Saturday, December 27, 2008

Who (Lu) Won Website of the Year?

Greetings and Happy Holidays as today's column originates from Atlantic City. I am pecking away at my laptop at the Showboat trying to see if history can repeat itself. Readers of this fine blog know that last Christmas, Trophy Wife and I went to AC and I won 500 bucks at the Taj Mahal when I hit a royal flush while playing Double Down Stud. We also came back for New Years and I won another 150... but since then my mastery of the game seems to have foshnizzled. We have been back a few times in 2008, and I have given back a very small percentage of my winnings... a small amount I refer to as my "entertainment fee" the money that would have been spent elsewhere if I wasn't playing cards. At the rate I play those quarter machines, Donald Trump and that Charles Kushner will be celebrating their grandson's bar mitzvah before Donald Trump gets that money back. And hopefully at some point I will get my mojo back and start winning some more jackpots. And I won't be distracted by the cleavagey miniskirted cocktail waitresses whose well timed decisions to bend over tends to throw my concentration off.

Anyway, Showboat mailed us an offer for a deeply discounted room and we decided to spend a couple of days here. Trophy Wife says they will be sending another one again in a month or two, so I told her we should spite them by coming back and NOT gamble so they don't take more money from us. But Trophy Wife makes a valid point - even though we stayed at Showboat... we do almost all of our gambling at Taj... so we really haven't been losing any money at Showboat.

Anyway, I see that Hulu has won the AP award for Website of the Year. Frankly I have only been on it a few times, so more than likely since I am a year or two behind the young hipsters who make these decisions I will be more into Hulu in around 2009 or 2010..... Is it agreed that 2010 is when we start the years with "twenty" instead of "two thousand and ....?". Hulu is the self fulfilling prophecy of Bill Gates who said many years ago that computers will be the centerpiece of our lives. They have already replaced appointment books, film cameras, newspapers and now apparently TV. The VCR is almost officially dead once the analog signals stop next month... all TV shows will be recorded on DVR's or DVD recorders which I just got for Hannukah...(just before the prices dropped by an astonishing 50% for the post Christmas clearance sales!)... and hulu is yet another site joining the amazing You Tube (which I said a couple of years ago was going to be the king of all websites) which is drawing more people away from the old fashioned method of watching television shows as they travel through the airwaves.

But since I am a little older than the typical person raised on demographics skew a bit differently. I actually didnt buy a PC till 2003 which puts me into dinosaur status as I held out with a really nifty Brother portable word processor that had very very limited web access through compuserve and its numbered email addresses (104145.3031 was mine) and then my little webtv gadget. So therefore I am a year or two behind the hip people, which makes the Hulu choice surprise me since I personally would nominate the social networking websites for that award.

Facebook seems to be the most popular, but I am also a big fan of Linked In. In May, I decided to see if Facebook would be a good way to bring in business. A couple of months later, I decided to see how Linked In would work and signed up for that too. Now, as we approach 2009 I have noticed some interesting trends.

I tend to use Linked In more often to bring in contacts, yet I rarely do so on Facebook... yet I have approximately 80 contacts for both of them. Facebook seems to be more for fun, while Linked In is more serious.. kind of like a Peak Fream. I like how LI pins a business card on all my friends contact list page and has my professional podcasts posted right on my page, but at the same time I am also addicted to the Facebook live feeds. It's almost like Page Six about my friends. But the most incredible aspect of FB and LI has been finding people I havent heard from in ages.

On both sites I have a list of current friends and business contacts... but then you start to see names popping up from way back. Here are some examples.

* Chris the Weather Wonder Boy - Back in my radio days, I had a high school intern who was obsessed with the weather so we gave him that nickname, Now 18 years later he is a weather producer for one of the NY TV stations! I found him on FB and now all these years later we are back in touch. It's a similar story where I reconnected with my former co worker Ron who also rented a house with me in Sparta, NJ in the early 1990s, and another guy named Scott whose name drew a blank when he found me on FB because like many others he used a "radio name" when he was a DJ so I really never knew what his real name was. I also re-connected with my old intern "Young Chuck" who bore an uncanny resemblance to Chuck Scarborough.

* Sue W from college - Back in my Montclair State days there were always fellow students who had video projects that needed actors. Some of these students wrote bizarre scripts and needed some offbeat people to play these roles. That is how Larry Bud Melman was first discovered by the way. I used to act in a lot of these videos just because I have a bizarre sense of humor and that is how I met Sue W who 20 years ago played Sunny von Bulow in a production I put together involving a show that had Claus von Bulow deciding to get his estranged wife TV jobs. You can see I was warped back then also. Sue W played Sunny von Bulow in that project - Sunny von Bulow actually just died a few weeks ago after some 20something years in a coma. I also did a skit for Sue which is today's Clip of the Week.

Incidentally, I had a Claus Von Bulow fascination back then. For a class we had to produce a short how to video, so I decided to play Claus in a "how to poison your wife" video. (And welcome to people who googled their way over here by typing in that phrase - don't bother going through with it - the cops will find out that you googled that term! Hopefully we just saved a life or two.) I didn't show anyone my "props" and at the last minute I could hear gasps coming out of the control room when I took my concoction and whipped an actual syringe out of my pocket. It was actually one of my mom's insulin syringes, but for a while there were rumors floating that I was a heroin addict.

