Wednesday, February 29, 2012

985 And the Winner Is...

985 And the Winner Is....

Not us, that’s for sure.  Oscar night has come and gone for another year.  Mercifully.  The program was the least boring in recent years, at least for the first couple of hours.  After that, even the most die-hard Scorsese fans’ eyes glazed over.  Next year, ABC should do with this show what it does with its other unwanted and unnecessary dogs like Monday Night Football and move it to ESPN.  

Some thoughts:

Timing Is Everything:  Has this show ever ended on time?  It certainly didn’t this past weekend, breaking the second cardinal rule of television:  “Get on, Get off.”

The Commercials: The best:  a series of JC Penney spots with Ellen DeGeneres.  Super Bowl caliber.  Runner up: Hyundai, selling its luxury models. The rest:  the current ad for Ford has been shown so many times in so many places that it’s going to have a reverse effect.  Ditto the imbecile spots for AT&T’s 4G smart phones.  Dumb.

Billy Crystal:  Demonstrated that in addition to not being funny, he can’t sing or dance. Two good one liners, though: he welcomed us to the “Chapter Eleven Theater,” and later said something along the lines of “In economic times like these it’s always encouraging to see millionaires giving each other gold statues.”  That’s not an exact quote.

James Earl Jones: He’s won before, and he’s been nominated nearly a dozen times.  But he’s 81, time may be running out, so they gave him an Oscar just for being James Earl Jones.  Bravo.  He’s earned it.

The Minor Awards:  Pretty interesting because they take you behind the scenes and show you about stuff like makeup and lighting, cameras, animation techniques, writing, art direction, sound mixing, costumes, editing, and special effects -- you know, the stuff that makes you watch the films which themselves often seem like afterthoughts.

The Presenters:  For the most part, dummies displaying full blown dumbness.  The best: Michael Douglas, Ben Stiller and Morgan Freeman.  The worst:  Anyone who had anything to do with “Bridesmaids.”  Special mentions:  Jennifer Lopez (yech!) and Miss Piggy (whoever’s doing her voice these days just doesn’t get it right.)

Cirque du Soleil: Breathtaking.  Gorgeous.  Completely unnecessary.

The Obits:  Breathtaking.  Gorgeous.  Completely necessary.

Mid-level Awards: Supporting Actress Octavia Spencer, thumbs up (but see note above on Timing.)  Supporting Actor Christopher Plummer, thumbs neither up nor down (yawn.)

Major Awards: Best Actress, Meryl Streep. (What, again?) Best Actor: Jean Dujardin (It’ll be a long while before we see him again.  Thank goodness. And see note above on Timing.)

Major Disappointment:  “The Help” didn’t win best picture.  So much for the Golden Globes as predictors of the Academy Awards.  This may be the only movie in ages that actually MEANS something.  So, naturally, it lost.

Majorest Award:  Best Picture, “The Artist.”  A nonsensical, pretentious semi-silent piece of boring banality and Hollywood over-hype at its absolute worst, right up there with “Godzilla,” “Bitter Rice,” “Doctor Doolittle,” “Grease,” “Song of the South” and “The Clam That Ate Pittsburgh.”


Shrapnel:


--Bowling for Ernie.  He’s a Wal-Mart greeter and they’ve moved him and all of the rest of them from near the door to the middle of the floor where they stick up like bowling pins and have no real function.  Makes you want to bring a ball into the store and practice … or better yet, find one in the store and try it out.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2012
New Posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday before noon, Eastern Time

Monday, February 27, 2012

984 It's Only Newark

984 It’s Only Newark

Newark is not a joke, though some other New Yorkers may dispute that.  After all, with guys like Sharpe James and Tony Imperiale as its poster men, there have been times it was hard to take the place seriously.    Some say it has long been deprived of its full city-hood because of its proximity to New York.  Others say it would never have developed at all were it not for its proximity to New York.

Now, the twain have met over the NYPD’s “want(ing an informant) in every mosque within a 250 mile radius” as Deputy Commissioner David Cohen, the intelligence chief directed.  Gotta keep an eye on those Islamics...  you know... the guys who drive taxis and teach in the public schools and universities, and have MD after their name, drive garbage trucks, wait tables, have babies (oh my!  making still more of these Enemies of the People) filling cavities in your teeth and then strapping on the C-4 and blowing themselves to smithereens and taking the neighborhood down with them.

