Thursday, October 29, 2009


Last night Philly Phenom Chase Utley hit two home runs to help propel the underdogs from the City of Brotherly Love to a surprising 6-1 victory over the overpaid Bronx Bombers. In doing so, Utley became the first left-handed hitter to hit two 'taters off of a left-handed pitcher in a World Series game since the mighty Bambino did so over eighty years ago.

I repeat -- this was the first time a lefty batter homered twice against left-handed pitching in the Fall Classic since October 9, 1928, when Babe Ruth accomplished the same feat off of Cardinals' pitcher Bill Sherdel.

Talk about an obscure statistic. Who keeps track of such things?

The fact remains that this is an extremely rare accomplishment which led the Staff at Needtovent to research Mr. Utley a little more, given his current celebrity status.

We like what we found...

For example, his minor league career included playing for such storied organizations as the Cotuit Kettleers and the Batavia Muckdogs. Seems like this fella thrives on obscurity. And prior to each of his plate appearances at Citizens Bank Park the public address systems plays "Kashmir" by Led Zepplin. A nice choice.

Another nice choice is his very attractive wife, Jennifer. Lookin' good...

A first game victory over the Damn Yankees is lookin' good, also, which makes me really, really crave a Philly Cheesesteak and an ice-cold Rolling Rock...

Go Phillies!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


As a follow-up to our previous posting regarding Picabo Street, Needtovent is pleased to reveal the unique design for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals. Organizers proudly declare that these medals "each feature a different crop of larger contemporary Aboriginal artworks and are undulating rather than flat -- both firsts in Games history. The dramatic form of the Vancouver 2010 medals is inspired by the ocean waves, drifting snow and mountainous landscape found in the Games region and throughout Canada."

Has the word "undulating" ever been used in a sports-related press release before? We think not.

Topography aside, we can not help but agree with Ron Judd, columnist at the Seattle Times, who described the medals as "displaying the traditional native 45RPM-record-left-on-dashboard-in-sun design."

Well, they are shiny.

Let the games begin...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Olympic medalist Picabo Street -- whose unusual first name comes from the Native American word that means "shining waters" and is pronounced "peek-a-boo" -- recently earned the respect and admiration of her local community when she headed the fund raising efforts for a much-needed addition to the Sun Valley Hospital. You see, the nearest hospital with an Intensive Care Unit was located over 150 miles away in Boise. Leading the way, Ms. Street was instrumental in securing the necessary financing for a brand new state-of-the-art intensive care wing which is now fully operational.

Yes, you guessed it, the facility is named the Picabo ICU.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


The above headline from Britain's TELEGRAPH is the most recent in the storied history of wonderful newspaper headlines from around the world. Needtovent's research staff wondered what our Top Three of all-time would be. Here, in no particular order, are the ones we selected.

HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR (New York Post, 1983 -- a story covering a rather gruesome local murder)

STICKS NIX HICK PIX (Variety, 1935 -- regarding rural moviegoers preferring urban films)

IKE 'BEATS' TINA TO DEATH (New York Post, 2007 -- article covers Ike Turner's death on December 12)

Bonus: SUPER CALEY GO BALLISTIC CELTIC ARE ATROCIOUS (The Times, UK -- covering Inverness Caledonian Thistle's huge victory over Celtic in the Scottish Cup)

Monday, October 12, 2009


Well, it might be otay for Buckwheat, but a number of black players in the National Football League do not agree.

The "ofay oaf," of course, is Mr. Rush Limbaugh who recently announced his interest in purchasing an ownership position in the St. Louis Rams professional football team. This is the same man who once declared, "Let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it." Yes you did, why not just refer to the league as the Nigerian Football League or some other derogatory term starting with an "N" and rhyming with the word "trigger"?

Big cigar, big mouth. Little doubt he's America's Number One Racist.

Here's just a few other "gems" from Rush-a-roo:

You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray [the confessed assassin of Martin Luther King]. We miss you, James. Godspeed.

I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.

The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.

Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?

O.K. -- this last one is pretty funny, we'll grant you that.

