Son of a Gun!

Few entertainers get lucky with a catchphrase or persona that makes them a household name. Jack Benny played on his cheapness and vanity attributes. Bob Hope was Old Ski Nose, Henny Youngman, the King of One Liners and Jackie Gleason- The Great One, just to name a few.

Milton Berle milked the show business lie that he stole other acts material. In fact, he was one of the few who legitimately paid for routines rented from the originators, but not the performers. Another comic may have done a bit in Vaudeville that Berle saw and wanted to revive on his television show. The guy who performed it in Vaudeville would get incensed because he considered it his act. But Berle was smart. He knew that the performer paid a gag writer to put together the bit. The rule was that the bit’s ownership stayed with the writer, not the performer. He would seek that person out and pay him for the use. Nothing wrong with that- that’s why they called it show business.

joeybishopJoey Bishop was another one who got lucky with a persona as well as catchphrase. He coined the expression “Son of a Gun” when he first used it in a cameo appearance in a movie called Pepe and received such a tremendous amount of fan mail telling him how funny the bit worked in the film. He was also known as having a dour expression, sort of like the look on the face of a headwaiter when called out to listen to the complaint of a dining customer.
Continue reading “Son of a Gun!”

Tools of Indifference in Modern Baseball

As soon as I arrived inside the client’s building, I headed to the office of the president of the company to have that dreaded conversation. No – it’s not what you think. We rarely talk business. It would get somewhat embarrassing if we did.

You see, I’m a detail guy and he, being the top guy in a decently sized company is a delegator. He just wants to know the overall picture. The only time I come into his office to do business is to load a software update on his computer. There have been a couple of exceptions where he actually asked me my opinion on a company procedure. And even when he agreed with my observation and asserted that he intended to change things by having a chat with selected personnel, it never happened because no one likes change, despite what the President of the US thinks. Continue reading “Tools of Indifference in Modern Baseball”

Never Shop for Food When Hungry

There are certain axioms that you have to believe are true. Like, not going shopping for food when you’re hungry. You just know that it’s gonna end up costing you more money as you start picking stuff off the shelves that at a more rationale moment you would just say “no- maybe some other time.” Instead, go grocery shopping after you’ve had a nice fulfilling meal. Better yet, write down on paper what you intend to purchase and try to stick to it.

Never stay behind someone who is driving while holding their cell phone glued to their ear. They give a you-know-what’s you-know-what about what you think. These selfish people are content to drive seven miles under the speed limit in the left lane and are for sure just as into themselves in all other aspects of their lives. The same goes for the motorist just ahead of you in either your lane or the one next to you who doesn’t put on the turn indicator when switching lanes.

I also have a theory that a person who uses a self-checkout lane at a store when he or she purchases twenty items and knows that he or she does not have a bar code on one or several of the products does so in spite. Never stand in line behind such a specimen of an alleged human being. Even if it takes you longer to check out by going to a lane where a store employee does the ringing up, it will help keep your blood pressure in check.

Never believe the look of disbelief on the face of the pitcher who just tossed a 95 mile an hour fastball just missing the head of the batter who comes up to the plate just after a .195 hitting shortstop banged a three-run homer. It just got away from the pitcher, right?

Never believe that politicians care what we think. All they want us to do is vote for them.

Never think that algebra, trigonometry, chemistry, physics and biology are taught in high school because one in a thousand students may actually need it in their careers. It’s taught to teach us that we don’t know anything.

Never believe anyone who says that “it’s not about the money”. It is only about the money. And its corollary, when the salesman says, “believe me, I’m not making any money on this”, you know he just put a down payment on a house.

When someone says “trust me”, call your lawyer.

When someone says, “I’ll call you back in five”, he really means hours and not minutes.

Never tell anyone how old you really are. They’ll just say that you don’t look your age and you’ll feel bad because you won’t know if they mean you look younger or older.

Never say, “well, if I just take one, it won’t hurt” because one is just a start.

Most importantly, never grow old. Those who tell you to stop acting like a kid are just jealous.

Rehabbing Is Good But You Can Go Home Again

That poet who said “you can’t go home again” doesn’t know what he is talking about. On July 16, Ma returned to the house Dad and she bought in August 1968 after spending the previous seven weeks at a rehab facility. For close to two months, her life was regimented by health care professionals who told her when to wake up each morning, what to do in twice daily therapy sessions and barged into her room whenever they felt like it to give her medicine and check her condition.

After Ma had two weeks earlier seen the surgeon who repaired her broken hip, she felt frustrated when he told her that she still could not put sufficient full pressure on her left foot to warrant walking stairs.

He said that she needed another 10 days of boring repetition of what she had already mastered in order to give more time to the fused bones and pins to secure themselves.

