Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve Day...The Quiet Before the Storm

It's 2010 in Australia already, but still early afternoon here in NYC.  I've sent an e-mail to a number of friends around the U.S. and some foreign countries (China, England, Greece) soliciting from each a photo of their New Year's Eve celebrations.  Most will probably be sedate affairs, dinner at home or at a friend's house (I'm getting old and so are those I hang with...)  Maybe shots of kids and pets.  But one or two may take us by surprise, we'll see. I'll post the best of them tomorrow, but not too early, of course...

I feel obligated to provide a picture with each post (they're boring enough without a photo, I know...) so here's one of my street in Gramercy Park, I took it 30 minutes ago:

We had a bit of snow overnight, as you can see, but not much. 

When you start giving the weather report on your blog, you know that you're getting old.  And your post is getting boring.  I'll save the traffic report for another time.  Speaking of which, I have to get moving, I'm heading to my sister's house at the Jersey Shore for the weekend.  

One of the problems with having a blog is that when someone sees your posting, they'll know what you're up to, including why you're late.  It would be tough to fool someone with the standard excuses when they know you were "wasting" time posting. 

I hope my sister doesn't have more snow shoveling for me to do.  The ideal situation would be if I could figure out a way rig up a shovel to the Lucifer-animal known as Sophie the Blog Dog.  I'll work on it and post the results if worthwhile. 

I hope you all have a joyful, healthy and prosperous 2010. 

P.S. As you can see, I'm experimenting with font sizes and colors on this post.  Even a blog entry on a boring topic can be (somewhat) interesting!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Holiday Dinner With Insurance Friends

It's a boring title but it'll get better, hang in here.  I'm under pressure to post everyday, the readers are demanding it, corporate is demanding it, the sponsors are demanding it and Google is demanding it, so please be tolerant...thanks.

Last night we held our eighth annual, or so -- nobody remembers precisely how long it's been -- holiday dinner among a group of friends. We all worked together at a formerly-admired-but-now-vilified financial institution in the 1990s.  I won't say the name, but I will tell you that none of us caused the company's problems.  I left there in 2002, so I'm really above suspicion.  And it has paid back much of the government bailout money already, so back off Mr. Disgruntled Taxpayer.  Thank you. 

Below is a partial photo of the dinner crowd from last night.  We ate at Harry's Italian on Gold Street in Manhattan.  They served up some pretty good grub, but don't consider that an official restaurant review.  I'll write some restaurant reviews in the future but they'll be much more comprehensive than merely "pretty good grub."  I know, you can't wait.  KFC will make the cut.  I hope you're not disappointed.

Back to our dinner. We had a great time, as always.  A recent tradition at this dinner involves me inventing stupid bars games upon which a few of us wager.  Usually these contests involve things like olives, ashtrays (when bars still had them), toothpicks, coins, etc.  This year I decided to get really innovative, so I paid a visit to the local dollar store.  It's on the southside of 23rd Street near 2nd Avenue in NYC.  If you live or work here, I'd advise that you not waste your time on this particular store.  Nonetheless, I purchased, among other things (even a bad dollar store can get my business), a pair of goggles and a ladies' bra.  And, in case you're wondering, no, it wasn't the bra of the lady working the register, it was a brand new bra.  Most people don't expect that you would find a bra at a dollar store.  It actually set me back $4.99  -- it's not a true dollar store -- those liars! I purposely left the price tag on the bra so that nobody at the dinner would suspect that I had stolen it from a female acquaintance, paid or otherwise. 

The woman at the register shot me a cold look when I made the purchase, one of those "I know you're a total pervert and I shudder to think what you're going to do with this when you get it home" kind of looks.  You know the one I'm talking about, you get it regularly.  Or am I the only one? 

I'll bet the cashier imagined hearing the bra pleading with her to not sell it as she was stuffing it into the bag.  Too bad.  I forked over my money and made off with my overpriced bounty.   

I brought the bra and goggles to dinner, along with a super ball, which I had at home already (doesn't everyone?)  A bolt of inspiration led me to devise a game involving the bouncing of the super ball off the bar (from behind a line designated by a straw) and into a cup of the bra while the bra rested on top of a pint beer glass.  One bra cup was folded over on top of the other, so only a single cup would be in play.  We used American rules, not European or Olympic, which, as you know, differ.