But is it otay for someone who blurts such rhetoric over the airwaves to own a major sports franchise in a league where the majority of the players are black? New York Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka is one of the first to speak out on this issue. Here's what he said:

"All I know is from the last comment I heard. He said in (President) Obama's America white kids are getting beat up on the bus while black kids are chanting 'right on.' I mean, I don't want anything to do with a team that he has any part of. He can do whatever he wants, it is a free country. But if it goes through, I can tell you where I am not going to play. I am not going to draw a conclusion from a person off of one comment, but when it is time after time after time and there's a consistent pattern of disrespect and just a complete misunderstanding of an entire culture that I am a part of, I can't respect him as a man."

Nicely said Mathias.

Needtovent suspects a few existing owners may also be prejudiced to one degree or another, but while it might be otay with Buckwheat, we predict, Mr. Limbaugh, the vote regarding ownership in the NFL may be close, but no cigar.

Friday, October 09, 2009


"If you mess up, 'fess up."

Simple words. Ones that should stand the test of time. After all, the importance and necessity of taking responsibility for one's actions is sacrosanct. Or is it?

Which brings me to the recent events surrounding David Letterman.

Apparently Mr. Letterman had a number of sexual affairs with several female employees (at least I assume they were all female). I guess CBS actually stands for you Can't Be Serious. Then again, if Marge Simpson is going to grace the November cover of PLAYBOY Magazine, then I suppose anything is possible. But honestly, folks, let's be real -- conventional aesthetics scream loud and clear that Letterman is one unfortunate-looking dude; what woman in her right mind could possibly want to have sex with him? Well, perhaps Dorothy Parker said it best:

"If all those sweet young wanna-be starlets were laid end to end I wouldn't be surprised at all."

But I digress...

What two consenting adults do behind closed doors is their business and in this case no laws of any kind were broken. Well, maybe one. And it wasn't by Letterman nor by his concubines, but by one Robert Halderman, a Producer for another CBS program -- 48 HOURS MYSTERY. According to published reports, Halderman threatened to go public with Letterman's sexual indiscretions unless he was paid $2 million. This is a rather simple business proposition, plain and simple, "Give me two million smackaroos old gap tooth or I'll divulge that you plunked your magic twanger where you shouldn't have. Accept my terms or these skeletons in your closet will be made known to the court of public opinion."

But wait -- forget the court of public opinion, it is the judicial court system that has top jurisdiction because our current laws say this is an illegal business proposition. In simple terms, the law states that one cannot threaten someone else with embarrassing, disgraceful or damaging facts about that person to the public, family, spouse or associates if asking to be paid off for not carrying out the threat. Interestingly, should one go public or tell family members about an indiscretion of some kind and does so without asking for money, it is not against the law. The way I see it, at least Mr. Halderman was giving Mr. Letterman an option -- one that he was free to accept or reject -- just like there exists in any free-market bargaining activity in contemporary society. Why it is legal to rat on someone for free but not for a fee is beyond my comprehension.

Remember, the allegations being made were true -- this is not slander. And the real issue is simply one of taking responsibility for one's actions, whether this entails wrong doing of any kind, or more accurately in this case, a perceived wrong doing. "If you mess up, 'fess up." And if you dont want to 'fess up, keep your twanger zipped.

Like Henny Youngman once said:

Patient: It hurts when I do this."
Doctor: Then don't do that.

Is Halderman a scumbag? Probably -- but being a scumbag doesn't mean you can be arrested and tried. If that were a viable criteria, there would be precious few in Congress, for example. So if Letterman was fearful of the consequences for his stupid sex tricks, if he knew it would hurt his marriage and his career if the facts got out, then the onus falls on him. It's time to pay the piper -- in cash or shame.

Consider this quote by Jean-Paul Sartre: "Man is condemned to be free: because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does."

Consider, also, this quote from Bill Maher: "We have a Bill of Rights. What we need is a Bill of Responsibilities."

In closing, I leave the reader with two final thoughts --

One is that I realize my point of view will not be shared by many, probably the vast majority, of my readers. That's o.k.

The second is this humorous quote from former Letterman producer Merrill Markoe, perhaps the most well-known former Letterman flame to have worked on his show. Markoe won five Emmy awards as the head writer for "Late Night with David Letterman," the NBC talk show that followed the "Tonight Show" and subsequently made Letterman a star. Markoe has been credited with the creation of Letterman's vaunted "Stupid Pet Tricks" and "Stupid Human Tricks" segments, both of which remain hallmarks of his show. Markoe posted a humorous statement about the scandal over the weekend on her web site in which she said, "Okay. Here it is. My big comment on Mr. Letterman... It is this: As you can imagine, this has been a very emotional moment for me because Dave promised me many times that I was the only woman he would ever cheat on."

