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Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

This morning I was chatting with a Facebook Friend about finding a suitable blog platform. She’s a professional writer, so she’s a little pickier than me. She’s looking not just for an audience but for the right audience. Professional writers need the exposure that could lead to a paid gig. And, of course, all professional writers write to be read widely. Otherwise, why write.

I’m not a writer myself. I write basically for my family and friends. A blog is a good way to reach them beyond the bounds of E-mails and letters. Oh, sure, it’s nice when others write nice comments about the things I write, and I have met some fine people through my blog. Can’t deny that, and I hope to meet more good folks with interesting things to say.

My own approach to blogging is simple. I am not at all good at writing about myself. My inner feelings are boring even to me, and I am sort of bored right now. That’s why I tend or have tended to write about external events. And since my interests are quite broad, I am inclined to write according to no particular pattern. Today, I might write about a political event, tomorrow a blurb about an article I ran across in GQ magazine. Whatever strikes my interest at the moment will likely be the topic for the day.

I also like to add a humorous touch to most of the topics I am interested in. That doesn’t mean everything is funny. Some topics are absolutely without humor, child abuse, domestic violence, murder, and suicide, for example, are devoid of laughter.

That’s why the current run of murders in this country is disturbing. Thirteen soldiers murdered at Fort Hood, Texas, one murdered and mayby 15-plus wounded in Orlando, Florida; these are just two of the most egregious examples of recent violence in America today.

Of course, the perpetrators of these crimes will always have an excuse. The guy in Orlando was fired from his job two years ago and he was mad at the company. Oddly, the individuals he murdered are not, “the company.” But somehow in the mind of this deranged individual, the employees who worked for “the company” became “the company.” So, he decided to murder as many human beings as he could.

He may or may not have known or cared that he was shooting individuals rather than “the company.” Is this insanity, or is it a failure of the ability of some people to understand distinctions?  One individual is dead but “the company” lives on. Similarly, thirteen dead but the United States Army survives.

In addition to the damages done to the survivors of these monstrous acts, the perpetrators have harmed the United States in more ways than one. Globally, they’ve added to the perception that this is the most violent country in the world. Say what you wish, but the perceptions of other nations are important within the global system when it comes to the achievement of the vital national interests of the U.S.

Domestically, the current rash of violence has exacerbated the feelings of fear and parnoia among ordinary Americans.  Who among us might be the next mass murder? That guy down the street who looks odd with his little round glasses and close-set eyes? Or a respected Army psychologist?

The most disgusting cipher in the equation is society’s failure to deal with the violence that seems to be a part of our cultural DNA. Why are we as a country so reluctant to tackle the issue? Is it because we feel helpless? Maybe we think its someone else’s job. Or have our leaders failed us? We have a justice system that excuses criminal behavior and a penal system that has become a breeding ground for violence and gang activity.

Whatever the answer may be, it’s a puzzle. As far as solutions go, my own personal impression is that the violence has largely missed the elites of our society. As long as people below the elite level murder each other, as long as the elites do not find themselves the targets of random and mass violence they will continue to largely ignore the issue, appearing on television and uttering meaningless words after a mass shooting or an especially egregious murder.

Somehow, in America, we tend to look at the moment and at the situation. Broader ramifications seem beyond our comprehension.

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Be honest now, men. If you had a chance, would you pose full-frontal nude in Playgirl Magazine if the editors invited you?

A lot of men have actually exposed all in the pages of that publication, including Burt Reynolds when he was still a hunk. Now, Levi Johnston, the father of Sarah Palin’s grandson, is getting ready for a nude photo shoot. His unadorned pecs and abs and er…equipment…are expected to grace the centerfold of Playgirl’s next issue.

Why is Levi opting for his 15 minutes of fame in the nude? He’s a hardened Alaskan male who, if he wants to pose, would make a more lasting impression as a really masculine guy shooting at a rabbit with an AK-47.

But standing or sitting or whatever in a position carefully calculated to demonstrate his manliness in another way is dangerous. A lot of men are going to see him in Playgirl. Men are not kind when assessing the endowments of other men. In fact, regardless of the size and appearance of his equipment, Levi is going to wish he were on the moon to escape the inevitable razzing.

Besides, his fame may be short-lived. It may dissipate long before his 15 minutes expires. America’s magazine buying public prefers female over male nudity. Playboy is still going strong after 35-plus years. Playgirl’s print version is already out of business. The mag is strictly an on-line publication now.

Which brings me around to the question I used to introduce this post: would any of you men pose full-frontal nude in Playgirl like Levi?

Here’s my take. Your courage would be directly proportional to the length and girth of your appendage. If you were well-endowed, hell, you’d catch the red eye to New York in a heartbeat. If you were lacking, you’d kill any son of a bitch who came within a hundred yards of you with a camera.

This is why I believe Levi is well-endowed. And I think we can expect an exciting Playgirl issue when it hits the internet.

I’m wondering, though, if money plays a role here. I’m sure Levi will be paid for his services. But in your own personal case, how much money would it take to get you to strip naked on a beach on Maui and pose in front of a bunch of gawking giggling tourists?

