Sunday, November 29, 2009


After Thanksgiving Dinner most of us remained at the table just chatting. One grandson was telling us all about how painful a recent football injury was. He got a little carried away and we all wondered how to lighten the mood.

Quietly , a younger grandson spoke out, “Would you care for cheese with that whine?” It broke me up.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

TV Commentary

Breaking News: It has dawned on me that we are about to suffer the end of the (TV) world as we know it. Not that that’s all bad. I’m not referring to bad shows that were doomed to fail from the get-go. Successful shows have a natural lifetime either in our individual minds or in the minds of the folks that schedule the networks. This has applied to all but news, sports, “Meet the Press” and perhaps, “Law and Order”.

If Oprah isn’t going to end, at least she will be changing her format it a few years. Personally, I (and I suspect most men) had had it fifteen minutes into the first showing. Too mushy. But she certainly has been an enormous success.

Another program that is quitting at what may be its peak is “Monk”. There certainly is a limit to how long you can make obsessive compulsive behavior seem funny.

The writers of “House” have struggled to maintain interest in a drug addict. However, as they have taken away the chief character’s dependence, his excuse for mean and nasty behavior has disappeared. He has become just plain nasty, mean and unlikeable. I’ve quit watching already.

“NCIS” worries me. They act like the original may disappear, replaced by “NCIS - LA”. The latter belongs in the category of “didn’t survive the first year”. I have been sort of hoping I would go off the air before the original.

News broadcasts have already shown new faces. The old time network news attempted to appear non-partisan. Now this approach is giving way to Fox News (O’Reilly), MSNBC (Olberman), and Comedy Central (Stewart and Colbert). Blatant partisanship has shown more opportunity for entertainment and higher rantings than “just the facts, M’am”.

The Wall Street Journal the other day had a wonderful column about the end of sportsmanship and how that is causing a slow death of TV sports. I regret that the newspaper went out in the trash with the kitty litter so I cannot cite the author, but he clearly made his point. Players have turned over all responsibility for fair play to officials. What we used to call dirty play or cheating is now OK if the perpetrator doesn’t get caught. Incidentally, I hope you saw the punter the other night. He executed a graceful somersault immediately after kicking the ball. I don’t think he was really trying to feign he’d been fouled, bur rather he was probably spoofing all the punters who routinely fake a knock down on every kick. The Ref ignored his act.

I doubt that “Meet the Press” will survive the grouch that replaced Tim Russert. He has lost me already.

I do expect that “Law and Order” will be commissioned to turn off the cameras when TV itself is finished.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Someone Should Speak Up

November is two thirds over and our area looks like it will survive this year without a hurricane. I hope I am not setting up a jinx by saying that. While the temptation is to publicly proclaim joy at being spared, the knowledge that the Carolinas and the Northeastern coast took a licking creates a sort of emotional conflict. I suppose one way to avoid that is to have property in New Jersey and Florida. OR just be quiet.

No matter where the folks live who think the environment is of no consequence -- between tornados, earthquakes. Noreasters, hurricanes, wild fires, floods, blizzards -- there is always something which should remind us that there are gigantic forces that we have no control over. Yet the world’s population continues to diddle with the atmosphere and the known limits on natural resources. There is a general oblivion of the consequences of this careless manipulation of nature.

It is a little like we all live in sunny Florida and the next generation is in New Jersey.

Friday, November 13, 2009

November 13, 2009

Random Observatons From a Sitting Position

• Don’t you just love it when some pompous policy makers say their policy is “zero tolerance”… and then have to back down? Remember when the little boy proudly brought his Cub Scout all-in-one eating utensil to school and was expelled for carrying a weapon (a knife)?
• Recession ? On our last drive we went along the ocean front road in Palm Beach, FL. We noticed six (6) new MANSIONS, big, BIG ones being built and one old one being torn down preparatory to building another.
• Sign of the times. Penn State has reported that due to the prevalence of cell phones, all landline phones will be removed from dormitory rooms. This will save $700,000 or $800,000 depending on the report you read. Oh, the joys of those days with a sore ear from all evening on the phone!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fort Hood Irony

Think how it must rankle the old-Army generals: With 43,000 soldiers under their command, hundreds of them armed Military Police, a mad man’s rampage is stopped dead by a short, little lady nicknamed “Mighty Mouse.” Worse – she is a civilian police-person. While the unarmed military wisely scattered and took cover, “Mighty Mouse” flung open the door of her squad car and charged straight at the mad man with guns blazing. Hit three times she kept firing until the maniac fell. She is a true heroine.

But will the grizzled old generals ever forgive this “FEMALE”?

I doubt it’s in their genes.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Suntan Proof Swimsuits

I love technology, but today’s WSJ suggest that the new high tech swimsuits may be “dirty pool”. The article goes on to tell of the controversy between users of traditional swimsuits, Speedos, and wearers of the polyurethane or neoprene bodysuits being favored by racers, young and old,. Michael Phelps, the win-all hero of the recent Olympics, was soundly beaten by a supposedly lesser competitor who availed himself of a “high tech” bodysuit. Phelps wore his usual Speedo. The new suits are expensive, provide extra flotation, smooth out the wrinkles and bumps on the human body, have less affinity for water, and make technology an important factor in a swimmer’s top speed. I think that the use of new technology is fair in sailboat racing, but I question its place in a contest intended to measure human strength and skill

Think what has happened to the pole vault. In 1942 (when I was making some feeble attempts at vaulting) we used a straight stiff pole with no bending capability to it. The World Record that year was held by Cornelius Warmardam at 4.77meters (15.65 feet). By 1994 the great Sergey Bubka had made a record vault of 6.14 meters (20.14 feet). But was Sergey really any better than Cornelius? Sergey used an elastic pole that bends almost in half then propels the jumper upward like a sling shot. How high would Warmarham have vaulted with the elastic pole to provide an extra shove?

I like competitive sports. Technology that improves the safety of the competitors is great, but not if it artificially improves performance.

ps. You can't get a good tan with the new suits.