Friday, April 3, 2009

Open the pod bay doors please Hal.

This was in today's Inquirer (and copied from the newspaper's web site): Yankees general partner Hal Steinbrenner admits that some tickets in the new $1.5 billion Yankee Stadium might be overpriced, given the recession. The Yankees set prices for the premium Legends Suites seats 13 months ago and sold them for $500 to $2,500 as part of season tickets. According to the team's Web site, some of those seats remain available for individual games, when the price goes up to $2,625.
"I think if anybody in any business had known where this economy was going to go, they would have done things differently," Steinbrenner said. "Look, there's no doubt small amounts of our tickets might be overpriced."
Might be? Let's analyze, shall we? We shall.
Steinbrenner apparently figures that if "the economy" was better, the tickets would be reasonably priced. Besides the fact that we now have another generation of dopey Steinbrenners to deal with, how would he think that $2,500 is a fair price to attend a baseball game under any economic conditions?
That's the same sort of thinking that led people to buy bicycles and conserve gasoline when it was 4 dollars a gallon but now that it's closer to 2 dollars, allows them to resume their wasteful habits. Something is either wasteful and extravagant or it isn't. Economics have nothing to do with it.
Apparently, in The Land of the Steinbrenners, (not visible on a map) they were taking advantage of what they would refer to as "the good times" and fleece baseball fans for a few weeks pay for a single game ticket. That said, I'm not sure anyone who could afford $2,500 for a ticket to a baseball game is suffering in any economy, so maybe the price is just ridiculous regardless of the foreclosure or unemployment rate. Did you think of that, Hal?
No, you didn't because in your world (map available from Hal) we should be grateful that the Yankees play baseball and we should feel privileged to attend a game in your castle - er - ballpark.
Did you ever stop to consider that spending $2,500 for a baseball ticket is one of the reasons we're in this mess to begin with?
Too busy counting dad's money, I'm guessing. That's going to be easier than counting ticket stubs.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Why do I read the newspaper?

Today was one of those days where almost every newspaper article I read (yes, I still read the newspaper) pissed me off a little.
First, there was Marianne Bessy's editorial about how the Philadelphia Zoo is failing to meet the expectations of the animals they house. No kidding. The reason I can't go to zoos anymore is because I love animals. Strange? No, not if you pay attention. Tigers pace in circles, elephants stand in place and animals that are territorial no longer have a territory. Zookeepers expect animals to give up 2 billion years of evolution so that they can live in a concrete bunker adjacent to a fenced-in yard smaller than your house. It makes me sad, and I think the animals are even more sad.
Then, there was the article about the Philadelphia Eagles' so-called "gentlemen's agreement" (they're two gentlemen short) with the city over an $8 million payment for something or other. Anyway, the gist of the thing was that former Mayor John Street was denying that such an agreement existed. Wouldn't you deny it, if the implications were that you could go to jail over a handshake with the local football franchise? Sure you would.
The other side of it is that the Eagles owner, Jeffrey Lurie was recently named to Forbes Magazine's list of billionaires. That's nice, until you stop to consider that his billion dollars is all on paper. He owns the Eagles, some nice property and an estate granted to him by his family. It's worth billions, sure - but he'd have to sell it all to realize the income. Likewise, I'm worth a few hundred thousand dollars - on paper - until you have to find $2,000 in cash. Then, I have to borrow it because I'm not about to sell my home or cash-in my retirement fund to make up the difference. Billions is relative, my friends.
Another editorial by Leonard Pitts proclaimed that "The War on Drugs is Lost." No fucking kidding. With cigarettes at $7 a pack and people being shot in Mexico, I say legalize the junk and let the weak die off. It makes for more parking spaces for me and a better quality of living for those of us left over. Meanwhile, as I've said before, if they legalized marijuana, I'd never drink again. I think that's better for my overall health, so go ahead and tax the shit out of it like they do for cigarettes and I'll happily pay it if I can stop drinking for five minutes.
Then, an article in the South Jersey section tells us to stop walking on the Interstate highways. Really. Some jackass who (according to the article) drank a bottle of Johnnie Walker and 3 beers (as though he needed the beer) wandered into traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike and was struck by a New Jersey Orchestra bus (they have their own bus) and a truck.
Carlos Grijalva Florian drank a bottle of Johnnie Walker and three beers before his cousin picked him up. He was belligerent in the car, and when his cousin pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike in South Brunswick to let him cool off, Grijalva Florian got out and started walking on the highway. Soon after, a bus and a tractor trailer hit him, leaving blood and flesh strewn across the road and in the undercarriage of the truck.
So, here's the funny part. A spokesman for the turnpike called it "bad luck." Right. Drink a bottle of whiskey and 3 beers (for fun) and wander into traffic and call it bad luck.
Then, I turn to the TV listings and find that "My Name is Earl" and "The Office" are being pre-empted by the series finale of "ER."
Something ain't right.