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


And Jesus says: "I cannot heal you my have a pre-existing condition."

That's just one of many hilarious scenes in Michael Moore's latest offering -- CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY. Although most reviewers refer to Moore's films as documentaries, they are clearly more one man's one-sided point of view regarding serious issues in contemporary America. If you have ever spent a couple of hours (or more) listening to folks like Limbaugh, Hannity or Beck, Needtovent strongly recommends you give Michael Moore 120 minutes of your time as well. We are confident that you will walk away from the theater entertained, enlightened and, most likely, infuriated as Hell.

CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY is probably Moore's best film to date -- it is certainly his most personal since ROGER & ME. And although he continues to use a scattershot approach, the enormous size and complexity of the subject matter this time around actually lends itself to his style of filmmaking. Among the multitude of issues explored are:

"Dead Peasant Insurance" -- life insurance policies taken out by Fortune 500 companies on executives, and, in the case of Wal-Mart, lowly "associates" as well. Should the insured die, the beneficiary is the company, not the deceased's family. In these cases, the company actually profits when their employees die, the sooner the better, thus collecting up to $5 million in hard, cold cash as one of the cases explored up-close and personal revealed. While the origin of the name "Dead Peasant Insurance" remains unknown, it certainly serves as a metaphor for the prevailing attitude of callous corporate America.

Another topic explored is the risky, reckless, rapacious Wall Street gamble known as "derivatives." These "spin-off" investment instruments are so complex not one of the three financial experts, including the Department Chairman of Harvard's Finance School, can explain them. In fact, some are apparently so complicated that they are created by computers and not even the software authors fully understand them. The bottom line: if there is a default on a mortgage, the investor wins -- big. And if there isn't a default, the investor can still hedge his bet by also betting the derivative will fail. (How convenient.) It's a win-win for the investment firm -- and a toxic, egregious lose-lose for the average American family.

Other segments explore:

The horribly low pay for airline pilots -- we are shown a "Give a penny to a pilot" jar at the boarding gate of an airliner to underscore the severity of the problem (first-year pilots often earn less than the assistant manager at Burger King).

The widening gap between the richest and the rest of America -- the richest 1% of the population has as much accumulated wealth as 95% of the poorest. Citibank has even declared in private memos that America is now a plutonomy. It sure seems like we need more Howard Beales and fewer Walter Mittys among 95-99% of our population.

The foreclosure epidemic -- one family in particular is profiled as they are unceremoniously kicked off their farm that has been in the family for over four generations.

But perhaps the most revealing sequence is the fascinating, dynamic archival footage of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appearing on camera advocating a Second Bill of Rights. According to our sources, this Movietone News footage, shot at the explicit invitation of an ailing FDR at the end of his last State of the Union address, has never been seen previously -- for some reason it wasn't included in the newsreels of the day. Of course, with Roosevelt's death this Second Bill of Rights was never enacted here, in the United States, although many of its provisions are now in the constitutions of Germany, Italy and Japan -- which were all authored with considerable American input and involvement after WWII ended.

Love him. Hate him. But don't ignore him. CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY is definitely worth seeing. Roger Ebert said it best, at the very least you'll come away realizing that with corporate greed and Wall Street shenanigans the order of the day, capitalism means never having to say you're sorry.

Please go see CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY. We predict you'll leave mad as Hell...and that's a good thing.

Friday, October 02, 2009


One of Needtovent's favorite movies is BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA. Directed by the incomparable Sam Peckinpah in 1974, the film was recently selected by none other than Stephen King as one of his favorites also. Needless to say, during the course of this often-overlooked gem poor Alfredo's noggin receives more abuse than the average Comal County taxpayer.

(Warren Oates -- with Alfredo's head in a paper bag. No seat belt?)

But when it comes to depraved head games, Peckinpah is more than trumped according to a recent article by Nathaniel Vinto, a New York Daily News Staff Writer. Since we at Needtovent can not possibly embellish the shocking revelations presented by Mr. Vinto we have elected to simply re-print just some of what Vinto has written.

("Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer." -- Ted Williams)

From the New York Daily News, Friday, October 2 -----

Workers at an Arizona cryonics facility mutilated the frozen head of baseball legend Ted Williams - even using it for a bizarre batting practice, a new tell-all book claims.

In "Frozen," Larry Johnson, a former exec at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz., graphically describes how "The Splendid Splinter" was beheaded, his head frozen and repeatedly abused.

The book, out Tuesday from Vanguard Press, tells how Williams' corpse became "Alcorian A-1949" at the facility, where bodies are kept suspended in liquid nitrogen in case future generations learn how to revive them.

Johnson writes that in July 2002, shortly after the Red Sox slugger died at age 83, technicians with no medical certification gleefully photographed and used crude equipment to decapitate the majors' last .400 hitter.

Williams' severed head was then frozen and even used for batting practice by a technician trying to dislodge it from a tuna fish can.

The chief operating officer of Alcor for eight months before becoming a whistle blower in 2003, Johnson wrote his book while in hiding, fearful for his life.

He told the Daily News then he had received death threats and was moving from safehouse to safehouse. Johnson plans to come out of the shadows Tuesday, with his book and an appearance on ABC's "Nightline."

The book describes other atrocities at Alcor's facility in Arizona, including the dismembering of live dogs that were injected with chemicals in experiments, and a situation in which human blood and toxic chemicals were dumped into a parking lot sewer drain.

Nothing in the book is as gruesome as Johnson's descriptions of what happened to Williams' body after it was sent to Alcor at the direction of Williams' son, John Henry Williams, who died of leukemia in 2004.

Johnson writes that holes were drilled in Williams' severed head for the insertion of microphones, then frozen in liquid nitrogen while Alcor employees recorded the sounds of Williams' brain cracking 16 times as temperatures dropped to -321 degrees Fahrenheit.

Johnson writes that the head was balanced on an empty can of Bumble Bee tuna to keep it from sticking to the bottom of its case.

Johnson describes watching as another Alcor employee removed Williams' head from the freezer with a stick, and tried to dislodge the tuna can by swinging at it with a monkey wrench.

The technician, no .406 hitter like the baseball legend, missed the can with several swings of the wrench and smacked Williams' head directly, spraying "tiny pieces of frozen head" around the room.

Johnson accuses the company of joking morbidly about mailing Williams' thawing remains back to his family if his son didn't pay his outstanding debt to the company.

Reprints of invoices show that Alcor president John Lemler charged $120,000 for the honor of "suspending" Teddy Ballgame's body.

("Ted Williams studied hitting the way a broker studies the stock market." -- Carl Yastrzemski)

Johnson said he hopes his book will help fulfill the wishes Williams expressed in his will - that his body be cremated and the ashes "sprinkled at sea off the coast of Florida, where the water is very deep."


Thursday, October 01, 2009


Step aside Nostradamus. The same for Terry Morris, my personal gridiron guru. Yes, a new clairvoyant has recently surfaced and we at Needtovent believe he is the greatest of them all -- at least based on his uncanny prediction over this past weekend during an otherwise meaningless Seattle Mariners game in Toronto.

(Mike Blowers)

Meet Mike Blowers, a one-time player for the Seattle Mariners who now does the color commentary for the American League team. Blowers was participating in a pregame segment called “Picks to Click” when he was asked which Mariners player would end up having a big day. He went with M's infielder Matt Tuiasosopo, a player who had just been recalled from the minors and whose brief major league career had been fairly rocky at best. But there's more, oh-so-much more ----

Blowers then went so far as to predict Tui’s first big league home run...

That it would be hit on a 3-1 count...

That the pitcher that the home run would be hit off of would be Blue Jays starter Brian Tallet...

That the at-bat that the home run would be hit in would be his second of the game...

That the pitch that the home run would come off of would be a fastball...

And, finally, that the location of the home run would be left-center field.

Everything came true, exactly as projected by Blowers.

I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say that nobody, and we mean nobody, has ever correctly made a baseball prediction as insane, as detailed, and as accurate as this -- never, ever...

(Matt Tuiasosopo)

Truly unbelievable -- but don't take our word for it. Here's a link for Mike's pre-game prediction and for the actual play-by-play call from Tuiasosopo's 5th-inning tater in Toronto.