Friday, January 25, 2008

They Must Be Giants

Tuesday Night I was watching Law and Order SVU and for once I actually predicted "the twist".. a wacko activist who stole embryos from a clinic was shot down by a client of that clinic whose wife was sent to Iraq. The cops tracked him to the airport where he had to gone to pick up his wife - in a body bag! Nice twist to make him seem sympathetic... and have you noticed that the military is very quiet about transporting bodies back home after somebody gets killed?

Then as the credits rolled, the screen split and with breathless despair Chuck Scarborough and Sue Simmons came on to tease the upcoming 11 o'clock news with the horrible news of the death of Heath Ledger... and the mugging of reporter Jay DeDapper. On and on the news went about Ledger... (I heard about it when I got a little blurb on my Yahoo messenger account that I got an email from TV Guide annoucing the news in the afternoon... Brokeback Mountain?? Never saw it! Oh yeah... hes the Joker in the next Batman movie!!) So as the news went on and on and on about Ledger... it occured to me... why dont they devote this much coverage every time a heroic soldier is killed while fighting in Iraq??

Heath Ledger notwhithstanding, the biggest news of the week was the Giants winning the NFC Title. And did I get to watch the game?? Nooooo.. I was at DAS's wedding but I did get to hear the 2nd half on the radio...and that was a great call by the radio team. We pulled into the driveway as the game winning field goal was kicked.. prompting me to get out of the car and literally jump up and down in my driveway in celebration. The Giants would be headed to the Super Bowl. I couldnt believe it... 3 straight playoff road wins including victories over supposed powerhouses Dallas and Green Bay and now, just one gigantic obstacle will keep the Giants from football immortalilty! Who woulda thunk that?? Well, let's go back in the time machine to January 11, 2007 and if you check the archives, that column was indeed entitled..."Will 2007 Be The Year of the Giant?"

That was the column I wrote about 3 Giants... The Giant Ego of Donald Trump... Giant Subs and The NFC Chamption NY Giants. I wrote about the Giant ego of Donald Trump who somehow has kept his silly Apprentice reality/infomerical show on the air. ... I also bragged about my discovery of The Kosher Subway in Flatbush.. and now I have gotten word that there is also one in Livingston which is fantastic since I don't have to spend money on a Verezzano toll to eat a kosher sub. Speaking of the Verezano... as I drove home from the DAS and Mrs. DAS wedding in Forest Hills to try to futilely catch the tail end of the game, my cockamimie GPS kept directing me to go through Brooklyn towards that evil Verezano toll!! Why oh why couldnt it just lead me to the promised land of Manhattan via a toll free bridge??

That column also pointed out an odd coincidence involving subs and a notorious crime spree in Union County during the 1960s. I took a rather unpopular stance defending the legal rights of Robert Zarinsky, the prisoner who was acquitted of killing a cop after his sister ratted him out when he caught her looting his hefty retirement account. Zarinsky however lost his civil suit and had to pay all that money to the cop's widow who got some lame-o legal advice and went on and spent the money. Zarinsky appealed the verdict and won... and then the widow was on the hook for the money. Zarinsky however should have quit while he was ahead because if you reread the original column, I was actually one of the few people who gave him the legal benefit of the doubt. Now Zarinsky has lost any iota of support from here,.... he keeps hounding this poor woman for penalties and interest... Also, his wife wisely dumped him and married a better man,....and this abusive son of a bitch seems to only be happy if he is harrasing someone like the poor widow.

Now ol' Zarinsky is about to go on trial for another crime and my tolerance of him has run out. He apparently has a health problem that forced him to be wheeled into a courtroom hooked to an oxygen tank that was helping him breathe. I think I have been watching too much lighting up on Mad Men on AMC because here is my opinion: I dont know what the indoor smoking laws are... but I think if the judge, prosecutors, or jury need a cigarette during the trial... they should get to have one right there in the courtroom. Unfortunately, the oxygen tank poses a risk to all our smokers.. but I think their comfort is more important... so I say anytime somebody needs a smoke... simply take the oxygen tank out of the room and force Mr. Zarinsky to just figure out a way to get some air. So what if he struggles a little bit...

The other Giant in that column was of course The NY Giants, and much maligned QB Eli Manning. Here is an excerpt to remind you guys of the praise I heaped on your NFC Title Winning Quarterback.....

