What’s this I hear about Last in Space?

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I was trying to read the lineup of shows on TV from the menu of our cable service without my glasses.  I felt like I was taking one of those vision tests.  I proudly boasted that I could read a blurry row near the bottom of the chart and when called upon to do so, mumbled out random letters and numbers with the word possibly thrown in only to have the doctor request that I try to read again but this time three rows up.

As I squinted at the TV program menu, I thought the networks and stations had just gone live with their new lineup of shows, some that sounded intriguing.  I don’t watch much TV generally, but these new shows had me dreaming of early retirement:

Crimea Minds

This must be a Russian version of CSI.

Family Fraud

They are all unrelated, as it turns out.

The Big Bong

With the legalization of marijuana, this new series comes as no surprise.

Mushroomers

I guess Moonshiners has run its course.

Fiends

This sarcastic comedy is about a group of hateful friends.

Monsters in my Barn

Garage Squid

This might be a spinoff of Monsters in my Barn or one of those shows like Gator Boys.

New Grill

I toggled down quickly as I figured this was an addictive infomercial about a revolutionary grill.

American Mustard

America can do mustard too just as good as the French.

Imperial Lockers

I thought this might be something like an SNL spoof on Impractical Jokers but then again it could be about what the rich and famous store in lockers in train stations throughout Europe.

Morning Joke

I imagine this one to be morning political comedy, not unlike Morning Joe.

Miami, Nice!

…until it gets too hot.

The Last Squid

Based on The Twilight Zone pilot, “Where is Everybody?”

Last In Space

Trump might do better to start a space race, rather than a nuclear arms race.

Radiator

Make sure the kids are in bed as this steamy series is sure to carry an MA rating.

Anderson Copper 300

If I had to guess, I would say this is a 5-hour infomercial for a new compression product.

Chicago Tire

This reality shoe about a tire shop in the windy city is sure to be a big hit.

Last Squid Standing

If I had to hazard a guess, I would go with a deep sea, outwit, outlast, survival show with host Squidward from SpongeBob SquarePants.

Little Horse on the Prairie

A homesteader with a pony tries to live the American dream but finds life on the range depressingly difficult.

As Roseanne Roseannadanna might have said, “What’s this I hear about Deep Fried Monsters? Oh, Deep Fried Masters? Nevermind.”

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Trump Leading in Louisiana Purchase States

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And this just might be his strategy, but it’s a risky one and provides the narrowest path to a victory or a tie.  Drumpf needs to win all 15 of the states that were part of the original  Louisiana purchase: Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma and New Mexico.  Currently, he’s winning in 11 of the 14, trailing only in Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado and New Mexico, but trailing pretty badly in the last 3. Even if he were to win all 15, which is highly unlikely, he’d only get 125 electoral votes.  To get to a tie, he’d have to win PA and OH, AND the ENTIRE south, less VA, including, significantly, Florida and North Carolina where he’s behind and that ONLY gets him to 269.  To win outright, he’d have to flip a blue state and I think ME is the only realistic possibility.  If he’s as rich as he says, he might even try to purchase ME, but we won’t know just how wealthy he is until he releases his tax returns, and that ain’t happening.  But never mind ME, for Trump, a tie is as good as a win. If he has 269, so too would Hillary and the election would be decided by the House where the Republicans have an edge. As Napoleon might have said, se la vie.

Olympic Medals Made Of Chocolate

What if those medals all the Olympians win were made of chocolate?  The gold medal would be made of the highest quality chocolate from Switzerland.  The silver medal, perhaps, would be of Belgian extract, although the Italian’s might take issue.  The bronze, well, nobody wants a bronze and so it wold have to be made of a common American chocolate, something like a Hershey’s Kiss, you know, a kiss for a good try, or the unheralded and quite delicious Zero bar, which apparently it still being manufactured, though it’s hard to find where I live.

Were this to come to fruition in the 2020 Toyko games, athletes would no longer have to pretend to take a bite out of their medals; in fact, they could peel off the foil and eat their medals right on the podium stand.

