Monday, April 30, 2007

RANDOM FLICKR BLOGGING # 3847

Tom lays it out.

"IMG_3847," uploaded by "innuendo" on February 5, 2007:

After years of rumors and questionably valid claims, finally incontrovertible proof of the existence of The Wondering Walmart Fish.

Next: Proving that he, too, was made in China.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

GOOD FOR THEM (BUT WILL THE DECIDER LET IT BE GOOD FOR THE TROOPS?)

I have to say I'm impressed with the Dems: they've passed a bill to bring the troops home this autumn. It's what we voters "asked" them to do, and they've followed the mandate. Nice job.

Of course, White House Deputy Press Secretary, Dana Perino, told the press the bill is "dead on arrival."

Just like the troops Bush is still set on sending to the Bagdad meat grinder, huh?

We know the Decider is gonna break out his normally-dormant veto pen, sending it back to The Hill, likely failing to garner the necessary override votes. Nevertheless, it's good to see them putting pressure on the Administration and the Congressional GOPers (and the few Dems who didn't vote yea).

Let's see what Plan B holds.

Incidentally, the version I linked to today doesn't include the reference, but when I read it yesterday, the article noted that the bill is due to arrive on Bush's desk on Tuesday: the 4th Anniversary of his ludicrous appearence on the aircraft carrier, prancing & preening like a teenage boy on prom night, posing for photos in his package-hugging flyboy suit, declaring an end to combat action in Iraq. You remember, "Mission Accomplished."

Anyhow, Dana Perino declared that such timing regarding the bill would constitute a "ridiculous PR stunt."

All I can say is, what could possibly be more appropriate?

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I'M GETTING SICK OF MY OWN APOLOGIES, SO I CAN ONLY IMAGINE WHAT YOU THINK

You already know where this is going, and by this point you probably don't expect otherwise. Nonetheless, all I can say is that I wish it were otherwise. But I'm just way too busy at work to produce anything resembling a proper Friday Silly Movie Of My Youth Of The Day post. What can I tell you? It's no substitute, I know, but for those of you in the mood for nostalgia about nostalgia, or for new Neighborhood visitors looking to see what the fuss is all about, here's yet another FSMOMYOTD "Classic":

Ok, here we are. My last Friday posting for a week or so; heading out of town for a spell. (I'll try occasionally to post from the road if I can, but that depends on factors I can't control, like availability of computers and my sobriety.) So, with absolutely no further ado, may I present for your lunch-gobbling pleasure, the fourth entry in the ill-conceived, awkwardly-titled, dubiously-popular, and always frivolously-presented . . . Friday Silly Movie Of My Youth Of The Day:

Car Wash

As to any plot summary, I'm gonna keep it even shorter and simpler than usual: 1976. Black guys run an urban car wash. Comedy ensues. That's all you need to know. You're thinking 1976, black guys at a car wash, that means afros and funky music and wild boots with heels and snappy, insult-filled dialogue. I will do nothing to dissuade you of that opinion.

As with nearly every silly movie I saw between 1975 and 1980, I went with the old man. Anyhow, he'd been talking to me for a while about The Longest Yard, and how funny the final football scene was (yes, he was in his late 30s at the time, and I was 8. But that's a different story for a different day). So, one evening in the fall of 1976, we went to The Arcadian movie house in Ossining, NY, to see a re-showing of The Longest Yard, which had come out 2 years earlier.

Now, to really date myself (as if this pre-cable TV era, go-to-the-movie-theater-to-see-a-film-that-was-already-released-two-years-earlier thing hasn't done so already), in addition to the cartoons, the trailers, and the short, this was a double feature.

For those of you reading this who are under the age of 30, yes you read that correctly: for the price of one ticket, you always got cartoons -- good ones, like Bugs or the Road Runner -- and a short -- often a documentary. In 1978, when I saw Animal House, the short was a documentary on Lynyrd Skynyrd.

And, a certain percentage of the time, there was a double feature, meaning just what it sounds like: two full-length features for the price of one. And if that hasn't thrown you enough, remember that the theater was not divided into multiplexes, the popcorn had real melted butter, everyone over the age of 16 was smoking like a chimney right in their seats, and Burt Reynolds was still considered cool. Not ironically cool, like in Boogie Nights, or like Travolta in Pulp Fiction, but the number one guys-want-to-be-him & chicks-want-to-be-with-him star in the game.

So, you see? A double feature ain't that weird afterall, right?

So we got to the theater, Car Wash came on before The Longest Yard, and it was a helluva Friday night for an eight year-old kid. Needless to say, I loved both movies. As always, I remember nearly nothing about Car Wash except that it was funny as hell.

Oh, and the song: Workin' at the car wash . . . whoa-oh-whoa-oh-whoa-oh-whoaaaaa . . . workin' at the car wash, yeah.

Check out this cast: George Carlin, Professor Irwin Corey, Lorraine Gary (Ellen Brody, Roy Sheider's wife in Jaws).

Wait a second. You're wondering what I'm wondering, right? You said this was about a black car wash. These are all . . . white folks (or for that 70s verisimilitude, honkies). Ok, here you go:

Antonio Fargas (better known as "Huggy Bear"), Bill Duke (the dude who shot up the whole forest with that wacky, hand-held gatling gun in Predator), Ivan Dixon (the black Seargent in Hogan's Heroes -- I always love Hogan's Heroes for that kind of thing: the US Army was still segregated in WWII, but on TV in the mid-60s, the Nazi POW camp was not!), DeWayne Jessie (Otis Day, of Otis Day & the Knights), The Pointer Sisters, Garrett Morris, Otis Sistrunk (or this link if you're not sure who he is), and if I recall correctly a memorable appearence by Richard Pryor.

Now that's a cast! I assume Nipsy Russell was unavailable because he was on Match Game or the $20,000 Pyramid that day.

Finally, as always I'll leave you with a few choice quotations from the movie:

[Duane has just thrown Irwin's book into a bucket of water]
Lindy: I'm so tired of you running off at your mouth it's getting me down honey. Why don't you just leave? And be an assassin? Or is the only thing you're good at shooting off is your big mouth?
Duane: Will you please get out of my face you sorry looking faggot.
Lindy: Who you calling sorry looking?
[Everybody laughs]
Duane: Can't ya'll see she aint funny?
[Laughter stops]
Duane: She's just another poor example of how the system is destroying our men.
Lindy: Honey, I'm more man than you'll ever be and more woman than you'll ever get.

That cast, that dialogue, that music. Need I say more?

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

DAMN THE PAPER JAM, I DO NOT LIKE THE TASTE OF SPAM

Maybe this isn't as unique as I think, but yesterday I received a strange fax at work. I was slipping into semi-coma, reading an especially ponderous case, and suddenly my printer revved into action with that mini-jet engine roar that stand-alone printers make when they come on. Jolted me pretty good. And sure enough, a one page document came out, featuring a clumsily-designed cartoon drawing of a suit, lots of numbers & three-word phrases & exclamation points, and biggest & boldest of all, the words "Spotless Cleaners."

I was spammed. By a fax! A Spam Fax? I have my own work-fax number, so this one came directly to my printer. WTF??? Obviously I've received e-mail spam & junk mail through the years. And trust me, in NYC at least, you get plenty of unwanted telephone solicitation at the office: recruiters, financial advisors, custom tailors, insurance. It's endless, in frequency & variety. As soon as your name goes up on the firm website it starts. I'm not up yet (probably in a week or so, when do their monthly update or whatever it is), but I expect it to start soon.

But I've never gotten a junk fax. Who junk faxes? The document even had a remove-from-the-call list number, which you damn well better believe I dialed immediately.

Anyone else ever have this happen?

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

PRETTY COOL

According to A.P., scientists have discovered a "potentially habitable planet." Many questions remain, including whether it has a an atmosphere, liquid water, or whether its red dwarf sun is warm enough. That said, the planet seems to have temperatures between 32 and 104 degrees, which has the astronomers very excited.

And it's only 20.5 light years away, so if you make the jump to lightspeed today, you'll be there in Autumn of 2027 to plant the flag. And start planting vegetables. Let's get to it folks.

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STATISTICAL (THOUGH NOT NECESSARILY STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT) TIDBIT OF THE DAY ON THE 13-6 N.Y. METS

Met pitchers and pinch-hitters (Franco, Endy & Newhan) are hitting 286/359*/443, with 11 Runs & 7 RBI through 19 games.

You get a ~.360 on-base percentage out of the nine hole, you're gonna score A LOT of runs. No wonder Jose Reyes is among the league leaders in RBI.

Obviously this won't last, but these are the little things that help teams put up those crooked numbers while their 4 & 5 hitters are struggling so mightily. Think about it: the Mets are averaging about 6 runs a game through nearly 1/8 of the season, and neither Delgado nor Wright has really contributed.
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*The OBP number is an estimate, since I have neither HBP nor SF numbers.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

AND THIS SAYS NOTHING ABOUT THE COSTS OF DOUBLE-FISTING FROM THE RECEPTIONIST'S CANDY JAR

Straight from the "So Studies Like This Are Why My Insurance Premiums Are So High" Files, we learn from AP the amazing fact that:
Fat Workers Cost Employers More
And how do we know this? Because "obesity experts" say so. Uhhh, ok.

