Thursday, September 28, 2006

Oprah: "People Love Nate"

Well, actually the quote does not refer to moi.. but instead to a guy named Nate Berkus who is doing a home design show on the new Oprah Radio Network. I took that quote out of context… kind of like Chris Wallace did on Sunday in that absurd Fox “News” interview with former President Clinton where those crackpot Republicans still try to blame Clinton for 9-11.

Just in case you haven’t heard about it… and with all the media blitz how could you miss it?.… Oprah started a new radio network on XM Radio this week… featuring shows hosted by frequent guests on her show such as financial writer Jean Chatzky and this doctor who did a bizarrely fascinating show last year about “being regular”.. with just a bit more detail than one would want to see at 4 in the afternoon…

Two things to note about this new venture: First, Oprah’s bestest bestest pal Gayle King does a weekly show with Oprah about… gasp… their personal phone calls. That’s right folks, the best buds sit and chat for hours on end on the phone at night, and “highlights” of these chats will be edited down for this show. There have been rumors that the two are more than friends and that Steadman.. Oprah’s longtime boyfriend/fiance is just a decoy. Yet why do we assume that 2 women who are bestest buds are automatic lesbians? Is that because we’re a bunch of horny yentas who like to imagine 2 women getting it on? I have always said that men like lesbians because they imagine how far a hot woman will go to seduce an avowed equally hot heterosexual woman. It’s the fantasy of the seduction that gets these dudes all horned up.. Oh bummer here we go with the lustful thoughts before Yom Kippur!

However even though its not nice to out straight people.. Or gay people who want to remain in the closet.… how does Oprah have all this time to spend yakking with Gayle? After all she runs a multi-bazillion dollar empire.. She’s gotta work a good 12 hours a day… don’t you think when she comes home at night that she would want to spend some “quality time” with Steadman? And how do hourlong chats with Gayle fit into that oh so busy schedule? And who fills in when they go on vacation? Janine Piro and Bernard Kerik?

My other point - for now, all the Oprah Radio Network shows are not live - they are prerecorded.. Yet people pay money for this? Now that dial-up is a thing of the past like beta players, The WB and Pedro Martinez‘s pitching skills… pod casts continue to explode in popularity. Why pay to hear a show when they can be put on a website and listened to on-line or on an ipod or mp3 player? I really think pod casts are going to make a big dent into radio’s audience, and yes folks I am now doing one too. By the way getting back to Pedro.. I wouldn‘t get too upset about losing a pitcher who won only 4 games since May 1st considering how dominant his team has been for the last 5 months... We’ll do ok with a rotation of Glavine, El Duque, Steve Trachsel and John Maine. And if the starters are bad.. They can always get a quick hook and bring in the talented relievers.

If you look to the left you will see a link to a new pod cast I started doing in August. I also do occasional pod casts here on this blog.. The new pod cast consists of 2-3 minute commentaries about finance and I update it every couple of weeks. I started thinking about embedding files on line about a year and a half ago when I decided to snazzy up my eBay sales by embedding commercials on my ads. By doing this I learned the HTML codes to embed media players and that leads to today‘s topic… .. The easiest seminar you will ever see about how to build a pod cast. It’s kind of Nate’s World of Words Build a Bear Workshop. By the way, my word processor program breaks the word podcast into 2 words for some bizarre reason.

1. Repeat after me - This is not easy. Ok. Lotsa people make it seem simple - it’s not. And once your done, brag to your friends how you got your pod cast going. Feel free to credit me if you would like.

2. Pick a topic - You’re on your own for that one.

3. Record it - It’s easy. Almost every comp has a program called Windows Movie Maker.. And you can use it to record audio tracks. The program is pretty self explanatory to record audio and them save the file to your computer. To record your voice, you can buy a computer microphone really cheap.. I got a gooseneck for about 10 bucks on ebay that folds in my laptop bag so I can take it on the road with me.

4. Upload it - Originally I subscribed to a site called Streamload which is now called Media Max. It gives me a place to “host” my audio and video files. The site has a prompt to upload files.. which gives you the option to check off the audio file on your computer that you would like to store on-line for listeners to download.

I then type in a code on Blogspot which includes a link to the hosted audio or video clip. The reader doesn’t see the HTML code - just the embedded player or the link to play the clip. Incidentally, I purposely don’t embed clips on the new pod cast; I want listeners to play it on their Windows Media Player since I programmed the file to display marketing information for potential future clients. Isn’t that clever?

When I started doing pod casts here on blogspot, I found out that a website called click caster had picked it up. (That is part of Step 5 - Syndicating it so people can get it automatically). Clickcaster has a way of searching the web for sites that have audio and video files and then they start to carry those pod casts on their website. Therefore the NWOW pod casts automatically show up there. When I decided to do my new pod cast I housed it at Clickcaster. They make the whole process very easy. I just upload it to them.. And it’s there. No html code to type in. However I have that pod cast’s audio files based on 2 websites.. Clickcaster and Blogspot, so I also upload the clips to Streamload too.

5. Syndication - This is the magic step that enables people to get your pod cast. Since a lot of pod casts are garbage.. Let’s use garbage as an analogy… How does garbage get from your house to the dump? Simple - you put it outside and the garbage men pick it up and it ends up at its final resting place. Likewise, if you put your pod cast “on the curb” by syndicating it, pod catchers will be like garbage men and deliver them to your computer - the proverbial garbage dump.

