April 12, 2014

April 8, 2014

  • “The Oppressed Majority”

    That’s the title of an 11-minute video that has gone viral on YouTube. 

    Imagine a world in which one sex is oppressed by the other, in which you can’t dress attractively and walk down a city street without enduring wolf whistles and degrading comments and disgusting sexual innuendos.

    You say we already live in such a world?  Yes, but imagine if the roles were reversed.  We live in a world where most cops are men and most of the victims of sexual assaults — verbal or physical — are women.

    French filmmaker Eléonore Pourriat has created a video that shows what a world would look like where male and female stereotypes are switched.

    It’s a brilliant series of vignettes.  A househusband is taking his young ‘un out for a walk in its stroller, and drops the toddler off at a day-care center run by another househusband.  Later, he is harassed by lecherous women in the streets, then attacked physically, then has to undergo the mortification of being interrogated at the police station by a female officer when he tried to report the sexist assault.

    It’s an awesome look at who we are, and who we shouldn’t be.

    View ”The Oppressed Majority” HERE.


April 3, 2014

  • Tiger Woods

    There’s a lot of truth in this piece by Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports.

    I just made plans for Masters Sunday that don’t include watching the Masters.  Unreal.

March 28, 2014

  • “Why the Film Adaptation of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Failed, and Will Continue To Fail”

    If I remember correctly, that’s the full title of a2-hours-plus video, created by one Jordan Owen, whom I’ve yet to look up on the Internet but he appears to be, at least among other things, a composer.

    Jordan also is, like me, a huge fan of Ayn Rand’s novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” and, like me, something of a libertarian torn between histories of being either liberal or conservative at various times in our lives.

    He is much younger than I am, and has much healthier lungs, because I could never talk that long without growing painfully hoarse.  Also, Jordan is much more repelled by the cinematic efforts than I am.  To capsulize his review, he terms Parts 1 and 2, released over the past couple of years, as “a pitiful act of cinematic defecation.”  That’s more a function of how much he loved the novel than of how he hated the movies, but his point is that almost anyone could have done a better job of making a movie than did John Aglioloro, whose expertise as far as either of us can tell stops and ends with enough business acumen to sell exercise equipment.  Enough acumen, that is, to pile up enough money so that he could afford to purchase the film rights and then literally lose millions in the making and marketing of Atlas Shrugged, Parts 1 and 2.

    The video is terribly long, and I wish the several minutes of showing a violent confrontation between Tea Party enthusiasts and protesters had been omitted or drastically shortened.  Maybe you can skip over that part, or go to the bathroom while it’s playing.

    The rest of the video is well worth playing.  I know it’s more than two hours long, and I never could have watched it if Barbara had been home and either wanted my attention or wanted to sleep (I gotta get me some headphones).  But the video IS well worth an investment of time.


    JordanOwen42 is a guy I’d love to have a conversation with.  Apparently he’s a regular on YouTube and long-windedness is a habit.

    ***** Friday night edit*****

    I’ve just deleted the link to Jordan’s 2-hour rant that, after listening to it for about a minute, determined that it is nothing more than a stupid defense of the porn industry.  Had I given it more of a chance, it is barely possible that I might have realized I judged it too harshly.

    So I also take back my wish to have a conversation with this guy.  Before I say anything else, I’ll just quit while I’m behind.

    Nevertheless, I still recommend watching his video wherein he discusses the filming of the novel, “Atlas Shrugged.”  Basically I agreed with everything he said except the enjoyability of the films.  I loved Part 1 and I liked Part 2 enough to see it twice.  Part 1 was a good film, in my opinion, and any disappointments I felt were minor.  Part 2 was clearly inferior, and perhaps deserved Jordan’s scathing remarks.



March 27, 2014

  • The Cast for Atlas Shrugged, Part III

    I guess the actual title for Part 3 is “Atlas Shrugged:  Who Is John Galt?” and for the first time in three instalments, my expectations are low indeed.  I don’t know who Laura Regan is, but if she’s as good as Taylor Schilling in the role of Dagny Taggart, I’ll be thrilled and pleasantly surprised.

    Here’s the WEB SITE where the cast is listed for the final piece of the “Atlas Shrugged” trilogy.  Hank Rearden will be played by Rob Morrow, a strange choice, in my opinion, but “my opinion” is rendered by someone influenced by the nerdy doctor that Morrow played in “Northern Exposure.”  Morrow was good in that show, but failed to impress me in “Quiz Show,” where I forget who it was that he played.  At least I’ve heard of Morrow (and Greg Germann,  Ally McBeal’s boss in “Ally McBeal; at least HE seems well-cast.  Bygones, you know?)

