Friday, December 30, 2011

I Can't LIve By Your Rules!

Usually I am no fan of New Year's resolutions.
Who wants to burden themselves with a bunch of good intentions bound to make your life even more boring than it already is?
Here is a resolution I think we can all embrace and make our lives even more interesting AND America a better country.

Break more laws in 2012.  That's it.

The morons in charge, especially here in Jerry Brown's California, have come up with roughly a bazillionty new laws to cramp your style for 2012 and beyond.  We're not capable of taking care of ourselves, you know, and government is there to take the reins.

Beginning January 1, 2012,  parents of kids up to the age of eight are required to strap said children into a car seat whenever they are in an automobile.  The geniuses in Sacramento have outdone themselves on this one!  Obviously they haven't scoped out a class of second graders lately.  Today's eight year-olds are the size of NFL linemen and getting one into a car seat for children ranks right up there with tying a live moose to the hood of a Mini Cooper.  COME ON!  Maybe Governor Moonbeam would like to try taking your kid to Disneyland next time?  "Hold still Tiny."

Other new laws set to make life so much better for us all include:  A two-bill package that bans the sale of shark fins and forbids homeowner associations from banning electric car recharging stations.  (We'll all sleep better because of those two.)  Under the "Dream Act", (yes, we have that in California), illegal immigrants attending college can now apply for private financial aid.  Then, starting in 2013, they can also apply for public aid, such as scholarships and fee waivers.  Crime pays in the Golden State.

Other states are also interested in screwing with you.  Illinois, all the problems of California bundled with corn, cows and crappy weather, will now mandate that animal control centers scanning a lost pet for a microchip also must look for other common forms of identification, including tattoos and ID tags.  (Better make sure Fido has his wallet with him.)

Yes, just as it has been for the past several years, the anal retentive pinheads are in charge of your life.  Until we all decide to do something about it they will continue to have us on a short leash.  What we need is a honking big Bowie knife, (probably illegal), to cut us loose.  How about taking your eight year-old out of that damn car seat and have him drive us to the sporting goods store.  He looks big enough to handle it.

New laws...from the same dorks who gave you memos, meetings and annual reviews.  It's time to run their pants up the flagpole and put the fun folks back in charge!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Congressman Wore Double D's

Just as I was beginning to believe my little friends who say there is no Santa...

There he is!  Massachewtits gift to the U.S. Congress and comedy, Barney Frank,  on C-SPAN sporting a set of major league fun bags seldom seen outside the confines of your local "gentleman's" club.  Who dresses this guy??!! Maybe the troubled youth from the "escort service" who lives in his basement?

"Yeah, Barn', the T-shirt with the over-the-shoulder sport coat."  "You'll be so chic compared to those awful Republicans!  You look stunning!"

So, God bless us EVERY one!  Merry Christmas to those  who know that ultimately the S.E.C. will figure it all out and justice will prevail as Barney's role in the rape of the taxpayer via Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac is revealed.  (Perhaps Barney can finally put that strapless chiffon number to good use at the prison Christmas dance next year.)
Barney channels the late Jane Russell
If you're so inclined, a swell going away gift for congressman Frank, as he "retires" one step ahead of being frog-marched out of his D.C. office,  might be one of George Castannza's manziers.  The "Bro" may be just the ticket for the kind of lift and separation needed by the House's Queen of the Hop. 
The original "full figured" gal

So, thanks for the holiday laughs Barney.  You looked radiant in powder blue.
Just remember, when the day of reckoning comes, they don't call it "the pokey" for nothing. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

This Better Be Good!

A movie for grownups with no car chases.

A few weeks ago I took in George Clooney's new movie, the Descendants.  I think it was the first movie I had seen in a theater in more than a year.  Most new films don't cater to geezers over thirty and when I do see one that looks like it has possibilities I merely talk about "maybe' seeing it until it's, all of a sudden,  out on DVD.  

Frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way.   Who needs $10 popcorn and washtub sized sodas?  We more "mature" guys with our jumbo prostates can't chug those fountain refreshments without a handy remote to pause the action.  For that, and more reasonable snack pricing, the good ol' home big screen TV is the place to park it for entertainment.   Which is right where I'll be this Sunday night as I wait for the conclusion of the best new series on television, Homeland.

Over the past few years the best movies have been those of the series variety created for TV's premium channels.  HBO started it with shows like the Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm,  Band of Brothers and so many more.  They continue today with Boardwalk Empire, Bored to Death, Enlightened and others.  AMC, FX and Showtime have entered the fray with wonderful offerings like: The Killing, Rescue Me, Hell on Wheels, Breaking Bad and the truly outstanding Homeland.  Clearly some of the best writing, acting and producing of today is happening not in the theaters but on premium TV.

Claire Danes
Homeland is a thriller with a counter-terrorism theme that gets well deserved raves from critics and on-line clowns like me who can't wait for each Sunday night installment.  Claire Danes is Carrie, a bi-polar CIA officer, who is certain that a former POW turned war hero, Damian Lewis as Sgt. Nicholas Brody, has been "turned" by Islamic extremists and is on an undercover mission of jihad against America.  Homeland is taut and intelligent and has kept me occupied with its dramatic twists and turns for weeks.  This Sunday night it should all come together.  It will be tough to pull off a satisfying resolution to this story while getting we fans primed for a new season at the same time.  I hope they don't blow it like the creators of AMC's The Killing did.  If you watched that one, you know what I mean.

Sunday night should be ninety minutes of television at its best.  A great story concludes with some answers to questions and needed resolution-- at least that's what I'm hoping for.  If not, well there is my popcorn and ninety minutes of watching Claire Danes.  A bargain in any man's language.

