Tag Archives: Jack Hoffman

I’m back!

Watch out, Worcester, Hillary and Trump – Hoffman’s in town, with plenty of commentary in the back seat!

Yes!!! pics:R.T.

By Jack Hoffman

First, I want to thank those who cheered me up on just about every new medical problem I incurred. Secondly, I want to thank Rose, who got me off my lazy ass. I wish her all the best on her paper’s fifteenth anniversary.

Has it been that long, Rose?

[Yes, Jack!]

I wanted to come up with a column about something you haven’t read or seen during the past couple of weeks: A discussion or promise to do something about the high cost of a college education.

Yes, Bernie did, and later on Hillary got the Bern. It seems the pundits don’t see anything exciting about college costs, so they flashed more of Trump’s meandering slop.

And yet we belabored through drug commercials you can barely follow. Except watching cute ladies and circe type girls selling another batch of Cialis erection highs.

Followed by the legal ads for having a problem with the drugs that were just being sold.

As many of you know, I spend my summers on the Cape trying to score some loose change and a having a puff or two learning what the summer flock of the young folks have to say about America. One of my pleasures … or shall I say experiencing my loquacious mouth running wild, call it just another manic episode…

Our conversations usually run the gamut – from politics, up to and including college costs. When we get into the latter all the European kids are not just shocked but find U.S. college costs incomprehensible. Especially, when you throw out costs like $50,000 to $65,000.

So here are the facts – you can take them to study hall! One only out of four students from four different countries said he had pay $1,000 for this year for college. The other costs ranged from $00!! to $500. If you get excellent grades in Europe, the cost is 0.

According to the Pell Institute Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, TICAS The non-profit Institute on Higher Education, there is today 42 million Americans bearing a $1.3 trillion indebtness from college loans!!!!!

The real story is that student debt is a $140 billion year industry that got the go get ’em permission from Congress.

Along with the collection orders equal to the IRS.

In other words, they can attach your pay, repo your car and put a lean on your home.

Just a footnote – ask your primary care doctor, if he/she is young, Just what his/her debt is. Mine owes $400,000!!! Is it any wonder very few kids are not going into medicine? As many of you already know, these debts are the subject of family arguments and even more.

So you want to read more and get sick? Read this month’s Consumer Reports. The piece is titled “I kind of Ruined My Life By Going to College.”

One last thought: the interest rate today is 8% – 9% on these loans. Just think of this: the government and the debt collectors are making loads of $!

I’m here and got lots more to say if I can stay out of hospitals…

Comments, questions, compaints? Email Jack at JackH5225@verizon.net

All I want for Christma is a Bushmaster

By Jack Hoffman

Christopher Bigoiz was 8 years old when his father invited him and his older brother to attend the annual Machine Gun Shoot at the Westfield Sportsman Club. What Dad had in store for little Chris was firing the new lightweight Uzi.

What was not contemplated was that the re-coil of this new lightweight was greater than the standard model – the rifle backfired and bullets rang out in the direction of his face. Surprised and shocked as many where at the allowing of kids as young as eight to test-fire the machine gun of choice, I began to research the subject only to find this occurrence of a supervised shootout of children as young as eight is commonplace throughout sportsman clubs.

As the vast majority of American hunters close in on old age, firearm makers need a good “shot” in the arm. They do this by recruiting young people as young as eight to get interested in the sport. According to a recent New York Times article, competition was setting in – especially in the last five years. Urbanization and video games were taking their share of the rifle business. It’s highly competitive – the dollars in the youth market.

The arms manufacturers have taken a page from the tobacco companies and set their sights on the youngsters. Youngsters who will be tomorrow’s hunters.

A Philip Morris corporate memo once noted that “today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer [smoker].”

Responding to Americans’ declining interest in shooting sports, gun manufacturers are developing programs to market their products to younger children. The industry-funded NRA spends millions of dollars annually to recruit kids as gun enthusiasts. Their efforts focus on pushing semi-automatic assault weapons, including the very model used by the shooter in the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy. All those school children blown away! A war zone in a kindergarten class!

