Saturday, May 5, 2007

One more thing

So, there I am, foolishly watching ESPN2's coverage of the SemGroup Championship, scheduled to run from 3pm to 5pm. It's getting close to 5pm and the leaders are still on the 14th hole. "There's no way they are going to play 4 holes in 8 minutes", I say to myself. Sure enough, it ain't happening. The coverage was scheduled to go until 5, and at precisely 5:00:00 pm, they left Oklahoma for their next program.
"Well, it must be something pretty important", I think to myself. At this point, I have stopped talking to myself and started thinking to myself. Surely, it must have something to do with the Kentucky Derby or some landmark sporting event - right?
They were stopping their coverage of an LPGA tour event with the leaders having 4 holes left to play to show us ... wait for it ...
The O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals Qualifying. Drag racing. Qualifying. Not even a real race, which would have been bad enough. They were only qualifying to race - probably on Sunday, when the final round of the SemGroup Championship is scheduled to be televised - from 3 to 5.
So, now I'm thinking that Sunday night's Phillies/Giants baseball game on ESPN will end at 11:00, like it says in Yahoo's TV listings, even though they may only be playing the 8th inning. That's only fair, right? Once they get to the end of their scheduled coverage time, the show should stop.
But it won't. It will continue to its conclusion, like all other sporting events. I can't think of any other sporting event that would not be televised until its conclusion, regardless of the scheduled time. Why does ESPN schedule 2 hours of golf coverage for something that will take 4 hours? It's tough being a fan sometimes.
Following that logic, the producer of the golf telecast will pull out 20 seconds before his partner is ready to have an orgasm.
It's only right.

Friday, May 4, 2007

A couple of things

Another 161 page hits today over this Alycia Lane nonsense. Almost all of them from the spelling impaired who are using the vowel-rich version of her name. Almost 500 page hits, and two stinking comments. I suppose, when they don't see the bikini photos, they don't bother reading.
C'mon fellas, let's move on. Paris Hilton is finally going to jail, so you can start Google searching conjucal visit sex to see where that lands you. Here, probably.
Meanwhile, the girls are playing golf in Oklahoma, of all places, at something called The SemGroup Championship. ESPN2 televised part of it today, from 3 to 5pm. Can you spare a square? I set the recorder for two hours, knowing full well that I would merely be teased by the coverage, and sure enough, I got to watch 4 holes of play. Would ESPN televise 5 innings of a baseball game? No. So, why do they bother with 2 hours of a round of golf? Granted, I'm grateful that they bother at all, but they had to stop the show while Paula Creamer was teeing off at 14, so what's the point? There's another 2 hours of incomplete drama on Saturday, followed by what I can only imagine is the completion of the tournament for another 2 hours on Sunday. I hope the girls can squeeze it in so that ESPN2 gets to show whatever high quality "Entertainment Sports Programming" they have planned - probably the exciting world of poker.
By the way, Paula is tied for 12th, but I had to go to the LPGA's web site to find out. Nicole Castrale leads by a shot, as far as I can tell.
The Kentucky Derby is Saturday. It may be over by the time you are reading this. The 20-horse field will look more like a minor stampede than a horse race. It says here that the 16 horse, Circular Quay will win. It will be a wet track, so the sloppy conditions could make for a great 2 minutes.
Midgets on horses, green drinks and wagering. It doesn't get any better.

More Alicia Lane's than you can shake a stick at.

Over the past two days, since posting the Alycia Lane story, this little portal has received 284 unique page hits from people seeking info on Ms. Lane. Even though most of them do not know the correct spelling of her first name, which is why I included "Alicia" in the labels - for the spelling impaired. I mention it here (again) for the expressed purpose of encouraging more page hits and imagining the frustration of demented Google searchers who fail to find the elusive photos, or this Alicia Lane who appears to be above reproach.
Alicia Lane is also a street in Florida, a poet with three names, a Principia College soccer player, an actress, a model for FHM and little Lane Alicia who turns one year old on June 16, 2007. Happy Birthday kid. Stay away from your mother's cell phone.
Seemingly, those curious souls were searching for the elusive bikini photos that she mistakenly sent to her old buddy in an effort to drum up ratings for May Sweeps. If you think there is another reason for this story being so big, you have another think coming. Ratings have been through the TV roof over the last couple of days. Why, I have no idea.
Your search will have a much greater possibility for success if you learn to spell her name. That's where I would start.


