Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, Part 2...."Lest We Forget" and "The Luckiest Soldier Alive".



Today on CBS Sunday Morning there were two remarkable stories that tie in nicely to the true spirit of Memorial Day. Yes, its about hot dogs, the shore, baseball, and Indy....but its deeper meaning is to remember those who have sacrificed much.

The first video is about Iraq War vet Brendan Marrocco, badly wounded and rehabbing at Walter Reade. Take a look at it, and you'll see a courageous young guy who regards himself The Luckiest Soldier Alive.


Watch CBS News Videos Online

The second is about Wayne Van Doren and the tradition of his family....traversing the state of Ohio and planting more than 1200 flags on the graves of military veterans, from the American Revolution to Iraq and Afghanistan. Three generations of Van Dorens are involved. The segment is titled Lest We Forget.


Watch CBS News Videos Online

One again....have a wonderful and safe holiday. And take a minute to remember.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!


I just wanted to take a minute to wish all a Happy Memorial Day Weekend, and a safe one as well.

And while your at it, take a minute to remember the veterans of of our military forces past and present, and those men and women currently serving. Find a second or two to think of those who didn't make it back to "The World".

It's about more than just the unofficial beginning of summer.

Pictured above, the real John Basilone, Eugene Sledge, and Robert Leckie, the men who's lives were central to The Pacific. I have a chapter or two to go on Leckie's memoir Helmet For My Pillow- the man was an incredible writer, with a facility of language that was a gift from God. I hope to finish it over the weekend, and I'll give you a review as soon as I do.

And then I'll start Sledge's With The Old Breed....both were a birthday gift (of sorts) from my niece.

Enjoy the weekend....I'll talk to you in a day or so.

The Deepwater Horizon Disaster Day 39- President Obama Returns To The Gulf Coast


"You will not be abandoned. You will not be left behind. We are on your side and we will see this through.
I am the president and the buck stops with me."

Today President Barack Obama returned to the Gulf Coast to inspect the efforts to stop the oil leak that has spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The President has taken much criticism, some from members of his own party, about his seeming detachment from the dire situation in the Gulf. With his appearance today, Mr. Obama tried to reassure the public that he is in charge, and in the words of BP CEO Tony Hayward...

"We are working for the government. The government is running it (the effort to stop the leak)."

For a full account from Reuters, click here.

Below, video from The Associated Press and from ITN.




The Deepwater Horizon Disaster Day 39- From HBO's "TREME"- John Goodman's YouTube Rant


It was a memorable scene for fans of HBO's new series Treme, which takes place in New Orleans in the months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005. Creighton Bernette (played by John Goodman) is a college professor/author and die-hard citizen of New Orleans who becomes frustrated at the pace of government and public response to the devastation of the city and life he loves. Creighton discovers that newfangled YouTube from his teenage daughter, and decides to air his grievances on all those who say New Orleans should be abandoned or left to implode on its own.

What follows is probably something many people in the region want to say about those who seek to minimize the impact the Deepwater Horizon spill on the Gulf Coast region, or to all those who choose to look the other way.

WARNING!!!! If you're easily offended, skip the video.



If the series survives for the next five years, perhaps Creighton should do a followup for 2010.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Deepwater Horizon Disaster Day 38- Louisiana Congressman Charlie Melancon


Charlie Melancon represents Louisiana's 3rd District in the United States House of Representatives. As shown by the map, the Louisiana 3rd encompasses the areas being directly affected by the oil spewing forth from the Deepwater Horizon disaster; the fishing and shrimping has been destroyed, the wetlands have been fouled by the toxic goop, wildlife has been killed, and a legacy of life in the Delta might be at an end.

This morning Congressman Melancon spoke before a  House Energy Subcommittee  regarding the disaster that has struck his home and is destroying the lives of  the people of his district.. He became emotional...and let his heartbreak show.





The Deepwater Horizon Disaster, Day 38; President Obama- " I Take Responsibility"


This afternoon President Obama defended the administration's response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, calling it an "unprecedented disaster" in a press conference held in the East Room of the White House.

Mr. Obama also said the following....

"I take responsibility. It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down."

Below, the President in his own words regarding the situation.






For the related Associated Press story of the press conference, click here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Deepwater Horizon Disaster Day 37-James Carville:" The Political Stupidity of This is Just Unbelievable"


You'd have to look long and hard to find more loyal Democrat than James Carville. Carville is a native Louisianan who today on GOOD MORNING AMERICA slammed the Obama administration for their handling of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Also interviewed is ABC contributor Matthew Dowd, the host is George Stephanopoulos.



Opinion

Some of my progressive brethren may not be happy with my stance on the President's response, but BP's failures to stop the leak should have prompted a much stronger reaction from the administration. Tonight on HARD BALL Chris Matthews remarked on how Harry Truman would have responded; he would have tried to federalize every tanker in the Gulf and use them to suck up the oil slick. To overreach his authority in that way might cost Obama a second term, but you do it because it's the right thing to do....saving the Gulf of Mexico is more important than any Presidency, Matthews said.....and I agree with him.

Mr. Obama....you're needed in Louisiana. Its been 24 days since your last visit, but you're needed NOW. Desperately.

Barbara Boxer's fund raiser in San Francisco should have been put on a backburner.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Jersey To Host Super Bowl XLVIII In 2014!



The Super Bowl is coming to a cold weather city in 2014.

And that cold weather city is.....East Rutherford, New Jersey!

That's right. It's not "The City That Never Sleeps". But it is the city that will host Super Bowl XLVIII (when will it be OK to can the stupid Roman numerals? Didn't they go out of fashion in 476AD, or is the NFL waiting for the Empire to strike back?).

Officially the bid went to New York/New Jersey (doesn't "J" come before "N") over Tampa Bay and the announcement was made today by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. And almost immediately the New York electronic media went gonzo...wasn't it great that the game was coming to New Yawwwwk!

Mmmm...am I missing something? Was part of the deal that the game should be played in Buffalo, because that's the only professional football franchise within the sovereign state of New York. There are two NFL teams that have "New York" in their name and on their uniforms, and they've been in violation of truth in advertising for decades....both teams play their home games in East Rutherford, New Jersey. When you go to the New Meadowlands Stadium and and park your car, New Jersey gets a piece of that. You buy a hot dog and a Bud, NJ gets the sales tax on that as well. Apparel sold in the stadium, New Jersey gets some of that in sales tax.

Got the picture?