Dave “Baby” Cohen was CIA.  He may still think he is.  Come to think of it, he may still be if you believe one never really leaves the agency... the underworld... or the Associated Press.  But that’s beside the point.  The point is Newark has borders.  As do New Haven, Nassau County, Westchester and many other lesser places in the metro area.

So invading Newark is not part of the NYPD’s deal, or shouldn’t be.  The mayor, Cory Booker,  said he wasn’t aware of the operation to unearth Muslim terrorists in his midst.  The NYPD didn’t even offer the usual courtesy of informing the locals when they operate outside the five boroughs.

Some of the money for all this, reports the Associated Press, came from the White House.  The current and the previous administrations had what’s called the HIDTA or High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program.  (Don’t try to pronounce Hidta.)  About $135 million went to New York and New Jersey to fight drug traffic.  But some of the bucks (we don’t know how much) found its way into the Secret Police, where, apparently, it was used to buy stuff like cars for the spies.   So the war against drug traffickers and the war against ordinary Muslims have kind of merged this point.

Did the Newark police know about this?  Evidently not.  But -- just coincidentally, of course-- the top Newark cop from about the time this started, Garry McCarthy, now heads the police department in... Chicago, President Obama’s hometown and where the mayor is Obama’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.  Wonder if the pay there is better than in Jersey.

You can diss Newark all you want.  But it is an actual place.  And you don’t go bigfooting all over someone else’s front yard on some goose chase without letting the wheels there know what you’re doing.  Even though it’s only Newark.


Shrapnel:

--The local pronunciation is “Newerk,” as opposed to the like-named place in Delaware that is pronounced New Ark.  The Delaware people get all in a twist when people mis-pronounce the name of their town.  We are saying this in an effort to be fair and balanced.

--The definition of “riot” has been diluted big time in some areas of the country where any pipsqueak demonstration with more than three people and some property damage now qualifies.  If you want to know what a real riot looks like, put “Newark 1967” into your search engine.  Even better, take a look at  Newark 1967  on You Tube.

--But “Newark” is still a joke to some people, or at least something about which they get defensive or embarrassed.   For example, the owners took the name of the city out of the name of the newspaper.  It once was the Newark Star-Ledger, but now it’s just the “Star Ledger.”


I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2012
New Posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday before noon, Eastern Time

Friday, February 24, 2012

983 A Camera in the Moose Head on the Wall

983 A Camera in the Moose Head on the Wall

(Note: This is an expanded and more detailed version of a “Wessays Extra” that appeared under the title of “Iranians in Great Neck.”)

There are no moose heads in Mosques. But there are some nifty other places to hide cameras and cops wearing wires.

The NYPD has been spying on Muslims beyond the borders of the five boroughs.  The mayor defends this by saying (1) Religion plays no part in the NYPD's undercover search for terrorists and (2) The cops go where the allegations are and investigate to see whether they're true.

So what are the allegations, and are they true?  No word on that from City Hall, exactly.

They've been up to New Haven to investigate Yale, that hotbed of Muslim terrorism.  And the president of that radical school has had a public tizzy about it, and rightly so.

They've been over to Newark, taking pictures and taking names.  The mayor there, Cory Booker, is screaming -- also rightly so -- for an investigation, which the state attorney general, Jeffrey Chiesa is already conducting.

And they've also been to Great Neck, one of the richest suburbs in America and  just over the Queens border.  Guess what they found there?

According to the AP, which first broke the story last summer, there are a gazillion Iranian businesses.  Grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores.  Again, names and pictures. Complete and detailed police reports.

So, where are the Mosques?  None is listed in the classified, as far as one can tell.  

How's that?

Umm... well, starting in the 1950s, Great Neck attracted a gazillion Jews, added to the few already there.  Thirty years later the community remains largely Jewish.   And one of the big components -- Iranian Jews who fled from the Islamic revolution.

Jews have been in Persia for more than 2,500 years.  Islamic scholars say their faith can be traced back 1,400 years, though many say its structure was formalized a “mere” 1,000 years ago.

Neither group has been in this country anything close to that.  Good thing, too.  Think of the time the NYPD is saving by not having to go through all those ancient and crumbling video tapes.

So what’s next, concentration camps?

