"...it's like Will Rogers, Jean Shepherd and some grumpy Jewish man all rolled into one."

Thursday, April 20, 2017

What's next for poor Bill O'Reilly? Here are some suggestions.

By now you've heard that Bill O'Reilly is out at Fox News. Allegations of sexual harassment, which O'Reilly denies but, in response to, it's reported he agreed to payments totaling $13 million to settle, and compounded by a reduction in sponsorship for his eponymous program, led to his dismissal. One day you're all comfy at work, then all of a sudden the next you're being ushered out the door with a box under your arm while trying to understand how long you're eligible for COBRA coverage.

Here's the quote: “'After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,' 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, said in a statement."

Why did folks ridicule Mitt Romney so relentlessly when he said, back in 2011, "Corporations are people."? Obviously they must be if 21st Century Fox can be someone's parent. In fact, I recently received an invitation to Fox News's bar mitzvah. Such a punim on that bubbeleh!

But back to O'Reilly -- where can an alleged serial sexual harasser find employment these days? Keep in mind, he'll be armed with a personal reference from none other than our esteemed POTUS, as offered during a recent interview with the failing New York Times. Trump called O'Reilly "a good person," and went on thusly:
  • “'Personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled,' Mr. Trump told Times reporters in a wide-ranging interview. 'Because you should have taken it all the way; I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.'"
Isn't that what got O'Reilly in trouble in the first place? Not thinking he was doing anything wrong while hoping to take it all the way with these women?

Of course, the irony of Donald Trump's involvement with this issue has not gone unnoticed. As you may recall, Trump was involved in a serious kerfuffle during his campaign when he was heard, on a leaked audiotape, making inappropriate comments about Tic-Tacs. The Trump clan seems obsessed with sugary treats; son Donald Trump Jr. created a fracas of his own involving potentially poisonous Skittles. Even now -- Trump's recounting of when he told China's president about the launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles aimed at Iraq Syria took second billing to his description of "the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake" the two of them devoured. Not clear in this report was whether the two leaders split the massive dessert. If so, did they each have their own utensils, or did Trump just offer a bite from his fork while saying, "Here, Xi -- you've got to taste this!"

I wonder if Trump's support for the beleaguered commentator will lead to offering O'Reilly a position in the current administration? News reports indicate there are still hundreds, if not thousands, of unfilled government positions; surely there's got to be something here for Bill. A review of the so-called "Plum Book" indicates the following opportunities for which he may be qualified:
  • Administrator, NASA: He could prevent any of the women he's previously settled with from breaking confidentiality agreements and further tarnishing his already-damaged reputation by sending them into deep space.
  • Chairman, Board of Governors, USPS: Another good fit, since the USPS is as antiquated in today's society as O'Reilly's misogyny.
  • Administrator, General Services Administration: He has a long history of requests for a variety of services.
  • Under Secretary for NOAA: O'Reilly's current position regarding climate change is unclear, but it appears one of his favorite positions may be under a secretary. 
Of course, it's possible none of these opportunities may pan out. Fortunately, the COBRA continuation period is at least 18 months. That should give O'Reilly plenty of time to update his CV and come up with a solid, no-spin response to the inevitable question, "Why did you leave your last job?"

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Here's everything I know about wine in five minutes or (much) less

I recently retired, and am making good use of the free time I've gained by ignoring the long list of home improvement projects I promised to undertake and instead deciding to become a wine expert. Or, to use the correct term, an oenophile. Let me share what I've learned so far.

The first thing I've learned is the proper pronunciation of that term is "EE-no-file" and not, as I have long thought, "oh-NOFF-phil-lee." But I don't want to cloak myself in a mantle of pretentiousness right off the bat, so I'll refer to myself and others who share my elitist in-depth interest as "winers."

Step One in my journey was to work on developing my pallet. In order to accomplish this, I drove over to the local lumber yard where a very helpful lumberphile clarified I likely meant palate. I thanked him for his assistance, got back in the car and headed for the nearest department store, where I was certain I would find a palate in the Housewares department, next to the silverware.

There is a great deal of ceremony that accompanies the pretention presentation of a fine wine, starting with uncorking the bottle. Does the bottle have a cork, and is that cork natural or synthetic? The use of natural corks can lead to a condition called "cork taint," which means if the bottle is so afflicted then you tain't gonna serve that wine to nobody. However, these days more and more higher-end vintages are utilizing screw caps. Someone should design a cap making it easier for those with arthritis to open a bottle, like what you find on prescription vials from the pharmacy. Push down -- slight turn -- glug glug glug.

Some believe wine is improved by aerating it, which is the practice of introducing air into the wine. There are devices designed for this purpose, the use of which are recommended versus introducing wine into the air by hurtling a full glass across the room in a drunken rage.

A wine's dryness is associated with the amount of tannin in it. My evaluation of this characteristic is coming along very slowly since all I've been able to discern, in every bottle of wine I've opened so far, is its level of wetness. In an effort to improve my abilities here, I got back in the car and went to a local tannin salon. One hour and $60 later, I wasn't any better at making the distinction but did leave with a new-found appreciation for the importance of sunblock.

Wine has a language all its own. Actually, that's not true -- winers use common English words in unique and innovative ways to describe the characteristics of the fermented grape. In this context, adjectives like "angular," "opulent," and "fallen over" (which is what my wife Carol says happens after I finish my second glass) take on alternative meanings. One surprising designation is "stemmy," since I've always thought Stemmy was the designated frontman for Motörhead. A wine can be described as "chewy;" I, for one, would certainly return any bottle of wine where I had to chew what poured out of it. After delighting in a recent tasting, I told Carol I'd enjoyed a Barbera with great legs that I'd found firm, musky and voluptuous. She immediately filed for divorce, naming "Barbera" as the co-respondent.

I could go on but I've already spent enough time away from my studies. Tonight's lesson plan is to spend the evening exploring a companion I hope to find elegant, supple and a bit racy. And if turns out Carol has to work late, I'll just move on to a third glass and enjoy tripping tipping tippling on my own.