I get my podcasts on I Tunes, My msn and My Yahoo. In order it to be “seen” by those websites, (they are programmed to seek out pod casts) you need to “burn a feed”.. which means “putting it to the curb” in computer-ese. I went to a site called “feed” and they create a new url for your podcast which is your address for what is called rss syndication. When listeners see the rss prompt, they just type in the feed burner created address and kaploo-ey.. Your homies can now automatically receive your pod cast! My RSS address for this blog is and the url for the feed for the new pod cast is

6. Make it user friendly - There is one last step - make sure its in mp3 format so all ipods and mp3 players can play it. Some of ‘em don’t play wma files, so you need to convert them. There is a free website I use called switch which copies your files to the desired mp3 format.

This might be the easiest tutorial you will ever find for pod casting.. Now maybe Oprah will get everybody to love me too! Or maybe Gayle King? Or Steadman?

Now time for the weekly football picks. Last week we went 6-6-2.. and the season to date record is a very embarrassing un-Nate-like 19-25-2. But now that the rotis season is wrapping up, I will have more time to devote to the Pigskin. x-is home team...

Colts 9 faves over x-Jets - Nice game last wk for the Manginis - now it's time to come back to Earth.

Vikings 1 doggies over x-Buffalo - Minny fans will be switching channels during the game to watch Joe Mauer win the batting title over Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano.

x-Titans 9 1/2 doggies over Dallas - The Cowboys had a pretty quiet week, don't you think? My reaction to TO's female publicist at his wacky press conference - Va Va Voom. Cowboys win but don't cover.

49ers 7 doggies over x-KC - Another spread that won't cover.

Saints 7 doggies over x-Carolina - How long will the feel good story Saints continue? It probably ends this wk.. but yet again, another big spread that won't cover. (I will probably eat my words on Monday - after Yom Kippur ends!)

Chargers 2 1/2 faves over x-Baltimore - Somebody leaves unbeaten. Won't be the Ravens.

Arizona 7 doggies over x-Atlanta - Cards are better than in the past; Atlanta got smoked in Orleans last Monday.. I like the Cards to cover.

Dolphins 3 1/2 point faves x-Houston - The Texans are due for a win..but not just yet.

x-Rams 5 1/2 faves over Detroit - The only Ram that concerns me is the one whose horn will be blown to signify the end of Yom Kippur.

Patriots 6 doggies over x-Bengals - Huh? No way.. Boy have the Bengals come a long way.. This week it's back to Earth.. (although that is what I mistakenly said about their last game against the Steelers!)

Jaguars 3 faves over x- Washington - 4:15 game? Fans attending this game should watch out for the traffic leaving the Nationals-Mets regular season finale, assuming they don't have a 4 and a half hour rain delay like they did on Thursday night.

x-Raiders 3 point doggies over Cleveland - The Raiders can't be that bad, can they? Look for a rebound win.

Seahawks 3 doggies over x-The Bears - The Kol Nidre Special. Sorry folks, I won't be catching this game. I saw enough of Seattle during last weeks Giants game! (See Pumpstradamus's pick below!)

x-Eagles 11 faves over Green Bay - I'm not a big fan of double digit spreads, especially on Monday Night, but how can you pick against the Eagles?

PUMPSTRADAMUS PICK OF THE WEEK: Since this column is about Oprah lets pick The Chicago Bears over Seattle. Hey isn't Rex Grossman Jewish? And he is playing on Yom Kippur? Oy.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Iranian Porn, Game Shows, and Pirates: Thoughts for the Waning Moments of 5766.

Before we get to today’s stuff.. I just wanted to comment about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Ahmad in Ejad is the title of a porn movie by the way!) and his recent trip to the UN.  It reminded me of the Rabbi at the Edison Hanukah candle-lighting ceremony last year who asked the participants to pray that Mahmoud drop dead.… yet amazingly a guy wrote a letter to the late and lamented Jewish State criticizing The Rabbi for doing that and saying that we should instead teach this Holocaust revisionist about what really happened in WW II.
After seeing Mahmoud's interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, it is obvious that this guy is pretty smart and he knows the Holocaust really happened… All this Genocide Minimalist wants to do is downplay its relevance so he can borrow from Hitler’s playbook and start another one. Every Cooper question about the Holocaust was deflected to comments about Post WW II Jews moving to Israel when it became Israel in 1948. It’s ironic that he goes on and on about the “horrible plight” of the Palestinians,.. I betcha these Palestinians, especially the women,  would rather live in Israel than Iran! Heck, when they started paying tax money to Arafat and the Palestinian authority, notice how virtually nothing went to infra-structure and all of it went to Arafat’s pockets.  The reason the terrorist groups did so well in the elections is they exploited the government’s corrupt embezzlement, and drove home to voters the images that the politicians were filthy rich while the Palestinians were dirt poor.
Cooper had the line of the night at the end of the chat… After basically giving up on the Holocaust questions, he said he was moving on to another topic.. The lowlife flashed him a sleazy smile and asked… “Did you hear the answer you wanted about the Holocaust?”… Cooper who seemed a bit surprised that Mahmoud would have even cared, told him he had a lot of other stuff to cover with only a limited amount of time allowed for the interview, and was about to start his next topic when Mahmoud cut in again with “Are you asking the questions on your mind, or the ones given to you by “others“?..

And without missing a beat, Cooper responded to the “others” implication with the line of the year… “In America…. WE have a free press…. unlike IRAN!” 

I’ll take Anderson Cooper for the block!