Machine gun rallies like the ones in Westfield are an example of the efforts put forth by the gun manufacturers They also hold raffles and T-shirt give- aways – all the little goodies the kids would want. Everything short of giving away the real McCoy. There is even a magazine geared to the youth market – “Junior Shooters. ” The magazine that seeks to get children involved with guns, once featured a smiling 15-year-old girl clutching a semiautomatic rifle. SEX sells! Teen sex sells!! The article extolled target shooting with a BushmasterAR 15. It also included a special section in the magazine where the reader could get a coupon for buying one. The author encouraged the youngsters to share the article with a parent. The coupon was real cute.

“Who knows?” “Maybe you’ll find a Bushmaster AR15 under your tree some frosty Christmas morning.

Want a good laugh?

By Jack Hoffman

You must admit one thing: This Republican nominating process has got to be the biggest joke of the century. Maybe it’s just the clowns? You know the old saying: Falling into a pile of shit and coming up with roses. It used to be that the Democrats didn’t know their right shoe from their left. And yet they elected the best presidents of the century. But the Dems are back with a leader that in time may be one of the greats. The big joke is the Repugs throwing their not-so-smart politics in the air, completely missing the wall in front of their faces and having it all fall into one big pile of elephant dung.

So the Republicans can’t talk issues and when they fail, they resort to social issues that I thought were settled 30 years ago. Don’t you just love listening to the biggest advocates of downsizing and sending work abroad stand up and with a straight face discuss jobs-jobs-jobs. Especially Mitt Romney talking about the jobs we need after his company, Bain Capital, made extra benefits by sending jobs packing and hiring folks at roughly $8 an hour. Benefits (for Mitt) meaning lots of money for Mitt. I’ll bet the Dems are still adding up all the jobs that Bain sent packing.

In case you missed MSNBC on a not such a big deal Super-Tuesday, filmmaker Michael Moore was being interviewed by TV host Rachel Maddow. “So, Micheal Moore, what about the controversial contraception issue? The black hole that Rush Limbaugh has so conviently put himself and his Republican cohorts into.

Michael Moore: “I just heard that 33 sponsors have just pulled out.” “Pulled out!!!”

If you don’t get the joke, go into another room and read it again.

Several months ago I wrote my reasons for why Mitt couldn’t make it. Two important reasons: He is a Massachusetts blue blood who has country club written all over him. He doesn’t no tidily watt about what’s “on the street.” Real life for real people (hence all those Romney gaffes we keep getting) This may be good for the Worcester Country Club gangs in the South who still are trying to keep not only blacks, but also Jews from their clubs. Second and most important: Romney is a Mormon. And if you spent any time in the South with all those born again wackaroos you know Mitt is not going anywhere. How this guy made it so big in business is beyond me. And let’s not forget he left MA with a 27% favorable rating.

Sure Romney balanced the state budget! It’s in the constitution! He didn’t raise taxes – he just upped the fees for almost anything and everything. Could his business success in the Olympics be attributed to the cool billion $$$ from that nasty government of ours he loves to criticize? The truth is the Mormons used their political might for that money.

And just when you thought Romney was going to win the fickle finger trophy along comes Santorum and his tribe of ____ (don’t make me.) like a 1 1/2 mile closure he is going to keep me laughing. That wasn’t until Santorum – “the messenger of God” – got into the race and started to tell us about the baby—I already told that one. OK, here it is again. Santorum and his wife a neonatal nurse at the t ime had a preemie baby that died within two hours of being delivered. The Mrs. and Mr. took the dead baby home so that the rest of the family could see what ma ma was carrying around.

One last thought: Remember, George W. Bush got to be President of the United States! So don’t take anything for granted. The Repugs already have 40% of the vote!

My computer is failing, so I’ll just quit while I’m ahead … .

While on the massage table …

By Jack Hoffman

My physical therapist could hardly wait to get me on my back when he asked me, “Jack, what did you think of the debates?” I didn’t want to upset him with my progressive politics for fear I would only get a few seconds of a massage and the remaining time might be too much for me to handle.

But my big mouth wouldn’t shut up. “David they are boring and inclined to get me in an apolitical mood,” I told him. The truth is I find all these presidential debates a total joke. It’s like watching some adult versionof Community Auditions. How so many of these clowns have the chutzpa to think they can win a presidential race – let alone lead the greatest country on earth – amazes me. I was ready to nod off one during of those side shows when Rick Santorum, the wonder of Pennsylvania, who lost a rematch for governor by 20%, trotted out his wife along with some of his seven kids. He began telling the story how they took their newly born preemie home. Since his wife had preemie experience in the hospital she worked (she was a prenatal nurse), she got to take it home. How she ever got permission to take the baby home that barely had two hours of life within is still a mystery to me.

