Thursday, November 08, 2007

The 2 Year Bloggiversary - Politics, Podcasts, and Pontificating

Well folks.. this weekend we celebrate our 2nd bloggiversary! This blog was born right here on these very internets on November 10, 2005. and wouldn't it be great if every blogger used their bloggiversary to look back and give a state of the blog address? I look back and say... "What the hell have I put on the Internet?" Back in November 2005, I had thought about starting a blog and I also had thought about watching all six Star Wars movies for the first time, so somewhere along the line I thought.. hey let's do both. And thus the blog was born with "The Grand Premiere" that fateful November 10th.

So 2 years later.. where are we? Well, we started a little movie club... this is my crazy old Channel 5 movie club button (!), and so far we have done 14 movie reviews. After Star Wars, it was on to The Godfather Trilogy, a Robert Altman 4-pack and our current 6 James Bonds with 6 different lead actors. A list of all 14 movie reviews with their dates is posted at the end of today's column for your reading enjoyment.

The movie reviews with the bladder scale appear to be the most popular columns -they were a popular radio feature back in the early 90s...while last year's decision to pick ALL the NFL games was the least popular feature. In one of our early columns on November 24, 2005, we did a column "Psychic Matters or Do Psychics Matter?" which introduced us to The Amazing Pumpstradamus. That rather uncharacteristically short column was written tongue in cheek and blasted the whole concept of psychics. It also triggered the first appearance by Pumpstradamus who posted a comment with his opinion about the next column which I hadn't even written yet! Pumpy then became an annual visitor with a Yearly Preview podcast appearance and his weekly NFL picks are both succesful and popular.

In January we launched the Clip of the Week, a little add on feature at the end of each column that was to be replaced again in September by revamped shorter NFL picks.. plus the oh so popular Pumpstradamus NFL pick of the week. However, video on the internet has become so popular that I seem to always find a cool new video on You Tube each week that falls into "must share" status. Recently we did Havana Gilapalooza. We also embarked on a musical career collaborating with musical genius Neil Fein on "The Ballad of Melanie McGuire" - today we are posting it here for the first time as an mp3. The song was a parody of Creeque Alley, maybe giving us a chance to be edgy Al Yankovicites. We will also be releasing a new song soon about Jim McGreevey which will sort of be another parody from The Mamas and Papas..

So 2 years later... what exactly is this blog? Basically, on any given week it has been about TV, (assuming the writer's strike ends) Movies, Baseball, Judaism, and the political landscape in no particular order. I really haven't made it too personal with one or two exceptions... it's more like a column about stuff that interests myself and my readers.. and I am not sure people care about a blog covering my day to day activities... hey today my shower caddy fell off the wall and then I spilled water in my laptop keyboard and Danny at Compusave figured out in 2 seconds why my t and y keys don't work..... I don't think that type of stuff is really going to excite the masses who congregate here.


Politics hasn't really been a big thing here, but as we are now 1 year away from choosing a new President, it will probably become more topical. On January 29, 2006, I disclosed my political beliefs.. a conservative Democrat who is pro-choice... maddeningly frustrating to Republicans who want to tag all Democrats as liberals and annoying to liberals like DAS who have this notion that the party is moving to the left.... which ain't happenin'. It's going to be a tough pick next year since I am not a fan of Hillary, and if by some miracle The GOP selects pro choice Rudy Guliani. (which I don't see happening despite the shocking Pat Robertson endorsement), a Rudy - Hillary ticket will be a tough choice... and according to Pumpstradamus the topic for the 3rd bloggiversary column!

Speaking of liberals, there was one piece of news this past week that made my day... the firing of Ron Kuby from WABC Radio. I addressed my feelings about Kuby back on March 9, 2006 when he bit the hand that fed him by testifying for the defense in the Gotti trial concerning the attempted killing of Curtis Sliwa. As I said then, I don't know much about the case, but I thought it was odd that Kuby testified against Curtis. Kuby whose legal talents are quite minimal wouldn't have made any money in radio if it wasn't for Sliwa's taking him under his wing. Now that the I-man is going to WABC, Kuby was told by station management to stay home, while Sliwa might be moved to a different slot. If WOR were smart, they would bring that show to their station. They already have vastly improved themselves by adding the new syndicated show hosted by the immensely talented Dennis Miller. One interesting quote out of Kuby's mouth..."Imus makes racist comments, yet I lose my job!" It couldn't happen to a bigger jerk.