If a player managed to keep the super ball in the bra cup, he got a full point [I know I should use the politically correct he/she designation but only males play this game.]  If the ball hit the bra cup and bounced out, the player earned half a point.  If the non-throwing opponent, who had to stand behind the bra and try to catch the super ball after each attempt, touched the ball and it bounced off his hand and behind the bar, then the ball thrower (shooter? we'll go with that...) was awarded an additional one-half point.  To make it more interesting, and more complicated, the shooter had to wear the googles.  They gave everything a distorted bluish look.  Here's a picture of champion Bra-And-Super-Baller Mike Kambos shortly after the game:

I posted that photo in an extra large format so as to cause Mike extra large embarassment.  Incidentally, he only won $5.00; that wad of cash that he's so proudly displaying was everyone's share of the cost of dinner.  If you ask me, and I'm sure you would if you could, he looks somewhat like a mentally disturbed aviator from the 1940s.  Charles Lindbergh is rolling over in his grave.

The game had to be cancelled during the second match after the ball bounced out of the bra cup and into oblivion.  Our zealous search efforts, which even took me into the main dining room of the restaurant, yielded nothing.  I believe that one of the restaurant's staff, who objected to our commandeering half the bar surface for our rowdy-and-inane game, became annoyed and simply hid the ball from us.  Personally, I've cleared the bartender from suspicion because she was quite amused by our antics and enjoyed watching. 

I'm thinking of offering this new sport on pay-per-view. I'll need a catchy name, maybe "Bras-ketball."  I'll work on that and get back to you.  Maybe we'll even start a nationwide Bra-sketball league.  I'm not sure if using a hyphen in the name is too heavy-handed of an attempt to call attention to the clever pun.  I'll have to run a focus group on that.  Maybe we'll call the league the National Bra-Sketball ASSociation (NBA).     

Bra-sketball, as you would guess, was a highlight of the night.  Here are some more photos:

This picture depicts George, Ray and Ron. I know that it looks like George, on the left, was sleeping.  But, in fact, he was just resting up before unleashing a torrent of activity on the crowd.  Or maybe he was thinking "If I close my eyes LG will go away..."

Because of the way I formatted this photo I need to fill this white space on the left side with something even though I have nothing further to say about this picture.  These sentences now are merely filler until we get to the bottom, sorry.  It's like all the celery that you get in Chinese food at certain restaurants.  Think about that next time you order a Chinese meal with vegetables in it. Count the pieces of celery.  See, this space wasn't such a waste afterall!

This is a picture of Ron, Anthony and Leslie.  I'm not using last names because none of these people gave me their permission to post their photos on this blog and when they find out that I did, at least they'll be happy that last names weren't used.  Ron's facial expression was a result of him being told  told that he'd be denied access to The LG Report on  Boy was he mad!  Seconds after the photo was snapped, I told him that I was only kidding.  He breathed a huge sigh of relief and calmed down.  You can imagine how angry that would make a person!  Luckily you have not been denied access and can click on this blog as often as you'd like.

That's it for this posting.  All good things must come to an end.  But check back frequently, or, better yet, register to be a "follower" and you'll automatically get an e-mail notifying you each time a new post goes up, what could be better than that?!  It's more ingenious than those mountains that turn blue on the Coors can. What a dumb marketing ploy that is: If you can't feel how cold a can is with your hand, then you've probably hit your limit of beers for the night...  

See you next time kidz. 


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Hell in New York City

Most likely this will not be a news flash to you: during the holiday season Manhattan is more crowded, inconvenient and louder than ever.  Long lines are everywhere. There are lines to get in line. Disoriented out-of-town drivers cause gridlock. They stop for red lights in the middle of crosswalks, causing pedestrian bedlam.  Prices are high and tolerances are low. Your chance of getting a cab is about the same as spotting a unicorn. In short, it's Hell on Earth. 

It's also the time of year when, if you live in New York City like I do, everyone you know wants to come to visit.  

The Harringtons came to NYC to visit me today.  I actually like these people.  Love them, really.  In fact, almost too much to embarass them on my blog.  Note, I said "almost." 

Tim is my college buddy.  Jen is his lovely wife and Colleen (junior in high school) and Brian (sophomore) are their kids. I am Brian's confirmation sponsor.  He selected me from among hundreds of candidates.  Good head on that kid.