The Giants played a brutal schedule especially during the early part of the season. Yet they got off to a 6-2 start that included big comebacks against The Eagles and The Falcons. However, everyone seems to have forgotten since they fizzled down the stretch to finish 8-8 (including a tough game against the division rival Redskins who wanted nothing more than to knock NY out of the playoffs). Now all these Giants/Eli Manning critics who are soooo eager to point out the poor 2nd half during the soft part of the schedule claim that the latter part of the season is most important.. If that’s the case, why don’t they give Eli credit for his late TD drive in the 4th quarter Sunday during a drive that included a 1st and 30? After tying the game at 20, the Giants defense couldn’t keep the Eagles from eating the clock and kicking a game winning field goal as time expired. Yet for some reason, my fellow Giant fans wants to blame the QB! Now the Ledger says that Bill Parcells was turned down when he made overtures to take over the vacant GM position. I guess they don’t love the Tuna.

By the way The Ledger refers to the Newark Star Ledger not the late actor Heath Ledger. Oh and by the way, if anybody ever finds me unconscious... don't call Mary Kate Olson... call freakin' 911!! I have now deleted all Olson sisters from my speed dial just to avoid the temptation!

Incidentally, once I was done jumping up and down in my driveway.... I bolted to my computer to my email to trash talk a buddy of mine who is a .... Cowboy fan... who has been blasting the Giants for trading for Manning and giving up Phillip Rivers and a few draft picks. This guy is The Phil Mushnick of our social group who will find the oddest topic to debate - by the way Mushnick is way off in today's Post when he opines about this theories about why Knick Announcer Mike Breen left his gig on The Imus Show. My opinion on any trade is to give it some time to gel... but once Rivers and his gang were sent home packing, I was ready for some trash talking and some crow eating. Interestingly enough, my buddy is still holding his ground.. which is odd because I dont see a lot of Giants fans particularly upset about the deal as The Giants prepare for the Super Bowl while The Chargers are playing golf!! In addition to that... if the roles were reversed and The Giants had traded away the first pick of the draft to San Diego, and Manning had led his team to The Super Bowl, you know that the phone lines on the all sports stations would be burning up with angry Giants fans upset that the team traded away a first pick who is now bound for The Super Bowl. I guess the Cowboys fans just haven't caught on that making it to The Super Bowl puts Mr. Manning in some very good company. If he beats The Patriots, he might be our generations Sir Edmund Hilary!


Here it is.... no Giants game for me last Sunday, but Trophy Wife and I took our camera to DAS's wedding... Here is a clip where we refer to last weeks podcast replay from 2006 where I told my liberal pal DAS he should move back to the area from FL and marry his woman!! Well, ol' DAS is finishing up some kind of project so he is temporarily commuting back and forth... Also in the clip is my cousin Elly Sue who did a tremendous good deed and introduced DAS to Mrs. DAS. And since Trophy Wife and I sort of hooked Elly Sue up with her hubby... I am taking some credit for DAS. He also bears an uncanny resemblance to the Rabbi at the synagogue I went to as a kid.


Here is a very funny scene from Coming to America, the movie that was notorious for the phrase... "This is beautiful... What is it, velvet?"

Friday, January 18, 2008

Octopussy - A Movie Club Column

And let's be heard!

Hey does Bob Grant still say that? Before we get to today's movie review, I just gotta tell you that nothing is more pathetic than Radio and Records magazine announcement this week that they are taking back a Lifetime Achievement Award that was to be presented to Grant this March. I am not a fan of Grant's, nor do I listen to his show, but there is nothing more cowardly than R&R bowing to "political correctness".

And we can see who that rag of a mag is in bed with the announcement this week that they will add that Reverend Al Sharpton to a forum on race in the media. Sharpton has been calling for a golf TV reporter to be fired after she made a wisecrack about lynching Tiger Woods. Woods is friends with her, and wasn't offended, but Sharpton has to cause more trouble. And as I mentioned last month, Sharpton feels that John White, the Suffolk County man who shot and killed a teenager who was yelling racial taunts on the sidewalk in front of his home should not have been convicted... but that the taunting teens should be arrested and prosecuted!

In my best Mary Tyler Moore impression, all I can say is... "Mr. Grant... do you really want to get an award from a rag that embraces Al Sharpton?"

Well its time for another Movie Review and we go from Mary Tyler Moore to Roger Moore as today we present the 3rd of our 6 James Bond Movies - Octopussy

This past Sunday, American Dad did a hysterical spoof of the James Bond movies... kind of daring since there already have been 3 Austin Powers movies... but as I watched the parody, it occured to me that The Bond movies are so tongue in cheek they are almost a parody themselves.