I also reconnected with Dan B who I had forgotten about after all these years, but oddly enough remembered that you can see his parents house from The Parkway. And also an old friend from high school and my old synagogue who I have seen maybe one time in the last 12 years.

*Out of state relatives - Most of them are on Linked In... it's kind of like I am in touch with them more often since we see each other's updates.

*Liran Kapoano - You can see on the left that we link to his blog and we also wrote about him several months ago when he wrote an excellent expose about a guy who went on Birthright Israel's trip and complained a little too much about his ridiculous left wing Pro-Palestinian politics. One day I was looking at one of my friends friend list and I saw his name! I contacted him and sent him the link to my blog and told him I had written about him. Now his blog links here too, and hes a fb buddy although we have never met.

*My former campers from my day camp counselor days! - This is the most interesting of all of them by far. A couple of years ago I wrote about how I ran into my old camper Lon at my friend Steve's party. Lon friended me on FB and amazingly he is still friends with a bunch of people from old YAC camp from the summer of 1982 when I was the counselor for the B3 Pacmen!! (Pumpstradamus came up with the idea to name the group for Pacman Jones even though Jones had not been born yet, but then again, Pumpy probably doesnt know who Pacman Jones is).... To my amazement, somebody started a YAC Camp fb group that has the wackiest memories posted there.. One of Lon's friends Danny was also my camper... he friended me on FB and then proceeded to remind me that when I was his counselor I unfairly got him in trouble for doing something that somebody else did! Who remembers these things?? However, I still remember there was a kid who everybody used to pick on but I havent seen him on FB yet... I hope they dont still pick on him. He also was the worst tipper even though I constantly had to watch his back since he was always getting busted on by the other kids. Of course when you're the counselor you quietly laugh inside at some of the wisecracks launched at that poor kid, but outwardly you always defend him because ultimately you know you'll get a great tip. I can't recall the kids name anymore, and I am afraid to post it to the group just in case they start busting his chops again!

A year from now I will probably write about how I am addicted to Hulu while the AP will recognize some start up I have probably never heard of!


Last week we went 2-1 to reach 30-17-1.. not bad if I may say so myself. The Giants have the top seed locked up so this Sunday I'm skipping football and celebrating Hannukah! Nonetheless, we'll do some other picks and we will leave the Jets biggest game in years to Pumpstradamus.

Detroit 10 1/2 doggies over GREEN BAY - Can you believe the Lions started 6-2 last season? Will they be the first team ever to finish 0-16... Not only am I picking them to cover.. I think they're gonna win!

BUFFALO 6 doggies over New England - Either New England or Baltimore has to lose for the Jets to have a shot. I think this might be their better chance, but if not....

Jacksonville 12 1/2 doggies over BALTIMORE - This is a very big spread... If one or both lose... the Jets are in if they win. For that pick... I turn it over to Pumpstradamus!


Pumpy is 10-6 and after losing 2 straight he is still trying for that elusive 11th win. His career record with 10 wins is 0-8! How will he end '08?? Will this be the week he snaps the slump? We're letting Pumpy pick the Jets game... they are 3 point home faves over Miami as they must win to get in. Sayeth the Pump: "I see that Bush pardoned imprisoned real estate developer Isaac Robert Toussie this week and then revoked the pardon. This is yet another example of what I have always said - Dolphins are smarter than humans! Therefore, I pick the Dolphins!".


Here is the clip I mentioned earlier from my college days where I played Marty the Chef.

Have a Happy Hannukah and a Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Financial Fakery and a Controversial Bakery

With apologies to Dr. Seuss...

It's Christmas Eve
What Can You Do
If Like Me
You are a Jew
Do you find George W
and throw a Shoe??

These are the Tates - And these are the Campbells... and this is... My Blog!

Once again, ladies and gentleman it is time to present our annual....."Being a Jew on Christmas" column. First of all, if you don't celebrate Christmas and you are looking for something to do Christmas Eve (And we welcome people who fall into that category and googled themselves over here!) - here is a great idea. This year our Temple has a great idea for a terrific fundraising event. Years ago there was this hilarious comedian named Christopher Campbell. Campbell became interested in Judaism and underwent a Reform Conversion. Then he grew interested in Conservative Judaism and underwent a 2nd conversion. Finally, Orthodoxy intrigued him... and well you can figure it out. By the way each conversion required a separate Bris so you can imagine how painful this must have been. Campbell moved to Israel, changed his name to Yisrael, and his story is quite funny. He will perform his one man show "An Evening with Yisrael Campbell" next Wednesday Night at the Highland Park Conservative Temple. If you are in Joisey come on by. They will be serving food and advanced tickets are only 38 bucks. Proceeds go to help rebuild our Temple which was badly damaged in a fire in 2006. Here is a clip from You Tube:

As I have mentioned in prior years, each year I try to catch my three traditional Yule movies,. First is the classic movie "It's a Wonderful Life" which of course features Sheldon Leonard, a cousin of Trophy Wife (who was born the day of the Manson murders at the home of Sharon Tate) It airs Wednesday Night on NBC.... and another favorite of mine is "Scrooged" with Bill Murray which will air on Christmas Morning on Cinemax.. Of course the highlight is my own Rocky Horror Picture Show - the cult favorite "A Christmas Story" which runs for 24 hours on TBS.... This is my chance to yell out.. "I see that the Bears are playing Green Bay on Sunday", ."You'll shoot your eye out"... (which I tried to get a mall Santa to yell at me for a You Tube video only to realize my cell phone camera battery had foshnizzled) and of course - "Fragilleeeee - It Must Be Italian".