    The film will be released in September.  If I have to drive 100 miles to see it, I will.  And then I’ll probably regret it.

    But I’m too much of an “Atlas Shrugged” fan to skip Part III altogether.





March 25, 2014

  • A Musical Weekend

    I’d say I had a sensational weekend of music, except that Barbara had a 50% more sensational weekend than I did, given that I had to work Saturday night, and she didn’t.  So I guess that makes me a piker.

    Anyway, just to recap.  Thursday we drove to Stuart to hear Doc Grober and the Mudcats.  Old-fashioned dixieland, one of my faves.  Saturday, Barbara went a similar distance in the opposite direction, north to Cocoa Beach, to hear Sybil Gage and she’s always awesome.  Then Jazz Week started in Fort Pierce, just a few miles south of our home, and Sunday afternoon we took in both shows there.  The first group were some reasonably talented local musicians, but the second group, wow.  The players and singers were individually all different from the ones named here yesterday, save for the Fodera brothers.  I had never heard of Otis Cadillac (Joe Fodera) before Sunday.  But he’s the real deal, and 85-year-old wonder who makes a career out of turning himself into Bo Diddley and The Big Bopper and Bill Haley all rolled into one.

    He bills his group — Otis Cadillac and the El Dorados with the Seville Sisters — as one that offers “Old School, Real Cool Rock & Roll.”  And man did the joint rock.  For two and a half hours without much of a break.  Three encores after the “closing number.”  The Seville Sisters — Tish and Kat Riggins Seville — in particular were different from whom you see when you go to YouTube and look them up.

    That seems to be the norm around here.  Whether it’s Doc Grober, or whether it’s Otis Cadillac, or whoever, the individual players are whoever they can get to come up on the stage and wail.  Lots of talent in South Florida to choose from.  And the bands we heard Thursday and Saturday.  Just wow.  Tish Seville hit some notes when she was out front that I didn’t even know existed.  And Kat Riggins Seville reminded me of a young Marilyn McCoo.  She’s that beautiful.  And a big voice.

    What I posted yesterday is not an overstatement.

March 24, 2014

  • Otis Cadillac


    More about this tomorrow.  I turn the blog over now to what I cut and pasted from www.Mary4Music.com


    Your pal — twoberry


    Otis Cadillac
    “From Fantasy To Fame”
    By Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro


    Otis Cadillac has risen from being a figment of one person’s imagination to being a sought after entertainer at South Florida juke joints. That’s right, the one time fantasy man and his band – that have now become a reality – are curiously on their way to fame….allow me to explain.

    “Famous” Frank Ward, the entertainment director at Boston’s On The Beach in Delray Beach, Florida, does one hell of a job booking world class blues acts at the establishment. From time to time, when there aren’t any acts available, Frank relies on his good friend and veteran blues man Otis Cadillac to fill in. However, because Otis’ car is always breaking down, or because he’s stuck in traffic, or for some other lame reason or another, Otis is always running late – and ultimately never shows up – so Frank’s band, the Nucklebusters – always have to fill in. In reality, the reason Otis never showed up is because he didn’t exist…… until now.

    One night, to Frank’s surprise, Otis Cadillac and his band actually showed up for the gig. Here’s how it all went down…..

    On a night where everyone was waiting for Otis Cadillac to allegedly arrive, the Fodera Brothers – South Florida’s answer to the Blues Brothers – came up with an idea. Mark mentioned to brother Joe that the next time Frank claimed that Otis Cadillic was appearing, that a bunch of them should show up in Zoot suits mimicking the Otis Cadillac Revue. Brother Joe loved the idea but took it up a notch…..errrrrr make that a bunch of notches.

    Fast forward several weeks and a few rehearsals and the Fodera’s, with the help of Bobby “BBG” Goldman, had assembled a full blown eleven piece R&B band made of of talented local musicians and featuring three female backup singers. The group even has their own emcee. All that was left now, was to put the plan in place.

    Working in cahoots with Mark and Dan, Boston’s manager and sound man, the group devised a plan. As it turned out, Otis’ next appearance was scheduled on Frank’s birthday on a Tuesday night in November. To make a long story short, Frank was taken somewhere and was not expected to arrive at the club till 9:00 PM. With a lookout signaling his arrival, the minute Frank walked into the room, emcee Mark Fodera introduced – for the very first time – “Otis Cadillac & The Eldorados with The Sublime Seville Sisters”.

    The show was a smash, a good time was had by all, Frank had a wonderful birthday surprise and Otis Cadillac became a reality.