You can see Manhattan in the distance from the stadium; the Empire State Building is 8 miles away (according to GOOGLE MAPS)....or a "15 minute drive"- yeah, what the hell are they smokin'? The only way to cover that in 15 minutes is if your name is Obama and the cops leading your motorcade are clearing the way.

The weather in February? I've seen it 60 degrees in that month....but this past year February was the snowiest month in recorded history for the region....EVER!

But what the heck....we'll watch the participating teams play on the Frozen Tundra as the Ghost of John Facenda looks down and smiles on them...and starts to cheer if one team is the Philadelphia Eagles.

I wonder who will play the halftime show, The Boss or Bon Jovi? Can Richie Sambora still play lead guitar while wearing mittens?

And how are all of the stars of the TV shows being hawked by the network broadcasting the game going to be recognized when they are bundled up like Dr. Zhivago escaping from Siberia?

But most importantly....will the geographically challenged talking heads covering the game actually be able to tell you what state they are actually in without consulting their GPS?

On that note....check out the ESPN video below.






Wait!

I just thought of something.....according to the Mayan calendar the world will end in 2012.

Too bad, East Rutherford.

So this is much ado about nothing. Kindly disregard everything I said in this entry, and enjoy yourself while you still have time.

Deepwater Horizon Disaster; Time For The Feds To Take Over, Part II- Olbermann



"They (sources in Louisiana) think the White House just doesn't 'get it'"....Howard Fineman

Last night on MSNBC's COUNTDOWN, Keith Olbermann and Howard Fineman discuss the response of the Obama Administration to the failure of BP to stop the Deepwater Horizon's oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, BP's use of toxic dispersants to break up the slicks, and try to answer the question....who's really in charge?



A word to the Obama Administration....if you lose Olbermann, you'll lose progressive America, and a good chunk of the Dems and independents who supported this president.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Deepwater Horizon Disaster; Time For The Feds To Take Over


Opinion

BP, you've had your chance to try and stop it....it was a problem created in your quest to make some big bucks from America's insatiable addiction to oil. Its been more than a month now, and the oil continues to spill out of the hole in the Gulf of Mexico that you dug. The amount of oil you say is spilling seems to vary on a daily basis, as do reasons why your latest attempts to correct the situation has failed. Allegedly you have the technology to plug up the leak, but we have yet to see any tangible results.

But its time for you to step aside and let the federal government take over. BP can't get it done, and the consequences are too great to let them continue to fail. Its time for the Obama administration to take over the situation because its become bigger than just an industrial accident; it has the potential to do to the Gulf and even the Eastern Seaboard what the mismanagement of soil did in the 1930's, creating a Dust Bowl in America's heartland.

If the spill is allowed to continue unabated, the consequences will be economic devastation for the Gulf Coast states, extinction of species of animal and plant life, and tourism and its trickle down effect will be removed from those economies for at least a generation. This cannot be allowed to happen.

If the government takes over, then Barack Obama will own the problem.....and that's just the way it will have to be. Because to let BP continue in its futile attempts to plug the leak would be even more damaging to all concerned.

To the libertarians who believe government should stay out of the way of private enterprise, the Deepwater Horizon disaster is Exhibit A why we need government regulation, and why government is needed to step in when all else fails. I don't see too many people screaming about "big government" when floods, earthquakes, hurricanes...and oil spills....destroy all they have, and the population needs more than the charity of others.

Political fallout for intervening be damned....the situation is too dire to be concerned about that now. The nation that used its best and brightest to harness the atom and and send men to the moon in past generations has the capacity to end this ecological and economic nightmare.

If this requires the 21st century equivalent of the Manhattan Project, just do it...right now.

What we need now is the political will.

Mr. President....it's time to act now. Good luck, and may God bless.....for all of our sakes.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

30,000 Protest Cuts In Trenton While Governor Christie Goes To The Track


Opinion

Even Richard Nixon met with Vietnam War protesters at the Lincoln Memorial in 1970.

But yesterday when between 30,000 to 35,000 persons, mainly public employees, descended on Trenton, NJ to protest the proposed budget cuts by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's administration, he was no where near the statehouse. The Governor made sure to be at Monmouth Park, only 54 miles away where he signed legislation that would reduce racing from 141 days to 50 days and putting all thoroughbred racing in Monmouth Park. Christie addressed the crowd briefly between the fourth and fifth race, where he was met with a mix of cheers and boos.

And the Governor who likens himself to Working Class Everyman Bruce Springsteen was in the company of those who run a 4 billion dollar industry instead of meeting face up with the thousands who's jobs could be in jeopardy because of his fiscal policies. But hobnobbing and looking out for the well to do is something Christie does well....just last week Christie vetoed the so-called "millionaire's tax", which passed both chambers of the state legislature and would have provided property tax rebates and prescription drug benefits to the elderly and the disabled. On May 19, Christie did backtrack a bit and canceled  a $310 deductible and co-pay increase for seniors in the state's healthcare programs

Chris Christie is most adept at painting pictures of the other guy as an enemy, not just of Christie but of every man, woman, child, and all other species residing in New Jersey. The qualities that made Christie an effective federal prosecutor haven't translated as a chief executive; he comes across as an arrogant Boss of Bosses, who would ruthlessly throw anyone under the bus to achieve his political goals.....even if the innocent end up as collateral damage.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ashes To Ashes Season 2 , Episode 2; Gypsies, Tramps, and Freemasons? (BBC America)



After an unexpected delay, its time for a few words about the past week's episode of Ashes To Ashes on BBC America.

But first....do any of you know how hard it is for fans of the show in the US not to cheat, and check out what happened in the grand finale that took place last week in the UK on the BBC? Its akin to reading the last chapter of a mystery out of impatience. The temptation is there, and I know I will succumb in a moment of weakness.....hopefully BBC AMERICA will get it right and show Season Three as soon as Season Two completes.

And while they're at it....I know I'm repeating myself....how about putting A2A ON DEMAND? Or at least repeating the episode on a day other than Tuesday? For a show that's caused such a stir in Britain, its being handled and marketed very poorly in America. And that's too bad.

To be brief, this episode has everything that's great about the show, and its biggest weakness, all wrapped up nicely in one package. As a procedural drama, A2A is nothing special; in fact, you can say the plot lines involving solving the "crime of the night" seem to detract from the best reasons to watch the show, namely the sci-fi/ fantasy aspect, and of course the sexual sparks between Gene (Philip Glenister) and Alex (Keeley Hawes).