And maybe somebody could explain to me where our priorities are? That Dog guy gets into a ton of trouble for using the n word in an illegally taped private phone conversation, yet those so called leaders Jackson and Sharpton march for the Jena 6 that beat a white kid unconscious because they think these thugs should not be punished! Dog has spent the week on his "I am so sorry and I still love my son" tour... His son might have gottten 15k for that little tape he leaked to the Enquirer,but he is losing a lot more because you know that the minute this well orchestrated apology tour comes to end, he will march right up to his lawyers office and change his will so that son gets nothing. And if he is really vindictive, he will use his detective skills to watch this kid who is apparently using up his three strikes so that the moment that kid lights up a marijuana cigarette.. cops will swarm in while Dog stands outside hitting his strike counter with as much glee as a home plate umpire working a Nolan Ryan game.


I have discovered one surprise over the last 2 years of doing this blog --- podcasting just doesn't seem to be as popular as I thought it would be. Blogspot appears to be the most popular blogging website, but they don't have an easy podcasting program. Clickcaster on the other hand is less popular, yet they make it quite simple. I had learned how to html code embedded audio and video clips a few years ago when I wanted to snazzy up some eBay ads. We did a few podcast interviews during the first year of this blog, and in the summer of 2006 I launched The Mortgage Podcast. So far I have gotten some responses, mostly from other podcasters, and former colleagues who googled my name, found the podcasts and made prank calls to me!

As the old song goes, Video killed the Radio Star, and while I thought that telephone modems being replaced by cable and hi speed connections would popularize podcasts, it is actually the videos that have gained the most popularity. This past summer, we started doing video versions of my Mortgage Podcasts that are now getting a decent number of hits on You Tube. This summer also marked the migration of my files away from hosting site Streamload/Media Max which mysteriously never seems to work when I need it. Files stored there continously show up as dead links. The Roselle House Video from The Home Sweet Home column in April seems to also be a dead link. For this week's Clip of The Week, we will once again present The Roselle House Video this time via YouTube! By the way, the movie referred to in that column is Steam which opens next Thursday in LA!


We also do some Jewish columns every once in awhile. I characterize myself as being between Conservative and Orthodox... or Orthoservative. In that Klein - King article, I criticized a letter writer to the local Jewish State newspaper who wrote a nasty letter because they were upset that an Edison Rabbi commented during a Menorah Lighting ceremony to pray for the death of Iranian President Ahmedinijad. The State is an otherwise good newspaper but made a huge misstep with another letter to the editor this week that again disrepectfully criticizes the same Rabbi with an incredible cheap shot directed towards him and his wife. By the way, I took one of the pictures that appears on Page 19 - eagle eyed viewers may realize that those are the same chairs from today's Clip of The Week !

Being less observant makes me more religious.. to me the most important thing is to be respectful to other people. It nauseates me that a different newspaper published by the ultra orthodox recently published an editorial about the hate crime bill (although I think the editorial writer was referring to the anti discrimination bill) that allows a loophole for a clergyman to make nasty speeches against homosexuality as long as it doesn't incite a riot. How disgusting is it that this editorial was probably written by a person whose relatives were in the Holocaust. Yet the editorial says that people should be allowed to speak publicly about a lifestyle that is not religiously acceptable. And if you saw the movie "Trembling Before G-d", you will have seen that the ultras (excluding for the most part the more open minded Lubavitch sect) are NOT preaching to "punish the sin, not the sinner". The documentary showed quite clearly that these ultras have totally ostracized the homosexuals and tossed them out of their community.

The irony of that editorial is that Jews have always been persecuted for being different... because we do not observe a Christian lfestyle as prescribed in the New Testament. How is this different from preaching against gays who they claim violate laws in the Old Testament? Personally, I am against gay marriage but that is for semantic reasons. I do think that gay partners should get as many benefits as married couples do. If these ultras wouldn't shun science education, they would realize that the homosexual tendency is biological and these people can't control it. It isn't easy for them to be gay in our society and I doubt that it is the Godly thing to do to preach against what the newspaper called their "immoral deviant lifestyle"! Religious persecution is religious persecution whether its wearing a star pinned to your shirt or being treated like garbage for being gay!.