Friday, December 9, 2011

You CAN'T Make It Up

The guys who take care of our yard, Miguel and Juan Carlos, are talking to me.  It's early and I can't quite figure out what the big deal is but they seem pretty excited.  It doesn't help matters that I speak only enough Spanish to find the men's room and both of them dabble in English with a great deal of trepidation.
"Senor!...something something something Spanishy...berry berry bad!  The something something &^%@#%$! &&******$&#& (really nasty Spanish stuff) eez eating yard!" 
After some consideration and a look at large hunks of sod that used to be part of the lawn I deduce that what the guys are telling me is that raccoons have declared war on the Copper yard.  This cannot stand!

Apparently raccoons find the grubs that dwell in our well tended turf are like lobster or escargot to these bandits and they will stop at nothing to attain the tender nuggets of grubby goodness.  We'll see how this plays out but I have high hopes for some kind of pellets I bought from one of the "experts" at Home Depot who guaranteed that "this is the formula that renders the grubs not quite so tasty to these animal outlaws".  There was some mention of the grubs going from tasting like raccoon cherries jubilee to liver and onions.  If that doesn't do it, perhaps I'll go with putting up a large picture of Nancy Pelosi to spoil their appetite.  
Nine out of ten raccoons prefer dining on Copper grubs!

In other news......
Jon Corzine, the Wall Street whiz who managed to misplace 1.2 billion dollars in customer money when he ran the MF Global fund, has been spending his days of late telling a congressional committee that he is so clueless he, like Sgt. Schultz of Hogan's Heroes fame, knows NOTHING about where the money went. I'm inclined to believe him. 
Anybody who watched what an absolutely horseshit job he did as a U.S. senator and as governor of the  state of New Jersey knows he is an idiot.  Proof positive comes in a recent assessment of the man by Vice President Joe Biden:  "He's the smartest guy I know in terms of the economy."  President Obama, after accepting some $500,000 in bundled campaign contributions from Corzine, is said to have had him on the short list to head Treasury.  'Nuf said.
"What, me worry?"

Does this bad boy make you hot?
An Egyptian news outlet has reported that an Islamic cleric in Europe has ordered Muslim women to prevent "sexual thoughts" by staying away from bananas, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, and other phallic produce.  The unnamed sheikh advises that if women want to eat these kinds of food they need to cut them into smaller pieces.  Well, actually they need to have a man cut them, in private, preferably he should be a relative, because the foods "resemble the male penis" and could "make them think of sex."
fully neutered erotic veggie
Let's see a show of hands.  How many of us are damn glad these wackjob morons haven't taken over the world....YET??

DATELINE///  Albequerque, N.M.

    A 13 year-old boy was handcuffed and taken to juvenile detention for burping in class.  The boy allegedly burped audibly in P.E. class and his teacher, (see coach), called a school resource officer, (see rent-a-cop), to complain about the disruption.
Who knew that this was a felony??
I plan to turn myself in just as soon as I file this fine report.  I'm sure that there is at least a fifty year statute of limitations on an offense as grave as this.  I would also expect that many of my gutter-snipe buddies of yore would like  to join me in this mea culpa.  
I'll meet you at the Principal's office my fellow miscreants.  Please step forward Misters.: Erickson, White, Hall, Boyd, Chamberlain, Cooper, you too Swanson, .....right now!  And bring your bicarbonate.

Friday, December 2, 2011


One fat freeloading bastard down and hundreds to go.
The pudgy putz who gave us the housing crisis, Barney Frank, having raped and pillaged the taxpayers for more than thirty years, is leaving his comfy gig in congress and heading home.  Well, probably not "home" to the district he currently represents in Massachusetts but, more likely, his home in the  District of  Columbia where he, like all the other professional politicians, is certainly at "home". No doubt he'll become some sort of lobbyist and harvest his green without the inconvenience  of that pesky regulation he has to work around now.   Beside that Mr. Frank probably took a long look at his newly re-drawn home congressional district and surmised he didn't have a snowball's chance to run his line of crap past an additional 300 thousand constituents and thus decided to head for the hills with his fat congressional pension and perks.  
Barney "Mr. Personality" Frank
It was hilarious to watch this elder statesman of the left during an exit interview on the ever more insipid Today Show yesterday.  Tossing softballs his way was Savannah Guthrie, a journalist so lightweight she needs lead boots just to stay earthbound.  Ms. Guthrie in four routine and surprisingly un-fawning questions managed to piss off old Barn to the point where he said, "You've managed to ask all sort of negative questions.....It's gotcha' journalism.  It's gotcha' politics.  And it does lessen our chances to get things done."  Classic!  How dare anyone ask a question about what Barney may have done with our money.
Here is a guy who for years as the chairman of the Financial Services Committee assured us that everything was just dandy with  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the American taxpayer had nothing to worry about regarding all those mortgage loans made to people who clearly didn't have the ability to service the debt.  He and his pals bought the votes of these deadbeats and did it with our money.  Instead of arresting him, his co-conspirators let him and his buddy, Chris Dodd, author the Dodd-Frank bill to re-make the U.S. financial industry.  (By the way...we are still waiting for the promised release of the particulars of Mr. Dodd's home loans from Countrywide Financial.  Those will probably made public around the same time Bill Clinton's medical, John Kerry's military and Barack Obama's college records are put forth for our inspection.)

Giving Dodd and Frank the task of writing a bill to define the rules and regulations of the nation's financial industry was much like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys--NEVER a good idea.  
But, that's where we are.
Chris Dodd is no longer in the Senate and Barney Frank has the money in the trunk, the car running and one foot out the door, and we.......uh......we have Dodd/Frank.  Thanks fellas!

So, who takes Barney's place on the House Financial Services Committee?