Anyone who spends any time online knows that the "news" headlines always include "a study" indicating something horrible and disastrous about children, fat people, old people, or smokers. Or fat, old children who smoke. They've got it the worst.

Now I don't know for sure that insurance companies underwrite these "studies," but I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess they do. Because if you look at these "studies," they always conclude with something that's self-evident, and usually quite favorable to insurers' desires to reduce the number and expense of claims:
"Smoking during work hours is just as unhealthy as smoking at happy hour"

"Children who do homework while eating chocolate are more likely to smudge the paper, resulting in lower grades"

"Old people die more often than young people. And if they're fat or they smoke, they're probably dead already"
And someone is spending millions, if not billions, to fund these "studies." Because those obesity experts, they don't come cheap.

Your premiums at work, baby! (Not to mention, from time to time, your federal funds as per the instructions of the insurance lobby.)

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Monday, April 23, 2007

RANDOM FLICKR BLOGGING # 3318

Tom lays it all out.

"IMG_3318," uploaded by "luavet2003" on February 24, 2007:

. . . and this week's winner of the "Worst Job In The World" Title goes to "Horse Fluffer."

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Friday, April 20, 2007

WHAT ABOUT LARRY WILCOX?

Now that Erik Estrada has earned his star on Hollywood's Walk Of Fame, I think we can all agree that the honor ain't quite what it used to be.

(Yes, Ponch is getting a star.)

Due for a Star in the coming weeks: Emmanuel Lewis; "Spot," the fourth collie to play Lassie; me (I'm greatly honored); Alberto Gonzales; Silvia Kristel; the kid who played "Jeremy" in the Pearl Jam video; the guy who played "Newman" on Seinfeld and was also one of the detectives staring at Sharon Stone's crotch in Basic Instinct; the guy who played Mike Damone in Fast Times; Sharon Stone's crotch; and Jerry Mathers.

After that, they'll be on sale on Ebay.

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I GUESS COMMUNITY POLICING ISN'T WORKING

Well here's a headline you don't see every day:
Venezuela Launches Zeppelin To Tackle Rampant Crime
Hmmm. Go ahead, read the article if you want. And if this headline makes any more sense to you after doing so, let me know.

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FRIDAY MORNING

Ahhhhh. Friday. It's been a busy week, as the regulars here know. I suspect there'll be more to come. Anyhow, as the months go on I sincerely doubt I'll be able to post the Friday Silly Movie Of My Youth Of The Day with any sort of regularity. Sorry.

That fact bums me out, believe me. As you might guess, those posts are the most enjoyable to write, and I love the fact that they seem to actually gather a solid core of readers & commenters. That said, I assume it's also obvious that they actually take a while to plan, "research," and write. Unlike most posts which I just sit down and let rip, the FSMOMYOTD posts take real time. I often start them well before Friday morning. Therefore . . .

I hope as I get used to my schedule I'll be able to write and post these, but I fear that the weekly nature of the series has passed. I know it's no substitute for the real thing, but here's an older FSMOMYOTD, from last November. It's one of my favorites, and I think it's the first one that really hit the groove I was looking for when I started doing these last summer. Read it if you want, or skip and it and tell me what a bum I am. As always, the choice is yours:

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. And last night it happened: the first Friday Silly Movie Of My Youth Of The Day conflict. And the fight had nothing to do with the redundancy or awkwardness of the FSMOMYOTD name. No, it was deeper than that, closer to the heart of what it means to be a silly movie of the day, that day being Friday.

Now, you may be wondering. Conflict? Is Mike fighting with the voices in his head again? Didn't he say he woke up hungover yesterday? Did he go on back-to-back benders? Is there a ghost-writer, a second idiot behind the goofiness, silliness & more-than-occasional crankiness? No, none of the above. And in fact, The Nabe is a solo effort . . . nearly all of the time.

But the FSMOMYOTD involves . . . The Committee.

Yes, that's right. Behind the lightest, most frivolous & harmless of my weekly posts hides a secretive, controlling, all-but fascist cabal, seeking nothing short of untrammeled power & world domination. Ok, maybe not world domination, but an undeserved sense of it's own influence. These old men, these . . . Elders meet every Thursday at at 6:00 pm (before their early bedtime, after the Blue Light at the local diner) to decide the fate of the world. Or, if they're feeling a little less ambituous, the FSMOMYOTD.

Last night's meeting ended at 4:42 am this morning. Lots of cries of "oh, my aching back" and "Seymour? Are you awake?" as the evening progressed. And, contentious as it was, not a few "Are you crazies?" as well.

And the grist, the gravamen, the cause de guerre of this throw-down? Why the very definition of the word at the heart of the project: Silly. Silly in the way it's been used for the past couple months, as in "cheesy," "unintentionally laughable," "childlike," or just plain "bad"? The group that by 2:30 am came to be known as "The Tories" took this angle. Hidebound to tradition and protocol, they couldn't be moved. Stubbornly adhering to the definition they've used since boyhood, these gents argued that the world as we knew it was at stake.

They lost. "The Vanguard," the other fellows, wedded to the very notion that things change, that in a decade that saw the Red Sox win the World Series, the Democrats re-take Congress, and The Terminator win the governorship of California, decided that the notion of silly could swing away from its unchanged, two month course. Yes, by a vote of 7-6, the new wave broke through. It's a new day, folks. A new Friday. And, for one week at least, a new kind of Friday Silly Movie Of My Youth Of The Day:

The Warriors

Now, assuming you understood a word of what I've been babbling about (which assumes, dangerously methinks, that any of you even bothered reading a word above the picture), you have to be asking, Ok Mike, so these imaginary old men in your head changed a definition that never seemed too defined anyway. But what makes The Warriors "silly" by any definition? It's a great cult movie, with great action, a wild plot, and some fun characters.

This is true. But I'll add a couple more facts: A gang convention with hundreds and hundreds of bangers, and not one cop notices. A small group of white, pretty boys beat the shit out of every violent thug they come across. Even though all the action plays out around the NYC subway, the trains seem to run in a manner so haphazard, I can't believe writer-director Walter Hill bothered to look at a map. And most importantly . . . The Baseball Furies. The scariest gang the Warriors meet are skinny white boys, dressed in Lee Mazzilli/Bucky Dent-style, late 70's skin-tight pinstripes. With painted faces.

This, my friends, is a silly movie of the most profound sort. Good? Yes. Fun as all hell? Absolutely. A cult classic of the very highest order? I think you have to give it to them. Silly? With. Out. Question.

I know that every week I declare something along the lines of "Yeah, this movie was silly, but I loved it when I first saw it." That's why I choose them . . . errr, I mean, that's why The Committee votes for them. But in this case, I'm saying without so much as a whiff of equivocation, I LOVED this movie when it came out. I cannot express that adequately enough.

1979. 11 years-old. Growing up in the outer NYC suburbs. Into town from time-to-time for grandparent visits, Met games & the airports (Queens), for Ranger games, the circus, dragged kicking and screaming through department stores (Manhattan), for great-grandmother visits & the drive back home (The Bronx). NY was at its late-70's craptacular best, with garbage, & burned-out buildings, & whores on 8th Avenue and drug dealers in Bryant Park, and dinged & dented police cruisers . . . and graffiti-covered subway cars, visible on any-and-all of the elevated subway tracks that seemed in my pre-teen eyes to cover every square foot of the outer boroughs.

And then I saw a movie that took place on that subway. With gangs, and gang fights, and dumb cops doing dumb things as they threatened the gangs. I was transfixed. And thus began my life-long fascination with the NYC subway, one that lasts to this day. Twice in my adult life, I spent the entirety of days off riding the trains. I've ridden every mile of the system. Every line, every station. I own a book, written by none-other than self-appointed hockey maven, Stan Fischler, called Uptown, Downtown, about the history of the subway system. When'd I get it? 1979.

I had a subway map that year. Even though, as a suburban kid, I never rode it! For a year or so, I wanted us to move out of the 'burbs, into the Bronx or Brooklyn, so I could ride the subway and be in a gang like the Warriors. Now maybe you can see where this "silly" thing springs from.