As you know, we are doing 6 Bond movies, each one featuring a different actor. Two of the first three are actors I have always liked... Connery in Goldfinger, and now Moore. I actually even liked the George Lazenby movie. As you know, my pal Steve picked out 4 of the 6 Bond movies for this series...(The Lazenby and Daniel Craig movies are an automatic since it's their only Bond movies)... and loaned me the (gasp!) videotapes, After I actually gave Lazenby a good review.... Steve had some comments you might have missed.. I just want you to face this way while I remind our readers of Steve's comments.... Ill ask you the same questions.... if you give me the same answers.. you'll hear this buzzer.... and Ill ask him to try again.... Oh wait... thats from Family Feud!.... Here is what Steve said about our December 7th Pearl Harbor Day Column....

Interesting review... I thought Lazenby was a terrible choice to portray Bond. This guy had no acting chops, no discernible personality, and brought the Bond character down at least a couple of notches. And while Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli, remarked that Lazenby could have been the best Bond had he not quit after just one film, I for one am glad he did...

In fact, after he quit Bond, because the role was "too tough" for him... sniff sniff... he went on to become an extra or minor character in literally every other project he worked on, with the exception of some soft porn in Emanuelle. Acting chops indeed... HA!

Good riddance to bad acting... Now Roger Moore... There is the real James Bond!

Interestingly enough during the last few days, Steve asked me if I thought Moore was better than Connery.... hmmm... we'll have to address that at some point. Let's start with the trailer....

Octopussy is actually the name of this movie's Bond Girl... who is tied in with a bunch of crazy villians Kamal Kahn and General Orlov who are hell bent on stealing valuable jewels and World Domination. The Orlov character is especially over the top with a Shatner/Caruso-esque performance that even includes rolling R's. The introductory unrelated storyline starts with a plane concealed within a horse trailer... and ends with Bond getting gas at an Enco! station. Years and years ago Exxon used to be Esso but in the South they called it Enco. I still remember that from a trip to Texas I took way back in 1972!

Fast forward to the real story where a circus clown is killed by knife throwing twins who are more precise than Ed Ames... The clown is actually Agent 009 which leads to 007 to take on the case. The clown's last heroic act was delivering a Fabrege Egg to the British Embassy, leading to the mystery of why the clown was killed and what is the deal with the Egg? Bond wisely figures out that The Dead Clown with The Fabrege Egg is somehow connected to an upcoming auction for the real Egg which is where he meets Kamal. He follows him to India where upon arriving meets tennis player Vijay of a few crummy acting performances in this movie... even though the other actors were intentionally throwing a little Shatner into their performances.Vijay's code signal to Bond is playing snake charmer music which is actually the Bond theme!

Interestingly enough this movie was filmed in the early 1980s when a lot of us thought of India as an exotic foreign country.... but as Esso/Enco shifted to the back burner of our memory banks... Indians living in my part of NJ shifted curry to the front burners of their stoves taking away a lot of the mystery of this oh so exotic land. Actually, at one point Bond wins some money in a backgammon game where he double crosses the cheating Kahn and tosses the money to Indians with the wisecrack.... "That should keep you in curry for a few weeks." By the way, one of the points in the American Dad spoof was that Bond always wins at a casino game at every movie!

As it turns out Kamal had hooked up with this crazy nut job General Orlov.... and while it seemed like this was all about jewel thieves... Orlov uses a traveling circus's train ... (this is where Octopussy gets in the storyline; she owns the circus... I guess The Ringling Brothers weren't available).... to smuggle a nuclear bomb to a circus performance at an American Military base in Germany which he figures will lead to more disarmament and ultimate world domination, because people will think it went off by accident, and not realize where the bomb really came from.

Octopussy.. played by Maud Adams... becomes Bond's 2nd chickie in the movie... the first one is Kamal's sidekick Magda played by Kristina Wayborn who was Miss Sweden in 1970. Magda does the ol' hocus mcpocus with Bond and then steals back the Farbrege Egg.... of course not realizing that it is all a set up since a future-esque Lojack-esque device had already been inserted inside it and was connected to Bond's Dick Tracy-esque watch. It seems that even though Adams is supposed to be The Main Bond Squeeze...(she lives on an island inhabited by beautiful acrobatic women), Magda is a far sexier performer. However as it turns out Octopussy is a much more complex person who has a family past with Bond... She gets her name from an octopus fixation... and her circus is named for her... much like how Goldfinger had Pussy Galore and her Flying Circus. What is it with Bond movies using that name and performers who can do cunning stunts? Incidentally, Octopussy's all female circus performers will save the day later in the movie in a fight scene right out of the Batman TV Show!

Moore does an excellent job as Bond... His Bond is not as goofy as The Connery Bond in the one movie I had seen.... Moore is not only a pilot but is able to drive a car with 4 flat tires along railroad tracks. I never knew that was possible! He also has a way with jungle animals handling a tiger better than Siegfried and Roy..... well definitely better than Roy. His end of the movie bomb defusing heroics were a bit hard to believe since the time on the clock was expiring quicker than a Tony Romo 4th quarter playoff comeback attempt... but unlike Romo, Bond is able to save the day! That's not a spoiler... how the heck else do you think these goofy movies end??

