Monthly Archives: August 2016

Who Killed Phil on Roadies? – 6 Possibilities

Yes, Phil from Roadies is really dead. In fact dead and stuffed. But what or Who really killed Phil? Here are the top internet rumors.

  • The Cincinnati curse killed Phil. Remember that after the C-word was mentioned, the roadies only smashed 10 eggs instead of 11. Of course, the problem with that theory is that Phil was not with the group on that trip. It would make more sense if Gooch or Bill died as a result of the curse. It would make the most sense if Reg died since he was the one who actually mentioned Cincinnati.
The one unbroken egg that perpetuates the Roadies Cincinnati curse

The one unbroken egg that perpetuates the Roadies Cincinnati curse

  • The Taylor Swift Concert in Space killed Phil. He was really old for that kind of trip and he mentioned how he could not take a dump in space. Was that a crude hint that he was actually developing major medical problems?
Did Taylor Swift have Phil from Roadies killed?

Did Taylor Swift have Phil from Roadies killed?

  • Taylor Swift herself had Phil Killed. After all, Phil dead leave the Taylor Swift tour to rejoin Staton-House. Taylor Swift is known for getting very angry at anyone leaving  her tour. Last year she was furious when some of her back up dancers were stolen by Katy Perry . Of course, it is much more likely that Taylor would simply write a best selling song trashing Phil and make millions from the sales.
Who killed Phil on Roadies?

Who killed Phil on Roadies?

  • Protestors of the rubber company  (Funco) poisoned Phil. The protestors were angry for 2 reasons. The first is that Funco had moved from rubber toys into police military bullets. The second is that Phil was working a corporate Gig.  Phil was supposed to be the last of the old-time roadies who would never sell out and do a corporate gig. Yet here he was.
Did Phil's wife poison him?

Did Phil’s wife poison him?

  • Phil’s wife slipped slow acting poison into his food. She had the chance when he came home between his Taylor Swift space gig, and rejoining the Staton-House tour. She had years of pent-up anger at being left behind while Phil enjoyed the Gypsy life on the road.
Luke Wilson as Bill in Roadies. He has a smoldering resentment of Phil

Luke Wilson as Bill in Roadies. He has a smoldering resentment of Phil

  • Bill Killed Phil. Let’s face it, there is no person on the planet who is actually as laid back as Bill. He resented the way everyone always treated him as second best compared to Phil. In fact,  portions of whole episodes have been devoted to how Bill was not as good as Phil. It is the quiet people who always snap and become the mass murders.

Fans of Phil just don’t want to accept that the Roadie life itself is what killed Phil. A  lifetime of long hours, fast food, and heavy alcohol consumption finally took its toll on the White Buffalo.

But who knows, if there is a Season 2 of Roadies, maybe we have not seen the last of Phil. After all; the writers were already willing to have Phil stuffed and mounted for the season finale. Bringing him back as a ghost seems like the next logical step.

Roadies Season Finale – Phil Deserved Better than to be turned into a cheesy Jesus mannequin

On the season finale of Roadies, Phil deserved better than to to have his body stuffed and displayed  like a cheesy Jesus mannequin. In the last few episodes Phil (Ron White)  had become an in depth character. We learned how he got into the business, and listened to his moving tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Phil’s death was sudden an unexpected, just as it is for real friends in real life.

Reg, Dead Phil and Bill in Roadies season 1 Finale

Reg, Dead Phil and Bill in Roadies season 1 Finale

Then the writers decided to ruin a wonderful tribute episode by going for a cheap sitcom gag. Phil’s last wish was to  have  his body stuffed by a taxidermist and mounted standing up with his arms outstretched. Then all his friends gave his body a hug.

Statue of Phil from Roadies

Statue of Phil from Roadies

This was a moronic scene, which was neither funny nor moving. You could easily see that this was really just Ron White standing there trying not to move. The whole illusion of Phil as a real person whose passing was to be mourned was ruined.

Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne

Of Course, the season finale of Roadies did have its good points. A lot of really great music was played, and the real star of the final episode was  Jackson Browne. He gave a terrific performance with Lucius. In fact, one of the best aspects of Roadies is that it has introduced Lucius to a wider audience.  Jackson Browne was also the person who inherited Phil’s gun. The scene of Bill and Jackson Browne looking at Phil’s gun had much more real emotion than the stuffed body scene.

Lucius

Lucius

The season finale of Roadies also spent way too much time trying to wrap up every plot point, and setting up the potential for a second season. These seemed tacked on, and none of them were a surprise.  Just to name a few, the wrap ups were:

  • The Staton-House band does not really break up. (Of course not. You can’t have a season 2 if it did).
  • Reg Whitehead does not go back to England but stays to be near Kelly Ann. For some reason, the writers insist on making Reg the star of the series. Here was a chance to finally get rid of this dull character, but they keep him.
  • Shelli leaves her husband to be with Bill. Again, no surprise. Was Shelli ever really not with Bill?
Kelly Ann, Shelli & Bill at Phil's funeral

Kelly Ann, Shelli & Bill at Phil’s funeral

For some reason television writers never seem to realize that sometimes it is more interesting and more dramatic to leave some things  unresolved and unsaid. It would have been better if Kelly Ann had refused to tell anyone Phil’s last words, instead of having the dump “pistachio” story.

Or maybe the final words could have been a private message that Kelly Ann passed on to Phil’s wife. We the audience would see Kelly Ann speaking to Phil’s wife but would not hear what they actually said. Like at the end of  Lost In Translation, where we never hear what Bill Murray whispers to Scarlett Johansson. 

Instead of spending a good portion of the show setting up a potential Season 2, Roadies should have just done the tribute show and had the tour end. The life or real roadies is very uncertain. Bands come and go, tours get cancelled then re-booked.   Never knowing exactly what comes next is part of the thrill of that lifestyle.

 

 

Why Does Anyone Watch “American PIckers”? 8 Reasons.

Why does anyone watch The History Channel’s American Pickers? It is basically just two guys traveling around in a van buying other people’s junk. Theoretically, they hope to make money restoring & reselling the junk  sometime in the future, although that aspect of the show is not a big feature.