The Santorum’s excuse was they wanted their other kids to see what mommy was carrying and they could even play with the dead baby. And they have the audacity to criticize anyone who crosses their meaning of morality. I hardly finished telling my physical therapist the story when another therapist came up to me to tell me there was a thirteen year old listening to me- – Boo hoo – and can I cesnor myself.

Did I cross some line telling the story that millions of people were hearing on their TVs? And yet all these presidential candidates stand there criticizing President Obama for just about everything he has said and done, calling them “socialist ideas.” Especially Santorum. As previously mentioned, he can be a real beauty.

Another doozy from Santorum, who is the Republican front runner at this point, was homosexuality. He equated homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia. When they mention some of Obama’s failings they are talking specifically about Social Security and Medicare and of course Obamacare – whose outlines were derived from the Mitt Romney’s healthcare program here in the Bay State. They don’t dare mention specifically a reduction in Social Security and Medicare for fear of losing the over 65 crowd. They will say President Obama has no foreign policy and will hesitate to point out all the news about the demise of Al Queda.

More than afew years ago we were talking about potential nominees. Even though the 2008 elections were barely over. Now we can hardly wait until the winning nominee appoints a certain somebody to be the vice presidential nominee.

Don’t hold your breath. Did you see how the media picked up on a story that the White House was thinking Secretary of State Hilary Clinton might want a go at it. Boy, are they winners, those in the media who are starting to seep to the level of a supermarket check out line tabloid magazine.

So now comes this new popular phenomenon to politics when something doesn’t click with the media the immediate response is “it was taken out of context.” Or the media is “elititist.” Mitt comes up with this winner by saying he enjoys firing people. Now I understand Mitt. What it must be like being trailed by so many of the media and sometimes you don’t realize what you say. His later response to the firing was it was taken out of context. He goes on to say that it was “insurance companies should be fired.”

Wait a minute – how do you get to insurance companies from firing people? Well it’s good old Mitt at it again with a 2 1/2 flip flop. We should call him the man with the golden flip. Don’t you just love this crap?

Now what about Mitt wanting this country to return to the soul it once was? Now he has me started. What does that mean Mittso? I know what soul means, but what period are you talking about? Anyone want to argue this? I wonder how much soul all these gentlemen have? Before we get into the Political Super Bowl, better still it should be the Stinky Bowl next November. Lets clear one lie up — When congress passed the $800 billion bail out bill, 30% of it went for tax relief to small business and the public. Another 30% went to infrastructure.

The balance remains in what is called the government pipeline. Waiting for commitments from the states. Fact # 1 the Congressional Budget Committee that sees where money is spent has concluded a survey with this particular program – its findings as far as jobs were that 300,000 jobs have been created from this program. So shut up about that falsehood of wasted expenditures.

I see this presidential race as a bunch of egomaniacs who see themselves as saviors – willing to say anything, willing to trash the environment, let millionaires off the tax hook. Running on a treadmill going nowhere.

Maybe voters have seen through this veil of hypocrisy and now understand when we talk about the loss of democracy.

How about returning this country to the people. Let’s have a rebirth of our democracy. That will never happen unless the moneyed folk who control the switches take a break and find something else to spend their money on. Obama has said his campaign will need over $1 billion to run a good campaign. What a waste — So don’t think for a second the democrats are so innocent.

The Supreme Court re: Citizens United has said in so many words that when it comes to corporations contributing money they are like people. Not in those words, but certainly close to it. They did say
the sky’s the limit when it comes to campaign contributions. And anyone can give as much $$$ as they want. Sheldon Adelson the billionaire casino operator just gave Newt more miliions. That’s after it’s become apparent Newt might have little or no chance of winning the nomination.

We are just beginning to see the real big money begin to flow. Who knows when the sky is the limit and the moneyed movers and and shakers have some of the deepest pockets in the world. They won’t give their power up.

