THE CZAR OF ALL THE DISEASES

Made it.  Just in time we have an Ebola Czar.

Or is he an E Coli Czar?  Or is it E-mail Czar?  Does he replace the Drug Czar?

So many Czars, so few Russians.

Apparently the Disease Czar has no medical background, but is an administrator.  So when those Ebola cases start rolling in, at least we’ll have an accurate bed count.

There’s no vaccine to prevent the spread of Ebola, so it seems the best anti-Ebola plan is to stay out of Africa.  (Wait, that’s a book and a movie, right?)  So much for the burgeoning tourism industry in South Sudan.

The good news is that apparently Nigeria has been declared Ebola-free.  How did they figure that out, by testing every Nigerian?  Just by naming this new Disease Czar, the Ebola germs have gone away.  He just looked at them germs and they dried up.

What a guy! I’m sorry, What a Czar!  (Heard he has a daughter named Anastasia.)

Since the Czar can’t do any needle work, his main job will be to prevent widespread panic as we all flee willy-nilly running from them Ebola germs. (See “The Walking Dead” on AMC.)  He’ll hit the airwaves and the Internet to let all Americans know that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, and all flights from Africa, too.

But to show how little we have to fear, the Czar met a plane from Libya when it landed at  a secluded place at an unnamed airport and kissed everyone getting off the plane.  He did not get Ebola, but all the Libyans wound up with the whooping cough.

Nah, this Czar has no fear of any Ebola, but I heard he’s deathly afraid of guys named Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin.

LET’S TOAST MLS

The big news coming out of Minor League Soccer, er, Major, Major League Soccer last week is that Heineken has been named the official Beer of MLS.

This is important because every sports league that wants to be major MUST have an official beer.

Let me quote from the official release on the official beer.

“This gives the brand an additional springboard to challenge Americans to choose new experiences and open their world.”

What the fuck does that mean?

From Heineken’s chief marketing officer: “Fans in the U.S. and across the globe appreciate the opportunity to enjoy first class soccer with the highest quality premium beer.”

Can you say pitch invasion?

And finally, from the president and managing director of MLS Business Ventures: “Heineken is a great fit for what’s next for Major league Soccer.”

England has pretty much cleaned up its hooligan problem, so let’s bring it over here so we can at least act like a real European soccer league.

Yeah, a real major league.

 

THIS ONE’S REALLY FOR THE BIRDS

In case you missed this heartwarming news story…

A parrot named Nigel, which speaks with a British accent, disappeared from its cage four years ago.  Somehow it flew back into his home in Torrance, Calif. a few weeks ago.  It was recognizable because it was still carrying the cane and wearing the monocle and top hat it had when it flew off.

However, Nige now speaks fluent Spanish, and has become an accomplished parrot Flamenco dancer.  He told his owner, a guy oddly named Darren Chick, that he wants to be addressed as Senior Jose, and refuses to fly on the left-hand side of the sky.

Any comment, Mr. Hitchcock?

GEICO STRIKES AGAIN

If you’ve been reading my Thoughts for awhile, you know that I consider the GEICO commercials to be genius.

And the latest goes right up there, where it’s explained that if you appear in slasher movies you make dumb decisions. Like not jumping in the car with the motor running and drive away, instead deciding to hide behind the hanging chain saws, hoping nobody wearing a goalie mask sees you there.

Stuff like that is why the GEICO brand is better known than that MLS thing.

Just Thinkin’

**So the Nobel Prizes were awarded in the last week.  I didn’t expect to be in the running for Chemistry or Medicine or Physics, but I always think I should be considered for the Peace Prize.

Lost to a couple people from the Subcontinent.  Not even a whole continent, a sub one.

And then there’s Literature.  You may remember my comments when some guy from China won two years ago, Mo Yan, who had written such widely read masterpieces as “Big Breasts and Wide Hips” and “The Garlic Ballads.” (Check the Thoughts from October, 2012).

