Three Year-End Ponderings

I’m not sure if anyone’s told you, but there are only a few days left in 2017. This is, generally, the time of year when your various news and entertainment venues like to present you with looks back on the year that was. But we at TTLA have more respect for you than that. We think you already know what happened in the past year. You were there, for crying out loud!

So instead we thought we’d yield our year-end summation time to CNN, and FOX News, so that they can tell you what you already know from the exact opposite point of view, and instead ponder some important issues, issues that are timeless, and not at all dependent upon a year coming to a close.

Let’s start with an item that should resonate with people who live in the little town of my birth, New York City.

The Tri-State Area

00Tri-State_Area_mapI don’t know if anyone other than advertisers really think of this little slice of heaven as being part of the “Tri-State Area.” But if you watch any of the New York-based television stations, specifically sports-related channels, you will see ads for your Tri-State Honda dealer. You’ll get to know about the best brick-face and stucco contractor in the Tri-State area. And you’ll learn that your Republican elected official is ranked #1 among givers of unwelcomed vagina gropings in the Tri-State region.

Yes, all of this will be familiar to fans of the Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Islanders, Mets, and Yankees. But here’s a little-known fact that not even most people in Metro New York and Northern New Jersey are aware of. The third state in the Tri-State area is not actually a state at all. It is, in fact, war-torn Bosnia.


00mathers_frecklesCan anyone explain to me the fact that no matter how green your bunch of bananas is when you purchase them at your neighborhood grocers, by the time you get them home their skin already has more freckles on it than little nine-year-old Jerry Mathers face?

You intentionally buy them in a state that appears to be months from being edible and after a fifteen-minute drive home, they are good for little more than making muffins or perhaps giving to your pet capuchin monkey, Sir Reginald.

On a related note has anyone ever said anything funnier than little 42-year-old Barbara Billingsly, when, with a deadpan expression she spoke these words into a 1950’s era telephone handset: “Ward, you need to come home right away. There’s something wrong with the Beaver.”

And they say television today is racy!

And Finally… Science Fiction

Scientists will tell you, and if you don’t stop them they will keep telling you, that space is a really big place. It is enormously, mind-bogglingly huge. Imagine the biggest thing you can think of, say Alaska or perhaps your Aunt Phyllis. Space is way bigger than that, even on those days when Aunt Phyllis is feeling bloated.

galactic_mashupWhat’s more, even though space is filled with billions of galaxies, which are in turn filled with billions of stars, around which most likely there are billions of planets, the distance between all this crap is brain-bashingly gargantuan. Everything is so far apart that in the distant future when our galaxy, depressingly called the Milky Way, (seriously? No wonder the other galaxies mock us), and our closest galactic neighbor, the Great Spiral Andromeda, (now there’s a cool galaxy name. I bet the girl galaxies all sigh when they think that maybe Andromeda looked at them at the pep rally), collide…

Wait. Did he just say our nerd galaxy is going to collide with the popular galaxy? Yes. Yes, he did. But don’t freak. Because everything is so cerebellum-mooshingly far from everything else, almost nothing will actually collide with anything. You’ll be fine! You’ll have been dead for 3.75 billion years, but aside from that, you won’t notice anything untoward. If your long-returned-to-dust head still had hair on it you wouldn’t even feel it get messed up. Certainly not like when Aunt Phyllis is around, that big old fat hair-messing bitch.

They also probably won’t look even this much like us. Most scientists agree we can’t probably even conceive their form because it will be so, well… alien.

So if everything is so far apart that there are stars we are looking at in the sky whose light left there a billion years ago and is just now reaching us, and if light is the fastest thing we know of, faster even than you heading out the back door as Aunt Phyllis waddles in through the front door, then how long would it take for an alien from a planet orbiting around that star to get to us?

It is impossible to travel at or above the speed of light. Unless you’re light, which you are not, and neither is E.T. Therefore the likelihood of extraterrestrial beings of reaching the Earth is pretty much zilch. I’m not saying they’re not out there. I’m just saying they’re not coming here. Especially not if they find out about Aunt You-Know-Who.

lLxCoWMHaving said all that, I love science-fiction. I love to read it, I love to write it, I love to watch the movies, and if it was a casserole, I’d even love to eat it.

It’s just not real, folks. So stop the nonsense. No one is being abducted, nor have they ever been. Anuses are being probed, but not by aliens… unless you count your proctologist from Bombay. Nothing was built by ancient aliens, except maybe that dude’s hair. (Because there is only one other explanation for hair that messed-up, and that would be Aunt Phyllis. And even that seems beyond the boundaries of plausibility.) No spaceships are going to blow up the White House, no matter how much I implore. Crop circles are formed by wise-ass kids, not Uncle Martin, wonderfully played by Ray Walston. Stonehenge was built by very intelligent people a long time ago with no help from the Great Gazoo, (which happens to be the title of a really great science-fiction story by S.J. Varengo, featured in his book Welcome Home. You should read it.)


