Monthly Archives: November 2008

Why Sarah Palin would never join The View …

Someone has suggested that Sarah Palin may, after assessing the ruin of her political career, consider joining The View, if asked. While the idea is plausible in the abstract, it is highly implausible in reality. Looking for a job outside elective politics makes sense. Jumping butt naked into a cactus pit doesn’t.

The quickest and most efficient way to de-fang Sarah Palin - From left - Whoopi Goldberg, Joyce Behar, Sherri Shepherd, Barbara Walters, and the runt of the litter, Elizabeth Hasselback.

Women of The View: The quickest and most efficient way to de-fang Sarah Palin - From left - Whoopi Goldberg, Joyce Behar, Sherri Shepherd, Barbara Walters, and the runt of the litter, Elizabeth Hasselback.

What are Sarah’s options? Well, getting her own talk show  probably makes the most sense ( see this cyberaxis post). It’s the no-brainer answer to the question:  What you do with a  wise-crackin’, moose shootin’ , easy flirtin’ hockey mom from Wasilla after she makes an ill-fated  media splash  in a bruising national election?”.  Joining women of “The View”  is not out of the question as long as she decides to make nice  with Whoopi, Joyce, Barbara and Sherri ….. on top of avoiding Charlie Gibson/ Katie Couric moments.

Otherwise,  Mrs. Palin would be eaten alive on the snack meal plan. Elizabeth Hasselback knows the feeling.

Own talk show diva or studio gad-about with women of The View? Fat chance with Whoopi!

Palin: Own talk show diva or studio gad-about with women of The View? Fat chance with Whoopi!

My feeling is that, if Palin ever joined the view, she would pipe way down and laugh off most of the things she said on the campaign trail. If she did that she could actually bring a lot to the show.

Taking on the formidable trio of Whoopi, Joyce and Barbara would be the quickest way to lose her bouffant. Talk about being outclassed, out-smarted and out-GUNNED?  Well, she would be. Between the three of them Sarah Palin would just be a piece of luncheon meat on toasted sourdough bread.

Which brings to mind a Time Magazine piece by Belinda Luscombe which makes a debatable contention about “Why Some Women Hate Sarah Palin.” Luscombe thinks it goes beyond politics. Quote:

“Women are weapons-grade haters. Hillary Clinton knows it. Palin knows it too. When women get their hate on, they don’t just dislike, or find disfavor with, or sort of not really appreciate. They loathe — deeply, richly, sustainingly. I do not say this to disparage my gender; women also love in more or less the same way.” Belinda Luscombe, Time Magazine, Oct. 2, 2008

High school may be many miles away from The View, but who really knows? If Whoopi, Joyce or Barbara decided any or all of Luscombe’s three points of “the Abbotsleigh test” were adequate matters for casus belli, who could stop them ….. or blame them for that matter?

Enter The Dragon

Bruce Lee

The Little Dragon who had eyes

In the back of his head was dead.

And the world could not believe

That this man;

This marble edifice to the  triumph of mind over matter,

And will over won’t,

Had succumbed to something as pedestrian

As a little swelling of the brain.

The hordes wept, while the world wondered.

Rest in peace Bruce. Rest in peace Sensei.

copyright© 2009

27 November 1940 – 20 July 1973

27 November 1940 – 20 July 1973

Cell phones and driving under the influence of YAP: the insidious killer of primitive forms of life on American roadways

The problem of people driving under the influence of YAP, which is talking on a cell phone while driving, cuts much deeper and wide than most people realize. And the reason has to do with the exponential proliferation of cell phones, a technology that American laws, not to mention customs and personal habits, have yet to catch up with. Meanwhile the number of people hurt or killed by one-handed/half-brained drivers are being under-reported to the detriment of awareness about the insidious problem.

Laws to mandate hands-free usage are cropping up all over the United States but they seem to be founded on a fallacious distinction between hand held and hands-free devices when it comes to driving. Experts say there IS no distinction. The most recent studies out of the University of Utah say the devices make no difference because it is the talking that is the distraction. (More details on this revealing study later.)

The statistics of accidents cause by half-brained and one handed drivers are probably grossly under-reported

ICONOGRAPH: Forget about the grunting forbearer, the hirsute monster hunting down small fauna with the thigh-bone of a wooly mastodon; the primitive stage of human evolution will one day be represented by a monkey with a cell phone glued to its ear.

YAP is talk which impairs the driver in the same way that alcohol does. It impairs cognition and attention by turning one’s focus inwards – to a world of thoughts and images related to a conversation – instead of outwards where danger lurks around every corner of the road. (Anyone who has ever been engaged in a intense phone dialogue can remember times when one couldn’t account for the time between driving from point A to B.)