Anyway . . . I assume all of you reading this have seen The Warriors, hopefully more than once. If not, stop reading RIGHT NOW, and go rent the damn thing. Can you dig it? Not much then to say about the movie, other than to play-ee-ayyy the rest of the game. On to The Cast:

First off, we've got James Remar, a generally serious actor, best known (to me) as Gentry, the hard-ass detective that battled Matt Dillon's Bad Bobbie Hughes in one of my all-time favorite films, Drugstore Cowboy. Remar played Ajax, the "tough" Warrior, whose pugalistic tendencies led him into multiple fights, and saw him offering some variation on "Fuck you, I'm tired of being a wimp, let's fight" in just about every scene. Some examples, if I may:
Since when are you a fuckin' diplomat?
Well, good! I'm sick of runnin' from these wimps!
Not if they're wimps!... and I'm sick of this running crap.
Maybe you're all just goin' faggot.
He's right! We're acting like faggots!
Come on, what kind of chickenshit crap is this.
I'll shove that bat up your ass and turn you into a popsicle.
Ah, fuck him!
Fuckin' A.
And my personal favorite Ajax quotation:
Those lousy skin-headed Fucks!
Damn straight. Moving along, we come to nominal gang-leader, Swan (not my idea of an ideal gang name. Ajax, at least, is a Greek warrior in addition to being a cleanser). Swan was played by Michael Beck, about whom I have nothing to add, except that he also appeared in a movie that FSMOMYOFD regular reader & commenter, John, has requested: Xanadu. Simply stated, Xanadu will not be making an appearence here, as none of The Committee has seen it.

Ok, it was only a matter of time, and here we are. Warriors, come out and playyyy-eee-yayyy. Yes! It's . . . David Patrick Kelly. The man who played Luther, the leader of the ratty-ass gang that shoots Cyrus (for no reason, he just likes doing things like that), before pinning the blame on the Warriors. Which brings the Gramercy Riffs down on them, and . . . ohh, like I said. We've either all seen it, or you need to STOP READING and rent the damn film.

Incidentally, this was Kelly's first movie. What a sweet way to start off. And, perhaps more interestingly, he later appeared in 48 Hours, also directed by Walter Hill, in which he played a former acquaintance of Reggie and Ganz (played by James Remar), named . . . Luther. And just this year he played President Truman in Flags Of Our Fathers.

That's a career trajectory no one was predicting as he clinked beer bottles and screeched.

Now, among the various cops, other gang members, etc, there appear a veritable rogues gallery of second and third (and fourth) tier actors, all of whom seem to have appeared in The Wanderers, the other NYC gang-themed movie of 1979 & 1980. The Wanderers had pretensions to being a serious movie in a way The Warriors didn't bother with. But it also had that flat-out bizarre fight scene on the football field at the end of the movie where one of the gangs appeared to be composed of zombies and other undead. I'm not sure what to say here.

Nonetheless, this brings me to Joe Zimmardi. Who? I don't know. But I notice that his entire acting career is composed of The Warriors and The Wanderers. His only two movies. Think about that.

(Or don't. I'm cool either way.)

Johnny Barnes played Sugar Ray Robinson in Raging Bull. Sugar Ray wasn't a major role in that classic, but as one of Jake LaMotta's obsessions, his scenes were memorable, including of course the amazingly-filmed fight scenes. You never got me down, Ray. You never got me down.

Leon Delaney, another who?, was in last week's FSMOMYOTD, Kiss Meet The Phantom Of The Park. That's all. Nothing important to add, just keeping you informed.

And, approaching the merciful end of this week's post, we get two that are so unclassifiable, I don't even have a joke. First up, Sonny Landham, as one of the dumb cops. You may not know his name, but you know who he is: the American Indian-looking actor who often plays, who'd guess, American Indians. He played Billy, the American Indian-looking character in Predator. And he also played Ganz' American Indian-looking sidekick, Billy Bear, in the previously mentioned 48 Hours. And, though I've never heard of it, and I'm not sure what it is, Landham also appeared in Billy Lone Bear. All of which reminds me, maybe Billy Jack, about an ass-kicking Native American . . uhhh, ass kicker (what was Billy Jack?), needs to have its day in the Friday sun.

And, the stangest of all: Charles Silvern. I look at his IMDB profile, and I discover that among the roles he's had, he was a munchkin in the Wizard Of Oz!!! I don't remember any dwarves in The Warriors. Any help?

He was also in The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three. So, dwarf specialist or not, he's a staple of subway crime movies. I wonder why he wasn't in Money Train? It's gotta be a Wesley Snipes thing.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

I JUST WANNA SAY . . .

. . . that the maniac we'll forever know as Cho was a miserable, suicidal, self-loathing lost soul. Who felt that half the world was out to get him, and the other half ignored him. And like many lost souls, he wished he could do something that would cause the world to know him: to understand his pain, to know his name, to remember him.

And in the irony of ironies, he's succeeded in that regard beyond his wildest expectations. I'm not saying the networks shouldn't have run the videos and showed the pictures, etc. But the fact remains, they're doing for this lunatic exactly what he'd hoped for in the depths of his sickest fantasies. Like Charles Whitman, like Idi Amin, like Adolph Hitler, a lonely, deranged individual has earned eternal notoriety by committing the most depraved acts imaginable.

We'd like to snicker at his call to "all my children," but deep down we know there are others like him in the world. Perhaps they've now heard the clarion call. Perhaps they now know there is a way to be noticed, to be heard.

I won't say I'm scared or even very worried, but I've never feared copycat crimes as much as I do now.

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DERAILING THE D-TRAIN (AKA, ON THE MAINE TRACK?)

Hot damn, the Mets are applying the hurt again. Demolishing divisional opponents to the tune of 17 runs scored against only 3 given up the last two games. For the season they're now 9-4 (though still trailing the Braves. WTF???), and have outscored the opposition by the outlandish margin of 76-35. And last night they beat down a potentially pesky divisional foe and their ace, a guy with a history of killing the Mets with great pitching, hitting heroics, and a variety of funny faces & poses.

But not last night.

Actually, I have no idea what he "did" last night, since I didn't watch the game. Working late, alas. But, in the effort to disclose fully, I'll admit I would've missed much of the game even if I was home at 7:00, ensconced in the cushions of the couch. Why? Because the N.Y. Rangers were attempting to complete the sweep of the Atlanta Thrashers last night. The Thrashers: Chipper Jones' hockey team, Andruw Jones' team, Bobby fuckin' Cox's team.

(Or maybe not.)

Anyway, the Rangers finished the sweep and are actually advancing to the second round for the first time since their surprising march to the conference finals ten years ago. Stay tuned ('cause I doubt I'll often have the time to do so; least you can do is watch for me and keep me abreast, right?).

And back to the Mets, a few thoughts:

1. Jose Reyes. Yikes, the numbers just keep getting unbelievabler & implausabler & ungrammaticalerable. 16 runs scored in 13 games. 9 walks, lifting the BA by ~100 points, to give him a .453 OBP. Without him leading off the Mets would have a good offense this year. With him, they're averaging nearly 6 runs a game so far.

Oh, and historically, April's not a very good month for him (don't bother looking at his lifetime month-by-month splits: he's already skewed them by being so good this year. You'll have to view the splits year-by-year!)

2. Johnny Maine! Those of who unlucky enough to have lost 3 hours of your life reading my Mets Pitching Preview last month know I'm high on this guy.

(Literally. Through discussions with both Keith Richards and the Mets clubhouse guy, I've been able to procure the "Maine Materials" I need. Good stuff, lemme tell you: works fast, sneaks up on you, and does the job.)

He's walking too many hitters, which is uncharacteristic, but his Ks are up there. I expect the walks to go down and hits (and HRs) yielded to go up, but overall, he's on track.

3. David Wright has a 25 game hit streak. I'm happy for him, and it's nice to see him looking to stroke the ball. But his slick cliches notwithstanding, he's probably concerned about it more than he's letting on. He's neither walking nor getting XBHs lately. I won't say I want the streak to end, but let's say I wanna see him draw some walks and drive the ball a bit more.

(Oh, and a homer might be nice. In 295 ABs since the goddamn Home Run Derby, Mr. Wright has hit 6 home runs. Safe to say we won't have to worry about him accepting the invite this season. Maybe he'll appear in the Single Derby instead. Which is probably what he plays every off night, anyhow.)

4. Jose Reyes! (Just had to say it.)

5. Carlos Beltran goes yard. These tend to come in streaks, so that's a good sign.

6. Memo to Carlos Delgado: the season has begun. No really, big guy, it started. It's April.

7. Valentin has quietly gone 7 for his last 13, with 4 doubles, raising his OPS from 486 to 750, which is about where I'd expect him to end up this season. As I've said, with his sweet defense, that's fiiiiiiine.

I wonder what got him untracked. Think he and Willie had one of their 'stache-trimming rituals in front of the manager's office mirror again? Someone figure this out.

8. Jose Reyes! (Wait, I talked about him already? Twice?! Oh . . . sorry.)

9. Shawn Green appears to have found some sort of secret, himself. And he doesn't even have a moustache. Maybe he's got a moustache on the inside. or maybe this Rick Down character ain't so bad afterall. Hmmmm.

10. And to end on a good note: Neither Steve Trachsel nor Victor Zambrano are in the Met organization. Yessssssssss.

Nor are they rumored to be returning! It's baseball like it aughta be (or "as it aughta" be, if you're into that grammaticizationing thing.)

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY TO ME!

Yep, that's right. Today marks One Year since I opened the Neighborhood to visitors. Here, here & here are what I had to say in my first three posts on April 18, 2006.

