and Everything In Between

7:30 PM; Its a rainy day in Jersey, so I made good use of my time by being glued to the tube for about six straight hours of college football- with more to come. At 8:00pm its Notre Dame versus Pitt in a game that could tell us the future of the head coach of the Irish, and perhaps move Pitt closer to a BCS berth.

But I did watch two games earlier, one involving two teams just in need of a single conference win, and the other with two teams fighting for a conference title and a likely trip to the Rose Bowl I'll go with the latter first.

Ohio State 27, Iowa 24 (OT)- This was for all the marbles at the Big Horseshoe in Columbus. Iowa, who lost their first game of the year-and their quarterback Ricki Stanzi last week- came to Columbus ranked #10 at 9-1 (5-1 in the Big 10), and a 17 point underdog to the Buckeyes. Freshman quarterback James Vandenberg played well for the Hawkeyes for most of the game, but with 11 minutes left in the game Ohio Sate held a 14 point lead. Then Iowa kick returner Derrell Johnson-Koulianos took it to the house for a 99 yard TD return, making it OSU 24-17. At the 2:42 mark Vandenberg hit Marvin McNutt with a touchdown that sent the game into overtime. The Buckeyes held Iowa in their possession in the OT. Then OSU backup kicker Devin Barclay hit a career long field goal to win the game for the Buckeyes, 27-24.

Barclay is a former professional soccer player who walked on to the Ohio Sate football team, having never kicked a football until fairly recently.

It was kind of painful watching the faces of the Ohio fans in the stands- been there, done that. What happened to them is similar to what happened to Rutgers back in 2006, winning nine straight to start the season 9-0 with dreams of a BCS bowl only to lose 2 of the last three games to finish the regular season 10-2. That's the best Iowa can do- they close out their season against Minnesota next week, while Ohio State finishes up with hapless (that's right, hapless) Michigan Wolverines (5-6, 1-6 Big Ten). next week in game that's window dressing for the Buckeyes, and about pride for Michigan.

(time for more football...be back in a few hours...)

12:09AM I know...Saturday night and I'm blogging about college football. I have no life whatsoever....but that's OK.

Pitt 27, Notre Dame 22 Two questions will be asked. The first, was Jimmy Clausen's arm going forward at the end of the game when it was third and sixteen and he was sacked? On further review, it looked like a good call. He was spun around and it was a fumble instead of the originally called incomplete pass At any rate Pitt took over and ran out the clock at that point for a 27-22 squeaker. With Pitt leading 20-3 going into the fourth quarter and Notre Dame on the goal line, it got a little tense in the final 15 minutes. Notre Dame goes in on the quarterback sneak (the extra point was blocked), its 20-9 Pitt leading. A great run by the Panthers made it 27-9 Pitt.

Clausen took ND down field for a quick score; there was a Pitt three and out, then a Golden Tate punt return for a touchdown, and we had a five point game. Notre Dame which had five fourth quarter comebacks this year fell short after scoring 19 points in the period. Notre Dame is now 6-4 with games remaining with UCONN and Staford, both no guaranteed win. Pitt 's at 10-0 (5-0 Big East), and next travel to Morgantown for the "Backyard Brawl" with West Virginia, and then the showdown with Cincinnati on December 5 for what could be the defacto Big East championship game.

And of course, the question asked to be asked about Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis...how hot is that fire your sitting on?

Louisville 10, Syracuse 9 We talked about the sublime, and this was the ridiculous. It was a scoreless first half for two teams searching for their first conference win. After all SOMEBODY had to win, and the Cardinals are now 4-6, 1-4 Big East, and the Orange fall to 3-7, 0-5. Both teams scored field goals in the third quarter to to tie it up at three a piece. The Cuse scored on a TD by Delone Carter (who rushed for 129 yards) but the extra point failed when the holder muffed the snap, 9-3 Syracuse. But with less than two minutes to go Josh Chichester caught a 15 yard pass from Adam Froman for the winning points for the Cards.

Another example for Syracuse fans nationwide of Orange Crushed.