In Summary…

I hope you’ve enjoyed these crucial ponderings, and have maybe had your eyes opened, ever so slightly, to the wonders of our world, and of the universe. And remember, we’ll be back in 2018 to bring you more intelligent humor… gack… cough…

Sorry. Choked a little bit there on the word “intelligent.” Occupational hazard.

But for real…


The Magic of Film

We, all of us, owe a lot to Hollywood. The hours of entertainment. The marriages that last such a short time that our elementary school crush on Suzie Spoto seems epic in comparison, the rampant sexual scandals which make we who our mothers assured us would go blind and or grow hair on our palms, seem pretty timid, downright Victorian.

So, yes. We definitely have to thank Tinseltown for all of this. But do you know who owes Hollywood an even bigger debt than you and I, Joe and Jane Ticketbuyer? The real-life people portrayed in the movies and on TV.

I’ll start with the example that came to mind as I was watching “Masters of Sex” on Showtime last night. I studied psychology in college, and I remembered seeing pictures of both William Masters and Virgina Johnson. Mrs. Johnson wasn’t the most hideous woman to ever walk the face of the earth, but she was no Lizzie Caplan.ginnylizziecompare

Clearly, the real Ginny got an upgrade, but that’s nothing compared to Bill Masters. Take a looks at this side by side:


Notice any difference? And, no, I am not referring to the pattern on the two bowties. If we’re being honest, the consistency of bowtie usage is just about the only thing between the two that isn’t in opposition!

After I made these comparisons I thought of a couple others. The 1963 movie “Cleopatra” had a star-studded cast of people who were all way better looking than the characters they played. Let’s start with Julius Caesar. Played in the film by the dashing Rex Harrison, the real J.C. does not appear to have had his counterpart’s charm and good looks.


Rex’s hairline extended down a little further, for one thing, and he just pulls being Caesar off a little better than Caesar did.

You know who did even better? Marc Antony. A few of the images of Marc Antony that I found weren’t half bad, but after finding the one below, which is said to be carved in his lifetime, Richard Burton’s portrayal makes the original pale when viewed next to one another.


Even if part of his nose hadn’t been broken off, it would seem to me that boxer Gerry Cooney looked a lot more like him than Burton. See for yourself:


Naturally, I’ve saved the best for last. Because the real Cleopatra was to Liz Taylor what toenail fungus is to a bed of roses.


Um, yeah.

Moving on to another film that tells the story of historical figures, let’s look at 1967’s “Bonnie and Clyde.” Because it’s fun to romanticize murderers! We’ll start with Clyde Barrow.


If he isn’t still looking up from hell and thanking the gods of casting for letting him be played by Warren Beatty, then despite being brought down in a hail of gunfire, he still got off easy.

But once again, this disparity is nothing in comparison to the treatment Bonnie Parker got at the hands of Hollywood.


Could Fay Dunaway look any more sultry? Could the real Bonnie look any more like a cigar smoking pig-woman? Again I would suggest that had they been going for absolute realism, Gerry Cooney is your pick to play Bonnie.

In recent years we’ve seen this trend diminish somewhat. Think Charlize Theron playing Aieleen Wuornos  in “Monster.” I don’t remember if the makeup artists won an Oscar for doing that to Charlize, but I am pretty sure that when they die they will be in the furnace next to Clyde Barrow for destroying that kind of beauty, even temporarily.

Or of the upcoming biopic of my life, in which I’m to be played by Brad Pitt. Err, sorry. Typo. That was supposed to say “Brad’s Armpit.”

A Mother’s Wisdom

crazy-old-women-8My mom was a fountain of wisdom, all of which she attempted, vainly, to pass on to me. She was also stark raving mad. All in all, a pretty cool gal. But I now realize that many of the wise sayings she shared with me over the years are too good, too potentially beneficial to the world at large not to share them with you. So here then is a quick post containing some of the gems of the collected wisdom of my mom.

“The way to a man’s heart is through his sternum.”

“Too many chefs in the kitchen makes great TV.”

“Two wrongs don’t even raise an eyebrow if you’re talking politics.”

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely.”

“Clouds gather before a storm, especially when you’re at a picnic.”

“Ambition is a good servant, but a bad master, and it absolutely sucks on harmonica.”

“Beauty is only skin deep. Under that things get pretty gross.”

“Stop and smell the roses. Most common side effects include itchy, swollen eyes and pain and redness around the smelling area. Do not stop and smell the roses if you are allergic to roses or any of their ingredients. Other, serious complications include seizures, blindness, death, and halitosis. Consult your doctor if you experience these or any other symptoms.”

“The eyes are the windows of the soul. Lasik is the Windex of the soul.”

“A rolling stone gathers no moss, but it does rock out on ‘Gimme Shelter.'”

“Let sleeping dogs lie because they’re not any more likely to tell the truth when they’re awake.”


Why change your spots?

“The leopard does not change his spots. And why would he? He looks fabulous in prints.”


“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Two pounds, maybe, depending upon market fluctuation.”

And finally, the saying that she shared with me most often and with the most feeling:

“Sons are the anchors of a mother’s life. In your case tied around my ankles in the middle of the ocean.”