Wow, I can't believe I've actually done this for a year, and I really can't believe that a small, but steady, group of people actually swing by every day to read what I have to say. If I can uncharacteristically leave out the snark & snarl for a second, that fact is incredibly flattering, and really makes me very happy. Like all bloggers, I'd expect, I had my fleeting dreams that the masses would come teeming in, poring over my words by the millions, making me the newest rival to Kos & Atrios and the gang. And those dreams were gone by week 2, as I realized it's hard to write something of quality every day, and harder to get people to care.

That said, like all bloggers, I'd also suspect, I feared that I'd write every day, and after a few months I'd have an audience of 3, each of whom swung by merely to keep me from growing despondent and slitting my wrists. And the fact that I was somehow able to create a forum that slid into the great grey-zone somewhere between between those two extremes is a fact I'll always be proud of.

Anyhow, enough about me. I really wanna thank all the regulars here. You know who you are. Keep on swinging by, and keep on commenting. I also know there are some regular lurkers, and I wanna thank them too. The idea that there are folks I don't even know who read me regularly is pretty cool. Join the commenting if you wish, or just keep on lurking. Either way.

Just keep coming by.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

BRIEF THOUGHTS ON THE LATEST NEWS

It's obvious that the Virginia Tech shooting will be the big news story this week, and perhaps throughout the rest of the month. The tragedy goes without saying. It's a horrible, horrible story.

But I'm also disturbed because I know we're gonna get all manner of hand-wringing and quasi-concerned punditry from all sides for the next few weeks: pro-gun, anti-gun, anti-immigration (because early reports seem to indicate that the gunman was a Chinese man, in America on a student VISA; if I'm wrong, I apologize. But that's what I've read), pro-immigration, comparisons to terrorism, arguments that it has nothing to do with terror, analogies to Iraq, etc.

It's gonna make me sick.

I'm not naive. I know that's how it goes, and while everyone surely will be saddened and/or shocked by the event, the entire population doesn't owe anything to the grieving families and friends. Nevertheless, it'll be difficult to see people draw all sorts of attenuated links from this random & senseless event to whatever cause or issue means something to them.

Terrible things happen because there are terrible people in the world. There isn't much more of a lesson we can draw. As humans, we want to know "why?" But there's really no answer.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

HEIGH HO, HEIGH HO

No, not that "ho." No nappy heads, no recently deceased Hawaiian crooners. (Not even a rollicking fat man dressed in a red suit who hangs out with elves and flying reindeer.)

No. I mean it in the Seven Dwarf sense, as in . . . it's off to work I go. That's right, as alluded to over the past few weeks, today is the day that I start the new job. Back to the world of big-time lawyerin'. Oh joy.

Anyhoo, those of you who are (a) lawyers (I'm sorry), (b) married to lawyers (I'm really sorry), (c) friends with lawyers (I'm really, really sorry), or (d) have ever had the sincere misfortune of being a lawyer, married to a lawyer, or friends with a lawyer, know that my schedule, and my ratio of free time-to-work time, will change drastically.

That's just how it goes.

I don't yet know the internet policy of my new firm, but it's 100% certain that I won't be actually blogging at the office. It's also clear I won't be commenting or hanging out at other blogs as often either. Bums me out, but what are you gonna do? As to my ability to visit and comment from time-to-time, all I can say is we'll see.

That said, I plan to continue posting in the mornings & evenings at home, and very much want to remain as plugged in as possible. Hopefully the change'll be apparent only to me.

And on that note, to continue where I started, I dig dig dig dig dig dig dig in the mine the whole day through . . .

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RANDOM FLICKR BLOGGING # 4374

The Monday Tradition Continues.

"100_4374," uploaded by "sgeulachdan" on July 11, 2006:

As of the Summer of '67, it wasn't clear whether Jimi Hendrix or Ned Walters would be annointed "Voodoo Child" for eternity. But at the end of the day, folks felt that Ned's trick of playing the guitar as he balanced it on his belly just wasn't as compelling as Jimi's behind-the-back move.

Nevertheless, Jimi later admitted he copied his "hump the guitar, then light it on fire" act directly from Ned's legendary show at Winston-Salem in August of '66.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

YET ANOTHER ROUND OF RATHER BRIEF THOUGHTS ON THE 7-3 N.Y. METS

1. Jose. Fucking. Reyes. As always, I'll start with the caveat, then move along to the deal itself: It's a long season. Lots can happen, good & bad.

Ok, enough of that. His OBP is .458, good for second in the NL. He's drawn 8 walks in 10 games, and if you've watched the games at all, you'll realize that he can give you a Rickeygasm when he leads off an inning: taking pitches, leaning tantilizingly over the plate letting pitches just outside go by, dropping a hand from the bat as if to say, "I ain't offering at that shit." And what does the ump do on everyone of these pitches? He does nothing! Calls it a ball. Jose's OBP leading off an inning? .471.

And once he's on the bases? Well, we've known that drill for a couple years now.

And if the pitcher tries to groove a strike? Uh-uh. He's making solid contact on 2 of 3 at-bats when he doesn't walk. Line drives to all fields. Anyhow, after 10 games, he's leading the majors in runs scored, he's third in the NL in RBI, leads in SBs, is tied for the lead in triples. With RISP he's batting .455, and his SLG with runners on base is .625.

Oh, and his defense at short has been spectacular. With a man on first and a groundball up the middle, he's turning them all into easy DPs. His wicked speed and his surprising strength come into play on the other side of the ball too. His arm may be more impressive than his quickness. (Plus, he's got a wizard turning those pivots with him. Damn are those two fun to watch in the field.)

2. Although none of the other Mets have hit worth shit since coming back to Shea (Beltran, for instance, is hitting his usual .214 at the Extremely Unfriendly Confines), Young Mr. Wright is proving yet again that he is the Prince of New York: 357/458/571 on the current homestand. Good to see.

3. As good as the Mets ERA has been (best in the NL), they'd better start striking guys out, and stop walking everyone if they expect it to continue. A team K/BB ratio of 52/45 is awful, as is the K rate of 52 in 88 IP. Not good. For comparison sake, the Mets are tied for last in the NL in Ks, and only three teams have handed out more walks. Only the Nats, with their 5.34 ERA, have a worse K/BB ratio.

I'll grant this, it hasn't only been luck, as the Met D has been stellar. But teams with K rates of 5 per 9 inning don't yield .203 batting averages. And no team turns 300 double plays, or whatever pace the Mets are on. The hits are gonna start increasing unless the Ks go up, and those walks will start to cause damage eventually. I hope Rick Peterson is focusing on this.

4. Finally, the Mets are second in the NL in runs, despite a dearth of power and fairly pedestrian performance with RISP. There are two reasons for this: Jose Reyes, and a teamwide ability to get on base this year. Everyone's been slapping singles and everyone's been drawing walks. It's a good sign, and I don't think it's an accident. The Mets were a bit lucky last year, scoring as much as they did with an average team OBP. But this year, things look to be a bit more balanced.

They've got the team speed (Reyes, Beltran, Wright and Valentin are all either fast, very good baserunners, or both. Even Green, Alou, LoDuca and Delgado are average; no one's particularly slow or clumsy out there). And, most importantly, with Beltran, Delgado & Wright, the power'll come as the weather heats up and they play games in Philly, Houston, Arizona, Denver & Milwaukee. With the team-wide commitment to get on base -- starting out of the leadoff spot -- these fellas are gonna score a lot of runs. They'll strand plenty, that's for sure, but those crooked numbers can go up really fast when guys are all over the basepaths.

Oh, and I think we'll be hearing some thunder at the ballpark today. Not the storm, that's coming tomorrow. Just some rumbling bats.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

LOOK AT ME, I'M A SALESMAN

Those of you who've read the comments to yesterday's posts know that Will McKinley is kindly offering a pair of tix to tomorrow's Met game (Upper Reserved, Section 21, Row L, Seats 1 and 2) to anyone willing & able to pick them up from him near Union Square.

If you're interested, say so in the comments here (or comment over at Will's blog?), and I'm sure the two of you can figure out the logistics before tomorrow afternoon.

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FROM THE NIPPLE OF RAMALAMA STRAIGHT TO YOUR LATE NIGHT CABLE GUIDE

In a comment to last week's post, Mort suggested a certain sequel as a future FSMOMYOTD. As required by law, I said no and moved on. The Elders insist that this is a running post of laws, not of men.

But, that's not to say I didn't think about the substance of what Mort suggested. In fact, I did. So after a soul-searching week that saw me climb the peak of K2 to seek the counsel of a 214 year-old monk named Privdha before meditating for 37 straight hours, I believe I've heard the call of the gods. A vision of filmic truth came to me in the form of an eight-armed, six-breasted, elephant-head goddess named Ramalama (I bet you think her last name is "Dingdong," right? Well it ain't! It's "Goldstein."). She spoke to me in tongues, writhing and gesticulating in such a manner so that five of her six nipples aimed skyward, while the sixth faced me directly, beseaching me to hear its solemn message. Something about wool. About knitting a sweater.

And I'd swear it said "tallywhacker." Anyhow, I believe I understood what Ramalama's teet was telling me. And it wasn't channeling How To Make An American Quilt. Ladies (god forbid!) & gentlemen (talk about a loosely-used term), may I present to you, for your Friday morning pleasure, a movie we all knew juuuuuust a little too well back in high school, your Friday Silly Movie Of My Youth Of The Day . . .

