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Closing the barn door after the tomatoes have run away…

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Those who follow Sarah Palin (either with amusement or disdain) may have heard that at a recent book signing in Minneapolis, a man threw two tomatoes at her from a second floor balcony.

So when she showed up at a Costco in Salt Lake City, the store manager took steps to prevent another drive-by fruiting:

While going through the check-out lane, again with no wait, [Helen Rappaport] told the clerk she forgot to get some grape tomatoes, which she loves, so she would be right back. That’s when the bells went off. The clerk told her they had no tomatoes that day. No tomatoes? At Costco?

As she was leaving, she noticed a man with a store manager’s name tag and asked him why they had no tomatoes. He informed her the store did have tomatoes, but they were taken off the shelves for a few hours. It turns out that Palin had been pelted with a tomato at an earlier stop on her book tour and the management at the Costco was determined it wouldn’t happen here. The manager told an employee to go into the storage area and get Rappaport some tomatoes, which he gave her for free.

The Costco store manager believes, apparently, that someone out there had decided to throw things at Sarah Palin when she visited the local Costco, went to Costco empty-handed, proceeded immediately to the tomato aisle, saw there were no tomatoes available, and then decided to give up and go home, rather than, you know, throwing something else at her.

Score one for the ingenuity and quick action of the Salt Lake Costco manager…

Categories: Political Rantings, Random Acts of Blogging | 2 Comments »

Some Events, I Just Can’t Fathom…

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

We took the kids to see Disney’s A Christmas Carol last night (super-quick review: an intense telling of the story, Jim Carey could legitimately win an Oscar for it if he isn’t careful, the 3-D is so good that I can’t imagine it not being the future of all movies, but way too scary for the kids – especially the seven-year old. Consider this your Parental Guidance). Anyway, during the previews (most of which were also in 3-D, by the way), there was an ad for something called FathomEvents.com.

The idea here is to bring special events into movie theaters for one-time only or limited-run performances. They have operas performed at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, old-time movies that get eviscerated by the guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000, special on-location news reports by Elizabeth Vargas, and the like. Pretty cool idea, if you ask me. But then there’s this: “Glenn Beck’s The Christmas Sweater – A Return To Redemption.” From the website:

Before a studio audience, Glenn will tell you about the real life events that inspired him to write The Christmas Sweater, and he’ll share stories of the overwhelming response he received about how the tale’s message of redemption literally changed people’s lives, bringing many back from the brink of collapse and restoring family relationships. Then, Glenn will show a re-mastered and exclusive version of The Christmas Sweater taped live during his 2008 cross-country tour. Afterward, Glenn will introduce you to some of the people who were touched by the story and you’ll experience their intimate journey of transformation through the simple gift of redemption.

This incredible Christmas celebration will be simulcast to HD movie theatres all over the country. Join Glenn for the next evolution of The Christmas Sweater and see for yourself why critics and audiences alike are heralding it as a new American classic.

OK, seriously. Who let this guy out of his cage? What’s next? Rush Limbaugh Sings the Classics?

Categories: Movie Talk, Random Acts of Blogging | 4 Comments »

Random Acts of Blogging – 12/3/09

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

So many blog-worthy things going on in the world all at once! So, some quick thoughts on several things:

Adam Lambert emerged from his #2 finish on American Idol as one of the most promising singing talents in years. At the American Music Awards, he decided to make his performance a social statement, rather than make it about the music. He’s since been cancelled by ABC from Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. And the shows that are letting him on suddenly want to talk about nothing else but the AMA’s. I’m disappointed. Not because I have a particular opinion about his “cause,” but because he’s allowed his cause to overshadow his music, which I was looking forward to enjoying. On the upside, I think maybe he’s realizing his mistake. Here’s what he told Ellen Degeneres:

It was maybe a little too far. I think in hindsight I look back on it and I go, “OK, maybe that wasn’t the best first impression to make again, the first second impression.” I mean, I had fun up there, I had a good time, my dancers had fun and the band had fun. I respect people and feel like people walked away from that feeling disrespected. I would never intend to disrespect anybody. So that was not my intention.

What he needs now is a musical “reset” – another spotlight moment, like the AMA’s, in which he knocks everyone’s socks off musically, and convinces people that music is his thing, not social commentary.