Maxine "gimme the money" Waters
Sweet Jesus! November 2012 can't get here soon enough!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pass the FOOTBALL, I'll Skip the PARADE

As it turned out the football gods proved crafty indeed making the Dolphins/ Cowboys tilt the most exciting contest of Thanksgiving Day.  The Lions reverted to form and rolled over for the Packers early in the day while the shootout at the Harbaugh brothers corral in Baltimore merely established the mortality of the 49rs and the inherent superiority of older siblings.  I am truly thankful for the pigskin parade.  It is the perfect accompaniment to the gurgling noises my body makes as it converts turkey, mashed 'taters, cranberries and pumpkin pie to winter time hibernation blubber.
Wiener dogs ruled the 1950's
Snoopy should lift his leg on the Today Show
However, there is one parade I can do without.  WHEN THE HELL WILL THE FREAKING MACY'S PARADE GO A W A Y??!!  I know I's all for the kiddies.  I get that.  My grandson Dan made his mom record and replay the passing of the Buzz Lightyear balloon about eighty-five times before he even finished his breakfast.  (The kid has a real thing for the Buzz man.)  But, COME ON, how much do any of the networks really show of the actual parade?  It seems as if coverage of the parade itself is secondary to the promotion of yet another season of doggy network sitcoms and dramas people have either not discovered or have discovered and decided to discard.  There is no other explanation for the insidious parade of unfunny untalented unknowns who flounce by  the webs' reviewing stands to be interviewed by equally untalented unknowns.  What has happened to fat Al Roker?  Is he now so skinny that I missed him, or has he "aged out" of the platoon of happy talk ho' bags so prevalent lately on the box?  I swear I didn't see a familiar face on CBS, NBC or ABC.
Bullwinkle was head and antlers above it all in the 1960's

So, networks, if you're taking notes, next year I'd like to see a little less from your promotions department and something more of the parade.  (It wouldn't hurt to have Buzz Lightyear circle the block a few times when he gets to Times Square.  My grandson would appreciate it.)  Also, get the technical director to spend a little more lens time on the cute corn fed baton twirlers from Tulsa and spare the rest of us the close-ups of the fat boy high school tuba players sweating like drag queens at a wig sale as they march in place to "Louie Louie".  PLEASE,  as mentioned earlier, some of us are still eating breakfast.

Gee, as I look back over what I have written, this seems just a tad on the snarky side.  So, I'm not that thankful for the parade.  Big deal.  I am very thankful for many things...Just a minute, they'll come to me.

I didn't get a speeding ticket this year.  I ...uh....only slathered on an additional five pounds since last Thanksgiving.  Okay, maybe ten after yesterday.
Let's see?...I know I have more.  Oh yeah, leftover turkey awaits me for the next couple of days and everyone knows that good gobbler only gets better with age.
And, finally--best of all-- when his mom wasn't looking, I introduced Dan to the direct application of Ready Whip.
We're making memories here.  The torch has been passed.

Open wide and spray.  INSTANT HEAVEN!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Comfort or Style? It's a Matter of Gender

Finding a great pair of shoes is right up there with laying a devastating line on the boss who just fired you as you flip him the bone.  It's like getting dismissed from jury duty or, better yet, sending some deserving miscreant to the electric chair.  It just FEELS RIGHT.
A couple of years ago, somewhere near the corner of 9th Street and First Avenue on Manhattan's Lower East Side, I picked up a pair of Merrell clogs that delivered my dogs to podiatry heaven.  It was an accident of course.  When you are diligently looking for something great it rarely is in plain sight.  The truly memorable friends, meals, movies, trips--you name it--are stumbled upon when you're not in the market.  My feet were being tortured by a pair of Nikes gone bad and in a walking city like New York that equals pure hell.

Those Merrells called to me from the window of a tiny shoe store directly across from Thompkins Square Park.  I bought them and it was love at first step.  I have several other shoes in my closet, but this is the pair I have chosen to marry.

Speaking of marriage...Here is the problem:  My wife thinks these wonderful shoes are starting to look a little "ratty" and need to be removed from my power rotation.  Why do women do this??!!  It's the same thing with a comfortable pair of jeans that you've broken in perfectly or socks that may have a few holes.  (Who can see those anyway?)  Just when stuff starts to get good, BOOM!, it's "Give me   those.  They are ready for the Am Vets."

We guys are reluctant to part with clothes and shoes we've come to think of as part of our body.  Comfort, not looks or style, is the primary concern for the keepers of the Y chromosome.  On the other hand, it's not that we don't appreciate a pair of good looking stems attached to feet sporting gravity defying high heels.  I don't know how women do it.  Drunk or sober no male can make forward progress in what amounts to a pair of mini stilts.  Even drag queens look as nervous as an elephant on ice skates in those things.

I think these look like you

So,  what I am trying to say is this:  Thanks ladies!  Your fashion sense is a gift to guys everywhere.  You all look lovely in girl shoes.  You make me and most guys grateful for the view.  BUT, PLEASE PLEASE leave us our unstylish  but comfortable duds and shoes.  We don't care how we're put together, we just want to be comfy when we unclog the sink or check your oil.  That whole "style" scene is your province and welcome to it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I know where she has hidden my Merrells.  The Am Vets truck won't be here until a week from Wednesday so there is still time for a rescue.  Great kicks, like Padre trips to the World Series,  come once or twice in a lifetime.   I am on a mission and cannot be denied.
"Dear Santa...what is your take on comfortable shoes?"

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Veterans Day, one of the few remaining federal observances we actually reserve for a specific date, seems different this year.  I don't know why.
Maybe the fact that we seem to be winding down our long military involvement in places like Iraq and Afganistan has something to do with it.   Or perhaps the 11/11/11 date that comes so close to the original Armistice Day "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" ending of World War I gives us pause this year.  I'd hate to think that the Friday anniversary making it a three day weekend is key, but it might be. 
I'm a veteran and proud of the fact that I served.   Unlike my father and several friends who wore the uniform,  I was lucky.  Nobody ever tried to capture, maim or kill me--so far as I know.  I spent my time in Georgia and Kansas playing war games, calling in artillary strikes on cattle and hiding from my company commander. I couldn't wait to get back to civilian life and my chosen profession of vagabond radio reprobate.  I was good at that.  Soldiering, not so much.  
The problem with the military, and all large organizations, is that they don't encourage contrary opinions. Indepedent thinking leads to management problems and a lack of discipline the theory goes, but sometimes that results in  decisions and actions that are silly or just plain wrong.  Superiors DO NOT appreciate input contidictory to their opinion!  Suggesting that the Captain, Major, Colonel or General might be just "a teensy bit wrong" about something will get your heels locked every time.  Trust me.  If I had any designs on a military career, these would be the musings of the world's oldest first lieutenant.  
Which brings me to...Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller.  Until a couple of weeks ago General Fuller was the deputy commander for programs at the NATO training mission in Afghanistan.  It seems that General Fuller didn't get the memo about not expressing an opinion that contradicts "official" Army policy.  On a speaking tour in Kabul, the General was asked for his thoughts on recent comments from Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai in which Mr. Karzai told a Pakistani interviewer Afghansistan would come to Pakistan's aid if attacked by the United States.