Shrapnel (Streets of Paris Edition):

--GM and Peugeot are talking about affiliating, largely because sales of the Opel are lagging in Europe and GM needs a hand up.  So, GM, how did that affiliation with Saab work out for you? And don’t forget, Saab made actual cars, as opposed to the Fiat-envy stuff Peugeot turns out.

--Anyone who has owned a French car knows that the French can’t make cars.  Yet some of their designs are timelessly beautiful, or timelessly ugly.  Case in point:  the mid 1950s Renaults and Citroens … especially the ones where you could remove the doors to improve air flow on those hot summer drives or to keep the car’s weight down when attempting to climb mountains.

--Your correspondent’s first car was a 1957 Renault Dauphine named Maurice.  It came with a crank... a crank in 1957...  you had to take the engine out to replace a busted water pump, and eventually the floor rusted and the passenger seat fell through.  But driving Maurice was the most fun and adventure anyone had in a car while alone.

Have You Noticed?  There’s a new spirit of bipartisanship in the land... with both Democrats and thinking Republicans concluding Rick Santorum is nuts.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2012
New Posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday before noon, eastern time

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

982 You Can't Get a Man With a Gun

982  You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun

Oh, sure you can.  As long as your aim is decent.  The post’s title is a song from the musical “Annie Get Your Gun.”  But the substance is this from the Des Moines Register: there’s been a sharp increase in the number of women obtaining gun permits or going for shooting lessons.

Make you think twice before you plan a purse snatching or a carjacking... or worse.

Bullet Ralph from Ralph Avenue moved his gun shop to Suffolk County, Long Island some years back.  Shooting range out back.  Ralph sent us the Register article and says he hasn’t sold any of the pink bunny ears sound suppressors he stocks in three sizes and that go for over 300 bucks.  But he figures eventually they’ll move.  He’s thinking about running a mother-daughter special for Mother’s Day.

Getting a handgun permit on Long Island is tough.  But not nearly as tough as it is in the city.  He says the Ladysmiths have been flying off the shelves, relatively speaking, and the .22s, too.  Cheap ammunition.  Low recoil.  Not too noisy.

Ralph says the hype is good for business... not just in hardware, but in training.  “You get someone going for a (carry) permit and she’s got to fire a few thousand rounds here before she can get one.”  

So they’re lining up for time at Ralph’s Range.  Kind of like tee times at the golf course. Or tea time at the Teapot in Bellmore.  

“Think of it,” he says, “as a fashion accessory.  We even have holsters with rhinestones.”

No clay pigeons on Ralph’s shelves, though.  Why not?  “With so many real pigeons, who needs clay?”

If you want the whole story from the Register, click here.

Wessay™ 981 Correction:  The name of the town in which “Jew Pond” is situated is Mont Vernon, not Mount Vernon, New Hampshire.


Shrapnel:

--Get rich quick.  The storied University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism is offering a masters degree in communication management.  It is advertising said program with the headline “...be a Lobbyist,” a good thing because we don’t have nearly enough of those.

--You can’t make this stuff up.  A full blown road rage fistfight on the street, each car with a “Practice Courtesy” bumper sticker, one green, one gray.  Perhaps they were yelling courtesies at each other, but getting close enough to hear seemed dangerous.

Signs of age:  The spam ads for Viagra and its cousins are slowly being replaced by ads for walk-in bathtubs, injury lawyers and sites that help you apply for section 8 housing.  Can ads for pre-paid funerals be far behind?

Have You Noticed? Nag as they will, some of us won’t “switch to the New Look” for g-mail until the old look is clutched in our cold dead hands.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
New posts appear each Monday, Wednesday and Friday before Noon Eastern Time.
© WJR 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

981 Jew Pond

981 Jew Pond

That’s what they call it.  It ‘s the official name.  It’s in Mount Vernon, New Hampshire and it’s been called that since the 1920s when Jewish people owned the hotel it faces.  

Funny name.  But, so what.  It’s just New England wasps speaking typically New England plain talk.

Now comes the local Roman Catholic bishop, Peter Libasci, who has started a local flap about the name, which he says evokes contempt.  Some residents counter “it’s a part of our history.”  Voters will decide next month whether to change the name.

A puddle named “Jew Pond” is not exactly like flying the Nazi or confederate flags.  But the defenders of the name are invoking the same defense as those who want to keep the stars and bars or the twisted cross in the air.