Speaking of Hollywood Squares, I haven't watched a lot of non sports TV during baseball season, and I’m really not going to be into the new season until after the World Series.. But I did catch the much hyped “The Wire” on HBO. Trophy Wife and I also saw Alfred Hitchcock’s mid ’60’s rare off-movie “Marnie” a few weeks ago. (Sean Connery’s character’s reaction to catching Marnie stealing from him requires a huge suspension of disbelief.) The Baltimore rowhouse that the kids live in on “The Wire” is the exact same Baltimore rowhouse that was used for the house Marnie’s mother lived in! Still recycling soundstages 40 years later? Wow.

Over the summer, Game Show Network ran a series of specials about The Top 50 Game Shows. I wanted to address their rankings because I had also ranked the Top 14 in a series of columns earlier this year. (See the archives in Feb.) Interestingly enough we agree on 11 of the 14, of which only 2 finished in the same spots. We both have Match Game and The Price is Right at #1 and #4 respectively… but aside from that we didn't agree too much. The three NWOW shows that didn’t crack their Top 14 were my #3 Password - which they ranked 15th (!)… To Tell the Truth which I had at #10 and they ranked 19th; and The Bobby Van version of Make Me Laugh… which I ranked 14th but did not make their list. Their 3 which didn’t crack my list were #7 Lets Make a Deal… a show I never really got into… #9 The Newlywed Game which just missed the Top 14, and #14 What’s My Line which was before my time.

The Game Show Forum (and thanks to the Buzzer Blog for this info)… also ranked their Top 100... And Make Me Laugh made their list at 98. They also oddly ranked Match Game 5th and put The Price Is Right at #1. Three of their Top 14 also didn’t make my list…Concentration (9), Card Sharks (13) and What’s My Line (14). Card Sharks? Hmmm.. That’s a bit odd.

When GSN ran their Top 50 list, they showed episodes of all the ranked shows that they had legal rights to… (They are not allowed to show The Price is Right and Name That Tune due to licensing legalities.) It’s good to know we both agreed on Match Game as Number 1... But I’m surprised my 2nd rated Hollywood Squares didn’t make their list till the 11 slot. Likewise ranking Password (#3 for me) in the 15 slot was strange too. We both had the Gong Show on the list.. I had it 9th and they had it 12th.. We also went the Chuck Barris route with The Dating Game making both lists.. #13 for me,.. No. 10 for GSN. I thought they had Family Feud a bit overrated with #3... while I had it 11th.

Here are the Top 14s from my blog and GSN…

NWOW 1. Match Game; 2. Hollywood Squares; 3. Password; 4. The Price Is Right; 5. Jeopardy; 6. Pyramid (not the Donny Osmond version); 7. Press Your Luck; 8. Who Wants to be a Millionaire; 9. The Gong Show; 10. To Tell The Truth; 11. Family Feud; 12. Wheel of Fortune; 13. The Dating Game; 14. Make Me Laugh.

GSN 1. MG; 2. Jeopardy; 3. FF; 4. TPIR; 5. WWTBAM; 6. WOF; 7. Lets Make a Deal; 8. Pyramid; 9. The Newlywed Game; 10. The Dating Game; 11. HS; 12. The Gong Show; 13. PYL; 14. WML

Now on to the football picks… Last week we bounced back from the disastrous opening wknd with a 9-7 record to bring us to a rather lame 13-19. Here are the wkly predictions...The spread is from Friday's Star Ledger; home teams are noted with an "x".

x-Bills 5 faves over the Jets - Thanks NFL for making the Giants the late game on Rosh Hashanah!

Giants 3 1/2 doggies over x-Seattle - The Giants can take revenge on the Seahawks and then Andrew can take revenge on Bree on the Season Premiere of Desperate Housewives! (I will of course tape the family guy)

Packers 7 doggies over x-Detroit - The Lions will win.. but won't cover.

Redskins 4 faves over x-Texans - I hope Daniel Snyder does a little extra praying for the Skins to salvage the season this wknd.

x-Colts 7 faves over Jaguars - Can the Jags beat the Steelers and Colts back to back and belly to belly? I doubt it.

x-Steelers 2 faves over Cincy - The Bengals look great and Roethslisberger looked pretty lame on MNF... plus Cincy beat 'em in Pitt last wk...Despite that.. Ill take the Steelers.

Panthers 3 faves over x-Tampa Bay - Are the Bucs really that bad? See Pumpstradamus's prediction below.

Titans 11 doggies over x-Miami - Dolphins not good enough to deserve that many points. They will win but not cover.

Bears 3 faves over x-Minnesota - Vikings Shmikings... This is Twins country... (Take that Derek Jeter.. Joe Mauer's gonna win the batting title!)

Ravens 6 1/2 faves over x-Cleveland - Ravens 3-0? Hmmm

Rams 4 1/2 doggies over x-Arizona - St. Louis fans can boo the Cardinals this week in the NFL and next wk when they get swept in the first round of the playoffs.

Eagles 6 faves over x-49ers - Y'think the Eagles are a bit annoyed after last weeks collosal choke against the Giants? Or was that just a birthday present for me?

x-Patriots 7 faves over Denver - That's a big spread against a damn good Bronco team.

x-Saints 4 doggies over Atlanta - The first post Katrina game to be played at a sold out Superdome. And they're home dogs on Monday Night to boot! Huge win for the Saints!

And the Pumpstradamus Pick of the Week - Time to rebound from last weeks loss which dropped us to 1-1.… Since this past week, we celebrated “Talk Like a Pirate Day”… and spent it questioning why Jeromy Burnitz is still on the team… this weeks pick is the Buccaneers over Carolina!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thoughts for 5767 - Lust!

If any Rabbi anywhere in the World is going to quote from a blog in his or her sermon during the High Holy Days… it sure as heck won’t be this one.

Today’s topic: Lust.