Porky's
Look closely at that movie poster: "You'll be glad you came," it says. Indeed.

It also says it's the "funniest movie about growing up ever made."

It wasn't. It wasn't that funny, and more importantly it had very little to do with the "growing up" of your average American teenager. Unless the average American teenager looked 25, got beat up by an obese pimp/strip-club owner, had his dick yanked through a hole in a shower room, and also learned valuable lessons about anti-semitism and friendship all in the space of a few weeks.

I experienced most of those things, it's true, but growing up in suburban New York, lessons about anything relating to Semitism (anti- or pro-) would've been grossly redundant. I got into lots of losing fights with Jewish guys. But since I was Jewish too, it didn't have quite the same resonance it had for Tim Cavanagh and his white trash father.

(Plus, I knew the insult wasn't "kite," but a similarly spelled word that rhymes with my name.)

Anyway, funny or not, strangely earnest in an unexpected way or not, it should go without saying I was a big fan. Let's review: 1982. Strangely, I did not see this one in the theaters, despite having experienced such titty-laden fare as Animal House & former FSMOMYOTD The Kentucky Fried Movie, in theaters years earlier, at a far more tender age. Hard to know why exactly. I was in the middle of my freshman year at a new school, under the glare and emotional whip of typically overbearing familial pressures. But that alone wouldn't explain it. The frank answer is, "I Don't Know Why."

But by the time (a) it made it to cable in summer or fall of 1982, after (b) we'd gotten cable for the first time that spring, I was ready! I'd heard plenty about this one from friends and schoolmates. Oh yes, I had. I knew what "Get it at Porky's" meant, and what went on at the establishment of the same name. I knew about knitting sweaters and all that.

And when I saw it, it did not disappoint. In terms of adolescent boy expectations, it met them and then some. I mean, for goodness sake, this flick had bush. Bush, I tells ya, back in the days when the word had but one connotation, and it was a good one!

All that being said, despite the groundbreaking shower scene, and the alluded-to semi-substantial subplots, Porky's was a profoundly silly movie. On the dumb side of silly, if we can be honest. So enough analysis, enough explanation, enough, enough, enough. Let's get to the cast, and let's get to it quickly:

Dan Monahan, forever known as "Pee-Wee," actually played Tom Sawyer in a TV version of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," from summer of 1981. It's funny that it came out in summer, because I read "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" for the first time in freshman English class the following fall. Had it aired just a few months later, I'm sure the teacher would've "assigned" us to watch it, or geek that I was, I would've watched it myself.

And I wonder how I'd have reacted to seeing Tom Sawyer act like an idiot, trying to get laid with every cheerleader and prostitute in 1950's Florida. Come to think of it, I bet the "real" Tom Sawyer was a total horndog just like Pee Wee & the gang. Huck had a philosophical side, but Tom was all id.

Twain should have done "The Continuing Adventures Of Tom Sawyer," with serialized narratives of Tom's (mis)adventures as he grew older. The guy was hot-wired for trouble, and in a racist, puritanical society like mid-19th century Missouri, the possibilities for hijinks would've been endless: nailing Becky Thatcher by the time he was 14 or 15, maybe knocking her up; desecrating Injun Joe's grave, bringing down the wrath of the Great Spirit; stealing money from Aunt Polly to buy moonshine; growing hemp in Judge Douglas' flower bed; calling the wrong man's wife a nappy-headed ho. I'm feeling pretty sure about this. Tom would've fit in just fine in Porky's.

And Monahan's character could've been named "Tom," rather than Pee Wee. Easy.

(And RUSH's "Tom Sawyer," from Moving Pictures? Came out in 1981, popular in '82.)

Cyril O'Reilly played "Tim Cavanaugh," the kid whose white trash father kicked his ass for losing a fight to a Jew. One of O'Reilly's earliest roles was in Airplane! as a a soldier. That probably means he was in the bar during the flashback scene when Robert Hayes turns into John Travolta and the girl scouts brawled. O'Reilly went on to compile a pretty active career, appearing in a slew of terrible movies and TV shows including Carnosaur 3: Primal Species (Tagline: "Terror Will Never Be Extinct." Wasn't that Bush's 2004 campaign slogan?) and Bloodfist VII: Manhunt.

He was also in Midnight Blue, in which he played "Dude." Dude? I think Jeff Bridges & The Coen Brothers may need to have a talk with him. Better yet, let's let Walter Sobchak speak to him. I can imagine it:
Walter: No. You are not the fucking Dude. The fucking Dude is the Dude.

Cyril O'Reilly (as "Tim" from Porky's): What are you gonna do about it, KITE. I wonder if there's any KITES around here we can fly?

Donny: It's kite? I thought it was--

Walter: Shut the fuck up, Donny. [Back to Cyril] It's not kite, it's fucking KIKE! K-I-K-E, "kike." You know, you're too fucking stupid to even be a good bigot. Three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax . . .
I think it could've happened. Anyway, back to the cast. Tony Ganios, who played "Meat," had his first role in The Wanderers, the other NYC gang movie of 1979, the one that was not a FSMOMYOTD back in November, even though it starred a few of the actors who appeared in the better, far more important NYC gang movie of 1979.

Kaki Hunter played Wendy, the most fully-developed female character in Porky's. Meaning that, in addition to appearing completely nude in a shower, getting leered at and sexually harrassed throughout the movie, she had maybe two mildly amusing lines. Nothing much came of her career, which is a shame. She was cute and seemed to have a semblance of acting ability, based on a real role as a good-natured nurse in the otherwise depressing Who's Life Is It Anyway. Too bad.

Incidentally, anyone who's seen Who's Life Is It Anyway may remember that she was in the only scene in the entire movie that didn't make me want to slit my own throat: she and the Rastafarian orderly snuck Richard Dreyfuss' character down to the hospital basement to smoke weed and listen to a reggae band. And playing the Rastaman? Thomas Carter, who played "Hayward" on the "White Shadow."

Back from that digression, probably the most famous "star" in Porky's was Kim Cattrall, playing an exceptionally horny woman a good 15 years before playing an exceptionally horny woman on a popular HBO show. Funny how it works sometimes.

Playing Brian Schwartz, the aforementioned Jewish kid (who drove a swank sports car, indicating he had money, of course), was Scott Colomby, who played caddie Tony D'Annunzio in Caddyshack. With characters named "Tony D'Annunzio," as well as "Tony LaPlaca," "Tony Paladino," "Tony," "Flash Dinetti," and "Albert Delorio," Colomby's ability to play Italian-Americans cannot be impugned.

(Or maybe casting directors are just close-minded morons.)

But, lest we jump to conclusions, look deeper: "Brian Schwartz" as well as "Sandy Gordon" showed he could poison the wells with the best of them. And, with other roles including "Steve Pastoronis," "Jose Torres," "Sonny Ruiz," "Bill Vista," and even "The Armenian," it's clear that Scott Colomby was perhaps The Go-To Guy for swarthy ethnic types over the course of a decade or so. Hell, he even played a guy named "Blackie Mason" back in 1975. I think after all these years, it's time to give the man his due.

(He also dated Valerie Bertinelli back in her "One Day At A Time" days. I guess he got his "due" 30 years ago. Bastard.)

Boyd Gaines played the young coach who screwed a screaming Cattrall while standing up in a the laundry room. He later appeared as wimpy-but-good Lieutenant Ring in Heartbreak Ridge. Meaning of course, that he delivered the embarrassingly pathetic "Go get 'em, you Devil Dogs" line. Oooo, that was tough to watch.

(Incidentally, Gaines, like Colomby, also appeared on "One Day At A Time." No indication, however, that he slept with Valerie Bertinelli. Maybe he had Mackenzie Phillips.)

Doug McGrath was one of the older coaches, Coach Warren. Whatever.

Speaking of older folks, the actor & actress that played "Porky" & "Beulah Ballbricker" have both passed on to the great shower room in the sky. A moment of contemplation, if we will.

{Ohmmmmmm}

Back to McGrath, the "interesting" thing about him is that he appeared in a short streak of Clint films in the late-70s and early 80s. Why? I have no idea. But he was in The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Gauntlet, Every Which Way But Loose, and Bronco Billy, all between 1976 and 1980. In 1985 he was back, in Pale Rider. Maybe he's the Deputy Mayor of Carmel, CA?

Susan Clark
, as prostitute "Cherry Forever," also played such real-life characters as Amelia Earhart and "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias, as well as appearing in mainstream fare like Airport 1975 and The Apple Dumpling Gang. But most notably, she was Katherine Papadapolis, Webster's mom! From a prostitute trying to service a Pee Wee, to the mother of a pee wee.

And who played George Papadapolis, Webster's dad? None other than football great, Alex Karras. And why do we care about the man who was suspended for a season along with The Golden Boy, Paul Horning, and also played "Mongo"? Because he was in Porky's as Porky's brother, the Sheriff. He also played "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias' husband, George Zaharias, in the TV movie I mentioned under Susan Clark.

