July 31, 2007

The Sequel.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:38 pm


July 30, 2007

Brain Farts.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:01 pm

1. Why would anyone who lives in New Jersey (particularly in Northern New Jersey) ever set foot into a Pizza Hut? Same goes for Domino’s Pizza. In Jersey, you can always find a pizzeria named Tony’s or Angelo’s where Tony or Angelo actually makes the pizza. The stuff Pizza Hut and Domino’s makes is McPizza. It may be edible, but it sure as shit ain’t real pizza.

2. Back in the day, one could go into a music store and ask to see a Fender Stratocaster, and the only choices you had to make were from among a few different colors. Not so any more. Oy!

3. Did you ever watch Iron Chef? It started out with the original Japanese version, which was beyond bizarre, what with three Japanese chefs slicing and dicing all sorts of things that are allegedly edible (once I saw a dark blue chicken — no shit), with English overdubbing. Apparently it was a success, because now there is Iron Chef America. The Asian (sort of) guy who does the handsprings and reveals what the secret thing is that the Iron Chef and the Challenger have to use as their main ingredient is seriously weird. “TONIGHT, our master chefs will employ their vast culinary abilities to prepare succulent dishes with our main ingredient (….. drum roll …. cue the fog machine … the hood lifts ….. ) GOAT!!! WTF??

4. Why would anyone with an IQ above room temperature give a shit (even a microscopic shit) about Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears or Paris Hilton? Don’t answer. It might make me puke.

5. Memo to the Maroon who drove in the left lane of a three lane highway this morning at 35 miles per hour while she talked into her cell phone, oblivious to the deadly chaos she was causing behind her: Sometimes I think it is may be a good thing that New Jersey makes a carry permit impossible to get.

6. I am having a very difficult time getting used to “tabbed browsing,” and I haven’t decided whether I like it. So far, no.

7. Blazing Saddles is the funniest movie ever made. If you disagree, keep it to yourself, because your shit is definitely not together.

8. In the most recent issue of Time *spit* Magazine, Joe *spit* Klein described Hillary as being, “…solid as granite and righteous as a bran muffin.” If that doesn’t set off your gag reflex, I don’t know what will.

9. Gentleman Jack is some damned fine whiskey — neat or on-the-rocks (with clear ice, of course).

10. I like Dick Cheney … a lot. So there!

Update: Thanks to the Wiseass Jooette for catching an incorrect link and a typo. I think that RT’s comment concerning my proper use of the plural form of “pizza” (“pizze” is what I think she meant) was also the result of a typo rather than my facility with Italian. Both typos and the misdirected link had a bit to do with Number 9 … Number 9 … Number 9.

July 29, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:57 pm

My friend Frankie the sax player used to say, “If it don’t flow, don’t go.”

I think we all have a sense of when, prior to a planned event a series of small things happen, each of which portends bad news for the event. In other words, things are just not “flowing” in which case one ought to consider changing plans.

Well, today, things didn’t flow but we went anyway.

Today Usual Suspects Ken the Bodyguard, Jeff – Da Chef of da Future (and horseshit horseshoe player) and I assembled at the House by the Parkway to drive to Raceway Park to see our friend Willie race. We were going in Jeff’s car. Weather reports had been uniformly sketchy, but they all agreed that there would be rain later in the day (a sign). The weather was fine when we left.

We no sooner got on the highway when the car’s engine light came on and it began hesitating and sounded ready to stall (another sign). After checking the gas cap (a loose gas cap will do that) and seeing that the problem persisted, we returned to the House by the Parkway and took the Big Fat Black Capitalist Car out of its hanger for the trip. Ken said that he’d drive my car. (Ken and Jeff think I’m a shitty driver – assholes!)

We picked up Jeff at his house and hit the road. We stopped at a diner near the track for some breakfast, and ended up getting a server who looked like he just graduated from rehab. It took forever to get our breakfast (another sign), and when it finally came, the order was all screwed up (yep, another sign).

As we exited the diner, the skies turned ugly (another sign), but we decided to head for the track anyway, as it was only a few miles away. We reasoned that we didn’t have to enter the track of the weather remained as ominous looking.

We arrived at the track, and, although it was very cloudy, we decided that it might not rain, or if it rained, it might just be a shower. Besides, through the fence, we saw Willie and his crew (including Willie’s brother Paulie) on line with his car waiting to do his first time trial. We paid our $20 each for a pit pass.

We pulled into the pit area and found a good parking spot. As I was about to open the door, Ken said, “Stay in the car.”

