Thursday, June 21, 2012
Did anyone hear about the elderly bus monitor that was bullied by middle school students out in Rochester? If you didn’t hear about it click here: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/More-than-220G-raised-for-taunted-bus-monitor-3651791.php
If you would like to actually see the abuse click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAgti_2uziA
It was a horrible video to watch. The things that were being said to this woman were disgusting. Bright spot: A website called http://www.indiegogo.com/loveforkarenhklein came up with an idea to raise $5,000 for this woman so that she could take a top-notch vacation. But get this: As of today the website has raised 225,000 dollars. Who would donate to this?
Don’t get me wrong, names do hurt, but kids will be kids, and hopefully they will be taught that this is unacceptable, and hopefully they will be punished. But let’s put this into perspective. Bullying has been happening since the caveman. I once worked as a bus monitor. A student spit in my face. Another student threw a rock at me. What did the school do about it? None of your business. That's confidential. And if you put a camera on me I'd say, "No comment." I didn’t go on Oprah. I didn't call John Gray. Abuse is not officially “part” of the job, but it is "kind of" part of the job when you work with 12 year olds, some of which may be very troubled.
Ms. Klein was quick to hit the news circuit and talk shows, soaking back the tears to take her story of survival to the airwaves, playing the part of the sad granny to perfection. But please, please don’t tell me this website plans on giving this woman 225,000 dollars (or even a penny more than the planned 5,000) because a few kids called her fat. There are many more important things to be done with this money than giving it to a woman who got “bullied” by some 12 year olds. That’s all I’m saying here.
How about this? Why not give that money to a child who has been bullied? A child who may be thinking about doing harm to himself or herself over something posted on Facebook or Twitter? If I was Karen Klein that's what I'd want done with the money. It is about the kids when you're in education, right? She would be wrong to take that money.
To be technical, Ms. Klein probably should be fired from her job. She broke two important rules. 1) You don't ever allow news cameras into your home to discuss children at a school you work for. That's confidentiality 101. Do you know how many teachers, TAs, monitors, etc could call press conferences or go on FOX & FRIENDS and ANDERSON COOPER 360? 2) If you are an educator, on any level, you ALWAYS defend the kids publicly. Even if they are wrong, you don't comment on it or perpetuate it. And you sure as heck don't profit from it. It is ALWAYS about the kids first, even the ones capable of this act, and everything else second. If you don't believe that, DON'T work with kids.
And the media? This story came before the Sandusky Trial update today on CNN. What? Kids bullying a bus monitor is more important than a man allegedly molesting and raping children? Really?
225,000 dollars?! People who have had family members murdered in cold blood don't get that much money in Civil Suits. She better not accept a penny of that. Now Southwest Airlines is going to fly her to Disney World. How about this, Southwest: Fly a bullied child to DW if you want to fly somebody. Not a sixty-year-old employee of the school. It would be wrong of her to accept that free flight.
It was a nice gesture, but maybe we can use this awesome outpouring of kindness (225,000 dollars and counting) to really help somebody or something that is in serious need of such help. Maybe.
If you're looking for a lesson in mob mentality click here:http://blog.timesunion.com/schools/awful-children-who-should-be-grounded-for-life/1836/
Check out some of the over-the-top reader comments (250+ of them) about what should be done with these kids . . .
* They should be grounded for life!
* They should be beaten!
* They should be expelled from school forever!
* They should be put in prison!
* This woman is a hero!
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I am sitting in my kitchen watching a show on NBC called ALL AROUND THE WORLD W/ JUSTIN BIEBER. I thought I’d be watching my boy Howard on AGT, but it’s not on, again. Anyway, this Bieber show is a documentary of sorts, giving us an up-close picture of what it’s like to be on the road with the Beebs. First stop: Norway. The teenage girls are flocking everywhere, and the show seems to really be driving this point home. It’s CRAZY wherever he goes, so CRAZY. Look at how CRAZY! “I love you, Justin!”
In the first five minutes he has been caught on camera commenting about the number of girls that flock to him on four different occasions. He has compared himself to the Beatles and Michael Jackson. His whole team, AKA Team Bieber, just hangs on him, telling him how great he is. Is there anything about this kid that isn’t 100% formulaic? Every move has been done since Leif Garrett and Davy Jones. But guess what? JB has no music. There’s plenty of ego but no product.