On Yom Kippur we symbolically pound our chest for each of a series of transgressions committed during the prior year. In past years, I have joked that I double up for the transgressions involving “lust”, yet now that I have been married for 2 years I wonder if it is ok to lust since no matter how hot any woman might be.. there is no way she could be as terrific as my wife! I am lucky in many ways, and one of those reasons is that Trophy Wife doesn’t care if I point out a good looking woman walking down the street.

For some reason a well meaning very orthodox relative hooked me up with a subscription to an ultra-orthodox newspaper. I have mentioned here in the past that I get a kick out of reading some of the letters to the editor on the editorial page. Hopefully the readers have enough savvy to see past some of their “news reporting” policies. A 9/11 insert had a “news” article about how the Left Undermined National Security Pre-9/11 that was written by David Horowitz - the same buffoon who hit all the talk shows this summer defending that disgraceful jackass Ann Coulter for her uncalled for attacks on the 9/11 widows from NJ. Their “news” is also heavily edited…a reprinted wire service article about a politician being treated for breast cancer edited out any reference to the word “breast”.

One other thing about this paper - they never ever show a picture of a female. I have seen on the Orthodox blogs that a book publisher had to alter a book cover in an ad because a Jewish book had a picture of a young girl on its cover!! I wonder what happens when they have an Amber Alert involving a female! These policies are due to strict rules concerning modesty.. .. also referred to as “tznius”. The ultras have strict rules about how women “present” themselves in public, ostensibly so Moshe Yankel doesn’t have to double down on the lust sins like I do. There is a strict dress code involving long sleeves and long skirts, and a married woman’s hair must be totally covered since a man should not see it. In addition, the voice of a woman also tends to be arousing.. (Do single guys still save answering machine messages from hot chics who return phone calls?) Therefore they do not listen to a woman sing… AND some go out of their way to avoid hearing a woman speak in public. This is actually written in the book of Berachot and I got this info from a website promoting nudism in Israel!.

Which makes me wonder about a thought provoking concept - Hasidic Nudists… and amazingly I am not the first blogger to bring up this concept. That’s right folks.. There is an Israeli based “naturists” aka nudist website that has a lengthy article presenting Talmudic arguments why nudism is permissible. (The guy who wrote it has since died). The nudists are entitled to their opinion, but I don’t know enough to debate this.. Keep in mind where the concept of clothing originated… and how the multibillion dollar fashion industry was born. When Adam was caught eating forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.. God wanted to have a chat with him. He called out to Adam but there was no response.. Then he tried a 2nd time and when God asked him where he was the 1st time.. Adam said he couldn’t come out to see him because he was naked and embarrassed… Is this why we wear clothes? Because of a lame-o excuse? What would have happened if he said the dog ate his homework… Would we starve dogs? Nonetheless, Adam later scolded the snake telling him “Listen Tough Guy, years from now you and your buddies on a plane will be the biggest overhyped summer movie flop of all time."

But here is why I think the concept is not so far out of Left Field.

Years ago when I was in college, I went on a beach trip with some buddies to Sandy Hook. One of the guys went for a walk with me and as we advanced from one beach to the next, a guy walks by with his shmeckle hanging out. It didn’t even register right away.. But a minute later I saw a tuchus and I started to wonder what the heck was going on. Well unbeknownst to me at the time, there was a nude beach! We decided to walk through it to get to the next beach and then we walked through it again on our way back to our original beach, And yes we kept our clothes on.

Here is what I found interesting.. Whereas guys drool over babes in bikinis on regular beaches.. there wasn’t really any of that going on at the nude beach. I also used to work with someone who went to nude beaches (Thank God I didn’t see him there that day!) and we discussed the atmosphere at these beaches.. I agreed with him… It seemed to be a very normal healthy environment… and people who look at the nude body there do not sexualize it. It is a very odd concept in a society where we drool over naked women and porn is so popular, but if you saw how those people interacted, once they were over the initial discomfort of their first trip there.. they all seemed very normal and it was quite a healthy approach. Incidentally I am sure the multi billion porn industry is against nude beaches because if nudity were to be more mainstream in society…. then their portfolio of publications, movies, and websites would seem less “forbidden”

I can’t imagine Nudist Chusids, but what is the deal with sexualizing women to such an extent? Is the goal to make any display of skin erotic? Incidentally many women have said they are not visually stimulated by naked men in magazines… to them the eroticism comes from the intimacy and closeness. Like the bikini beach… guys lust by using their imagination about what they cannot see. So what is the big deal if a woman wears a short skirt or a sleeveless shirt? Is glimpsing any part of a woman’s “forbidden” elbow or kneecap or hair going to really cause that much lust to stir in the heart? Or maybe just maybe does exposure to it on a regular basis make it very common and no big deal? Think about how many guys check out women’s breasts on a topless beach. There are so many of them there they all kind of get lost in the shuffle. That is why Scores has lap dances.. because after awhile the whole topless scene gets kind of dull.

Modesty rules are different if you are in the presence of members of your gender.. But what happens if there is a gasp homosexual in the midst? And as we know from “Trembling Before G-d” there are Jewish homosexuals although I don’t believe for a New Jersey minute that Golan Cipel is one of them. I think Governor McSleazy’s book should be filed in the fiction section and I wish he would just go away already. He didn’t resign because he is gay.. He resigned because of all the other shenanigans that were going on in Trenton and the gayness was just a decoy to divert attention from his other problems. I mean c’mon he was making comments about Golan “Heights of Passion” while his poor unknowing wife lay in a hospital bed preparing to give birth after a difficult pregnancy? I happen to know Cipel’s lawyer…and although I have not seen him in the 2 years since this story broke, there is no way he would look into TV Cameras and make false accusations that McSleazy was sexually harassing his client!