Cigarettes don't kill people. Smoking them does.

Smokers are digging deeper for the price of a pack of cigarettes today as the largest increase ever in the federal tobacco excise tax goes into effect. The new federal tax is $1.01 per pack, up from 39 cents. The increase means smokers in Pennsylvania will now pay $2.36 in federal and state taxes for a pack of cigarettes. In New Jersey, which is No. 2 in the nation in tobacco taxes, it will be $3.59, and $2.16 in Delaware.
But they are nowhere near New York City, where the price for a pack of cigarettes includes $5.26 in federal, state and municipal taxes.
That puts the price of a pack of smokes close to $7. I was naïve enough to think people would stop smoking when cigs got to a dollar a pack. That was during the Carter administration, I think. They're still smoking and they're still throwing them out the window of their cars, either because they're inherent slobs or they don't want the car to smell like smoke - which is odd behavior since they obviously care more about the interior of their automobile than their own interior.
Meanwhile, they can't smoke at work, in restaurants, theaters or just about any place where there are mammals with lungs. My workplace just banned smoking on company property, which doesn't keep an addicted few from getting in their cars and driving around for 7 minutes every three hours. There's some productivity for ya. And I get in trouble for talking to my co-workers. That makes good nonsense.
So they keep selling them and taxing them, all the while saying how bad they are for you. How many other industries have the company responsible for production making advertisements telling people to stop using their product? One. Tobacco companies.
At a pack a day and nearly 7 bucks a pack, that's roundabout $2,500 that a smoker spends on cigarettes in a year. It must be one Hell of a great habit.
I'd ask them, but the coughing makes it difficult to hear what they're saying.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Don't drink and ... do anything else.

BEVERLY: You're not still writing that thank-you note?
CAROL: I'm on the last page. How do you spell conscience?
BEVERLY: C-o-n-s-c-i-e-n-c-e. I got Sean from the bakery to baby-sit so let's go out.
CAROL: I still don't feel safe leaving Spencer with someone. How do you spell it again?
BEVERLY: Spencer is okay.
CAROL: I have to finish this letter or I'll go nuts. This can't be right - con science.
MIAMI – Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth was charged Wednesday with killing a pedestrian last month while driving drunk after a night out at a swank South Beach nightspot.
An arrest warrant charging Stallworth, 28, with DUI manslaughter was filed in the March 14 accident that killed 59-year-old Mario Reyes. If convicted, Stallworth would face as many as 15 years in prison.
If we insert our friend mister apostrophe, it becomes man's laughter. Strange thing, this language.
So anyway, here's another strange twist to the story: Stallworth will be prohibited from driving while on bail and not allowed to drink alcohol, according to court documents. He also must observe a 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. curfew and must submit to random alcohol and drug testing through the NFL's substance abuse program.
He isn't allowed to "drink responsibly," which is what the TV tells us to do, and we always do what the TV says.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle in a statement, "I can only repeat this message over and over: if you are going to drink, don't drive." I suppose that leaves us no alternative but to close all the bars. It's either that or do all your drinking at home alone, which they say is the first sign that you're an alcoholic.
Or a pathetic loser with no friends.
But at least I'm not going to Alcatraz.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Some products just sell themselves.