The other aspect of the documentary is Justin’s “Justin Cam.” Wow, how original. That’s a handheld he shoots the flocking girls with, while making wacky faces and kooky comments. This is so Justin Timberlake circa 1998. But guess what? JT was 1,000 times better than the Beebs. Then of course the confessional, where JB waxes on how great it is to perform and make music. But he never actually performs. OK, I take that back. He’s lip singing through an unbearably-bad song right now. “I will never say never” is the chorus. Does anyone know this song?
He’s all decked out in the skinny jeans and elf sneakers, and the girls are going crazy. This is worse than 98 Degrees. The song is already over. It was less than 2 minutes. Now somebody is giving him a massage and soaking him with water after that taxing 117 second thrill ride. I saw Paul McCartney go live for three straight hours without a sip of water. This kid compares himself to the Beatles? Wow.
I get it. He’s a teen heartbreaker. All sizzle no steak. I guess what’s annoying to me is how recycled his presentation is. It’s all bubble-gum music and girls going ahhhhh!!!!!!! Honestly, I used to think the Beebs had a shot, but it’s just so “I know you love me, I know you need me.” The Partridge Family was deeper than this. The music is just not good, and it will cost him longevity in the end. The PR is making him way too New Kids on the Block.
Justin Timberlake was Elvis Presley compared to the Beebs. Smarter too, way smarter JT was. I actually thought NSYNC was really good. Both of JT’s solo albums were great. Every time he performed it was killer. He ditched the bubble gum at the right time and engineered a transition from teeny-bopper (albeit a bopper who shattered billboard sales records) to Grammy Award Winning artist. JT could sing, dance, write music, and perform like an SOB. There was nothing Timberlake couldn’t do on a stage. And off stage, he was the man. I’ve never wanted Timberlake to put out another album worse than right now. But that’s all done, I know it is, and we’re left with “baby, baby, ooh baby.”
Justin Bieber Performs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIQRAtvVr-s
Justin Timberlake Performs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7L1GJpjBfM
If you can watch these two performances and tell me the Beebs is better than JT, I guess I have to respect your opinion and move on.
Monday, June 18, 2012
For the first time in a long time, I went along on the Sunday afternoon grocery trip to Hannaford. I wanted to see firsthand where all the week’s food came from. I’d heard rumors of a brightly-lit place with pushcarts and cashiers, now I can report such a place does exist. We have a pretty consistent schedule at my house. Dinner at home: Sun-Weds, Pizza Night on Thurs, then out to eat on the weekends. However, both our schedules are about to change for a few months (for the better), so that could shake things up a bit.
Anyway, I went along to Hannaford, and the new thing around my house is eating organic. Everything has to be “hormone free” or “meatless meat” or “grain fed.” It occurred to me yesterday as I walked up and down the aisles, sent on some errand to get sage or all natural cinnamon squares, isn’t it possible that "they" (whoever they are) just slap the same old meats and cheeses and cinnamon squares inside boxes that say “organic” or “all natural” and charge oh-so-healthy people a few extra dollars? When in fact it’s the same exact slop we’ve been eating since our Hamburger Helper days?
You have to understand my Hannaford. And I guess after one day, I’m claiming I understand it. The whole store is filled with young, good–looking women (family women) in workout clothes doing the shopping. Everyone seems to be really worried about living well, which is great. But this organic thing could be the greatest scam going. How do you really know if eggs are “hormone free” or if the meat you’re buying comes from “grain-fed” livestock? How do you actually know? There’s no way you can.
Enough was enough! I demanded answers on this, and sought out the store manager for a little unexpected Father’s Day interrogation. I demanded to see proof of this organic thing he so widely claimed across his store. I told him I was a Troy Record Blogger, and would not leave until he told me the truth. I was promptly ejected from the store by security. But today I did talk to someone who worked for Price Chopper a few years back. He told me when the ground beef came in, they’d just tag half of it “hormone free” or “grain fed” or whatever and leave the other half as regular beef. But guess what? It was all the same.
I don’t know if this organic thing is for real or not. But I do know this: My mother never brought home “grain fed” meat or “all natural” fruit snacks, unless Fruit Rollups were all natural. And I’ll tell you another thing: These organic meatless-meats are doubling our weekly grocery bill. But now I’ll tell you a third thing(hush hush). I love the meatless stuff just the same as chuck wagon meats and still-mooing steaks. What can I say? It’s good. It’s probably just steak in a different box, but half of feeling healthy is feeling good I guess.