Here is a goal I set for the New Year.. Every time a beautiful non - tznius woman walks down the street and I point it out to my wife.. I will also make it very clear that no matter how hot that woman may be… even if she looks like Liz Cho… I would rather be with my wife!. Because these hot babes’ beauty is only skin deep… but all wives beauty transcends that.. Our wives put up with our crap, create a beautiful home for us.. cook for us…laugh at our bad jokes, and love us despite our shortcomings.. Who would want to spend time with some hot chic walking down the street in a miniskirt who might just be a psycho or a chain smoker, or who knows what? C’mon guys… let’s make 5767 the year that we let our wives know how much we appreciate them…

Now we will have to ask the Rabbi if lusting for your own wife is a chest beater. If so, we may have to fast an extra day this Yom Kippur!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Time Management

The group of 32 spread themselves out over the ground floor balcony and eagerly awaited their cue.  They had already run through a smooth practice drill, but now the time had arrived for them to do their thing. “The moment” everyone had been waiting for was here...    


Twelve hours earlier I had woken up from a sound sleep.. it was a Saturday morning and even though it was a shorter work week due to Labor Day... it was still a tiring week.  Trophy Wife and I ate some lunch but something disagreed with me and I realized that this was not going to be a fun day.  My original plan was to go to an event in Atlantic City, but Trophy Wife did not want to go because friends of ours were coming in from out of town and were going to hang out at another friend’s house in Union County..  We had actually been to AC for our wedding anniversary earlier in the week and Donald Trump already had taken enough of my money. (While we were there, Trophy Wife again played the Match Game slot machine which I mentioned in this blog during our trip in June. Amazingly that column was quoted on a slot machine PR website!) However, as the day went on it turned out the out of town friend was not going to be able to make it and instead of our other friend’s house, we were going to see her participate in a panel discussion at my old elementary school.  I don’t know how these plans suddenly changed, and although I was happy to hear my old pal make a speech I started to wonder, how the heck did I end up going to a panel discussion on a sunny Saturday afternoon?

Just before we were to leave for our adventure, Pumpstradamus suddenly appeared at my doorstep.  "What the heck are you doing here?" I asked our local psychic.. .. It turned out he had been at synagogue services that day (held outdoors at the Y as our Temple gets rebuilt following the recent fire) and he wanted to tell me that the man that organizes honors for the service told him that on Rosh Hashanah I would be called to the Torah. "Wow" exclaimed Trophy Wife  "isn’t that great?" I nonchalantly told them that they had mailed me a letter and I already knew about it.. Trophy Wife looked at me rather sadly and said “Oh, we were gonna surprise you”. “Well” I confidently replied.. “Nothing surprises me. I’m aware of everything going on around here” (Although the next day I was pleasantly surprised that Pumpstradamus picked the Jets to win.)

Trophy Wife went on to give Pump a box of stuff he needed for some people that were going to do the floors at his house and I started to get ready to see the panel..   As you can tell I was quite "thrilled".. although I was psyched to see my friend‘s portion of the program. Walking into my old elementary school was quite strange too.. the cafeteria which I recall as a huge room when I was a little pisher was actually nowhere near as large as I remembered from my childhood…. and the loooong flight of steps that took you in out of the lunch room was actually - 4 measly steps.  We meandered to the gym. the location of many hard hits to the face during elementary school dodge ball games where I was always the last kid picked... even when I was the captain..

As it turned out, the panel discussion was actually ok.  It was about time management, and different people spoke about how they balance work with family and other important commitments, and it didn‘t drag on as some of these programs tend to do.  Since I work in the sales and marketing industry I know firsthand that the successful sales people are the ones who know how to strike a balance between all of the different aspects involved in obtaining and keeping clients.  I also try to balance time for work and Trophy Wife, and my new pod cast and of course this blog, yet I knew that barring anything unexpected, the September 15 column would concern a recent GSN program that ranked the Top Game Shows of All Time.

Afterwards it was a blast from the past as I ran into the former librarian from my high school who also was attending the program.  I hadn’t seen him since I graduated high school many moons ago, and Trophy Wife is always reminding me of my age, especially since I have a birthday coming up on Sunday the 17th!  The librarian is a rather eccentric guy but when you talk to him you realize that he is really quite brilliant and a heckuva nice guy.  Back in high school I went to the library every morning to read the paper and we always had a brief chat.  I think libraries put newspapers on those long poles to make it impossible to sneak 'em out and read 'em in the Men's room! It was really great to see him after all these years… and he hasn’t aged a day!

After that we briefly stopped off at our friend’s friend’s house.  This woman’s mom was an elementary school teacher of mine at that school and I remember when she took maternity leave to give birth to that daughter! Now I really felt old.   

After Shabbat we headed home, and as you know from prior columns, I met Trophy Wife through our mutual friend Carrie and she herself recently got engaged.  She also has a ton of postings at the website. She and her fiance wanted to meet us for dinner later that night at Jose Tejas in Woodbridge.. but knowing how long you wait for a table at that oh so popular eatery, and how cranky, tired and hungry I had gotten during this endlessly long day, I told her I would go, if we could just stop to get a sandwich first.  As I munched down my Panera tuna sans onions and tomatoes. I speculated about possibly making an early escape from Tejas since I was already dog tired, and thought of maybe just renting Godfather II which was overdue to be featured on a movie club column on this very blog.  That would be good time management.

