January 19, 2018


1.Would movie theaters sell even more popcorn if they offered no-cal ‘I Can’t Believe its Not Butter’ as a topping? 2. I always carry my own 0%fat butter spritzer to the movies! Sometimes patrons look at me weird hearing the pumping sound coming out of my lap. 3. How long until Mayor Bloomberg requires mandatory no-fat topping in all theaters?!? 4. Over and over conservatives gripe about ‘taking responsibility’. ‘Take responsibility for your own retirement!‘Take responsibility for your own healthcare!’ Can someone remind me who took responsibility for the phony WMD evidence in Iraq? Or the financial meltdown that left millions unemployed? I know who benefited from these disasters but I can’t find a record of who took responsibility for them… 5. “Girls’ is the most original new program on television, IMO. It is shocking, heartbreakingly sad, hilariously funny, outrageous and depressing all at once. 6. How many viewers were all set to hate the ‘girls’ on ‘Girls’? They came from privileged families with celebrity parents (the daughters of Brian Williams, David Mamet, well known rock and rollers and artists)…but I have to admit they are damn good actresses as well. 7. Why do the hosts on FoxNews seem like high school: (Steve Doocey (annoying drama club president), Bill O’Reilly (school bully), Sean Hannity (football team quarterback), Megyn Kelly (captain cheerleading squad), Alan Colmes (geeky valedictorian who gets pushed in the bushes) while the hosts on MSNBC seem like Graduate School: Rachel Maddow: (snarky Graduate TA), Chris Hayes (wonky grad student), Lawrence O’Donnell (self-righteous Dean of Students), Martin Bashir (brainy foreign exchange student). 8. Something I just learned: Abraham Lincoln was the only president to hold a patent. Want to know what he invented? Look it up. (Hint: It had to do with beached boats.) 9. If Mitt Romney wore two-tone saddle shoes to match his hair would it catch on like Pat Boone‘s white bucks? (boy, how old do you have to be to remember that!) Has any popular male figure created a shoe fad since Beatle Boots? (excluding Michael Jordan) 10. When did Ann Romney become a bright blonde and how come no one noticed? 11. Why do I always imagine Antonin Scalia wearing a lobster bib eagerly awaiting dinner? 12. It was sad, like vacation-ending-sad, when I watched the last episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ and realized it would be a year before I returned to King’s Landing. 13. I haven’t had a cigarette in two months and my blood pressure has dropped almost 10 points. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. 14. Republicans want to repeal Obamacare. Did they ever get around to repealing the Congressional resolution renaming French fries Freedom Fries? Shouldn’t they repeal that first? 15. ‘Awake’ had the worst ending for the best new series on broadcast TV. Of course, if it hadn’t been cancelled at the last minute there would have been no sucky ending. 16. The best acting I saw all year was on TCM: the movie ‘DINNER AT EIGHT’ (1932) with Marie Dressler and John Barrymore. Each had a scene that took my breath away. I ran the scenes back, watching them again to make sure they were that good. They were. And the movie itself, a Chekovian ensemble of the destitute and nouveau riche keeping up appearances is so appropriate to OUR times. 17. When apartments sell for $88 million and $100 million to Russian oligarchs and Arab billionaires don’t tell me it has no affect on rents surrounding them in Manhattan. 18. I never had professional psycho-analysis but old girlfriends did a pretty good job. Dana Delaney: “You have parts of Jeffrey AND Brian in you. You exaggerate the part that’s like Jeffrey. You ignore the parts that are like Brian.”