Some of my fellows Hebrews and Shebrews say they felt left out with all the holiday hullaballoo. Usually this time of year, we have wrapped up Hannukah and we start thinking ahead to New Years....but this year Hanukah is late so it actually coincides with Christmas as it did in 2005. - In past Christmases, I either had a job that needed staffing for the day so I would fill in for my co workers that day or I would just hang around at home. Last year we went to Atlantic City and I hit a royal flush on video poker (Double Down Stud) and won 500 bucks! Nonetheless, while some people want stores to change their "Christmas-y" themes to "Holiday" themes, I dont care at all. I like Xmas decorations and besides, some of the best Christmas songs were written by Jews.

As soon as Christmas is over, all the media will start doing their year in review stuff and their 2009 previews. The economy is in the tank but thankfully we have a new President taking over and hopefully this bailout will infuse some much needed money into companies that provide credit and breathe life into housing, cars and high priced ticket items that people don't pay for with cash. The troubling story of Bernard Madoff emerged this past week.... and if you read the Washington Post on-line you will see the meticulous research conducted by journalist Julie Tate.

Madoff actually has me agreeing with Donald Trump.. He told CNN that Madoff is a sleaze bag Trump is 100% right. . Madoff wrecked the holiday season for hundreds if not thousands of people who have fallen victim to his Ponzi scam. I'm sure many people may quietly snicker about rich people that lost a lot of money, but there are a lot of people here whose entire life savings were wiped out because they bought into Madoff's fraudulent scam and unwisely gave him ALL their money. But it's not just rich people... Charitable foundations invested millions of dollars with that thief and now they have nothing.. which will devastate the people who were to benefit from those non profit groups. I am hearing that the wonderful Hadassah organization which my wife and mom have been very active in, lost approximately 70 million dollars!

How much can they force him to repay? And how many people were in on this scam? Nobody believes it for a minute that he acted alone... since highly detailed financial statements were sent to hundreds of his victims that could not have been prepared by one 70 year old man. Are we really supposed to believe that he fessed up to his sons and these honorable young men were so mortified by their father's shocking confession that they ran straight to the phone and called the cops? I'm not saying the sons were in on it too, but the scenario as it was told is very hard to believe. And how will this debt be repaid? Down the road, if it turns out the sons are found to be in on it, they should be forced sell their homes and then use all the money to repay the victims. And where will these people live after long prison sentences? I personally don't care, since I'm more concerned with the retirees who are now totally wiped out. But maybe if the judge wants to be fair he will force Madoff and his co defendants to live in the same kind of lifestyle as the worst victim of this scam. And if that victim ends up at the YMCA.. well it may be time to get some more cots for Madoff and his cronies.

And just when you thought the year would end with the Madoff story....

Earlier in the column I wrote about Yisrael Campbell and his fundraising show on December 24th. He is actually funny, but I find nothing amusing about Heath Campbell and his wife Deborah. As a matter of fact this couple is so physically ugly that when you look at a picture of both of them - it is hard to tell which is the man and which is the woman. This woman is allegedly 25 but looks 50 and is balding worse than I was when I was 35. But the ugliness is not only on the outside...

H. Campbell is very proud of himself. He loves Nazis so much that not only is his home decorated with Nazi memorabilia and swastikas but he decided to name his son Adolf Hitler Campbell.. and his younger kids are also stuck with similarly offensive names. A lot of people say little Adolf is going to have a rough life and will get picked on because of his name. However, in reality even if he had a normal name, young Adolf was doomed from the start when he was born to such hate filled parents. The crap he hears about from those parents is going to manifest itself into his day to day activities with other kids in school, unless he is home schooled and one can only imagine what he will learn about WWII. Basically, this kid is going to have a rough life. And how bizarre is it for a Christian to be Anti Semitic since Jesus was Jewish. And... if Heath Campbell hates Jews so much maybe he shouldn't immunize his kids with medications that were discovered by Jews. Kinda surprising DYFS doesnt swoop in and take those poor kids away.

Heath defends his Nazi crap with the usual stupidities we hear from the Nazi supporters. He talks about "other Nazi party accomplishments" not related to the Holocaust. But to me that is just a load of crap because all pre Holocaust Nazi accomplishments were the means to an end to achieve the ultimate goal of an Aryan Nation. Granted, Hitler got the trains to run on time, but it was all part of the grandiose bigger plan. Not that I'm comparing him to Hitler, but it's kind of similar to people who will say that they met Bernard Madoff at a country club and he was so nice to them. Of course he was... it was all part of the master plan to get into your wallet and steal your money!

And then the story took a bizarre twist. It was time for the kid's birthday and his parents went to Shop Rite and requested a birthday cake that said "Happy Birthday Adolf Hitler". Shop Rite told him they would not sell such an offensive cake. And besides the kid's middle name is Hitler.. who other than Charles Nelson Reilly's parents ever ordered a cake with a kid's middle name on it too? The parents were obviously just doing it because of their lack of character, because frankly I doubt anyone would care if the cake just said "Happy Birthday Adolf".

Then...the story gets even sicker.

