Thursday, April 30, 2009
This morning I was driving down Ventura Boulevard looking for hand sanitizer. It looks like the swine flu epidemic has caused panic in Sherman Oaks. There seems to be a shortage of hand sanitizer. I hit every supermarket, drug store, and specialty shop, and I came away empty-handed. However, not everyone is worried. In line at Starbucks, the economy seemed to be the issue of the day, although the lady in front of me was keeping her distance in case I sneezed. I overheard her saying that she's cutting back on her vacation to Disney World, but for now she'll continue buying her daily "double half-calf cappuccino, extra foam". A reader in Hoboken, N.Y. wrote that he was worried about health care because he was laid off and lost his health insurance. "I've quit going to the doctor. It's just too expensive." Hopefully he doesn't come down with the swine flu. There are many other issues on the minds of the American people. Dan Hanchey wrote yesterday in his column at Northsidesun.com that he's stockpiling ammunition because he's worried that the Obama administration is "working on passing legislation that would require governmental registration of every bullet and shotgun shell, knowing full well that guns do not work without ammo, and enabling confiscation of every gun and bullet at some point and time in the future." He continued his idiotic rant by saying, "Take away law-abiding citizens' guns and ammunition and the only persons with guns and ammo will then be the military and the crooks." And Dan Hanchey. Even though there are lots of whack jobs out there like Mr. Hanchey, most people are distracted today by the news of the swine flu. The shortage of hand sanitizer is a big indication of this. People have been stockpiling hand sanitizer and that is not a good sign. But there's a national shortage of ammunition and that's an even bigger problem. People are getting ready to protect themselves for when all hell breaks loose.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was quoted last November as saying, "Don't let a good crisis go to waste". At the time, he was talking about the economy. Today is President Obama's 100th day in office. Not only was he handed the economic collapse, he inherited two wars, foreign instability, a health care crisis, an environmental mess, the question of how to handle torture and advanced interrogation techniques, and now the swine flu epidemic. On his 100th day, Obama says he's "pleased but not satisfied" with the progress his Administration has made. The public seems to think he's on the right track. In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, he's got a 61% approval rating. A lot of times, when presidents become consequential in history, it is events that force them to be. "Great presidents have to be pushed into their greatness", said author and PBS host Tavis Smiley. "Great presidents aren't born. Great presidents are made". In the NBC/WJS poll, 81% of Americans personally like the President, including 30% who disagree with his policies. The poll also says that 43% of Americans believe the economy is headed in the right direction. We ended the election cycle with 12% of Americans saying the country was headed in the right direction. Now, even with the economy flatlining and the international problems getting worse, we have a president who, through the sheer force of his personality and star quality, has single-handedly moved the mood of the country up almost 30 points. With all his multi-tasking, the President has made health care reform, the environment, and education his priorities. If he is successful, especially in the area of health care, he'll be able to put more points on the board. During his campaign, the President pledged to have health care reform in his first term in office. Now it's looking like he'll have some kind of a bill by the end of the year. In a town hall meeting this morning in Missouri, Obama said lately he's been too busy to play basketball. He's had time for just about everything else. Look for the President to spend a lot of time on tonight's prime-time news conference discussing the Bush administration's position on torture, because that's a hot-button issue, and Dick Cheney has been all over the news media lately defending it. Expect the President to talk about Pakistan, because that is where the next war might be. He'll no doubt be asked about Arlen Specter's defection from the Republican Party, because this is a major indication of the recent implosion of the Republican Party and is a major win for the Obama Administration. The news of the day, the swine flu, will likely take up much of the dialogue, and the President will lay out the government's response to the global epidemic. But besides talking about the economy as it relates to the bank and auto industry bailouts, look for the President to point out that one of his biggest priorities is health care reform. After all, our current dreadfully inadequate health system takes up one-sixth of the U.S. economy. And medical bills trigger half of all bankruptcies in this country. This is a crisis we can't waste. The economy depends on it.