"Why don't you just poke me in the eye with a needle!  You've got to be kidding me," Fuller said.  "I'm sorry, we just gave you $11.6 billion and now you're telling me, 'I don't really care?"

Fuller went on to say that Karzai was erratic and inarticulate and failed to appreciate the American lives lost in defense of the Afghan people.  Good call!

So, what happens?  General Fuller's boss, General John R. Allen dismissed the deputy commander effectively ending his Army career.  A good soldier done in for simply stating the obvious.  The pentagon did the same thing last year to General Stanley McChrystal for his esentially correct observations regarding the Obama administration's handling of our country's mission in Afghanistan.
Major General Peter Fuller
On this Veteran's Day how about a big thank you to General Peter Fuller for having the guts to speak the truth.  Perhaps even a little more frankness in the upper echelons of our military might lead to better planning and fewer American lives sacrificed in the future.  The troops always know the truth.  It is mostly the Generals and politicians who can't handle it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Santa Even Daddy Likes

November first was always the day I could see Christmas and the holidays on the horizon and the shopping nightmare would begin.

God, I hate shopping! You know,  regular, get in the car and go to the store shopping.  In the past there was NO way around it.  Birthdays, anniversaries, and other less significant gifting events might be taken care of with a lunch, dinner, or promise of some sort of "good behavior in the future" but Christmas requires something wrapped and "thoughtful", both of which imply actual SHOPPING.  The horror!

Several years back a man from the North, not the pole but Seattle, named Jeff Bezos came along with this really neat idea to sell books via an Internet website.  Viola! Amazon was hatched. As time passed Mr. B. decided to lend his marketing genius to the destruction of not only retail bookstores but RETAIL in general.  Now, thanks to this magnificent SOB, I can buy everything from coffee to cattle prods, Kaye Starr to Katy Perry, mouthwash to mouse traps and it's all ON LINE.  No more sweating that trip to the mall and the inevitable safari for parking.  Nope,  I can find a gift for everyone on my list without ever leaving my Lazyboy--(also available on Amazon).  And now, thanks to Amazon Prime, I have guaranteed quick delivery to just about any doorstep FREE! (for only $79 per year).  This is truly a heaven sent gift to guys.

I will admit that since shipping booze via UPS, FEDEX, or USPS is against the law Amazon won't help with some of my degenerate friends this season.  However, a trip to the liquor store does give me the chance to once again congratulate myself for maintaining twelve years of abstinence.  All I have to do is look at the price of some of my formerly favorite fool fuel to realize how much money I'm saving.  (A quick tabulation tells me that from 1968- 1999 I drank up about eleven Corvettes, two round the world cruises, four vacation condos and a partridge in a pear tree.)

Now...where is my list?  Time to get on-line at the old Amazon store and start setting fire to a couple of credit cards.  Think of all the gas I'm saving!  Although I will miss some of the pushing and shoving at the mall and, best of all, finding the cutest little saleswoman in the lingerie department--"she's about your size"--to pick out that special gift.  I will miss nothing else.

I know it is not yet Thanksgiving but the holidays and shopping have a way of sneaking up and biting you in the ass.  "Ho Ho Holly Cow!  It's Christmas!"  No need to panic,  just take your shopping to the Bezos man.

As my beloved Grandpa Copper used to say, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  When life gives you a juniper berry, make a gin martini."  The man was an idiot savant.  Just like Jeff Bezos.

Gentlemen, start your credit cards!
Making glad the hearts of shopping impaired males everywhere.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Third Time Really Is the Charm...

As a kid I hated Halloween.  
Dumb, I know.  What's not to like about costumes and free candy?  First of all, when given a choice of potato chips or candy the salty snack was my "go to" goodie every time.  I had NO sweet tooth and therefore NO incentive to beg door-to-door like the other little hoodlums in the neighborhood.  Then, because all eternal phobias are parent induced, there was that off the charts stupid Big Bad Wolf getup my mom turned me out in when I was--I don't know--three or four.  The mask and body of the costume were plastic, ugly and hot as hell.  Coupled with the fact that the eye-holes were too far apart and I couldn't see the whole ensemble was a massive embarrassment.  I could feel my face flushing behind the mask as I reluctantly trudged behind my little pals.  One year I went as Bugs Bunny and another season found me in a crappy homemade Zorro mask and cape complete with a busted golf club sword.  (I did manage to win fifty cents and third place in a stupid costume contest with the Zorro duds.)  Halloween night, by design, I would hang back as the group ran riot ringing doorbells yelling "trick or treat".  My goal, unlike the others, was to see if I could come home with an empty sack and thereby avoid having to down massive quantities of candy corn, circus peanuts, Oh Henrys, Neccos and other gag inducing sugar delivery systems.  Halloween was something to "get through" and nothing more.  I began to dread the appearance of orange and black construction paper when it was  arts and crafts time at school.  Not "Boo", but "Boo Hoo", that was Halloween.

When my daughters were little kids Halloween was still Hell-oween for me.  Their mom would take them out for trick or treat while I was left to man the candy welfare program at our front door.  
DING DONG:  "Here ya go you little pirates.  Now beat it!"  My charm was legend in every neighborhood we inhabited.  But, I got through it.