Don’t worry – we will all pay for it next January.

Remembering Father Bernie Gilgun – Worcester’s hippie priest

By Jack Hoffman

On the early afternoon of Easter – Monday, April 25 of this year – Father Bernie Gilgun died quietly in the company of his family and friends at the University of Massachusetts hospital, here in Worcester. To those of us who knew Bernie, as he was so affectionately addressed by many of us, he was a legend in his time. His battles in the 1960s for civil rights, the anti-war movement and within the hierarchy of his own church will never earn him a statue at Newton Square. Or a light shining on a bust of him in one of the local churches. Bernie used to say the battles he fought were what freedom and democracy were about. And most important, they were some of the basic tenets of the religion he took and oath to obey and practice.

I once sat down with him to do an interview for my book — Run Run Run The lives of Abbie Hoffman. I must have run out of tape at least three times. You see, if Bernie was in the mood, he could win the prize for being loquacious. And when he got going, you could hear the walls of Jericho beginning to crack.

One of the first questions I asked was about a story my brother told me. Now Abbie Hoffman was no slouch for telling some bubba misters -especially with his kid brother. It was a Sunday morning when Father Bernie was giving a sermon on marrying for love – not religion – at the Blessed Sacrament Church on Pleasant Street – so the story goes. I think he already knew about our disdain for that particular church and many of its bullies who always tried to find a good opening for a fight or to blame us for killing Jesus. Although the latter was propaganda spread throughout the years by Mel Gibson (Sorry! Mel wasn’t born yet!) Finally, we were taken off the hook in the late 1960s by Pope John. Amen.

Back to my Bernie story: It didn’t take long for the church elders and Worcester’s Bishop Wright to hear about this one particular Bernie sermon. Bernie soon found himself transferred to a parish in Leicester.

The powers that be were already upset at Bernie for his extra curricular activities e.g. demonstrating with a group of 50 of us against the Vietnam War. I can still see Bernie leading the march holding palm leaves; leading us in prayer and singing “We Shall Overcome” as we began to get pelted with eggs from the Holy Cross students in front of City Hall.

Back to the interview. I asked Bernie about that sermon. With that usual arm gesture Italians and Jews use when they want you to forget about what the conversation is about – swinging your left arm out from your chest – You don’t have to say it. You just end that conversation now.

The first encounter with Bernie before the demonstration was at the old Phoenix house on Worcester’s lower Main Street where luminaries of the Worcester area would come and speak on the problems of the day. Money raised would go to Prospect House and payment for educational toys for the kids of Prospect House. There was Father Bernie preaching on something I can’t remember, but he had you mesmerized. All of a sudden, Abbie, no stranger to controversy even in those days, yelled out: “You are full of shit.” It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship – a friendship between two of Worcester’s infamous rebels that lasted nearly 40 years.

Abbie and Bernie went on bus trips to the South registering blacks just a few miles down the road where Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner were killed. Before they would leave, Bernie would show up at the backdoor of the old Worcester Medical – “Got some med supplies? Make sure your father doesn’t see what you are giving us.” (my dad owned Worcester medical – a pharmaceutical supply store). It was just a few weeks before at the old Moore’s club where a group from the Phoenix held a dance to raise some money. Abbie introduced Bernie to my dad and Bernie said “Oh! You’re Abb’s father”?

With a grumpy old dad’s tone my father said, “He isn’t Abbs or Abbie. His name is Abbott.” It was the first and only time I heard someone call my brother Abbott. That’s if you don’t count the F.B.I. – and Mr. Fenner, the principal, at Worcester’s old Classical High.

At the memorial to Abbie at the Temple two weeks after his death, I asked Bernie to give one of those famous eulogies. And did he ever. He said, “Abbie was on the side of the angels.” The crowd roared.

I asked Bernie for a good passage for the end of my book. He countered with what a radio caller once said to Abbie: “Wait until Jesus gets his hand on you.” I won’t repeat the rest of the caller’s comments.

Rest in Peace, Bernie

The New America

By Jack Hoffman

As unemployment grows, the poverty statistics grow with it. And the anger becomes greater. One wonders: When will the people take to the streets again?

Recently, on his radio talk show, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned “that if the national jobs crisis doesn’t end soon, the United States will soon see riots in the streets.”