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought God wants us to be nicer to our fellow man and that is how we should conduct ourselves....

I also went back through all the columns... here are the 14 Movie Club Reviews we posted here. Remember the Star Wars were in chronological order!

November 21, 2005 - One Down Five to Go (Star Wars I)
December 8, 2005 - Obscene Clone Falls (Star Wars II)
January 16, 2006 - Halfway There -Oh Oh Livin' on a Prayer (Star Wars III)
March 3, 2006 - 1977 Part II - The Summer of Sam (Star Wars IV - The Original)
May 2, 2006 - Who's Your Daddy? (Star Wars V)
June 1, 2006 - Star Wars Part 6 of 6 Yippee (Star Wars VI)
July 29, 2006 - From Yoda to Vigoda - An Offer You Can't Refuse (The Godfather)
October 12, 2006 - Name Clearing Part II (Godfather II)
December 5, 2006 - (Corle)One is the Loneliest Number (Godfather III)
January 18, 2007 - How Does a Cixelsyd Spell Radar? (Robert Altman Part I M*A*S*H)
February 28, 2007 - Nashville (Altman Part II)
July 25, 2007 - The Player (Altman Part III after a hiatus when we moved to our house in April)
September 6, 2007 - Short Cuts - How Can a 3 Hour Movie Have the Word Short In Its Title?? (Altman Part IV)
October 19, 2007 - Sean Connery's Goldfinger - (James Bond I)

Top 14 Lists List

November 2, 2007 - TV Quarterly Report - The NWOW Fall Preview
March 25, 2007 The 14 Most Relevant Baseball Teams of 2007
Feb 23, 2007 The Top 14 Movies to Start a DVD Collection
Jan. 25, 2007 The Top 14 Game Show Hosts of All Time
Dec. 14, 21 2006 - 14 TV Shows That Entertained Me in 2006
May 12, 27 2006 Top 14 Talk Show Hosts
March 27, 30 2006 The 14 Most Relevant Baseball Teams of 2006
Feb. 10, 14, 17 2006 Top 14 Game Shows

PUMPSTRADAMUS PICK OF THE WEEK: Pumpy improved to 8-1 last week when the Colts covered the spread. One more win he clinches a winning record. Last year for the Bloggiversary we went to San Fran in honor of Nancy Pelosi's big 2006 Election Day performance. Once again, for this year's bloggiversary we head back there as the 49ers play in Seattle on Monday Night. The Niners are 10 point doggies. Sayeth the Pump: "My Bronco-itis doesn't seem to go away... maybe it's bird flu? Therefore in honor of Bird Flu I take the Seahwawks!"

UNBIASED GIANTS FAN PICKS OF THE WEEK; Last week the Jets barely covered to get us to 1-2 for the week for a season record of 12-14-1.

GIANTS 1 1/2 doggies over Dallas - This is the battle for first place in the NFC East. Anybody else notice in the London game how the ref's audio didnt synch with the video?

Eagles 3 doggies over WASHINGTON - The Skins think they are in a wild card race. The Eagles will teach them a lesson.

ARIZONA 1 fave over Detroit - C'mon The Lions win a road game?? Get outta here.

CLASSIC CLIP OF THE WEEK - The Roselle House Video - the first part was shot in '88, the rest was done 10 years ago.


alberich said...

Happy Blogoversary!

annoying to liberals like DAS who have this notion that the party is moving to the left.... which ain't happenin'.

I'd hardly so it makes my day that the Democratic party ain't movin' so far to the left as my ilk would like, but it hardly annoys people like me.

What annoys people like me is that the Democrats rarely put up a real fight against stupid right wing policies and when they do, it's so clumsy as to be self-destructive.

I still say though that, since we Dems are defined as "liberal", we better define liberal to be whatever positive things we want to define it as being rather than let the GOP define liberal for us.


the Jena 6 that beat a white kid unconscious because they think these thugs should not be punished!

Nu? How is what they did at a personal level different than what Israel has done at the level of the community of nations?

These white kids were threatening the black kids in various provocative manners. Authority figures ignored the threats facing the black kids, which included nooses and other veiled death threats. So the black kids responded.