Trophy Wife said she would drive to Tejas and found a spot just on the right of the outdoor balcony.  It was a beautiful night and I was hoping we could get to bed at a decent hour because I wanted to go to the Met game on Sunday knowing full well that a lousy Steve Trachsel performance would get John Maine a start in Game 4 of the playoffs.  As we strolled in front of the terrace, the group of 32 spread themselves out over the ground floor balcony and eagerly awaited their cue.  They had already run through a smooth practice drill, but now the time had arrived for them to do their thing. “The moment” everyone had been waiting for was here...    


Holy-oke Massachusetts I bellowed.. except to paraphrase "A Christmas Story".. I didn’t say “Oke Massachusetts“... Trophy Wife had done it again.. She had pulled off a surprise birthday party and all the party props that Pumpstradamus had picked up in the afternoon when I arrogantly announced that I could not be surprised were now hanging on the terrace.  That wife of mine had gone behind my back and successfully recruited more than 30 people to come out to celebrate my b'day…. just 2 years after she had surprised me at another local eatery. It was at that 2004 party that I told her that would be the only time she would be able to pull it off!!    

Neil has some great photos at his blog. And some of the captions are quite amusing.. although he doesn’t seem to know the names of some of my friends. I didn’t realize he didn’t know Nessim who I have known since ’83! Basically it was a great night. You would be amazed how quickly you forget you were tired when you are running on adrenaline with a little bit of shock thrown in. Trophy Wife had started working on this back in early August, and had obtained as many emails as she possibly could.. Although a few pals probably felt left out that they weren’t contacted, it was just a matter of how many emails she and our friends were able to obtain. I don’t know if she contacted DAS, but since the restaurant is on the right side of the street, and he only moves towards the left, I don’t know if he would have gone. (He also lives in FL) Since my wife has her own separate email account that I never look at, she was able to put the whole shindig together right under my nose on my very own computer.

And yes I was totally surprised, shocked stunned you name it. I thought she might try to pull something on the actual birthday.. That is this Sunday the 17th when the Young Women’s Hadassah of which she is President will hold its inaugural event.. a picnic at a local park. That day they are also scheduled to announce that they will start The Ester Kean Scholarship Program… named in memory of my mom who had been a lifelong member of that fine fine organization. Nonetheless, she got me good and now I have to try to find someway to out smart her and throw her a surprise party. Maybe for Arbor Day? Or perhaps a party to celebrate the Vernal Equinox? I really feel like Wiley Coyote sometimes!

Anyway I will push my original scheduled column to next wk… now its time for the wkly picks featuring the wkly Pumpstradamus Pick of the Week! I got off to a great 4-12 start, while Pumpstradamus is 1-0. Anyway, it usually takes a week or two to shake off the rust.. Here are the picks! Home team has an "x" in front. The spreads are from the Friday Star Ledger.. and remember.. if you win shekels.. give some of it to charity.

Giants 3 point doggies over x-Philadelphia - Coach Coughlin probably made grandiose promises to the team if they avoid 0-2 such as being only 15 minutes early to a team meeting... won't get you a "late" fine.

Bills 6 point doggies over x-Miami - Big spread for the Dolphins to cover.

Lions 9 doggies over x-Bears - Wow 3 consecutive road underdogs!

x-Colts 9 faves over The Texans - The trend ends here!

Panthers 1 1/2 faves over x-Minnesota - The Vikes tend to win when they are home doggies. Maybe not this time.

Patriots 6 faves over x-Jets - Back-to-earth time for Chad.

Redskins 6 doggies over x-Dallas - Picked with the heart, not with the brain!

Raiders 12 doggies over x-Baltimore - Is Baltimore worthy as 12 point faves?

Bucs 5 1/2 doggies at x-Atlanta - Lotsa doggies this week... Go Simms!

x-Saints 2 1/2 faves over Green Bay - Which network is hiring Favre in '07?

x-Bengals 10 faves over Cleveland - Boy the Reds really tanked, didnt they? Time for football.

x-Seahawks 7 faves over Arizona - How the mighty have fallen - lask wk the Cards were big faves... See Pumpstradamus comment below!

Rams 3 faves over x-San Fran - Wow. what a low spread!

Titans 11 doggies over x-San Diego - 11 is just a tad high for the Chargers.

Chiefs 10 1/2 doggies over x-Denver - Sentimental? The Chiefs may snag one for their injured QB, but "major concussion" is worrisome. Keep in mind that baseball players Corie Koskie and Jim Edmonds were out for the season with "mild concussions". (Yeah Yeah, Edmonds "may" return)

x-Jaguars 1 1/2 doggies over Pittsburgh - Is the Home Dogs on Monday Night really Home Dogs for Al Michaels games? That rule didnt work last wk!

And last but not least:

This week’s PUMPSTRADAMUS PICK OF THE WEEK is in honor of this week's theme of "Surprise"... and since their is a Surprise Arizona, Pumpstradamus says “The Cardinals pick the pope so I am picking the Cardinals to cover against the favored Seahawks."

Friday, September 08, 2006

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Hey folks.. today we start a new feature here at NWOW… weekly NFL picks.. I am not turning this into an NFL blog.. but each Friday, part of the column will show off our amazing skills and talent when it comes to my uncanny knack for making pro picks. Last year just for fun I would make the picks along with the so called “experts” in the Friday paper and through some sort of bizarre luck, my win loss record at the end of the season was an astounding 50 games over .500. Basically, IF I had wagered 100 bucks on every game. I would have ended the season with 5000 smackers. This year we are going to put them in the blog based on the point spreads in the Friday Star Ledger… If I end up going away near the end of the season, we’ll use a different paper... hopefully one from a warm weather state!