This episode was a stew of car thieves, murder, drug dealing, underage sex, gypsies, a sleazy doctor.....and an initiation into the Freemasons for Gene (it's complicated). But all along we are intrigued by the messages Alex gets on her computer, and the meaning of the future told to Alex when she has her fortune read by an old Gypsy woman with tarot cards and palmistry....and Alex has no lifeline. Also, Alex's "abductor" shows up in the segment where Alex is spying on Gene as he joins the Freemasons. We- and Alex- are still no closer to finding out what she is doing in 1982, how she will get back to the present, and where Molly is.



And what's this about Ray (Dean Andrews) being a "Tyler" (doorkeeper) at the Freemason initiation? As in "Sam"?

Chris (Marshall Lancaster) proposes to Shaz (Montserrat Lombard) in the station (she says "yes" of course), while Alex alludes to Gene the closeness she feels for him ....without really saying it. Hawes and Glenister have the same dynamic as Cybil Shepard and Bruce Willis had a generation ago on Moonlighting. I know Britain knows the answer of "will they or won't they". But without inquiring if they do or don't (I don't want to know until it airs here) I have to ask....should they?

Click here for n interview with Keeley Hawes.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Slight Break In The Action

I didn't post anything yesterday or today because once again real life got in the way....blame it on a cracked intake manifold that took a day to repair and too many $$$ to the mechanics. To be fair, they did a great job, but it wasn't cheap.

Anyway, we'll be back with new stuff starting tomorrow.

I just want to lick some wounds (ouch!) and watch Yankees-Mets from Citi Field.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Deepwater Horizon Fiasco; "And May Those Responsible Spend Eternity Keeping Company With The Devil"

(Could Oil From The Deepwater Horizon Disaster Reach Europe Via The Gulfstream?)

Opinion

I'll admit right up front that I really needed a break from blogging about political issues for awhile now. I'd like to think it's about the spring and the chance to get out and do things. But there's more to it than that. I tossed and turned until about 3:00am before finally drifting off to a very unrestful sleep for a few hours. I have this feeling of helplessness....it deepens every time I put on the news and see the latest about the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The situation alternately angers and saddens me.

But the worst feeling I have about this cataclysm, as Cynthia Tucker calls the massive oil spill, is not only the long term effects it will have on the Gulf Coast, but the potential it has for entering the Gulf Stream and fouling the beaches and waters of Florida, including the Keys, and then getting caught up in the current in a deadly move up the Atlantic Coast.

Key West. Islamorada. Marathon. Key Largo. Miami Beach. Fort Lauderdale The Palm Beaches. Vero Beach. Jacksonville, and then unto the Georgia coast and beyond. Ecological systems and coral reefs that had survived for thousands of years may soon be gone. The people who make their living from fishing and tourism will have their lives turned upside down. And the goo could keep moving North, to the Carolinas, Virginia, New Jersey and Long Island, and to the treasure that is Cape Cod.

And what's to say the oil doesn't eventually wash up on the shores of Europe? And don't say "it can't happen". Never have so many been so wrong about so much so very often as in dealing with this mess.

I feel angry. I feel sick, and I feel helpless. So many things that I found wonderful about life, those things have no price tag because they are a gift from God, will be taken from me, and from the millions of others who loved them. And it didn't have to happen.

The disaster came about because of greed, laziness, and incompetence on many levels.

This afternoon I had a Charlton Heston- Planet of the Apes moment while watching the news that the oil had begun to enter the Gulfstream.

They've finally done it....DAMN THEM. DAMN THEM TO HELL.

"Them" being BP...TRANSOCEAN....HALLIBURTON....and The Department of the Interior's MINERALS MANAGEMENT SERVICE, a "regulatory agency" that's been in bed with Big Oil for far too long.

Also....those pols in the oil states who use oil company donations like a freakin' ATM, get packed....you're going to hell too.

And while you're on the way to "that hot place", take the rest of those "drill baby drill" politicians and the pinheads who cheered them on at rallies with you.

Hasta la vista, baby!

There....I feel better now.

It won't mean a damn thing in the Great Scheme.....but nothing any of us says or does seems to matter anyway, does it?

But at least a little bit of my anger has been vented.

The sadness? That's another story.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

THE PACIFIC, Episode 10; HOME & BEYOND

The stars of The Pacific; Jon Seda, Joe Mazzello, James Badge Dale

Episode 10 of The Pacific opens with Bob Leckie (James Badge Dale) in a Long Island hospital recovering from wounds incurred at Peleliu. A blond volunteer is reading to Leckie and another patient, ironically from Homer's The Odyssey, about the aftermath and long journey home of Odysseus from the Trojan War when the announcement is made of Japan's surrender....it was the long awaited VJ Day.

And from there we see where the journey went for the main characters of the series, plus several of the secondary players in the drama. The three central characters, Bob Leckie, Eugene Sledge (Joe Mazzello), and John Basilone (Jon Seda) had very different fates. Basilone was killed in action at Iwo Jima after seven months of marriage to Lena Riggi (Annie Parisse). Leckie was physically wounded and returned home even more cynical than he did when he left. But it was Eugene Sledge who experienced the most change in his wartime experience. Sledge left Mobile as a callow youth and returned a man who had seen and done horrible things in the act of surviving the war, and bore terrible internalized emotional scars not visible to others.

This episode had so many unforgettable scenes, such as the distance and coolness of Leckie's parents when he returned home in New Jersey. We understand Bob Leckie a little bit more after seeing his reunion with his Mom and Dad, who seem to be a couple of people who are not able to express love. Mr. and Mrs. Leckie used Bob's room as storage space, and greet Bob as if his homecoming was a kind of inconvenience. And it appears from the story that they probably didn't visit him while he was hospitalized- whether they knew he was on Long Island and chose not to visit him, or if Bob decided against informing them is unclear.

Bob's mother does appear to want Bob to have some happiness in his life. When he catches him spying on Vera Keller (Caroline Dhavernas) she suggests that Bob wear his Marine dress blues. Vera was dating a recent West Point grad, when Bob- in his dress blues- supplants the young officer in the life of Leckie's longtime neighbor. It seems that though the Leckies and the Kellers lived across the street from each other for twenty years that they were not in the least friendly. We see a certain amount of disfunction in Leckie's home life, and perhaps its the reason for his turning to writing; it became his expressive outlet. When we last see Bob Leckie in the series he and Vera are at a family dinner in the Leckie household. Family members are complaining about the inconvenience of the post war rail strike, and the then outrageous cost of one of those newfangled television sets. One male family member quips that they understand Bob's sacrifice during the war, but they clearly don't.....and they can't begin to comprehend the depth of that sacrifice. It is clear in the final scene with Leckie that he and Vera are in love, are a couple, and will spend their lives devoted to each other. Bob Leckie's Odyssey was over. He reclaimed his life and career, and found the love of his life in the process.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Quick Hits For 5/17/10 (Rare Pop Culture Edition!)



