Showing posts from November, 2010

Nielsen Rated

There were two Leslie Nielsens, as it turned out. Who knew?

Depending through what prism you looked at him, Nielsen, who passed away the other day at age 84, was either a serious, steely-eyed man who played in B-movies and spoke with a hard-boiled style, or he was a rubbery-faced clown who became a caricature in his second life as the lead in the "Naked Gun" movies.

But after the "Naked Gun" series, which was spawned from his hilarious send-up of himself in the "Airplane!" movies---both franchises written, produced and directed by Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers---it was impossible to take Nielsen seriously. Not that he wanted us to, and not that taking him for a clown was a bad thing.

The original "Airplane!" came out in 1980, and one of the delicious things about it was the brilliant casting of players like Nielsen, Peter Graves, Robert Stack and George Kennedy---actors who were never associated with anything remotely funny. Yet here they we…

Leftover, But Not Left Out

Is there a more wonderful, more thrilling time to raid a refrigerator than on Thanksgiving night?

Is nothing better than to feel that first tummy grumble, right around 11:00 p.m., and know that in the icebox lies mountains of food to silence those grumblings?

If you hosted Turkey Day, that is.

It's one reason---hell, the main reason---that my wife enjoys hosting Thanksgiving. You can't forage for leftovers if you've spent the day at relatives'.

But I won't throw her under the bus. I'm just as guilty of "leftover envy."

It's a lot of uncovering, unwrapping, reheating and replating, but what's better than chowing down on Thanksgiving, Part II as the witching hour approaches?

We only serve five on Thanksgiving, yet we annually purchase a 25-27 pound bird. Because hot turkey sandwiches the day after the holiday, positively rule.

Eat. Rinse. Repeat.

It's the usual fare as you'll find in most American homes---turkey; stuffing (my wife's famous I…

Bristol's Two Left Feat

Bristol Palin is dancing her way toward the bottom of the pile but being electronically delivered into the hearts of Americans.

Bristol is one of the top three remaining contestants on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars", a show that is hemorrhaging credibility like red ink from the federal budget.

Bristol is the daughter of ultra conservative political wonk and Tea Party proponent Sarah Palin, who fancies herself as a presidential candidate in 2012.

Rumors abound that Sarah Palin has mobilized her Tea Partiers to flood ABC with phone calls and e-mails in the portion of the voting that calls for the general public to weigh in on which dancers should stay and which should go every week.

The result of this alleged campaign?

Bristol, who's a fine young woman but a mediocre dancer---especially when compared to the recent competitors who've been voted off the island---is one of the last three standing, despite poor marks from the show's judges and superior scores from her c…

Size DOES Matter

When it comes to sizes of things, this country was practically founded on the premise of small, medium, and large.

We have small (Rhode Island), medium (Michigan) and large (Texas) states. We have small (villages), medium (towns), and large (cities) municipalities. We have small (ponds), medium (rivers/lakes), and large (oceans) bodies of water. We even have small (jockeys), medium (baseball players), and large (sumo wrestlers) human beings.

That perfectly efficient way of designating sizes bleeds into our clothes and our foodstuffs.

You just can't beat small, medium, and large. They're about as American as it gets.

So who do those coffee people think they are?

I'm cranky with the coffee folks, and not just because they charge $4.79 for a cup of fancy-shmancy joe.

The coffee people, with the delicious exception of Caribou Coffee, insist on ramming very un-American like sizes down our throats---literally.

Tall, grande, and venti is the coffee shop's small, medium, and large.


The Neophyte Nerd

I hope Rick Snyder is a good governor.

I hope he can take the chicken feathers he in inheriting and turn them into chicken salad. It would be nice if he's also capable of turning water into wine and spinning straw into gold.

I hope Snyder, elected last week to be Michigan's new governor, won't be derailed and stonewalled by his lack of political experience, despite his party having strong majorities in the State House and Senate. I hope his belief that a state should be run like it's a business is more than just ideology and is actually full of substance.

I hope he can create jobs, weaning the state from its automotive mama and bringing it into the late-20th century, much less the 21st.

I hope he can broker deals that benefit the state's economy. I hope he keeps the tax incentives in place for the Hollywood folks.

Rick Snyder, Governor-elect

I hope he runs a tight ship and is fiercely protective of Michigan's workers and is sensitive to the social needs of those who …

Along Came John (Almost)

Vice President John Engler?

It almost was, according to a recently published memoir from former President George W. Bush.

Bush, in "Decision Points," writes that the former Michigan governor was among nine finalists for the Veep nomination in 2000.

Engler, Bush says, was one of four current and former governors considered for the ticket, joining Oklahoma's Frank Keating, Pennsylvania's Tom Ridge, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

But among those four, the top two candidates were Engler and Keating.

"I knew I could work well with either one," Bush writes.

If that had happened---Engler as Bush's vice president---how would that have changed the political landscape in the Mitten State?

John Engler as U.S. Vice President? Not as far-fetched as you might think

The 2000 presidential campaign occurred right smack in the middle of Engler's third term as Michigan's governor (this was pre-term limits). Had Engler joined the ticket, he would have left for Washingto…

Springer's Baggage Claim

Jerry Springer comes with a lot of baggage. Literally.

Springer, 66, is the host of Game Show Network's "Baggage," and there's no better host for such a program.

The man they call "The Grandfather of Trash TV" is finally hosting a show where there is no pretentiousness.

Unlike his "The Jerry Springer Show," which is celebrating 20 years on the air (believe it or not), "Baggage" doesn't purport to help people or to enlighten its audience. It's a shlocky dating show, pure and simple.

The format of "Baggage" is rather cute, actually.

Springer tries to match a young man or woman with three potential suitors, each of whom has three different sized suitcases beside them, representing the baggage they carry as a person.

The type of baggage is revealed gradually, with each suitcase getting bigger, matching the potential seriousness of the quirk it contains.

For example, the smallest suitcase may be opened and reveal a sign that says, …