Showing posts from June, 2010

General Malaise

The smoking gun document leaked out, and its words were damning for the words' originator.

The President of the United States, no less, was being called out by a powerful general for having a different sort of wartime strategy than the general would prefer. If the president's path was taken, the words said, then the ramifications could be dire.

The president, after huddling with his Defense Secretary and the Joint Chiefs, rendered a decision: the general would have to be replaced. Because no one calls out the Commander in Chief on military matters, especially during wartime.

And that's how it came to be that Harry S. Truman fired General Douglas MacArthur.

If you had Stanley McChrystal's name on the brain, you're forgiven. But it's another example of the adage: if you stick around long enough, you're liable to see history repeat itself.

The Korean War was the conflict in 1951, when much-decorated General MacArthur, commander of the forces defending South Korea, …

Friday's Favs

(Note: every Friday I'll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from November 30, 2009

Oprah's Long Goodbye

For someone who professes to hate goodbyes, Oprah Winfrey sure is hosting quite a long one.

Oprah's TV show will vanish sometime in 2011, she says. I only wish we had this kind of warning BEFORE she arrived on the scene.

Oh, stop frowning and looking at me sideways. Oprah's OK. She annoys me a little bit but she's probably done more good than bad for folks in this cartoon of a country that we inhabit. I'm sure she's a very nice woman, truth be told.

Time for a quick check of the iconic TV people over the years.

Johnny Carson: none of us did what Johnny told us to do, because that wasn't his gig. He didn't pontificate, he entertained. He mugged. He could crack us up with an arched eyebrow and a crooked mouth. But Carson was a ghost outside of his TV show. He was almost Howard Hughes-like in guarding his privacy. He championed no causes, endorsed no p…

Good Dish, Bad Breath

Break out the Certs, the Tic-Tacs, the gum. Have a jigger of Scope on hand. You might not want a toothbrush---you might want a Brillo pad.
It's not going to be pretty, and you won't make any friends who may wander within 10 feet of you, but if you like onions and tomatoes, then you'll love tomatoes and onions.
There are so many culinary gems that I didn't know I was missing out on until I met and married my Italian and Polish wife.
One of them is in season right now, and will continue to be, all summer.
It's the aforementioned tomatoes and onions.
It's so simple, so as plain as the nose on your face, yet it somehow eluded me all those years, until I hitched myself to Mrs. Eno in 1992.
I like tomatoes. I adore onions. Yet I never thought to combine them so brazenly, so harshly.
Sharon, my lovely wife, gets to slicing onions in those half moon shapes, chops up some tomatoes, then washes her hands, because the rest of the prep is done with hands only.
You dump the onions …

Friday's Favs

(Note: every Friday I'll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from March 27, 2009

Mail Nursing

The Post Office is about to go out of business.

Well, not exactly, but they're hurtin', for certain.

The postmaster general says the mail folks are hemorrhaging money, and layoffs are in the offing. Unless, get this, we can go down to five days delivery per week.

Now, the punch line. There's actual debate going on as to what day gets lopped off the schedule.

Altogether now: SATURDAY...DUH!!!

I wouldn't miss mail on Saturdays, not one iota. To be truthful, if it wasn't for the fact that as a freelancer I depend on the mail to deliver my checks, I wouldn't miss the mail at all. Not much good has been coming from the letter carrier these days.

But to even vascillate over which day to NOT deliver mail? That seems kinda kooky, to me.

Why on Earth would you consider any day OTHER than Saturday?

You mean you'd actually consider a day during the work/business week? Now that&#…

Just Betty

Betty White's been around show business so long it's tempting to ask her if she was an understudy at Ford's Theater the night Abe Lincoln got shot.

Or if she ever shared a stage with Sarah Bernhardt.

White is 88 but if you're only as old as you feel or behave, then she's not old enough to remember the Reagan Administration.

Betty White is refreshing. She uses her real name, for one---and for someone of her generation, that's an anomaly. She really is plain old Betty White. Not Ruth Dingelbratter or Helen McDuffie.

Betty Marion White.

She was born on January 17, 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois---probably when there were no Oak trees and there wasn't a park built yet.

Her family was among the many who headed West in the hopes of something better, during the Great Depression. The Whites ended up in Los Angeles, and Betty graduated from Beverly Hills High School---in 1939.

The woman was a high school senior during just the second of FDR's four terms.

I wonder when the d…

Friday's Favs

(Note: every Friday I'll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from March 24, 2010

No Escaping It; Harry Turns 136

Could Harry Houdini have possibly died on any other day of the year than Halloween?

I always found delicious---or maybe it's salacious---irony in the fact that the famed magician and escape artist took his last breath on Halloween. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I was certain that it was, somehow, appropriate.