Here's a picture of Brian in the new hat that he bought today.  He's trying to get admitted to a special school in Russia for kids who can't open their eyes.  These kids guide themselves around using a sixth sense that emanates from their tongues, sort of like a human divining rod.  The hat looks wollen but is made of a reinforced fiberglass that protects his noodle when he falls off his chair in school, which normally occurs six or eight times a day.  None of that is true, actually, but it looks plausible, doesn't it? Brian is one of the top students in his class...but you'd never guess it from this photo!

I promised Brian that if he'd trust me enough to let me take his picture in a goofy pose, I wouldn't publish it on my blog.  As his confirmation sponsor, I feel a responsibility to teach him about being too trusting of people.  It's called tough love.

He'll probably be in the market for a new confirmation sponsor tomorrow.  It doesn't pay much, but you get bragging rights (I try to take credit for his academic success and you will too.)

The Harringtons live on the Coast.  That's the West Coast, although you're probably cool enough to know that since you're reading this uber-cool blog.   

My visitors are actually staying in New Jersey with Jen's parents.  They are very cool people, good New Jersey Italians, and I love seeing them.  Unfortunately they couldn't make it into the city on this trip. [Note: I'll have something to say about the MTV Show "Jersey Shore" in a future blog, stay tuned.] 

Here's a picture of the happy Harrington family at Rockefeller Center earlier today:

This photo was snapped just a few moments before CALAMITY STRUCK! 

But I'll get to that in a minute. I know I scared you with the capitals and boldfacing.  Sorry, it's a literary effect and this is a literary blog.

Earlier in the day, I joined up with my visitors on Canal Street in Lower Manhattan.  Our mission was to wrestle with the unwashed crowds for a variety of counterfeit and probably-stolen items.  We're talking jewelry, handbags, watches, t-shirts, you know, life's essentials. I've never been to one, but my guess is that Canal Street is like an Egyptian baazar...on steriods.

Here's a glimpse of Canal Street:

This photo is somewhat misleading, it doesn't convey the full sense of anarchy and aggression.  See the guy in the yellow sandwich board on the right?  I'll be he's spent time in a prison camp.  He's gotta be on a no fly list. And, most likely, he's wearing an electronic monitoring device (fake Cartier, of course.)  I think I see an Uzi peeking out from under that sandwhich board. 

I snapped a picture of Colleen as some guy was trying to sell her a designer handbag.  I noticed the name on it was "Pradaa" but I didn't say anything (that's Colleen's confirmation sponsor's job, not mine.)  When I went to show the photo to Colleen on my Blackberry, the guy leaned way over to get a look.  He clearly wanted to make sure that he wasn't in the picture.  I don't know what he would've done if he had been, but I doubt I'd be writing this blog right now.  I'd probably still be looking for my fingers on Canal Street.

Tim (see tree photo above; he's the guy in women's ear muffs in the back row) had one job to perform today. One job.  His sister Kaya and her two adorable little girls, Laura and Mia, are visiting from Utica.  They're also staying in New Jersey.  Tim drove everyone to the NJ bus station in Kaya's car this morning so that they could take the bus into NYC.  Tim's ONE JOB was to hold onto Kaya's car key for the day.  Just a single key, that's all.

He failed.

Do me a favor and look closely at the picture of Canal Street to see if you can find the key. We think it's there somewhere.  If you have magnifying software, that might help.  You didn't expect a "Where's Waldo"-type exercise in this posting, did you?

Tim put the key in the shallow "change pocket" of his jeans for safekeeping.  This is also known as the "fifth pocket" or, by those in the garment industry, the "Bermuda Triangle Pocket," from which things disappear.

Tim apparently didn't know of the 5th pocket's vulnerability. 

As we stood in the bone-chilling cold shortly after the Rockefeller Center photo was taken, Tim announced that he'd lost the key.  It was like the kid from "A Christmas Story" getting shot in the eye with his BB gun.  Everyone knew it would happen.  In hindsight, anyway.  Tim thinks he might have lost the key while getting his wallet out to buy that genuine Rolex watch on Canal Street for $40.  When I see how cheaply a vendor with no overhead can sell a Rolex, it frosts my cake to think that they mark them up by about $10,000 at real jewelry stores.  What a rip-off.  