Heath Campbell claims he went to the Wal Mart in nearby Pa... (these rednecks live in the area of NJ near Easton PA) and he claims that Wal Mart baked a Happy Birthday Adolf Hitler cake for them. It isn't that they baked a blank cake and gave him the stuff to spell it out himself. He claims that a Wal Mart employee in their bakery thought it was pefectly ok to spell out those words on a birthday cake. As much as I applauded Shop Rite's decision, when I first heard this I was mortified that Walmart... as much as I hate that place for how they treat American business owners .... was being slandered by this Nazi wannabe.

But then came the shocker... in a statement issued by Anna Taylor of Wal Mart's PR department she admitted that they baked a Happy Birthday Adolf Hitler cake! While Heath Campbell thinks its so funny that he names his kid Adolf Hitler, Wal Mart should have followed Shop Rite's lead and sold him a cake and told him to write it himself. (I know people will make the argument that The Producers has a song called "Springtime for Hitler" but in that context, it makes sense because it is not glorifying a murderer but mocking people who would want to see such a musical.) And if a local Mom and Pop bakery baked such a cake, I am sure that the local Jewish community would be up in arms and protesting outside that bakery! But Wal Mart didn't think it was such a big deal to insult the memory of the millions who died at the hands of Hitler.. I don't expect much from Heath Campbell since he has proven himself to be an absolute idiot, but I expect more from a huge corporation like Wal Mart. And what is Wal Mart doing next? Baking Osama Bin Laden cakes with a burning World Trade Center for September 11th??

How can any relative of a Hitler victim or Holocaust survivor ever step foot into a store that seems to think a Hitler cake is funny? Think about this next time you are about to walk into a Wal Mart.

After posting this Friday afternoon, I later found out who paid for the cake. We did! That's right Heath Campbell and his wife REFUSE to work and are collecting welfare. He claims he has emphysema and she claims she has a bad back although she seems good at getting on it since she already has 3 kids. Hopefully somebody will google Heath Campbell and Welfare fraud and take away his free ride.... and hopefully take away his kids too and put them into a good home.

PUMPSTRADAMUS PICK OF THE WEEK - Pumpy has never won 11 games and last week in his first attempt at 11 he came up short.. as his record dropped to 10-5. This week we go to Illinois the home of the beleaguered Governor Blagojevich who just doesnt seem to go away. To quote A Christmas Story.... "The Bears are playing Green Bay". The Bears are 4 1/2 point faves. Sayeth the Pump: "Jean Shepherd wrote and narrated A Christmas Story and since he was born in Chicago - I gotta take the Bears!"

UNBIASED GIANTS FAN PICKS OF THE WEEK: Last week we went 1-1-1 and we are now at 28-16-1.

GIANTS 3 faves over Carolina - NBC flexed the game into prime time... I wonder if ESPN can flex the Rutgers bowl game too so it isn't on a Monday Afternoon!! If the Giants win they ice home field for the whole playoffs. If they lose they will get a first round bye if the Vikings lose one of their 2 games.... which creates a scenario that the Giants could finish 0-4 and still get the first weekend off. Not gonna happen. Jacobs is back and so are the Giants!

Atlanta 3 doggies over MINNESOTA - The Vikings are owned by the Wilf family of NJ. Wilf is the chant you hear at the games by fans who have a werewolf fetish. Go Falcons.

Jets 4 1/2 faves over SEATTLE - The Jets really really really need to win... nothing would be worse than missing the playoffs at the hands of their former QB in next week's finale against Miami.

CLIP OF THE WEEK - The Soap announcer was Rod Roddy who also was the announcer on The Price is Right. Here is a clip from a Price is Right this week where something incredibly bizarre happened! Many people have noted Drew Carey's very nonchalant reaction to an event that was quite incredible.

Friday, December 12, 2008

TV Quarterly Report - 14 Things To Watch in 2009

Originally I was going to do my Quarterly TV Report at the end of the month, but NBC's historical announcement this week led to my decision to juggle my columns around a little bit. And this column about 14 Things to Watch will start with one show I definitely plan NOT to watch.

Just in case you got too involved in the craziness involving the Illinois Governor and missed the news, Jay Leno is being pushed out of the Tonight Show and will be replaced by the better Conan O'Brien version of late night TV. In order to keep Leno's ratings, NBC decided to give up on coming up with new shows for the 10pm slot during the week and will move Leno's show to 10 pm... a move that essentially shuts NBC prime time down an hour earlier each night.

Personally, I don't think it's such a big deal.. Fox and CW also stop programming at 10 for the local 10pm news. Some people are saying that shows like Law and Order SVU will be moved to the earlier 9pm hour... and that show's type of adult content might not be appropriate for that time slot. However, have you heard some of the dialogue on some of the CBS Monday Night Sitcoms? Somehow I think SVU will do fine at 9pm.. assuming NBC renews it.

As for Leno, it has been many years since I was a fan of his. Back in the 80's I actually thought he was quite funny when he was a regular on Letterman's 12:30 show.. However, once he started guest hosting for Johnny Carson, I started losing interest.. especially since I thought Garry Shandling and Joan Rivers were better guest hosts. But once Leno became the regular guest host and then stabbed Letterman in the back to take Johnny's timeslot, I totally lost interest. On rare occasions, I will tune into his show if he has an outstanding guest... but once Leno basically got rid of his old edgy humor to be bland and vanilla, I stopped paying attention to him. Night after night, Letterman consistently delivers the same acerbic humor that made him famous 25 years ago, and amazingly Leno beats him in the ratings. I don't know what that says about the ratings...

