I haven’t been in the blogging mood in the past couple weeks, so I thought I’d “catch up” here.

We had some decent rains nearly two weeks ago. All around SoCal we got anywhere from 2-6 inches, depending where you’re located. Here in my area we got just above two inches. The streets and gutters overflowed, but quickly dissipated upon each passing storm cell that came through. I can still sense moisture in my front and back lawns, but the dirt in the flower beds is top-dry. Yesterday when I poked down about an inch or so— I could see moisture. So I’m probably good another few days or so to start watering again. And with the post-rains has come warmer temps and even today some Santa Ana winds.

I was pretty bummed about the death of Harold Ramis a couple weeks ago. A complete shock to most, and a great loss to all. I really enjoyed his films, both on and behind the camera. On screen of course would be the Ghostbusters films, but behind the scenes, as director, I liked Groundhog Day probably the most. Apparently he wasn’t included in the actual “In Memoriam” montage at this years Oscars, but I found it to be a nice touch that Bill Murray slid one in there for him on-stage right after it was over.

Still no sizable movement yet for Congress to extend the federal unemployment benefits. Senator Reid kept saying “soon” and in the “next few days” for a vote, but that’s been a week or two now and still nothing. Apparently S. 1845 is dead, but a new bill (extending it to 6 months for benefits) was introduced, and that is S. 2077 (Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2014). And I’ve just learned this morning that the Republicans in the Senate, of all people, have introduced their own bill— S. 2097 (Responsible Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2014). Notice the emphasis on responsible. Sounds like a smart-assey bill if you ask me. If it extends the benefits for the 2M+ of us, then we’re good.

As for me… I’ve been screwed, financially, for quite some time now. And I recently learned that one of my creditors has filed a civil suit against me for a past due credit card bill. Note to the skip tracers: I have no funds, no assets, nothing. Due to being out of work and no income— my nearly-perfect credit score of 20+ years has been destroyed. That’s all you’ll hear from me on this matter… because there is nothing!

Apparently my post about the whole Mary Lou Retton Twitter thing picked up a few visits; a couple of folks emailed to tell me that they, too, were followed and unfollowed by her— with no response. Oh well.

marylou

This morning I had an alert from my Twitter that my favorite Olympian of all time— Mary Lou Retton— was following me. I was like “Oh. Awesome!!” I’d been a fan since the ’84 Olympics and had the rare opportunity to meet her years ago. I had worked for Hilton and she stayed at the property I worked at back in 2003 when she was helping the US Women’s Gymnastics team with their practice tryouts. It was a huge deal where most of the women’s gymnastics teams from around the world were staying while they trained and tried out at the former Arrowhead Pond for the upcoming Olympics. Mary Lou was sweet and awesome, and even gave me this at the end of her visit.

So tonight I’m sitting here, winding down for the day, and I get this alert on my phone from one of those social media trackers and it said that Mary Lou Retton had unfollowed me. Further research, if you wanna call it that, showed that she did a massive-follow this morning of several dozen folks— only to unfollow some of them, including me.

Is it a big deal for me? No, not really. Yeah I’m blogging about it, but I don’t think it was her that did it. She’s truly a people person, and I guess someone who handles her Twitter for her at times may have done this to generate a buzz for more folks to end up following her. “{insert celebrity’s name here} just followed me!!!!!!!”— soon makes it around the Twitterverse for all to see and in turn generates flowing response to that person.

We have a local weatherperson here on one of the major news stations who has a marketing company who does this to folks all the time. Except “his” trick is if you don’t follow back— you’re unfollowed. I think what I’m trying to say is there’s a lot of youngsters out there that think the world when one of their faves surprises with a follow, but I imagine crushed when… well, you know.

It is possible that Mary Lou’s account could have been the subject of a spam bot. Not confirmed, but someone on Twitter pointed out to me that earlier in the day her account showed she had been following just under a thousand accounts, and now tonight shows she’s only following 567. Who knows what happened!

Update 2/28/14– A quick check of her Twitter account shows that she has whittled who she follows down to 57 accounts. Several folks who she “followed” have since tweeted her, asking about the unfollowing, and she hasn’t responded to anyone. She’s kept her tweets to a minimum in-as-far as her work. Interesting. I actually unfollowed her after seeing this; makes you wonder whose running hers.

fallon

I just got done watching the third show under Fallon’s new hosting of Tonight. The first show Monday night was an obvious success and went over extremely well with great ratings. I’ve watched the first three shows so far and I really like what I see.