Even though the NFL has become the National Pastime, I am not one of these football mavens who devours every single off-season magazine. I also don’t profess to be an expert, and I don’t have a fantasy NFL team. As a matter of fact, I go into the season fresh knowing virtually bubkus about the ‘06 teams. Who has time with baseball, The US Open, my new pod cast and everything else going on in August?

So far I have followed some stuff about the Giants.. my favorite team... a little bit about the Jets, and even less about the other teams.. as you can tell from my Thursday night pick of the Dolphins. I do know the most important stuff.. Fox and CBS retain the NFC and AFC... James Brown hosts the CBS Pregame and Greg Gumbel becomes a game announcer and Joe Buck will host the Pregame AND announce the game. The Sunday Night Game is now on NBC with Al Michaels and John Madden, and ESPN now has Monday Night Games, which will apparentally include a West Coast Doubleheader that won't end until about 2am Eastern Time. ABC and ESPN are "branding" their products together which makes me wonder if they might stick some of the games on ABC since it would reach a wider audience.. especially if MNF on ESPN beats out whatever silly shows end up in the 9pm Monday slot. Gosh how I miss TV Guide and the Fall Preview!! I don't even know yet what The Family Guy's new time slot is going to be!

Two things to keep in mind.. This week we will also feature the weekly pick of the Amazing Pumpstradamus.,…. And most importantly, if you are going to wager some shekels on these games, and you win.. why don’t we think about throwing a percent of the winnings towards a charitable organization? My recommendation for this year: The Highland Park Conservative Temple Restoration Fund. (That’s my synagogue which was badly damaged in a horrible fire 2 wks ago: See Diary of a Crummy Day in the archives for more details)

Here go the Picks... The team MENTIONED FIRST is the pick..

Giants 3 1/2 doggies hosting the Colts. - I know about the rule about Home Dogs on Monday Nights.. but does that apply to Sunday Night? Is there an Al Michaels carryover?

Titans 2 1/2 faves hosting the Jets - The Jets may take some time to Mangini-ize.

Broncos 3 1/2 faves at the Rams

Bills 9 1/2 doggies at Patriots - I'm not a big fan of double digit spreads in the early part of the season. The Pats will win but not cover.

Bucs 3 faves hosting the Ravens

Chiefs 2 1/2 faves hosting the Bengals - That's a tough pick especailly since the Bengals are so much better and the Cincy fans have nothing much else to root for now that the Reds have fizzled.

Seahawks 6 faves at Detroit

Panthers 5 faves hosting Atlanta

Saints 3 doggies at the Browns - I'm still rooting for the Saints this season.. and the Hornets too!

Jaguars 2 faves hosting the Cowboys - I do not like the Cowboys!

Packers 3 1/2 doggies hosting the Bears - Is Brett Favre the Mike Piazza of the NFL? He ain't what he used to.. but we still root for him.

Arizona 7 1/2 faves hosting the 49ers - The Cardinals a pick with that many points? Only because its the 49ers.

Eagles 5 faves at Texans -

Redskins 3 faves hosting the Vikings - First game of the Monday Night ESPN twinbill. Will we watch Kornheiser or listen to the Radio? Is Marv Albert doing the radio games on Monday Night again?

Raiders 3 doggies over the Chargers - ESPN Shmee-SPN... Home Doggies on Monday Night Rules are in effect!

PUMPSTRADAMUS Pick of the Week: The Jets (2 1/2 point doggies): This is a salute to Walter who is a big fan, and the original Pump who inspired Pumpstradamus to assume an identity with the word Pump in it. Just in case you didnt hear this on a prior podcast, Walter owns Nagel’s Bagels.. which prompted me to inform him that it’s a good thing his name isn’t Shmenis Pump. Therefore in his honor.. Pumpstradamus picks the Jets!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Summer News Round-Up

Well folks.. As Jerry Lewis belted out his annual rendition of “You Will Never Walk Alone”…the summer of '06 drew to its inevitable unofficial conclusion.  This was supposed to be the summer of “Snakes on a Plane“, yet most of us ended up watching “Anchorwoman on a Toilet“ instead... which has led to the new catch phrase for control freaks across the nation..."You are such a Kyra Phillips sister-in-law!"  

Tuesday night, Katie Couric announced at the end of her first CBS Newscast that she needed some help from her viewers to design a new sign-off for the end of the program.  Here's one... "I'm taking off my microphone and I'm going to pish! Good Night America!"  

Thankfully Phillps ill fated bathroom break did not take place during Presidential comments on the release of info about CIA worker Valerie Plame or else the puns would have been flying about The Bush Leak.  I wonder if this was all part of a CNN bladder busting bar drinking game where the loser had to throw departing news anchor Daryn Kagan a going away party and purchase all gag gifts relating to former boyfriend Rush Limbaugh's need for Viagra. Phillips got what she had coming to her since everyone knows its impolite to start chatting with adjacent stall sitters unless you are asking if they can spare a square... and as the ol saying goes.. "you cant spell Phillips without Pish".. and we are all happy that that is not how the conversation started.  Viewers of “The Family Guy” are also happy that Phillips and her ladies room amiga did not recreate the infamous adjacent stall scene featuring Peter Griffin and Michael Moore and their rendition of “Dueling Banjoes”.