Now here are 14 things to watch for in 2009....

1. 24 - I really didn't get into the TV movie a couple of weeks ago... it was too much drama too soon after a thrilling Giants game. Nonetheless, I am waiting for Jack Bauer and his amazing Cell phone for 2009 after not getting my fix of 24 last season due to the writers strike. I always get a kick out of the futuristic cellphones each season on 24... or as they say in Japan - the old clunker cell phones! Will this season's cellie core a apple?? Will it be able to send stuff directly to a printer? Will it have a good browser so he can update facebook during his day? Jack Bauer is... still chasing bad guys after 20 hours and is looking for a place to pish.

2. Lost - Here is another one that I haven't seen since May and I already forgot what happened. I joined this group called the Lost Time Loop theory fan club on Facebook... It has 2684 members, and is connected to this fantastic website I mentioned in the spring that has a very plausible explanation for all the stuff going on on that crazy island. Basically the island is not in the same "time" we are... time moves at a different pace there so you can actually be there and at another place simultaneously. Pretty cool, huh?

3. Heroes - I'm so tired of all these people kvetching about this show. As far as I'm concerned.. if you don't like it... don't watch it! I think this season is not as good as Season 1.. but Season 1 was quite gripping due to its originality. I do agree with the critics that the show is bogged down with too many characters mixed in with too many simultaneous storylines. so here is my idea... Get rid of Mohinder and all the Petrellis except for the father. Robert Forster is doing a terrific job playing this character... I like how a New Yorker has a midwest accent! By the way he plays Nathan's father on Heroes and he also played Nathan's father in the amusing but underrated movie "Human Nature". Also, game show aficionados should check him out in the movie Rags to Riches.

Once they trim the cast they should take a core of Heroes... such as Claire, Hiro, Parkman and the girl with the crazy hair and make them the core characters for a story arc... and then take 2 of those heroes and toss in another two, and make them the core characters for the next storyline. I also must admit that despite what other fans have said, I actually like what they did to Sylar this year making him bad... but with a softer, more sensitive side that is easily manipulated.

4. The 2009 Mets - They added K-Rod for the 9th inning, Putz for the 8th inning and bring back Luis Ayala for the 7th inning! Thank you Omar Minaya for making the heist of the year sending away Aaron Heilman, Joe Smith and Endy Chavez who is great for one amazing catch a year for JJ Putz, The Gentile Sean Green and outfielder Jeremy Reed to replace Endy. Once we get past the holidays, it will just be a little more than a month till pitchers and catchers report!

5. Big Bang Theory/How I Met Joe Mama hour - CBS really has a pair of winners in the Monday Night 8pm hour... although I can never remember the characters names. I still forget which one is Sheldon and which one is Leonard... a similar problem that befell fans of former CBS sitcom Kate and Allie. The really skinny guy and the Jewish guy absolutely steal the show and Kaley Cuoco is turning into a very talented comedic actress playing straight man to her wacky neighbors. Also, HIMYM continues to crack me up with all kinds of bizarre hijinks. The cast is great and the storytelling is well presented too with its use of bouncing around the timeline. And Neil Patrick Harris is an absolute gem on this show.. picking up on the quirkiness he created in the original Harold and Kumar movie. Was this guy really Doogie Howser?? This could be the funniest hour on TV except for....

6. Family Guy/American Dad Hour - By far the funniest hour on tv as Entertainment Weekly's Top TV Genius Seth MacFarlane continues his Sunday night brilliance. Family Guy has the bizarre tangents and obscure pop culture references... I just watched an episode and Trophy Wife had to explain a couple of jokes that flew right past me! But anybody clever enough to have Stuie on a Big Wheel give a can of whoopass to Saddam Hussein and then trike through town to the theme song of "Police Squad" is one example of the crazy stuff that goes on there... American Dad doesn't have the flashbacks, but it cleverly utilizes the kooky family that also is lucky enough to have a talking goldfish and pet alien. On its best day, American Dad is competitively as funny as an average Family Guy episode.

7. People's Court - I think I'm turning into the guy from Rain man but this is a must watch show. Here in NJ it airs 2x a day.. 10 am on Channel 9 and 4pm on Channel 5. I work from home in the mornings so I make it a point to catch the 10 am airings. Unlike other Judges who are just blowhards and full of themselves, Judge Milian actually listens to the cases and her rulings are fair and make a lot of sense. The cases are also pretty entertaining and there always seems to be some bizarre twist. The show also uses the old traditional post trial interview that was made famous in the Wapner version by Doug Llewelyn. I'm not too sure she is too thrilled with the opening credits calling her TV's hottest judge. Hey, how about Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

8. Life on Mars - Another time traveling show that I got hooked on this fall.... The Mentalist is actually the most popular new show.. and last week it was the most popular show period.. However, quality wise, Life On Mars is absolutely awesome with its weekly salute to those crazy 1970s crime dramas. Mars takes place on the 70s because the main character woke up after being hit by a car and found himself living 35 years earlier. The show has some Watcha talking about Willis moments especially when he meets his young mom and sees himself as a kid.. Then again last week on Heroes, a time traveling Claire changed Baby Claire's diaper. Somewhere there exists a very perverse joke. Life on Mars will be back on in January - airing immediately after Lost which is going to make Wednesday Nights at 11 a time for lots of head scratching.