Steeplechase Reimagined

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Here’s the thing – the Steeplechase race needs a modern twist.  Jumping over a hurdle into a pool of water is so not very challenging. It’s time for an overhaul of the event. So here are some suggestions for a new course that will surely make the steeplechase the hottest event at the summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Ok, jumping into a pool of water is pretty cool, I have to admit, but what if, right before the water pit, runners had to jump through a ring of fire?  The water would help them cool off. Now the running and hurdling are fine, but quite boring if I’m being honest, so why not have the runners also run backwards for 100 meters?  It’s harder than it looks, but fun, ask any runner. Now, the high hurdle is really not a very big deal, so why not up the stakes and require an actual high jump, followed by a triple jump and a broad jump along the way.  Of course, all the runners would be motivated to chase a gold-plated electronic steeple whizzing around the track, not unlike the bone greyhounds chase at the the races.

Are you with me?

Some “sports” are not Olympic

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The summer Olympics have begun in Rio where it is technically winter.  And as I watch the games, I am struck for the first time by all the sporting events that shouldn’t be in the Olympics in my judgement.  If you take issue with my commentary, know that it is somewhat tongue in check…somewhat.

  • Archery – pretty cool to watch.  It might have been one of the original Greek events, so it’s in.
  • Badminton – seriously?  It’s a picnic game!  If badminton is in, croquet should be too.
  • Basketball – of course. Too bad there’s no longer a U.S. U.S.S.R rivalry. I’d like to see Brazil do well.  Whatever happened to Oscar, or is it Oskar? He was like the Oscar Robertson of team Brasil back in the day.  And while I love watching basketball in the games, it somehow doesn’t seem fair for NBA and WNBA players to play.  I thought the Olympics were supposed to be for amateur athletes.
  • Beach Volleyball – definitely, especially in a place like Rio.
  • Boxing – hell yes. Those leather helmets are classic and keep the fighters’ head on straight…literally.
  • Canoe slalom and sprint- wtf?  Sailing, fine.  Rowing, ok.  Canoeing (is that how you spell it?) That’s something you do on a vacation.  Not a sport.
  • BMX and Mountain cycling – nope.  That’s for the Red Bull drinking X Games crowd.
  • Road and Track Cycling – ok.
  • Diving –  absolutely and as long as Cynthia Potter is the analyst.
  • Equestrian –  I love horses.  Actually, I’d like to see rodeo competition in the games. Bull riding and bull running would also be fun events, but I’m not a fan of bull fighting. I’m not.
  • Fencing – intense.  I’d also like to see deep water diving with those cast iron helmets.
  • Field Hockey – nope.  Too elite prep school for my taste.
  • Golf – nope.  They already have too many tournaments – and the thing takes all day.
  • Gymnastics – yep.  Lots of flips and stuff.  It’s always hit or miss.  High drama. Made for TV. But not the rhythmic thing.
  • Handball – never heard of it.  Isn’t that a penalty in soccer?
  • Judo and Taekwondo – yep.
  • Rugby Sevens – sounds like a card game, but it’s the next best thing to American football, so I say yes to the rough and tumble sport, mate.
  • Sailing – a Christopher Cross song, not a sport.  Nope.
  • Shooting – shooting what, the breeze? Not a sport.
  • Swimming – yes.  synchronized, no.  Might be good for a Disney show but not for the Olympics.
  • Table Tennis –  you mean Ping-Pong?  Sure, why not.
  • Tennis.  No. Same reason as Golf.
  • Track and Field – yes all day long.
  • Trampoline – no, beause with diving and gymnastics it’s redundant.
  • Triatholon – ok.
  • Volleyball – only beach volleyball.
  • Water Polo – NO. It’s just silly, like handball or dodgeball in the water.  They should use a nerf ball in my opinion.
  • Weightlifting – definitely. I especially like when they drop the dumbells in disgust.
  • Wrestling – ok, but I’d like to see some tag team championship wrestling.  And why isn’t grappling an event?

Numbered Lakes an E-book

JP Pond

I finally finished and published Numbered Lakes as an e-book.  Check it out, won’t you?  For details, see the Numbered Lakes tab on this website or follow the link below to  preview on Amazon.