Tiger Woods released the following statement yesterday:

[N]o matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. I realize there are some who don’t share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one’s own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions.

Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. I have given this a lot of reflection and thought and I believe that there is a point at which I must stick to that principle even though it’s difficult.

I wish every celebrity in the world would memorize these two paragraphs and recite them whenever some nosy reporter presumes to suggest that his/her private life is somehow my business.

Tiger had a car accident and knocked over a fire hydrant. He needs to explain that to the police, and hence, to the public. If someone were knocking over fire hydrants in my neighborhood, I’d want to know who, where and why. That’s a public safety issue and a law enforcement issue. However, if the answer to “Why?” is “domestic dispute” or “private matter,” then I have no need or desire to know more.

Michaele and Tareq Salahi are the latest in a series of Reality TV inspired stupidity. Years ago, people would do dumb things to get noticed, to be sure, but the result was rarely more than the standard fifteen minutes of fame. Today, with the institutional backing (and financing) of a Reality TV Show’s production company, exhibitionists like these have the capability of distracting the entire nation for fifteen days, not fifteen minutes. The Salahi’s, like the Balloon Boy family before them, only benefit from their actions if they get caught. And even though the news media knows this, they play right into the perpetrators’ hands, because they also know that it sells soap. My only hope is that the largely negative reaction to both the Salahi’s and the Heene’s dissuade Reality TV producers from pulling stunts like this in the future. Because the media is certainly not going to show any restraint.

HBO recently aired the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th Anniversary Concert. Culling through two nights of music, they presented a “mere” four hours of musical genius, ranging from Stevie Wonder to Simon & Garfunkel to Aretha Franklin to Crosby, Stills & Nash to U2 to Metallica to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Add to that a truly amazing array of “guest stars,” such as James Taylor, Joe Cocker, Smokey Robinson, Sting, BB King, Bonnie Rait, and Billy Joel. As I watch these folks float on and off the Madison Square Garden stage, all I can think is, “These are the masters that today’s musical acts can only dream of approximating.” I’m not a fan of every musical style in the show, but the amount of raw musical talent on display is so far and away beyond the artists of today, that one wonders what the 50th Anniversary show could possibly have to offer. Maybe it’s just my age showing…

Categories: News and/or Media, Political Rantings, Random Acts of Blogging, Words about Music | 4 Comments »

Robo-Warrior Draft

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

My phone just rang. It was a gentleman from the Democratic National Committee. He said that President Obama needs me to fight for Jon Corzine because Jon Corzine is fighting for New Jersey.

Very strange – I would think President Obama would have people that could do that for him. You know – without having to call me and all. Maybe he should nominate a Fight for Jon Corzine Czar? Besides, I’m too busy to fight for Jon Corzine today. I mean, at a minimum, I need to stay home and field all these calls!

I hope there isn’t a Fight for Jon Corzine draft. But just in case there is, I think I better find out who, exactly, is fighting against Jon Corzine. I mean, maybe it’s someone we really don’t have to worry about. Like the Boston Red Sox…

Categories: Political Rantings, Random Acts of Blogging | 2 Comments »

Gaah! October Snow!

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

How depressing is this:

It’s like Minneapolis out here…

Categories: New York, New York, Random Acts of Blogging | No Comments »

Oy Vey! Ahmadinejad is Jewish!

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

According to today’s Daily News, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was born to practicing, Iranian Jewish parents who changed their name from Sabourjian to Ahmadinejad when they converted to Islam just after his birth.

The Sabourjians traditionally hail from Ahmadinejad’s hometown of Aradan. The name is even on the list of reserved names for Iranian Jews compiled by Iran’s Ministry of the Interior, [the London Daily Telegraph] says.

Experts told the Telegraph his vitriolic attacks against Jews could be an attempt to hide his past.

“This aspect of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s background explains a lot about him,” said Ali Nourizadeh, of the Center for Arab and Iranian Studies. “Every family that converts into a different religion takes a new identity by condemning their old faith.

“By making anti-Israeli statements, he is trying to shed any suspicions about his Jewish connections.”

A London-based expert on Iranian Jewry said that the “jian” ending to the Sabour name shows that the family had been practicing Jews.