But as I’ve read around the web— there’s plenty others who don’t. Most of the reasons I’ve read are just typical naysayer speak. If it isn’t about his style, then it’s about his age. If it isn’t about the concept of a segment (or segments) then it’s about the flow of the entire hour overall. I don’t buy any of the skepticism. And for those putting Jimmy Fallon up against any of his predecessors… they’re only setting themselves up for disappointment. The majority of Tonight Show fans loved Johnny Carson. And there were many of those Carson fans who despised Leno (and Conan) and Leno again upon his second return.

I think Jimmy Fallon is perfect for this. Some of the older group want to bark ‘n moan about the show having been handed off to a “kid” after still wanting Leno at the helm. Now don’t get me wrong— I’ve long been a Leno fan— but when Jay took over after Carson’s retirement he had just freshly turned 42.

As for Fallon? He’s gonna be 40 this year.

Love it or hate it— Fallon’s staying. He’s got the base, he’s got the support and he’s in New York!!

Twelve hours ago Jay Leno was on the lot at NBC preparing for his final taping of his Tonight Show. And just before the sun set— he was gone and out of there— driving off the lot, by himself, like he did every taping day in Burbank the last 22 years. Just another day on the lot.

I was going to watch the final show that aired just a few hours ago, but it got ruined for me. Even well before the east coast airing taking place, which is a few hours before we get to see it on the west coast, the rundown of the final show was leaked. NBC did list their main guests for the night and said also there would be a “few surprises.” Local news media here had camped outside the studio for most of this rainy day, and interacted with those in line for Tonight— mostly made up of VIPs. Explicit instructions were given to everyone in attendance at the final taping yesterday to not talk about anything that happened on the show until it finally aired.

Nope. Some didn’t listen. Details soon floated through social media and were picked up by various news outlets and were laid out for all to see. So… no surprises for any who had waited.

But its all good. Twenty-two years was a great run, and it feels like yesterday when Leno first took the Tonight Show reins. I was finishing my last month in the 7th grade, and Leno became an instant hit.

Time flies. And so does Jay Leno. He’s boarding a plane today and heading to Florida to perform at a pre-scheduled comedy gig. That’s gotta be the hottest ticket in town.

Since December, as I’ve written about before, I have been one of the several hundred thousand Californian’s who have been affected by the Federal Unemployment Extension cutoff that took place on 12/28/13. The Senate and House recessed a couple weeks before Christmas without a resolution and vowed to do so upon returning January 7th.

Here we are thirty days since they convened from winter recess and we’ve now encountered two massive failures to extend the federal unemployment benefits for now 1.7M Americans who qualified and have depended on it. Two key votes to try and pass it were held on January 14th and yesterday, February 6th. Both votes failed— each time— by the Senate Republicans. The only difference between yesterday’s vote and January’s was that yesterday’s vote was ONE shy of passage. All of the Senate Democrats, and two Independents, have voted yea, and yesterday’s vote we saw FOUR REPUBLICANS do the right thing by voting for it.

The Republicans had no problem extending the benefits each and every single time under the Bush Administration, but now with this latest lapse— they want to play hardball against the Obama White House. It basically boils down to this: they’re pissed off, mad, upset and extremely butt-hurt because the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was enacted into law, and their Number One agenda-item is to have it fully repealed. Until they get what they want— they’re gonna screw millions of Americans out of unemployment benefits that are needed to get people by, help them find work, and make basic ends meet.

Yes, most of us unemployed folks would rather be working than have to collect unemployment, but many of us lost our jobs through no faults of our own, and were qualified for benefits— and we agree with the stance that a bill should also offer job solutions— but the Republicans need to stop with the bullshit, quit lying about why they don’t want passage of S.1845 (even though the Democrats have met their every demand, including pay-fors), and stop holding us Americans hostage. You all, being the GOP, did this with the Federal Shutdown this past fall, and you’re doing it to the 1.7M+ of us waiting for you guys to ACT ON UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE by RENEWING UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE.

So… to the Senate GOP… your Senate colleagues have all spoken in great detail about who, what, when, where, why and how this matters. They’ve told you stories of affected constituents of theirs. You know the inning, and you know the score. You all instead want to play hardball.

Senators Reid, Reed and Booker have been very outspoken and have been our greatest Senate champions in trying to get this passed. It doesn’t look very good at this point, at the rate everything has been going, and we’ve got a long road ahead if it even makes it out of the Senate. People think this has been a rough ‘n tough battle with the Senate? Wait till this gets to the embattled GOP-majority House. Oh yeah… big fun there.

But come November… it’s ballot time, and Americans aren’t forgetting.