California State University, Dominguez Hills psychology professor Larry Rosen, explains the psychology behind this phenomenon:

“If you talk to somebody on a phone, you only get a limited number of cues, as opposed to looking at someone when you can see their demeanor, their facial expressions,” he explained. “When you don’t have those cues, your brain has to work hard to fill them in and having to work extra hard means you’ll be paying little attention to the road.”

And because of this, Rosen thinks that the hands-on versus the hands-free is a distinction without difference which, in his view, makes the new law rather “ludicrous.” (Shelley Leachman, Staff Writer, DailyBreeze.Com, Will hands-free drive home safely?)


There are jesters who have poked fun at California’s new hands-free law, but Jokes aside, there is probably more to the state’s contention that cell phones are the number one cause of distracted-driving accidents, than fodder for legislative propaganda.

Months after passing its first cell phone hands free law on July 1, 2008, there is disquieting evidence that a lot of Californians don’t give a damn about the new law. A report article compiled by Gary Richards seems to indicate that members of the public are not seeing much of a change in road behavior when it comes to hands-on cell phone use since July 1.

“Q I’m curious. Have the police and Highway Patrol stopped enforcing the hands-free cell law? On my four-mile commute from Sunnyvale to Santa Clara one day I counted eight drivers on their cell phones. One was going 35 mph down Central Expressway! “… I only drive about 20 to 30 miles a day, but hardly a day goes by that I don’t notice half a dozen people talking with cell phones in their hands. “… I see just as many folks today yapping on their hand-held phones and driving just as carelessly and cluelessly as before the ban. So is there a law against this or not?”

W. Dolby, Don Bentley, Bob Anderson and many more

“A I could print nothing but complaints like this for a week, as readers and some cops say a growing number of drivers are ignoring the hands-free law that went into effect July 1. The CHP has issued more than 35,000 tickets statewide, a figure that does not include citations from city police departments.

What’s happening here is what happened in New York when that state banned hand-held phones in 2001. Motorists heeded the law for a while, but police issued 142,000 tickets that year. Now, the tally is about 270,000 a year.

Going hands-free has some advantages, with a recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California showing that motorists with two hands on the wheel have lower crash rates when in heavy traffic or driving in bad weather. But other studies show that driving while on a cell phone is dangerous, be it hands-free or not. Overall, reaction times slow so badly when talking on the phone while behind the wheel that it’s similar to driving drunk. You see drivers running red lights, going much slower than the pace of traffic, and doing so many stupid things. So get off the phone — period!

Two thoughts: The $100 fine for a first offense is too low and needs to be at least doubled. And this should be made a moving violation that would send a driver to traffic school or face higher insurance costs.” Gary Moore, Roadshow: Abuse of hands-free cell phone law appears widespread. MercuryNews.Com (Article now under archives)

Things to learn from all this:

1.  Current fines, at $100 for the first offense,  are just too low to effect change in people’s behaviors.   Au contraire, an initial fine of $300 or more for the first offense, like gas at  the $4 a gallon price-point, seems to be the critical point-of-pain at which people will start to change  habits.

2. In addition to increased fines, the state needs to make offenses a moving violation with points assessed on the driver’s record. This results in increased insurance costs. Truism:  Most drivers are  more afraid of their insurance man in a Brooks Brothers suit than a cop hiding in the bushes with a radar gun.

3.  People are probably too comfy in their ability to not be spotted by cops. Like the seat-belt law, the cell phone law requires intimate visual contact before a person can be pulled over and cited for a violation. A paradigm shift will occur only when local, county and state police engage in massive enforcement campaigns with hundreds of police in unmarked cars busting offenders left right and center.

Handicap: The exceptions given to police and “emergency personell” to use cell phones without headset devices has really taken the edge or moral  persuasiveness of the cause behind this law. As in the case of emergency parking,  it is really doubtful that every policeman yapping on a cell phone without a headset is on a emergency call.

According to an MSNBC report: “New York, the first state to enact a hands-free law in 2001, reported 1,170 crashes from 2001 through 2006 where handheld cell phones were considered a factor, versus 214 involving hands-free devices, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.”

copyright© 2008

Brock Lesnar vs Randy Couture makes a mockery of its billing as the biggest fight in UFC history

Brock Lesnar, new UFC heavyweight champion.

The Brock: Brock Lesnar, new UFC heavyweight champion. Big fists, big & bigger expectations. How will he be accepted by MMA hard core fans?