    Now, let’s go listen to the band………

    The Back Room
    Delray Beach, FL

    After only two shows, both smashes, Otis Cadillac & The Eldorados with The Sublime Seville Sisters, are well on their way to stardom. As a matter of fact, they’ve just been booked into their first festival – The Memorial Day Weekend “Rockin’ The River Festival” being held at Earl’s Hideaway in Sebastian.

    Led by Joe “Otis Cadillac” Fodera, on lead vocals the Eldorados consist of: Bobby “BBG” Goldman on drums; Dan Newman on Guitar; “Beautiful” Bernie Rose on keyboards & vocals; Billy “Racoon” Shlumborne on bass; Steve Saverien on sax; Niles “Red Beans” Blaize on harmonica, trumpet & vocals; Memphis Mark Fodera on percussion as well as emceeing; and the very beautiful and harmonious Sublime Seville Sisters who consist of: Nicole Hart; “Sister” Mary Beth Desarles; and Holly Holly Dougherty on vocals.

    “Memphis” Mark Fodera introducing the band

    This being my first time seeing the band, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Yes, I personally know – and have seen – most of the eleven members perform in their own bands so I did already know they were all top notch musicians. On the other hand, I couldn’t help but wonder if the shtick of a novelty act would get a bit too zany.

    The Eldorados took the stage, sans Otis, and immediately found the pocket as they went into their rendition of “Green Onions”. Musically, there was no doubting this would be a hell of a show.

    It was now show time, as brother Mark led brother Joe to the stage. The band started playing, Otis Cadillac and the Sublime Seville Sisters went into such a soulful and perfectly done version of “Need Your Lovin”, and I was convinced I’d never refer to this band as a novelty act again. What started as a joke is turning out to be a joy.

    The very stylish and soulful Joe “Otis Cadillac” Fodera

    Several songs later the group did one of my favorite Manhattan Transfer songs – “Trickle, Trickle” – and they nailed it. It immediately brought to mind the video in which the members of Manhattan Transfer were dressed up as the Ricardos and the Mertzs doing a skit where Lucy is trying to stop the faucet from leaking. That video was as classic as the “I Love Lucy” TV show and this was a classic version of the song. When it was over, I said to my wife that I thought Nicole, Holly Holly and Sister Mary Beth could easily be the next Andrew sisters – their harmonizing was that good.

    The slightly silly, and very sexy, Sublime Seville Sistrers
    Holly Holly Dougherty, Nicole Hart, Sister Mary Beth Desarles (LTR)

    The rest of the set, which lasted 90 minutes, featured Otis belting out about a dozen classic R&B hits while featuring each of the Seville Sisters on several duets.

    Interestingly enough, the one person of the group that is not – and by my knowledge has never been – a professional performer turned out to be quite the star. Joe Fodera got 100% into character and did an outstanding, and very crowd pleasing job as Otis Cadillac.

    Otis Cadillac & The Eldorados with The Sublime Seville Sisters turned out to be a very fun and entertaining band. I don’t quite know if touring is in their plans, but if this show ever goes on the road keep your fingers crossed that it’s on a road near you.

    Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
    Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
    2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient

March 19, 2014

  • False Alarm, There Was No Burglary

    Barbara found her jewelry.  We apologize for alarming everyone.

    Oh, and it’s a good thing we didn’t get around to calling the police.  More details when I get a chance to expand this.


    When Barbara told me late Monday afternoon, upon my return home from North Carolina, that all of her jewelry was missing and must have been stolen, I found it impossible to believe.  The only thing that convinced me was Barbara’s certainty.

    “Is it possible,” I asked, “that you gathered up all of the jewelry and set it aside to be cleaned, or something?”   No, she said.

    (I remind you.  It turned out, there was NO burglary.  Except, Barbara still has suspicions that the one or two items that are still missing might have been stolen.  More about that later.) 

    So we were of the belief that EITHER someone we’d trusted with a key was a thief and not trustworthy, OR someone had found a way into the house and was clever enough to keep from being bothered by our five dogs (which I still can’t imagine).

    So the whole story was as untrue as it was unbelievable in the first place.  Personally, I feel foolish.  But as I said, Barbara was “certain.”  (She feels foolish now, too.  Except, as I said, she still thinks an item or two might have been stolen.  I disagree.) 

    We STILL don’t quite know the whole story.  One thing we DO know, and which I’ve never mentioned until now at this blog, is that our cars WERE violated a few months ago.  We lock them now, but back a few months ago when they were sitting in the driveway unlocked through the night, someone did get into the cars and make off with our CDs and a few other items.  We did call the police on that occasion, and some of the CDs (mine, anyway; I’m not sure about Barbara’s) actually were found and recovered.  That’s another long story and no need to go into it here. 