Today I'm not here to talk about Houdini's death, per se---he died in Detroit after some slugs to the gut in his dressing room in Montreal a week prior---but about his birth.

Harry Houdini, you see, was born on this day, in 1874.

He was born in Hungary, as Ehrich Weiss, to Jewish parents. Yet for whatever reason, Houdini would in his adult life, after stardom, claim to have been born on April 6 in Appleton, Wisconsin. Go figure.

Houdini, still using the Weiss name, gravitated toward carnivals and freak shows as a young man, even appearing as a &qu…

Ray of Hope

Rachael Ray has no children, but she seems to care about them more than some who do.

Ray, the sometimes ubiquitous TV host/TV cook/author/Dunkin' Donuts pitch girl, is putting some heat in other people's kitchens---specifically those in our schools.

Ray is joining a bi-partisan legislative effort in Washington to help move along the "Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act of 2010."

Among other things, the proposed $8 billion bill would improve access and funding to school meal programs, improve access to out-of-school meal programs, help schools and child care improve the quality of meals and encourage public and private partnerships to improve child nutrition and wellness.

Ray spoke at a press conferencein Washington Thursday.

"A healthy relationship with food has changed the quality of my life in every way imaginable," Ray said.

She then drew a parallel between eating healthy and a child's future.

"I really think that teaching a child good n…

Helen Wheels

Helen Thomas has been covering the White House for half a century. Hers was a respected career filled with stature and high on esteem.

In a few gruesome seconds, she just about undid all of it.

Thomas, 89, has retired. Effective immediately. It's what happens when you're unmasked.

It's like one of those scenes from "Mission: Impossible"---the ones where an undercover dude from IMF dramatically rips a prosthetic mask from his face, revealing that he isn't a 66-year-old banker, after all---but rather a 37-year-old secret agent.

Thomas, the reporter from Hearst Corporation who began covering the White House when John F. Kennedy had just moved in, took off her mask in a video unearthed on YouTube late last week.

She, essentially, called for all the Jews to leave Palestine and return to Germany, Poland, and the United States.

"Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," she said to


Lanny Davis, who served as special counsel to President…

Friday's Favs

(Note: every Friday I'll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from March 10, 2010

Now THAT'S a Toughie

Chuck Norris is 70 and he can still kick your ass.

The tough guys in Hollywood stay that way till the day they die.

Bob Mitchum was still petrifying and intimidating, engulfing every camera shot well past the age of 70. I wouldn't have trusted Dick Widmark, no matter how old he was. Clint Eastwood need only take a step toward you, and I guarantee you'll shake in your loafers. And Clint will be 80 in a couple of months.

Some of them didn't get to live very long. Bruce Lee comes to mind.

But the ones who hold AARP cards in one hand while they throttle you with the other are as much a part of Tinseltown as hot dogs are a part of baseball.

Norris has been kicking, punching, flipping, and pancaking bad guys on screen for about 40 years now. He's also been a TV and movie producer, and even a writer---penning some episodes of "Walker, Texas Ranger."

What Chuck No…

A Gorey Ending

Hold on to your handbags, ladies---Al Gore is available.

High school sweethearts Al and Tipper Gore are calling it quits, it appears---just a couple weeks past their 40th wedding anniversary.

Al is 62, and so will Tipper be this August. I guess they're ready to get back into the dating scene.

The separation---no divorce plans as of yet---was announced the other day via a simple, forthright, drama-free statement that indicated no infidelity; it was simply a matter of growing apart.

Those with knowledge of the Gores say that no extra-marital affair was involved here. Just two people who have fallen out of love; at least, the kind of love that causes married folks to live together.

Forty years married. That's nothing to sneeze at.

Al Gore lays the famous smooch on his wife Tipper at the 2000 Democratic National Convention

Al Gore, ever since running for president in 2000, has put himself more squarely in the limelight. He's also produced some documentaries and is a pretty busy publi…

Live, from Atlanta....It's CNN!

From the inception of television news in the late-1940s, the rockets of information being sent out were blasted from either New York or Washington. Those were the headquarters.

It was like that for over 30 years, until Ted Turner got his mitts on things.

Turner, sports owner and cable mogul, cooked up the idea for a news "super station" that would house itself not in NY or DC, but in---gulp---Atlanta!

From Atlanta a signal would be beamed that could be grabbed, via satellite, and delivered into living rooms, huts and castles across the world.

Turner called it the Cable News Network. Made sense.

CNN, as it came to be known, turns 30 years old today.

Barely five years after its birth, CNN began calling itself "The World's Most Important Network," usually via the rich baritone voice of actor James Earl Jones during station IDs.

I worked in television production at the time, and I remember one of my colleagues sniffing, "More like 'World's Most Conceited Netw…