Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Groundhog, We Got You, Babe

Groundhog Day is fast approaching. It's a nice little diversion now that the Holiday hype has settled down, and the winter duldrums are amplified by this arctic deep freeze we are in. Personally I am more than a little offended at the copycats that try to predict the weather on February 2nd. Punxsutawney Phil has been doing this since the 1800s.

According to legend, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, then we will have six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, we can expect an early spring.

Did you know that Bill Murray got bit twice by the groundhog during the making of Groundhog Day--- the Movie? Also, Phil Conners, his Pittsburgh TV newsman character, lives through 42 identical days. ( That HAS to be true, I just read it on the internet. ) The one thing I'm sure everyone remembers is the name of the Sonny and Cher song that came on every day at 6AM.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The House that Golf DIDN'T Build

Okay, I am probably the last person in the world who hasn't realized that the spectacular house circulating around the net as a power point slideshow of Tiger Wood's House, simply is a hoax. I read about it at Snopes. (go ahead, follow the link, the pictures are there incase you never got to see the house)

It is actually a vacation rental property on Maui.

Ya know, I forwarded those pictures a dozen times or more. Makes me wonder how else I have been duped. At least I didn't fall for the Nigerian money scams.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

What's Next Kinky Friedman?

Richard "Kinky" Friedman, the Jewish Country Western singer, first captured my attention as a mystery author with "Elvis, Jesus and Coca-Cola." I wanted to know more about the man who wrote the funny, irreverant stories, that made me laugh out loud. He appeared to be an equal opportunity offender. Probably absent the day society passed out political correct-ness.

So I bought his DVD to hear him sing his country western songs, tell his stories and see his life at the ranch. His music is hard to classify. Here is a longer discussion about it. But for now, suffice to say it's country, but with a twist, with titles like They Ain't Makin Jews like Jesus Anymore. But I also found him on a Polka Album singing with Frankie Yankovic, a song that anyone of Polish/Slovenian decent would recognize-- Who Stole the Kiska? (KEESH-kuh.)

And then I got interested in his politics. Anyone who is friends with Don Imus, Willie Nelson, and BOTH George W. Bush AND Bill Clinton, must have something to say.... and lo and behold-- he runs for Governor of Texas with the slogan "Why the Hell NOT?'

He launched a great internet cartoon campaign. A what? Yes, an internet cartoon campaign....and even his own Action Figure.

Unfortunately he didn't win. Perhaps he is meant for greater things. For now, you can order his Private Stock Salsa from his website, and just wait to see what he does next.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Supe's On!!!

Growing up in the 1970's, a Saturday ritual was the noon time Superhost show. After a morning of Bugs Bunny and Puf n Stuf, I changed the station to WUAB 43 out of Cleveland to watch Superhost. He was a goofy but fun loving character portrayed by Marty Sullivan-- a kind of clown version of Superman.

He was so corny.... the show started at noon with "Supe's On," during which he did regular feature skits like "The Moronic Woman" and "Fat Whitman, " and then Laurel and Hardy or Three Stooges cartoons would come on.

After that, he hosted the afternoon movie, which was usually something like Japanese Godzilla movies or Frankenstein. It was called Mad Theatre.
After a 20 year run, he was eventually replaced by Saturday afternoon Wrestling.

Beer Here!

In Heaven there is no beer
That's why we drink it here
And When we're gone from here
All our friends will be drinking all our beer-

I tried to come up with something we all can do to make the world a better place, and decided we could start by drinking an Iron City Beer today. It's no secret the Brewery (cool old picture at that link), is having it's share of problems and the workers have accepted deep concessions to keep the barrels rolling, so to speak.

Iron City has been the beer of choice in my family for over 100 years. But the beer has been flowing a lot longer than that:

- In 1861, over 100 breweries competed to quench the thirst of Pittsburgh's many citizens. Around this time, a German immigrant named Edward Frauenheim began brewing a beer so rich and full-bodied that it became the drink of choice. A few years later he met a fellow named Leopold Vilsack and a partnership was formed. Soon a brewery was erected on Liberty Avenue. Today, this landmark till stands, the only brewery to survive from that era, producing beers as legendary as the city they come from. Brewed and bottled by the Pittsburgh Brewing Co., Pittsburgh, PA.

"It was bigger than the Kennedy Funeral." That was how the widow of America's Polka King, Frank Yankovic, described his funeral in October of 1998. Frankie lived to be 83, and I'd say he drank a lot of beer in his day.

