Saturday, September 29, 2007

Today's podcast at Sports Shorts & Thing Shots

Today's podcast episode at Sports Shorts & Thing Shots is "Three R's: 'Rithmetic!".

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Vampires, running buddies, and talk show participants: how are they alike? (updated)

Consider three groups: vampires (of both the supernatural and of the emotional ilks), running buddies, and talk show participants (hosts, co-hosts, correspondents, guests, crew and sponsors).

QUESTION: How are they alike?
I'll betcha Barbara Walters could crack this riddle as readily as she'd like to crack Star Jones-Reynolds'. Rosie O'Donnell's* and Donald Trump's knuckles. Or noggins. The latest crack-worthy development was the publication of Miss O'Donnell's book, Celebrity Detox (The Fame Game). [Read the publisher's and reader's reviews.]

ANSWER: They must be invited in. Once inside, they either reveal they'll be welcomed back (as with fictional "good" vampires and most real-life running buddies and talk show participants), or - rarer, worst case scenario - they unsheathe an unwelcome propensity to bite, suck everyone else dry, or otherwise cause all hell to break loose.

I've encountered both types, and therefore, empathize with Ms. Walters, albeit on a smaller, less public scale. And like Ms. Walters, neither public bloodletting (like that enjoyed by "The Donald" and Ms. O'Donnell in their various, well-publicized feuds with each other and with other people), nor dishing delectable-yet-damaging dirt (as shock jock Wendy Williams* does), is my cup of tea [although I realize mass media audiences savor that stuff just as Dracula digs warm blood].

* Would someone at WBLS or VH1 puh-leese encourage the self-professed "Queen of Radio" to refrain from referring to Rosie O'Donnell as "Rosie O'Donald"?!
For me, a higher - and more lucrative - road for venting about toxic invitees might be to release a tell-all novel and associated film that exposes, in thinly disguised fashion, those few emotional vampires, talk radio show participants and running buddies whom I regret having invited in. (I'm not saying I'll do that, but then never say never, either.)

LINKS: The ads below results from the book search: "tell all, celebrity."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ON AIR (I'm hosting 'SCORE Radio' today): Matador Travel’s Ross Borden explores the world of freelance travel writing

Some episodes of SCORE Radio: Counselors to America's Small Business emulate Star Trek. They go where no SCORE Radio show has gone before, and take listeners with them. The SCORE Radio broadcast I'm hosting today is an example.
  • ITINERARY: Matador Travel's co-founder, Ross Borden, explores the world of freelance travel writing with call-in guests and yours truly. [ASIDE: I'm an avid traveler and former Let's Go! travel guides editor.]
  • SCHEDULE: Beam us up at 11:30 AM to noon, Eastern Time.
  • DESTINATION/LOGISTICS: Tune to New York Radio WVOX 1460 AM or listen live online at to lend us your ear. Or phone the call-in line - (01) 914-636-0110 - to hear and share.
  • WHAT TO BRING: For your listening pleasure, I've packed a bag o' traveling music. I invite you to phone the show to share your favorite traveling tunes, and to post them as comments at the posts listed below.

This article continues. You can read the remainder at:

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Today's podcast at Sports Shorts & Thing Shots

Today's podcast episode at Sports Shorts & Thing Shots is Happy Grandparents' Day: Dance!

Shameless commerce:
  • Some Grandparents' Day gift ideas are listed above.
  • The results of an search of Grandparents' Day books is accessible by clicking on the link or on the book titles below.
  • The results of a general search of Grandparent's Day is accessible here.###

Thursday, September 06, 2007

MOVIE: Two droll lines from 'Waiting to Exhale'

The latest droll lines I'm adding to the list are from the movie, Waiting to Exhale (1995). The dramatic/romantic/comedic film, based on Terry McMillan's best-selling novel, was directed by Forest Whitaker, musically produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, and starred in by the actors listed below.

These actresses played the lovely, love-challenged heroines:

  • Angela Bassett (pictured, right, with husband Courney Vance, courtesy of Wikipedia>>Angela Bassett) - played Bernadine 'Bernie' Harris and won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture
  • Whitney Houston - played Savannah 'Vannah' Jackson and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture, and for an MTV Movie Award for Best Song From a Movie: "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)"
  • Loretta Devine - played Gloria 'Glo' Matthews and won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
  • Lela Rochon - played Robin Stokes and was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Female Breakthrough Performance, and for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
  • These actors played the men in their lives. for better or worse:

    • Michael Beach (pictured right as "Doc" Parker on Third Watch, courtesy of>>Michael Beach) - as John Harris, Sr.
    • Giancarlo Esposito - David Matthews
    • Donald Faison - Tarik Matthews
    • Dennis Haysbert - Kenneth Dawkins
    • Gregory Hines - Marvin King
    • Leon - Russell
    • Wendell Pierce - Michael Davenport
    • Jeffrey D. Sams - Lionel
    • Wesley Snipes - James Wheeler, Esq.
    • Mykelti Williamson - Troy
    These exchanges inspired this post:

    EXCHANGE ONE: Bernadine's husband of 11 years and her children's father announces he is leaving Bernadine for his blonde bookkeeper, effective that night. He makes this pronouncement after he and his wife have gussied up for a black tie New Year's Eve party being hosted by the company Bernadine helped build. To help build the business, Bernadine has tabled - at her husband's request - her dreams of starting a catering service.