I'm still catching up on gardening and household projects, and really hadn't much time to take a breath since Friday...so I'm just going to make some comments on old news, new news, and stuff that's news to me. Time for some QUICK HITS! (With a heavier than normal emphasis on pop culture).

(1). Unless you've been living in a cave or shipwrecked you all probably know that the very beautiful young woman pictured above is Rima Fakih, who was crowned Miss USA last night. Rima is an Arab-American and a Muslim; that is a first for Miss USA. And this year it appeared that a controversy like that which erupted last year with with former Miss California Carrie Prejean, a Christian fundamentalist who opposed gay marriage and made those views known during the nationally televised pageant, had (mercifully) been avoided.

So far so good.

But wait! Now pictures of Ms Fakih pole dancing in a contest called "Stripper 101", sponsored by the Detroit based Mojo In The Morning radio show. Ms. Fakih and all other contestants were fully clothed in the competition, and there were only women in attendance of the event. Contestants were instructed by professional strippers on how to present their "best moves" on the pole.

Personally, I think the whole controversy is contrived.

Its all a part of ongoing international plot to dehumanize Rima and all other residents of the state of Michigan.

The whistle blower must have been an Ohio State grad.

(2) Oh, what the heck.....here's the video from the OfficialMissUSAChannel on YouTube.



(3).And speaking of YouTube, Happy Fifth Birthday to the people who changed it all. And it would be nearly impossible for me to run this blog without delving into their little treasures on a regular basis.

(4). And STILL speaking of YouTube, my mind just did a cross reference to one of my new favorite shows, HBO's Treme.The show takes place in New Orleans in the months after Hurricane Katrina, and centers on the lives of a disparate group of citizens; musicians, a restaurant owner, her ne'er do well neo-hippie boyfriend, friends, lovers, ex-friends, ex-lovers, and all in between. One of the more entertaining characters is Creighton Bernette, played by John Goodman (left). Creighton is an author and college professor who discovers the wonders of YouTube in late 2005, and posts a profane tirade on YouTube blasting government on all levels, and to those he deems responsible for the tragedy of Katrina and its aftermath in the city he loves. Creighton soon finds out that his YouTube video is among the first to go viral...he becomes an overnight sensation, and the demand by his publishers for the novel he has been writing for five years reaches a new peak. And you have to love a 300 plus pound guy who dresses his daughter, his attorney- wife Toni (played by Melissa Leo) and himself as sperms (complete with tails) for the Mardi Gras parade. Its a great show, and addicting, but it takes some work for the audience to get to know the characters. Its as if the viewer has parachuted into New Orleans in late 2005, and you have to figure out who these characters are, and what is their relationship to each other. The writers don't spell it out for you, and it becomes the viewers job to sort it out. Also, the music is great, including longtime standard bearers of the New Orleans scene, plus gust stars like Dr. John and Elvis Costello making cameos. If you haven't checked out Treme, do so....you'll enjoy the trip.

(5). Somewhat opposite of  Treme is SHOWTIME'S The Tudors in its presentation of characters and giving information about those characters to the viewer. Last night we met Catherine Parr (played by Joely Richardson, right), twice married, with no children, and soon to become the sixth and final bride of the charming despot Henry VIII.

The episode was a break from last week's marathon of torture, blood,  hanging, drawing,  quartering (Dereham), and multiple beheadings (Lady Rochford, Culpepper, and the unfortunate and immature former Queen Catherine Howard).

And watching Ms. Richardson in the episode I was quite taken by her resemblance to her mother, screen legend Vanessa Redgrave (right with Robert Shaw), and that Mom once played a wife of Henry as well; Vanessa was Anne Boleyn in the Academy Award winning film A Man For All Seasons in 1966. Its been a tough year or so for both Richardson and Redgrave. Last winter Joely's sister Natasha (wife of Liam Neeson) died in a tragic skiing accident, and recently Vanessa's sister, actress Lynn Redgrave, lost her battle to cancer.





(5). I didn't know of this last bit of news until I was reading my morning paper (the old fashioned way) on Monday, and I saw the following, taken from Ronnie James Dio.com.

"Message from Wendy Dio

Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes before he peacefully passed away. Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all. We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us. Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss. Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever.

- Wendy Dio "

He began his musical career in a band called The Vegas Kings in 1957, and fronted Ronnie Dio and the Prophets from 1961-67. Then he formed The Electric Elves in 1967; by 1970 they morphed into Elf. The group had some limited success, but Ronnie James Dio really burst onto the scene when Ritchie Blackmore, late of DEEP PURPLE, co-opted ELF as his backup band, changed their name to Rainbow, and immediately started to dispense of musicians, except for Dio. Later he went on to replace Ozzie Osbourne in Black Sabbath, and served three tours of duty with Sabbath, as well as its offshoot Heaven and Hell. And of course, he fronted his own group, Dio, in all its incarnations for nearly 30 years.

Ronnie James Dio was 67 years old when he succumbed to stomach cancer yesterday. He was one of the Godfathers of Metal. His music will go on, and in that sense he will never truly leave us.

Legends are legends because they are timeless.

Ciao,Ronnie.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spring Break! Time To Do Some Gardening


Barack and Gramps go organic

To Be Categorized As; LAME ATTEMPT AT HUMOR

If it seems that I've been a bit preoccupied and have been "phoning it in" as far as blog entries for the past week....well, you're absolutely right. Guilty as charged.

I fell way behind as far as getting the house landscaped and taking care of the gardening. And I'm finally starting to catch up. I've spent most of Saturday planting day lillies, cone flowers, cosmos, snapdragons, marigolds, impatiens, saliva, and those little white guys who's name I can't remember. And there's the usual tomato plants awaiting my attention, plus the bonus of having an oregano plant survive the harsh winter....no wonder Italians live so long.

So I raked, weeded, hoed, dug holes, planted, repeated....and felt really good about myself, finally knocking off at about 7 PM after starting work this morning. I owed myself a couple of beers, which I downed in record time, and put a smile on my face and served as a little anesthetic for my aching back.

So after listening to the first inning of the Mets-Marlins game, I went to pick up my trusty 1990 vintage boom box to move inside when I had a tragic encounter with nature. I felt something lumpy under my left sneaker....I picked my foot up...and there was a little squished toad laying there, with something that appeared to be his innards coming out of his mouth....and the little bugger was still alive! But just barely.