Now I leave you with the words of the late, great Rodney King: "Why can't we all get organic?" RIP, King Man.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Earlier this week, the TIMES UNION published their BEST OF list for the year. Many Capital Region categories were tallied, everything from best local college (U Albany) to best Italian restaurant (D’Raymond’s). But the category that caught my eye was the Best Blogger, which the TU awarded to its own ON THE EDGE blog, authored by style, fashion, and dating professional Kristi Gustafson. In second place was the FRIDAY PUPPY blog, authored by local business owner Matt Baumgartner.
I’m sure ON THE EDGE is a nice blog, I’ve checked it out a few times, and I know it has a great following. In my opinion: FRIDAY PUPPY is everything a modern blog should be. If you’ve never visited the blog, click the link below, although I’d be shocked if you live in the Albany area and have never checked it out. FRIDAY PUPPY is our uncensored glimpse into the life of a rising local celebrity and bar/business owner. Matt B’s most famous holding is the Bomber’s franchise, of course, but there are others, including Wolf’s 111 and the Biergarten.(Correct me if I’m wrong on any of this.) Additionally, Matt B. was recognized in ADVOCATE magazine’s Forty Under 40 list for his huge business success and great on-line work with PUPPY. But he only nabbed #2 on the TU's BEST OF. I demand a recount!
As for the FRIDAY PUPPY blog itself, it has a super concept and massive following. It is by far the best local blog. It might be the best blog I have ever read. In many ways, it gives followers the ability to follow the life of an up-and-coming celebrity with serious Albany roots. Even better than that, Matt is honest, open, and funny. The only issue I have with Matt is that my dogs haven’t made it to the weekly voting for Cutest Dog, despite multiple submissions. Come on, Matt, take us off the cutting-room floor.
I think Matt B is going to be one of the most powerful people in the Region in ten years, if he isn’t already.
I’ll admit it: I do not go to Bomber’s very often, but I know it’s very popular. We DO love the takeout though. Whenever we get it, it's great!
Speaking of Bomber's, I have a Bomber's story.
A few years ago, I was driving through downtown Albany, and I tried to sneak across Madison Avenue and head into the Park where N. Scotland intersects before my yellow light went red. No dice. I got hit hard in the front by a car coming north on Madison. The impact spun my silver Ford Focus around in traffic. Fortunately everyone was all right. For some reason, after parking the car on the curb (the front end a wreck), we walked over to Lark Street, and I sat down on the stoop in front of Bomber’s, head in my hands, covered in sweat, convinced my life was over. I don’t know why we went there, but a very nice man came out of Bomber’s and gave me a glass of water.
Later on, somebody told me it was Matt Baumgartner himself. I never said thank you that day, never even looked up from my hands. So, all these years later: Thank you, Matt. And PS, on my BEST OF list, FRIDAY PUPPY is #1 by far, no vote required.
FRIDAY PUPPY: http://www.fridaypuppy.com/
ON THE EDGE: http://blog.timesunion.com/kristi/
TIMES UNION “BEST OF 2012” LIST: http://blog.timesunion.com/bestof2012/
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
The NFL's #1 Coach and the Greatest Head Coach in NY Giants' History earned a well-deserved contract extension today: 3 yrs @ 20 million total (7 million a year).
I remember a Christmas Eve game against the New Orleans Saints at the end of '06, a cold December day when the Giants were getting pummeled to a pulp. Halfway through the 4th Qtr., a chant swelled through the stadium, "Fire Coughlin! Fire Coughlin!" A few minutes later, those words rose to a deafening roar. It seemed like all 80,000 onlookers were calling for TC's dismissal. Everybody except a goofy-looking guy in the nose-bleed seats who was screaming, "Don't you fools get it?! Don't you see what we have in this guy?! Don't you realize he's going to win championships?!" That goofy guy was me, and I remember a NJ Meathead behind me said, "Sit down and shut up. We need Sean Peyton, not that old bag Coughlin." Then he and his friends beat me pretty severely, pounding violent blows upon me for what seemed like hours. But, five years later, I've recovered and Coughlin is a two-time champion, while Sean Peyton is a disgrace, sitting on a one-year suspension. Ah, time.