How embarrassing, huh? Although, if he can deny the Holocaust ever happened, it shouldn’t be much of a stretch for him to deny all of this as well. Look for Ahmadinejad to claim that he was born at the age of eighteen any day now…

Categories: Political Rantings, Random Acts of Blogging | 2 Comments »

Five Monkeys in a Cage

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

[This story was related to me at a leadership seminar today. I don't know if it's true, but regardless, I found it very insightful]

A group of scientists put five monkeys in a cage. Hanging from the ceiling, in the middle of the cage, was a banana. Just under the banana was a wooden crate that the monkeys could use to climb up to the banana.

The first time the monkeys were put in the cage, they all naturally went for the banana. When they did this, the scientists turned an industrial strength fire hose on them and forced them down off the crate. They repeated this procedure for a period of time, until eventually, the monkeys would sit in the cage without attempting to take the banana.

At that point, the scientists replaced one of the monkeys with a another monkey who had not participated in the experiment up until this point. The first time this group of monkeys was put in the cage, four of them sat idly by, while the fifth monkey (the newcomer) went for the banana. Again, the scientists got out the fire hose, but they did not spray only the monkey who went for the banana, they sprayed all the monkeys in the cage. They repeated this procedure for a period of time as well (each time with four of the original monkeys, and one monkey who was brand new to the cage). Eventually, the fire hose became unnecessary, because when the newcomer went for the banana, the other four monkeys would forcibly prevent it from doing so. A few trials later, the scientists once again had five monkeys who would sit idly in the cage with the banana dangling from the ceiling.

The above process was repeated several more times, until eventually, the scientists had five monkeys who would sit in the cage and not take the banana, but had absolutely no idea why.


Moral of the story: when someone tells you something has to be done a certain way because “that’s the way we’ve always done it,” challenge their logic. It’s quite possible that the real reason has long since vanished.

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 9 Comments »

Surfing the Video Web

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

A whole slate of cool/funny/interesting videos made their way in front of my eyeballs today, so I thought I’d share:

First up, President Obama’s Amazingly Consistent Smile (Hat Tip: Scalzi)

Barack Obama’s amazingly consistent smile from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.

Next up, Christopher Reeve’s first appearance on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, promoting Superman: The Movie (Hat Tip: Bennion)

Next, Hugh Jackman on the Broadway Stage when a cellphone interrupts his performance (Hat Tip: E! Online)

[Editor's Note: I've long held the unpopular opinion that receiving a cellphone call during a performance is not inherently evil. The phone should be on vibrate to avoid what happened here, but people sometimes get equally pissed when a person answers the (silent) phone - even if he/she quietly tells the caller to hold and then walks out of the theater. This is caused by two potentially inaccurate assumptions: first, that the ringing phone is the fault of the callee, not the caller, and second, that the subject of the call is, by default, less important than the brief interruption they had to endure while the person quietly excused himself/herself. Next time you see someone do it, consider that the caller might be a doctor in an emergency room, or a babysitter reporting a problem with the person's child, etc.. OK, off my soapbox]

And finally, CNET’s Mailbag video, added here for its “Auto Incorrect” segment (Tip for everyone: don’t use your iPhone to text your boyfriend/girlfriend that you’re the “King of Sudoku”):

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | No Comments »

The zoo that is our backyard…

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Since we moved to suburban New Jersey, we’ve seen geese, deer, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and various species of birds and insects making their way through our backyard. I’ve always thought of it as both a beautiful display of nature’s variety as well as an inconvenient, and occasionally dangerous, pest problem.

That said, I’m not sure how I feel about three wild turkeys hanging out in our backyard this afternoon. When I went outside to photograph them, they made their way into the woods, so I didn’t get too good a picture (as it is, this is heavily photoshopped to highlight the turkey – damn those natural camouflage abilities of wild animals!)

Anyway, we’ll see if this guy has the nerve to show up around November…


Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 5 Comments »

Talk about your typos…

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

There’s this guy in my office who generates a weekly report every Monday morning and sends it out in advance of a weekly meeting, where it’s discussed. This week, the guy is on vacation, so late yesterday, we had to scramble to have someone else generate the report before the meeting today.

The guy who volunteered to do it received the request very late in the day, but wanted to make clear his willingness to help when he returned to the office today. Here is the full text of his e-mail to me (except, of course, his signature):

Brian – I will try to reproduce in the morning.

Now, ya see, this is more information than I needed. Unless he was trying to tell me he’d be late to work today?

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 3 Comments »

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