Tag: rant

Gray’s Anatomy

It’s all Denisse’s fault.

Friday night, at dinner, she asked if I watched the show, Gray’s Anatomy, and I carefully explained that I didn’t watch the show because I didn’t have time. In fact, I explained that, aside from baseball, there are only three shows on TV that I watch.

For some reason, people don’t believe me when I tell them this. I have told the same people, again and again, that I only watch 3 shows on TV. I have explained why I only watch 3 shows, and yet those same people will ask me, every now and then, “Do you watch ______?” Do they think I am lying about this?

She told me that I just had to watch Gray’s Anatomy, that it was such a good show! I explained that I really didn’t have time to watch it during the week, that watching it would mean trading an hour’s worth of reading or writing time to watch the show and that I wasn’t likely to do that. But she insisted it was a great show. I thought I recalled seeing it on the Apple Music store, and so this weekend, I decided to download the pilot episode to see what the hype was all about.

Well, it turns out there are only 9 episodes in the first season, and it was only $15 to download all 9 episodes, so on Saturday, I did this. And Saturday afternoon, instead of finishing up The Demon-Haunted World, I watched the first 7 episodes of Gray’s Anatomy.

After getting back from the ball game this evening, I stopped at Target to buy Gray’s Anatomy: Season Two, and then went home. I watched the last two episodes of season one, and then proceeded to watch the first four episodes of season two. This is why I don’t watch too many shows on TV. You get sucked in and nothing else gets done! It becomes one big waste of time!

Actually, the show is not all that bad. I still won’t watch it during the week. I simply don’t have the time, and the show isn’t strong enough, from a writing standpoint, for me to dedicate the time. But I’ve enjoyed what I have seen on DVD. As far as “medical” dramas go, I have to say that House is by far the best thing going now–especially the writing. But Gray’s Anatomy is entertaining, nonetheless.

In case you are curious about the three shows I do watch each week

Come on, suck it up already!

It was hard enough for me to understand exactly why people were offended by Janet Jackson’s “accidental” exposure during the Superbowl a few years back. But I suppose a weak argument could be made over the fact that it was during prime time television, with lots of children watching, and that was not the appropriate forum for such an exposure.

I must say here that I feel sorry for any children not so familiar with human anatomy that they feel uncomfortable seeing it. I feel sorrier for the adults who are, more than likely, the one’s who were really uncomfortable

Fine. The Superbowl is not an appropriate place to expose breasts.

Today, I read that a parenting magazine, called BABYTALK is the next victim of such shock and offense. The cover of the latest issue contains a picture of a baby breastfeeding. In case you are trying to visualize just how offensive this must look, I have reproduced the image here to help you.

One woman from Kansas wrote to the magazine, saying, “I was SHOCKED to see a giant breast on the cover of your magazine.” Apparently, this was one of more than 5,000 letters of complaint the magazine received.

Give me a break! It seems to me that a magazine called BABYTALK is the perfect forum for this type of discussion. It is a magazine likely to be read only by young parents, or soon-to-be parents. It is a far cry from the Superbowl. The cover picture was for an article entitled, “Why Women Don’t Nurse Longer?” Apparently, the answer is that they can’t stand the sight of breasts.

It’s strange, but I don’t see anyone complaining about the nude photo of Britney Spears on the cover of Harpers Bazaar recently.

Buyer beware! Cold medicine could turn you into a meth producer

Okay, perhaps a little hyperbole in that statement. But reality caught up with me today as I went to purchase some cold medicine at Rite-Aid. To be honest, I don’t pay a whole lot of detailed attention to the news anymore. It’s just too depressing. I’ll skim the Yahoo! headlines a few times a day, clicking on mostly the science-related articles and ignoring completely the political ones. I know that makes me a poorly informed citizen, but I think I’d rather been poorly informed than chronically depressed.