Despite this very simple premise American Pickers has been on the air for 6 years and is immensely popular. We decided to review it and find out why. It turns out that thee are a lot of reasons people love American Pickers. Here are seven..

  • The cast of the show genuinely like each other.  Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz and Danielle Colby Cushman are friends and enjoy each others’ company.  They seem like nice folks you would like to come over for a barbecue. There is no phony staged drama or conflict like you see on other “reality shows”.
Mark Wolfe, Danielle Colby Cushman and Frank Fritz

Mike Wolfe, Danielle Colby Cushman and Frank Fritz

  • They don’t cheat the people they buy from. Mike & Frank try to buy something for $100 that they can fix and resell for $150. They are not  trying to get a $10,000 item and cheat the seller by only paying $200.  There are many times where they pay more than the asking price,  when the seller is unaware of how valuable an object is. This is in stark contract to the people in Pawn Stars who cheat the sellers every chance they get .
Mark Wolfe & Frank Fritz with a rare find

Mike Wolfe & Frank Fritz with a rare find. (What they call “rusty gold”)

  • It is a very relaxing show to watch. Seeing Mike & Frank leisurely driving through  beautiful rural parts of the United States is very soothing. It is the antithesis of modern fast-paced, high-pressure American life.
Mark Wolfe of American Pickers

Mike Wolfe of American Pickers

  • Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz take the time to get to know people. A lot of the people Mike & Frank deal with are a little odd to say the least. Who can forget the episode where they met “Speedo”, an octogenarian who rode a motorcycle wearing nothing but a tiny yellow Speedo bathing suit.  The highlight of the episode was Speedo speeding though the town on his motorcycle with Mike riding  in the sidecar.
"Speedo" relaxing after his motorcycle ride

“Speedo” relaxing after his motorcycle ride.

  • Mike & Frank make new friends everywhere they go.  Many of the sellers can be classified as “hoarders” rather than collectors. Some of these people have acres and acres of rusted junk yet don’t want to sell even the smallest piece no matter what price is offered. These people have to be slowly seduced into selling anything. Mike and Frank carefully listen and learn why the items are so precious to these people.  Mike & Frank use the technique of “breaking the ice” by getting the hoarder to sell one tiny item first. Usually the owners will eventually sell items when they realize that Frank and Mike will love the objects too. Only then does the matter of price come up.
Danielle Colby Cushman of American Pickers

Danielle Colby Cushman of American Pickers

  • Danielle Colby Cushman adds a touch of craziness to American Pickers. Danielle is an ex-burlesque dancer and has a passionate interest in the history of burlesque in America. She has even created documentaries on the subject. Her wild tattoos alone let the audience know that she looks at life a little differently than Mike & Frank.  She finds many of the places for Mike & Frank to visit, and encourages them to go to new locations.
Frank Fritz of American Pickers

Frank Fritz of American Pickers

  • There is a  Treasure Hunt aspect to American Pickers. When Mike Wolf and Frank Fritz find a huge pile of potentially valuable items they refer to it as the “honey hole”. The Holy Grail they are searching for is “rusty gold”, which is a item that looks bad but is really a valuable antique.
  • Fans can participate – American pickers has stores in Nashville, Tennessee and LeClaire, Iowa where fans of the show can buy items they have seen on the show. You can even buy on line. This gives watchers  of the show a physical connection with the action on screen.

Of course, there are some parts of American Pickers than any business person will notice from a financial perspective. For instance, any company trying to maximize profits would not send 2 guys when you could do exactly the same job with just 1. There is also the issue that often tell you the “theoretical” profit they are going to make . Sometimes after the purchase they discover that what they thought was “rusty gold” turns out just to be rusty junk that is worthless.

Still; how to make money is not the point of American Pickers. The show is about taking a leisurely trip across the U.S. and making new friends along the way.

Roadies Needs More Dead Sex

Dead Sex is the series within the series Roadies.  It is a spoof of the Zombie Apocalypse genre. All of the characters on Roadies watch Dead Sex whenever they can, but as the audience, we only get to see tantalizing tidbits of Dead Sex. As far as we can tell, the plot of Dead Sex is as follows:

  • The world has been infected by a virus which turns you into a zombie unless you have frequent great sex.
  • Most of the men are for some reason no longer available for sex. We are not sure if this is because they have become Zombies, or for some other reason.
  • The sexiest and most sought after male on the planet is played by David Spade, who is forced into frequent sex orgies with incredibly gorgeous women.
  • Davis Spade is searching for his true love Jen and evil people will not tell him where she is unless he continues to have sex with beautiful women.
  • We are sure that we are missing or in error on some plot points. No doubt our readers will relish the chance to point out our mistakes in their comments.

The idea of Dead Sex works on so many levels. The writers of Roadies are using Dead Sex to illustrate that audiences will watch anything, no matter how idiotic, if you put enough sex and naked people in it. (See our review of Naked and Afraid).

Davis Spade - Hunk of Dead Sex

Davis Spade – Hunk of Dead Sex

Having David Spade as the sexy hunk is also hilarious.

Skippy Malloy - David Spade's former personal assistant

Skippy Malloy – David Spade’s former personal assistant

Remember; David Spade is  the actor who in 2000 was beaten up by his own personal assistant Skippy Malloy. (That’s right- he was beaten up by someone named “Skippy”).

Lucius as the opening act almost delayed by Dead Sex

Lucius as the opening act almost delayed by Dead Sex

The love of the ridiculous show Dead Sex is also one of the guilty pleasures that star performers and the lowly roadies all agree on. In one episode, it looks like he opening band, Lucius, will not make the concert. When they show up at the last minute, Holly Laessig and Jess Wolf admit that the reason they were late is that they stayed on the bus to watch Dead Sex.

Dead Sex is also the last show that Phil watched before he died. When someone suggested watching a documentary instead, Phil noted that the only documentary he would want to see was one about the making of Dead Sex.

One of the issues we have written about is that Roadies tends to be a little too pretentious at times. After all, the roadies are lugging around crates for a rock band. They are not curing cancer.  Having Dead Sex in the series reminds all the viewers that the point of watching any show is to just to have fun.

 

 

 

Roadies Kills Phil, and Possibly Kills the Series Too

Roadies is very frustrating to watch. One episode after Phil (Ron White) gives a moving soliloquy about his days with the Lynyrd Skynyrd band, Phil drops dead of a heart attack and falls into a pool.  Phil had just become the most interesting character in the series, and now – poof- he is gone.