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The 2008-2009 television season featured many memorable television characters. Here is a list of the Top 10 television characters in a supporting role: 1. Frank the Doorman, 2. Jesse Pinkman, 3. Betty Draper, 4. Vince Masuka, 5. Sarah Krajicek-Hunter, 6. Kenneth the Page, 7. Kelly Kapoor, 8. John Munch, 9. Sarah Walker, 10. Charles Montgomery Burns. How many of these characters do you recognize? Test your television IQ. A score of 10: Genius; 8 to 10: Very Smart; 6 to 8: Smart; 3 to 5: Average; 1 to 2: Below Average. Bonus Quiz- A series regular will be killed off of Law & Order: SVU at the end of the season. Guess which one.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Because of the uncertainty in the economy, Americans have drastically cut back on entertainment. A Time magazine poll puts the number at 63% who are spending less on things such as dining out and going to movies and sporting events. Gun sales are up. Liquor sales are up. People are staying home and getting drunk while watching television and protecting their property from the newly unemployed who have turned to crime. Even with other options such as video games and the internet, people are watching television in record numbers. The major TV networks are cutting back on scripted shows in favor of cheaper reality programming. It makes me want to shoot my TV. Luckily there's cable, and that's where the viewers are going. With quality movies, TV shows, and the incredibly popular news outlets CNN and MSNBC, cable TV is the future of home entertainment. I've set my DVR for tonight's 8 p.m. showing of Disney's "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen". Right now I'm getting drunk and watching Keith Olbermann.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Due to unusually high demand, this blog will run seven days a week, starting next week, not Monday through Friday as previously announced. I would like to welcome our international friends. To Alejandro in Spain, Bienvenido a mis amigos de todo el mundo, and to Zeliha in Turkey, Hosgeldiniz arkadaslarima tum dunyada. Because of the overwhelming response to my blog, I can't respond to everyone personally. However, feel free to comment on any subject I bring up. Response to the April 24th blog was interesting. Chrissy Corso said, "I agree 100% with Paul Solomon's assessment of the situation". Readers were unanimous in their unhappiness with ABC and their support for the show "Samantha Who?". Interestingly, nobody seems to have been a fan of "Cavemen", based on those hilarious commercials for Geico. I guess they weren't in on the joke. In response to the April 25th blog, Marc said, "Save the whales...collect the whole set." Marc, let us know what drugs you're on. I want some.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Thank you for the unprecedented support for my new blog. The blog will run Monday through Friday. That's why there will be no blog today. I will be using the weekends to read up on current events and work on ideas for the next week's breaking entertainment news. Many readers have asked for more information about me. I graduated from Hudson University in New York with a B.A. in criminal justice. I started my writing career at the Daily News of Los Angeles where I honed my skills writing obituaries and getting coffee for the city desk editor. I was fired for making fliers for my band on the company copying machine. After many years in the music business playing trumpet and keyboards, I quit to work full time as a freelance journalist. After that, I became a consultant and news comentator. The media can contact me through my representatives.
Friday, April 24, 2009
ABC has canceled all our favorite shows. If a show is doing well, they just take it off the air and then put it on when nobody notices. The one show they got right was "Cavemen", which was no better or worse then "In the Motherhood" or Bob Saget's laugh fest "Surviving Suburbia". Take "Samantha Who?" for instance. ABC buries it so it can't even be found and then starts a rumor that the remaining episodes will be scheduled sometime in the future. One of TV's best comedies with an all-star cast is treated like it was old reruns of "My Mother the Car". Which brings us back to "Cavemen", which is an example of ABC's brilliant comedy minds. One of the worst shows ever is now looking a lot better when stacked up against some of the other so-called comedies on ABC and elsewhere (did anybody laugh at "Parks and Recreation" on NBC...I thought "Southland" was funnier.) So what about the unseen episodes of "Cavemen". ABC can save some money and show them after "Dancing with the Stars" because people will watch anything after "Dancing With The Stars".