That's enough guys...its late and I'm not spelling to well....a sure sign I need to do something more productive at this late hour, like have a beer.

The NFL kicks off in about 12 hours. Later!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rutgers Swarms #23/24 USF, 31-0 (12 Hours Later)



This is part of my weekly series covering the Rutgers Football season, 2009, from my seat in Section 104. This week I'm incorporating and linking to the story as it appears on Scarlet Knights.com

Rutgers Swarms #23/24 USF, 31-0

I'll start off with a hackneyed cliche- this game was never has close as 31-0. Rutgers dominated from start to finish, and South Florida looked by the third quarter that that didn't want to be on the same field with the Scarlet Knights...or didn't deserve to be.

USF, a Top 25 team ranked team at numbers 23 and 24 in the polls, did not appear to be a team that- as ESPN's Chris Fowler said during the game's broadcast- belonged in the Top 75. It was hard to discern where USF's ineptitude ended and Rutgers dominance- particularly on the defensive side of the ball- began.

Rutgers led 13-0 at the half, but could have been as much as 21-0 or more if Rutgers didn't have to settle for two field goals (two other attempts failed) on a couple of possessions. In the first half alone there were two fumbles lost by USF, and two interceptions served up USF quarterback BJ Daniels. Rutgers turned the ball over once; a Tom Savage pass was picked, but two plays later USF turned the ball over to Rutgers.

Imagine a red blooded American male running away from stunning ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews. The miserable first half by USF drove their coach, Jim Leavitt, to do so, according to The Tampa Tribune's Scott Carter.

The first half was so atrocious for the Bulls that Coach Jim Leavitt became perhaps one of the first men in America to run away from ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews as she approached at the end of the first half. When Andrews finally caught up, Leavitt didn't have much to say.

Afterward, he broke down the Bulls' loss in simple terms. USF managed just seven first downs and 159 total yards, their lowest totals since joining the Big East in 2005.

"Our offense got dominated by their defense," Leavitt said. "To be down only 13 points at halftime, I was shocked. Give Rutgers a lot of credit.

"They just beat the dog out of us."

To be fair, the weather was pretty nasty on Thursday night- the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida reformed off of the Mid Atlantic for a strong nor'easter, with winds gusting in the 40 mph range, and temperatures in the 40's. Yesterday I said the weather would be a factor; Florida kids playing in northeastern weather in late autumn, some for probably the first time. I'm sure anyone who's watched the Giants and Jets in the Meadowlands over the years knows how the winds can be a factor in their games- and I do think it factored in altering the passing game (the winds blew in from the east across field at Rutgers Stadium) and it did wreak havoc on fielding punts for USF. There was no rain at the stadium during the game, but much of New Jersey and Long Island were getting battered rain, wind, and surf (accounting for about 5,000 no shows at the 53,000 seat stadium).

Rutgers played through the adverse conditions and adapted to them, while playing stellar defense against USF- and Bulls didn't, or couldn't. Rather than hit you with barrage of stats, here's a link to every stat you'll ever need on the game.

The bottom line- one team came to play, and the other seemed to leave all back in sunny Florida. USF still has a game with Miami, and an away contest with a proud and hungry UCONN squad in East Hartford in early December. USF might be in the midst of their annual El Foldo in the second half of the season.

And Rutgers?

They should be favored in away games against Syracuse and Louisville....and then they'll face West Virginia for the season finale at Rutgers Stadium. The bad news- Rutgers hasn't beaten WVU since 1994. The good news- South Florida handled the Mountaineers.

And they appear to be very beatable.

A couple of notes At the the game were RU alums and members of their respective Super Bowl champion teams the Giants' Shaun O'Hara and the Steelers' Darnell Stapleton. Also on the sidleines (and working the student section) was New Jersey Governor Elect Chris Christie.....the 31-0 loss was USF's first regular season shutout loss in their 13 year history. The 31-0 shutout was the first RU shutout of a Big East opponent since beating Temple 62-0 at Giants Stadium in 1993....for the first time since the second game of his first year on the job (at 1-1) Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano is back .500 (53-53). His first two years Schiano was a combined 3-20. It took almost nine years to dig out of that deficit. Nice job, here's to perseverance.....with the win Rutgers is 7-2 and bowl eligible for the fifth year in a row......and finally, "Little Jovi" made his fourth quarter appearance, now performing a medley of Bon Jovi hits. He even got to meet Erin Andrews, who interviewed him when the game got out of control. He's a very lucky twelve year old.