As a special service to pet lovers (like me) click this link to see even more pet foods that have been added to the already obscene number of foods that are contaminated with harmful protein. Mostly, they are canned foods that appear to be coming from various sources - mostly discount stores - and manufactured by Menu Foods. Fortunately for me, my cat does not eat any of the foods on the list, and I consider myself lucky. I'm not telling him, since he really doesn't need to know.

This story bothers me for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I have a 16 year old cat that I love like a son, and if anything happened to him as a result of what I was feeding him - well - I'd hate to be an executive in the Menu Foods Company.

Meanwhile, I've switched him from Iams to Purina One. He seems to like it.
There is also a full story here.
And, just to prove that I haven't lost my sense of humor, here is a monkey eating a Popsicle:

TV's favorite radio station

If you came of age in the 70s, like me, the raging debate over which type of woman a man preferred had gone far beyond the traditional old Ginger or Mary Ann discussion. I was way too young to be interested in either one of them, although as an adult my preference came down well on the Mary Ann side in reruns.
Young adults of the 1970s had their own TV characters to fawn over, and mine was on a little show that debuted in September of 1978 called WKRP in Cincinnati. I know most of you may be thinking that I'm about to launch into some flowery tribute of Loni Anderson, who played the blonde receptionist Jennifer Marlowe, but no. My flowery tribute is going out to the hot little station billing and traffic girl, Bailey Quarters, played by Jan Smithers.
I always figured that it was way too easy to fall for the obvious choices in such instances. Bailey was shy, quiet and a more interesting person than Jennifer, who only seemed interested in keeping her hair lacquered and tormenting Herb Tarlek. Maybe it was Bailey's big glasses or that little scar on her chin - who knows?
What got me to thinking about such things? It generally doesn't take much. Last week, the DVDs of the first season of WKRP finally were made available, after years of legal wrangling over music copyrights and whatnot.
The first season was perhaps best known for one called "Turkeys Away", where station manager Arthur Carlson sends newsman Les Nessman out to cover the station's Thanksgiving Turkey Drop, in which live turkeys were dropped from a helicopter. It quickly becomes a Hindenburg-like affair, where Les proclaimed, "The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement!"
It is climaxed by Carlson's declaration: "As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
"For those of you who've just tuned in, the Pinedale Shopping Mall has just been bombed with live turkeys. Film at eleven."

The show lasted four seasons (90 episodes) and sadly, they aren't shown much on TV anymore. So, screw 'em, because now we can buy the episodes and watch them when we want, in stark contrast to the odd CBS scheduling in which the show seemed to change nights and times almost weekly during its last two seasons.
How the tiny AM radio station ever survived is anyone's guess, but regardless, it made great television. Maybe it was Dr. Johnny Fever (a.k.a. Johnny Sunshine, Johnny Duke, Johnny Style and Heavy Early) who somehow had shortened reaction time as he became increasingly drunk.
Maybe it was Venus Flytrap, or Herb; but it sure as Hell wasn't because of Les Nessman (winner of the "Buckeye Newshawk Award"). Les was famous for his imaginary walls and doorway around his desk and his stubborn mispronunciation of golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez, [Chy Chy Rod-ri-gweeze] even after Dr. Fever corrected him off-air. Even so, you gotta love a guy who inexplicably wore a bandage in a different spot in every episode.

If you're as tired as I am of repeat upon repeat of Seinfeld and Everybody Loves Raymond, you can pick up the first season of this classic TV sitcom and remember a time when sitcoms actually existed, unlike now, when there are maybe five; and radio is something they want us to pay for. By my unofficial count, in 1978 there were 24 situation comedies on the three networks in prime time. 24. Can you imagine? All of which makes WKRP even better by virtue of its competition. Today, a show can stand out if there are only four others doing the same thing. In the 70s, sitcoms were King, and WKRP was very close to the throne.