Grandson, Dan, on the hunt for the perfect pumpkin
Now, thanks to daughter Katie and her husband, Doug, I have a two year-old grandson who is excited for the first Halloween he sort of halfway understands.  Grandpa is pretty excited too.  For the first time ever the prospect of this ever more popular holiday has me aboard the band wagon.  Not only have we bought and carved a pumpkin, there is talk of maybe a little bit of a grandpa getup for my door duties on Monday evening.  Nothing fancy, but festive nonetheless.  Danny is still deciding on his costume but he is coming to our house to hit our always generous street.  If I'm lucky he'll split some of his sweet treats with me. (Since being invited to layoff adult beverages for a century or two, I have developed a gigantic sweet tooth.)  BRING ON THE CANDY CORN!  It seems as if this third time around has let me in on the secret fun and excitement of All Hallows Eve.  I'm pretty damned excited. Perhaps a trip to the store for some Depends?

Halloween Checklist:

Five bags of candy from Costco:  $62.50

One 25 cent pumpkin (well, that's what they cost when I was a kid): $12

Spending Halloween with your 2 year-old grandson:  PRICELESS
Dan and grandma gut a jack-o-lantern

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Soft Landing in OZ

They call it "OZ", the Australians do.  What a terrific place to call home.  If I were a native of the land "down under" I'd never click the heels of my ruby slippers to book it back to Kansas.  NEVER!  You see I have been to Topeka and no way does it come close to a soggy leftover bologna sandwich when sized up with the banquet of Sydney or Melbourne. 

And now...the Aussies have taken comfort and convenience for the overindulgent to levels not possible in the more puritan and pedantic  U.S.A.  Yes,  thanks to the compassionate folks at A1 Rubber, the hard partying denizens of Australia's pubs no longer have to endure broken bones and bruised egos.  Rubber sidewalks have arrived!  A fall-down drunk's dream come true has become a reality.  NO need to head home after a big night of debauching, simply turn on your bar stool and head for the door.  Once outside, all an inebriate need do is make sure he or she doesn't fall on another reveler and it's "lights out".

Ahh.....just like floating on air.
A1 Rubber, of the small industrial town of Yatala in Queensland state, has enjoyed a 35% annual growth in sales since the saloons of Sydney, Melbourne and other large cities discovered the magic of sidewalks that give a little.
"This fake grass is a nice touch."

Now installed in front of more than 100 pubs in South Australia, can cities like New York, San Francisco and New Orleans be far behind?  It seems to this observer that OSHA was created to expedite ideas as brilliant as this one.  Come on America!  Drunks are cracking their skulls while Washington dithers.

Now, if we could just get those sidewalks to flush...

"I left a wake-up call for 9 AM."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Clueless in Lower Manhattan

Wending my way north after viewing the new 9/11 Memorial in lower Manhattan a couple of weeks ago I had to pass by Zuccotti Park and the then relatively new ragtag army of Occupy Wall Street.  Frankly, I didn't take them seriously.  Their signs and chants were puerile and idiotic. "People Not Profits", "End Corporate Personhood", and "Unf**k the World" (huh??)   were my particular favorites. Virtually all were bereft of anything resembling linear thought or common sense and I dismissed them as the product of  freeloading nitwits who were there primarily to score dope, members of the opposite sex,  or perhaps both provided they were convenient and free.  Since returning to the West coast I have watched as this brand of mindless lunacy  grew larger and spread to more cities however nothing has changed my mind about the character of the participants.  "Useful idiots" I believe was how Marx referred to these folks, the saddest of whom are the grey haired re-treads from the sixties and seventies who STILL don't get it.

Someone once said--and I would give them credit if I knew who they were---"There are three kinds of people in the world:  :  those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, AND those who say, "WHAT HAPPENED???"

Clearly what we have with the OWS crew is a whole lot of the "What Happened?" troops who feel they have somehow been screwed out of goodies to which they are entitled as American citizens.  They, of course, are wrong.  The only thing that an American citizen is entitled to is the chance to succeed or fail at whatever it is they choose to attempt.  Success requires work.  There is nothing in our Constitution about a guaranteed job, income, home, car or standard of living.  If you don't understand that, blame your parents and teachers and then GET OVER IT!  In spite of what you may have heard life isn't fair and never has been.

It is ironic to watch as these misguided demonstrators bitch and holler about Wall Street and the big banks.  If blame were really the name of the game, they would pack their sleeping bags and banjos and head for Washington, D.C.  The current occupant of the White House has taken more money from the Wall Street bigwigs than any other politician in history.  The same goes for the gang of cheerleaders in congress who have pledged their fealty to the protesters.

The housing mess??  The sub-prime mortgage disaster was Bill Clinton's fault.  In 1995 President Clinton changed the Community Reinvestment Act to enable ACORN to run a politically correct extortion campaign against mortgage lenders, compelling them by force of law to make unsound (sub-prime) loans to poor minorities who never stood a chance of repaying them.  This got Clinton votes and placed the taxpayers in a no win jackpot.  George W. Bush continued the same cynical vote getting scam.   Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and their disingenuous cohorts in congress cooked the books and  milked this fraud for what they thought was their share of  the votes of the uninformed.  The banks, forced to make loans they knew weren't viable,  looked for ways to turn a profit for their stockholders.    Exotic packages of these horrible loans were sold in secondary markets as they attempted to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility.   We all know how that worked out.  (By the way, I guess Chris Dodd must have forgotten that he promised to make public the details of his sweetheart home loan from one of the biggest offenders, Countrywide Mortgage.  Must have slipped his mind when he decided to head for a retirement hideout instead of seeking another free ride in congress.)

It used to be that most everybody who was literate read a daily newspaper.  In addition they caught a couple of radio newscasts during the work day and watched a nightly news round-up on television in the early or late evening.  In short, they knew what was going on around them.  No more.  Sadly, today we have a preponderance of younger people who have little or no curiosity about what is going on and take pride in telling you that they read no newspapers, neither listen to or watch any broadcast news and actually brag about getting their "take" on what's happening from the Internet or Comedy Central.  Didn't H.G. Wells predict all of this in his book, The Time Machine? 