Rutgers Blanks USF 31-0

In the previous post I picked Rutgers to beat South Florida by one point in last night's BIG EAST game.

I was only off by a mere 30 points.

Rutgers won 31-0, for their first shutout of a BIG EAST opponent since 1993.

And probably the first shutout Rutgers has had of a ranked team....ever!

So...I just got home from the game a few minutes ago....and I'll be back tomorrow with my "12 Hours Later" weekly feature on the RU 2006 season.

I need another beer...and let the celebration continue!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rutgers Gameday November 12, 2009; RU vs USF



Rutgers (6-2) meets South Florida (6-2) in Piscataway, New Jersey in BIG EAST action tonight at 7:30, televised nationally on ESPN. RU is 1-2 in BIG EAST play, USF is 2-2. Both teams are coming off bye weeks following wins.

The weather will be a factor tonight. There is a powerful nor'easter off the Mid-Atlantic coast causing extensive damage in the Delmarva Peninsula and people are being told to evacuate Virginia Beach. There is a better than even chance that the storm will be churning up the coast during the game.

Gametime temperatures should be in the 40's with winds blowing in from the east/northeast at 15-25 MPH, with rain forecast.

Odds makers have South Florida as a one point favorite. With the inclimate weather I'd make Rutgers a one point favorite; northeastern guys will be playing Florida guys in conditions with wind chills in the upper 30's to low 40's.

Bring a thermos of coffee, a blanket, and a rain poncho.

I'll give my impressions of the game from my seat in Section 104 tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Coburn- Just Say "No" To American Veterans and Their Families




Here are some of the grim facts;

2,200 veterans die each year because they lack health insurance.

One in four veterans is homeless.

As many as 250,000 veterans will not have a roof over their heads at some time during the next calendar year.


There is an omnibus bill in the Senate that will provide aid to some of these veterans, and their families and their caregivers. One man in the United States Senate is holding the bill up. He is being opposed by every American veteran's advocacy group. And this man is a medical school graduate, and still practices family medicine.

His name is Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican nicknamed "Dr. No".

Below, the video from COUNTDOWN featuring Keith Olbermann and Paul Rieckhoff of The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.



To contact Senator Coburn's office by email click here.

Lou Dobbs leaving CNN - CNN.com


BREAKING NEWS Lou Dobbs to leave CNN. The controversial host has decided to leave CNN and pursue "a number of opportunities and directions."

READ MORE from CNN.com

USS New York- Built From The Steel of the World Trade Center



Her hull was built partly with 7.5 tons of steel from the ruins of the World Trade Center. And yesterday in a ceremony that featured Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James T. Conway the USS New York was commissioned in New York Harbor before an estimated crowd of 6,000.

WCBS TV's Rob Morrison gives a brief tour of the Navy's newest transport.



For more information please visit the USS New York Official Website.

Quick Hits For November 11, 2009, or "Beauties and The Greek"


Phyllis George

1. Did you ever use the self checkout at supermarkets or discount store, and get into an argument with the disembodied Voice that's "instructing" you what to do next? It happened to me this afternoon- and I lost. I really thought The Voice was being condescending and I sent an email to the store manager. I just hope there's a Voice with a better attitude next time I use that self scanner.

2. I don't care if its on ESPN. Poker is NOT a sport.

3. And neither are dog shows.



4. However...speaking of ESPN and poker...kudos to ESPN and their 30 for 30 series of sports documentaries. They never cease to impress. This week's entry was The Legend of Jimmy the Greek. I feel sorry for those who are too young to remember or had never seen or heard legendary members of the sports landscape like Howard Cosell or Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder. Jimmy was an oddsmaker who's appearances on the 1970's and '80's iconic version of CBS's The NFL Today took sports betting out of the back room and gave it a sort of legitimacy in America's living rooms. He was a larger than life figure, who's rise and sad downfall are chronicled in this film by director Fritz Mitchell.