This French guy’s name is Patrick Modiano. The Swedish Academy compared him to Marcel Proust, who wasn’t nearly as literate as Marcel Marceau, a rather quiet Frenchman.  Proust never won the Nobel, so what was this, a make-up call?

Look, like most of you I’ve never read anything by Modiano or Mo Yan, and I probably never will.  But let’s see these guys knock out a weekly blog.  And do it in English, too.

So let’s help the Nobel people get into Century No. 21.  I’m starting a campaign for a Nobel Award for the Blog.  And naturally, you know which Blog I’ll be pushing.

OK, I didn’t win the Pope vote, and I’m still Peace Prize-less.

But next October, with all of your help, I’ll be expecting to get that collect call from Stockholm congratulating me on winning the first Nobel Prize for Blog.**

**A couple of interesting obits in the New York Times last week.

Pal Revere, of Paul Revere and the Raiders, not of the Midnight Riders, died, and the Times headline read: “Paul Revere, 76, Rocker With a Catchy Name.”

OK, so if the Times were around when the older guy died, what would the headline be? Maybe, “Paul Revere, 83, Enjoyed Late Night Horse Rides.” Or, “Paul Revere, 83, Silversmith, First John Hancock Insurance Agent.”

Then the guy who was the poster head for “Hair,” the legendary “American Tribal Love-Rock Musical,” died.  You know, top half of the show’s poster and album cover was the guy and his big bushy Afro, the bottom half was a reflection of the top.  All done psychedelically, of course.

His name was Steve Curry, and he will always be a symbol of an era in American culture, yeah, that Age of Aquarius.

Good Night Starshine.

I Just Saw …

“The Drop.”

Starred James Gandolfini, playing Tony Soprano in retirement.

If you don’t think so, then why’s he make a short speech about being a big shot in the good old days, with his own crew.

Good cast of little-known actors, the only name I recognized besides Gandolfini was Noomi Rapace, and that’s only because it’s Noomi Rapace.

Takes place in Brooklyn, good story, no real surprises until the end.

And don’ worry, nothing happens to Rocco.

Worth seeing.

 

I’M CALLING SECURITY

Hey, how ’bout visiting the Obamas down in D.C.?  I’ve heard they have an open house, doors are always open.

So, the Secret Service doesn’t lock doors or close windows, and lets more than just little kids having Easter Egg Hunts run around on the White House lawn.

Let’s get this straight.  All those college football coaches with the free police protection down on the sidelines, those millionaires with the headsets, are better protected than the President of the United States and his family. Try to get into a football facility on a college campus and see how many alarms you set off. Unless you’re Jerry Sandusky at Penn State where you have your own set of keys and everybody knows your name and your business but won’t talk about it.

And why not?  What’s become the more popular cheer, “S-E-C, S-E-C,” or “U-S-A, U-S-A?”

Did you notice how many cops were surrounding those winning coaches on the field on Saturday as students all over the South were involved in pitch invasions. Have you ever noticed how many cops surround the president? A lot less than the ones surrounding those head coaches. Hey! keep those damn cheerleaders away from me!!!

So Obama, look, you want to be safe in your home, just say you want people to call you “Coach” from now on and not “Mr. President.”  Then see how much respect you get.

WE WON, WE WON

Obviously, you’ve figured out from that heading that I must have read the third book in the “Liberation Trilogy” by Rick Atkinson, which details the history of the U.S. Army in North Africa and western Europe during World War II.  Book one was “An Army at Dawn,” book two “The Day of Battle,” book three “The Guns At Last Light.” (Check previous “Read a Book” headings for reviews of the first two.)

The final book is anticlimactic since you really know what happens ahead of time,.  This is the WWII that we all know, D-Day on up.  C’mon, North Africa and Italy were well-kept secrets, rumors.

Again, the research is fantastic.  Atkinson seems to have had access to every diary, every letter home, every private conversation.  Still amazed that our side won.  Eisenhower won the war by giving in to everybody else, Montgomery won the war by posing for photographers, De Gaulle won the war by hating everybody and having everybody hate him.