For better or worse, Brock Lesnar is built like a cartoon action hero; with the down side being that people expect him to move like one too. So when he moves cautiously and tentatively as was the case in last night’s title fight against Randy Couture, he ends up looking like a dud, even in victory. This is exactly what happened at the much hyped and curiously anticipated UFC 91 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV last night (Nov. 15, 2008).

Lesnar’s “victory” came in at 3.07 minutes of round two after a glancing blow to the head (behind Couture’s left ear) brought the aging champion down.
Lesnar moved in on the supine Couture with a series of awkward one-handed chops to the face which led the referee to jump in and stop the fight.

This sudden end did nothing to spice up a fight which had been characterized more by droll clinches than by brilliant punches or holds. (Even the lack-luster under-card produced more thrilling moments than the ballyhooed marquee event. That is just how bad things were last night.) What will forever stick in my mind is the picture of a suddenly energized Lesnar, frantically and awkwardly wailing on Couture with the edge of his hand like a school girl. Like they say down in Texas, “It darn wa’rnt pretty that pi’ture.”

Still a legend in the eyes of MMA stalwarts.

Randy Couture: Still a legend in the eyes of MMA stalwarts.

Colonial, a fan at MMA Fanhouse describes these strikes as “cheesy little hammerfists haven’t knocked anyone out yet. He looks like he is hitting for points rather than damage most of the time.

Lesnar walked away with the belt, but not the aura of the man he had just defeated. The fight was not what the peanut gallery had paid to see ….. Definitely not the stuff of its wet dreams.

Monsieur Couture, au contraire, walked away a winner just for standing up to a brute who was supposed to pound him into the ground and wipe the octagon with his blood. He has nothing to be ashamed of concerning his showing in this contest. If anything, he proved that MMA has a cadre of technicians – erstwhile custodians of skills and values that transcend brute force. The old lion had to contend with a size and age differential of 50 pounds and 14 years respectively. The 15-month break from fighting was probably the least of Couture’s disadvantages because , as he said in his post-fight interview, his training was as close to the real deal as anyone could get outside the actual octagon.

Meanwhile, smarmy Dana White has a problem to contend with. If he was looking for a new poster boy for hi the heavyweight division, he struck out last night because Brock Lesnar ain’t it. He may have the pumped-up pecs for it, but he sorely lacks the style and substance to be “The One” in the way Chuck Liddell perhaps was. Love or hate Chuck’s one trick schtick, he put most of his opponents away with a pizazz that lent a lot “schizzle” to MMA in general and UFC in particular.

The fact of the matter is that Lesnar now has an element of the Mike Tyson problem after Buster Douglas bust his chops and Evander Holyfield exposed his vulnerabilities. The aura of presumed invincibility left Lesnar the day Frank Mir put a sneaky leg lock on him and the Heath Herring drew him out into a rope-a-dope snoozer of a fight. Lesnar has come to be the MMA equivalent of a Shaquille O’Neal; a man who wins games but doesn’t have what it takes to be the quintessential symbol of the NBA a la Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James or Kevin Garnet. The same Shaq who is as famous for winning games for his team is also known as for tossing bricks at the free-throw line.(Remember “hack a Shaq“?) Barring some mercurial transformation of his chops (no pun intended), Lesnar seems destined for that checkered reputation; i.e. being valued more for his heft than his sharpness. It’s not good enough for what Dana White has in mind for his flagship organization, and it certainly isn’t good enough for what Lesnar traded in when he left the WWE ring.

Meanwhile Randy has some thinking to do. Noone who saw him last night thought he didn’t have one or two fights left in him. However with so much new talent coming into the UFC/MMA, he needs to be plotting a more dignified exit before he encounters his own Ken Shamrock or Royce Gracie moment.

Lesnar pounds on a prone Couture after a blow behind left ear felled the aging champion.

Frenzied coup de gras: Lesnar pounds on a prone Couture after a blow behind left ear felled the aging champion.

UFC 91: Brock Lesnar vs Randy Couture – Prediction: TKO in round one

It is either Lesnar bouncing Couture off the octagon floor and raining those Cro-Magnon fists on his head till the referee jumps in and stops the fight in the first round or a rope-a-dope match a la Lesnar vs Herring, in which case the odds will favor Couture winning this fight. It’s that simple.

Couture winning this match will prolong the nascent excitement in the heavy weight division and set the stage towards the much drummed up Fedor Emelianenko/Randy Couture match-up.