What we seem to have in this Occupy Wall Street phenomenon is a mob of largely young ill informed unfocused nincompoops who are wildly indignant about, well, nearly everything.  They feel as if they are owed something from so called "rich guys" and they are going to have a hissy fit until they get it, though they aren't quite sure what "IT" is.  For them, I fear, there is no hope.  They will become lifetime members of the "What Happened" club and are probably destined to feel cheated for the rest of their lives.

And then there are those who give me hope.  Look at this sign put together by a young lady who obviously has been blessed with an abundance of common sense and probably has equally enlightened parents.  I love the sign!  She knows that only she controls her future and that even if all the banks in the country were taken over by the government and the bankers sent to jail it would still be up to her to succeed or fail.   She, and those like her, will make things happen while the OWS crowd remains dazed, confused and most assuredly BROKE as they perpetually asked, "WHAT HAPPENED?"

My money is on this kid!

Friday, October 7, 2011

"Large and IN CHARGE"...Kramden for President

Mr. Kramden with pal Ed Norton and wife, Alice
Now that the portly gentleman from New Jersey has officially expressed no interest in saving the country from the current empty suit hiding behind the curtain at that big land of OZ headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue, it's time for action.  We have gone far too long without a leader who knows how to wear the big boy pants and pick up a spare when the team needs it on league bowling night.  The man for the job?   Ralph Kramden of 328 Chauncey Street in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn New York.  A loyal husband, dedicated friend, hard working driver for his boss, Mr. Cunningham at the MTA, and a longtime officer in the Loyal Order of Raccoons (where an emergency meeting is an emergency meeting--never a poker game... an executive meeting, now that's a poker game.) Ralph Kramden knows how to live large on a salary of $62 per week.  (He hasn't had a raise in more than fifty years.)  Mr. Kramden is a man of BIG ideas as well as size XXXL Sansabelt pants.  He is just what America needs to get back on track.  Unlike the current occupant of the White House, whose poll numbers are dropping like a melon off an overpass, Ralph Kramden is the 500 pound lowland gorilla (literally) we need to tackle the nation's problems.  He will embrace our problems with vigor and will not quit until they are vanquished.  (As you know, when a gorilla decides to embrace someone or something, it ain't over until the gorilla thinks it's over.)

future Vice President Edward Norton
After his nomination and most certain election in 2012 Mr, Kramden can begin implementing his ideas and complete the selection of his cabinet members.  Outside of manditory bowling leagues and ten cent beer nights, there will be no requirements regarding Raccoon headgear.  Raccoon lodge membership will be optional for adult males with compensatory time off guarenteed for attendance at bi-monthly executive meetings. (Coonskin caps required)

Candidate Kramden has asked upstairs neighbor and best friend, Ed Norton, to be his running mate and Mr. Norton as accepted with the condition that he still be able to maintain his day job with the City of New York department of sanitation.  "Sometimes a man has gotta follow the smell of a dream," remarked Mr. Norton.  Norton's wife Trixie has been tapped as secretary of snacks and prizes.  All other cabinet and czar positions will be abolished and operational funds will be returned to taxpayers.

Alice Kramden, the future president's wife of many years, is slated to head NASA.
If you don't know why, you're too young to be reading this blog.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hey, a Kid Can Dream...

The Yankees ruined my childhood.  No, really they did.  I was a die hard Detroit Tiger fan in the 1950's and early '60s just like all my grade school pals in southern Michigan. Everyday players such as  Frank Bolling, Al Kaline, Harvey Kuenn, Charlie "Paw Paw" Maxwell, Coot Veal and pitchers like Jim Bunning and Frank Larry were my guys.  I had all of their ball cards and followed them via the radio broadcasts of George Kell and Ernie Harwell on WJR.  

EACH year was going to be "the year" that the always underestimated Tigers were going to go all the way.  Heck, there weren't that many teams to beat in those days.  But always there was the hated YANKEES.  The New York Yankees--the guys in pinstripes, big city boys with their big city ways, who always seemed to own first place in the American League by Memorial Day.  The Tigers, more often than not, possessed the deed to the cellar 
before May made an appearance.  It made for a long Summer but we Tiger fans were always certain that a blockbuster trade or similar miracle was moments away and our dedication and love would be reciprocated.  Wouldn't it??

Well, maybe today the tide turns.  This afternoon the Tigers are visiting Yankee Stadium for the first game of the American League divisional playoffs.  (Divisions??  We didn't need no stinking divisions in my day!)  Maybe today the Tigers finally begin to dispatch the hated Bronx Bombers.  Maybe in three straight?  Okay, perhaps in four?  WELL, I just hope that in the end justice will prevail.  Certainly God is a Tiger fan.  
Sure the Yankees have more bats and a better bullpen but...well, the TIGERS ARE DUE!
I wonder if "Yankee Killer" Frank Larry is still alive and available for a start?  And, now that I think about it, to help with some relief work it would be nice to resurrect the lefty-righty combination of Don Mossi and Ray Narleski.  That would be perfect.  Those guys always looked like a couple of small town undertakers which, truth be known, is probably what the Tigers are going to need.
Here's hoping...


Friday, September 23, 2011

Reflections on a rainy afternoon...

Lots of construction underway at the World Trade Center site
The rain persisted as the afternoon wore on but it seemed appropriate for the occasion.  This was my first trip to the World Trade Center site in at least two years.  Since 9/11 I have visited ground zero many times and found it more than a little aggravating that so little has been accomplished to both preserve and renew this meridian where pure evil came to call ten years ago this month.  
"Reflecting Absence"

Finally we have a memorial dedicated to the thousands of innocent Americans who perished so violently at the hand of hate filled zealots who worship at the altar of a vile, insane and nonsensical "religion" that values death more than life.  I am relieved and happy that the new memorial is beautiful, respectful and thought provoking.  It is exactly what it should be.