Overall I liked the movie... some of the characters, especially Orlov were way over the top... but then again, that was pretty much expected... The story is told very well, and the gadgets are quite cool... although a 1983 futuristic gadget isn't as impressive as the ones from the movie that were filmed in the sixties. The scenery is terrific and it really makes India look quite exotic without that fine scent of curry that wafts through the streets of Edison and Iselin. The music was up to par as usual, with a catchy theme song "All Time High" by Rita Coolidge... and as usual the Bond girls - homina, homina homina. Is Moore better than Connery? The Moore Bond is more clever.... and overall I am a bigger fan of Connery, although I always liked Moore when he was "The Saint"... but in reality both did a pretty good job with the cards they were dealt. Incidentally, Moore was the oldest Bond at the time.... he did this movie when he was 55... but looks much much younger! On a scale of 1 to 4 bladders meaning how less likely you would be to leave in the middle to go to the bathroom.... Octopussy gets 3 bladders.

Next Movie" "The Living Daylights" with Timothy Dalton

CLASSIC CLIP OF THE WEEK: Hey did you know that our wacky liberal pal DAS from DAS blog is getting married this Sunday? Yup... and now I see that I am going to miss the first half of the Giants-Packers game!! I think the Giants will win... and I have a feeling there could be a collosal upset by San Diego. After all - our nation is in the midst of a credit disaster... who better to be in The Super Bowl than The Chargers?? Anyway, back in '06 we did a podcast chat with DAS and here is Part II of that chat which features love advice from Nate... and it looks like our ol' chum DAS listened to my brilliant advice!! Here it is from July 20, 2006!!

Your Influence Counts.... Use it! Get Khadafy!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pumpstradamus Predictions for 2008 - A Multimedia Extravaganza!

Happy New Year everybody!!

Well here we go with Year Number 4 of this blog which started in late 2005... and as usual we begin with the traditional Pumpstradamus Predictions! This year we are presenting a VIDEO podcast.... yep its better than the old fashioned audio interviews we had done in years past. Also on the V-Cast is a spoof of The House Video that I posted here in a prior column. Just in case you didn't see it or don't remember it, I will repost it this week so you can fully enjoy the parody.

Pumpy has been on the blog on a weekly basis since September with his NFL picks which despite a strong start stumbled badly down the stretch going 0-5 to finish at 10-7.... (The Unbiased Giants fan also finished 3 over .500 at 26-23-2.) One of Pumpys planned predictions was the death of Bhutto which actually happened at the tail end of 2007. Parade Magazine had actually interviewed her, but the magazine is published far in advance so there was nothing they could do short of yanking it out of the Sunday paper when she was assassinated after the magazine went to press. Then again if you saw the column back in August about our summer trip there was the August glossy magazine hyping an upcoming stand up appearance by Richard Jeni who had actually died in March!

And you can't take Pakistan too lightly... .Dont forget they have nukes and it borders Afghanistan where that slimeball Osama bin Laden has been hiding out for the last several years. The odd thing about the Afghan trained terrorists is the USA helped them during the war against Russia in the early 80s... Maybe the Russians weren't such bad guys after all... and maybe that infamous Reagan -"Gorbachev tear down that wall" wasn't as heroic as those crazy Reagan fans claim it was.

The cool thing about this article was it doesnt gloss over the facts regarding Ms. Bhutto as many seem to have done since her death last month. The writer Gail Sheehy points out to her that prior to being exiled, Bhutto snagged 1.5 Billion dollars for herself that had actually been set aside for the UN Oil for Food Program. Nobody was really paying much attention to her anyway, until she hired a bigshot PR guy who reinvented her as a Musharaf basher. Bhutto made a deal with Musharaf to drop charges against her and in exchange she wouldnt come back to Pakistan until after the January elections, at which point she reneged and promptly returned and announced her plans to run for office.

It seems that between Musharaf and Bhutto, she might have been popular because she was the lesser of two unlikeable evils... sort of like taking sides in the battles between Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell!!

And now without further ado.... here is the Pumpstradamus Video which includes a parody of the Original House Video which I will post underneath...

Incidentally, as you can see that is the same Champps shirt that I wore in the original from 1997.. but after 11 years of washing it, it has shrunk just a bit. Also the same as the original... The Dining Room Set... The Lamp... and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue! Here is the original House Video...

Next Week: The Octopussy Review!