So what's the connection with "Weird Al" Yankovic? Frankie did record novelty-type records with "Weird Al," who may have been a distant relative. He also has worked with author and singer Kinky Friedman ( who just recently ran and lost the race for Governor of Texas,) and the actor Drew Carey.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Rutger Hauer...


Dutch actor Rutger Hauer was born on this date in 1944. That makes him ... let me see... Yikes! He's 63 years old. What happened?
All of a sudden men that I swooned over at the movies-- like
Rutger-- as Nick in Wanted Dead or Alive--
Harrison Ford..... as Indiana Jones...
"I don't know what the appeal is. I can see
I've got blue eyes and I don't look
like the Hunchback of Notre Dame but I can't
understand all the fuss."
--R. Hauer
or Richard Gere... in Pretty Woman...
It wasn't really about their acting...
it was just that they had a look.......
Now, well... uh.. they are--- eligible
for the AARP. ( but they are all aging well! )

Memorable Quote from Pretty Woman: Vivian ( Julia Roberts): "I appreciate this whole seduction thing you've got going on here, but let me give you a tip: I'm a sure thing.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Enter--- the Chicken Man

Just when I thought we escaped the Bird Flu, this story turns up out of Japan. Japanese authorities this week started incinerating more than 10,000 chickens that are sick or have died from the bird flu. Seeing these workers in their hazard suits is enough to put me a bit ill at ease.... But if you are really concerned about the Bird Flu and want to take the official Bird Flu Quiz, or just scare yourself silly with information here is your chance with Bird Flu---Fears, Facts and Fiction.


I once turned in a neighbor for having a chicken
in his yard.
The township is residential- and you can’t raise chickens
in this neighborhood. Each day I passed the neighbor’s yard.
The chicken was still there.

It took four days for me to figure out...
It was plastic.
( In my defense, they had a fence and everything...)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I Survived Lawn Darts in the 1970s

They were called Lawn Darts... or Jarts... or Yard Darts... whatever the name, the game was the same. There were these plastic hoops 30 feet apart and you and a partner threw large plastic darts with metal points at them. Anyhow, someone I know was looking to buy a set.

I hunted around and discovered they were banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission December 19, 1988. To make matters worse, this site said it is illegal to play with them! I wonder how many cops have had to break up an illegal Jart game at the annual 4th of July Family Reunion.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Oh the Humanity!

In the headlines today, the tragic story about a radio station promotion that led to the death of a young woman by drinking too much water, got me to thinking about radio station promotions that have gone wrong. Probably the best example, didn't even happen at a real radio station. The WKRP Thanksgiving Turkey promotion is the all time hands down winner.

Youtube has the segment from the show.

My favorite part is Les Nessman on remote describing the sound of the turkeys hitting the ground and the crowd of people running for cover.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Woke Up This Morning...and

... wondered when The Sopranos would be back. Tried a search and imagine this, I found a Soprano Pin Ball Machine. What's next? Sopranos dinnerware with bulletproof glasses?

Okay, cheap shot. The series will back for one final season April 8th. It will consist of nine episodes.

I'm going out on a limb here, but I doubt anything they can do now will replace the image in my head of Vito (who's real name is Joseph Gannascoli) dancing in his leather outfit at the bar. According to his website, he is hawking tomato sauce, a cook book and even a pool cue now. That bizarre story line actually saved him from relative obscurity.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Buried Alive in the Blues

Janis Joplin was born on January 19, 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas. Of course everyone knows her for Bobby McGee...
yet she didn't live to see the song, and that last album Pearl, make it really big. The album went to #1. The track Buried Alive in the Blues was to be recorded on October 5, 1970. She died the night before.

I can sing every nuance of every song on that album. Okay, well.... I USED to be able to. Some of the high notes elude me now.

The Tee shirt above was my favorite birthday present in 1985.

Sometimes I'll fire up the turntable... ( yes, I have a working turntable) and play that last song, which the band kept on as an instrumental, and wonder what the song was supposed to sound like with Janis singing a vocal part. I suppose I could search around and look to see if anyone has ever posted the words to that ill-fated song. Then again.... sometimes I think I don't want to know.

If you have a few minutes... here is a nice little Youtube video I found featuring Janis's life. The doodle portrait was done by Janis.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Remembering the Death Clock

Morbid curiousity led me to the Death Clock about 9 years ago. Someone from work showed me it. I did it on a lark. First you plug in your birthdate, and whether your outlook is NORMAL, OPTIMISTIC or PESSIMISTIC. Then there is this BMI index calculator on the site, which is part of the death date calculation. With any luck, I'm going to make it to November 22, 2043.

