Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Take your pick

* Fascinating and frightening. That's the way I'd describe last night's Piers Morgan program on CNN. It featured an incredible appearance by extreme gun advocate and radio talk show host Alex Jones, who has been spearheading a campaign to get Morgan, a Brit, deported due to his stance on gun control. Watch for yourself here. It will make your jaw drop.

* I'm already on record as saying the Journal News newspaper's decision to print a data base of gun permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties could have used more context -- and that the specific names and addresses were unnecesary (although proponents make a good case when they say they'd like to know if their next-door neighbors have guns, particularly for the safety of their children). But I'm in the newspaper's corner when it comes to its ability to access what is public information. That Putnam County officials are blocking the Journal News from doing so is against the law. They and a frequently volatile state senator, whose rant against the newspaper was predictable grandstanding, can lobby to change the law. But for now, they're on the illegal dog in this fight.

* Fortunately, I don't get nearly as worked up about sports as I once did. But in my younger days, I'd have been livid after listening to a press conference like the one conducted today by New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and coach Rex Ryan. They're "excited" about the future. They're committed to fielding a winning team. They're this and that. Based on what? Nothing other than their say-so. And Johnson says Ryan will be involved with hiring a new general manager. Doesn't a coach work for the general manager? This franchise has gone backwards the last couple of years and fans can't be confident it will get better any time soon.

* I'm actually more interested in the National Hockey League than the National Football League -- yes, I'm the one. So I'm glad the lockout is over. Commissioner Gary Bettman and the owners rolled the dice with this labor dispute. The league's popularity was growing and now it's lost more than half a season. Will casual fans come back? It says here, not right away. As far as the negotiations are concerned, I believe that while money obviously was the primary issue, Bettman was not going to allow players' union executive Don Fehr emerge a winner, as Fehr often did when he ran the powerful baseball players' union. You know the old saying, "It's personal, not business." In this case, I say a lot of it was personal.

* I've already written about how NBC made the right call dumping Ann Curry from the "Today" program. But many viewers were outraged by (and sympathetic with) Curry's tearful (and defiant) farewell. They blame host Matt Lauer and that's sent his stock and the show's ratings in a nosedive. Now the network is tripping over itself with feel-good look-at-our-happy-"Today"-family commercials (as well as the on-air laugh-fests with Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales that are torn right from the playbooks of those nonsensical NFL pre-game shows on CBS and Fox). Best way to fix "Today": hard news in the first hour -- not parochial missing people stories, celebrity garbage or silliness from YouTube -- and lifestyle stuff later in the program. For now, as with the evening news, your best bets in the morning are on CBS, not NBC.

* Used frequent flyer miles to fly Business Class to Los Angeles. Plenty of room, a hot meal and other benefits up front of the plane. It will be difficult to return to coach (which, make no mistake, I will have to do). By the way, I sat behind a actress, model and former "Dancing With the Stars" contestant whose head I accidentally bumped trying to get luggage in the overhead bin. It's best I don't mention her by name.)

* Last weekend, newborn Dylan James Fusfeld in Los Angeles. This weekend, 7-year-old Elizabeth Grace Fusfeld in Connecticut. Hard to beat that.
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