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a substitute blogumn by Jersey Joe

Ryan is continuing his internship on the International Space Station, but due to the volcano in Europe, he is unable to return from orbit, therefore you once again get to enjoy the rants of everyone’s favorite fill-in — Jersey Joe!


Anything by Betty White

Photo Credit: Abbey Hambright

She’s 88 years old, but the first lady of television keeps rolling out the hits!

Last Saturday, I watched one of the finest episodes of Saturday Night Live ever produced.  Betty had been asked several times over the years to host and now in 2010, after a massive Facebook campaign, she finally said yes.  We were all delightfully treated to Betty as McGruber’s grandmother, a heavy metal version of “The Golden Girls” theme song, and even the parody “CSI: Sarasota.”

It’s amazing to see her handle live television in our decade, with the same wit and professionalism as she did back in the 1950’s.  Now, I wasn’t alive back then, but I have seen her numerous appearances in repeats over the years.  But, watching her Saturday night, she didn’t miss a beat.  No flubbed lines, no awkward pauses, and just darn funny.  You would never know she’s 88!

Betty’s best known television roles were as Sue Anne Nevins on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (for which she won two Emmys) and her greatest role, as St. Olaf’s Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls (which also landed her another Emmy).

I can remember watching all those Golden Girls episodes with my grandmother on NBC Saturday nights.  Now, they are on all day on cable.  I must admit, I needed to grow up a bit to really appreciate it and get some of the more adult jokes the show had peppered in back then.  But, that’s just one part of the equation that made The Golden Girls a truly good show.

Betty has been a staple of television since her first role in the 1950’s.  Besides acting, she’s a regular game show panelist and contestant.  In fact, her late husband, Allen Ludden, was the long time host of “Password.”  (Betty appeared in the “Million Dollar Password” 2009 revamp last year.)

As a game show celebrity panelist, she will also do whatever it takes to make sure the contestant goes home with the most money.  She’s there to play the game, not to ham it up for the camera.  Now, she will throw in a few zingers here and there, but not to the point where it interrupts the game.  If you see her on The Game Show Network while flipping through channels, stop and watch.

As an actress, she has played a wide variety of characters.  From dimwitted Rose on The Golden Girls to a regular occurring role as a murderer on Boston Legal, she’s definitely not a one trick pony.  She has a wide range and makes the characters absolutely believable with every performance.

One of the biggest surprises of the year was seeing her getting tackled in the mud for a Snickers commercial that aired during Super Bowl XLIV.  She’s rolling around in the mud… can you believe that?  It brought my Super Bowl party to instant laughter!

She’s also starring in a pilot for TV Land called Hot in Cleveland.  This show is set to air this fall.

Last month, she did an interview on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  Fallon asked where she had been all these years.  Her reply: “I never left!”  And she’s right!  She’s 88, her star still shines brightly, and I look forward to seeing her for a long time to come.


Ride a Train

Photo Credit: Ben and Rachel Apps

I am fortunate.  I don’t have to pay high gas prices for the most part, since I take commuter rail and the subway to work everyday.  But, a recent conversation I had with a friend got me thinking.  It would be fun to take a trip across the US, in a good old-fashioned train.

I would love to take a few days, just sit back, and admire the scenery while the train rolls along the track to some distant destination.  Everything I need would be there: an oversized seat, a bed in the sleeper car, W-Fi access, power ports, and most even have a restaurant and lounge.  Now, I realize that it’s not the most efficient mode of travel, but it would be for pure relaxation.

I looked at Amtrak’s website and I could leave New York on a Wednesday morning and be in Los Angeles on Saturday morning.  I would have to change trains at least twice; once in Washington DC and once in Chicago.  The entire cost is $387.00 and takes 67 hours 30 minutes.  It’s a little pricey, but I hope it would be less of a hassle than dealing with the airport.

The days of extended passenger rail service across the US are still here, but it’s shrinking by the day.  I’m not planning on taking this trip anytime soon, but I think it would be nice just to take second, and look back at how we used to cross country travel before the automobile and Interstate.



I should have known better.  I really should have.  The trailer looked terrible, the reviews weren’t so hot, friends said it stunk; but I rented the Blu-Ray of “2012.”  Man did I make a mistake.

I had no choice but to wait this long.  The Blu-Ray/DVD release was on March 2nd, but it was stuck in my Netflix cue until last week.

If you haven’t seen it — DON’T!!!  The entire thing is just bad.  The special effects are so over the top, they’re laughable.  How many collapsing houses and underpasses can we drive through without getting hurt?  How many more times do we have to stop and explain what’s going on with the kids?  And really, if the end of the world is coming, don’t you think you’d put your domestic dispute aside, so you don’t, well, die!?!?!

Writer/director Rolland Emmerich has proven that he knows how to destroy the world.  I thought Independence Day with the aliens here to destroy the planet plot, was fun and a good concept.  The Day After Tomorrow, where global warming freezes most of the northern hemisphere, was just plain weird and the characters were bad.  But now, 2012 has hit the bottom of the barrel.

I couldn’t even recommend this film as mindless fun.  It really got on my nerves. This film had the ultimate ad campaign built right in; with the buzz over the approaching of the year 2012 and the end of the Mayan calendar.  This really could have been something, but all around it was so weak, it was a waste of my time and money.