Oh hell, enough of this, it should be obvious by now: Karras and Clark have been married in real life for 27 years.

And enough of that shit.

Finally, Principal Carter, the man who just couldn't say "Penis," preferring "Tallywhacker" instead, was brought to life by the improbably named, Eric Christmas. And quite a career Mr. Christmas had before shuffling along seven years ago: he started off on television in three performances in 1938 and 1939, then did no acting at all until reappearing in 1962 as "Montilbury," in a TV version of "Cyrano DeBergerac." In the years that followed, he was in the Andromeda Strain, Johnny Got His Gun (based on Dalton Trumbo's novel, on which I gave an oral report in freshman English class -- it's all connected. Metallica also got the clips it used in the video for "One" from that film), Harold & Maude, Attack Of The Killer Tomatos, as well as appearences on "Cheers," "Night Court," Seinfeld," "Bonanza," and "Kojak."

All that, plus being known all over the world as the man who single-handedly brought tallywhacker into the vernacular as a euphemism for penis.

(Wait a second. Tallywhacker never came into the vernacular as a euphemism for penis.)

Anyhow, Mr. Christmas had quite a career for himself. I guess he was a very merry Christmas.

Sorry! I couldn't help myself.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

UNSOLICITED EXPLANATION

Rather than field off-topic questions in the comments thread to another post, I figure I'll deal with it right here: I've neither forgotten to post on Kurt Vonnegut, nor is my non-posting any reflection of my opinion of Vonnegut as a writer or a public figure. What I know about him is good.

In fact, the non-posting is a reflection of the fact that I've never read a word of Vonnegut's writing.

{Short pause for gasps of surprise, tut-tutting, me ducking garbage & rotten fruit flung in my direction, and mildly condescending "questions" along the lines of, "You've never read Vonnegut?"}

No folks, I have not. Not a word. I "missed" Vonnegut in college somehow, and by the time I realized the scope of my loss I figured maybe I was too old, too formed in my opinions, to read a guy best known for influencing the malleable minds of philosophically-inclined univerity students. I wish I'd given him a shot when I was 20.

Or maybe I just didn't feel like it. Who knows? Anyhow, lots of people I respect swear by Vonnegut, and that's fine for me. The loss of an artist who meant something is always a sad day. And for that, I can relate: R.I.P. Kurt.

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I STILL REMEMBER AN INDEPENDENT PRESS

I'm sure many of you have heard about this whole Katie Couric plagiarism brouhaha. Apparently, an April 4 version of Katie's nightly fluff-piece, "Katie Couric's Notebook" (does she have Hello Kitty stickers & smiley faces on her "notebook"?) was plagiarized straight from the pages of The Wall Street Journal. All this despite the piece actually beginning with the words, "I still remember when I got my first library card."

Whatever. As you might guess, I couldn't give a shit whether Couric actually "wrote" whatever puffery she blew into America's homes that evening. And even though I'm a tad curious how she cribbed from The Journal, of all sources, for that "Notebook" entry about library cards, I'm not that curious.

Nah. What's interesting to me hear is that someone else got canned because of this: the segment producer. And also of note is the bullshit-filled statement of CBS News "spokeswoman" Sandy Genelius:
Even though Couric "had no comment of her own" on the episode, and despite the fact that she "did not compose the [first person POV] piece herself and was unaware that much of it was plagiarized," she was nonetheless "stunned, and very upset."
I'm sure she's deeply traumatized. Perhaps a press conference? A stint in rehab for the folks at The Journal who outed her? An apology?

You know, it's funny. In America today, we live under a de facto policy of false contrition for every verbal misstep. No matter how banal the issue, if someone says something "unacceptable" -- to right, left, male, female, rich, poor, black & white -- he must publically ask for absolution. Then the sin is wiped from the slate.

Very Christian.

But the consequences of real actions -- whether dishonsty, disloyalty, incompetence, dereliction of duty, or dozens of others -- are treated as if they're not that big a deal. I don't get it.

Couric is supposed to be a journalist. She went on the air, speaking in the first person about her experiences. Hard news? No. But that's of little consequence here. Truth in what she says is the entirety of her value. She's not an analyst. She does none of her own investigations. She reads the fucking news! All anyone needs from her is to tell the truth. Nothing more.

Yet, she made up the whole story, and even worse, it seems that she copied the work of another to do so. And the upshot of this?

Someone else gets fired, and then she has someone else speak on her behalf about how shocked she is by the whole episode. In other words, get someone else to lie about her lie. Unbelievable.

I'm reminded of the scene in James Brooks' 1987 vehicle, Broadcast News, where Holly Hunter's Jane tells William Hurt's Tom that he "totally crossed the line" between ethical and unethical reporting when he faked tears at the end of a news piece. "It's hard not to cross it," Tom protested, "They keep moving the little sucker, don't they?"

Yes, the line keeps moving. But the "they" in question are the press themselves. They just keep moving that line, and one of these days it'll be so far off we won't even be able to see it.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

FO' SHIZZLE

So apparently Snoop Dogg's in big trouble again, this time for marijuana & weapon possession. Whatever.

Maybe I'm just jaded, but I expect Snoop to carry "light" drugs like weed, and maybe a gun or three. And my expectations, our expectations are what matter here, right? Like any celebrity of a certain stature, Snoop's life isn't his own; he belongs to us. And I think it's clear that Americans of all ages, of all colors, of all musical tastes & proclivities want Snoop stoned & strapped at all times. It's not just the man that needs his blunt and his gat. We need Snoop to have them. Priorities, folks!

I'm calling for a dispensation here: Snoop should be immune from all charges related to The Chronic and small, manageable handguns. Let's make it happen.

(If McCain wants to prove his Maverick stance, here's his issue.)

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BREAKING NEWS: JOHN McCAIN IS A MAVERICK DICK!

So you can see there, sir--
Shut up, camouflage-boy, I'm mavericampaignin'.

One day after Mitt Romney's call to increase military spending, failing Republican presidential candidate & world-famous Maverick, John McCain, threw his own shrill voice into the overheated atmosphere, declaring his support for the Eternal War in Iraq. Explaining to the crowd at the ├╝ber-Republican stronghold known as the Virginia Military Institute that the War must never end, the Maverick Politician maverickly explained his maverick position:
It is the right road. It is necessary and just. Democrats, who deny our soldiers the means to prevent an American defeat, have chosen another road. It may appear to be the easier course of action but it is a much more reckless one . . . . Our defeat in Iraq would constitute a defeat in the war against terror and extremism, and would make the world a much more dangerous place.
From there, MaveriCain had nowhere to go but straight to the standard invocation of his own military service:
I know the pain war causes. I understand the frustration caused by our mistakes in this war. I also know the toll a lost war takes on an army and a country.
So let me see if I get this straight: Because John "The Maverick" McCain suffered in the Vietnam War, partly because of the failed policies of the government, he can now support the government's failed policies in the latest war. Do I have that right?

At that point, only one destination remained for his speeech: the heart of dishonesty that lies deep inside all politicians, even mavericks:
I would rather lose a campaign than a war.
Guess what, John? Your wish is a good as your command!

Coming tomorrow: Rudy outflanks the Maverick & the Mitt, as he declares his support for the War, defense spending, boot camps for girls who've had abortions, concentration camps for Gays who marry, the repeal of the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 8th Amendments, as well as his intention to make his wayword son start speaking to him again: it's all about the Family!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: MITT ROMNEY WHORES FOR CORPORATE DOLLARS!

Mitt Romney, facing increasingly clear signals that he has no chance whatsoever to secure the GOP nomination for President (because no one likes him) has announced that the US needs to increase defense spending.

That would be Increase. As in "get higher," "grow larger," and all that shit. Wow.

Now, I'm not one to be cynical or anything, but 23 seconds of "research" shows me the following:

Mitt Romney is from Massachesetts.

Raytheon is from Massachesetts.

(And other defense contractors not located in the Commonwealth Mitt calls home have been known to throw a shilling or two in the direction of potentially "friendly" political candidates. From time-to-time.)

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LADIES, WHAT TO DO ABOUT THAT STALKER?

Marry him!

In an entry straight from the "I'm Gonna Guess These Two Ain't Too Smart" Files, Reuters informs us that David Brown, a 24 year-old fella from Britain, woke from a dream and decided to text message the phone number that appeared to him as he slept. How'd he come up with the number? He has no idea:
"I've no idea how I ended up with her number in my head -- it's only a few digits different from mine."
Uhhh, maybe I have an idea, David. Meanwhile, after genius boy texted a message to himself, swiftus number two, Brit Bird Michelle Kitson, decided that even though "it was really weird," she was nevertheless "absolutely hooked."

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CONTINUING IN A NEW VEIN, SOME MORE BRIEF THOUGHTS ON THE METS

That's right, brief. I've decided -- for me and my readers -- to abjure the 162 game-long posts that marked (marred?) my analytical and hilarious baseball stylings last season. Anyhow, the Mets didn't win the championship, it's obviously my fault, and I need to change it up.