To make an already too-long-story short(er), Tim called Kaya's husband Dave in Utica, who, I'm sure, never expected to be mentioned in a major international blog (I have a Canadian follower) like this, and asked him to Fedex a spare key to Kaya in New Jersey.  All should be well tomorrow.

In the aftermath of the lost key we stopped for hot chocolates.  I tried to cheer Tim up and make him forget that he lost the key by doing things like mentioning my recent trip to Key West and the Florida Keys.  I also asked his sister if she has an account at Key Bank. Then I drew two pictures of keys and left one on Tim's chair when he went to the men's room and put the other into his glove.  Sometimes I like to rub things in. I'm usually a good friend, but not always.

The Harringtons are flying home on Wednesday.  They'll have a very long security line to endure given recent developments.  It will probably be made more difficult when the TSA agent finds that $5 Canal Street switchblade that I slipped into Tim's inner coat pocket while he was in the men's room at the hot chocolate place.  I hope he calls to tell me the whole story, if he's still speaking to me after he reads this.  That tale will make a good blog posting and, as you know, all I care about is entertaining you, dear readers. 

I could've easily slipped the switchbalde into Tim's change (5th) pocket, but, as everyone knows, it would've fallen out long before he got to the airport. 

Thanks for reading today's post.  Tim: I'll call you next week to apologize.  And, no, you can't delete a blog entry from this site once it's posted, sorry.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The LG Report: The Inaugural Blog

Sure, it's a cheap move to lead your blog entry with a close up of a cute dog (name to be revealed down below, so keep reading animal lovers...) I know that.  And, clearly, I'm not above it.  Hopefully I have you hooked by now.  Don't make me resort to more cute animal photos.

"The LG Report” may sound a bit too pretentious for a blog title.  Maybe it's a bit too Anderson Cooper-ish.  Any guy with a last name for a first name is pretentious in my book (but not chicks, e.g. Taylor Dane, Whitney Houston and Taylor Swift are all good by me.) Maybe I should go with LG360. Nah, that's sort of taken already (Note: I couldn't figure out how to get that degree symbol inserted after the 360, maybe that alone proves that AC is a smart guy.)  Actually it just shows that the pampered SOB has a good tech staff.  I love Anderson Cooper and if he ever reads this I hope he mentions my blog on air.

Confession: I’ve spun around the dial a bit and I must admit that I don’t fully understand the blogosphere yet. I’ve been writing a blog on an insurance industry website (and I still may be doing so if they haven’t cut off my access yet), but this is my first general interest (read: general interest to me) blog. This site has a different feel from the insurance site, as well as different controls, applications, procedures, etc. The world is complicated, I know. And it ain’t getting any simpler.

If you disagree with me, just fill out Comment Form #45DE843-23 in 10-point Times New Roman font and send it to me via high-speed HTML submission with a Windows 7.0 interface beta oscillator code. That didn’t make sense, I know, you don’t have to tell me.  Don't expect a lot of "sense" here.

Second confession: I was initially attracted to by the originality of its domain name. Someone really strained their creative muscles to come up with that one. “” for a blogging site? Pure genius. “Madmen” could use that type of creativity [Note: continued sarcasm like this may get me kicked off before I have a chance to reach my ambitious goal of 10 "followers."]

Third confession: I once picked up these two hot nurses who were hitch hiking after a rodeo and.  Sorry, I forgot this blog is G-rated. 

My blog will contain a mish mash, hodge podge, grab bag and cornucopia (I could riff all day with the synonyms, but I’m sure you get the idea) of various ramblings: book, movie and travel reviews, political and other opinions, and a wide variety of miscellaneous topics. There’s a not a laser focus here, and there probably never will be. One friend advised me that to be a successful blogger I would need to pick a theme and stick with it (e.g. politics, cooking, religion, college basketball, etc.) I’m not known for following suggestions, especially good ones. So there will be no consistent theme here, although there will be humor (or attempts thereat) throughout. How many other blogs use the word “thereat?” Not many. And the other ones that do aren’t worth your time. When it comes to entertaining blog posts, find them here at, not thereat. I know that's a strained and awkward use of those words, it will be an occurrence common hereat. 

