Sunday, August 19, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 357

Sunday, August 19, 2007---769 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 24 seconds (time frittered away) (a pointless waste of time)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
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Rave: Lloyd Corrigan
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On the Victrola: “Unrehearsed Jazz Perfection”---A Starbucks Collection.
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Reading: “A Coffin for Dimitrios” by Eric Ambler (1939)
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Truism: Airlines ranked below the IRS in the University of Michigan’s most recent survey of American customer satisfaction.
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Rave: The FedEx TV spot where the employee cannot locate China on a map is hysterical.
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Quote: “The record industry will sue anyone discovered telling friends, acquaintances or associates about new songs, artists or albums.”---The Onion.
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Rant: I was shopping at Home Depot and I noticed buckets all over the floor catching rainwater leaking from the roof. Wouldn’t you think that they would have something in there to fix that?
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Rave: Fifteen years after retiring, no one has come close to replacing John McEnroe on the tennis circuit. In addition, he is one helluva an announcer.
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Rant: In a perfect world, Barroid Bonds would now, just go away.
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Truism: The next time you cannot figure out your computer, remember that the geeks have won.
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Rant: I do not know about you, but I can live without any news about the Britney-K-Fed custody battle.
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Truism: The Red Sox were right on Johnny Damon, now a part-time player in the Bronx.
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Rant: There are few things more obnoxious than watching some bozo talking on his cell phone at a sporting event
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Rave: I really am enjoying “The Bronx Is Burning.” ESPN does a great job at repeating the episodes…so no need to tape. Somehow, they manage to get Mickey Rivers (or his wife Mary) to have a huge laugh out loud scene-stealer each week.
AMC’s summer original, “Mad Men” also entertains me. Not at the “Bronx” level…yet I reserve Thursdays at 10 for it. It captures the era perfectly.
TNT’s summer original is the six-hour miniseries version of “The Company.” It is an adaptation of Robert Littell’s novel. All those in the know say it is the definitive book on the CIA. At over 900 pages, I never made the commitment to read it. The series is uneven, but the good sections are outstanding---and I am looking forward to the resolution.
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Hmmm: You know it is a strange baseball season when Hanley Ramirez has more home runs than Manny Ramirez.
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Rant: The problem with most summer movies is that you can almost feel your brain atrophying as you watch them.
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Rave: Joseph Finder is a craftsman like writer of business thrillers, and his latest, “Power Play,” is a gem.
Jake Landry, a junior exec for Hammond Aerospace, is tapped to attend an upper management retreat, since his boss is overseas on business. The meeting is held at an isolated resort in British Columbia with no wireless, no cell towers, no internet---just bonding and team building.
Jake, sticking out like a sore thumb among the firm’s movers and shakers in full poseur mode, is the one who saves the day when the get-together turns into “Deliverance.”
Five heavily armed thugs invade the resort, take the VPs hostage and demand hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom.
Jake’s native intelligence and dubious background (gun nut father, juvy jail time) casts him as the MacGyver of the group. He utilizes all his shrewdness, cunning and smarts to cause the kidnappers to implode.
Joseph Finder’s thorough research gets thing right. Wire fraud, high performance composites, grenades, firearms and corporate politics in all their intricacies are clarified in an entertaining fashion that advances the plot.
The pacing is intense; the plot moves at warp speed and the details are on the money.
The kidnapping of a group of corporate executives is entirely plausible, and ought to alarm boardrooms everywhere.
“Power Play” is yet another winner from Joseph Finder.
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Hmmmm: If Hillary could not catch Bill in the act, then how can she catch al Qaeda?
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Rimshot: Why am I always driving behind either Miss Direction or Mister Turn?
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Didjaknow: Six actors have won acting awards in both the lead and supporting categories:
Jack Lemmon (1955, 1973) - the first!
Jack Nicholson (1975, 1983, 1997)
Gene Hackman (1971, 1992)
Robert De Niro (1974, 1980)
Kevin Spacey (1995, 1999)
Denzel Washington (1989, 2001)
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Rant: Why do we care about exhibition football games when we don’t about spring-training baseball games?
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

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