I mean, I'm a large guy, about 6 feet and 220 pounds.... Mr. Toad should have been deader than a doornail, but he wasn't quite ready for the Big Reptile and Amphibian Ranch in the Sky. What was I supposed to do? Take him to a vet? What to do? I needed a frame of reference....What would a Jersey Guy Do?


And then that Small Still Voice From Within told me what to do.

It asked me....

...."What would Joe Pesci do?"

Ya know....he is a Jersey Guy.....so I did what Nicky Santoro would have done in Casino. I dug a hole and planted Mr. Toad, even though he wasn't quite dead yet. No, not in the desert....next to the dead squirrel I found in the pool. Its a long story.

Poor little Mr. Toad....he had bulging eyes, a large mouth, and fat cheeks. He kind of reminded me of Rush Limbaugh. Maybe this was some kind of Freudian transference action....who the hell knows?

And now...its this Catholic thing, I feel so guilty....they have confessions before the 7:00am Mass tomorrow. Or.....

I have a better idea. I'll have another beer or two in honor of the late Mr. Toad....and maybe I'd better sleep in tomorrow.

I'm sure Mr. Toad would have wanted it that way.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lewis Black On Beck- "Six Degrees From (Minus Five)"



Last night on COUNTDOWN Keith Olbermann ran Lewis Black's "BACK IN BLACK segment from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart- and its worth a few minutes if you haven't seen it yet.

Black takes on Glenn Beck, a man Black says runs more clips of the Nazis on his program than does the History Channel. Black explores in only a way he could Beck's imaginary Six Degrees of Separation between a certain German dictator and the current President of the United States...and some others.



But what is the symbiotic connection between Lewis Black and Glenn Beck?

Very simple.....Black gets paid for going before an audience, getting overly emotional, and being a clown. And so does Glenn Beck.

For more with Lewis Black, check the Lewis Black Official Website.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Deepwater Horizon Fiasco; "It's The Other Guy's Fault"



On Day Two of Congressional hearings with principles involved in the blowout of the Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico and the subsequent oil spill that is polluting the waters and threatening the shorelines of the Gulf States, we've managed to learn one thing; it was the fault of the guy sitting to the other guy's right.

So said the representatives of the companies involved in this environmental and economic disaster. Except for the the guy at the end of the table- he started blaming the guys on his left. The representatives and speakers at the hearing included Lamar McKay of British Petroleum (BP), Tim Probert of Halliburton, and Steven Newman of Transocean.

And the situation gets even more interesting because the Swiss rig was flagged not by the United States or Great Britain or Switzerland (offshore drilling in Switzerland?), but by the Marshall Islands, which has less stringent safety standards than do the US or the UK.

Click here for an in depth report from the Los Angeles Times.

Below, videos from Keith Olbermann of COUNTDOWN and from Rachel Maddow, both on MSNBC>






For an account of Day One of the Congressional hearings on the oil spill, click here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Letters To Governor Chris Christie



Many of you have been following the drama in New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie has been waging a verbal war with the New Jersey Education Association and other educational groups in the Garden State. Christie wants concessions from the unions to close New Jersey's budget gap. In doing so Christie is using some of the tactics he used as a federal prosecutor. But the tactics used to put the "bad guys" in jail usually don't translate to reconciliation and consensus building. One of my "jobs" these days is to help edit and collate my Dad's correspondence. I want to share two letters to the Governor from two teachers, both union members, both committed educators. I've made the editorial decision not to disclose their names. Their eloquence is something that deserves to be shared with a wider readership.



The Honorable Governor Chris Christie
Governor’s Office
State Street
Trenton, NJ

April 20, 2010

Dear Governor Christie,

I am a teacher. As such, I have worked with all kinds of children, those who are bright and hard working and those who struggle to find success. Those who speak English and those who families speak a language different than English. I have worked with children from traditional homes and the homeless. Those children whose families fill their lives with rich experiences and activities and those whose parents are so overwhelmed with life that they have no time for anything else beyond survival. I have worked with children who are healthy and those who have severe medical issues, those children who are socially and emotionally well-adjusted and those who can’t cope with the world around them. I have taught kindergarteners and high school students how to read and write to the best of their abilities. I have dealt with the death of one of my first graders and the illnesses of my students and colleagues from sick buildings. With all of these diverse experiences I now know why it is that you hate teachers so much.

You see, there isn’t a teacher alive who hasn’t dealt with you in their career. We all know your secret. You are the 5 year old who shoves other kids around on the playground. You are the 8 year old who steals others lunch money. You are the teenager who pushes the weak kid into the locker or who flushes their coat down the toilet or the ‘cool kid’ who insults and humiliates those around you. You are the child who relentlessly picks on those who don’t, for some imagined reason, live up to your ideal of worthiness. Governor Christie, you are a bully!

I don’t say this lightly. You’re not a physical bully. You don’t punch or kick or provide physical harm. You sir, are a verbal bully defined by teasing, taunting, public humiliation, sarcasm, insults, name calling as well as spreading gossip and malicious rumors. With a bully it is never about the issue at hand, in this case, a salary freeze. It is about getting others to bend to your will. It is about making you feel self-important. A bully needs to intimidate others, break down their self-confidence and isolate them. You will not do that to me sir! We don’t tolerate bullying in today’s public schools!

Yes, I am a teacher and I am the target of your bullying behavior. You have called me names and insulted me. You have attempted to humiliate me and have been sarcastic about my behavior as a teacher. But the thing is, I know the truth! I know that I have done an incredible job as a teacher influencing the instruction of children for 33 years. I know my skill at my job has had a profound influence on the future of hundreds of children and families. I know I have no reason to apologize or feel badly about a salary that reflects my 33 years of experience and my BA degree, MA degree plus more than 45 credits beyond that. I know that my salary was frozen for 2 years while we negotiated. I know that my salary increased by less than 2% when we finally came to a settlement. I know that I have worked hard and earned and contributed to my pension every single day since I was 22 years old.

Yes, I am a union leader and member. I served as President of my local for 16 years, as a member of the NJEA Executive committee for 9 years and a member of the NEA Board of Directors for 6 years. I worked collaboratively in my district to resolve problems and provide “Great Public Schools”. I fought for clean and healthy school buildings. Many times I had to protect staff members from political interference and patronage, much like you did as the state Attorney General. While I didn’t hire, evaluate or fire staff members, my job was to make sure that due process and law was followed if someone had a problem. I know that in districts where there is a strong union, teachers feel free to be creative problem solvers and develop high quality educational programs for the students they serve.