It had great writing, and like all great writing, it is timeless. The characters are well-developed and the show hit the ground running, unlike many shows today that take half a season to figure out whether they are a comedy or drama, even though it took the boobs at CBS half a season to figure out that it had a winner on its hands with WKRP. Half-way through season one, the show was placed on hiatus (usually a death blow) but it was so popular with viewers that they brought it back, just as its popularity has led to its DVD release now.
As it turned out, the show was nominated for three Emmy awards for Outstanding Comedy Series, but strangely none for any of the actors. There was competition, then , you know.
Bailey deserved some sort of trophy.

I almost forgot, fellow babies ...


Thursday, May 3, 2007

Living vicariously through others, whose lives are much more interesting than ours

NOTE TO GOOGLE SEARCHERS: You are wasting your time with all those Cecily Tynan searches that only lead you down blind alleys and, of all places, here. There is someone far more interesting that you should be searching, and the story is so big around here that it wound up on the front page of the Inquirer today:
CBS3 anchor Alycia Lane says she is "mortified" over a gossip item in yesterday's New York Post that she had sent private e-mails and suggestive "bikini" photos to NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen, which were intercepted by his wife. The story, which Lane said was not what it appeared, quickly became the talk of a celebrity-starved town and even mushroomed into national fodder as scandal-sniffing bloggers inveighed against Lane.
In an exclusive interview yesterday with The Inquirer, Lane insisted she was not a home-wrecker. The photos were simply part of "harmless" banter between "two old friends," and not an attempt to entice the Los Angeles-based Eisen or break up his nearly four-year marriage to former Fox and ABC sports reporter Suzy Shuster. She said she knew he was married.
There are several angles to this story, and you are free to focus on the angle of your choice. My angle has nothing to do with Alycia or her buddy or even her alleged bikini photos or the so-called harmless nature of sending bikini photos to another man.
My angle is the technology and its use as it applies to modern society.
As little as 10 years ago we didn’t have cell phones, and five years ago we didn’t have cell phones that took photographs. Now, they do everything but give you oral sex, and that’s probably in the early stages of development, so watch out for that. That said, it isn’t necessary that we use technology merely because it exists.
Alycia and her friends have free will and the ability to take photos of themselves in various stages of undress, but once they leave their air space, they lose all responsibility for their possession. They can fall into anyone’s hands. The mistake Alycia made was in considering the e-mail “private.” She should know better than anyone that her prominence as a minor local celebrity makes such things interesting, and the fact that she is a news anchor gives her a certain credibility which is pretty much shot in the ass right now.
As a [quote] newsperson, she has a certain responsibility to her job and herself to stay above reproach. Using cell phones as toys for her personal entertainment falls outside of that realm.
Lane said, "This cast me as something I am not at all." Really? I think it casts you as a bikini-wearing, e-mail sending, flirty little news wench. Isn’t that what you are?
"I think unfortunately it's the nature of being a public figure," Lane said yesterday, which indicates that she knows that she is a public figure. "I really and truly want to be known as a journalist. I didn't get into journalism to be part of a gossip column - never in a million years." Ooops.
Really? Maybe not in a million years, but in the 4 years you have been in Philadelphia you have been seen dancing with Prince Albert at the 50th Anniversary of Princess Grace’s wedding and you appeared with Dr. Phil twice to talk about your first divorce in 2004, then went public with your next marriage in 2005. It sounds to me as though you really don’t understand the difference between being a news anchor and being the focus of gossip.
Or maybe you do? After all, perhaps the biggest problem with this story is that the New York Post misidentified the station as “WKYW”, [it is really KYW] so even the free publicity you bought for yourself and the station was goofed up. Front-page ad space is expensive, and your Eyewitness News logo was all over the paper this morning.
Maybe Alycia Lane is the victim of overactive prying into one's personal life or the unwitting participant in technology gone haywire. Whatever it is, the timing couldn't have been better for the station.
It is either a clever May Sweeps ratings stunt or a total coincidence. Either way, I'm guessing that the people who run Eyewitness News are not all that upset about the front page display of their logo, free of charge on both local newspapers.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Urge to Merge

I am thinking about opening a driving school.
Not a real driving school, where instructors take kids out for their first motor vehicle experience, tooling around town and whatnot. This one is for adults and people who have been driving for a while, and the scope is extremely limited. We are not going to bother with parallel parking or any of that other useless nonsense that they put on the driving exam. This school will concentrate on something that isn’t on any driver’s test, but should be on every driver’s test.