The film has remembrances by cohorts Brent Musburger, Phyllis George, and Irv Cross, as well as friends like Miami radio and TV personality Hank Goldberg. The Greek was from Steubenville, Ohio, where one of his boyhood neighbors was one young Dino Crocetti, better known as Dean Martin.

(An Update 11/12/09- I was checking out some of the search queries and some people wanted to know more about the Dean Martin-Jimmy The Greek connection. They indeed did know each other back in Steubenville from childhood. WFAN radio's Mike Francesa, who used to work for Jimmy on THE NFL TODAY, took it a step further. On his radio show Mike told his audience that Jimmy once told him that young Dino used to beat up the even younger Jimmy on a regular basis when they were kids. If that was the case you could say they knew each other- intimately. And if it was an embellishment by The Greek, its still a helluva good story.)

And the poker connection? Jimmy emceed the very first WORLD SERIES OF POKER on TV.....way back in the early 1970's!

5. More on Jimmy The Greek. Here's an audio podcast from WFAN's Mike Francesa in New York talking to former NFL TODAY producer George Veras about life with Jimmy. Mike worked for Jimmy the Greek in the early days of the NFL TODAY, and was kind of a go'fer for The Greek when he was a kid. A GREAT listen. Give it a few minutes, its very revealing. You think Indian casinos are a recent phenomenon? Jimmy was on to it years before it happened.

6. Still more on The Greek, and original NFL Today on CBS. On ESPN"s Monday Night Countdown the old CBS crew of Brent Musburger, Phyllis George, and Irv Cross made a return in a remarkable recreation of the old show's opening moments. Joining them are current co-hosts Chris Berman and Tom Jackson.



7. And just to prove the theory of SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION- even in an obscure part of the blogesphere of which I am The Lord and Master- did I mention that the aforementioned Phyllis George was Miss America, 1971, and was at one time the First Lady of Kentucky? Well, youngin's....now you know. Which leads us (drumroll please!) to a former Miss West Virginia.



Kim Parrish, former QVCer, HSNer, and current fashion designer and children's author moves on to ShopNBC on Friday the 13th (11/13 7-9 PM EST) with her latest creations from The Kim Parrish Collection. I don't think the rumor that this Renaissance woman has taken up ice sculpture is true- being that she will now be working in the Twin Cities- but its early. I'll check with Linda the Homeshoppingista...she'll know.

And throwing in this little "reminder" gives me the excuse to post that incredible head shot.

8. And speaking of ShopNBC's corporate sister NBC, the latest skinny is that the ratings for the Jay Leno Show are sinking faster than a rock. It looks like this "great experiment' might be failing- big time. NBC didn't want to lose Leno to a rival network, and thought it could save money over ordering scripted series by giving Jay the 10-11 PM block Monday thru Friday....but it seems to be a concept that wasn't really well thought out by all involved. There have been rumors that local affiliates aren't happy with the situation, and are seeing ratings for their 11PM news hurt by a poor lead in from Leno.

Personally, I was trying to think about when the last time I watched NBC for anything other than SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL. And that was probably the ER finale last spring. The once formidable Thursday night juggernaut that lasted for close to two decades is long gone, the LAW and ORDER franchise jumped the shark when (pick one) Jerry Orbach or Jesse L. Martin left the show, and the reality program they have is less than real.

That's one fading peacock they've got there.

9. The "joy" of living in New Jersey. Just when you think its safe to put the TV back on because the election for governor in New Jersey is all over and there won't be any political ads for awhile, guess again. New York's governor David Patterson has started his ad campaign last week. If the CIA needs something to get the Al Qaeda detainees to talk, just let watch the political ads we're bombarded with nonstop. They'll flip....and probably give up Mom and Dad as well.

10. In conclusion....here's a "thank you" shout out to all veterans past and present. If you haven't done anything yet to show your appreciation to our men and women in uniform, please do so. They like to hear it (trust me, many moons ago I was one of them)....and they deserve it.