Heidi Ettinger (Landesman): “Richard, you think if you’re having a bad day you should be able to walk down to the newsstand and see the newspaper headline declaring: ‘Richard’s having a bad day!” Joan Pirkle (Smith): “You don’t act like you’re G-d’s gift to women; you act as if women were G-d’s gift to you!”19. Something I just learned: The last living witness to Lincoln’s assassination was on the TV show ‘I’ve Got a Secret’ in 1956. He remembered being upset that John Wilkes Booth had hurt himself leaping from the balcony to the stage. You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_iq5yzJ-Dk 20. Something else I just learned: Japanese-Americans live longer on average than Japanese citizens living in Japan (and I learned this from a wacky right-wing talk show host!) 21. If a corporation is 20% owned by a foreign investor, say a sheik or a Russian oligarch, and the corporation donates money to an American political campaign: are foreigners helping to influence an American election? 22. How come anti-immigration zealots don’t seem to get upset by dual citizenship when dual citizens are Israeli or Irish? 23. If I wore a hoody from the old TV show ‘Just Shoot Me’ would I deserve to be shot for wearing a hoody? 24. The older I get the more I realize the most expensive thing I’ve acquired during my lifetime was a conscience. 25. The older I get (and the older Kyle gets) the more I understand why my mother always said: “I wish you and your brothers were little again!” 26. The older I get the more I understand you cannot love life without loving transience. 27. Thinking back to the time when Herman Cain was top candidate for the Republican presidential nomination: doesn’t it seem now like an unreal bad dream? 28. I’ve eaten in some of the best restaurants in the world and experienced unforgettable meals but is there anything better than a Dairy Queen Blizzard? 29. Now that we ‘reboot’ movie series like ‘Spiderman’ and ‘Batman’, can we reboot presidential candidates as well? I’d love to experience that naïve rush of believing in hope and change again!! 30. The ocean in Florida has more than fifty shades. Every evening at dusk I go to the beach to read and each evening it is a different color: lagoon blue or lime or turquoise or sky-blue or gray or sapphire or white-capped. Its different every evening and must have fifty shades of gray alone…31. I went to five colleges: UNH, UCSB, UCBerkeley and Yale but when I dream about college I’m always on campus at Santa Barbara. 32. There is an American fantasy that financial moguls must be SMARTER than the rest of us. After all, they were intelligent enough to make all that money. There are some, I’m sure, who are above average in intelligence but anyone who has lived through the last five years should realize many aren’t more intelligent. They are more ruthless, more reckless, less conscious ridden than the rest of us. This American myth made it easier for them to get away with their crimes. 33. Financial moguls who go bust are like Ann Curry: On Friday the market values you at tens of millions, on Monday: “Out with the traife!” 34. Speaking of network morning hosts: Savannah Guthrie looks like she’s being tortured each morning on the Today Show. She can’t even make believe she’s interested in making Martha Stewart’s pinto bean/guacamole parfait! And she’s a lawyer, why should she? 35. When will NBC realize the problem is not his female co-hosts but Matt Lauer. He is a neutral shade that needs strong colors surrounding him. His success is not in spite of his blandness but because of it. 36. Hey, NBC: Where is J. Fred Muggs when you need him? 37. My brother Jeffrey once told me remonstrating over my poor career choices: “You could have been the next Matt Lauer. Instead you’re the next Soupy Sales!” He was wrong. I could never do what Matt does. And I loved Soupy Sales! 37. When I met Mitt Romney in a greasy spoon on 55th street in December not one person in the place recognized him. I often wonder if those people would know who he was today. 38. When has Paul Krugman (the stimulus is too small, inflation will stay restrained, austerity stifles growth etc.) been wrong about the American economy? 39. When has Lawrence Kudlow (the BushGoldilocks Economy‘, the Celtic Tiger) been right? 40. In the same vein: “The Irish economy is showing encouraging signs of recovery!” The Cato Institute, June 2010. ‘Nuff said. 41. No matter how many times conservatives quote him on the cable news shows, Obama never promised the stimulus would bring unemployment down below 8%. He never said it. NEVER. (Christina Roehmer did make that prediction base upon incorrect projections on the economic damage but that’s not as effective a political statement.) 42. Excuse me, but if I remember the last three years correctly, the economy DID begin to improve after the stimulus. 43. I usually finish the Sunday New York Times by Wednesday. 44. I save the Book Review, (my favorite section) for last. Can I make one of those obnoxious commercials? 45. I still read the Style section for the wedding announcements but its been years since I’ve seen someone I know. 46. The last wedding announcement where I personally knew someone getting married was comedienne Marilyn Michaels. 47. I haven’t watched a Sunday morning network news program in years. I listen to every single one by podcast and don’t miss a thing visually. 48. ‘Up with Chris Hayes’ and ‘The Chris Matthews Show’ are not podcast so I guess I should amend that! 49. I might read FIFTY SHADES OF GREY if someone tells me its better written than THE STORY OF O. 50. So again: why are the days so short in Florida?