And “Jew Pond” is not exactly as bad as some of the names they could call it, and probably do, privately.  

The hotel was started by a couple of Boston lawyers as a place where Jews could vacation during an era in which some other local hotels barred Jewish customers.  The name of the hotel was and is Grand Hill.  So residents will decide whether to call it “Grand Hill Pond.”

They could name it for the founders, whose names are buried somewhere in the local record books.  Goldberg Pond?  Horowitz Pond?

The hotel in its heyday was indeed grand.  One hundred rooms on four stories, surrounded by a charmingly monstrous Victorian shell.  It burned down in the 1930s.  But since ponds don’t generally catch fire (except in areas where they drill for gas,) it’s still there.

Thanks to the bishop, Jewish organizations are suddenly appalled. Please, gang, it’s not THAT terrible.  Using “Jew” as an adjective is generally offensive.  Maybe they can change the name to “Jewish Pond.”



Shrapnel:
--An ESPN play-by-play announcer recently used the phrase “chink in the armor” to describe a play involving Taiwanese-American basketball star Jeremy Lin, and people are making all kinds of excuses for the slur.  Lin has revitalized the Knicks and in some ways the entire NBA.  And there IS no excuse for the slur.

--There’s been a fight in New York for about 20 years over whether to rent public schools to churches for weekend services, and at the moment, the church-state separatists are winning.  But the state legislature wants to force the city to let services take place in its buildings, which it forbids, except when it doesn’t.  So now it’s up to the courts and we’ll see which side has the bigger budget or the more influential friends on the bench.


Have You Noticed? It’s always windy on the day they’re scheduled to pick up the recycling and later in the day everyone has to go out and collect the debris to get it ready for next week’s windstorm.


I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

980 Price Magic

980  Price Magic  

You have to wonder how some businesses set their prices.  They seem to be unrelated to reality.

Take Macy’s, which at the moment is doing pretty well, at least on paper.  If you look at some of their sales and one day and four hour specials you wonder how they recover the cost of the merchandise.  “Originally $X … now 60% off.”  The questions this raises:  (1) were they ever sold at the original price?  (2) If yes, was it for more than ten minutes?  (3) How can they discount stuff that deeply and that quickly and still stay in business.

The opposite side of that coin is the airlines.  Their fares are unrelated to distance, to destination the cost of paying for, flying and maintaining an aircraft.  Some short hops are outrageously overpriced.  Check it out at any airline or travel site.

Car dealers routinely sell stuff at or below the invoice price.  How can they sell for less than they pay?  They can’t.  What they don’t tell you is that the manufacturer kicks back part of the cost.  All perfectly legal.  No set schedule.

Some generic drugs don’t cost a whole lot less than the name brands, but you pay less because your insurance picks up more of the cost.  Are generics as good?  Some yes, some no.  They have to have the same main ingredient as the name brand.  But all the other stuff?  Not so.  Yes, drug companies have to make up for research costs and the cost of cooking up medicine that either doesn’t work when tried or isn’t approved for use.  But please!  Some of this stuff is priced based on nothing more than imagination.  And cash flow.  And greed.

Shrapnel:

--Honduras has solved its prison overcrowding problem the hard way.  How many hundred inmates dead in a fire?  And the reports are that the firefighters couldn’t get the guys out of their cells because the guards with the keys flew the coop at the first whiff of smoke in the air.

--Gov. Christie (R-NJ) has started a big flap over lowering the flags to half staff tomorrow, the day of Whitney Houston’s funeral in Newark.  He was right to order it.  And people who say she doesn’t deserve it because she did dope and booze are (a) out of their minds and (b) not the type who notice flag-lowerings in the first place.

--You can’t make this stuff up:  a customer had a heart attack while eating dinner at the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, which specializes in high fat, high cholesterol food named for cardiac ailments.  Nothing like living up to your name.  (By the way, speaking of people like Christie, people who weigh over 350 pounds eat free.)

Have You Noticed? People saying Greenwich Village has “grown too commercial” in recent years said the same thing starting with the 1940s and that both groups were right.


I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
More of this nonsense at Wessays Extras which is clickable on the right side of this page under the heading “My Blog List.”
© WJR 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

979 The Laughing Rat

979 The Laughing Rat

Ever hear a rat laugh?  Want to?  If so, be on a subway platform the day they put up those warning signs about rat poison on the tracks.  The poison doesn’t do a whole lot for population control.  But it turns the 34th St. E train stop and others into an underground comedy club for the four footed.