Phil (Ron White) - rest in peace.

Phil (Ron White) – rest in peace.

Once again the writers of Roadies are trying to force down our throats the lukewarm love story of Reg Whitehead (Rafe Spall), and Kelly Ann (Imogen Poots) as the main theme of the series. With so many more interesting cast members to choose from, why have the writers made these two the central story? These two English actors simply have no on-screen chemistry. When they finally kiss, it is about as exciting as watching Carmella Bowles & Prince Charles making out (yuck).

Charles and Carmella - an older version of Reg & Kelly Ann

Charles and Carmella – an older version of Reg & Kelly Ann

Phil’s death scene was moving and unexpected. It was especially poignant  that in his last moments he was able to hear the sounds of Lynyrd Skynyrd. However, for  that one scene the writers have thrown away any chance to expand on his character further. Some viewers at first thought that Phil might not  really be  dead. However,from  the idiotic season finale  we know that  Phil definitely went to the big rock concert in the sky.

Imogen Poots as Kelly Ann

Imogen Poots as Kelly Ann

And what about Puna (Branscombe Richmond)? This was his one chance to shine. He knew “It will happen tonight”, but was unable to do anything to stop it.  The writers continue to waste the chance to make Puna into anything but a one line character. He did not even pull Phil out of the pool. That was Reg in his goofy shorts.

Rafe Spall as Reg Whitehead, the main character of Roadies

Rafe Spall as Reg Whitehead, the main character of Roadies in his sexy shorts

The writers are obviously trying to shake things up for an exciting series finale. But getting rid of good characters and concentrating on the bad ones is not the way to do  it. Another frustration is that  Roadies completely under-uses the skills of Luis Guzman (Gooch). How about a back story for Gooch? (Without killing him off the next episode.)

One thought we have is that maybe it is too expensive to use top rated actors like Ron White, Luis Guzman and Branscombe Richmond too much. Even before his death, Phil had been out for quite a few episodes. Is Cameron Crowe just trying to keep costs low to recoup his investment? Do Imogen Poots and Reg Whitehead work cheap? Whatever the reason, Roadies could be so much better than it is. That is why it is so frustrating.

Editor’s Note: Roadies was, as we predicted, cancelled after the first season. Fans hated the death of Phil, and the idiotic funeral episode that followed. Perhaps if the writers had followed some of our plot recommendations, it would have made it to a season two.

 

 

 

 

 

Styes and the 6 points you need to know about them. The 6 Ps.

Styes are painful red bumps on the exterior of interior of the eyelid. They can cause an itching, burning sensation, and can even blur your vision if the stye gets large enough.  There are 6 important points (all coincidentally beginning with the letter “P”) that you need to remember in treating this condition.

Stye with discharge

Stye with discharge

Panic – Don’t! Many people tend to “freak-out” if they have never had a stye before. The fact that it is so painful and next to the eye causes people to panic and worry about losing their vision. In fact, styes are a very common condition and most can be easily treated.

Pop  – Do not pop a stye. It is not a pimple. The fact that it looks and feels like a pimple, means that many people, especially children or teenagers will try to pop it.  The stye is filled with pus and water and popping it will cause the germs to spread and can lead to additional eye infections.

Pure – If you have a stye it is important to keep impurities away from your eye and the stye. Do not use makeup near the area. Make sure all your washcloths, pillowcases, towels and anything else that comes near your eye is clean and that you do not share these with anyone. You have to worry about exasperating the infection. You also want to make sure that you do not infect anyone else. Try to avoid rubbing your eye and make sure to always keep your hands clean.

Prognosis – Usually styes  go away on their own within 4-10 days. Of course, that seems like an eternity if you have a stye, and later in this article we will discuss treatments that can help.  Some styes do develop into a chalazion, which is a hard bump that does not go away on its own.  A chalazion is usually larger than a stye. It  does not have the pain and redness of a stye, but does require a doctor to remove it.

Prevention – Styes are caused by a blockage of the oil gland at the base of an eyelash. Teenage get styes more often than other age groups.  Some people are more susceptible that others, and those who get a stye once, often have a recurrence.  While there is no way to guarantee you will not get a recurrence, there are some very simple steps that significantly reduce the chance of replete infections.  These include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Drinking enough water
  • Proper Hygiene
  • Not rubbing your eyes. (This is a very hard habit to break since it is usually done unconsciously)

Proper Treatment – One you have a stye, there are a number of potential treatments, as follows:

  • Putting a warm clean washcloth against the stye several times a day. This helps to break up the the solidified oils and let the stye drain naturally. This  will also  remove any crusty discharge that is blocking the stye. Remember do not rub the eye of the stye.
  • Putting a wet teabag against the stye is an old-time remedy still used by some. However; we do not recommend this since tea is very acidic and you certainly do not want tea acid going into your eye. You are better off with just the warm wet washcloth.
  • If the discharge from the stye is very crusted and does not come off with just the warm washcloth, you can gently clean the area with a mild soap or baby shampoo.

Over the Counter Medications as part of Proper Treatment

There are a large number of over the counter medications for styes in a wide range of prices. Below we will give our review of a few of them.  What is most important is to find a medication that will allow the stye to heal itself  the fastest. Do not make the mistake of believing that more expensive is better.

  • Stye Lubricant – This is available for about $10.99. This product helps relieve irritation and itching. That is important since you must refrain from scratching the stye and spreading the infection.
Stye Lubercant $7.99

Stye Lubricant $7.99

  • Polysporin, which is advertised as a product for both Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) and Styes. This costs $59.99 and is an example, of a product where more expensive does not mean better.  Pink Eye is an entirely different problem than a stye. Pick Eye (Conjunctivitis) is very contagious and is a disease i the eye itself. It does not get treated the same way as a stye. If you or your children have conjunctivitis you should immediately see a doctor and get a prescription.
Polysporin advertised for Pink Eye & Styes $59.99

Polysporin advertised for Pink Eye & Styes $59.99

  • Warm compresses are available for about $9.99. These can help the stye in the same way as the warm wet washcloth. It might be more convenient  than the washcloth.  However;  the “reusable” aspect is a concern, considering that reinfection is an issue.