I had wondered what my feelings would be.  A piece in the Wall Street Journal by Eric Gibson had been critical of the water that is a huge part of "Reflecting Absence".  Mr. Gibson said, "water isn't a grace note; It's a blunt instrument.  The water cascading 30 feet creates a thunderous roar reminiscent of Niagara Falls.  The noise is so distracting that your impulse is to retreat to the relative quiet of the trees rather than linger and try to ponder the names on the parapets."   I completely disagree.  The cascading water and its roar recall the cacophony of confusion and destruction visited on this center of world trade.  In addition,  there is a real sense of dispare and hopelessness, at least for me, as  ropes of foam fall into a dark foreboding void.  This,  in combination with the names of thousands of innocent victims chiseled on the parapets, comes together as an emotional experience not to be forgotten.
You should see it.  It is about a country that is great and good--one that is far better than those who hate us.

When you go, make it early.   Reservations are available on-line.  There is no charge, but  donations are always appreciated.  There is extra security--thank-you terrorist a-holes everywhere.  Expect to go through airport type screening, (metal detectors, empty pockets and perhaps a frisking).  It's all worth it.

Thank you Michael Arad for designing what I'm sure will be considered one of the best memorials ever conceived.
The falling water adds to the experience
As I left the site I noticed a lone wreath placed near the edge of one of the waterfalls.  It was from the Prime Minister of Israel.  When it counts, it's good to know who your friends are.
New spires will soon surround the memorial

Friday, September 16, 2011

Foxy Foxhole

San Francisco has always been a city where pretty much anything goes.  When I worked there in the 1980's something I looked forward to every Friday as I wrapped up my morning radio show was watching the marquee change at the Kearney Cinema in North Beach.  The station's studios were located in a building on the corner of Washington and Montgomery streets and had a birds eye view of entertainment icons like the Condor Club, the Purple Onion, and the aforementioned Kearney.  The movie house was strictly x-rated in a neighborhood that embraced that sort of thing.  Some of the classic flix advertised back then included:  "Rights of Uranus", "My Bare Lady", "Bar Whores", and the classic twin bill of "Spank Me to Heaven" and "Rodeo Girls in Bondage".  Rumor had it that there was also a raincoat concession in the lobby.  Leaky roof??

I don't know if the Kearney is still around but there is no doubt that the "adult film" industry is still goin' and uh.....never mind.  The reason I know this is because of a recent news story direct from L.A.'s San Fernando Valley. ( A place so notorious for porn production that radio legend Sweet Dick Whittington  dubbed it the "SIN Fernando" Valley.)  In a prepared news release,  the spokesman for a company called Pink Visual said that they have begun construction on what it calls a "post-apocalyptic" underground bunker in anticipation of a global catastrophe rumored to take place in late 2012.

"Our goal is nothing less than to survive the apocalypse to come in comfort and luxury," said Pink Visuals Quentin Boyer, " whether that catastrophe takes the form of fireballs flung earthward by an all-seeing deity, extended torrential rainfall, Biblical rapture, an earthquake-driven mega-tsunami, radioactive flesh-eating zombies, or some combination of the above."

Hmm...sounds like they have  the bases covered.  Mr Boyer refused to give the exact location of the bunker because of "security concerns".  (Word has it that there will be a well stocked bar.  Who can  blame him?)  Plans for maintaining a production studio and the company's website are, of course, key parts of the project.  (I imagine the costume department won't demand too much space.  What do they need?  Pizza delivery man uniform?  French maid costume?  ed)
Underground layout:  Where's the bar?

Although no set number of Pink Visual performers and other employees would be allowed to take refuge in the bunker, L.A. Weekly reported that the facility would accommodate 1200 to 1500 people.  The mind reels with regard to how priority for admittance will be determined.  

So, there you have it.  The world ends in late 2012, but plans are afoot for porn to survive.  It's probably all for the best that most of us will be in the wind.  Porn, cockroaches (of course), and no doubt, the I.R.S., Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi  all survive.  

If that turns out to be the plan, I'll simply say, "Thanks for all the money and the cocktails, I'll see you on the other side."

Room for me?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Juiceless, But Dealing...

No lights, big city
"This will be fun," I offer when my wife declares that this power outage looks to be a long one.  The electricity in most all of San Diego and parts of Orange county wilted and died around 3:45PM yesterday and as the sun slipped into the Pacific we knew there was little hope of a resurrection anytime soon.

The snow and ice storms of the 1960's had provided at least two or three extended powerless adventures during my family's time in northwest Iowa.  This, I decided, had seasoned me for survival in a power void.  As I recall, the only heat we had for those occasions  came from the gas oven in the kitchen and a small fireplace in the living room.  Because of the storms there was no school, however my brother and I were forced to do our homework under the rightfully jaundiced eye of dad.  Because of this, we both longed for a warm classroom and the chance to hang with our guttersnipe pals in the back row just out of the teacher's range. (They could smack you around in those days. ) A cold house, homework and periodic trips outside to "stay ahead of our shoveling" were all part of the great parental plan to make us solid citizens.  (The Calvinist ethic was writ large at our house.  Too bad it didn't work.)
Shovel ready snow

Linda brought no power outage skills to the situation.  She assured me that, outside of minor gaps lasting only a few minutes of her idyllic childhood, Black Hills Power & Light had kept her family electrified to the max.  I could tell this was going to be a steep learning curve.

In San Diego the ocean breezes make air conditioning a sometime thing.  We seldom need it for more than one or two weeks during the late Summer.  Ours had kicked on just the day before yesterday when the thermometer registered a sizzling 91 on the patio.  With a straight face Linda said, "We'll just turn on the ceiling fans and button up the house and that'll be just fine."  As soon as she said it she recognized the flaw in her logic.  No electricity--no fans.  Oops.  While that sunk in I was mentally running through a list of ways to pass a power free evening and coming up short.  TV? NO!  Shoot Pool?  Well, it would be easier to cheat in the dark.  That had possibilities.  After those two I was left with only the option of reading, something we both like to do.  For that one all we needed was some light.