I digress. Somewhere, in the last several months, I seemed to have missed the news that cold medicines containing pseudophedrine have been taken off the shelves and reformulated. I worked in a pharmacy in high school, and I know what I am looking for when I go into a drug store. When I couldn’t find a cold medicine with pseudophedrine, I grew mildly annoyed. Even the name brand product Pseudophed now uses a “new formula”. I rolled my eyes in dismay, and, looking up, saw that I could still get the originally formulated products if I took a card from the shelf and brought it to the pharmacy. Of course, the pharmacy was closed. So I picked up Tylenol Cold Head Congestion, which, instead of pseudophedrine, contains phenlephrine. Fine.

I brought it to the checkout counter for purchase and when I was checking out, the clerk asked to see my driver’s license so she could enter my birthdate. When I asked why she needed to do this, she explained it was because “people make drugs out of this.” I pointed out that this product does not contain pseudophedrine and she simply said she had to do it or she could get fined $500. Well, fine; she’s not responsible for this nonsense anyway.

After I got back home, I went back and read some news articles on this. From what I gather, pseudophedrine is used by some as a component of methamphetamines. Naturally, using the logic of the FDA, because a few people do this, the rest of us must do it. Yes, FDA, you’ve figured us all out. We are all buying up Pseudophed in droves, not because of the colds we have (for which we can’t get treatment because we don’t have medical insurance), but in order to produce meth.

Give me a break!

At the very least, make up your mind. Take pseudophedrine off the shelf and replace it with some other decongestant. But don’t make us have to provide ID for that (safer?) product. Isn’t that the point of removing the pseudo-meth from the shelves.

My real concern is: where does it stop? Pretty soon, we’ll have to show ID to purchase chewable Flintstones vitamins!

Or worse! Soon Big Brother will be banning the posting of How To Make Meth With Pseudophedrine online; and who knows what else! Well, in a Puckish, and somewhat rebellious moment, I looked up online just how meth is made with pseudophedrine. I have no interest in the least in even attempting to make meth. Nor do I endorse the making of the drug. But because I’m so annoyed with the stupidity of the whole thing, those interested in just how meth is made from Pseudophed can find that information here.

In the meantime, I sigh and revert to my mantra: “Against stupidity, the very gods themselves contend in vain.”

Argh! Ouch! $#%$&#$&*$!!!

Last Sunday, while eating an energy bar somewhere in the Upper East Side, I bit into the right side of my cheek and it hurt like hell! It was a pretty big gash too, and it took a while before I didn’t notice it anymore.

Just a few minutes ago, while chew some fresh, grape bubble gum in preparation for the softball game later this evening, I did it again. This time I think it was worse. My knees actually buckled.


My 10-cents worth…

Down at Au Bon Pain a few minutes ago, I grabbed a bagel and a milk. I paid for the items, was receiveing my change, and noticed something funny about the dime that I got back. I took a quick look at it, and it was a Canadian dime. So I pointed this out to cashier, so that I might get an American dime–and I had the hardest time getting my point across. It seems that the cashier seemed to think she gave me too much change, and I had to communicate, almost in sign language, that she had, in fact, given me currency that does not have any value in U.S. stores. But she finally understood and the next time she opened the register, she gave me a U.S. dime.

Of course, she tossed the Canadian one right back into the dime bin.

Domestic spying and Da Vinvi Code

I keep reading (and hearing) in the news that the government did nothing illegal when requesting phone records, and other sort of spying on Americans. That is probably true, and while I don’t have evidence for it, I’ll take that at face value. Because to me, that’s not the point. There are lots of things that are legal, but that does not make them ethical. Ethical people often do less than the maximum allowable, and more than minimally acceptable. It is, in my opinion, a breach of trust, and it is also disappointing that our representatives don’t have more faith in the American people.

I caught an “in depth” news segment on the Da Vinci Code this evening and there were several people interviewed, who angrily charged that the movie was spreading lies, innuendo, and completely ficticious nonsense. Some of these people were vitriolic! All I can say is: DUH!, People: IT’S FICTION! IT’S ALL MADE UP! What you think fiction is, except well-told lies? Should it make you think? Maybe. But fictions primary purpose, since mankind lived in caves and told stories around campfires is to ENTERTAIN. I, for one, am sick and tired of all of the complaining about the damage this movie is going to do to–who knows what? It’s fiction. Don’t go see the movie if you don’t like the theme. But please shut up already.