Why are there rats in the subway tunnels?  You might as well ask “why is there gravity?”

There are all kinds of explanations, all of them inadequate.  But one of the chief suspects is food.  They asked Willie Sutton why he robbed banks and he answered it was because that’s where the money is.  So, too, do rats go where the food is.

And now comes the well meaning State Senator Bill Perkins (D-Harlem) with the astounding idea that if you take away the food, you get rid of the rats.  And he is behind legislation to stop eating on the subway.

This works in Taipei.  You’re not permitted to eat or drink or chew gum in the cars or on the platforms.  And they enforce it.  Big time. The stations and the trains are clean as autoclaves. But Taipei’s system is relatively new and they started it out with the rule in place.  Their passengers are as industrious as ours and as hurried.  But they got early training in non-eating.  No one has ever seen a rat on the tracks there.

New York is a different story.   Our system is a million years old and has a cultural memory that goes back to the start.  Eating in the subway is in our DNA.  Unfortunately, so is leaving the leavings in the cars, on the platforms, and in some cases on the tracks.

Your idea is good, Sen. Perkins.  But it’s never going to happen. Not here.


Shrapnel:

--Here’s a cool way to improve America’s trade imbalance.  Sell hip replacements overseas even if they were recalled here.  Congratulations to Johnson & Johnson for hitting on this patriotic marketing plan.

--Here’s an uncool way of maintaining cordial relations between Mormons and Jews:  continue posthumous baptisms of Holocaust survivors even though the church has banned the practice.  The LDS leadership has apologized to activist Simon Wiesenthal for allowing the after-death baptizing of his parents last month, 17 years after the ban went into effect.

--Everyone has heard the big stories about Whitney Houston.  But some of the small stories and background stories fill out the picture.  Here’s one by friend and colleague Dianne Thompson Stanciel (Click Here.)


Have You Noticed how rewarded you feel when your “rewards” credit card sends you the bill and it says “no payment due this month?”

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
More of this nonsense at Wessays Extras which is clickable on the right side of this page under the heading “My Blog List.”
© WJR 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

978 Chrysler. Again.

978 Chrysler. Again.

I.

Years of rooting for teams like the Jets and Knicks and the Islanders can inoculate a fan against disappointment in losing.  You don’t abandon your guys just because they can’t get the ball near the end zone or into the net... or the puck into the goal.

And so it is with Chrysler, the “half” of America’s big two and a half domestic car makers.  What happens when you actually win one is not so easy to describe.  As in “What’s wrong with this picture?”

If Chrysler were a cat, it would be in its tenth or eleventh life.  And to come up with some actual winners in a given model year is, well, unheard of.  Now what do we do?  Buy one?  Perish forbid!

If you thought the outfit couldn’t sink lower than the K-car, that the post Iacocca era would be the cat’s final life, you were wrong.  Try as they did to wreck the brand, Daimler and then Cerberus couldn’t sink it.  Those expecting the sale to Fiat to be the knockout punch may be wrong.

Chrysler’s current successes resulted from a two step process.  Step one:  make cars that look angry and macho while everyone else was building cutsie and soccer mom.  Step two, years later:  make sure they work.  Making them work is not a new concept for this outfit.  They had that down from the beginning until maybe the late 1950s, then kind of forgot it, remembered it in the late 70s and then forgot it again.

So, now they’re building cars that seem worthy of buying.  But will they hold up?  We’re way past the time that the life expectancy of a car is under 100,000 miles.  And Fiat doesn’t exactly spring to mind when you think of longevity.

II.
It’s also time for another change.  No one trusts car dealers.  Even the good ones (how do you tell?) are suspect.  Time to clean up that act.  Take the come-ons and the pitches and the phony discounts and the “I have to consult with the sales manager on that price”s, and the sale of unnecessary accessories or undercoatings or glass etching out of the process.  Fess up about “dealer invoice pricing.”  And stop glad handing us.  Chrysler -- or anyone else -- could lead the way on this one.

III.

For a four year old look at Chrysler, click here.