(So there.)

1. The Mets can put runs on the board pretty quickly, huh? Even with one extra base hit yesterday, they drew about 16 walks and hit exactly 100 singles in the 8th inning alone. The runs come in bunches with these boys. And with their overall speed, and decent team-wide ability to put the ball in play, other teams have made their share of errors. And the Mets have really made them pay for doing so. Not good to give an extra out to a team sporting a .372 OBP.

2. I'm cool with Willie letting the Amburglar face Ryan Howard. Why: (a) Burgos was dealing, (b) bad idea to load the bases with either a wild reliever or a fresh reliever, (c) Burrell --on deck -- has been the Phils' hottest hitter, and he has 755 lifetime homers at Shea, (d) Met LOOGYs are either not very good against lefties (Pedro Dos), or not very good against men standing in the batter's box (Schoeneweis), (e) Howard can hit lefties fairly well -- .279 with 16 HRs in <200 ABs last season, and (f) 'cause I said so.

3. David. Wright. Is. Back. He smacked the shit out of that ball in the 8th, missing a grand slam by the diameter of Ryan Howard's biceps. Granted, that's a decent enough distance, but we're still not talking about missing the jack by much, are we?

But you know what, that's not why Wight's back. This is why Wright is back:
[Our comeback] reminded me a lot of last year, the way we battled and never gave up.
Battled. Never gave up. Not quite five cliches-in-five sentences level, but it's early. At this rate, he'll be invited back for the NL Sports-Cliche Derby. And I see the first homer coming soon.

4. Jose Reyes failed to triple yesterday.

Fucking bum. That's it, the engagement's off. Nice time to slump, huh?

5. I can't reitterate this enough: the Mets have a problem in terms of left-handed bullpen arms. Pedro Dos is actually a decent enough 6th or 7th inning guy, but he's not especially effective against lefties (.231 last year.) And in case I was unclear earlier, or in the pitching preview last week, Schoeneweis is awful.

6. Beltran.

(That's it.)

7. Even though Reyes is on quadruple-secret probation for failing to hit a triple in the last 29 1/2 hours, I have to note that through 7 games he's scored 10 runs, driven in 8, drawn 5 walks, stolen 3 bases, and played flawless defense.

I tell ya folks, this Reyes kid's gonna be alright. Just remember Larry King told you first.

8. Joe Smith.

(Nothing more to add there either.)

9. Today's Vote: What was more fun? Watching Chipper botch two pop-ups in two games, or seeing Jimmy Rollins boot that grounder to open the floodgates?

I'm going with Chipper, but that's because I rock it Old School. But I'd love to hear what others think.

10. In case you're scoring at home, the Mets have plated 47 runs in 7 games, while yielding only 16. And they've played all their games so far against the defending WS Champs and their two primary divisional rivals. As we all know, winning the one-run games tends to balance out from one season to the next (and consider last year's 29-14 record in such contests). But the really good teams win the blowouts. Lots of blowouts, by big margins.

47-16. Seven games ain't 162. But it ain't two either. The Mets lead the majors in both categories. Long season, that's for sure. But it's seven games shorter than it was last week.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

PROOF THAT I STAND ALONE

As I suspected, according to Macworld,* I am the only person on earth who doesn't own an I-Pod.

Well, actually, that's not exactly what they reported. Instead, they claim that Apple has sold 100 million units, making the fastest-growing music player in . . . blah, blah, blah. Read the piece if you get off on these sorts of made-up numbers stats.

Anyhow, I was all set to buy a "refurbished" I-Pod (read: Used I-Pod) last winter, but in my zealousness to get the very best price, I missed the actually available "pretty damn good" bargains. Then, I entered into the job-interviewing stretch I've alluded to, and decided in a stoic moment to wait until after the newest gainful employment kicked back in.

Well that time is coming soon, y'all. Meaning that the I-Pod purchase is coming soon. Meaning, in addition, that I too will join the egomaniacal masses who make posts out of their random I-Pod selections. And then you will know what my friends and family know already:

I Have The Best Musical Taste On Earth.

Stay tuned.

(You get it, "Tuned"? Not only the best musical taste, but the worst sense of humor. I'm multifaceted, baby.)
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*Anyone know if this is a trustworthy "source" for Mac-related news?

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RANDOM FLICKR BLOGGING # 5900

Same rules as usual.

"_MG_5900," uploaded by "sean dreilinger" on June 23, 2006.

After decades of rumors, contradictory folktales, and even a few grainy, obviously doctored black & white photographs, finally incontrovertable proof of the Lava Gnome.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

A FEW BRIEF THOUGHTS ON THE 4-0 N.Y. METS

1. Holy shit.

2. 31-3?!

3. How much fun was it to see Chipper lose that pop up in the wind during the Mets' 6-run 8th inning?

4. I've cleared it with Mrs. Mike: I'm going to ask Jose Reyes to marry me. She's cool with the arrangement. She'll remain my wife in the conjugal sense, plus she's on for all family-related events. But otherwise, it's Jose.

Reyes is leading the Mets with 7 runs scored after 4 games. He's also leading them with 7 RBIs. He's tied for first in the league in the second category, and trails only the amazing Hanley Ramirez in the first.

(Ramirez is great, by the way. If Reyes is the NL's best shortstop, then Ramirez is 2nd, and trails by very little. Plus, Hanley is younger than Jose. I'm a Met fan, but I'm honest when it comes to baseball: Ramirez may be just as good as Reyes. If there's any way the Mets can get this guy in the coming years and put him at second base, I may have to change my pants during games.)

5. Tom Glavine's ERA is 1.50.

6. Tom Glavine has the worst ERA on the entire Met pitching staff.

7. Oliver!

8. After 4 games of gaudy & astounding beatdowns, who has the best OPS on the Mets? Just who'd you'd expect: Carlos Beltran, doing it quietly, as always. Plus, he's played great defense.

9. Speaking of which, Met gloves have been basically flawless. Even though 'Stache isn't hitting, his defense at second (as indicated by 9 double plays so far) has been perfect.

10. I know it's only 4 games. I know errorless ball, and .311 team batting averages, and injury-free seasons, and perfection from the bullpen, and historically poor glovework by the opposition don't last for 162 games. I know.

But teams can lose 1/3 of their games and still end the season with the best record . . . by a large margin. The Mets have a few trouble spots on the horizon, and we knew that. But they have a lot of strengths too: guys who put bat to ball, good team speed, fine team defense, solid fundamentals (there is a good side to older players), pitchers committed to throwing strikes, and a few young, dominant players in Beltran, Reyes & Wright.

They may end up getting nailed by injuries, or one of the other teams could win all their close games, get hot, and win 95 games. But it seems more likely that the Mets'll win the 90 or so games we expected, and win the division by a handful of games.

They're off to a good start. It's a long season, and there'll be downs. But for the time being, these guys have been fun to watch. Let's go for 5-0.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

SELF-CONSCIOUS VAMPIRES AND THE PORN STARS WHO LOVE THEM

The three of you reading this will recall, about a month ago in the midst of brain-freeze as to what to queue up for the next FSMOMYOTD, I offered my loyal readers the chance to choose to next one.

With all of America's horny guys pushing middle-age rushing in to vote, Hardbodies won a landslide victory, leaving Meatballs as the runner up. And both of those classics wore their Friday Morning stripes in the weeks that followed. But, if you look deep into the black hole known as memory, you'll recall a third option: a mid-eighties flick that actually stepped into that we-know-we're-in-a-horror-movie space a full decade before Scary Movie and I Know Who You Slept With Last Night, and all those parodies (which further spawned parodies, all starring at least two of the Wayans Brothers and Jennifer Love Hewitt).

Hardly anyone voted for this film, but the votes cast came from famous, important places. Look at the supporters in the comments: Martin Scorsese (just days off his Oscar win) & Bela Legosi (the more famous brother of "Bella Legosi" who showed up a week later to comment on Hardbodies). With a crew like that, who am I to deny them.

Might as well do it. Ladies, gentlemen, film directors well past their prime, and dead horror movie icons-turned shameless junk fiends & stooges in sub-B movies, may I present to you, today's Friday Silly Movie Of My Youth Of the Day . . .

Fright Night

This one came out in 1985, and I know I didn't see it 'til it came on cable, probably in 1986 or '87, making me 18 or 19. And by that time I began to pick up on, and enjoy, "cleverness" and all that shit. My romanticization of high school-era cable TV watching notwithstanding, it was really those winter breaks and summers during college -- mid-to-late 80's -- that represent the halcyon days of straight-to-video-flick watching. I'd already been away from home, I was becoming a man (yeah, whatever). I knew I was more sophisticated, more aware, sharper than all the boneheads back in my hometown: parents, neighbors, high school friends, etc. After a semester at college, I was experienced (and let your own internal euphemism-generators roll freely here; my college days were the same as yours -- whatever you think I mean, you're correct).