Call it what you want, but the warnings of riots and revolution have been echoed all over the country in magazines, newspapers and talk on the radio and TV shows. Professor Thomas Kochan at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, certainly no bastion of liberalism, not only agrees with Mayor Bloomberg, but also was surprised there aren’t more visible signs of public anger/protests.

The real unemployment figure for the US has now reached a staggering 20%. And just how much is the real under-employment, meaning the figures on those who are now working a bare minimum of what they used to work and earn not so long ago. The figures I have used – and will use – are based on the US Dept. of Labor statistics. Recently, the job crisis has been inflamed with the new reports of poverty in America. That last statement is an obvious fact. If people are out of a job and working at a bare minimal wage – in many homes hamburger is now stretched thin with the addition of a crappy helper and in some cases dog food – they are POOR.

We here in the Bay State are fortunate compared to states like California, Nevada and parts of the Midwest that have double-digit unemployment. Places like Detroit and Milwaukee are almost wastelands compared to what they were 20 years ago. Here in Massachusetts we are more fortunate. Our unemployment figure for the past month has dipped from 7 ¾% to 7 ½%. In a recent Globe article is a listing of 15 town and cities where housing values have actually begun to rise.

I’m sure you all have heard the stories from neighbors, friends and within your own family. Take Bill Rickers of Hartford, Maine: In 1980 he fell through some boards while doing some carpentry work. He has since been unable to do any carpentry work. He has two college degrees. As a young man, Rickers worked as an electronics repairman, a pastor and a TV cameraman. He and his first wife had seven children. Now he receives food stamps, gets donations from a local food pantry store, and drives an 18-year-old car with 189,000 miles on it. About once every two months, as a treat, he goes out to lunch at a nearby lunch café.

After his accident Rickers was not able to tend to a three-unit apartment house he and his wife owned. They sold it, and bought a used trailer from the proceeds. If you think this is bad, he has serious back and shoulder injuries, his hands shake, he has congestive heart problems, asthma and arthritis. The stories go on and on.

That’s why I wasn’t so shocked when at a recent Republican debate Ron Paul was asked what do we do with folks like Ricker, who have no insurance — or any extra money Ricker has which is very little he uses for food. Mr. Paul’s answer was (in so many words): If he can’t get into a hospital he will just have to die.

At that moment there was a few dumb asses out there who actually applauded. I imagine some of the Tea Party/Fox TV crowd. I wasn’t surprised. Most likely the yelp and cheers came from the ones who love to raise the American flag on every holiday and consider themselves proud patriots.

Let the new figures speak for themselves:

Three out of four below the poverty line work; half have full-time jobs. One quarter work part-time. Only one quarter don’t work at all. So don’t give me that BS line “They should get a job.” 25% of all children, that’s 16.7 million, are living below the poverty line. 52% of all Americans, by the time they reach 65, will live in poverty. In one year, poverty has gone to 15% from 14.3%

Today there are 42 million Americans living in poverty. It has been more than 50 years since Edward R. Murrow telecast one of the most shocking and profound TV documentaries, A Harvest of Shame (poverty in America). That was a long time ago, and since then things have gotten worse.

Rupert Murdoch: here’s hoping this “Fox” is trapped

By Jack Hoffman

Henry Giroux/op-ed of the website Truthout, in quoting C. Wright Mills, the infamous American sociologist’s “the cultural apparatus” matters even more 50 years later. At the dawn of the 21’st century, this apparatus has grown into a vast web of media monopolies, which serve to entertain global audiences, set fashion standards, provide information about the world, promote celebrity culture, create consumer desires and occasionally offer insights about existing social problems while holding powerful individuals and institutions accountable. Expanding on this: I believe it was Mills that said “Freedom of The Press Is Freedom for someone who owns one.”

Hello, Rupert Murdoch, unquestionably the most powerful media magnate in the world today. But it seems this fox has finally got himself trapped in the chicken coop and is about to see his empire get a big bite – if not eaten up – by all those passive chickens that have been lapping his ass over the past 20 years. Maybe I should say greedy chickens. For me, to list all the media outlets Murdoch controls all over the world would require another ICT page. Let’s just say that when you talk about rags, he has the largest pieces of cloth in the British empire – which means he can do lots to the minds of the islanders. In the U.S., besides the New York Post, the biggest of Murdoch’s mouthpieces is the Fox Network – something me and lots of others would love to see get its stripped of its fur.