I am a voter in New Jersey. I will vote yes today for the school budget to protect the programs and staff our children need to get a first class education. I know that as a contributing member of this society we call New Jersey, I will continue to pay more than $9,000 in property taxes this year. I will volunteer time and contribute to charities and continue to make New Jersey flourish as a vibrant state. I know that the economy of the entire country continues to struggle and that it has impacted on New Jersey. I know that I am not to blame for this happening. I know about ‘shared sacrifices”. I will be doing just that when my property taxes go up and I don’t receive my property tax rebate. I will share the sacrifice when I have to contribute more to charities that will no longer have state support in order to provide needed services. I will share the sacrifice when there isn’t paper for the classroom or books in the library or guidance counselors for the students in my school district.

Governor Christie, I don’t want a governor who is a bully. I want a man who can work with others. I want a governor who doesn’t look for someone who shows weakness but someone who appreciates the strengths that others have to offer and bring to the table. I want a governor who is inclusive rather than exclusive and an isolationist. I want a governor who makes others feel good about what they have accomplished, not someone who looks for others to fail. I want a governor who is meticulous with his facts and doesn’t use public forums to spread rumors and misinformation. I want a governor who is thoughtful when he speaks and not someone who resorts to name calling. I want a governor who knows the difference between the big issues and the small issues and who doesn’t blow either of them up out of proportion. I want a governor who can diffuse a situation instead of throwing gasoline on the fire and making it worse. I want a governor who is a statesman and a leader and not someone who is a prosecutor treating the world around him as criminals.


I am proud of who I am and what I have accomplished. I will not allow you to discredit me, intimidate me, or threaten me. I am a teacher. I am a union leader. I am a voter. I am a part of what makes New Jersey a great state.


Sincerely,

And below, a second letter to Governor Christie.

To The Honorable Chris Christie,

I am the enemy. I never realized this until your election to governor. In a few short weeks, you have made this fact explicitly clear to me. A large portion of your budget address was about my profession, and how we have caused the problems this state now faces. I want to thank you for opening my eyes to this fact. However, I am not sure I understand how I am the problem or how I have caused the state to be in such debt.

I have been teaching in our public school system for 9 years. I started at $36,000 a year. My college roommate started as an office worker at an accounting firm for $75,000. It was the same year. He told me he mostly made copies and plugged numbers into a computer. I was designing lesson plans, teaching classes of 30+ students, some of whom had problems with drug abuse, crime, and depression. After nine years experience I made $52,000 last year. I would like to point out that this is $8,000 less than your “media relations” person. You know, the 25 year old who runs your Twitter and Facebook accounts. My college roommate? He makes double what I do now. We both have bachelor’s degrees. But what do I know? I am the problem.

You tell the people of New Jersey that we teachers get a free ride on the pension “gravy train”. Well, I contribute to my pension. It has been deducted from every paycheck I have ever received. Thousands. You do not contribute to my pension even though it is legally and contractually required. You have lied to the people of New Jersey and your refusal to pay the pension just puts off the inevitable. Leave the problem for the next generation, I suppose. I also paid over $6,000 in property taxes. It’s convenient that you leave us to be blamed for property taxes when we pay just as much as everyone else. You and those who attack us seem to forget that. But what do I know? I am the problem.

During my time as a teacher, I have volunteered many late hours….volunteered. Although you seem to think all I care about is me, me, me, I have coached girl’s powder-puff football for nothing. I have chaperoned school dances, plays, and fundraisers. I have worked the concession stand at football games. I wasn’t paid for any of this. I have bought hundreds of dollars worth of shirts, cookie dough, pizzas and countless other items I didn’t really need because I wanted to help support my students and their activities. I have “canned” at football games to help needy students, stayed late waiting for parents to pick up kids who missed their busses, and bought classes pizzas and breakfast to reward them for their excellence. I cooked a class eggs and waffles once because they brought in over 500 canned goods for our local homeless shelter. I have been in a dunk tank not once, but twice to fundraise for my school. I have taken pies to the face and almost had to kiss a ram, all for my students. My coworker and I once organized a pancake breakfast for a student battling cancer. We and many of our colleagues whom you demean were at school at 4:30 in the morning to prepare pancakes for a school of over 2,000 students. We raised over ten thousand dollars for that student. I never asked once, “What is in it for me?”

You have declared open season on teachers. You have made us the bane of New Jersey’s existence. I know, I read the comments on the APP.com and Press of Atlantic City websites. Teachers are lazy, overpaid, underworked. We are whiners. I guess that is what I am doing right now. You have made it okay to bash us. Some of the public are rejoicing that my colleagues will lose their jobs. Until you opened my eyes and opened their mouths, I never realized what a terrible person I was.

When I decided to study education in college my mother warned me that I had better not teach unless it was a passion. She told me if I just wanted summers off I wouldn’t last. She was a teacher herself. She said I could get paid better doing other things. She told me my efforts would not be appreciated, that it was only a matter of time before politics made us the enemy again. I didn’t listen. Teaching was a calling for me, and I thought that even though I wouldn’t be paid a lot, at least I would have good benefits, a pension, and job security. What a fool I was. I thought I was doing the right thing, helping kids, improving society. Turns out the whole time I was none of these things. I was the enemy. I was the problem. My own government has forsaken me; my own community would like to banish me. For the first time in my career, I am questioning my decision, feeling my passion diminish.

Thank you for showing me the light. My only hope is that the next generation does not see the light, and does not listen to you, because if they do there will be no more problems like me, there will be no public education. You will have won your war against the middle and lower class. You will create a society where the rich get educated and the poor do not. But then again, what do I know? I am the problem.


Sincerely,
A 2007 Nominee for the Governor's Teacher of the Year Award

A2A Deux; Season 2 of ASHES To ASHES Debuts on BBC AMERICA


At last!

One of the few things actually worth watching on TV has managed to swim across the pond and make it to BBC America. Its the long awaited Season Two of ASHES To ASHES.

And yes, I know that Series Three is already airing in the UK, but I've decided to delay gratification and just stick with the show in its American presentations and not cheat and read any information on what has gone down plot wise so far. I guess I just have to prove to myself that I do have some semblance of self discipline left in these tired old bones.