I think that Larry the Cable Guy is pretty funny. If you disagree, you might not like this blog. I don’t have allegiance to particular politicians or a single political party, but when it comes to stuff like Larry the Cable Guy and movies like “Animal House” and “Dumb and Dumber,” I don’t tolerate differing views. Sorry to be so rigid. I’m only bringing up Larry the Cable Guy because one of his high-brow movies happens to be on as I type (I don’t know the title, but I think it’s one of those Merchant Ivory/Elizabethan period pieces.) This is the type of totally random inspiration that I’ll be pumping into the gas tank of this blog.

I think that blogs are infinitely more interesting if they contain pictures. Especially when those pictures are accompanied by funny or facetious captions. In accord with that philosophy, I am inserting some random pictures in this first post.

I will have some high-quality pictures to post soon, when my friend Stan, a photographer extraordinaire, sends me some of his most excellent shots of Key West. I will be writing a Key West travelogue piece, (bold faced to get you excited about what's to come; feel free to bookmark this site!) replete with recommendations for places to stay, eat and drink. I will also mention the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum, although not in depth, so don’t get your hopes up (if you did, in fact, get your hopes up over that, you will love this blog.) I know that you are on the edge of your set. I’ll wait while you center yourself…

OK, so here are the random pix:

This is my friend Chris. He lives in Boston. That’s not really a relevant fact but I’m not restricting my postings to relevant facts. He is the one who advised me to pick a single theme for this blog. He looks intimidating in this photo, makes you want to hide your wallet and walk the other way. He’s so scary-looking that Chuck Norris asked to have Chris’s picture accompany his obituary. But, in real life (non-blog life, that is) Chris is not scary at all. I think that holding the camera low, aiming upwards and sporting a new beard makes him look like a bigger, tougher badass. I don’t think “badass” is a real word but, nonetheless, I hope the creative geniuses at don’t censor it. If they do, I will send Chris to see them.

This is a shot of my sister Maria’s sidewalk (call her “Marie” if you’d like a 50-yard field-goal strength kick in the crotch) at the Jersey Shore the day after the recent snowstorm (Saturday, December 19, 2009.) I posted this photo on another blog that I write and I was accused of intimating that I shoveled this sidewalk myself. I didn’t, so don’t think that you’re smoking me out because I'm admitting it: a snow blower did this. But I did spend hours shoveling her driveway and deck. I have no photos of those because I was too exhausted after that back-breaking work to snap a photo. It was brutal work. Prisoners on chaing gangs don't work that hard.  I know, I watch "Raw" on the Discovery Channel. Those guys are wusses.  Chris could take them.

This is a shot of Sophie the Blog Dog (she’s in the foreground) and Jake. Sophie is six months old and is featured repeatedly on another prominent national blog, which is how she acquired her nickname.  She's also the dog featured at the top of this blog.  The paparazzi hound her everywhere she goes (obvious pun intended.) This is not a good photo of Sophie.  She’s actually very cute despite the fact that she’s the offspring of Lucifer and will gnaw your shirt buttons off if given the slightest chance.  I’m in the process of negotiating rights for some of her glam shots. One of them is a Marilyn Monroe redux picture where Sophie is standing on an air duct and her collar is being blown up around her ears from below.

Jake, eight years old, is very docile and friendly, save for the occasional hump of your leg with his razor sharp claws. Chuck Norris would like a picture of Jake’s paws to accompany his obituary. I guarantee you that Jake could hump Chuck Norris until he yelled "Uncle!" 

So that’s it for my inaugural post.

Please spread the word to anyone who you think may enjoy wasting their time reading a bunch of inane and pretentious crap seasoned with sophomoric humor (but there will be some interesting photos…) If I get a certain number of readers the Energizer Bunny will appear on your computer screen and Bill Gates will send you to Disneyland to claim your free laptop from Sanyo and your inheritance from your long-lost Nigerian relative. And if you find any of this amusing but don't want to have to keep clicking in periodically to see if a new post is up, you can simply sign up as a "follower" and an e-mail will be sent to you automatically when there's something new to read.

I haven’t settled on my stock sign-off phrase yet (by all means feel free to post a comment with a suggestion. As I've already admitted, if it’s a good one, I probably won’t listen…) so for now I’ll just go with "Thanks for stopping by."  And I mean it.