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I’ve encountered a writer’s block of unparalleled density. I’ve been chipping at it in my mind for about a month without a great deal of effect. A friend of mine once observed, “We can saw off the leg of an elephant with the wings of butterflies if we saw long enough.” I might add that other variables come into play, such as the cooperation of the elephant, but my friend wasn’t speaking literally. He was talking about persistence. We can do just about anything within reason if we stick to it.

That’s what I am doing at this instant, trying my doggoned best to initiate some persistence by writing a few random thoughts. For instance, I have this feeling that the so-called Balloon Boy hoax is a hoax all right, but it isn’t a hoax perpetrated by the Heene family. Rather a mainstream media that lives on sensationalism combined with a sheriff who seems rather oddly discordant to me equals a hoax in my mind. These feelings are difficult to explain, and I may be wrong entirely but that remains to be seen.

Cougar is another code word that seems to have captured the media’s attention. I am not certain that the average American cares whether older women pursue younger men or not. Of course a few hidebound old relics of the 20th Century may be stuck in the mores of a distant age when sex for men was okay but unacceptable when women wandered into male territory. I’ve often wondered where these licentious old men got their sex, considering that women were condemned to hell for merely thinking about it. The current interest in women as the aggressors seems to have had its origins among the media when ABC aired a new show called “Cougar Town” starring Courtney Cox as a 40-plus divorcee with a penchant for wrinkle free studs. Courtney is actually 40-plusherself and let me tell you, she has a body like a 25-year old woman in the prime of sexual attractiveness. I think ABC has a hit, although I don’t particularly care for the show. I just watch it in the interests of journalistic curiosity.

The preceding is about all I can think of at the moment. I’m probably entering a change of life. I’m in the midst of a couple of cataract operations, and if nothing goes wrong, I will leave the world of the partially blind and enter the arena of the seeing. I am thinking that Courteney Cox will look even better in a couple of weeks.

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I’m watching the President’s Cup golf match televised from San Francisco’s Harding Park Golf Course. This magnificent example of San Francisco’s beauty winds around Lake Merced not too far from the main campus of San Francisco State University where, in a moment of insanity, I once enrolled.

The President’s Cup is a golfing match between a United States team of top professional golfers and a team referred to as the International team, meaning it’s players are from various countries around the world. At the moment, the U.S. team is leading, but the skill level of the international players could mean anything is possible before the fat golfer swings.

One of my disconcerting habits when I watch golf is a tendency to spend more time looking at the galleries than the action on the course. For me, that’s normal behavior. I can hear the announcers and commentators as they explain what’s happing but I am equally interested in spotting notables in the crowd. For example, I wonder if the Mayor of San Francisco is following his favorite golfer. He’s an amateur golfer himself, so I imagine he’s been there on and off, although he probably doesn’t spend a whole day in attendance. Maybe, and this is just a guess, he’ll show up on the last day when the trophies are handed out.

I also wonder if any members of San Francisco’s famed Cougar Class are lurking around, waiting for a chance to pounce on a healthy young golfing stud. A large proportion of the gallery consists of females, but it’s difficult if not impossible to separate a Cougar from the pack. Human Cougars ordinarily don’t wear signs or stripped blouses.

As I’ve watched and admired the golf swings of the world’s top golfers, a disconcerting thought occurred to me. Neither the U.S. team nor the International team has a single woman player on it. In this land of equality and freedom for all, you’d think PGA officials could at least acknowledge the existence of the women in our society. After all, the President is the President of women as well as men. Sure, the PGA has a ladies golfing division, which is appropriately called “Ladies Professional Golfer’s Association” because it has no male members. The LPGA has its own tour and tournaments, so women professional golfers haven’t been totally ignored.

Still, one would think a match so important that it is called “The Presidents Cup” would in some small way include women players as well as men. It’s only fair, and America is, after all, a land of fairness.

So, here’s my modest proposal. The Presidents Cup matches would consist of two divisions, The Presidents Cup for men and The First Ladies Cup for women. One advantage of a First Ladies Cup is that the ladies are, in general, more attractive than the men and they wear shorts, thus giving the galleries a look at some fine legs. Think of the number of Male Cougars that might suddenly develop an interest in golf.

This would be gender equality at its finest.

Update: A commentator just interviewed Condi Rice. Now that the weight of office is no longer on her shoulders, she looks quite relaxed.

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If Gavin Newsom isn’t careful, he’s going to be branded the Sarah Palin of the Democratic Party. If you recall, Sarah was selected by John McCain as his running mate in the last presidential election. The Republican Party immediately embarked on an odd odyssey, pumping up Sarah’s “foreign policy” experience. The most ludicrous of the claims emanating from the usually disciplined Republican machine was that Alaska was just across the Bering Straits from Russia and Sarah could see Russia. Hence, she qualified as Commander in chief.

Now we have no less a Democratic leader than Bill Clinton recently calling Newsom “a national leader in green technology.” Considering that Newsom is relatively unknown even in his home state of California, not to mention the rest of the United States of America, that statement seems a stretch. Of course, politicians are always saying things like this. It’s a part of the game of politics, and sometimes it actually works. People begin to believe outrageous statements.