 

Eye warming compresses $9.95

Eye warming compresses $9.95

  • Eye Stye & Chalazion treatment. As noted earlier, if a stye turns into a Chalazion it is time to see a doctor.
Stye & Chalazion treatment $26.99

Stye & Chalazion treatment $26.99

Similasen - $10.99

Similasen – $10.99

  • Similasan is used for pain relief. This not only gives you comfort but reduces the chance of you scratching.
  • Tylenol,  sprain and other pain relievers.  Don’t forget these simplest of medications. Even in a best case scenario, you will be suffering for about 1 week with an itchy painful stye.  The more pain relief you can get the easier that will be to get through.

We hope this article has provided  you with some useful information. Be sure to give us your comments and input.

 

Yelena Isibayeva Wins In Rio!

Yelena Isibayeva was able to win in Rio, despite being banned from competing. Yelena Isibayeva was given a huge tribute by her fellow athletes.  She has been elected to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athlete’s Commission.

Yelena Isibayeva in Rio

Yelena Isibayeva in Rio

This tribute is well deserved. Yelena Isibayeva has always competed “clean” and has spoken about for years against doping. Yet despite this, she was included in a blanket ban of Russian athletes from Rio.

Yelena Isibayeva announces her retirement

Yelena Isibayeva announces her retirement

Yelea Isibayeva came to Rio to accept her new position on the IOC, and to announce her retirement from pole vaulting.

Yelena Isibayeva the best female pole vaulter in the world

Yelena Isibayeva the best female pole vaulter in the world

It is a shame she was not allowed to compete in what would have been her final Olympics. When she heard of her ban Yelena said that whoever wins the event “will be second by default.”

Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece Rio Gold Medal Winner

Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece Rio Gold Medal Winner

Much as we like Yelena, this is a very snarky  comment. However,  it does point out the blanket ban on Russian athletes partially  takes away the thrill of victory for the medal winners. Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece won the Gold Medal. Could Yelena have beaten her? We will never know. And the worst part is that  Ekaterini Stefanidi  and Yelena Isibayeva will never really  know what would have happened either.

Sandi Morris of the United States - Rio Silver Medal Winner

Sandi Morris of the United States – Rio Silver Medal Winner

The one good part about all this controversy is that it helps highlight the incredible athletic accomplishments of all the female pole vaulters. Sandi Morris of the United States won the Silver, and Eliza McCartney of New Zealand won Bronze.

Eliza McCartney of New Zealand - Rio Bronze medal winner

Eliza McCartney of New Zealand – Rio Bronze medal winner

We at East Cost Stories continue to wish Yelena Isibayeva the very best. Her next challenge is her quest to become the head of the Russian Athletic Federation.  A few days ago we did not think she had a chance. However, maybe now that she is on the IOC Athletes’ Commission that prestige will help her in election in Russia.

One thing is for sure. Never underestimate Yelena Isibayeva.

 

Bunny & The Stuffed Bear

We bought a giant stuffed bear at a garage sale for only $5. It turns out that the that Sunshine the bunny thought we got it just for him.

Sunshine explores the giant stuffed bear

Sunshine explores the giant stuffed bear

He seems to consider it a combination friend and pillow.

Bunny snuggles with the bear

Bunny snuggles with the bear

The cat, on the other hand was very unimpressed, and preferred his usual spot on the couch.

Kitty relaxing on the couch

Kitty relaxing on the couch

At the end of the day, both Kitty and Bunny decided it was time to relax after all the excitement.

Kitty & bunny relaxing

Kitty & bunny relaxing

 

 

Would Ibtihaj Muhammad Be Banned From French beaches? The disgrace of the French law banning Burkinis

Ibtijaj Muhammad is the American fencer who won a medal in Rio. As a modest Muslim woman she did so while wearing a Hijab. However,  if she visits France she will be banned from beaches unless she goes against her religion and wears a bikini or other skimpy bathing suit.

The US women's fencing team celebrates with their medals

The US women’s fencing team celebrates with their medals

The French have banned the Burkini, saying it is an outward display of a religious symbol that will inflame tensions. This is the worst possible reaction the French could have to the recent terrorist attacks.  It drives a wedge between French Muslims  and French people of other religions. That is exactly what the terrorists want.

French Muslim women bathing in Burkinis

French Muslim women bathing in Burkinis

It is also a disgrace for the French government to say that the law is really just about “religious symbols”.  You can see lots of  Catholic French women on beaches wearing a gold necklace with a cross on it. Would that be banned also? What about prole who wear a Star Of David?  Do they also  get banned from the beach?  No, the ugly truth is that the law  has the sole purpose of keeping religious French  Muslims off the beach. The message it sends is – “You are not really wanted here, even if you were born in France.”

We at East Coast Stories are especially proud of Ibtihaj Muhammad. She comes from our home state, being  a native of Maplewood New Jersey.  She has shown the best of the American spirit. Ibtihaj Muhammad has been able to accomplish her goals while being true to her religion. That is exactly the type of religious freedom the founders of America wanted.

 

 Maplewood New Jersey native Ibtihaj Muhammad

Maplewood New Jersey native Ibtihaj Muhammad

Some people claim that banning the Burkini is just a way of giving Muslim women more freedom.

Let women swim in whatever makes them comfortable

Let women swim in whatever makes them comfortable

Freedom for women means letting women decide what is best for themselves.  Tale a look at the above picture, which shows 3 women enjoying a day at the beach. One is wearing  a bikini,  the second a one-piece bathing suit, and the third a Burkini. They are all having fun and all feel comfortable with what they are wearing.  Why does the French government think it has the right to tell any of them what to wear?

The French should be very careful abut opening up the gates to let out the horrors of religious intolerance.  Of course, everyone knows  that in  World War II  when the Nazi’s occupied France they rounded up the French Jews and sent them to death camps.  Brave Free French forces and French resistance fighters fought the Nazi’s with all their might. They were fighting for the freedom of ALL the French people. The very word Liberty was coined in France.  Te proud French tradition of freedom is too important to be discarded for something like a Burkini.