From the site, there's a link to find out death causes of famous people. You will have to check it out yourself to see if you believe Mama Cass actually died choking on a ham sandwich. Here's a picture of her grave:

Somehow the Death Clock sparked interest in a Death Pool at work and we actually created lists of celebrities we thought would die soon. Frank Sinatra, who was on my list, passed away that particular year, so I won the accumulated "pot" of money which turned out to be 50 dollars. As fate would have it, my father passed away the same day. I used the money to buy a black dress to wear to the funeral.

Friday, January 12, 2007

And We Never Saw It Coming....

Fortunately, it won't hit us. The incredible photo to the left was taken by a guy from Pittsburgh on January 7, 2007.

This comet has been heading in an orbit that will pass very close to the
sun right here in our solar system! It's been coming right at us in the midnight sky for months now. In plain sight. Check this out. It is said to be the brightest comet visible from Earth in 30 years. It is six times brighter than Hale-Bopp in 1997, and 100 times brighter than Halley's Comet when it appeared in 1986. It may be the brightest comet in recorded history.

MORE PHOTOS OF THE COMET If you go to the site CLICK ON THE PHOTOS TO MAKE THEM BIG. The quality is great.

Remember how that strange group of people killed themselves over Hale- Bopp? In March 1997, the cult group called Heaven's Gate chose the appearance of the comet as a signal for their mass cult suicide. I wonder if they really did leave their earthly bodies, as they had hoped, to travel to the spaceship that was supposedly following the comet. The spaceship controversy had ties to the Art Bell show on Coast to Coast Am.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Cold War Versus Orange Alert

Terror Alert Level
(Today's threat level is Ernie for all commercial flights,
and Bert for everything else.)

During the Cold War
Schoolchildren crawled under their desks during practice drills--
In the event of an air raid, or nuclear attack. We lived in fear.
The Soviet commies were out to get us, to destroy our way of life.
I guess back then desks were made of some kind of nuke-busting material.
Nowadays, the bomb shelters and air raid sirens are passe.
Today we have Orange Alert.
Not sure what it all means,
But I am thinking about buying a bigger desk.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

In Spirit

The root of the word Inspiration literally means "in spirit." It is easy to look around this world in which we live and find things to be offended by. It is not as easy to find things that literally lift us up and transform us. In order words, give us the inspiration to keep that energy flowing. When I think of inspiration, I hold dear the actions of my
ancestors, who dreamed of starting a life in America. And made that dream come true.

Is It Valentine's Day Yet?

The left over Decemberween wrapping paper and Santa Claus snow globes are 75 percent off, but little chocolate hearts are full price as we start the countdown to Valentine's Day.
Does anyone remember when stores were
holiday-item free at any particular time of year?

Monday, January 8, 2007

Predictions for 2007

Insomnia ... or perhaps the cat snoring, kept me awake the other night, so I listened to the annual Art Bell Coast to Coast AM show for the annual predictions. Art's audience is, well,

different.... so you can never be sure if it is a time traveller phoning in, or a UFO abductee or

a plain old Joe from Kankakee. Many called in their predictions for the coming year, and Art also recited his Dings and Bonks from the list of last year's predictions.

I'm glad that most of his callers predictions didn't come true. We somehow averted the predicted Major Bird Flu epidemic in November, and the Federal Gov't didn't briefly relocate to Denver. And... at least as far as I know, no comet hit Earth, turning people into zombies.

A New Year, Another Chance

I don't really like looking back.... as they say, something might be gaining on you! However, it can be useful to look back at the year that was ... Jib Jab has an amusing retrospect. It was a tough year for political humor, but I suppose if we don't laugh, we would cry. We live in a fragile time.
This NPR story asks the question, if we could go back to January of last year, knowing what we know now, how would the year have been different? The year, as seen through the eyes of a cancer patient, gives us all a moment of pause.
The author concludes he would rather face the uncertainty of the year ahead than relive the past year. I hopes he gets the chance.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Welcome to the Goosepath

Testing, one -two. Is this mic on?

Do I really have to post some sort of a mission statement or something here? Let ya'll know

the point of all this? 'Spose not. This blog will be like any other. Opinions are like noses.

Yet... the view from the Goosepath may take in some things you may have missed along

the way.

M. J.