UFC 91: Tonight’s fight live from Las Vegas 9pm EST and 7pm PST and on pay per view, is the biggest fight in the heavyweight division in a long time, (but as CNN’s Ben Fowlkes rightly points out, its undercard sucks lemons.) Couture, a legend and all-round nice guy cemented his reputation when he showed the chinks in Chuck “the Iceman” Liddell’s armor. This is a guy whose stand-up game is almost as good as his prodigious wrestling skills. On the ground, the Couture will prevail. But first, he will have to weather and survive the hyper-physical barrage of Brock Lesnar; the most formidable athlete the UFC has ever known. Lesnar is to Couture, what Drago was to Rocky: a spectral specimen of near pure physicality. And he has the speed and agility of someone in a much lighter division. Couture has a bigger chance of being seriously hurt or bruised in this fight.

So I am putting my money on Lesnar. TKO in the first round; which is gonna be a real problem for fans forking out $45 for pay per view, given the relative obscurity of the undercard. Dana White should have given more thought to this, but he is as he has always been; a tool.

Renaissance versus Cro-magnon man. Sorry ...

Couture (left) and Lesnar (right)a: Renaissance man versus Cro-magnon man and experience versus youth.

UPDATE: My post stands as is – the way it was posted 8 hours before the fight on 11/15/08. The fight is done. My prediction was right, although I was off by one round. Lesnar won in round two instead of one as I had predicted. What I failed to foresee was just how dull the fight was gonna be. The boys at UFC went too crazy with the hype soup. See my report on that here.

Oprah Winfrey: Think Angelina Jolie with an Obama Boost ….

Like it or not, Oprahs stock has just gotten  a major boost from the other Big O

Schmooze-licious Big "O", putting the WIN in Winfrey: Inadvertent or not, Oprah's stock has just gotten a major boost from the other "Big O".

Now that Barack Obama has won, people will forgive Oprah ….The ones who held her support of Barack Obama against her that is. It has to do with the psychology or sociology of winning. People love winners, and the people who back them. If not, they tolerate them. And the reason for doing this may have something to do with the surmise that those who back winners know something everyone else doesn’t.

Forget that she has become the most powerful woman to rule the media roost. The capital she has at this point is something other people only dream about. Barring some scandal or unforgivable foible, Oprah’s Obama gambit has just positioned her to transcend her native realm and chart new paths beyond fame and fortune. Think Angelina Jolie with an “Obama Boost”. It sounds like a Jamba Juice smoothie, doesn’t it? © 2008 Cyberaxis – Dendroaspips Polylepis

Post-election crow is best served cold: The confessions of Elizabeth Hasselback

Flip flop much? The View co-host & McCain campaigner does a 180 degrees on Obama

Flip flop much? The View co-host & McCain-Palin campaigner does a 180 degrees on Obama

For shrill ingenue and right-wing sound-box, Elizabeth Hasselback (nee Filarski), it was the talk show equivalent of taking “the morning after pill” …… or downing some potent nostrum after a sorority binge.

The occasion was the day after Barack Obama’s stunning victory in the presidential election with the vacuous blonde set to eat post election crow after her screechy defense of the McCain/Palin ticket. The issue was not whether she had the right to support or campaign for the McCain/Palin or not, but what sentiments she would express in the wake of a historic election that had unleashed a tidal wave of joy throughout the land. Remember that the unarticulated subtext of this dialogue – even on the level of quasi-entertainment – had always been race; that is when people listen to Elizabeth Hasselback on “The View”, are they just dealing with her so-called conservative views, or are we dealing with something motivated or tinged with race or racism. That is the element that “sub-texturally” places Hasselback in the hot seat with Whoopi, Joyce and Barbara in one corner and Hasselback in the other.
To the credit of Whoopi, Joyce and Barbara they showed a lot of grace in victory; eschewing the adage that crow is best served cold:

Barbara didn’t waste time ribbing Hasselback though. “All eyes are on you,” said Walters turning the Resident Republican on the show. She opened a gusher with that one. Hasselback launched into spin or confessional mode (depending on your view.) Before long she was claiming victory too and declaring that Barack Obama was indeed a gifted man. Out of the mouths of babes indeed ……

Just two quick points of detail:

1.  As if symbolism mattered to anyone beyond her make-believe world, Elizabeth was wearing drab black. Yes she was.  And if you listen carefully you can see that she is tripping all over herself to make her points in the space given her by Barbara.

2. Elizabeth’s response had all the ear-marks of a canned speech, carefully calculated to make her look like  she was celebrating the historicity of Obama’s election and bequeathing to her daughter values of inclusiveness.  If this clip doesn’t show the nakedly manipulative side of Elizabeth Hasselback that was also patently on view when Michelle Obama visited “The View”,  then I don’t know what does.

Check both clips out and be your own judge.  Now concerning the post-election clip, please note that the ABC video below is way clearer than the Youtube one following it:

A-a-h, the loutish shrew, chastized by the prod and prong of circumstance. Amazing to watch. Amazing to watch indeed.