 

Ed Koch Murders Donald Trump

In 1995 former New York City Mayor Ed Koch murdered Donald Trump.  As much as Ed  Koch hated Trump, he could not kill Trump for real. So instead, Koch wrote a detective novel entitled Murder At City Hall, where the murder victim was Donald Trump.

Of course, Koch could not mention Trump by name, for fear of becoming the target of one of Trump’s hundreds of lawsuits. In Murder At City Hall, the murder victim is a real estate developer named Karl Kreig. This real estate developer is a despicable fellow who is hated by so many people that there are a large number of murder suspects.

Donald Trump & Marla Maples

Donald Trump & Marla Maples

The real estate developer also has a much younger wife who comes to parties in scandalously revealing outfits. This  real estate developer treats his wife as bait to allow him to get close to city officials that approve building contracts. He cheats on contracts and on every deal everyone but him loses money. He also cheats on his attractive wife, with a series of mistresses.  But of course, Koch insisted that this was not supposed to be Donald Trump.

Donald Trump, Ed Koch & Roy Cohn in 1983

Donald Trump, Ed Koch & Roy Cohn in 1983

Mayor Koch and Donald Trump started out as friends, but that did not last long. The problem was that even in a city as large as New York, there was only room enough for one of their gigantic egos. Koch and Trump both had an almost childlike need to be the center of attention for everyone,  all the time.

In Murder At City Hall (by Edward Koch with Herbert Resnicow), the Mayor’s giant ego comes through loud and clear. The main character of the book is Ed Koch himself, who is not only the Mayor, but also the detective solving the murder. He goes to lavish parties, meets beautiful women and is a better crime solver  than the police.

Murder At City Hall is interesting to read for its historical perspective, but is not a very well written detective novel. Ed Koch is no Agatha Christie. There is just way too much talking and description of Koch riding around the city, and not enough plot and character development.

Still, it is fun to note how much things have changed since 1995. The Mayor has assistants that are constantly running out and getting newspapers to check the latest goings on, and to see how the Mayor’s popularity is holding up.  Nowadays, you can do this instantly on the internet.

As the title indicates, the murder itself took place at New York’s City Hall. There were metal detectors in place, but there were not the hundreds of security cameras we now have in our post 9/11 world.  In fact, the police never even talk about checking the cameras. Nowadays if a murder happened at City Hall it would all be caught on camera.

Ed Koch may not have been a good detective novelist, but most New Yorkers believe that he was he was a good Mayor.  Whether you agreed with his political views or not, everyone agreed that Ed Koch loved being mayor and that he loved the City Of New York.

Ed Koch passed away in 2013. It is a shame he is not around today to comment on the current Presidential election. Koch was known for his quick wit and his ability to skewer his political opponents with his sharp wit and humor. Given today’s technology, the Twitter wars between Ed Koch and Donald Trump would be fun to see.

 

“The Walk” – brings back good memories of the World Trade Center

Twenty seven years before the World Trade towers became a symbol for death, hatred and destruction they were something else for a young French tightrope walker named Philippe Petit.  The World Trade Towers were for Philippe Petit a symbol of life, excitement and opportunity. On August 7, 1974 Philippe Petit amazed the world by stringing a wire 110 stories above the street and doing acrobatics for 45 minutes to the delight of the crowds below.

Phelippe Petit walks a wire between the World Trade Towers

Phelippe Petit walks a wire between the World Trade Towers

The Walk is the story of everything in Philippe’s life that lead him to that moment. It is a combination lighthearted  comedy and inspirational action movie.  The final scenes of the high wire act were spectacular, but the films is about much more than that.

Philippe Petit August 7, 1974

Philippe Petit August 7, 1974

Many reviewers thought that the movie was too lighthearted, but we loved that aspect of it. Yes, we all remember what happened on 9/11. From my own little town of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, 17 people died in the towers that day.

We loved The Walk because it reminds people that before 9/11 The Towers were something else. They were a wonder that filled people with a sense of excitement and promise. They inspired people into thinking that anything was possible.  Any height could be reached if people worked together to achieve it.  People came from all over the World to New York not just to see the World Trade center but to try to fulfill their own dreams.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Charlotte Le Bon

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Charlotte Le Bon

The Walk is about a tightrope walker, only in the same way that Rocky is about a boxer. Rocky is really about a ordinary guy’s struggle for self-respect. The Walk is about a man’s struggle to fulfill a dream that only one or two other people in the world can understand.

Joseph Gorgon-Levitt as Philippe Petit

Joseph Gorgon-Levitt as Philippe Petit

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great as Philippe Petit, the clownish acrobat with a love of life. Ben Kingsley is Papa Rudy, the seasoned tightrope master whose challenge is to get Phillipe to respect the art-form and the danger of his chosen profession.

Ben Kingsley as Papa Rudy

Ben Kingsley as Papa Rudy

Charlotte Le Bon is Annie Allix who loves Phillip and hopes that she is not helping him to plan his own death.

We highly recommend The Walk. The World Trade Towers are gone but people still come to America every day to see if they can soar to new heights.

 

Queen Of Kings book review

Queen Of Kings by Maria Dahvana is an exciting novel of witchcraft, gods, heroes and vampires. This is all intertwined with the love story of Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Unlike most stories about Cleopatra, her death is the starting point of the book rather than the end.

Queen 1

Throughout Queen Of Kings Cleopatra wanders through the realms of the dead trying to outwit  ancient Greek and Egyptian gods and goddesses. Cleopatra is willing to pay any price, even losing her soul, to take revenge on Octavian Caesar, and bring back Mark Antony from the dead.

Queen 2

 

Maria Dahvana Headley uses an extensive knowledge of Greek and Egyptian mythology to present the gods in a whole new light.  In Queen Of Kings, all of the Greek and Egyptian gods exist simultaneously and compete with each other for power and worshipers. They are willing to deal with Cleopatra, but  only to help themselves.

Queen 3

Unfortunately, many people want nothing to do with any story about Mark Antony and Cleopatra. This dates back to the disastrous 1963 movie in which Elizabeth Taylor was Cleopatra, and Richard Burton was Antony. Those performance were so bad that they forever tainted the story of Antony & Cleopatra. Wash the memory of that awful film from your memory by reading Queen Of Kings.