    I’m only mentioning those thefts to explain why Barbara DID gather up all of her jewelry just before a weeklong trip to the North American Veterinary Conference.  She placed it in a location and forgot about it, then accidentally discovered the bag of jewelry while housecleaning.  This was just moments before she was getting ready to report the (supposed) burglary to the police.

    Tuesday morning, she called me at work to put my mind at ease.

    So if you’ve read all of this, you deserve some entertainment for your troubles.  Here’s a YouTube link to Tony Bennett singing one of my old favorites – “There’ll Be No Teardrops Tonight” — a song originally written by Hank Williams.

    Actually, you don’t need to stop reading.  Here’s more about the Scrabble tournament I won.  (If you read all of that, all the way down to the end, you’ll know exactly why I thought of Tony Bennett!)

    From an email I sent to a friend:

    I’m still on Cloud Nine after scoring my first tournament victory (No. 39 of my career) in 12 years.   Interesting thing about that number twelve.  I’d played in exactly 12 tournaments where I finished lower than first place, since my last previous win in Lubbock, TX, in March of 2002.  And it was during my 12 years of “retirement” — between 1990 and 2002 — that my Scrabble heyday occurred.  During that time, I was the only U.S. Scrabble player to have competed in six consecutive world championships (held biennially between 1993 and 2003).  Best results for me were fourth in London in 1995 and sixth in Las Vegas in 2001.
    So let’s get back to the subject of my latest triumph, accomplished in Wilmington, NC, over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  Just four of us were brave enough to compete in an event where the allowable words were from a tome called “Collins Official Scrabble Words,” which is the bible for world championships and contains words from Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and even more exotic places where English is frequently or occasionally spoken.  One of those words is ZO, defined in Chambers English Dictionary as a kind of hybrid domestic cattle, a cross between a yak and a cow, found in the Himalayas.  “ZO” used to be the only two-letter word with a Z in it, until the Americans added ZA (short for pizza!) in 2007.  ZO is still not playable in American tournaments.  More about “ZO” later.
    Although I had only three opponents to beat in Wilmington (we played a quintuple round robin for a total of 15 games), that opposition was very strong indeed.  Compare my lifetime record (1,268 wins, 717 losses, 7 ties for a winning percentage of 0.638) with that of whiz kid Matthew Bernardina (318-176-3, 0.643 winning percentage) or with that of veteran Steve Polatnick (2,293-1,470-23, 0.609) and you’ll see I had my hands full.  The fourth player was Ryan Fischer, more experienced than Matt but less familiar with the foreign words.  Even Ryan’s lifetime winning percentage is 0.600, so he’s no soft touch either.  He actually beat me the first two times he played me in Wilmington, before I swept him in our final three games.
    After finishing 3-2 vs. Ryan and 4-1 vs. Steve, I was 2-2 vs. Matt going into the last game and didn’t even need to win the game to win the tournament, but I beat him anyway, winding up with a 10-5 record.  As usual, the prize money failed to pay for my expenses.  Golfers, tennis players, even bowlers, do a lot better when it comes to success equaling profitability.
    I was especially proud of how well I played, particularly in the endgames where I have a deserved reputation for being careless.  For example, I said I’d talk more about “ZO.”  In one game against Steve, my remaining letters were G-I-O-O-R and Steve was holding E-E-R-S-T.  It was a very tight board but I found a good-scoring play into an open R — RIGOR — such that the O crossed a Z for ZO and the play would have been worth 18 points, giving me a 14-point lead in the game.  Unfortunately, to play RIGOR would have given Steve an opening to play TREES for 16 points, emptying his rack while I still had an O left.  I solved the problem by first playing off that single O for three points and preserving my go-out play of RIGOR.
    Would you believe the full story of how that game ended is way, way more complicated than I just made it?  I say that so you won’t accuse me of being overly technical.  {{grin}}
    So how do I feel?  Kind of the way I imagine Tony Bennett felt when he started winning Grammys again back in the 1990s.


March 18, 2014

  • Good News, Bad News

    I just got back from a weekend trip to North Carolina, where I won a Scrabble tournament, against very strong opposition by the way, and it was my first tournament win in about a dozen years.  Sort of the equivalent of Tony Bennett winning a Grammy assuming he had a career decline late in life, not that I think he ever declined but maybe he did.  I’m not sure, but I may be the oldest tournament Scrabble player to finish first in a tournament.  Most 74-year-olds, and that includes me, are past their prime.
    Anyway, that’s the good news from the Lipton household.  But when I got home, Barbara greeted me at the door late Monday afternoon with the bad news that somebody has systematically been entering our house and stealing Barbara’s jewelry, piece by piece by piece.  She only discovered this fact on Saturday, and did not want to upset me with an unsettling phone call.  I’m hoping she belatedly calls the police today.  We’ve already begun the lock-changing process, but the sense of being violated is overwhelming.
    Sorry if that last paragraph is a downer.  Life has its ups and downs.  I prefer to focus on the ups, such as I still have some great and supporting Xanga friends.