So, back at the ole' homestead, during those afternoons, evenings, & post-partying late nights when I watched classics like Dr. Strangelove, soon-to-be classics like Full Metal Jacket, and even a few non-Kubrick movies like . . . uhhh, Hardbodies or Fright Night, I watched them through a lens of self-proclaimed superiority. Yes, I was watching a mere titty flick, but my "sense" of tits was different than it'd been during high school. Sure, I might be watching a goofball comedy from the late 70s, but I now understood the irony.

(Hey, what can I tell you? Think I'm intolerable now, imagine me at 19)

Well, that's what Fright Night had going for it: irony, self-consciousness. Perfect for a collegiate snob-to-be still struggling to balance his teenaged need for comedy, action, thrills, and snickering sexuality with a growing appreciation of aesthetics, of cleverness, of what I'd come to think of as post-modernism, with its allusions & blurring of the line between art, entertainment, and real life.

Although, in fairness, we're doing a "silly" movie post here, and Fright Night was silly. I'm not saying it was "important." I'm just saying I looked for that sort of thing during those times at home during college. So enough of that: The basic plot, as I recall, was that Charlie, his girlfriend, and their geeky/loser friend were huge fans of "Fright Night," a TV show hosted by a Vincent Price sort of guy. And they lived next door to a slick, handsome fella, who they were convinced was a vampire. Why?

Because the plot said so, that's why. And because -- again if I recall correctly -- he moved in at night, had large coffin-shaped boxes shipped downstairs, and sat on his porch sipping blood out of a clear bottle with a wedge of lime, all that sort of stuff.

(It was the 80's, the era when Corona hit the scene and all the yuppies fell in love with it, but I made up the last part. Would've worked though, huh?)

The film had a breeziness that served it well, moving seemlessly from horror to comedy to the half-developed "we know we're in a horror movie about horror movies" sort of thing I've been referring to. At least that's how I remember it. Maybe it was as "breezy" as a dump truck stuck in the mud. Nevertheless, let's get to . . .

The Cast:

Playing the protagonist, Charlie, was William Ragsdale, who went on to greater glory playing "Herman" in "Herman's Head," best known as the dumb TV show that proved Hank Azaria was too talented to be wasted on a dumb TV show. As for Ragsdale himself, he went on to do nothing more than appear in a bunch of TV shows I've never seen. He was in an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" that I saw & liked ("The Five Wood"), but I don't remember him in it.

Continuing with the Fox TV show theme, Amanda Bearse played Charlie's girlfriend in Fright Night. She's probably best known as Marcy D'Arcy, Ted McGinley's wife, on "Married With Children." According to her Wikipedia entry, she's been "openly lesbian" since 1993, which is really pretty early in the game to have been so open about that. In fact, in 2006, she directed the pilot episode of "The Big Gay Sketch Show."

Chris Sarandon was really good as the smarmy-but-evil Jerry Dandridge. Two years before perfecting the formula in Princess Bride as Prince Humperdinck, Sarandon in Fright Night was wall-to-wall false charm, leering smiles, faux sincerity, and easily unleashed violence. Along with Roddy McDowell, he made the movie.

He's been around for a while now, chalking up his first film role as "Leon Shermer" in 1975 in Dog Day Afternoon. The mid-80s stands out as his "prime," with this one and Princess Bride, yet he's played a series of odd or interesting roles over the last 20 years: "Frankenstein" in a 1987 TV version of Frankenstein; Abraham Lincoln in both "Lincoln & Seward" and "Lincoln and the War Within" on television in 1992; and the voice of Jack Skellington in Tim Burton's incomprehensibly overrated 1993 sap-fest The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Concluding the "main characters" portion of the cast, we had Roddy McDowall as vampire hunter Peter Vincent. McDowall was in so many movies & tv shows (246 to be exact), it's all-but impossible to reduce his career to one role. But to me he'll always be Cornelius, from Planet of the Apes. That said, he managed a few "moments" in his long career: an uncredited role in one of the first FSMOMYOTDs, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry; "Flood!" a 1976 television disaster movie co-starring Robert Culp and Barbara Hershey that I remember seeing as a kid (hmmmm, future FSMOMYOTD possibilities abound); Rabbit Test, an abysmal late 70s "comedy" starring Billy Crystal & directed by Joan Rivers (!); even an episode of "Supertrain."

Starring as Charlie's friend, "'Evil' Ed," was Stephen Geoffreys. Steve had a few flicks worth noting, such as the mildly amusing Heaven Help Us; At Close Range, featuring an acting tandum we should have seen more of, Sean Penn & Christopher Walken; and Fraternity Vacation, mentioned a few weeks ago by Maurinksy as Tim Robbins foray into straight-to-vid teenage sex romps. But that portion of Geoffrey's career is of little or no consequence here.

What I find far more interesting is the gay porn portion of his career. Yes, that's correct. After a stint in straight porn, "acting" under the name, Larry Bert in Tell Me Something Dirty, Geoffrey began appearing under the moniker Sam Ritter in man-on-man hardcore. Wow! Starting in Sex On The Beach, in 1994, he starred in about 30 more of these movies, mostly as "Sam Ritter," but also as "Stephan Bordeaux." And the best titles from this collection: Mechanics Bi Day, Lube Jobs Bi Night, Latin Crotch Rockets, The Big Screw Up, Cock Pit, & today's winner of the "Subtlety in the Title" Award, Guys Who Crave Big Cocks.

(Guess they won't be needing me as an extra in that one. Alas.)

And you see, we're all about equal opportunity here at the FSMOMYOTD. I don't only write about the talentless actresses who end up in porn.

Moving along, we see that playing "Detective Lennox" was Art Evans. Based on Evans' roles, I'm gonna guess he's a Black man, and in fact his first part, in Claudine starring Dianne Carroll & James Earl Jones, was as "Young Brother." 1974 being 1974, I don't think they meant "brother" in the filial/sibling sense. In 1976 he was in an episode of "Chico & the Man" as "Bubba," and later that year he played blues legend Blind Lemon Jefferson in Leadbelly, directed by Gordon Parks (Shaft) and starring Roger E. Mosely (T.C. on "Magnum"). Evans' resume stands as Exhibit A in the "Damn, it must've been somewhat humiliating breaking into movies as a Black man in the pre-Denzel/Will Smith Days," with such roles as "Tambo," "Junkie," "Abdul," "Baggage Master," and "Sanitation Worker" in the first 8 years of his acting career.

Hollywood Shuffle, indeed.

He ended up finding his way into a number of movies, and he's definitely one of "Those Guys" we've all seen numerous times, even if we don't know his name. It could've been much worse. He could've had Prince Hughes' career. Hughes, best known (?) as football player "Bubba Kincaid" on HBO's awful "1st & Ten" in the '80s, also played characters named "Bouncer # 3" (that's the Fright Night role), "Black Wino," "Scary Inmate," "Big Bubba," "Idi Amin" in The Naked Gun (not quite Forrest Whitaker there), "Fat Ernie," "Rubbernecker," "Rat Bag Baxter," "Jumbo," "Pimp," "Orderly #3," and "Tiny."

Whoa. His "average" role would be a game named "Bubba," who was "Fat, Black Pimp #3." Maybe he should've considered gay porn.

Returning to the more-familiar FSMOMYOTD territory known as "Damn, it's always been somewhat humiliating breaking into movies as a hot, young woman," we come to Heidi Sorenson who played . . . you guessed it, "Hooker" in Fright Night. She got her start in film as one of the vestal virgins in History of the World, Part I, which she quickly parlayed into a selection as June 1981's Playmate of the Month. Later that year she appeared as "Herself," i.e., as a Playmate, on "George Burns' Early, Early, Early Christmas Special," allowing me not too feel like too much of a dirty old man since George had over 50 years on me at that point.

And for her too, it certainly could've been worse! She could've had Lene Hefner's career. According to her IMDB bio, she was raised in a strict Baptist family, before embarking on her own hard-core porn career. (I'm telling you, Fright Night wasn't an exploitation flick. Women, Black men, and homosexuals were not forced into dead-end careers after appearing. I blame it on the vampires). Hefner (no relation, I'm assuming . . . though Hugh probably knew her) starred in a bunch of porn films with really, really lame titles. I'm feeling robbed here. Except for one movie, we've got no puns, no double entendres, none of that. Although she offered a strong challenge for today's "Subtlety in the Title" Award with the one exception, 2004's Prettiest Tits I Ever Came Across. And why did that lose out to Guys Who Crave Big Cocks for that award? Because Prettiest Tits I Ever Came Across contains a pun.

Finally, Bob Corff, in his last acting role, played Fright Night's "Jonathan." Not that he appeared in too many movies. Instead, Corff seems to have been one of Hollywood's premier "voice coaches," instructing the actors on their diction & delivery in such films and TV shows as St. Elmo's Fire, "Silver Spoons," "Baywatch," Jurassic Park, and Toy Story.

I don't know what to say. Those aren't exactly the best movies & shows in history, yet there were some serious actors and actresses in those efforts. Can you imagine a guy who played a nobody character in Fright Night coaching Tom Hanks or Richard Attenborough on his vocal delivery?

I wonder if he also "coached" Sam Ritter & Lene Hefner?

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