Numbered Lakes Preview

 

Mainstream Moisturizers and Tumors

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Breaking news which I saw on my Facebook feed, which actually broke back in 2008: Moisturizers cause cancer in mice.  Yes, the moisturizers we all know and presumably trust, the mainstream brands that keep us from shriveling up like raisins and moulting, do not appear to offer mice any health benefits. Scientists slathered the rodents with copious amounts of Eucerin and Vanicream daily for 17 weeks with disastrous results.  These poor mice developed 69% more tumors than mice not “hydrated” with the moisturizers.  There are three aspects to the study, that were glossed over by the outraged anti-moisturizer activists who published a Portlandia type article in some off the grid journal devoted to convincing readers that we modern day humans are doomed.  One, unlike humans, mice don’t need moisturizers.  Though I am not a scientist and do not claim to have any knowledge of science except that climate change and evolution are real, common sense would dictate that rodents produce natural skin oils that render creams redundant.  Two, Eucerin and the like are not made for mice.  Three, the mice that developed tumors were already at risk for cancers because the researchers had been subjecting them to high amounts of ultraviolet rays, if I understood the study correctly – the mice subjects were known as UVB-pretreated high-risk mice.

I am not defending the petroleum industry, but I am suggesting that extrapolating results of tests on mice to humans is dubious. The amount of lotion those suffering rodents must have received each day would probably have been the human equivalent to 32 ounces rubbed all over our bodies daily, head to toe, over a lifetime. You’d likely drown in the stuff before you developed a tumor, and even if you were a good swimmer, you’d probably end up dying of cancer eventually anyway, as many of us unfortunately will.  The fact remains, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and no doubt the leading cause of death among laboratory rats. A little dab of Eucerin or Neutrogena is not likely to do us in. And because I secretly read this off the grid journal and have drawn my own conclusions,  I believe that what we should be more worried about are pesticides, GMOs, bourbon because its made with GMO corn, breakfast cereal, homogenized milk, preservatives, meat of any kind, soda, flouride in toothpaste and drinking water, energy drinks, mercury from light bulbs (and all that mercury us older folks played with when the family thermometer broke), white bread, the sun, sunscreen, air pollution, climate change, bedding material, rugs, mosquitoes, ticks, rabid raccoons, asbestos, lead paint, air freshner, laminate floors, bug spray, bug propellant, pesticides, nuclear waste, bottled water and so on.  As they say in New Hampshire, “Live Free and Die anyway or something like that.

Trump and the parties pathways to victory

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I know why all the GOP candidates didn’t take on Trump in the first GOP debate – they’re afraid of him.  Afraid he’d turn the audience against them; afraid he might sue them if they crossed him; and afraid that he’ll run as a third party candidate.  And he just might if enough of the field were to attack him at some point.  Their strategy was to go easy on Trump and not goad him into slinging zingers, like the one he slang on Rand Paul who tried to call him out early on.

Almost everyone has written the Donald off as a serious candidate, and possibly even conservatives who until the debate, liked what they heard, but I wouldn’t write him off just yet.  He might continue to surprise and could even win the nomination.  And if he did, and the GOP united in support of him, which seems unlikely, but if they did, he would give Hillary Clinton a good fight, though she would win with ease.

In my opinion, Trump would be the least electable of the lot, alongside Gov. Rick Perry, Senator Lindsay Graham whose candidacy makes me think of House of Cards, Gov. Jindal who had the awkward family reveal, and Gov. Huckabee whose incendiary rhetoric is both dangerous and pitiful. The most electable candidates and the ones Democrats like me should fear the most are Gov. Jeb Bush, Senator Marco Rubio, Gov. Rick Kasich and Gov. Scott Walker.  The union busting Walker may have some appeal outside the Midwest where people tend to hate teachers and the unions who protect them. Marcus Rubio may gain the backing of several billionaires in the coming months and whip the tea party into a frenzy with his memorized talking points.  Rick Kasich, who I first thought was the lead vocalist for the band the Cars, appears to be a moderate who could draw support in others regions, not the South, and take some votes from Jeb Bush.  And of course if Jeb Bush wakes up and finds a little fire in his belly, he could emerge as the one to beat.  But none of the candidates did themselves much of a favor in the debates.  They sounded scripted, timid and uninspiring.

The question is, will the Republican base turn out to vote for Rubio? If Bush were nominated, would the base support him or throw their support to Trump, the spoiler.  Bush and Rubio are Clinton’s biggest threats.  Which is why her best pathway to victory is for Trump to run as an Independent if not nominated by the GOP.  And though he’d take some of her votes, he’d take more away from the GOP as disaffected right wingers – who don’t believe in science, regulations, the separation of church and state and who generally don’t like government and prefer it be run as a business, because we all know that corporations are people – clamor to register their angst. But this scenario could also have the effect of turning out both bases of the two parties.  The GOP’s best pathway to victory, then, will be to continue to push voter suppression laws, because if the elderly, students, Blacks and Latinos can’t vote, many of whom are registered Democrats, it’s all over for the former first lady, Senator and Secretary of State. It is.