When I looked at him as if he were crazy, he pointed to the rain drops on the windshield. Within one minute, the skies opened, producing a monstrous farookin’ storm – the End-of-the-World kind of rainstorm. We sat in the car for about a half hour, as the pit area turned into a quagmire and the rain never let up. We finally decided to bail.

Had we arrived to the track three minutes later, we could have turned around on the entrance road and saved ourselves sixty bucks. We ended up spending another hour or so driving home on badly flooded roads and kicking ourselves in the ass for ignoring all the “signs” and for not heeding my friend Frankie the sax player’s advice.

I think I’ll spend the rest of the day with a book.

July 28, 2007

Touristy Stuff.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 4:40 pm


Recently took a trip with a group of colleagues to Ellis Island, the place where millions of immigrants from all over the world, including my grandfather, entered the United States. I had never visited the place. Ellis Island should be on your itinerary for your next trip to New York or New Jersey. Allow lots of time, because there is plenty there to see.

The ticket (purchased at Liberty State Park) also includes the Statue of Liberty. Each of several boats goes to both places on each trip. I opted to spend the few allotted hours at Ellis Island, because I have been to the Statue of Liberty before – back in the days when people were allowed to climb all the way to the crown. There was a time when visitors could climb all the way to the torch, but that hasn’t been permitted for a long time. Now, people are only permitted to the top of the base, and, even then, you have to make a reservation in advance.

As you can see from the picture above, we were lucky enough to catch the Queen of the Fleet for the trip out to the Island.

July 27, 2007

Contracting in Jersey.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:57 pm

Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the Statehouse in Trenton.

One contractor is from New Jersey, another is from Tennessee and the third, is from Florida.

They go with a Statehouse official to examine the fence.

The Florida contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. “Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $900: $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”

The Tennessee contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, “I can do this job for $700: $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”

The New Jersey contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the Statehouse official and whispers, “$2,700.”

The official, incredulous, says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?”

The New Jersey contractor whispers back, “$1,000 for me, $1,000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence.”

“Done!” replies the statehouse official.

And that’s pretty much how things go in Jersey.

This came from Usual Suspect Adie, but I took the liberty of changing it a bit. :-)

July 26, 2007

Mr. Recliner and Me.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:33 pm

I’m thinking that now that I have this high speed computer, maybe I should consider trading in Mr. Recliner for a high-speed unit, which will zip along at 40 mph and comes with a built in stereo and a place for a cooler.

On second thought, Mr. Recliner and I have spent so much quality time together, I just couldn’t bear to trade him in for a younger, hotter model.

Besides, everyone would say, “Yo, ya know that Jimbo’s got himself a trophy recliner?”

I’d hate that.

July 25, 2007

Welcome Aboard the Titanic: New Jersey’s Financial Morass.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:29 pm

Remember when I told you in April that New Jersey faced UNFUNDED pension liabilities of $56 BILLION? People in the private sector go to jail for that kind of crap.

Now, we learn that, on top of the $56 BILLION in unfunded pension liabilities, New Jersey also faces $58 BILLION in liability for UNFUNDED medical benefits for current and retired state workers.

It seems that all the while the state has been promising state workers virtually free health care after retirement (which could happen as early as at age 55), it has not set aside any reserves to pay the health care tab, which in today’s dollars id $58 BILLION. The state stopped putting money in reserves for retiree medical benefits during Christine Whitman’s administration in 1994.

So let’s do the arithmetic, shall we? $56 BILLION plus 58 BILLION is, by my reckoning, $114 BILLION in money that the state has promised to pay and has ZERO dollars to pay it with.

So, how will the sorry assed taxpayers the State of New Jersey pay this money? According to the New York Times,

New Jersey officials say the state simply cannot afford to create a reserve at this time, given the debt. Instead they plan to pay each year’s retiree benefits out of revenues and work to control future costs. (emphasis mine).

Say what? Pay it out of revenues and work to control future costs? Excuse me while I convulse, sadly not with laughter.

Let’s translate the bullshit into English. The notion of paying a $114 BILLION shortfall out of “revenues” is comical, because the “revenues” (i.e. as a practical matter, taxes and state fees) may well not even cover the current budgeted expenses. As for trying to “control future costs,” don’t make me laugh! The most recent budget (at a time when the state already faced a massive deficit) called for an increase in state spending by something like 13%.

Hang on to your wallets, or consider looking into moving to Pennsylvania or Delaware.

While the Corzine administration has at least conceded the existence of the financial mess (previous administrations and the legislature have ignored it), the Governor hasn’t done much to help things. As noted, he increased state spending in the most recent budget, and his plan to have more retirees pay something toward their health premiums didn’t happen.