“The Guns at Last Light” wraps everything up.  I’ve been to a lot of the places in Germany and western Europe that are described in the book. Seeing them 30 or 35 years after the war, it’s hard to believe that all those places were completely destroyed, especially the German cities which were constantly bombed.

Yes, there are thousands of books and movies with stories of World War II, real and fictionalized.  I recommend the “Liberation Trilogy” to learn what the war was really like for the grunts in the fields, the guys who really won the war, not the generals who got the credit.

I know most of my reviews don’t delve into the depths of these books.  That’s for you to read on your own to find.  I just want to bring them to your attention.  And these three are worth the time.

TEAM TALK

**Flyers season opens this week.  NHL is still the only pro league worth watching through a whole season.  My first NHL game was at the old Madison Square Garden in New York, Canadiens beat the Rangers 6-3, Jan. 2, 1966, the same day the Green Bay Packers beat the Cleveland Browns for an old-fashioned NFL championship.  Zambonies were two old guys pushing barrels on wheelbarrows with water dripping out to resurface the ice.  Even the Cherry Hill Arena had a real Zamboni.  And, yes, I was at the Flyers’ first home game (after three on the road), 1-0 over the Penguins, Billy Sutherland goal.

**Meanwhile, the 76ers are in training camp, still bragging about how bad they’re going to be again.  And again.  And again.  Just wait, some of you will still be alive when we’re good again.  Let’s all do the Hinkie-dinkie!

**More meanwhile, the Phillies are planning for a busy winter.  Can’t wait to see which 30-year-old career bench-warmers they sign to back up their 35-year-old starters.  At least they don’t brag about being bad.  They just hope you’re not watching.

SOME SHAKESPEARE

Saw “King Lear” the other day.

Not the old guy himself, but the Shakespeare play.

Excellent production by an eight-person cast of actors from the Globe Theatre in London.

But I’m thinkin’…How could this be done better?

So let’s invite some stars from the early days of TV and let our imaginations run wild … like Sid Caesar and the gang from “Your Show of Shows.”   Just imagine::::

Sid as the crazy old king, but playing it as the crazy old German professor, with the lopsided hat.

Imogene Coca…Come on, you don’t think Shakespeare wrote in Lear’s fool without thinking that some day someone named Imogene would be perfect for the role?  Think of Lear’s fool, or look it up, and picture Imogene in the role.  Perfect.

OK, the Lear sisters, Goneril, Regan and the blessed Cordelia.  Don’t want any cross-dressing, so how about we use the McGuire sisters.  They could serenade Lear with a rendition of “Sugartime,” or “Sincerely.”  Perfect songs for Lear’s daughters to hit him with or what?

That leaves Howard Morris, Carl Reiner and, bringing him out of the writers room, Mel Brooks.

Three roles for Howie, Edgar and Edmund Gloucester and the Duke of Cornwall, Regan’s husband.  Edgar and Edmund have a duel, and Howie would be great jumping around the stage stabbing himself or missing.

Carl Reiner as the loyal Earl of Kent. Yeah, he was Sid’s second banana and would expect a bigger role except that … Ta da …

Mel Brooks as the Earl of Gloucester, father to Ed and Ed, but Mel would play it in the role of the 2,000 Year-Old-Man, in costume, cape, hat and cane.

Now if you know “Lear,” you know Gloucester gets the gruesome scene of having his eyes poked out by Cornwall (Morris).  But remember he’s the 2,000 Year-Old-Man, so forget Shakespeare, this guy’s getting his eyes plucked out and he’s screaming,” Oy, vhere’s my eyes, what you doing to my eyes?”

Now in the play, Kent, supports the old blind guy, so we have Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, together again, in a 2,000 Year-Old-Man skit.

I’m not giving anything away by telling you that everybody dies in the end.  So wake up the McGuire sisters, crank up “Sugartime,” and let’s sing them all off stage.

The London production was great, but wouldn’t this be better?