Shrapnel:

--Speaking of the Knicks, it was probably just dumb luck, but signing Jeremy Lin, a year out of Harvard (Harvard?  Basketball?) was probably the smartest dumb luck they’re had in awhile.  With a couple of overripe superstars out of the lineup for various reasons, they’re playing benchman Lin, bringing the team back to team-ness and winning games.  He’s a relative shortie for the NBA, 6’3” and the first American born Taiwanese to make it into the bigs.

Have You Noticed?  The gas drilling industry is beginning to sound a lot like the tobacco  industry of 20 years ago as it denies fracking has anything to do with earthquakes or with water you can set afire and which kills you when you drink it -- flaming or not.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
More of this nonsense at Wessays Extras which is clickable on the right side of this page under the heading “My Blog List.”
© WJR 2012


Computer translation of shrapnel
尼克斯時, 簽約林書豪,今年哈佛(哈佛籃球嗎?)可能是最聰明的好運氣,他們在一段時間。一個爛熟的巨星情侶因各種原因陣容,他們玩benchman林,使球隊的團隊性和贏得比賽。他是NBA,6'3“和台灣第一個美國出生的大個子相對shortie。6’3” = 190.5 cm.

Friday, February 10, 2012

977 Apoproxy

977 Apoproxy

Comes a one pound package of paper from Ding Dong Mutual Insurance:
“Dear Sir, since you buy your insurance from us and since we are a ‘mutual’ company, ‘us’ includes yourself.  Please read the enclosed materials, carefully considered by your board of directors, which urges you to vote for our recommendations.  If you would rather vote in person, you are welcome -- by presenting valid, government-issued photo i.d.-- to attend our annual meeting on April 11th.”

Hmm.  Attending the annual meeting might be fun.  Chance to get to see how these guys, “us,” operates.  Now, where is it again?  Hmm.  Well, surely it gives that information somewhere.  We’ll get to it eventually.

First, let’s look at what’s on the ballot.  Three candidates for three vacancies on the board.  Amendments to the bylaws, including one to reduce the size of the board and another to make sure the board considers only issues of importance, leaving the rest of the company to the executives.  

Does this mean the board of directors has been processing claims?  Delegating parking spaces?  What?

Let’s go to that meeting and find out what’s going on with this outfit!  Still can’t find where, though.

Then, a space to approve retaining the auditing firm that’s been doing the books for the last million years.  Why is that a question?  Gotta go to that meeting.  Gotta be a time and place in here somewhere!

Four thousand pages of blah blah and countless invitations to the annual meeting.  No place identified, and no time.

But there’s a help line for information.  It’s after 8 PM, but maybe there’s someone still there.  After all, it’s around ten in the morning in Mumbai.  They answer.  So, where’s the meeting?  And what time does it start?

Operator: “Oh... I think I have that information here somewhere.”  Long pause, then: “yes, it’s at company headquarters” (she gives the address.)

Customer:  “When does it start?”
Operator: “Just one moment, please.” Long pause, then “Ten a.m., sir.”
Customer:  “Is this call being recorded?”  (It is.) “May I make a comment and have you pass it along to some big shot?” (Yes.)  “If they keep inviting you to the meeting and don’t tell you when and where it is, they are either incompetent or hiding something.”

Anyway, this was helpful in making decisions for the ballot.  “No” to everything.

Shrapnel:

--The lower house of the Pennsylvania legislature has approved a resolution declaring 2012 as the “year of the bible.”  The vote was unanimous.  See, they CAN get things done in the capital, but usually only the wrong things.


Have You Noticed? Stock prices have become even more detached from anything that has to do with what’s going on with the company they represent.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
More of this nonsense at Wessays Extras which is clickable on the right side of this page under the heading “My Blog List.”
© WJR 2012

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

976 The Gay Divorcee

976 The Gay Divorcee

This is not exactly what they were thinking in the early 30s when “The Gay Divorcee” first played to Broadway and movie audiences.  But the language changes with the times, or times change with the language and now we have something new for the lawyers to do.

It was Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ first starring role together with music by Cole Porter (the stage version didn’t have the same songs as the film) sang is about a woman who wants a divorce from her husband.

Now, it’s about women who want divorces from their wives and men who want divorces from their husbands.

To understate, gay marriage is not accepted everywhere.  But gay divorce is even tougher.  Let’s say a couple travels to Massachusetts to marry, then returns home to Alabama.  It doesn’t work out, so they go to the courthouse in, oh, Montgomery seeking a divorce, and get shooed away.  The state doesn’t recognize the marriage and won’t grant a divorce.  Why not just make another trip to Massachusetts?  Not that simple.  To get a divorce there, they require at least one year’s residence.