His idea for paying down this deficit centers around the selling or leasing of the New Jersey Turnpike, but he has postponed any further discussion of this political hot potato until after the November elections.;

If a business ran like this state does, it would be out of business, and, for not funding pension benefits, its owners might well land in federal prison.

It is positively sickening.

I believe that, when it comes to rotten and grossly incompetent state government, New Jersey is worse than Louisiana. And, speaking as someone who loves this state, despite all its faults, that is a damned shame.

Permit me a word to my fellow Garden Staters. Can we PLEASE put the partisan baloney aside for just a moment and admit to ourselves that every single one of our goddamned legislators is part of the problem? And, as such, every single goddamned one of them should be voted out of office.

July 24, 2007

By George!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:07 pm

Replay video | Share video | Watch more videos

I enjoyed hell out of this. Kudos to the person doing his impression of George C. Scott doing his impression of General George Patton.

Via Curmudgeonly & Skeptical

July 23, 2007

Sale! Salvation only $1,000!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:04 pm

tilton.jpgReading a few days ago about the death of Tammy Faye Bakker reminded me of how she first gained national prominence as the wife of religious huckster Jim Bakker and how, together, they bilked countless people out of hundreds of millions of dollars in a fraudulent scheme that ultimately landed Jim Bakker in jail. I never understood how she escaped indictment.

Speaking of religious hucksters, have you ever caught the act of Robert Tilton (pictured above), probably the most unabashed huckster of them all? While some televangelists pleas for donations are subtle and occupy only a small part of their programs, Tilton was open and in your face, all the time, about how important it was for the viewer to send him money – lots of it — and often.

His message, stripped of detail, was that the only way to liberate your faith was to make a monetary vow and to make the vow in an amount more than you think you were able to afford ($1,000 was the vow he pitched the most). His version of preaching consisted of spending a good deal of time with a well-worn Bible in hand, bookmarked to the verses that he could interpret to convince viewers that God wanted you to send money to him (Tilton, not God, because God’s zip code remains a mystery).

Tilton would often stop in the midst of his preaching to make goofy faces and do a bit of “speaking in tongues.” He also would sometimes stop in mid-sentence while he was receiving a direct transmission from the Almighty, which often would be followed by his staring directly into the camera and saying something like, ”There is someone out there who is worried about losing his job and is so troubled that he is unable to sleep. Call me NOW and make a vow!”

Well, duh, at any given time, that probably applied to a couple thousand people, particularly since his show was broadcast at a time when viewed by insomniacs. Still, I am certain that more than one poor, vulnerable person thought, ”My God, he is talking to ME!!” whereupon they called the prominently displayed 800 number and promised away the family’s rainy day money.

If the viewer was not convinced by either of the foregoing ploys to make a vow, the “testimonials” surely would push him over the top:

“Pastor Tilton, we were being hounded by creditors and the bank was ready to foreclose on our home. I watched you, and I called in my vow. I sent our last hundred dollars and vowed to send one hundred dollars a month. You know what? The day after I sent my check, my husband learned that he would be getting lots of overtime for the next six months!”

To which Tilton would respond with a “Halleluiah” followed by something that sounded like, “Kondobatoya akaloomboya” (the tongue-speaking thing).

Tilton was off the air for a while following a network special that exposed some of his shenanigans, and after that he tried another show in which he was doing “demon blasting,” (i.e. shouting crazy shit at a “possessed” person), which apparently never caught on (although I suspect the demons might have gotten a kick out of it).

He is back on the air these days on the BET Network, where he, along with the help of his third wife, is busy relieving people of their money in exchange for a promise of a heavenly payoff commensurate with the size of their “vow.” He is currently selling his books on his website, entitled, How to Pay Your Bills Supernaturally and How to be Rich and Have Everything You Ever Wanted, both of which I’m quite certain advocate the spiritual importance of sending him money.

I find the antics of religious con artists like Tilton (and the Bakkers) to be beneath contempt, but Tilton did provide excellent fodder for the masterfully done, hilarious videos that appear here, here, here and here.

I’m not religious, and I certainly don’t pretend to know what God would think of people like Tilton, but I like to think that he/she/it wouldn’t approve.

July 22, 2007

Seen in the Garden State.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 4:36 pm


Good thing that I had my cell phone camera with me when I saw this abomination on a street in Jersey. It sells what purports to be clothing. I am concerned that there may be sleeper cells of Brooklyn vulgarians living in the Garden State who find themselves in need of pants that are worn halfway down one’s ass and untied shoes and sneakers that are one size too big.

I wonder if the Wiseass Jooette has her finger in this pie.

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