Too good to be true

I received a “special invitation” in the mail today to the nation’s #1 conference on Real Estate Investing & Total Asset Protection. I have no idea why I would get something like this, but what puzzled me even more was the opening of the letter: “Beacuse you were referred to me…” Of course, it doesn’t refer to me by name. Inside were two “complimentary VIP tickets” (a $69 value) to the seminar.

Apparently, at this seminar, I will learn how to:

1. Use the tools that other millionaires are using.
2. Regularly buy real estate at a 55% discount off fair market value.
3. Retire in 2 to 5 years with an additional cash flow of $9,100 per month.
4. Make millions by using the secrets of real estate investing in your own back yard.
5. Buy real estate and keep all the profits tax FREE for life.
6. Lower your 2006 tax bill up to 45%.
7. Cut all capital gains tax to “0” on the sale of stocks, real estate or business by using three legal tools.
8. 100% protect all my assets from all lawsuits, liens, levies, bankruptcy, or even a divorce.

It seems to me that if this were remotely possible, everyone would be doing it. After all, it seems as though making it on American Idol is remotely possible and everyone seems to try doing that. Clearly, this is one of those things that is too good to be true, and yet, the itemized list intrigued me. I thought about the list some, and here is my response:

1. The tools: lawyers and accountants
2. This refers to those triangle-shaped lots you see in Coldwater Canyon that are nearly vertical and covered in boulders.
3. Okay, how can they possibly teach this. You would think this would differ dramatically based on each person’s situation And from where do they get the $9,100 figure?
4. I scoured my backyard and if there are secrets to real estate investing, someone else removed them long before I ever moved in.
5. Cough!!bullshit!!cough!!
6. By going from a higher tax bracket to a significantly lower one?
7. Why do you need three legal tools to do this? I though Congress was doing this for millionaires already.
8. In reasoning classes, you are taught never to agrue using absolutes. “100% protect” is an absolute and only a complete moron would believe this were possible.

Reed West, the President of “Achieving Excellence”, which puts on the seminar must make money from this scam somehow. Would it be inappropriate for me to guess that attendees of these seminars would be the “get rich quick”-minded individuals–the same ones that plague our casinos and stand in long lines to buy 40 PowerBall lottery tickets?

I couldn’t resist shooting back a very short letter to Reed West which reads:

Dear Mr. West:

I regretfully have to decline your gracious invitation to the nations #1 conference on Real Estate Investing & Total Asset Protection. I’m afraid I don’t qualify as a complete moron and so this seminar would be lost on me. I was wondering, however, if you could be so kind as to tell me just who it was that referred me to you? There are a few mailing lists to which I’d like to add that persons name, in order to return the favor.


Jamie Rubin

The high price of gas

Once again, gas prices are climbing and approaching all-time highs and that is good.

It is not good for the commuter, of course, especially those of lower incomes who, having to choose between medication for their children or gas to get them to their job, can ill afford to give up either. But it is good, nonetheless, for oil company executive and those of us who can peer into the future with the bigger picture in mind. And in fact, in the long run, it is better for us far-seers than it is for the short-sighted oil company executives.

This is, perhaps, a peculiar outlook for a lifelong Democrat, but it makes perfect sense as I shall explain.

Read all about it

Snakes on a Plane

There is a summer horror flick coming out called Snakes on a Plane and that has got to rank as one of the worst titles for a movie ever. Mind you, I am saying nothing about the film, which I have not seen (and likely never will). It might be the greatest film ever made and I’ll never know it. But what the heck happened with the title?

I have a theory. The writer of the film could not think of a title, so he did as many writers do and scribbled any old title on the manuscript (sometimes called a “working title”). “Snakes on a Plane”, he typed. (It could be a woman, I suppose, who wrote it, in which case she would have typed said working title.) The writer then continued typing, writing the rest of what I am sure is a brilliant film, and decided that he or she could still not come up with a decent title. “Let the studio worry about it,” they said.