This past January, I was at Met Life the night the Giants beat the Dallas Cowboys, and punched their playoff ticket, and ultimately their second SB Championship against the Patriots. It was a cold night, sleet, freezing rain, a nervous stadium, NBC cameras, national TV audience. I just kept saying the same thing: "No analysis needed. We HAVE to HAVE this game." And we got it, and we never lost again. Anyway, I saw God that night. I saw him on a 100-foot jumbotron outside of Met Life Stadium. I saw him at a media podium, victorious and wearing a NFC EAST Championship hat, as 80,000 happy fans moved down escalators and stairwells, all eyes on the screen as the sleet came and the temperature fell. It was closing in on midnight. The stink from the swamp rose up on all sides. I saw God that night, reigning high above that mob of football fans. I saw God and His name was Thomas Richard Coughlin.
It has never been a better time to be a NY Giants fan. This is the Golden Age. We'll be telling our grand kids Coughlin/Eli stories. And now I never have to hear some idiot say "Fire Coughlin" ever again.
Click on link to read:http://espn.go.com/new-york/nfl/story/_/id/8016724/new-york-giants-reward-tom-coughlin-2-year-extension
Only one thing still bothers me: 3 years @ 20 million total (7 million a year). Tom deserves 8 Million a year! Hell, he deserves 10!
Friday, June 1, 2012
Over the years there have been a huge number of movies that many people think are really great flicks that, quite frankly, freak me out on almost every level. This is my list of the ten creepiest/freakiest movies I have ever seen.
10. The Sound of Music: Musicals in general freak me out a little bit, but this one especially. The Sound of Music is just a weird old-looking movie, and I always hated watching it as a kid and/or being forced to watch, and having to pretend that it was really good.
9. Annie: Another musical. This movie was, and still is, physically uncomfortable for me to watch. From the big red hair to the black butler or whatever he is (that I think also played the guy in the Shining) almost every aspect of this movie is tough to stomach. You actually like Annie? No you don’t.
8. Edward Scissorhands: Every movie Johnny Depp does is freakier and darker-looking than the one before. But the bizarre and unwatchable combination of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp really began with Scissorhands. Disturbing, dark, artificial-looking. What can I say? Just another horrid Johnny Depp journey into freakdom.
7. Beetlejuice: Michael Keaton as a dancing, singing, sarcastic ghost-ghoul thing? Awful. Maybe one of the worst movies ever made, freaky or otherwise. That one scene where the whole family is at the table, singing that song. Yikes, chills down my back.
6. Babes in Toyland (1980's version): How many years of my elementary & middle school career, on the day before Christmas Vacation, was I forced into a classroom with 80 other kids to watch this nonsense? I never had any idea what was going on in this disaster on film, and to this day, have no idea why this kind of scary movie was shoved down my throat by people who were certified by NYS to teach children. This movie is the stuff of childhood nightmares for me.
5. Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure/Big Top Pee Wee: I liked this movie, but always had a tight, sickly feeling in the pit of my stomach when I watched it. From Large Marge to the peed-on egg salad sandwiches, this flick was a physically sickening journey for me. I shudder at the mere thought of it.
4. The Goonies: Like the first ten minutes, hate the last two hours. I have no idea why everybody seemingly loved this flick. God, I hated it. I could never follow it. I could never sit through it. All I ever wanted it to do was end. I will never subject a child of mine, when and if I have one, to this torturous undertaking.
3. Three Men & A Baby: Three men raising an orphaned child together in a NYC flat is freaky and creepy, I’ll grant you that. But the freakiest part of this movie is the scene where the little kid appears ghostly at the window for a split second. There have been thousands of urban legends about who & what that kid was. By the time I rewind and replay that scene 50 times, I always forget what’s going on in the actual story. Watch this (at 35 seconds, in the window): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPEvJrs-1yM&safety_mode=true&persist_safety_mode=1&safe=active
2. Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: This movie is the definition of freaky. I loathe this movie. Has there ever been a creepier scene than when all those old people are sleeping in beds in the same room? And that’s before we even get to Gene Wilder’s Chocolate Factory. Do I even need to tell you the mental roulette I’ve gone through thinking about that trek into cinematic Hell?
1. The Wizard of Oz: Every single minute of this movie is a terrifying mind scramble, a freak fest from black-and-white Kansas to the Yellow Brick Road. Is there anything NOT completely insane about this movie? It literally gave me nightmares. At the same time though, is there anything about this movie that isn’t a complete masterpiece of film making? This might be the best movie ever made, on a literal, metaphorical, and allegorical level. But wow, it is as freaky as it gets. The Wizard of Oz is, well, the Wizard of Oz of freaky movies.