If these two simply go their separate ways, then want to marry outside the original marriage, is that bigamy?  Or is it polygamy?   Or... what?  If there are assets to divide, who gets what?

Married in Massachusetts but living together for longer than the law has been the law has its hazards, especially if there’s pre-marital joint property and if there are children.

Here come the lawyers.  Since divorce law is divorce law, they say, it should be a snap.  Nope.  If the state (and therefore its courts) don’t recognize the marriage in the first place, the divorce laws don’t apply. Welcome to limbo.

Can’t wait for the TV ads.


Shrapnel:  

--So the ban on gay marriage in California has now been declared unconstitutional.  That 9th circuit federal appeals court strikes down a law that was designed to revoke existing rights.  Now, what about the divorce thing?

--Congratulations to the NFL Giants of East Rutherford, NJ for winning their second (censored) Bowl in four years.  Oh, wait, we’re not allowed to call it the (censored) Bowl without paying royalties to the league.  And this year, not to be outdone by Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” of 2004, we were treated to watching the British “singer,” “M.I.A.” flip the bird.

--It’s not even in wide distribution yet and already there’s controversy over “Aero Shot,” a caffeine “drink” you inhale.  Developers say it’s safe as coffee.  Others say it’s another dangerous buzz inducer and should be banned.

Have You Noticed? Economic figures always seem to improve in a presidential election year regardless of which party in power, giving further credence to the popular and probably accurate notion that they don’t mean anything much to begin with?

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
More of this nonsense at Wessays Extras which is clickable on the right side of this page under the heading “My Blog List.”
© WJR 2012

Monday, February 06, 2012

975 Mitt's Little Radio Company

975  Mitt’s Little Radio Company

Here’s the nub of it:  Mitt Romney owns the largest radio broadcaster in America, Clear Channel.  That’s not technically true.  But close enough.  His Bain Capital has invested tons of money in CC, which owns more stations than anyone else -- more than 800 of them, and is one of the most notorious cost and staff cutters in the business.

But it isn’t the number of stations it owns that is troubling today.  It’s the syndicated programs it also owns.  Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity etc.  Clear Channel all but created the right wing talk show industry, which is thriving.

Mitt’s out of the loop at Bain... at least officially.  But they contribute gobs of money (a gob is slightly less than a ton,) to Mitt’s campaign.  Mitt also owns a chunk of Bain, and probably the front office still takes his calls.

Broadcasting is a federally regulated business.  But Clinton managed to take the teeth out of the Federal Communications Commission and successor presidents have managed to channel its energies into trivia like “wardrobe mishaps” and which words one is not allowed to say... instead of things like news coverage and transmitter readings.

So Mitt has a pretty big forum for his self-promotion.  But more important, he has a vehicle that can exclude anything favorable about any other candidate of either party.

He doesn’t have to place that call and say something like “don’t talk nice about Newt.”  People who work for him will do that without being told.  And if called on it, Mitt can say with a straight face “I never said a word to anyone about stuff like that,” which is right up there with his take on helping poor people and strapping dogs to the roof of his car, but technically probably true.

Clear Channel’s stations don’t do a lot of news... if any.  But programs from its syndication arm, Premier Networks, are as ubiquitous as germs. Premier is the pot that boils the water that goes onto the nation’s ideological tea bags.

Shrapnel:

--Bain Capital owns big chunks of some other big outfits.  Toys R Us, Guitar Center, Staples, Domino’s Pizza, Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts.  For awhile, it owned the Weather Channel.  Every time you turn on a radio, buy a donut or a Whopper or a cheap pizza, you’re helping Mitt become president.

--Maybe it’s time for Ray Kelly to take his pension and retire.  Scandals and internal fights are nothing new in the NYPD, but they seem now to be coming in waves, not drips.  And at 70 with more than 11 years on the job -- as the cops call it -- maybe enough’s enough.

Have You Noticed?  With the recent retirement of Ann Taylor there are only three women left at NPR without hyphenated last names, and not to be outdone, some of the hyphenettes are thinking about adding a third last name.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
More of this nonsense at Wessays Extras which is clickable on the right side of this page under the heading “My Blog List.”
© WJR 2012