Anyway, I'll get to the bad stuff first....and first among my gripes is the delay itself. Originally A2A Season Two was to be telecast in America a few weeks after its UK run....then BBC America backed out on it, and I think they decided to go with BEING HUMAN, a good series, but aren't we getting a bit overdone with the sexy young vampire thing? I liked seeing A2A late on Saturday nights....I'd watch it at 11PM or 1AM, and blog about it the next day, Sunday, before going about my day of rest (if you can believe that). It was all fresh in my mind, I had time to sit and write without feeling like I had a time clock sitting next to me. The second problem I have with the presentation itself is that its on Tuesdays only, with a few repeats, so if you miss it or don't record it, that's it. And so far, A2A Season 2 has not been made available ON DEMAND (at least through COMCAST).

So....if the powers that be are reading this...maybe you can tweek your schedule a bit to make the series available to more fans- and does BBC America really need to be showing twenty year old episodes of STAR TREK; The Next Generation and even older James Bond movies almost every night?

OK...those are my beefs.

Now for the good stuff....most importantly- Keeley has new hair!!!

Ahhhh. The wonderful 1980's I hated them then, but miss them so incredibly much now.

Check out the video, with a heavy dose of Duran Duran, and a mildly cross dressing- and more than a little dead- police officer.



Alex, Gene, Ray and Chris (Keeley Hawes, Philip Glenister, Dean Andrews, and Marshall Lancaster) investigate the apparent death by asphyxiation in a London strip club of vice cop Sean Irvine. But what really happened was Irvine was murdered by his partner, who was on the take....Sean had been keeping a ledger of all of the illegal activities. And as a side bar issue, the squad's boss was sleeping with Irvine's widow.

At the beginning of the episode, we see nurses in 2009 in a hospital talking about the missing Alex Drake. They seem to be working on a patient, but the viewer can't tell who the patient is. Then in the next scene we see Alex in 1982 watching TV, when she sees the image of Molly talking to her principal at school. Molly is upset about her missing mother, and has difficulty co-operating in school. Later on in the episode Alex is taken prisoner by a mysterious man who straps the unconscious Alex to a table, is in the processes of starting to torture her when Gene comes to her rescue. The mystery man wants to know what time traveler Alex is doing in 1982....and all Alex really wants to do is to get back to her daughter in the present day.

As usual, the sci-fi/fantasy elements to the show were much more appealing and intriguing than the procedural crime drama its packaged in. And that's the reason we keep watching- keep piecing together the clues of what really happened in Alex Drake....heaven, hell, someplace in between, in the netherworld before death, or is all of this an alternate universe that she's slipped into?

Obviously we won't find out the answers in Season 2, and it seems that the big payoff will be in Season Three since it will be the last series of A2A.

So....I'll have to just stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Is the BIG TEN About To Get Supersized?



Its another of those days when I really don't want to talk about politics, I did a TV review yesterday, touched on books and films this past weekend....so let's look and listen to a possible shakeup in the world of college sports.

Yesterday I report on a radio station in Kansas City said that the BIG TEN, which has been talking expansion for sometime, is indeed going to expand. And according to the report the candidates for expansion are; Nebraska and Missouri from the BIG TWELVE, Rutgers from the BIG EAST, and football independent Notre Dame.

Pat Forde talked to Dana Jacobson today on ESPN First Take.



So the BIG TEN, which now has 11 teams, could expand to as many as 16 teams, and stretch across the landscape from New Brunswick, NJ to Lincoln Nebraska, two time zones. Or, according to GOOGLE MAPS, 1,307 miles and 20 hours 56 minutes by car....but its a pretty straight shot on I-80.

I'm game.

When do we start?

RU RAH! RAH!


  I'll drive the first 300 miles!

Monday, May 10, 2010

THE PACIFIC, Episode Nine- Okinawa and the Beginning of The End



This is the latest installment of my review of HBO"s THE PACIFIC, following the story of three US Marines and their comrades in that theater in World War Two

Episode Nine of The Pacific was probably the most difficult of any to watch, probably because the level of death and devastation to the civilian population of Okinawa during the 82 day siege in the spring and summer of 1945. About one third of the island's 490,000 natives were killed, some caught in the crossfire, some used as human shields by the Japanese, some conscripted into the Japanese army, which was going to defend the island to the last man; Japan had already reconciled that it could not hold Okinawa- they would try to kill as many Americans as they could before the anticipated invasion of the Japanese home islands.

One aspect of the invasion that the episode did not show was the mass suicide of scores of civilians who were told by the Japanese that the Americans would rape and torture them after capture. There were newsreel accounts from the island of mothers throwing their children from cliffs, and then jumping to their deaths.



There were 300,000 American troops in the invasion of Okinawa, both Marines and Army, and a flotilla of more than 1,500 ships. There were 110,000 defenders on Okinawa, including Okinawan conscripts. American losses in the battle, in both sea and air were around 72,300- that's the population of my hometown, plus two neighboring ones, combined.

In Episode 8 Sledge (Joe Mazzello), Snafu (Rami Malek), Burgin, and Leyden are joined by reinforcements Hamm and Kathy; its May 1945 in the siege of Okinawa. The First Marine Division is under constant fire, and there are heavy casualties; they're up to their necks in mud and muck, and there is frequent torrential rain. Vehicles can't get through to pick up the wounded or remove the dead; often corpses are left to rot. And at times when the Marines are told to "dig in" they come upon a freshly buried body, which they occupy just the same.

Sledge, once the the innocent inheritor of the gentility of the Old South's aristocracy, has morphed into a killing machine, one who thinks that the only way to ever beat Japan is to kill every last one of them. And that was one of the more chilling aspects of the episode- this fresh faced kid who we saw in Mobile in Episode One nearly loses his soul from the ambiguous morality of what a combatatant has to do in wartime.

In one firefight the Japanese use civilians as a human shield, and most are killed in the crossfire; Hamm is also among the dead. With each day the Marines start to descend closer to madness; Snafu and Sledge, who became friends since Peleliu, have to be separated before coming to blows. Sledge and Snafu come to a bombed out hut, where they find a crying baby next to its dead mother; they look at the infant with a robotic blankness; another Marine picks the baby up and admonishes the non- responsive duo with a "what's wrong with you guys?".

After Snafu leaves the hut, Sledge finds a badly wounded Okinawan woman lying on the floor of the hut, apparently dying. In the most harrowing and gut wrenching scene in a series full of them Sledge approaches her with his weapon aimed at her; the woman grabs the weapon and draws it to her head, motioning Sledge to kill her.

Sledge pauses for what seems like an eternity- and at that moment he finds a spark of moral redemption; he puts down his weapon, and cradles the dying woman in his arms until she passes on. Eugene Sledge was at the brink of losing any moral compass that he had, and at that moment he grabbed it back. He was still human, and had compassion for this poor dying soul caught in the crossfire. She was of a different race, that of his mortal enemy who he swore to kill, but was not of them. Sledge's father warned him of what he had seen in the First World War, the scores of men who lost their souls. Eugene Sledge would have lost his had he killed the woman. He was saved by his own humanity.