When the studio execs got their hands on the script, they saw gold. Snakes on a plane! What a brilliant idea. It’s just what the American public craves. Imagine the possibilities! The script was rushed along to the special effects team to see just how creative they could get. Somehow, in the excitement of such a gem amid sand, everyone forgot about the title. They just assumed that “Snakes on a Plane” had been approved.

Now, of course, it’s too late. The name is there in black and white. Snakes on a Plane. It sounds like a drink to me. If, for some strange reason, the movie should slither into box office oblivion, you can be sure it was the title that did it in.

“Relatively” cheap gas?

I don’t put gas in my car much any more. In fact, I average 41 days between refuels, which suits me and my wallet just fine. However, I drive past my local gas station on the way to the train station each morning, and I take mental note of the price of gas. I believe I have noted a strange phenomenon–one that presents a chink in the armor of gas pricing.

Ordinarily, the price of the three types of gasoline sold at the station near my house differ by about 10 cents each. Thus, if 87 octane is $2.50, 89 octane is $2.60 and 92 octane is $2.70. Now let’s set aside for the moment why anyone who doesn’t drive a Ferrari would buy anything other than 87 octane gasoline and instead focus on price differentials. These differences are for the most part, consistent from station-to-station across the board. The differences would imply higher manufacturing costs and/or lower demands for the higher octane gasoline, which is priced higher because of its better “anti-knock” quality.

This morning, however, when I passed my local station, I noted the prices were as follows:

87 octane: $3.11
89 octane: $3.25
92 octane: $3.29

This is suspicious to me. Why, I asked myself, has 89 octane suddenly become “cheaper” relative to 92 octane? Where before, there was always a consistent 10 cents difference, this morning there was only a 4 cents difference between the two flavors. One might argue that it is because the price of gas is high to begin with and this is a way of making the higher octane gasoline more palatable to the ignorant consumer who would buy it in the first place.

But I ask, if one octane level can be priced only 4 cents cheaper than another, doesn’t that imply that there really isn’t much of a difference in the manufacturing and production costs in the first place? Does that seem to indicate that the pricing of gasoline is much more arbitrary than what the oil companies would have us believe?

I don’t know. Maybe I am missing something. Afterall, economics was never a strong suit of mine. But it sure seems suspicious and I wonder why more people don’t pick this up. (Of course, you have to be able to subtract two numbers in your head in order to recognize this, so that might explain why.)


It was the bottom of the 10th inning, 2 outs, and Jeter was at the plate. Yanks down 4-2 and two men on base. The clock struck 11 PM on the east coast–and the channel on which I was watching the game (one of the MLB Extra Inning channels I get on DirecTV) went black with a message that this programming wasn’t available in my area. The game ended 5 minutes later and the Yankees lost. At that point, the channel came back on just fine. So essentially, I missed the most important part of the game. It was a little suspicious that this happened at the top of the hour exactly.

Well! I just sent an email to DirecTV customer support that breathes flame. I pleaded with them to have someone who is a baseball fan read the email message so that they can empathize with my frustration. I asked for a discount or some kind of refund for the five minutes and told them in all seriousness that I didn’t care if they gave me a 5-cent discount, but that they owned me for this. Finally, I asked them to let me know exactly what steps they are taking to prevent this from happening again.

There is nothing more frustrating than investing 4 hours in a game and missing the crucial last 5 minutes. I don’t really expect to get an answer but the fact that this happened upset me far more than the fact that the Yankees ended up losing the game.

Railroad woes

For the last week or so, the railroad gates at the railroad crossing near my house have been acting as though they are possessed. The train stop is in the the Riverdale town center, which is as barren of business as Teli Savalis was of hair. It is also in a direct line home from work for me. Once again, the gates were acting nutty today and it took fifteen minutes to get across the tracks, though a single train was not in sight. When I got home, I was annoyed enough to compose a letter to the Mayor of Riverdale.

Read my missive