Need I point out how similar whatever justification the Jena 6 had for their actions is so parallel to those of Israel? Israel is faced with rhetorical death threats backed up with a very real potential for force. Israelis remember that not too long ago (although less recently than the final days of Jim Crow) the Jewish people faced annhialation. So they respond with deadly force under the motto of "never again".

But how is this response with deadly force so different than the response of the Jena 6?

Of course what gets me is not just that pro-Zionist types fail to see how they defend Israel for things they oppose when it happens closer to home, but also that anti-Zionists are so willing to go to bat for others who respond just as Israel collectively responds to its threats. If someone is willing to defend the actions of the Jena 6, how can they completely condemn the actions of Israel? Do the anti-Zionists fail to see their double standards?

FWIW, I don't think the issue is anti-Semitism so much as a reflexive anti-colonialist narrative held by the anti-Zionists in which, since the leaders of Zionism were European, they must be teh evil colonialists. But even that is still (reverse) racism. And racism, of any sort, is wrong ... and it's especially pernicious when it is being purveyed in the name of anti-racism: whether that supposed anti-racism is the reflexive anti-colonicalism of some on the left or the willful "color blindness" of certain conservatives who use anti-racism rhetoric to promote a system that promulgates racial inequalities.

Anyway, FWIW, I don't think the Jena 6 should get off the hook. And most liberals actually don't think that ... but considering the situation, the punishment they were sentanced to receive was a bit excessive, dontcha think? And it's also evidence of the double standards in our so-called justice system: black kids get punished, perhaps deservedly so, but white kids who also should have gotten punished get let off? I smell a bit of a double standard here ... some unfairness ... dare I say, injustice?

Nate said...

I don't think there is a double standard. The Jena 6 beat the crap out of these kids, and it's one thing if they are "overpunished", but to march there like these are sweet innocent victims is absurd.

Is it similar to the liberal Jewish perception that Israel taunted Palestinians by imposing laws to not commit treason, and terrorists retaliated by being suicide bombers? Yeah you're right, the violent Palestinian uprising is wrong like the Jena 6 violent beating.

alberich said...


As you may or may not know (the coverage on "even the liberal NPR" has been extremely incomplete), the Jena 6 didn't just beat up some poor white students without provocation.

For daring to sit under the "whites only" tree, these students faced constant harassment, including death threats involving invocations of recent history when African-Americans were killed for daring to assert their humanity.

Similarly, for daring to live in the Middle East, Jews in Israel have faced constant harrassment, including threats of annhilation involving invocations of recent history when Jews were killed en-masse.

The Jena 6 responded by fighting back -- woefully disproportionately maybe and even deserving of censure (most liberals are not marching as if these are sweet, innocent kids ... don't rely on hacks who claim to speak for liberals and the so-called liberal media to know what real liberals stand for) -- and ain't it odd how they get charged so severely and yet the people who provoked this attack never were censured nor was their behavior even addressed until the black kids responded to it?

Similarly, Israel responds to Arab threats by fighting back -- woefully disproportionately maybe and even deserving of censure -- and ain't it odd how the international community decides to censure Israel while ignoring greater abuses elsewhere and even threats to Israel?

Do you see the parallel here between Israel and the Jena 6? If you think it's ok for Israel to respond so disproportionately to Arab attacks, then how is it not ok for the Jena 6 to have done so? OTOH, if you think the Jena 6 are so innocent (as some strawmen leftists do), how can you not also think Israel in the right (as those same strawmen leftists often don't)?

Personally, I think the Jena 6 should be punished (and you certainly know that I think Israel has made strategic and moral mistakes with disproportionate responses to attacks on it). But I, like many of the protestors, wonder why it is that they were charged so severely when, at some level, they were, even if woefully disproportionately, merely defending themselves?


Anyway -- Merry Shabbos to all and again ... Happy Blogoversary!

Nate said...

I don't know for a fact that those kids were not punished by the school - I believe they were.

Nonetheless, physical attacks as a retaliation to verbal taunting is absolutely unnacceptable. If you give a bad driver the finger and they come over to you and beat the hell out of you... they should go to jail. And it is these same people marching and donating money to get these kids off the hook that said in the 90s that the Rodney King cops should not have physically attacked him.

So in certain cases it is ok to physically strike back, but in certain case it isn't? It's the hypocrisy that is absurd.