Queen of Kings is a great novel in which death, love, revenge and sacrifice intertwine for exciting and gruesome action throughout.  The novel culminates in an epic battle in which gods, goddesses, Roman Legions, witches and even an the Roman  Emperor battle for control of the world.

We highly recommend Queen of Kings and think you will enjoy it as much as we did.

 

 

Yelena Isinbayeva Strikes Back

The injustice done to Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva demonstrates the unfair political nature of the Olympic games. Yelena Isinbayeva is the world’s best female pole vaulter. She has 3 Olympic gold medals and 3 World Championships. Yet she has been banned from the Rio Olympics because other Russian athletes were involved in doping.

Yelena Isinbayeva - the best female pole vaulter in the world

Yelena Isinbayeva – the best female pole vaulter in the world

Yelena Isinbayeva has never used performance enhancing drugs and has never even been accused of doping.  In fact, Yelena Isinbayeva for years  has repeatedly and strongly spoken out against doping in Russian athletes.

Yeleda Isinbayeva - 2 Olympic Gold Medals & 3 World Championships

Yeleda Isinbayeva – 2 Olympic Gold Medals & 3 World Championships

The Russian Track & Field athletes were given a total ban, so that even the completely  clean Russians like Yelena cannot come to Rio. This is very strange, since in other sports, like swimming, Russian athletes are allowed. The swimmer  Yulia Efimova is allowed to compete, despite having failed drug tests twice in the past.

Yelena Isinbayeva is running for President of the Russian Athletics Federation

Yelena Isinbayeva is running for President of the Russian Athletics Federation

Yelena Isinbayeva is not taking her ban quietly. She has decided to attack the cause of the problem, which is the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF).  This is the body that promoted the “win at any cost” culture that lead to and even promoted doping.

Yelena Isinbayeva banned from Rio

Yelena Isinbayeva banned from Rio

We at East Coast Stories hope that Yelena Isinbayeva does become the President of the Russian Athletics Federation. It would demonstrate that Russia actually has respect for its athletes and will now stop using them as expendable political pawns.

Russian Yelena Isinbaeva competes in the women's pole vault contest during the IAAF

Russian Yelena Isinbaeva

Most experts agree that Yelena Isinbayeva does not have a chance at becoming President of the ARAF. The job will go to a friend of Vladimir Putin, who will use the position to skim money and award high paying jobs to other friends of Putin. That is the reality of modern Russia.

Yelena Isinbayena - the greatest female pole valuter

Yelena Isinbayena – the greatest female pole vaulter

But wouldn’t it be great if instead, the Presidency of the ARAF went to the 34 year old pole vaulter from Volgograd?  If we had a vote, Yelena Isinbayeva would get ours.

Suicide Squad has terrible performances from great actors

Suicide Squad tries to be a raunchy comedy/action movie like Deadpool, but instead comes across as just a very loud movie with very bad acting. It is too violent to be a kids movie, and the plot is too stupid to interest adults.

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn

The biggest surprise is that it has terrible acting from actors who we have seen give great performances in other roles. Margot Robbie who was brilliant in The Wolf of Wall Street is crazy-girl Harley Quinn. The director went out of his way to have as many close ups of her in skimpy outfits as possible. But the role just does not come across. For one thing she keeps slipping in and out of an exaggerated New York accent.  She should either use the accent or drop it completely. Instead the way she bounces in and out of the accent is distracting to what she is actually saying.

Jared Leto, Will Smith and Margot Robbie

Jared Leto, Will Smith and Margot Robbie

Will Smith is professional assassin Deadshot. It seems like he is trying to channel into his old wise-ass character The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, but the jokes just fall flat. The audience is supposed to like him since he loves his little daughter. However,  it is hard to warm up to a person who will kill anyone for money just because he happens to have a nice kid..

Ben Affleck also appears in the movie for about 30 seconds as Batman. However much he got paid for Suicide Squad it was too much. He was probably able to get to the set, shoot his one line and be home in time for an early brunch.

Speaking of sets, another problem with Suicide Squad is that the sets all look fake and are totally uninteresting.  There  is no  interesting cinematography an no exotic locations.  Most of the action takes place  in dreary streets filled with rubble and broken cement.

We could go on and on but you get the point. It seems like a lot of big name actors took a hefty paycheck for a movie they knew was bad, and as a result just “phoned in” their performances.  Hopefully they will put a little more into their next roles.

Yulia Efimova is being unfairly treated

Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova has been treated very unkindly by Olympic fans and American athletes.  It is very hypocritical for American sports fans to act so pious when it comes to performance enhancing drugs. Ironically the same day that Yulia Efimova was being booed in Brazil , Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) was being cheered in New York as he tearfully announced his retirement from baseball.

Lilly King winds 100 meter breaststroke and snubs second place Yulia Efimova

Lilly King wins 100 meter breaststroke and snubs second place Yulia Efimova

Yulia Efimova was banned from the sport for 16 months for using performance enhancing drugs. Lilly King has said Yulia should have been banned for life and that the entire Russian team should have been banned from the Olympics.

Yulia Efimova, Lilly King & Katie Meili show their medals

Yulia Efimova, Lilly King & Katie Meili show their medals

This seems completely inconsistent with the way Americans treat their own athletes. Was A-Rod banned for life? was the entire Yankee team suspended for an entire season?

Does Youla Efimova deserve the way she has been treated.

Does Yulia Efimova deserve the way she has been treated?

And what about American Football? Does anyone really believe that the players get that big naturally? And remember that the King of cheating in all international sport was the American;  Lance Armstrong.

Yulia Efimova on the beach in Brazil

Yulia Efimova on the beach in Brazil

Yes, Yulia Efimova did use Meldonium and was banned for 16 months because of it.  Did she take it again after that? She says  “no” and on appeal the Olympic Committee agreed with her. Traces showed up in her system 6 months after the initial ban, but experts say these traces can last as long as 6 months.

Maybe Yulia Efimova is not a horrible witch. Maybe she is just a 24 year old woman who made a mistake more than a year ago when she was under tremendous pressure from her coaches  to perform at any cost.

We don’t think Yulia Efimova is being fairly treated. We think she should be given the same respect and courtesy as the many American athletes who made exactly the same mistake and then were forgiven by the fans.