March 2, 2014

  • Chronicling

    What I’d LOVE to do today is sit back and watch to see if Rory McIlroy wins the Honda Classic (Tiger Woods is almost in the hunt, but he’d need to shoot like a 62 and hope Rory can’t break par.  Not likely) and then watch the Academy Awards in their entirety (and OMG could I even get the day off tomorrow so I can sleep late?  Dream on) but, since one of my three full-time jobs (down from five; I’m through with political campaigns and Xanga is no longer a full-time job) is keeping up with darling wife Barbara, I feel compelled to chronicle the last several days.

    You see, my normal routine is to enjoy a hectic weekend with Barbara, doing this and that and this and that, and then going back to work on Monday to rest up.

    Alas, work is no longer restful (stay tuned for what I say later about Friday as in two days ago Friday) so I’m feeling even more harried than usual.

    So let’s start this chronicle with the fact that Barbara took Thursday off of work and asked me to do the same (not really a problem since my NEW work schedule has me off on Thursdays and working MTW_F) so that we could take a river tour out of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (check), have lunch at the HBOI cafe (check), hurry home for a nap so that we could go to a lecture about Black Holes and why they’re important (check), let the wine and hors d’oeuvres at the Black Holes lecture serve as dinner so that we could scurry back to Harbor Branch for yet another lecture — this by the scientists who are working on the archaeological dig right here in Vero Beach, where the oldest human fossil bones have been discovered (we call him Vero Man but it could be Vero Woman) (check) and if you’re paying attention you know we went right from Black Hole to Brown Hole.

    Kind of in a hurry to get home Thursday night after all of that because I had to get up early to get to work on Friday where — the big event of the day was two visitors being stuck in an elevator betwen floors for about an hour and it’s a long long story why it took so long for the tech from the elevator company to get to the hospital to get the couple out of the elevator and Tom’s boss waited until close to quitting time before demanding a full written account of the event (as if I hadn’t already put enough on our daily log to cover the event thoroughly) and would you believe?  After five minutes of mad typing every single one of my couple of hundred words disappeared from the screen without a reason.  So I tried again, switching from Word Pad to email — and the same damn thing happened.  All my work vanished into the ether.  So I rushed down to the big boss’s office and he wasn’t even there but his secretary was so I dictated from memory what I’d typed earlier and she was able to get it into the files without HER computer crashing.

    That’s another long long story, why the cheapskates where I work have such lousy computers.  I’ll get fired if I say what I’m thinking.

    So that was Friday.  Oh, about five minutes after I got home (close to an hour late, because of the computer problem), Barbara wanted me to go to some Zora Neale Hurston dinner and I begged off and stayed home and relaxed because Saturday would be a big day.

    Right.  No rest.  Ever.

    Saturday we showed up at a Mardi Gras celebration where our friend Sybil Gage would be singing and while the pictures haven’t shown up on Facebook yet, I believe they will.  I’m the “Bob Lipton” with the big dog and the little baby for an avatar.

    So we were there from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and it took an hour to get home and now it’s Sunday and I get to watch a LITTLE golf before going to Rita’s house for dinner, followed by a concert given by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and so I’m TAPING the Academy Awards for later in the week.

    I’m anxious to see Cate Blanchett and Jared Leto win Best Actress and Supporting Actor awards.  I feel good about those predictions but my personal favorites for Best Actor and Supporting Actress are Chiwetel Ejiafor and Julia Roberts and I’m predicting the winners will be Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Lawrence, respectively.   This is definitely the most outstanding year for motion pictures in my lifetime.  I’ve seen eight of the nine nominated for Best Movie (all but “Her”) and they’re all magnificent.  And just about all of the nominated acting performances, and THEY were all magnificent.  It’s a shame there have to be “losers” at the Academy Awards.  They’re all winners in my book.

    Best picture’s a real tossup.  “12 Years a Slave” is my fave by an eyelash over “American Hustle” and I’m predicting, again by an eyelash, the reverse of those two.  In other words, I predict “American Hustle” will win for Best Picture.  “Gravity” is considered to be one of the three front-runners with the two I mentioned.  It was an amazing accomplishment, but I rank “Gravity” below the other two for greatness.