9. Monk early season reruns on Channel 4 - So this is what I missed? The show is the same except Monk has an assistant named Sharona whose departure was a big deal among the Monk fans back when it happened. I only started watching if after Natalie became Monk's very patient assistant. The Sharona Monk looks like every other 1980's hair girl from NJ... and the older episodes are pretty much the same as it they are now.... I also liked the most recent USA episode where Stottlemyre joined a monastery and shaved off his Geraldo mustache. Monk is like Encyclopedia Brown with a lot of psychological damage. I just wish it wasn't on so late on Sunday Nights... Channel 4 actually shortens the post football 11 O'clock News to get to Mike'd Up.... but I don't understand why they air some horrible local PM Magazine show after Mike'd Up pushing Monk back even later...

10. The 11 am wknd game show hour on Gsn - Every weekend... Match Game at 11 am and Password Plus at 11:30.

11. Law and Order SVU - I don't know why I watch this show every week... it is just soooo stressful with dark, dreary stories yet I keep coming back for more. I just hope that they don't alter the format when it moves to the 9pm slot next season when Leno takes over 10 pm. And I still don't know why they don't give more air time to Richard Belzer although I must admit that Ice T has been getting some funny lines.. especially last Tuesday when he instantly knew the bra size of a woman the cops were watching in a home made porn video. One cool aspect of this show.. it starts with unrelated characters in the first few minutes "stumbling" into a crime scene.... the first half hour is one storyline... then comes the twist and then the meat and potatoes of the episode. They also do a lot of good casting.. the guy with the eyepatch from Lost was on a few weeks ago.

12. CSI NY and Miami. - If it ain't L and O formula its the CBS crime shows which almost all seem to come from one Jerry Bruckheimer factory. I rarely watch regular CSI... and Miami is just so wacked out with the one day storylines and the horrific David Caruso acting... The stories are entertaining. CSI: NY is nowhere near as campy... although I was getting a little dizzy watching the episode that was taking place at the top of the Empire State Building. Sometimes they run stories spread over a few episodes and the writers just don't know how to properly edit in those little stories within the framework of the main story. But hey.. CSI is making it cool to be smart.

13. The American Idol Gong Show Auditions - Just the auditions.. not the show itself. Now that this unfortunately mentally ill auditioner killed herself in front of Paula Abdul's house... the weirdness factor take a stranger turn.. And since Paula Abdul is already bizarre... it's hard sometimes to tell if the auditioners are weirder.. or camouflaged by Abdul's bizarre behavior. Nonetheless, even though Comedy Central remade the Gong Show last summer.... this is the Gong Show of all Gong Shows... until they take the more talented people to California where I get bored with it and start to wonder why Ryan Seacrest is on the radio and TV all the freaking time. And whatever happened to Dunkleman?

14. HBO's Original Funny Shows - Entourage has the four boys and the incredibly funny Ari Gold... while Curb Your Enthusiasm has Seinfeld-esque storytelling thrown in with some bizarre ad libbing that creates dialogue patterns you never ever see on TV. Some of the comments thrown out by Funkhauser played by Super Dave Osborne are downright hilarious. One time he was talking about a senile relative and ad libbed a line that every time he'd fart he would call the fire department. How do the other actors keep a straight face?? Last season ended with Larry splitting with his wife.... and despite a wacky plot to win her over by "saving" her shrink from a "mugger".. he ended up hooking up with Viveka A Fox... I don't know when these shows will be returning in '09. Honorable Mention goes to Bill Maher's show which when it books the right guests for its panel can be an incredibly entertaining hour.

And there you have it - 14 things to keep an eye out for. Keep in mind that only 1 of those shows premiered this season, and only 1 other show came around in 2007. This might tell you quite a bit of the quality of the new programs coming out, and explains why NBC had no choice but to stick on a non funny show like Jay Leno's five nights a week.

PUMPSTRADAMUS NFL PICK OF THE WEEK: Pumpy racked up another win last week to improve to 10-4. Will this be the first time Pumpy gets 11 right? This week we go to Detroit which is on the brink of disaster as the automakers are holding their breath to see if bailout money is headed its way. The Lions are on the road as 17 point doggies to the Colts. Sayeth the Pump: "I'm picking Indianapolis because I like the Indy 500... even though they might have to race with bicycles if Detroit stops making cars."


Last week we went 2-1 to improve to 27-15. No matter what they say, the only game that matters is next week against Carolina. If the Giants win that game they have home field throughout the playoffs, no matter what Tampa Bay does since the Giants would hold the tie breaker over Carolina and Carolina would hold the tie breaker over Tampa if all 3 finish with the same record. But off the top of my head, I don't know the tie breaker if there is a 2 way tie between Tampa and The Giants.

Giants 3 doggies to DALLAS - The word "meaningless" does not exist in the Coach's vocabulary... the Giants played hard in last year's "meaningless" regular season finale against New England and they will do likewise on Sunday Night.

ATLANTA 3 faves over Tampa Bay - It would be nice if Tampa loses this week to avoid any complicated tie breakers for home field.

Bills 7 1/2 over THE JETS - I think the Jets will cover.