"The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month"



It was 11:00am on November 11,1918 that what was once known as "The Great War" or "The War To End All Wars", or even just "The World War" came to end end with an armistice put into effect by the warring powers. Though it was a ceasefire, it was in effect a surrender by the German Empire and their Austrian and Turkish allies. This war to end all wars, as we all know, was not to be; there was much worse to come in 1939, plus dozens of other conflicts worldwide in the years post 1945.

November 11th was at first celebrated as Armistice Day but has since become designated as Veteran's Day, to honor all who have served in America's armed forces. I'm an Air Force veteran; my first two years were spent during the last two years of America's direct involvement in combat operations in Vietnam. My Dad served in the Pacific at the end of World War II and was part of the occupation force of Japan. His brothers served during the Korean War. Members of our extended family were in the military during peacetime, and during the first Gulf War, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Last November my Dad and I obtained some family pictures from my cousin. Among them were a few my grandfather, Tony, and my Uncle Joe in uniform in the months just after the First World War had ended.

The first picture (from a post card) shows a group including my grandfather in Paris in March, 1919. I'm pretty sure he is the guy standing in the back, second from the left, next to the soldier with the dress uniform cap.




This is the text of the postcard Tony sent to my great-grandmother back in New Jersey.
Dear Mother- This is a bunch of the boys sight seeing in Paris. This YMCA furnished the trip, which was fine. Tony

Grandpa Tony died when I was a little kid and I don't have that many memories about him....except that he was a man of few words- obviously.




And this is Tony with his future brother in law, my Great Uncle Joe. Joe also died when I was really young. I didn't realize he was so short- note that he is standing on a step, and is still a full head shorter than Tony.

Veteran's Day really hit home yesterday and seems especially poignant this year afer the horrible events at Fort Hood. I lived on Air Force bases in Utah, in the United Kingdom, and two in Texas. You feel safe and secure in these communities within communities. Obviously on military installations there is less crime then "outside"- most of the bad stuff that goes on are misdemeanors that are dealt with with by Article 15 punishment (or Captain's Mast in the Navy), and then there is the occasional court martial. Despite what you may see on JAG or NCIS, the rate of violent crime on military installations is relatively low.

No one expects a major to walk into a room and to start shooting anyone wearing a uniform. I'm still shocked and horrified by the thought of went on.

If you're reading this, take a moment to thank a vet or an active duty service man or woman. Its not about politics or support for or against government policy. Its about honoring those who have given of themselves in our defense.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

President Obama Attends Fort Hood Memorial Service



I found myself taking part of the afternoon off to watch the memorial service from Fort Hood, Texas for the 13 members of the military who were gunned down in a shooting rampage by alleged shooter Major Nidal Malik Hasan. President and Mrs Obama, along with Governor Perry of Texas, Secretary of Defense Gates, and many dignitaries, and friends and families of the wounded and deceased attended the ceremony.

It was very difficult to watch parts of the ceremony, particularly when the family members approached the memorials to each victim- a picture, their weapon, their helmet, and their boots- 13 memorials in all.

A very sad event....but it honored the victims well.

Here's video of the event from KXAN TV in Austin.

Madmen Season 3 Finale- Let the Sixties Begin



I'm probably the last fan/blogger on the planet to give his take on the season finale of AMC's Mad Men, the episode entitled "Shut The Door. Have A Seat". It takes place less than two weeks before Christmas in 1963, about three weeks after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and about three weeks before a couple of deejays in New York started playing a song called "I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND" by s musical group from the UK that was creating just a little bit of pandemonium in Britain.

One era had ended, and another was about to explode in America. Nothing was to be quite the same ever again for the country. And even more so for the characters of Sterling Cooper Draper.