Sledge leaves the hut, and sees a young Japanese soldier trying to surrender. He allows him to live, but then the soldier is killed by a group of new Marines.

The last scene of the episode shows Okinawa secured. It is Augest, 1945. Their CO tells Sledge, Burgin, and Snafu that the Americans had dropped some new kind of bomb on a Japanese city, killing everyone. They didn't know it yet, but it was the end of the war in the Pacific, and the birth of a second war, a Cold War.

This episode underscores what many feel today, and felt back in 1945 when the decision to drop the atomic bomb first on Hiroshima and then Nagasaki was made; an invasion of the Japanese homeland would have probably resulted in a slaughter on a scale never before seen in human history. Allied casualties could have been a million or more, and that of the Japanese may have reached ten times that. As far as not invading Japan but surrounding the islands to "starve them into submission"- that would have resulted in even more widespread misery to the civilian population, and would have made Allied warships sitting ducks for kamikaze attacks.

All war is full of moral ambiguity on some level; and so was the decision to drop the atomic bomb. The unthinkable became the necessary, because any other way might have been at a cost too steep to pay.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Happy Mother's Day To One And All!


I know this is a little on the late side....hey, its a Guy Thing....but I just want to wish any and all a very Happy Mother's Day 2010.

Pictured above, my Mom and Dad, Dot and Ray, at their wedding in 1949.

Yep...that's almost 61 years....God bless'em.

Enjoy....and cherish the moments.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Quick Hits for May 7.....and 8th, 2010; Betty White, SNL, and a Plum for Heigl



Its another one of those days with much to talk about, and so very little time. So here I am again, copping out with QUICK HITS.


(1). Here's a thought someone called "Hugh Jee" had on TWITTER last night...."Being "de-citizenized" by Joe Lieberman's proposed "Strip The Suspected Terrorist Law"; is that kind of like being "unfriended" on FACEBOOK?".

The guy has something there, heh?

(2) So the DOW plummeted 1,000 points in less than an hour, supposedly because someone transposed 16 billion for 16 million on the future's market? Don't you think its a little too easy for one person to do some serious damage to the the economies of this nation and the world- and to millions of little guy investors? If one person could do this with a mistake, what about someone with ill intent, like foreign or domestic terrorists, or someone just doing it because they want to do it. Another case for some serious Wall Street reform, and some competent eyes to watch what's going down.


(3).Katherine Heigl of "Grey's Anatomy" fame has landed The Plum role. And "Plum" should be capitalized. Ms. Heigl will star in One For The Money, the screen adaptation of the first of a series of novels by Janet Evanovich about Trenton (New Jersey) based bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, murder mysteries that are more comic than procedural. The sixteenth entry in the Plum series, Sizzling Sixteen, will be released on June 22.

My only question is...what took so long? These novels are fun, are an easy escapist read (I have read the first 10, so I have some catching up to do), and hit home for me on several levels. I was born in the Chambersburg section of Trenton where the novels take place. Stephanie is of Italian-Hungarian decent (as am I). My Grandpa used to drive a huge blue 1953 Buick like the one owned by Uncle Sandor in the novels (Stephanie Plum is really hard on cars- she either totals one or has one blow up in every book). And I have certain family members who closely resemble that of Stephanie Plum- though my grandmothers were not as zany as Steph's Grandma Mazur. About 10 years ago I thought Sandra Bullock should play Stephanie, but as she approached 40, I switched support to Jennifer Aniston (Steph is perpetually 30 years old in the books).

As for boyfried Joe Morelli and mysterious tough guy Ranger, it will be interesting to see how the casting goes. But two people I'd love to see in the supporting cast of any future Plum mysteries; Queen Latifah as Lula (Steph's street wise former working girl BFF), and America's Grandma, Betty White as whacky Grandma Mazur. And any character who goes to funeral homes to pick up grieving old geezers is a bit whack-a-doo....and inventive, I suppose.

A long pause here....continuing the blog entry a mere 36 hours after starting it...I told you I've been busy. Hate it when people don't update their sites...I have a responsibility to give you guys information whether you want it or not. You've been warned.


(4). Now......where was I? Oh yeah! Speaking of Betty White. She's hosting SNL tonight. And who woulda thunk it? At 88, she isn't the oldest person to appear on Saturday Night Live. SNL's announcer Don Pardo, who has been with the show for all but one of its 35 years on NBC, has celebrated his 92nd birthday last February. But the oldest guest ever on SNL was probably composer-pianist Eubie Blake. On March 10, 1979 Mr. Blake guested on SNL, which was hosted by Gary Busey that night. Depending on your source, Eubie Blake was either 96 or 92 in 1979, though his 100 birthday was celebrated shortly before his death in 1983.

At any rate, below is the video of Mr. Blake's appearance on SNL in 1979, with the great and sadly missed Gregory Hines singing. Hines died much too young at age 57 in 2003.


Gregory Hines - Eubie Blake

Macgoddess | MySpace Video


(5). And finally....Happy Mother's day to all of the Moms reading this. And to all you guys who still haven't gotten anything....there's always the fresh cut flowers at the all night supermarkets. Have fun!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Court Yard Hounds, Brad Paisley + More Share Thoughts on Nashville Flood


With all of the news in the Gulf, the attempted bombing in Times Square, the "Papers Please" Law in Arizona, and the antics of Joe Lieberman trying his best to subvert the Constitution, I haven't mentioned the tragedy of the flooding going on in Nashville this week.

The Cumberland River crested earlier this week 12 feet above flood stage. At least 29 people are known dead from the flooding, and the monetary cost has yet to be assessed.

Below, a video from ABC's WORLD NEWS TONIGHT live from Nashville.



And below here, stories of the Nashville flooding involving Martie Maguire and Emily Robison of the DIXIE CHICKS, Brad Paisley, Jo Dee Messina, Vince Gill, Kenny Chesney, John Rich,and Amy Grant on The Boot.com .


READ MORE......Court Yard Hounds, Brad Paisley + More Share Thoughts on Nashville Flood

Blue Jersey:: Virginia Offshore Oil Lease Sale Suspended

Above, Virginia Beach, VA


Finally!

Some semblance of sanity. Today the the Obama administration suspended plans to allow future oil and gas leases off the cost of Virginia. This comes in the wake of the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico with a massive oil spill caused by the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon.



READ MORE....from Blue Jersey
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