I want to remind readers and those who have a passion for all Murdoch’s jerks who espouse his political views, you are being duped.
In all the recent surveys done re: listeners being informed by various media outlets, Fox scores at the bottom. Yes, if you are one of the 70% who are tuned to Fox, you are rated as one of the most ill informed listeners. Well, what can I say about that fact? A fact I have been sharing with for the past eight years in this space.

Since you have been on Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket — they must be reading the Times, Rupert and his lying son James just got clocked by members of the British parliament. Two of Scotland Yard’s leaders have resigned and more to come in Cameron’s cabinet. News media reporters have resigned and now face prosecution. For what? you ask. How about tapping into the monarchy’s e-mails and three voice mails. Now in England, those folks, the monarchy, are revered lots more than its prime minister, who had his lines tapped by Murdoch’s crews. It appears at this date that CNN News’ Larry King’s Piers Morgan, acting as an editor of Murdoch’s largest newspaper in England, The World International, may have been into it right up to his bottle of vinegar from his Friday fish fry.

What does this all mean to us? The United States has what we call anti-terrorist laws in place and a slew of others that can convict an American national who has committed a crime and convicted of this in a foreign country. That means Murdoch and family, who are American citizens, if they are convicted in England of more than one crime, he et. al could lose licenses for all their media outlets. Not just in England, but here too.

There’s no business like show business!

By Jack Hoffman

I originally decided to write about bin Laden’s sex life and all the fear that this horny dude has caused not just the US, but Europe and throughout the Middle East. But today we live in this 24-hour news cycle and having a short mind set sorry, Binny boy, you aren’t even obituary news page anymore.

So as your very diligent and informative columnist, I just can’t resist on reporting the front-page news– maybe some from the second page.

Newt Gingrich, that infamous Fox News fat pig/commentator who told his second wife, sorry, first wife on her death bed, he wanted a divorce. All the while he was grabbing one of his aides who became wife number two or three. This dude wants to be president of the USA! I can’t understand how republicans get away with so much infidelity – especially with hookers, other men, and who knows what else. And they still have the chutzpah to run for political office and some get elected. All the while John Edwards, the sole democrat, gets banished into the woods of Carolina for knocking up a fan/vidoegrapher of his.

The head of the IMF (International Money Fund) Dominique Strauss-Kahn (don’t you just love that name?) was fingered in a sexual attack and what else with a NYC hotel maid. This was not a Maid in Manhattan story. All my Jewish friends want to know if he is a member of the tribe. – Yes it’s true – It’s in the Jewish genes and that would be a great defense. With all that money, why not ring up one of the hundreds of female “escorts” advertising some good sex in the yellow pages?

Now the big one — Maria Shriver and Arnie — the Erich Segal novel gone badly awry. This nation could announce we’re in another war and still that famous love story would be number one. Without getting into the whole horny guy who some wanted for president. It’s always fascinating to me how Hollywood and sex can knock anything off the front page.

Now comes a good one: it answers the questions on why republicans are just so fucked up, especially those running for president, or suggesting it, e.g. Donald Trump. Now that’s also a number one story. Rick Santorum, one of the darlings on the right, and the Tea Party – are they still in business? And just about every republican gave most of the credit for the bin Laden massacre to Bush. So Santorum states it was the enhanced interrogation that led to el rancho Laden.

John McCain gets up on the Senate floor and says all that nonsense is bull-shit. So Santorum fires back: What does McCain know about enhanced interrogation? Yikes!

Let’s just say for the time being President Obama wins the election by default, stupidity, or just not knowing what’s out on the street. I will write later on how right-wing radio has lost one of its wings and is slowly falling out of favor.

From the news services, al Qaeda has a new leader. Does this mean more weapons to be built and a delay in US troops leaving Afghanistan?

Did they really build 20 buildings in Washington to deal with terrorism?

Nothing is for nothing

By Jack Hoffman

The first time, and only time, I went to a basketball game at the new Boston Garden- excuse me, Bank North Center – it was a complete culture shock. On every empty space of the venue was an ad for, you name it. But what impressed me the most was this massive electronic scoreboard high above the rafters covered with more ads than information about the game that was being played. The ads were so prominent I wasn’t sure if McDonalds was playing Dunkin Donuts!