Two days earlier on July 14, we did a dry run where we wheeled her to my car in the facility parking lot and she rehearsed getting out of the chair and into the front seat of the four door sedan. Just as the therapist had told her earlier in the day regarding her first effort to climb stairs, once again she did it “like a pro.”

That Friday she took the ride home and back to her house that she had not seen in weeks and readily climbed the stairs to the front door. She even walked up the stairs inside to the second floor to sleep in her own bed that first night.

This is what doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals hope to see and hear. They want their patients to be success stories. But it comes with a price. People live longer now and expect to live it as healthfully as possible even into their 90’s. Most people with few exceptions would go into the poorhouse to be able to pay back the cost of surgery and recovery. The Federal Government is at a crossroads because the cost that they are underwriting for seniors is out-pacing the ability to fund it.

However, there is no alternative. The Feds must continue to finance senior care or there will be a lot of seniors lying and dying on street curbs.

A Moment in History or Was it?

With the news that Derek Jeter recently became the 28th player to achieve 3000 hits in a career, it brought back to mind the day I saw pete rose Pete Rose tie or possibly break Ty Cobb’s record. ty cobb It all depends on whether you accept Cobb had 4191 hits or 4189 as has been re-adjusted in the past several years.
Continue reading “A Moment in History or Was it?”

Derek Jeter- A Man For All Baseball Seasons

By Larry Teren

derekjeterBaseball is the most beloved American sport probably because of the way one can pour over the performance statistics and twist it anyway he wants. That is part of the charm of kids looking forward to getting baseball cards and comparing the stats of the players with the cards friends have. Football may have more intensity to its current popularity but it is a team sport. Outside of yards gained by a running back or receiver and the ubiquitous quarterback rating there is not much for the average fan statistics-wise to drool over. C’mon- how many people compare one player’s sack count or passes deflected or intercepted to those of another defensive back?
Continue reading “Derek Jeter- A Man For All Baseball Seasons”

The Spy Who Wore a Catcher’s Mitt

Only in America could a guy be a major league baseball player for sixteen seasons as well as a famed OSS agent during World War Two but still be penalized by the IRS for failing to pay income tax while out of the country doing his spy work. I’m referring, of course, to the legendary Morris (Moe) Berg.moe_berg

Moe was at best a very good back-up catcher for several teams during the mid 1920-‘s thru the 1930’s including the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, and Washington Senators, the latter for whom he was a vital member of a pennant winner. In 1932 and again in 1934 he visited Japan on a goodwill tour to help teach baseball to an eager Japanese youth. During the ’34 visit, he was by then secretly working as an independent consultant to the State Department taking photos and film of the landscape in various Japanese cities. This information was used in helping General Jimmy Doolitle plan the invasion of Japanese soil during World War Two. He also traveled through Europe taking notes while he rode the Trans-Siberian railway. Continue reading “The Spy Who Wore a Catcher’s Mitt”

Dumb and Dumber

Recently in the news there was a story about a football player who was smitten with true and endearing love for an ex-beauty queen. So much so, that he bought an engagement ring purportedly worth $76,000 to present to her. But being a very busy athlete, he decided to wrap it up carefully, insure it, and mail it to her. Along with the said jewelry, he tape recorded a marriage proposal. That appears to have been a dumb move. Continue reading “Dumb and Dumber”

Three Lockouts And Its Over

It used to be “three strikes and your out”. Now it appears to be “three lockouts and its over”. Workers used to strike in order to get the attention of their bosses when demanding more money and better working conditions. Now, its the bosses who are demanding more money- or a better share of the pie- and respect.

Once the partying last winter was over after the Super Bowl, the NFL moguls locked out the players from preparing for a new season, let alone playing one. Players were put on hold from going to the training facilities and doing off-season workouts. Trading of players between teams and the signing of free agents was suspended as well.
Continue reading “Three Lockouts And Its Over”

Why is The Fourth of July?

It seemed like every summer as it approached July 4, one of the local television stations in Chicago would broadcast “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, Jimmy Cagney’s Oscar-winning film performance on the life of George M. Cohan. The highlight of the movie was Cagney singing “I’m a Yankee Doodle dandy ….born on the Fourth of July.” Cohan’s baptismal certificate indicates he was born a day earlier but there were other inaccuracies listed on it so maybe we should take George’s insistence on his own date of birth.

The biographical movie, as does all of that genre, exhibited some stretching of the truth. The woman he married in the cinematic version of his life was Mary portrayed by Joan Leslie, who by the way was an actress more than twenty years younger than Cagney. In real life, George married at a quite young age to an Ethel and divorced her seven years later after having a child, and then subsequently married Agnes Mary with whom he stayed until his death. Continue reading “Why is The Fourth of July?”