Have there been any new pop music forms since Grunge? We had Punk, Heavy Metal, Disco, Rap, Hip Hop, Grunge through the seventies and nineties. Have there been any new categories in this new millennium? If not, why is that? Do trance and techno count? I don’t know enough about them to say…….The movie THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT is better than alright. Much better: Mark Ruffalo, Annete Benning and Julianne Moore are superb. The kids are alright……..Inconvenient facts that will start some kind of argument if you mention them: The first person murdered on 9/11 was probably a Jew. Among the first terrorists indicted after 9/11 were two Jews who planned to blow up a mosque and assassinate a Republican congressman. The first people arrested after 9/11 were probably Israeli Mossad agents filming and mocking the attack. Try it……Is it just me or does John Boehnor’s skin seem even more orange than usual? And is that mascara or does he just have naturally black rimmed eyelids like the actor who plays Ricardo on ‘LOST’?……Anyone over fifty should read the sci-fi book ‘REPLAY’. I read it everywhere I go. Give it away as a gift on birthdays……INCEPTION is no longer the #1 movie in the US. THE OTHER GUYS made more money this past weekend. I must be the only one finding Will Ferril’s act growing thin. Steve Carrel too for that matter…….What happened to conservative Representative David Drier? A few years ago he was everywhere on the tube— FoxNews, CNN, MSNBC. Then rumors began circulating on line that he was gay and had been living with another man for years. I haven’t seen or heard about him since. Has anyone else? He won re-election in 2008 but took his profile so low he could walk under a door frame (perhaps the door frame to a closet)…… I’ll be back in NYC on August 17th for a week. I can’t wait. The days will get longer, I’m certain…….Why do the days in Florida seem so short?

Out of my mind…

Was I the last person in America to discover that ‘schmuck’ is an acceptable commercial word as in ‘Dinner for Schmucks’? Did this title create any controversy at all? Ten years ago it would have been called “Dinner for Shnooks” but soon will breed the sequel: “Breakfast with Assholes”. Lenny Bruce joked that he was arrested “by a Yiddish undercover agent” for saying the word “schmuck” onstage. Can ‘Shit My Father Says’ be far from censorship freedom? Yet it’s always irritating to me when I see F— printed in a newspaper and a magazine, as if we aren’t pronouncing the word in our minds, filling in the letters while reading. Yeah, right,.F— that!……Its been years since I heard a new song that I really, REALLY liked. Is that a sign of getting old or the sorry state of modern pop music?…..If the GOP can make you believe that raising the top marginal tax rate 4% for the richest 2% of Americans will hurt the economy they can make you believe anything. Oh wait: WMD in Iraq, Terry Schiavo eating puddings and responding to her parents, John Kerry cowardly in Vietnam, Obama is a socialist–silly me–Of course they can make you believe anything!……Best movie I saw this year: ‘The Secret in Their Eyes’. It was made in Argentina…… These three statements alone could slow some silly arguments in their tracks: 1. the first victim of terrorism on 9/11 was a Jew. 2. Dick Cheney told his Treasury Secretary, ‘You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.’ 3. Hamilton and Washington personally organized a military force to put down a citizen’s revolt over taxes, arrested the perpetrators and sentenced a couple to death. Try it…….When the teacher told Kyle at elementary school graduation that in Middle School he would start having periods he was aghast: ”NOOOO. They taught us in sex ed that only girls get periods!”……Remember last years summer of death? Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon, David Carradine, Farah Fawcett, Walter Cronkite, John Hughes, Billy Mays, Ted Kennedy–So far this summer’s obituaries carry a lot less star power. Mitch Miller and George Steinbrenner? Even celebrity death is in recession…… Why do the days seem so short when you’re in Florida?