The entire curriculum consists of merging onto highways and off of them, accelerating and decelerating. We get on the road, we get off the road – over and over until I either stop squirming and pressing my imaginary gas pedal or the person driving can get on and off the highway without other drivers having to change lanes and scream obscenities. Either one of those things earns a passing grade.
Attendance will be mandatory for all drivers, regardless of age. It could take an hour or we could be at it all day, but you won’t be permitted to get out of the car until you can demonstrate the ability to get on and off of high-speed highway traffic effectively.


1 - Turn signals are unnecessary when entering a highway. We all know you are going left; you don’t have to signal it. Transfer that energy to something more productive, such as the foot that works your gas pedal.
2 - Work the car into the flow of traffic as quickly as possible. This does not mean that you ease up the ramp at 30mph and cruise into the shoulder at the same speed while traffic whizzes past. Get the car up to speed on the approach and move into the lane.

USEFUL TERM: It is called an “acceleration lane” because that is the lane in which you accelerate. You do not use the roadway for acceleration. You should be at or near highway speed by the time you are on the highway, that’s why it is called highway speed.

3 - Do not make other vehicles change lanes or hit their brakes. Brakes are for slowing, and the chain reaction that occurs when one car brakes is potentially hazardous to those behind them. Find a space and get in. If you are scared, buy a dog. If you are really scared, use public transportation.
4 - You will use your turn signal when exiting the highway. Drivers behind you cannot know your intentions if you do not tell us.
5 - The turn signal will be used prior to slowing, not during. Turn signals are of no use if you are already at your chosen destination. This rule applies to circumstances beyond the highway merge, and is provided at no additional cost to your school tuition.
6 - When exiting the highway, move as quickly as possible into the shoulder and prepare to get on the exit ramp. This does not mean that two wheels remain in the lane or that you slow down on the highway and make those behind you hit their brakes. Remember, brakes are for later. Highway engineers spend millions of dollars designing shoulders for just such a purpose. Don’t make them waste their money.

USEFUL TERM 2: It is called a “deceleration lane” because that is the lane in which you decelerate. Do not use the highway for deceleration. That is why we call it a highway. Words mean something.

Students will be made to merge and exit as many times as it take for them to be comfortable in the process. Perfect practice makes perfect, and the more you do it, the better at it you will become.
Those who pass will be permitted to continue to drive. Those who fail will be given a bus pass.

We will start in New Jersey. Other states will be added as demand requires.
Any nominations?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Big news for fans of the mouth-feel

Consumers claim they dislike the taste of aspartame and Splenda, but research by two University of Illinois food scientists shows that swillers of diet and regular soda are also influenced by a subtle factor called mouth-feel.
Wow. Mouth-feel. That's why I got divorced. And, what's up with "food scientists"? Is that like a really fat guy who can tell you which pizza place has the best cheese? Or are they real scientists who have certificates like those TV meteorologists?
Where are the sex scientists, and are there any openings?
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - America might not need yet another exercise machine. Treadmills, weights and resistance equipment already jam the health clubs. Yet Gravity machines have found a niche at the YMCA in this resort town.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph - Gravity machines. I thought that's what weights were. Where are the food scientists when I need them?
The machines are essentially a health club version of the company's less expensive Total Gym, a home and rehabilitation machine known to many for the TV infomercials featuring martial arts actor Chuck Norris confidently gliding up and down slantwise.
Chuck Norris is so tough, when he takes a dump, he can wipe with one square.
No infomercials for Gravity, though the system has clearly benefited from the enthusiasm of health club fitness trainers. Jon D'Alessio, group fitness director at The Jungle Club in Vero Beach, Fla., said it's a fast, efficient way to provide both personal training or group sessions. To keep the interest of men, he developed exercises that simulate golf swings and kayak paddling.
"It's much more fun than whatever else I've been doing for the last 15 years," he said.
Sure, like what you've been doing the last 15 years - gaining weight and fighting gravity. Meanwhile, "Fast and efficient" is yet another euphemism for "quick and easy", the mantra of the lazy. Quick and easy has no place in fitness, and gravity machines are just another way to separate people from their money, something that we seem to find no limit.
Here is all you need to lose weight: Eat less calories than you use and get some exercise.
Gravity will inevitably win, but we can put it off, like the way we prop up a chair on the doorknob before the police bust in with that big log-shaped door battering ram, just as we're settling in to watch a new episode of Family Guy with a pint of Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey.
Life sucks like that sometimes.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Can you spare a square?