 

35 Year Wedding Anniversary – Susan Marasco & Gregory Farrell

On this day, 35 years ago, I married a beautiful young Italian-American woman named Susan Marasco. How I every convinced her to marry me is still a mystery. You see, despite what many believe, I do understand my own failings.

Susan & Greg August 8, 1981

Susan & Greg August 8, 1981

How she has put up with me  is also a mystery. She must be a Saint. At least that is what she has told me several times a week for 35 years. (Just kidding!)

The wedding was part of  a full Catholic Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ardsley New York. The elaborate reception was at a country club and the groups were basically split between the Italians and the Irish, and everyone brought gifts. The gifts from the Irish side were nice, but the Italians brought cash. Big wonderful envelopes stuffed with Cash.

Susan’s wedding gown had a special sort of cape with a very large pouch sewed into the inside. I did not understand what it was for until the Italians began giving her the cash envelopes, which Susan quickly secreted into the magic pouch.

Later than night, (yes, our wedding night) Susan spread out all the unopened envelopes on the bed and took out a pad of paper and a pen . She would not allow me to just open the envelopes and dump out the cash on the bed like I wanted. You see, along with the cash, each envelope had a note inside telling us who it was from.

Susan carefully wrote down exactly who had given how much cash. When we returned from our honeymoon, Susan wrote all the thank-you notes to every guest. Each note was different. The larger the gift in comparison to the guest’s income, the more elaborate the thank you note.

Thirty five years has gone by on the blink of an eye.  Two children, three States, one book,  many stories and many jobs, cats and bunnies later we are still together.

We don’t look at the wedding album very often. Unfortunately, many  of the people in it have passed away. Our parents and relatives  came from that World War II  generation of heavy smokers and drinkers,  and consequently they  did not live very long.  One of the reasons I started this website was to keep the memories and stories of many of these wonderful people  alive. Somehow, the stories of how they lived seem much more real than the old pictures.

Susan herself is the subject of many of the websites’ stories,  and is known as The Gentle Woman in all the Bunny Stories.  Susan is also  The Girl in The Terrycloth Shorts.

Cat and Bunny on a hot day

Cat and Bunny on a hot day

Susan continues to be the love of my life, even though she is a stubborn as the day I met her.

Whatever does come next for my beautiful Italian bride and me, the Colombian singer Shakira expressed it best when she sang,

“Whenever, Wherever we’re meant to be together,

I’ll be  there and you’ll be near, and that’s the deal my dear.”

Happy anniversary Susan. Thank you for 35 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Killing Joke”, has Batman as a sexual predator

 The Killing Joke has enraged Batman fans because Batman and Batgirl have sex. It does not come across as a romantic scene. It seems more like a teacher (Batman) taking advantage of a young student (Batgirl). She is giving him sex to try to gain his approval, not because she actually wants sex.

batgirl in her skin tight fighting outfit

Batgirl in her skintight fighting outfit

In some ways, Batman even seems like a classic sexual predator. He is taking advantage of a girl 20 years younger than him. He only deals with her in his “authority figure” mode. Batman knows that Batgirl is really Barbara Gordon, but he never lets her know that he is Bruce Wayne. In other words, he knows her vulnerabilities, but never allows her to see his.  This is classic sexual predator behavior.

Batgirl in her Sexy Librarian glasses

Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) in her “Sexy Librarian” glasses

Historically, many older men have used their positions as “coach”, or “professor” or “boss” to coerce a young woman into sex. The superior/inferior relationship can be seen by the mere fact that he is known as Bat MAN, while Barbara is merely Bat GIRL.  The fact that she does not call herself Batwoman, shows that she has unconsciously accepted her status as inferior to her male counterpart.

When they do have sex, it is on a dirty rooftop, with Batman still wearing his Batman mask. He could have taken her back to his sumptuous Bruce Wayne estate for a truly romantic encounter.  Instead, the sex reinforces that Batman is the master and Batgirl is servicing himBatgirl having sex with Batman

Batgirl having sex with Batman

Even after the sex, Batman still does not give Batgirl the approval she so desperately needs. After the sex,  Batman never calls, never asks how she is, and never shows any sort of tenderness towards her.  In fact, Batgirl ends up calling him,  still desperate to get the recognition she desires from her teacher/coach. This is also classic sexual predator behavior.  By  withholding his approval, the sexual predictor can continue to coerce the  young  woman into giving him favors to gain acceptance.

Batman comic fans have gone beserk on the internet because none of this “sex with Batgirl” plot was ever in a Batman comic book. The odd part of The Killing Joke is that the the second half of the movie follows almost frame for frame a Batman comic book episode in which the backstory of The Joker is revealed.  Once this story line starts, it is as if the first half of the movie never happened. It is like watching two unrelated movies.

Most fans have agreed that the best thing to do with The Killing Joke is to just pretend the first half of the movie never happened. Some have gone as far as recommending that you fast forward through the first half of the movie without even watching it.

Unfortunately we did watch it and now will never be able to look at Batman exactly the same way again.

 

 

 

 

 

Did The CIA Plan Turkey’s Coup? – 5 Reasons Why that Theory Might Be True

Most Turks now believe that America’s CIA planned and helped stage the failed coup in Turkey. Americans, of course, think this theory is ridiculous. However, here are 5 reasons why the CIA might have planned the coup in Turkey.

  • The CIA has a long history of toppling foreign  leaders. Take a look at Vietnam,  South America, and Cuba’s Bay Of Pigs Invasion, and it is obvious that the United States is not shy about using the CIA to get rid of leaders it does not like.
Did the CIA plan the Turkish Coup?

Did the CIA plan the Turkish Coup?

  • President  Tayyip Erdogan has been working against U.S. efforts to fight ISIS. The United States has been very happy with the success the Kurds have been having against ISIS. The U.S. has been funding, training and supplying weapons to Kusdish groups to fight ISIS.  At the same time. President Erdogan has been ordering air strikes and military attacks against the same Kurdish groups the U.S. is funding. Erdogan considers them terrorists and does not want the Kurds to establish a Kurdish state on the Turkish border.
Female Kurdish fighters celebrate victory against ISIS

Female Kurdish fighters celebrate victory against ISIS

  • With only a few months left in office, Barack Obama needed to move now to get rid of Erdogan. Whoever the next U.S. president is, he or she might not agree with the idea of a coup against Erdogan. Since the CIA had Obama’s blessing, it needed to move now before the U.S. election.
Putin and Erdogan friends again. Is this why the CIA potted to remove Erdogan?