    Days later, in a scene evocative of, "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" (and shortly before she cuts her long, luxurious hair short), the jilted wife stuffs John-the-jerk's many upscale suits into his BMW, pours lighter fluid through the sunroof, and ignites them with the match she has used to light her cigarette. This is an act of empowerment, of rebellion, and of reclaiming her home and her dignity.

    What follows is a brilliant series of non-verbal gestures evocative of the black-and-white movie sirens Bette Davis (e.g., in Now, Voyager - (1942) see photo, right courtesy of YouTube) and Lauren Bacall (e.g., in To Have and Have Not) (1944). In the Forties, lighting up, smoking, and exhaling had specific symbolic meanings in films. Depending upon the context, those acts and references to them signified various stages of romance (attraction, intentions to liaise, and post-coital satisfaction), liberation, rebellion, and power. Waiting to Exhale pays homage to that legacy, most explicitly in the above-mentioned scene.

    With the exception of this scene, the smoking behavior in Waiting to Exhale is excessive. However, at this juncture, Bernadine's behavior signifies several rites of passage. She ignites her cigarette preparatory burning John's car and clothes in a purging by fire that simultaneously exorcises her home of John's status symbols, and sacrifices him in effigy. John's vehicle and wardrobe are conspicuous fruits of their joint labors, and the obsessive orderliness of his well-stocked drastically contrasts with the disorder and the void his act of betrayal is imposing on his family's lives.

    Afterward, Bernadine exhales, swivels, and with a triumphant gesture, flounces into her fabulous house and firmly shuts the door. The ensuing exchange was with a fireman who extinguished John's flaming luxury car and the designer duds within it.
    • Fireman (Graham Galloway): It's illegal to burn anything in this neighborhood but garbage.
    • Bernadine (Angela Bassett): It is garbage.

    EXCHANGE TWO: Savannah is at a restaurant with the physician whom she has, until recently, mistaken for the love of her life. He had inexplicably abandoned her years ago, and has recently resurfaced: married to someone else, and a father. He's used Savannah's mother to track down his old flame, has made less-than-credible pronouncements about being unhappy at home and planning to divorce, and has declared that Savannah is his true love, too.

    Savannah, against her better judgment, has resumed their affair. However, Kenneth's treatment of his wife, his mischaracterization of how he and Savannah parted, and Savannah's self-protective instincts prevail. In this scene, she tells him like it is, and literally, takes a stand.
    Kenneth (Dennis Haysbert), seated: I'm not mad.

    • Savannah (Whitney Houston), standing, and just before purposely spilling his drink in his lap: I'm not mad, either. Just to prove it, the drinks are on you!
    View my last movie line post, MOVIE: My favorite line from 'Carlito's Way'.

    Monday, September 03, 2007

    All around Jack Robinson's barn

    Last week, I berated my navigationally-challenged passenger, Steve, for directing me all around Jack Robinson's barn. Ever since, he's been teasing me about using "southern phrases."

    That's funny 'cuz, despite descending from Virginia slaves and freedmen, no one in my immediate family was born below the Mason-Dixon Line. (The original Mason Dixon Line is depicted, above right, courtesy of Wikipedia>>Mason-Dixon Line). It's also funny 'cuz my southern belle-buddy, Lorraine, is amused by my phraseology, too. At statements like "breaking bread," "brand new penny," and "stinker," the doctorate-holding, deep south denizen giggles like a schoolgirl. At deliberate mispronounciations such as "eye-talian" (Italian) and "grassy-ass" (gracias), old gal guffaws.

    As Lorraine's reactions reflect, the phrases and pronounciations that tickle my friends' fancies do not necessarily derive from Dixieland. Rather, they have multifarious etymologies.

    That's not surprising, since I enjoy traveling and cultural activities, and was educated in the Northeast. Although the Northeast is the nation's smallest region geographically, it: "contains the greatest density of accent diversity in the country," is ethnically diverse, "is still an entry point for many immigrants," and is a major hub of world trade, tourism and commerce.
    *(The IMAGE, above right, Manufacturing Belt in red, provided courtesy of>>Manufacuring Belt and Wikipedia>>Manufacturing Belt, depicts a portion of the Northeastern United States.)
    All the caveats above notwithstanding, southern roots run deep(ly). Watching Gone With the Wind (1941) yesterday evoked Steve's statement, and reminded me of my Bible and Lynching Belt ancestry. I declare, hearing Scarlett O'Hara (played by Vivien Leigh, nee Vivian Mary Hartley ) chide Prissy (played by Butterfly McQueen, nee Thelma McQueen pictured right, courtesy of Wikipedia>>Butterfly McQueen) for being "as slow as molasses in January" echoed my mother/myself.

    Great balls of fire!