Sheryl Crow writes on her tour blog: "I propose a limitation to be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. I think we are industrious enough people to make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required."

OK, Sheryl. One square? I propose you just use your hand and leave out the paper altogether. As for those "pesky situations", can you be more specific?
I don't know what kind of food you're eating, but if you can wipe up with only one square, you're doing one Hell of a job. Go ahead and use your "square", if it makes you happy.

And remind me, if I ever meet you, not to shake your hand.

Life imitates art

OAKLAND, California - A gasoline tanker crashed and burst into flames near the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on Sunday, creating such intense heat that a stretch of highway melted and collapsed. Officials predicted a traffic nightmare for Bay Area commuters for weeks or months to come.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A welcomed break for me ... and you, too.

I have been busy on Ebay. Selling, not buying. I am gradually divesting myself of all the accumulated crap I have around here that has no function in my life. Eventually, I will be left with several appliances, my computer and my cat.
Speaking of which, I received word that my aunt's family had to have their 15-year old cat put down this weekend. My guy is 16, and I have long ago begun the process of cherishing every day with him. I hope he is doing the same.

Saturday night I decided to take in a Phillies game. When I go alone, I can usually get a pretty good seat, since there are generally oddballs left in the middle of rows that they can't sell. I got one in the first row at field level down the first base line. It sounded like a great spot, but it's a little too close. Kind of like being at one of those go-go joints where the dancers have B.O. You're happy to see her, but she could back it up a little.
The annual nonsense known as the NFL draft went on this weekend. Both days were televised by ESPN in an exercise that I can only call overkill. ESPN showed the draft, and ESPN2 showed cheerleading competition. Nice of them to give us a choice. The first round is semi-interesting, but do we really need Sunday's 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th rounds? Some team makes the 225th pick and the analysts talk about how great the player is and what a steal he is at 225. Do they really know or are they just filling time? Other than getting to see Suzi Kolber (instead of Saturday's too-loud-for-the-room host, Blowhard Chris Berman) there is really no need to tune in. It's 6:30 on Sunday night and it is still going on. A WORD OF ADVICE: Stop yelling Chris, you got the job.
On Saturday, the cameras hounded Brady Quinn, the Notre Dame QB who continued to drop from the top ten to #22, where the Browns eventually put him (and us) out of his misery. Those same analysts couldn't believe how low he was dropping, as if they are always right, and 32 NFL teams are always wrong.
Speaking of the NFL, a trial balloon was floated by commissioner Roger Goodell that said the league should consider playing a Super Bowl outside the United States. On Monday, senators from all 50 states will introduce legislation to prevent it. Well, as long as the senators are making good use of their time.
Check "Shopping Mall" from the list of places where you can go and feel safe:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - At least two people were killed Sunday afternoon after a shooting at a shopping center, fire officials said.
Start making that check list of stuff you shouldn't wear to work:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A new survey showed tank tops and visible underwear are the biggest fashion faux pas on the job, according to Monster, an online job and recruiting site, which compiled more than 18,000 responses to an online poll. Results were released this week by Flip-flop sandals weighed in next on the list of fashion mistakes, followed by Hawaiian prints and shorts, it said.
Next? How about first? If you ask me (and you didn't) flip-flop sandals - or any of those shoes that make that back of the heel noise when you walk - have no place in civilized society. I don't want to hear your foot slapping on the back of your shoe. Seriously girls, it's enough with the flopping shoes. Nobody needs to hear you coming before we can see you. Put a strap on it.
Can we get all 50 senators to work on that?
Now, let's talk about the visible underwear...