I am smelling like a rose that somebody gave me on my birthday death bed.
- Scott Weiland
Did anybody think that this guy looked like your average, run-of-the-mill salesman? If there is such a thing? No.
It's sad to say, but at first glance I figured this guy for a strange creep who might wind up following me home from the mall (or McGillin's Pub) wondering why I don't want to take advantage of his incredible offer - for a towel.
Last month, Vince Shlomi, (first clue - and how many of you knew his name? Zero.) familiar to most as the TV pitchman for the handy household do-dads the ShamWow and Slap Chop, got himself into a very messy situation with a hooker at a hotel, according to a police report located by
As detailed in the police affidavit, (that's never good news) on February 7th Shlomi punched a prostitute several times in the face after she chomped down on his tongue and refused to let go. (Several times? Usually, one punch will do the job. Maybe he should have used the Slap Chop?)
The 44-year-old (really?) towel and food chopper salesman (what does he put on his W-4?) claimed he met Sasha Harris, 26, at a Miami nightclub, according to the police report. He then took her back to his hotel room at the ritzy Setai hotel, where he claims to have paid her $1,000 after she "propositioned him for straight sex."
For one thing, he's over-paying. As a TV pitchman, he should know a bargain when he sees one. For another, "straight sex" is a big mistake.
I bet one of the barganing ploys was how fast the ShamWow would clean up the mess he'd leave.
When Shlomi went to kiss Harris, she "bit his tongue and would not let go," according to the affidavit. Uh-oh. Doesn't he know, you're not allowed to kiss them? Kids.
The Slap Chop pitchman then proceeded to punch Harris in the face until she finally released his tongue, the police report states.
Boy, if I had a nickel for every time that's happened to me. Let go of my tongue... Sure.
He ran, bleeding, to the hotel lobby where security summoned police and both Shlomi and Harris were arrested. Police found $930 in Harris' purse, and reported both Shlomi and Harris smelled of alcohol, according to the affidavit.
So, he never gave her the thousand bucks? That's like 25 ShamWow's.
There's a shocker. They smelled of alcohol. If that was the case, I'd be arrested on a nightly basis around here. But then, I don't have hookers knocking on the door. Hey, wait...
Oh, nothing. Never mind.
That ShamWow will sop up that blood in a jiffy, eh Vince?
When asked if she did, in fact, work as a prostitute, Harris declined to comment to Although prosecutors decided against formally charging either party, Harris told she is considering a lawsuit against Shlomi.
Don't they all deny it? That's what I'd do. Meanwhile, Shlomi (Isn't that the best?) is going to be sued. I'd sue him too, for wasting my TV time.
But I'd still ask him to remove his tongue first.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Loss of perspective.

After Connecticut won its semi-final game on Saturday, wordsmith Greg Gumbel proclaimed, "They're celebrating in U-Conn land." Um, Greg - I think that's Connecticut. There really isn't a place called U-Conn. It's made-up. Geez. He's a professional broadcaster.
In today's Philadelphia Inqirer, their automotive "critic" (I don't know what else to call him) Al Haas wrote about the new Mazda MX-5 thusly:
It's cute and sporty, lets you blow-dry your hair on I-95, handles magnificently, and doesn't make you really dollar up to buy it, gas it and insure it.
I responded via the luxury of e-mail.
For the record, the car they tested costs $27,020 (including shipping) and gets EPA estimates of 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. EPA estimates.
I'd like to know what part of the world he comes from that says you wouldn't have to "dollar up" to buy a $27,000 2-seater or gas a small car that gets 25 miles-per-gallon. To call a $27,000 2-seat convertible car affordable is an insult to those of us who work for a living. I can't speak for the insurance part of the cost, but my gut instinct is that it isn't nearly as cheap to insure as a Ford Focus or other car of similar size, handling efficiencies notwithstanding.
The time has come to stop embracing these ridiculous sports cars as somehow being practical. The MX-5 may still be, as you say, "evolving," but in my view it has more evolution in front of it than behind it.
There is a need to think before they write such things in a newspaper that is intended for public circulation.