Friday, December 05, 2008

And The Moron of the Year Is... (Not to be Confused with Last Weeks Turkey Awards!)

I see that Entertainment Weekly has announced that the smartest person on TV is .... Seth McFarlane. No argument here... some of the stuff that I see on Family Guy and American Dad is laugh out loud absolute brilliance! And with EW announcing it's decision... I think it is time for NWOW to announce our winner for "Moron of the Year".... a terrific followup to last week's Turkey Awards. Turkeys are one thing.. but a Turkey on his worst day is better than a Moron on his best day. On with the nominees...


Lois is the poster child of how one evolves from Turkey to Moron! We introduced you to her last week... she and her husband went to the Minnesota - Iowa College Football game and after imbibing a few adult beverages at a friend's house prior to the game she arrived at the game intoxicated. Then shortly before halftime she informed her husband she needed to "go pishen before intermission". Shortly thereafter, Feldman was in the bathroom... but instead was in the Mens room and was caught having sex with a guy in the stall... a guy who was not her husband who was apparently still sitting in his seat!

A number of people were standing outside the stall cheering on Ms. Feldman with chants of "Blow us Lois". Security arrived followed by the police and Lois was arrested. However, the guy was just some fella who she had met and she told the Des Moines Register she didn't even know his name until she saw the story in the paper. Last week Lois was the winner of the Turkey Award... the Police announced the case was closed, and that was the end of the story.


Lois has decided to add a bizarre new chapter... telling the newspaper The Daily Times Herald that something she drank might have been tampered with leading to her sexual liason... and now she is alleging foul play. Puh-leeze... I will admit that I don't know how many minutes it took from the time she left her seat till she was caught with her proverbial pants down... but I find it hard to believe that she has the audacity to claim that this guy might have been up to some monkey business. Here he was at halftime... and he sees a drunk woman in the mens room willing to have sex with him... What would the typical single guy do? The cops closed the book on it after her arrest.. she should just let it go and get her life back in order. This earns her a nomination for Moron of the Year... and if she wins, she will have to abdicate her Turkey Crown to the first runner up.


Now here is a guy I have written about before... one excerpt from my column actually showed up on The Star Ledger's blog roundup column on their website and possibly their paper. Incidentally I am going to announce right here that I am defecting to the Daily News starting this Sunday after reading the Sunday Ledger since childhood. The Sports has declined so dramatically, I just had to make the switch!

I wrote about Zarinsky somewhat sympathetically back in early 2007 when I was one of the few people to give him some benefit of the doubt about the slew of murder accusations that he was facing. Oddly enough it was on January 11, 2007 when I predicted the beginning of this New York Giants dynasty that I told the story of Zarinsky... a rare voice who actually was not ganging up on him.

{He had accumulated a pretty large bank account because his mom's will left him a lot of money while his sister ended up with very little. Several years ago, while he was still serving time in prison for killing a teenage girl in the 1960s, his sister told police that he had also killed a cop in the late 1950s. It turns out the sister had been caught red handed stealing about 100k from her imprisoned brother's hefty bank account and “made a deal” that if they dropped the charges against her, she would testify against him because he was the culprit in an unsolved cop killing back in the late 50s.

Ultimately, 40 years later Zarinsky went on trial for the cop killing.. but he was acquitted. Some jurors felt he did it, but didn’t feel prosecutors proved their case. The officer's widow then filed a civil suit against him, sort of like the Goldman family filed against OJ Simpson… Zarinsky had trouble finding a lawyer and ended up representing himself at that trial and lost the case.. As a result of losing the case, he had to fork over all of his remaining money to the cop's widow}

However, after that... a judge overturned that verdict and told the widow she had to return the money to Zarinsky... but unfortunately she had spent it. She did manage to raise the funds... but when she returned it.. Zarinsky arrogantly demanded that she pay him back a larger sum to include penalties and interest. At that point, I too jumped on the anti Zarinsky bandwagon. There was no reason for him to be so nasty to this poor widow; and after reviewing the original court trial, although I wouldn't trust a word his vindictive sister had said, there were other witnesses at the scene who could have been a little more trustworthy. But even so, the case was almost impossible to prove so many years later, so I took the acquittal with a grain of salt. I had also read about his bullying tactics, and his treatment of the widow was no exception. What the heck was the big deal if he didn't get the interest on money she only had for a year? He got his money back after almost causing her to lose his house.. and that should have been the end of it. But his subsequent nastiness left a bitter taste in my mouth and others who had originally been willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Several months ago, Zarinsky was again hauled into court for a hearing in another murder case.. but this time he was quite ill. Here is a clip from that January 25, 2008 column that shows I had enough of this loser...

{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...}

Well the final chapter - last Friday Zarinsky kicked the bucket and died all alone... His body lies unclaimed and more than likely he will be cremated and buried in an unmarked grave.


This one has the potential to be turned into a great movie. A 46 year old Brooklyn woman named Doreen Giuliano watched her son get sent up the river when he was convicted of killing a 19 year old college student from Northwest New Jersey. The new issue of Vanity Fair is going to have a whole write up about this... but in a nutshell, sonny boy was sentenced to a 25 year to life sentence in connection with the death of 19 year old Michael Fisher. Doreen's son apparently got mad at poor young Mr. Fisher because he sat on a table instead of a chair! Well Mom was understandably upset that her boy was convicted and came up with a remarkable scheme that shows us how important it is to keep jurors anonymous.