Don Draper's marriage to Betty was over. After consulting a divorce attorney with her new romantic interest (Henry) Betty decides to head to Reno for a quickie divorce by episode's end. There is a heart wrenching scene where Betty and Don sit down with little Bobby and Sally to tell them that Daddy is moving out of the house. Sally reacts with anger, while Bobby initially blames himself because he lost his father's cufflinks. We have to wonder about Betty's future- does she really think that Henry will marry her after a divorce, something that could sabotage his political career? After all, New York Governor Rockefeller was involved in a similar situation in that same time period, having left his wife and subsequently marrying a younger woman- an incident that was alluded to in the episode but never spelled out to the viewers.

But even more cataclysmic changes were in store. Sterling Cooper Draper's parent company, PPL, was going to sell SCD to a rival. It was Don, tipped off by Conrad Hilton, who set the wheels into motion. Roger Sterling, Bert Cooper, and Don Draper would have no part of being chattel in this sale. They engineer a plot with new ally Lane Pryce to have themselves terminated from their contracts from PPL- with the provision that Pryce become a partner- and they set out to form a new ad company, tentatively called Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (to be referred to in this entry as SCDP for the duration). The four principle partners begin to assemble a team to take with them, all done clandestinely over the weekend, to be accomplished by Monday morning while the office was said to be closed for extensive "carpet cleaning".

SCDP needed the accounts of the weasely Pete Campbell, who was playing sick that particular Friday to arrange a job interview with a rival. But as conniving and oily as Pete is, he is a bit of a visionary, and he can relate to changes in the marketplace and in society much more readily than the older members of SCDP- and the fact that he would bring a dozen influential clients with him made it imperative that he become part of the team.

The not so bright Harry Crane was added to the mix- they needed someone to handle the media department- but only after the elderly Bert Cooper threatened to lock Harry in a closet if he said no.

Don's protoge Peggy Olson was added- but not until she initially turned Don down. Peggy, tired of being Don's punching bag and of watching Don get credit for her work and her ideas needed to hear Don tell her that he values her. After a trip to Peggy's apartment for a second shot of getting her on board, Don tells Peggy that if she turns him down again he would ...."spend the rest of my life trying to hire you".

After hearing that, Peggy signed on.

Lastly, Joan Harris returned as the office manager of the new SCDP- now the office was nothing more than a rented hotel suite, with Harry Crane's art and media department relegated to the bedroom. Joan was the glue that held Sterling Cooper together, the person who always knew what to do and when to do it, who to call and how to weather a crisis. The fact that Joan and Roger still have more than affection for one another probably played into this as well.

You could tell that the "times, they are a changin'" when working in the new "offices" of SCDP when Roger asked Peggy if she could get him some coffee. Peggy never looks up from the project she is working on and says no. All Roger does is shrug his shoulders and go back to work. These people are no longer part of a Madison Avenue royalty- they've become like partisan guerillas, all for one and one for all. They all need each other for numerous reasons, and all are smart enough to know it.

Back at the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper- Ken, Paul and the rest of the old staff come in Monday to find a offices striped of furniture, typewriters, and certain accounts. They at first think the office has been burglarized, but soon start to comment the dots- the brains behind Sterling Cooper have bailed out. All that remains is the second tier braintrust that the leaders of the old team didn't really want or need.

I left this episode wanting more. Was there a more perfect way to end a season, and an era, then what writer/creator Matthew Weiner gave us on Sunday night? Its going to be very interesting to see where the start point of season 4 will be. American pop culture was turned on its ear in 1964- within months the music industry would be all things British. Only a handful of American musical acts made it past the first few years of the British Invasion- The Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, the Motown stable. But it wasn't only the music that changed, it was film as well- in 1964 young actors from the UK began having an impact; Michael Caine, Terence Stamp, Julie Christie, Vanessa Redgrave. Fashion and Carnaby Street became inseparable.

The British Army played "The World Turned Upside Down" when Lord Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington's Continental Army (and their French allies) in 1781. In 1964 the Brits returned...and America was turned upside down by this new invasion. And Don Draper and his new crew at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce will likely be at its epicenter.

Here's a link to Jace Lacob's interview with Mad Men's creator Matt Weiner in The Daily Beast.

And for a really insightful column (and viewer comments) about the series click for Alan Sepinwall's take on this episode.







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