The summer is always a quiet time for news... Usually a hurricane or 2 will blow through in August giving news reporters a chance to stand out in a storm and tell us how lousy the weather is.  Thankfully we didn’t get hit with any major storms this summer so the news starved all news networks were forced to saturate us with coverage about the arrest of John Karr.. the loony tune who thinks he killed Jon Benet Ramsey.  The guy’s general demeanor showed he was not operating with a full deck and many were aware that there were holes in the case.  Nonetheless, once Karr was brought to the USA from his elementary school teacher job in Thailand, DA Mary Lacey was blasted by the media when his DNA cleared him.  However, maybe Lacey was on to something.  He may be innocent in the Ramsey killing (even though he probably has deluded himself into thinking he really did it) but at least Lacey got this admitted pedophile off the streets of Thailand.. and I’m quite sure the parents whose kids were in his school are quite ecstatic that he is out of the classroom!  Why don’t we start arresting all child molesters and charge them in the Ramsey case? Megan's Law has the list.. just take 'em off the streets.. and bring 'em in...  By a show of hands.. does anybody object to this? Just think.. the ACLU will have a field day...

Speaking of poor little Jon Benet Ramsey, I saw a pretty good movie this summer addressing the whole topic of little kids entered in beauty pageants called  "Little Miss Sunshine". It was actually made a couple of years ago and I got a chance to see it a few weeks ago at the local multiplex.  Here is some interesting irony,... the air conditioning was broken in the theater showing World Trade Center and a couple left the movie and asked for a refund because the theater was uncomfortable. Uh, folks you’re watching a movie where thousands of people died a horrific death and you’re upset because the AC is not at a crispy 67.  

Anyway LMS was filmed before Steve Carrel was famous... and he plays the uncle of a little girl entered in the LMS beauty pageant.  I will not spoil the plot but some of the girls in the pageant were made up so scarily that I wonder how the parents of the young actresses were not cringing in horror during the filming.. kind of like the parents of the kid who plays the little daughter on "Life with Louie"...  However the movie does address this horrible sexualizing of little kids, and although the movie is supposed to be funny. it's tragic how these little girls are forced to grow up so fast.. and its unfortunate that there are so many creeps out there who enjoy these “pageants” for the wrong reasons.  Its ironic that this movie was finally released at around the same time of Karr's arrest because it really makes you wonder about the hypocrisy of these talent show producers who draw this bizarre line where they will scoff at certain performances, yet applaud others while pedophiles lurk in the wings enjoying every second of it.


Its interesting to note that Mason filed suit during the same week that Tom Cruise paid a visit to Brooke Shields to apologize for his nasty comments he made about her for seeking help for post partum depression. Cruise belongs to that wacky Church of Scientology which rejects all uses of professional psychiatry. That kind of makes sense because if a Scientologist goes to see a shrink.. The shrink will just tell them.. “Hey you’re in a cult.”.

Then you have the wacko Jews for Jesus aka Messianic Jews cult. The J for J premise is about as logical as the PETA President wearing a fur coat. I like Christians.. But the idea of telling someone that you can be Jewish AND "accept" Jesus religiously is pure silliness since Judaism by definition rejects that notion.. But this cult pulls the ol’ Scientology rigamarole. Out of sheer boredom one day… I actually read some of the stupidities on their website and one of their tenets is that they reject all teachings of Orthodox Rabbis. Well duh… of course.. Because like the psychiatrist… the Rabbi like anybody else with half a brain calls this group of morons a fund raising cult. How many poor people do they recruit by the way?

This group of morons just wrapped up their big summer recruitment campaign which included advertising featuring Jackie Mason that prompted the lawsuit. Then the buffoons even tried to infiltrate the Hasidic community for new recruits. They would have a better shot of getting the Lubavitcher Rebbe to eat a ham sandwich in Macy’s window on Yom Kippur Morning. But folks, the major campaign really begins now.. when they target young freshmen on college campuses. Most of these kids are away from home for the first time and are lonely and vulnerable and are prime for cult recruitment. If you know of someone who is going to a new school.. See that they have a good support system during the first few months.


This one takes the cake: A guy walks into a Hillside auto dealer and decides to buy a luxury car. A few months later he decides to resell it but finds out that the car had actually been recalled by the manufacturer due to “a defect”. The guy sues the dealer and the judge awards him 300k as part of the Lemon Law! When the car dealer couldn’t come up with the cash… 3 luxury cars were seized at his lot and were to be sold at auction through a Sheriffs Sale in Union County. The dealer wanted his cars back but first he had to find out where the auction was going to be since it was only advertised in the Sheriff’s Office!

The dealer showed up at the auction and every time he bid, another bidder kept bidding moving the price up. Finally, the bidding ended at 110k and the dealer was able to buy his cars back. Or so he thought. It turned out he needed a certified check to pay the auctioneer and even though he had a courier en route with the necessary shekels, the plaintiff in the suit refused to allow him the extra time to get the moolah. As a result the other bidder was declared the winner. But at that point he said …. “Y’know what, I don’t want those cars after all”.. so it was on to Plan C… which means the “default bid”. The default bid was for 300 bucks and the bidder was the plaintiff who now has all 3 cars for 300 bucks while the car dealer still owes him the entire sum of the lawsuit minus 300 bucks!

The car dealer thinks there has been some monkey business going on so the cars remain impounded pending a court hearing this Friday. And by the way the original car’s defect involved a problem with the radio… and the plaintiff in the suit is the stepson of the Union County Sheriff.


Here is my pick for Thursday Night’s NFL Season Premiere… we’re taking the Dolphins over the Steelers in a pick ‘em while all the Steelers fans google “appendectomy” and “motorcycle crash” to see if Ben Roethlisberger’s emergency surgery is more than just a coincidence. Our picks will appear in this spot each Friday starting later this week. See you then!