I began to round up all the flashlights and candles in the house and fetched a long forgotten kerosene lamp from a dusty shelf.  Surely the power would be back on before nightfall.  Wouldn't it?
It wouldn't.

As darkness crept up the hill and surrounded us we realized that this was not going to be over soon.  It was amazing to look out on the neighborhood and see only the dim flicker of candles, flashlights and a few fire rings.  We were lucky to be at home.  Folks leaving work had to deal with no traffic signals, gas stations that couldn't pump fuel and streets that looked very different with no lights.  A simple mistake at a power plant had turned back the clock by more than a hundred years and all of us had to deal with it.  I couldn't help but reflect on the very real fact that all four of my grandparents, and Linda's too, had grown to adulthood without benefit of electricity and how very different their world had been.  In many important respects that world may have been better.  Certainly it was quieter and more leisurely.  The outdoor plumbing experience they can keep.

The power returned to our neck of the woods sometime after 3 this morning and we are slowly getting clocks re-set, computers re-booted and coffee made.  We have surveyed the freezer and refrigerator and have recorded only a half filled carton of strawberry ice cream in the casualty column.  Not bad; it could have been much worse.  I consider this as we roll into a weekend of 9/11 remembrance.  Thoughts and prayers go out to other Americans who will never be the same because of what they lost just ten years ago this Sunday.  Maybe minor inconveniences like a power outage are just what we need for perspective.  How else to grasp a loss so great or a wound so deep?  We must never again look and fail to see or call by name an evil so vile and depraved.

We begin by not forgetting.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Time Tripping

"Transience was my pigmentation; my roots would never go deep enough anywhere to make me a home or make secure with love."--Graham Green

My brother and I would cringe and roll our eyes every time we felt the heat of the light bar.  It invariably meant that mom or dad had been inspired to haul out the old Kodak 8mm movie camera to record some dopey birthday or holiday scene starring their sons and assorted pets and pals.  We were mortified by this intrusion into our good times and usually acted like mental patients whenever the camera was pointed our way.  This behavior often invited a swat from dad accompanied by an admonishment to "stop showing off".  Little did he know that both of us would pretty much spend the rest of our lives collecting a check for showing off.  
"I'm lovin' those socks Aunt Shirley gave me!"
As it has been with most everything our parents tried to pound into our heads, this whole business of pictures and home movies has proved to be correct.
Since mom's death I have been sorting through the many things we unearthed in her condo storage space and the nooks of boxes long forgotten on closet shelves.  The 8mm film she 
 was certain no longer existed, was there.    It was tucked away in a cardboard box deep in the stacks of other junk in storage;  the miracle is that it was still intact and usable.  

Costco, the Copper family "go to" headquarters for damn near everything from food to flicks,  is promoting a deal on slide and movie DVD conversion and it is magical.  I now have ALL of the footage shot by mom and dad condensed on four discs and am watching them in amazement.  Memories almost sixty years old are hauled onto my twenty-first century computer screen and many of them take my breath away.  Here is my brother as a baby and me already torturing him.  Our long dead grandparents, beloved dogs, childhood friends and now classic cars come back to life through the mists of time thanks to this now digitized 8mm film.  I am transfixed.  The memories whack me in the gut and often leave me laughing or, conversely, slightly wet of eye.

Many thanks mom and dad for ignoring the protests of your idiot sons and continuing to roll film on all of those occasions.  You knew what you were doing!  Two grateful sons apologize for thinking your obsession with preserving memories was stupid.  As usual, you were right.  I wish it hadn't taken me sixty years to draw that conclusion.

Young parents please note.  It has never been easier to preserve memories that will provide roses in December for you and your kids.

Lights!  Camera!  Action!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Seattle Summit

We were on our way to Alaska and it just seemed like a good idea...

My wife, Linda, and I had decided to tag along with longtime radio partner Cynthia Heath-Kerrigan and her husband, Bill, as they set sail on an Alaskan cruise.  Since Seattle was to be the jumping off point, it was only natural to call old Tacoma/Seattle radio goof deluxe, Dayle Nelson, to see if she cared to meet us for dinner.  She did, and the Steelhead Diner in Seattle's Pike Place Market will never be the same.  Cynthia, who lent her sense of raunch n' roll to shows we hosted on KOGO, KBZT, and KPOP in San Diego found a fellow nut job in Dayle who joined in twisted nonsense with Chuck Boland and me on KTAC in the Pacific Northwest back in the early 1980's.

As the sun burned into the Pacific, (YES, it WAS out!), we recalled seat of the pants stunts we pulled on the air over the many years we played together.  There was the vermouth drinking skunk that lived under Cynthia's house; also the hard hitting expose' that Dayle presented on the Tacoma phone book, not to mention phone calls to a dead Elvis and an even more dead Liberace.  At one point Dayle reprised her unforgettable Ethel Merman impression and nearly cleared out the restaurant.

We laughed lots as the evening wore on.  Days gone by when radio was more "show" than "business" were remembered fondly.  The program directors we dissed and tormented with our penchant for always winging it were recalled with some reluctance.  (We wondered if our flagrant violations of their various anal retentive formats had taken years off their lives.)  It was an evening well spent with two of the best gal pals a guy ever had.

The days of having the kind of fun we enjoyed are long since in radio's rear view mirror--and it's a pity.  These days accountants, lawyers, investment bankers and the Internet have left radio flattened roadkill on the entertainment freeway.  AM, FM and all those transistors today are about as happening as the Pony Express.  It's a sad fact but we still have our memories of the days when radio and spontaneous fun were synonymous.

Cindy, Dayle...thanks for the laughs!  You were, and still are, the best in the business.  Who needs a transmitter anyway.
Cynthia, KC, & Dayle