But will it work in the case of Newsom? Who knows? But maybe a little context will help us understand. Newsom isn’t running for national office. He wants to be the Governor of California. A citizen of Arkansas couldn’t vote for him even if he were a nationally recognized fan of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. Therefore, why mention things that are irrelevant to his campaign for Governor of California?  Why not say something like, “Look at what Gavin Newsom did to San Francisco. He can do the same for the State of California.”

All of this may become idle chit chat before the campaign starts in earnest. Newsom is so far behind undeclared candidate Jerry Brown in money and popularity that he’s in danger of being lapped even before Jerry gets out of the starting gate. Isn’t that pretty much what happened to Sarah?

The Stars have Dimmed

Former super power broker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tom Delay, has withdrawn from Dancing with the Stars. That’s sad. As much as I disagree with Tom’s politics, I admire his courage in exposing his ineptness in a very delicate and public way. Besides, his dancing wasn’t really that bad compared to the happy feet of a few other contestants.

If nothing else, Tom deserves our credit for working at close quarters with some really attractive females. I mean, those girls are, in street level vernacular, “bilt.” What real man could retain his composure with one of them in his arms?  Even a man with the power to shape the laws of the United Stares would melt under t?he charms of those beauties.

Tom said he didn’t have time to practice. That’s why he withdrew. Yeah, right, Tom. We believe you, pal. But in politics, the publicly stated motive is never the real motive. My take is simplicity itself. Today’s modern television technology is pretty quick to pick up those underarm sweat stains that seem to appear magically the moment we stand near a gorgeous girl. It’s kind of embarrassing, isn’t it Tom?

The Stars will dime without you.

But life will go on.

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When Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire withdrew from consideration as Obama’s Commerce Secretary, he said he had “irreconcilable” differences with Obama over the stimulus package proposed by the Democrats. He said he is a “fiscal conservative” and always has been one.

His behavior seems rather odd to me. If he has always been a fiscal conservative, why did he agree to serve in the Obama cabinet in the first place? I have a hunch he didn’t anticipate any kind of agreement between Senate Republicans and Democrats. And then when an agreement was reached, he suddenly realized he might incur the wrath of his fellow Republicans in the Senate and the voters who elected him for operating in the camp of the enemy. Political cowardice is an expedient road to reelection.

As for the institutional media, it continues to pummel Obama over his “failure” to fill his cabinet, suggesting rather strongly that he is fumbling around. They miss the point. Obama is no dummy. I daresay he’s smarter than the media. The more the Republicans fail to cooperate in a bipartisan manner to solve America’s problems, as most Americans fervently want them to, the more ammo Obama will have in the next election cycle. What we have here is a failure to cooperate, stupid.

Of course, the Republicans want Obama to fail. They wanted Bill Clinton to fail and they almost succeeded in removing him from office. When Clinton was elected, the Republican money machine went into high gear, running op-eds and opinion pieces in such rags as the Wall Street Journal. Among other pieces of trash, the Journal’s sycophants wrote that Clinton’s health care plan was similar to Italian Fascist dictator Mussolini’s. And on the Journal’s front page, a piece appeared headed “Clinton management style is feminine.”

You can bet that similar efforts are underway now that Obama is the President. You can also bet that the Obama camp is cataloguing and indexing all of them. That’s why the Republicans are playing a losing game. They aren’t very original, and people like variety in politics and sex.

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We watched the Emmys…uh…Grammys last night, which was a boring pastime, but what can a man do when he doesn’t control the clicker. Usually, I don’t pay attention to what’s happening on stage, preferring instead to scan the audience for faces I might recognize.

At one point, I glanced at the performers and did a double take. Walking right into the camera was Natalie Cole. Ordinarily, this would be no big deal. But Natalie is special.

I met her in person once and we chatted. Holy Smoke! What a physical presence. She was magnificent. Our meeting happened one night as I was sitting in my office above a sports arena.

My office was almost as magnificent as Natalie–spacious and well furnished, the kind of an office we expect executives to relax in while their flunkies do the work.

In my case, however, the real execs gave me this huge space because they paid me no money at all, hardly. It was a figurehead office and I was a figurehead exec.

Anyway, I was sitting in the office around eight p.m., polishing off some late work when in walked Natalie and a little guy who, it turned out, was her manager.

He said, “Can Natalie wait here until her show starts?”

Well, what the hell am I supposed to say? “Sorry, this office is reserved for really important people?”

Besides, her physical presence overawed me. I stood and in a rather unpolished display of amateur kowtowing, said, “Why, certainly. Nothing is too good for Natalie Cole.”

With that, I pointed them to a plush couch in the corner and invited them to sit. Then, I returned to my desk.

We spent the next ten minutes looking at each other and shifting nervously in our seats. At one point, the manager said, “Nice weather,” and I responded, “Certainly is.”

After about ten minutes of chatting, a guy stuck his head in the door and called, “Time, Miss Cole.”

And that was how I met Natalie Cole.

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