Putin and Erdogan friends again. Is this why the CIA potted to remove Erdogan?

  • The U.S. was nervous about an alliance between Erdogan and Putin. Having Turkey and Russia as enemies is the “natural order” as far as the United States is concerned. This helps U.S. interests and keeps Turkey in NATO. However, recently there has be a rapprochement between Putin and Erdogan. When we started seeing  pictures of Erdogan and Putin shaking hands and acting like buddies, the CIA decided to move ahead with coup plans.
  • If Fethulla Gulen was behind the coup, he would have needed CIA help to contact groups in Turkey. Fethulla Gulen lives on an estate in rural Pennsylvania which is constantly monitored by U.S. security agencies. There is no way he could have gotten any messages to Turkey without U.S.  help.

It may be years or even decades before we know what really happened in Turkey. Many believe that the entire coup was a fake staged by Erdogan. Certainly Erdogan went into the coup a weak leader and came out of it a dictator.  Maybe the world will never know what really happened  or who was behind it.  As United States Senator Hiram Johnson said in 1918, “the first casualty when war comes is truth.”

Hero Firefighter of Dubai – Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi

While 282 passengers and 18 crew ran from a burning Boeing 777 in Dubai, heroic firefighters ran the other way; towards the fireball. One of these heroic firefighters was Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi who died in the blaze while trying to save others. We at East Coast Stories would like to offer our condolences to his  family and say “Thank You for you service”.

Hero firefighter Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi

Hero firefighter Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi

All 282 passengers and 18 crew members got off the plane moments before it exploded. This by itself is a miracle. Video from inside the plane shows many passengers blocking the aisle while they selfishly opened the luggage  racks and pulled down  their suitcases.  Flight attendants can be heard screaming at people to leave the luggage and get off the plane.

Boeing 777 in flames in Dubai

Boeing 777 in flames in Dubai

Many passengers ignored the flight attendants and got their luggage anyway. In news  footage you can see many pulling their rolling luggage while they ran from the plane.  The contrast between their selfishness and the heroics of  Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi could not be more stark.

The Boeing 777 burst into flames and exploded after a crash landing in Dubai

The Boeing 777 burst into flames and exploded after a crash landing in Dubai

We would like to propose that plane manufacturers devise a system whereby pilots can flip a switch that automatically locks  the luggage racks in the event of an emergency landing.  This would save precious time during an emergency  evacuation where every second delayed can mean a life lost.

Next time you go on a flight take a look around the airport and notice, really notice the firefighters, rescue workers, security people, maintenance workers, flight attendants and pilots who are all working to make sure you get where you are going safely. In our fast paced world we tend to take these people and their work for granted.

Fortunately, they don’t take the passengers for granted. Goodbye Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi, and once again, “Thank You.”

 

Is “Ballers” Racist?

The HBO series  Ballers has a lot of racist qualities. The athletes are all African Americans, who despite being physically gifted are completely immature and incapable of handling their own personal or financial lives. The management firms that save the African American athletes  from their own stupidity are all run by smart White guys.  The main firm doing the financial work (Anderson Financial) is owed by a rich Jewish guy, which is just one more stereotype among many.

Dwayne Johnson & John David Washington

Dwayne Johnson & John David Washington

How Ballers portrays women is just as bad as the way it portrays African Americans. Most of the woman are either Bimbos or Shrews. The Bimbos are the topless girls who show up at every party ready to immediately have sex with any passing NFL player. The Shrews are the players wives or live-in girlfriends who scream at their men to stay away from the other women.

Most of the women on Ballers are portrayed as Bimbos or Shrews

Most of the women on Ballers are portrayed as Bimbos or Shrews

Of course, the star of the show, Spencer Strasmore , is played by Dwayne Johnson who is mixed race (black Novia Scotian/Samoan). However, Spencer was brought into Anderson Financial not because he has any business expertise but simply because he personally knows a lot of NFL players.  Spencer’s main way to attract new clients is to have wild parties with a lot of naked woman, drinking and drugs.  Supposedly Spencer knows a lot about financial management, but we never see him actually doing any. Mostly he just walks around looking great in custom made suits. He is basically the token minority the financial firm brought in to show it is not racist.

John David Washington plays Rickey Jerret a great NFL player who continually sabotages his own career with fights and woman chasing.  In addition to the house he lives in,  Jarret keeps a “party house” where there is a 24 hour drug-fueled orgy going full time. How could someone who abuses his body constantly and almost never works out possibly be a top professional athlete?

Another player named  Vernon (Donovan Carter) is constantly accompanied by an annoying hanger-on named Reggie (played by London Brown). Reggie constantly complains that Spencer is not very good and is not getting enough money for Vernon.  Reggie convinces Vernon to turn down a good deal and hold out for more money. However,  all ends well when the team does come across for the additional salary and Spencer and Reggie become friends. Of course, if you think about this too closely, you realize that Reggie was right all along.  Spencer actually  is not very good at his job. If an untrained hanger-on can negotiate better than Spencer, what the hell is Spencer being paid for?

Omar Benson Miller as Charles Green, shows the crowd he still has the strength which made him an NFL hero

Omar Benson Miller as Charles Green, shows the crowd he still has the strength which made him an NFL hero

Ballers does have its good moments, especially the plot line following Charles Green (played by Omar Benson Miller). He is a retired NFL Lineman working as a car salesman when he decides to try for a comeback. One of the best scenes in Ballers is when Charles Green pushes a car up a ramp while customers and other car salesmen cheer him on. He realized how much he misses the roar of the crowd and decides to take the risk and go back to the NFL.

Omar Benson Miller & John David Washington

Omar Benson Miller & John David Washington

That is the type of scene Ballers needs more of.  The best part of Ballers is the opening sequence of each show, which  has clips of real athletes in action.  It reminds us of how extraordinarily skilled they are.  Before the money and the women and the fame, everyone who eventually became a pro athlete had a pure love of the sport. Show more of that, and fans will grow to love Ballers.