Ask Brody the GOPbot

Brody is a GOPbot developed with the knowledge of key GOP positions on most issues.  If Brody were a debate participant, it’d sound like any one of the candidates and should produce gaffes with the best of them.

Moderator:  What do you think about the Iran deal?

Brody:  I ran because I want to make the country great again.

Moderator:  No, Iran, the country, not why you ran.  The Iran nuclear deal.

Brody: There is no clear deal.

Moderator:  Nuclear.

Brody:  As Ronald Reagan said, “trust but verify”.

Moderator:  So it’s a good deal?

Brody.  No, Iran took our hostages.

Moderator:  That was 1979.

Brody: A very good year for Bordeaux and the band Peaches and Herb.

Next question:  Where do you stand on climate change?

Brody:  We stand united.

Moderator: That’s not a complete thought, can you tell me more.

Brody:  Fly the friendly skies, of United…excuse me while I compute…we stand united that the earth is 900 years old and flat.

Moderator:  You can’t be serious?

Brody:  Do Ya think I’m sexy?

Moderator:  Excuse me?

Brody:  Rod Stewart, 1979.  And then there was Rod Laver, 1969 and Rod Sterling, 1959.

Moderator:  Brody, let’s focus. What do you think about planned parenthood.

Brody:  Parenthood should be planned.

Moderator:  That’s it?

Brody:  That 70’s show.

Moderator: What?

Brody: That girl, Marlo Thomas.

Moderator:  One last question.  Gun control or gun rights?

Brody:  Right, the far right, The Far Side.  Bill the cat is all that.

Thank you Brody for a most illuminating conversation.

GOP Debate Coach for Hire

If the GOP candidates need advice for the big first debate in Cleveland, I’m their guy.  Full disclosure – I’m not a Republican, but almost became one on a road trip through Europe in 1984. I remember praising President Ronald “Raygun” Reagan for doing his part to keep the exchange rate favorable to the dollar over the Lira and the French Franc, but did an about face in Switzerland where I ran out of money -dang Suisse Franc, that my spell checker advised me to call Issue.

The big debate should be a first class clown show and the spoils will go to the one who makes the most noise.  So how does one make noise?  Well, it is a debate so it’s best to expose the weaknesses of the opponents, but with charm and good humor.  American voters love to be entertained and respect a good one liner – “Senator (Quayle) you’re no Jack Kennedy.”  Here are some crib notes on some of the “big guns”.

Governors Christie and Kasich are polling at 3%.  How relevant can they be? Isn’t Christie the guy from the auction house? And wasn’t Kasich once running for President as a Democrat? Wait, that was Kucinich.  When I first saw a picture of the Governor, I thought he was ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, his doppleganger.

The known stars of the GOP – “Also Ran” Rand Paul whose father once ran for President on the Libertarian ticket, and the Canadian born Ted Cruz – are polling at 5%. If I were a candidate, I would simply say to Rand, “stop whining” and to Senator Cruz, “you sound like a Sunday morning televangelist” and look out at the crowd and say, “and soon he’ll be passing the plate around asking you for a donation.”  Now Trump was big on the birther thing so he should causally mention that Ted Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada and then say something like – “nothing against Canadians, but they do like their medicine socialized.” That would scare the bejesus out of GOP voters.

Carson, Huckabee and Rubio are running at a modest 6% in the polls.  Dr. Carson is a world renowned surgeon, but has never been elected to public office. Huckabee has made so many desperate, incendiary comments that he’s likely to flame out on stage and is best ignored.  Marco “Polo” Rubio is still exploring the issues and is not even the favorite in his home state, trailing Jeb Bush by 12 points in the latest Florida poll.  “Senator Rubio, it’s not your turn yet.”

And the big three – Trump, Bush and Walker.  Walker, Bush and all the others should just say that Trump has no experience and ignore him.  Bush should say that Walker is a divisive union buster with a mean streak and Trump, Walker and all the others should say, “please, not another Bush” and argue strongly against a monarchy. 12 years and 3 wars is already 12 and 3 too many.