Watch a baseball game, hockey or basketball game – you name it. On every pitch everywhere the puck is and wrapped around the scorers’ table an ad flashes for, once again, you name the product.

The Patriots have even scrimmaged with Reebok plastered on their practice shirts. How about those drivers who continuously drive around a circle at speeds up to 200 mph in a car painted with one of your famous consumer products and an advertiser who spends literally millions of dollars to see their name stitched on the drivers’ clothing. We are so influenced by consumer imagery we just about forget what we are paying hundreds of dollars to watch – a sporting event.

Advertising, or shall we say image making, has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. Check out Go Daddy a subscription service for going online. Their product is being sold by 6-foot-tall blonds with cleavage that could be easily attributed to the local plastic surgeon.

Beer commercials that play on the boys’ libido with once again blonds on a beach with pronounced cleavage. How about the Cadillac that can go 190 mph without the wipers being blown away? Wait a minute! How many cars are traveling at 190 MPH?

Advertisers, networks and all the rest that sell lots of this crap have gotten so bad they have bastardized the actual event, the movie we want to watch, the news we try to absorb and more. Oh, let’s not forget Janet Jackson’s nipples. I still want to meet someone who actually saw that nipple. And you still think that was a wardrobe challenge? If some of these advertises are playing on your libido I suggest tuning into HBO after 10 PM.

A local news show that can’t wait to see some victim crying and hear the buxom newscaster ask just how do you feel? See how many blonds will Fox “News” use? Well, wait until 6:24 p.m. and if you like watching commercials they run 4 minutes straight of your favorite products. I timed a 4-minute segment and 75% of the commercials were for cars. So much driving on a test track I can’t remember one car advertiser from another.

Image is so important to some advertisers that Staples bought the naming rights to the new sports center in LA for $100 million for 15 years. Is it really worth it?

Now we go to a movie and arrive just in time to be greeted by a slew of commercials and coming attractions that consume 15 to 18 minutes of get ‘em up aliens and some more stupid animations. This is not a kiddy audience or a kiddy movie we paid 10 bucks to see.

Just a friendly tip: arrive 15 minutes after the scheduled start time.
Isn’t it interesting that the best news network or the most informative programs are the ones on PBS and on the radio at NPR? Problem is so much private funding is needed to keep these gems on the air/airwaves we are now being bombarded with “pledge week” that once lasted a week to the now almost once every month.

Would I rather pay $40 per month and watch all the movies I want or an extra $15 per month to watch important sporting events? I joked when Disney 10 years ago paid $1 billion for ESPN. I asked: How much fly fishing can we watch? Well, in any case I wish I could pay a couple of bucks extra to watch a pawn shop show or some dangerous occupation like catching crabs in snow storms without being interrupted by an ad for some other action show.

The question is: Will we the audience be willing to pay extra money to be entertained without being pitched some product/service we don’t really need?

The President’s State of the Union speech: just a big dance

By Jack Hoffman

It didn’t take long, when I went to the local breakfast hangout, to be asked, “So, Jack, what did you think of the President’s State of the Union speech?”

Well, to be honest, I didn’t catch the first few minutes since I got deeply engrossed in one of my favorite action movies of the week, Transporter 3. … Instead of waiting for Bourne Identity to come on the telly, I said. Let me give our leader another shot at trying to make me believe there is still some hope. After all, some of the promises President Obama made to lots of us progressives he just hasn’t lived up to. So I decided to look at the new majority and what they are offering.

Take, for instance, all the cuts in spending. So what do you want to do? How about cutting, or even eliminating, discretionary spending? That’s less than 16% of the budget. This country is $14 trillion in debt – 18 % is for past military, or veterans benefits, plus the 80% interest on debt. The budget was $3 trillion in Fiscal Year 2009. You do the math … .

Neat: The President fell into that trap of cutting discretionary spending in any bill that comes before him. What the hell did we send our reps to Washington for? Bring some of that bacon home! Where are the states going to get the extra money for schools, roads and more? Continue reading The President’s State of the Union speech: just a big dance