Doreen went out and got a makeover and totally changed her appearance. Then, she got herself a list of the jurors and figured out who might be the biggest shlub in the bunch. Doreen made up a new name and moved near this one former juror. and started hanging out in his hood... wearing push up bras, tight shirts and short shorts. She even peeked into his window and saw a cat and figured that her new identity would be as a ... cat lover! Once she "accidentally bumped into" the juror, Doreen now using the name Dee Quinn caught his attention and became his new squeeze. She also provided him with plenty of alcohol and marijuana... and in her best Jack Bauer imitation, managed to get him to fess up to certain opinions he had about her sonny boy and certain aspects of the trial (including jury deliberation issues that he questioned) that she recorded on a hidden tape recorder. The tapes were turned over to a lawyer, and as a result of mama's detective work, the conviction is being appealed.

Here is an interesting tidbit... Doreen/Dee is married and her husband was in on the whole thing! However, he insisted on one rule... no sex with the juror! Now let's see this juror was just totally embarrassed by this crazy woman and here could be a perfect chance for some revenge. Why doesn't he just publicly announce that he was getting busy like he was in a Minnesota football stadium mens room? If he says he was sleeping with her... who exactly would you trust in this type of he said - she said situation? I know people google their way to these columns and might criticize me that encouraging the juror to brag about having sex with her could damage their marriage - but then again how about the pain Fisher's parents must be going through seeing that their son's killer might be freed because of his mother's tricky scheme??


All of the above nominees should have a chance to win... but every once in awhile somebody comes along that just blows everybody else out of the water. We as a society have a tendency to idolize people as they make their way up the ladder and kick them in the ass as they tumble down. This year's winner is Plaxico Burress. Here is a guy who was a major player on a Super Bowl winner and a team that has a shot at repeating... yet no matter what happens from hereon in... he will either be on the outside looking in at a potential championship, or will take a huge amount of blame if the team falls short. Did the Giants really need this distraction??

Here is my disclosure - I don't own a gun... never did... never will. I am not of the gun people. I used to live in rural Northwest NJ where there are neither sidewalks nor neighbors, and I know that out in the sticks guns are common tools for this adventure called "hunting". Hunters are activists, and they along with the NRA like to point out the constitutional rights of people to bear arms (or as dyslexic animal lovers like to say - the right to arm bears). But, it is hard to defend the use of guns in the inner cities and NY has taken major steps to make it very difficult to own and carry a gun.

Some athletes unfortunately have been the victims of violent crimes in their homes and feel its necessary to keep a gun at home for protection. Others, like former Net Jayson Williams are just stupid and play with them like they are toys. Nonetheless, with so many athletes being robbed I support Plaxico 100% that he wants a gun at home.

But when his gun accidentally went off and he shot himself in the thigh, he was not at home.. he was at a crowded nightclub in New York City. And the fact that he transported the aforementioned gun from his home to the club without the proper permit was ridiculous. And the concept that he carried a gun to a club because he needed it to feel safe? If i go in an unsafe area... I roll up the windows. lock the doors... and drive through the area as fast as I can. I sure as heck wouldn't hang out in an area I don't feel safe... and one would think Plaxico would know better...

The ensuing cover up has cast a bad light on a lot of innocent people who were just going about their business that fateful night last week. And, the Giants have already proven that they can do well without certain individual players who have not been playing since last year's big run including names such as Jeremy Shockey, Michael Strahan, Tiki Barber, and Usi Umiyora. You can add Plaxico to that list - because the Giants have played well in the games that he has missed. But there is that nagging doubt that if this run falls short of a 2nd straight Super Bowl, Plaxico might be overvalued and used as an excuse... and possibly considered as a key component for future seasons.

It really would be a travesty if this Burress situation derails this team... and it is so stupid of him to throw everything away like this. In addition, the media felt this story was supposed to be the big story for the holiday weekend when in reality the terrorist attacks in India should have been a bigger story.

And that is why Plaxico Burress is the Winner of the 2008 Moron of the Year Award!!

PUMPSTRADAMUS PICK OF THE WEEK - Pumpy lost last week dropping to a still impressive 9-4. This week we go to New York, the state with the strict gun laws that Plaxico Burress violated, the home for the only team that actually plays in NY - The Buffalo Bills. This week the Bills play Miami in Toronto as part of an annual trip The Bills makes to Canada arranged by Blue Jay owner Ted Rogers who just died this past week. The Bills are 1 point faves. Sayeth The Pump: "Even though Jet fan Walter Nagel wants me to pick Buffalo... I must say that since Former Bill OJ Simpson was a loser in court - the Bills will be losers too! Go Miami!"

UNBIASED GIANTS FAN PICKS OF THE WEEK - Last week we went 2-1 to improve to 25-14 - 11 games over .500!

GIANTS 7 faves over the Eagles - What's the difference between the Giants and the Eagles? When the Giants went into OT against the Bengals, they knew the game could end in a tie!

PITTSBURGH 3 faves over Dallas - A Giants win combined with a Cowboys loss means the Giants win the NFC East.

NEW ORLEANS 3 faves over Atlanta - Im not sure if the Falcons loss combined with a Giant win gets the Giants in... but it's time for the Falcons to cool down.